Daily Archive: October 2, 2018



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That One Window at John Jay. You Know. The Blue One.

STEM majors beware. This problem has no easy answer: no cheat-sheet, no appended explanation, no eventual epiphany. Columbians have disintegrated into ashes and dust contemplating this question, this irresolvable conflict, this ponderous celestial weight. Why is that one window always glowing blue? A John Jay native searches for answers – to no avail.

I see you.

Yes, you. Blue light. Cerulean presence. Ultramarine luminescence. Prussian prince of the 8th floor.

They say everything is in a name, but no title I could ever devise would capture what you truly are. And maybe this is why you evade all rationalization.

That is to say, you exist in a plane far beyond logic. Space, time, reason – such banal things don’t apply to you, blue. Saintly, post-structural thing, you are.

When I saw you for the first time, I was struck not by your beauty, but by your daring. Your willingness to stand out, to eschew convention, to do as no window has done before and shed the dogma of fluorescent white light. Such a bold act takes character.

But can I even call you a “character”? Can such an omnipresent actuality be said to exist within such limits?

You exist outside of my limits. You are as a star, glittering distantly in a sea of darkness that envelops (envelopes, perhaps?) all things transient in this dastardly world.

Dearest blue light, listen to my plea: shed your secrets. And I do not mean your voltage, your place of origin, or your manufacturer — I mean your cardinal purpose, your ressentiment, your cogito-ergo-sum.

If it is within your infinite power to formulate words, speak forth Zarathustra! Speak forth and illuminate our miserly human condition, just as you illuminate my walk home from EC.

I adore you, blue light. Never cease shining.

Image via Bwog Staff



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Look at Aristotle’s blank stare. He has no idea what he’s up against.

On Monday, Dr. Urvashi Sahni, Founder and CEO of Study Hall Educational Foundation, came to Columbia to talk about her innovative educational work in India. Besides establishing schools that educate girls against all odds, Dr. Sahni recognizes that young boys must also be engaged in the work of gender justice. As you will see, she’s also super quotable; Staff Writer Andrew Wang relied on her abundance of quotations to complete this article and share her work with you.

In Aristotle’s Politics, you remember—if you did the reading—that he famously proclaims, “The relation of male to female is that of natural superior to natural inferior.”

If you thought Aristotle’s world was rough for women, wait until you hear about Uttar Pradesh. It’s a state in northern India with a population of 199 million and high rates of domestic and state violence. Its gender ratio is incredibly unbalanced at 908 females for every 1000 males due to female feticide. The literacy rate across gender is 42% and 69%, respectively.

But there’s something else going on in Uttar Pradesh. A revolution, so to speak, and its name is Prerna: Hindi for “inspiration.” The Prerna School, established by the Study Hall Educational Foundation, is an experiment in gender justice in the unlikeliest of places; here, 1004 girls and 150 boys engage in a curriculum centered around feminist thought. As Dr. Sahni notes, this isn’t about educating women to make a fiscal argument. It’s about a girl’s right to be educated and a boy’s responsibility to unpack patriarchy. Girls are taught using a “critical feminist pedagogy”; boys are taught that they have a part to play.

“Patriarchy is a social construct. It was made and it can be unmade,” says Sahni.

How to unmake the patriarchy after the jump.



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I love my handy dandy USB drive!

Note: Bwog does not condone the use of nicotine products, smoking, or the Juul* product. Smoking is bad. Bwog also would like to acknowledge that the following content is not representative of all individuals of each frat. Also, the list is in random order. Continue reading at your own discretion.

*The Juul is an electronic smoking device that resembles a long USB drive. It is common among teenagers and college students. Smoking isn’t cool. Don’t do it.

Sigma Nu: Cool Mint
You can’t go wrong with cool mint. Not the most original, but most people like them. Sometimes you get a little tired of it, and then you branch out. But you always come back. Cool mint can be considered the most basic flavor, and people who like cool mint will make sure you know that it’s also the best. Except it’s not that obnoxious because both are arguably true. Not too much negativity regarding Sig Nu, especially not after they got that new frat dog.

