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Apr

22

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If you need to get signed into someone else’s dorm tonight, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll forget to pick up your ID on the way out, then panic a few minutes (or hours, or days) later. So, how do you go about asking for it back from the desk guard? Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets has put together a handy flowchart to help you figure that out, based on way too much personal experience.

Every possible ID-forgetting scenario?

Apr

15

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Are you at Barnard, or are you… somewhere else?

A few weeks ago, Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets argued that the basement of Teacher’s College is a liminal space, a place that exists between one conception of reality and the next. Now, she’s back to evaluate whether another space on Columbia’s campus fits in that same category.

I am sitting in the study room on the third floor of the Diana Center, studying for an organic chemistry final.

The red chair beneath me is stiff and unyielding, the lights above me just bright enough that I don’t feel as though I’m about to doze off. The coffee in my travel mug purchased from Liz’s Place before I started this session is lukewarm, and still needs more sugar. The 3D models of cyclic compounds cluttered around my desk cubicle mock my continued confusion with their sharp edges and incomplete bonds.

I have lost track of how long I’ve been sitting in this study room. It could have been one hour, it could have been three, it could have been ten. I covered the clock on my laptop when I hid my notifications panel with a flashcard, and I am determined not to peek until I have figured out chair-chair interconversion. I’m watching the same video of my professor explaining this process for the fifth time – or maybe it’s the twentieth time – or maybe I have watched twenty different videos all indistinguishable from each other.

Seriously, what’s going on here?

Apr

13

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So much text, so little Kate

Kate Gilmore, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, spoke at the Law School yesterday afternoon on the transformative nature of human rights. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets, a human with rights, gives her take on the speech and the discussion that followed.

Few things make me feel cooler than successfully getting into the Law Library without attracting suspicion. Once I found my way downstairs and into a lecture room, however, I soon felt that any coolness I may had acquired paled in comparison to that of the speaker, Kate Gilmore, a UN Deputy High Commissioner and wearer of [stunning] pink pants. Her introduction extolled her past accomplishments, as Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.

Ms. Gilmore’s speech yesterday was a keynote address marking the end of a speaker series commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Her speech was a powerful rhetorical address challenging the nature of human rights discourse in the world right now, and calling the students in the room to action.

What did she say?

Apr

9

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The West Harlem Piers, from Betsy’s run this morning

Spring is here for good, if the scant outfits we saw around campus during yesterday’s concert were any indication. But there are more benefits to the warm weather than just wearing shorts and sundresses: you can finally set out on a run in Riverside Park without your butt cheeks threatening to go numb. For those of you who are a sudden health kick after Bacchanal degeneracy, have never ventured outside the Hamilton stairs for exercise before, or just get lost really easily, senior staffer (and frequent runner) Betsy Ladyzhets has compiled a list of her favorite routes to run in Riverside. These work for walking or biking, too!

1. Riverside Drive (easy): There’s a pathway at the very top of the park that goes from 120th street to 96th street. This is a good starting route if your endurance is terrible or if you’re nervous that you’ll get lost if you venture further into the park. Be careful of the cobblestones here, though – it’s very easy to trip. Distance: 1 to 1.5 miles one way, depending on where you start.

2. Wide bike path in the upper level (easy): If you go down the pavement path at the 116th Street entrance, follow the path all the way down the hill, then turn left and follow the trail for a few minutes, you’ll find yourself at a wide, paved path stretching from about 110th Street to 96th street. This path is great for sprinting, as it’s completely flat and wide enough to allow for easy passing. The small dog park midway through is a great highlight. Distance: 1 to 1.5 miles one way.

Check out some more difficult routes after the jump

Mar

29

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There’s a pretty good chance your hookup will start (and end) here

We’ve explained frat rush. We’ve explained srat rush. Now, we’re explaining another painfully confusing and time-consuming process that forms part of the backbone of Columbia student life: the hookup culture. This post is a satirical explanation of that culture, as understood by a second-semester sophomore who is on the asexual spectrum, just got out of a serious long-distance relationship, and has yet to hook up with anyone at Columbia.

Barney Stinson once said that a relationship is like a freeway; once you get on, there are designated exits at carefully predetermined periodic intervals. This analogy seems a little simplistic and a little arbitrary for the real world – which means that it’s perfect for Columbia. Here, I present the seven exits of the Columbia hookup highway.

1. One night: You meet someone at a party, or match with them on Tinder, or have a moment of intensely romantic eye contact across Ferris during peak dinner hour (the first two options are much more likely). You engage in some kind of sexual intercourse (definitions depend on the person). You extricate yourself immediately afterwards and grab some halal, then casually start walking faster whenever you see them on campus. About 65% of potential couples – the vast majority – only survive this long.

