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Daily Archive: September 26, 2018

Sep

26

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Dr. Thomas Kailath, Tuesday’s Armstrong Memorial Lecture speaker (and dapper dresser)

Yesterday, we sent new Bwog writer and first-year SEAS student Michael Beltz to the Armstrong Memorial Lecture hosted by Columbia’s Department of Electrical Engineering. Thomas Kailath, the speaker, is a professor, electrical engineer, information theorist, emeritus at Stanford, and experienced entrepreneur. In his talk, “The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering,” he shares his advice on making groundbreaking discoveries and being successful.

Awarded the National Medal of Science and recognized by former President Barack Obama for his “transformative contributions to the fields of information and system science,” Thomas Kailath is one of the greats in the electrical engineering world. Kailath is also widely recognized as a great teacher and an inspiring lecturer. His talk on Tuesday focused on his own experiences and the collected experiences in his field, from which he drew pieces of advice that apply to all aspiring engineers.

Kailath came to America from India in 1957. This change, he said, was the biggest opportunity in his life. Having achieved excellence during his undergraduate days, Kailath’s move to America gave him the opportunity to become the first Indian-born PhD in Electrical Engineering at MIT. Over the next few decades, through pure grit, hard work, and admittedly a certain degree of luck, Kailath became a legend in his field. He revolutionized communications technologies by contributing to information theory, filtering theory, linear systems and control, signal processing, semiconductor manufacturing, probability and statistics, linear algebra, matrix and operator theory. He told some anecdotes about his time doing research, but most of the information went over my head, since I don’t have a master’s degree.

What I did get, however, was a glimpse of his life, and of a successful engineering career. Kailath emphasized that his path was chaotic and unplanned. He constantly took new projects that he was initially unfamiliar with. He made the conscious decisions to move from the theoretical to the applied, and from the academic to the entrepreneurial, following the money and the opportunities present at the time, whether they were in math, signal processing, or manufacturing. Kailath’s philosophy was that he could always be learning something new, no matter the stage in his career, even if it was in a completely different field.

Click here for Kailath’s advice

Sep

26

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NSFW: Honey being poured sensually on a biscuit

New Bwogger Miyoki Walker is a simple girl. She put her pants on one leg at a time, she cries at sad movies, and when she walks into Ferris, she goes straight for the biscuits.

We’ve all seen them. Their golden tops. Perfectly crisp edges. Always next to the egg frittatas. The only difference between you and me is that I practice enough self-care to allow myself a biscuit once, twice, maybe even seven times a week.

It goes like this: I walk into Ferris, I’ll look around for a second, pretend like I could go for some avocado toast and then I’ll spot them. Sitting there on the front counter are those gorgeous golden puffs. They’re practically calling my name. I weigh the pros and cons. I don’t necessarily need the calories, but I do need the happiness. I don’t wanna wait in the long line, but I do wanna experience the fluffiness before I go off to my next class. Finally I figure, who am I kidding?

It wasn’t a conscious decision to eat the biscuits every day, but at this point I feel as if it’s my duty to continue the fight. Sometimes I’ll have a moment of weakness and consider stupid stuff like my health, but I have to remind myself of what truly matters: the biscuits. What I’m fighting for is more than just breakfast food, it’s everything that breakfast food stands for.

At times, I wonder if it’s worth it, if my hard work and perseverance ever will pay off. But then I realize that I never could’ve gotten to where I am now without those puff pastries. I’ve made it through one month of college on those biscuits. They are what keep me going. None of this would be possible without them.

I couldn’t do it without the Ferris staff, the honey in the bear bottle and my own disregard for things like nutrition and self-control. And if I leave you with anything, this is it: take control of your own happiness and grab that damn biscuit. Those biscuits saved my life and in about two weeks time, they can save yours too.