Beta Theta Pi: Mango
Mango sounds like a great idea at first. Mango seems sweet, harmless, a genuinely good flavor. Everybody starts off with mango, and then eventually either you stick to it forever or you realize it makes you sick. You realize mango may come off as sweet but it actually has a lot of personal problems it needs to work through. Much like Beta. Beta was probably one of the first frat parties you went to. And now, either you’re hanging out at the Beta house every weekend, or you never want to go back again.

Sigma Phi Epsilon: Classic Menthol
This flavor is a little misunderstood. It’s not as common as cool mint, but mostly because it’s a little more intimidating. If you talk to the right people, they will tell you they love classic menthol. Other people will tell you it’s kind of pretentious and a little gross. Classic menthol is for people who think they’re different, but under all that, they’re just another trust-fund finance sellout. But at the same time, you kind of want to be a trust-fund finance sellout.
there are other frats?



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Black holes are the astrophysics equivalent of spooky season

Fun question for all you scientists out there: is it possible for the skills and strategies used in astrophysics to translate into biology? Yesterday, Bwog Science Editor Alex Tang attended the Department of Biological Sciences seminar given by Columbia Physics Professor Szabolcs Marka (yes, you read that right – physics). Here, he discusses the insights that Professor Marka shared from his multidisciplinary research experiences. The talk was titled “On the Beauty and Impact of Astrophysics: From Gravitational Waves to Biology.”

Professor Marka calls himself someone who practices “Renaissance Science.” In an allusion to the “Renaissance Man,” Marka is referring to his passion in all aspects of scientific research, starting from the inception of an idea, followed by the theoretical aspects and finally the experimental aspects. Also relevant is his interest in a variety of incredibly different fields in science. While Marka is a physicist by title, his research interests have spanned topics as diverse as gravitational waves and insect physiology. Seminar host Dr. John Hunt made the joke that in order to give this seminar, Dr. Marka had to make the arduous, exceedingly difficult journey from Pupin to Fairchild – a rare journey if you think about it.

In his seminar, Dr. Marka began by giving the biologists in the room a quick primer on gravitational waves. Whenever two massive, dense objects (ie black holes and neutron stars) collide in astrophysics, they create black holes. Black holes are the densest entities known in astrophysics, with a gravitational pull so heavy that not even light can escape. The density of a black hole is equivalent to 60 times the mass of the solar system roughly occupying the size of Long Island. The collision of two dense objects creates a ripple in spacetime, which is propagated outwards. Think about throwing a pebble into a lake. The impact of the pebble with the lake represents the collision of the two dense astronomical objects, and the ripples you see in the water represent the gravitational waves that are equidistantly propagated outwards from the collision.

Gravitational waves (created by massive collisions) were actually predicted by Einstein about a century ago. However, they have been incredibly hard to prove. Once these gravitational waves reach Earth, they are insanely tiny. The effect that a gravitational wave has in pushing or pulling an object on Earth compared to the object’s mass is equivalent to the proportion of a millionth of a cent in the US national debt (17.7 trillion dollars).

In 2015, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) sensed a blip in spacetime, proving the existence of gravitational waves for the first time. LIGO is an incredibly sensitive instrument that can monitor discrepancies in spacetime differences via tiny changes in the patterns of intersecting light. Read more here from a LectureHop we did two years ago if you’re interested in learning more. The sensing of gravitational waves has remained the most sensitive measurement done by mankind.

Click here to see how all of the above relates to biology



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Ridwan appearing as character Dave Kim on “The Goldbergs.”

Staff Writer Danielle Mikaelian recently sat down with Kenny Ridwan, CC ’21, an actor from Los Angeles who currently appears on ABC’s hit series “The Goldbergs.” Throughout the years, Kenny has also acted in various shows like “House of Lies,” “Perception,” “Bones,” “Modern Family,” “The Middle,” and “The Thundermans.”

Fun Fact: Danielle and Kenny met at the Los Angeles sendoff, proving that Columbia sponsored events can lead to future interactions.