Sexy Biscuit Photo via Wikipedia

Sep

26

img September 26, 20184:17 pmimg 0 Comments

the sci-fi stance

Yesterday, science fiction author and journalist Cory Doctorow kicked off a week-long residency at Columbia, sponsored by the Brown Institute with a talk in the Heyman Center. Events Editor Isabel Sepúlveda attended this intimate and wide-ranging conversation, moderated by Columbia English professor Dennis Tenen. Subjects discussed: Doctorow’s belief in Creative Commons, the interplay of science fiction and technology with policy, and of course amusement park design.

Though I’ve always considered myself a science-fiction fan, my interactions with Cory Doctorow’s work have mostly consisted of reading a few short stories and stumbling across his novel Little Brother on Wattpad when I was 13. Still, I knew he was relatively well-known in science-fiction circles and when I heard he was coming to Columbia, I was so excited that I accidentally registered for this talk twice.

The rain had driven all but the most die-hard fans away, leaving a group of maybe a dozen people from all walks of life scattered across the Heyman Center’s second floor common room munching on salad and Strokos sandwiches as we waited for the event to begin. The talk began inauspiciously, with Doctorow needing to plug in his phone after having committed the “traveler’s worst sin” by leaving it charging overnight in an non-working outlet, a humor he would infuse throughout the conversation.

Luckily, things got back on track sooner or later. After brief introductions, Doctorow began with a concise but incredibly powerful insight on what he saw as the purpose of science fiction writing. Citing Dante’s Inferno (he definitely knew his audience, that’s for sure), he cautioned against seeing sci-fi as prediction of the future. The reasons it often seems to be so are two-fold: all science-fiction novels are at some level allegorical until the problems they represent can be fixed, and many are diagnostic, meaning a writer builds a world around a single technology that can highlight problems that are otherwise lost in the noise. In short, he reminded us that “Science-fiction is a warning, an inspiration, never a prediction” because there is a way to intervene, through the power of human agency.

But what about the amusement parks, you ask?

Sep

26

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As orange, cinnamon-y, and fall-flavored as pumpkin spice, but you don’t have to worry about being basic!

It’s 11:58pm on a Saturday. All you want is something delicious and bad for you, but JJ’s is so far away… Wait! You remember you have John Jay and Ferris take-out boxes full of random ingredients in your mini-fridge. Some cereal, some cream cheese packets… you’re good to go! Follow our recipe below for the perfect fall treat–made entirely out of food gathered from John Jay and Ferris!

Disclaimer: Make sure you grab your ingredients with a meal swipe–John Jay and Ferris both offer take-out boxes for you to bring back to your dorm.

As new freshmen in Wallach (kitchens in the lounges!), my roommate Paolina and I have embarked on an endeavor to create as many recipes as we can with only food from Ferris and John Jay. Sometimes they’ll turn out great and other times they definitely won’t! Each recipe will end with some real people reviewing our finished product, so you’ll know what’s up.

This week: Layered Yam Cheesecake

Appliances: Microwave and fridge

Ingredients:

Cheese part:

  • almost a quarter of a take out box of John Jay roasted yams
  • 10 cream cheese packets
  • two hefty spoonfuls of caramel sauce from the ice cream station
  • like a bit of cinnamon, a John Jay stolen-silverware spoonful
  • 2 packets of sugar

Crust part:

  • five smallish handfuls of Chex cereal
  • a smallish handful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • 3 pinches of cinnamon
  • 2 sugar packets
  • 4 pats of butter

More after the jump

Sep

26

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Actual photograph of Raisa bringing down the hammer/gavel

Our gallant and fearless GSSC Bureau Chief Andrew Chee braved the torrential downpour to give y’all the rundown of breaking news from the General Studies Student Council! Let’s just pretend that it was not drizzling lightly by the time he walked over to Lerner. Tonight’s highlights include a Q&A with GS Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch, GS ’90, and additional nominees to the council.

GSSC kept it healthy today with fruits and fresh veggies for the meeting. President Raisa Flor, GS ’19, had to bust out the gavel just to get everyone away from the food and right into business.