Kenny Ridwan, 2021, Los Angeles, Creative Writing/History

Most famous actor/actress that you’ve met?

Charlie Sheen

Role model?

Again, Charlie Sheen…just kidding. Actually, it’s Abe Lincoln. I think it’s pretty cool how he didn’t even go to college and became president.

Why those majors?

Just ended up that way! Both majors are great for anyone wanting to go to law school. I’m hoping to go to law school in LA so I can pursue entertainment law and continue acting.

more about his acting career after the jump



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another monday night in diana

Just in time for the start of Relationship Violence Awareness Month, Barnard’s SGA welcomed the Executive Director for Equity and Title IX Coordinator Molree Williams-Lendor to discuss the details of Barnard’s code of conduct and procedures relating to reporting and investigating any incidents relating to sexual misconduct, harassment, and discrimination. Luckily, new Blogger Miyoki Walker was there to catch it all.

With everything running smoothly, Barnard’s SGA was able to cover a lot of ground, including the representatives’ announcements, development, funding for a new Columbia Women in Law club, and everyone’s favorite civil rights act: Title IX.

While introducing herself, Molree Williams-Lendor, Barnard’s Executive Director for Equity and Title IX coordinator, detailed the role she plays at Barnard and what services are available to students who have experienced any form of discrimination. Williams-Lendor explained her primary duty as making sure that all non-discrimination policies are being met whether it be concerning race, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy status, age, ability, etc. The main point of Williams-Lendor’s opening statement was that all Barnard students should feel protected and able to express who they are without fear of consequences.

more from Williams-Lendor after the jump



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One rep’s declaration of pistachio as their favorite ice cream flavor caused some controversy

Filling in for Bwog’s Engineering Student Council Bureau Chief Finn Klauber this week is Senior Staff Writer Levi Cohen, here to give you the skinny on what the SEAS student government is up to. This week in the Lerner Satow Room: the recently-elected freshmen took their seats at the table, meetings were recapped, and events were planned.

ESC’s meeting last night was, in a word, efficient. Though almost the full hour was used, topics came and went at lightning speed- that is, after a quick icebreaker to introduce the freshmen class representatives to the rest of the council, and vice versa. Once everyone knew one another’s major and favorite flavor of ice cream, it was time to get down to business.

First on the agenda was the Columbia Food Pantry, which was requesting funding from all four student councils for an upcoming silent auction event. After some brief numbers-crunching — what percentage of the students who use the Pantry are in SEAS, how does that number compare to students in CC, and so on — the board voted unanimously to allocate the requested funds (and promotional assistance).

Following that came some rapid-fire updates; relevant ones from each position were as follows.

Alumni dinners? Mold?? Project grant apps???



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Imagine yourself posing in the driver’s seat!

Happening in the World: Soldiers and engineers from both North and South Korea have begun to remove buried landmines from the Demilitarized Zone separating the two countries. The armies plan to jointly search for casualties buried during the Korean War, and this marks the latest of a series of moves on the Korean peninsula aimed at de-escalating tensions. (New York Times)

Happening in the US: According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives statement on Monday, 400 guns were stolen over the weekend from a UPS facility in Memphis. Two men robbed the facility on Sunday in what is estimated to be one of the largest gun thefts the ATF has investigated. (ABC)

Happening in NYC: The Verrazzano-Narrows bridge connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island was renamed yesterday after being spelled with one “Z” for 50 years. A typo in the original construction contract had caused the initial error, which misspelled Italian explorer Giovanni Verrazzano’s name. (NBC)

Happening on Campus: Come to the Sundial from 11 am to 6 pm today to tour one of Columbia’s new sustainable electric buses! The event advertises that visitors can even “get their photo taken in the driver’s seat or with Roar-ee.”

Overheard: “The end of The Odyssey is basically just a question of FMK.”

Place to nap today: Five consecutive seats in Ref pushed together. A creative way to save seats for your friends (and make everyone else hate you).

 Look how cute this bus is via Columbia Events

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