Q&A With the Dean 

Our lovely GS Lisa Rosen-Metsch dropped by for a Q&A session about updates since she became Dean in January, as well as plans for the future. As a quick refresher, Dean Rosen-Metsch is an alumna of General Studies, majoring in sociology in the first dual degree program of the dual BA/Jewish Theological Seminary. She is now a sociologist who has done work with public health, most notably regarding the HIV/AID epidemic, and she was the chair of the department of sociomedical sciences at Mailman, where she currently serves as a professor.

For this fall semester, Dean Rosen-Metsch noted that we have 710 new GS students, including 118 veterans, 117 in the Postbac Premed program, 4 students from the Trinity College Dublin/GS dual BA program, as well as students from a multitude of various backgrounds, such as ballet dancers, writers, athletes, models, teachers, musicians, designers, journalists, engineers, entrepreneurs, investment bankers, real estate agents, and workers in construction, hospitality, government, and nonprofits. Just to give a sense of the achievements of the incoming class of GS students, Dean Rosen-Metsch mentioned one new student, an Olympian who won the US National Championship for show jumping in 2012 and competed in London as youngest ever member of US Olympic Equestrian team! Excited to see you all on campus and welcome!

Tell me more about horses

Sep

26

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bland and boring

Happening in the World: Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations on Tuesday filled with inaccuracies, including him signing the “biggest tax cut in American history” (NY Times).

Happening in the US: Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3-10 years in a Pennsylvania prison for sexually assaulting and drugging Andrea Constand in 2004. Bill Cosby did not have any friends or family present during the sentencing and showed no remorse.

Happening in NYC: Kevin Hart is bringing one of the tiny homes from Elizabethtown’s Tiny Estates to Madison Square Garden for his concert on Thursday night. The inside has been redecorated by Hart’s team and will be used to promote his upcoming tour.

Happening on Campus: Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vásquez will be reading from and discussing his latest novel, The Shape of the Ruins, tonight in Sulzburger Parlor on the third floor of Barnard Hall. The event is hosted by The Barnard International Artists Series and will begin at 6:30pm.

Chip Flavor of the Day: Cheddar and Sour Cream

Photo via Public Domain Pictures

Sep

26

img September 26, 20183:17 amimg 4 Comments

:(

Dear whoever you are,

I, like many Carmanites, am now awake at 2:30 in the morning on a Tuesday night (or, rather, and Wednesday morning), thanks to you. This is the fourth time such an event has happened in recent nights- Thursday (was it Thursday? It already feels so fucking long ago I can’t even remember) we had TWO ALARMS in a SINGLE NIGHT (you know, to get the year off to a strong start), and since then on two subsequent nights (Sunday night and this evening/morning/whatever ungodly time it is).

Every time, the fire dept. has shown up, gone inside, and left after a few minutes looking somewhat disappointed, while harried Public Safety officers try to corral sleepy masses of sick freshmen who mill in an aimless, angry mob outside. Or so I assume – as things stand I’ve now only evacuated for two of these shitshows, because the second one on Thursday was just too much for me (or most anyone else) to bear, and almost anything that wakes you up at 2:30 on a Wednesday morning (except an actual fire) is probably worth sleeping through.

Anyways, whoever you are, is it that fucking difficult to walk to Riverside to smoke? Or to go to wherever it is that people burn incense to do that? If you broke your leg or something and literally can’t leave Carman to indulge in whatever combustive activities you’re indulging in, I’m sure at this point the entire hall would be willing to pay for an Uber.

And furthermore, what the ever-loving fuck are you doing up at 2:30 ON A WEDNESDAY MORNING smoking (if that’s what it was)?? Was there NO other time that might have been SLIGHTLY better for you? Get your shit together, we’re like a month in! If you’ve sunk this low by now it’s basically over unless you can pull up. And if you were burning HW or something in some sort of misanthropic pyromaniac rage – I feel you, but please, for the love of God and His saints and angels, please fucking do it somewhere else, so that we don’t all have to suffer (don’t worry, ours is killing us too just fine on its own).

If anyone has knowledge on the whereabouts of the person or persons responsible for this batshit clusterfuckery, please contact the International Criminal Court in the Hague or literally anyone who can make it stopppppppppppp.

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