2. Three days: After the party/Tinder/Ferris pasta experience, you stay the night and exchange phone numbers. You go out for coffee a couple of days later, then you or they decide that’s enough of a relationship for at least the next month. You never text each other again, then purposefully sit on opposite sides of the room when you unavoidably end up in a seminar together senior year. About 12% of potential couples survive this long.

But some relationships don’t end there…

Mar

10

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Midterms are over. Papers are done. You’re either getting as far from campus as possible, hankering down in your dorm room for an extended nap, or already wildly drunk. Whatever you’re doing this spring break, you need to get a ton of sleep – and we’ve created this handy quiz to help you figure out how much. This is our last post of the week, so catch some z’s, Columbia, and we’ll see you next Monday.

Mar

9

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Exercise is actually a means of procrastination?

Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets is not nearly as good at managing her life as she is at managing Bwog, but most of her casual acquaintances, classmates, and daily editors don’t know it. She shares some crucial tips for maintaining a veneer of respectability when, in truth, your life is collapsing faster than a biochem major’s ego after the return of an orgo midterm.

1. Make your bed every morning. This is one of the simplest ways to make yourself appear more on top of your schedule than you are, even if only your roommate sees the evidence. They’ll think, wow, what a motivated person, actually pulling the covers up. Plus, jumping on top of your bed to tuck in all the edges is a nice way to get your energy going.

2. Dress well. Or at least, dress in clothes that match. Or at least, don’t wear the same shirt two days in a row. (You could probably alternate between free Columbia shirts.) Nobody will be able to tell that you’ve been wearing the same pair of socks for half a week because you haven’t had time to do your laundry.

3. Get to class precisely thirty seconds before it starts. Your classmates will think you calculated the precise amount of time it takes to walk from Plimpton to Altschul. They’ll have no idea that you actually left ten minutes later than you planned, sprinted down 120th Street, and jaywalked three times.

Read on for Betsy’s other tips.

Mar

3

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Yeah, this is the whole library

In the last installment of our library review series, Bwog reviews Journalism Library, the smallest library on campus. This library might be considered a “hidden gem”, or it might be considered too small to bother with – you decide.

Location: Pulitzer Hall, first floor. Go inside the Student Center and turn left.

Hours: 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm on Fridays, closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Contact: (212) 854-0390; journalism@library.columbia.eduhttp://library.columbia.edu/locations/journalism.html.

Seats: Five total; four at a circular study table, and one a computer desk.

What amenities does this smallest library ever have?

Mar

2

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It’s taking more than seven meetings to get a printer in here…

Sidney Perkins, SEAS ’17, is the Engineering Student Council Vice President of Policy (or, as he puts it, the “leader of the policy juggernaut of ESC”). He’s been prominently featured in our ESC coverage recently because of a resolution he tried (and failed) to pass in order to put Legos in an engineering student center, as well as other resolutions related to mental health on campus. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets sat down with him to talk about these resolutions, his view of ESC, and the role of student government in general.

Bwog: How did you get involved with student government at Columbia?

Sidney Perkins: My sophomore year, I ran for class council, because I wanted to help plan events for my classmates, help get them in touch with prospective employers, and then my junior year I did that again because I really enjoyed it. And towards the end of last year, having spent a lot of time on the policy committee as a committee member, I felt a pretty big calling to work on the executive board in that capacity.

Read on for Sidney’s philosophy on student government.

Mar

1

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‘Where can I get a machine gun to shoot Putin?’

Yesterday evening, Russian graphic artist Victoria Lomasko spoke at the Harriman Institute about her new book, Other Russias, an anthology of her work documenting protesters and disenfranchised, “invisible” social groups in Moscow. Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets was the youngest, the most inspired, and the most likely to take advantage of the fancy cheese person in attendance.

I go to IAB pretty frequently – by which I mean, I use its elevator to take a shortcut from EC back to Plimpton at least once a weekend. Last night became a nice change in this routine, as I took the elevator up rather than down; I ascended to the Harriman Institute on the twelfth floor, where a small reception room awaited the presentation of one Victoria Lomasko. That elevator ride would soon prove to be symbolic ascension as well as literal, as I heard Lomasko describe her work and became inspired to join her legacy.

Lomasko is a Russian graphic artist, and/or journalist, and/or activist. Her work draws on a traditional Russian style of graphic reporting, yet focuses on parts of Russian society that would never have been considered appropriate subject material in any older regime: protests, sex workers, children in juvenile detention centers, and other people occupying unconventional societies. Yesterday’s talk focused on her new book, Other Russias, and advertised a solo show of her work downtown, opening this Saturday. She spoke with the help of a translator, but easily commanded her audience – the majority of which appeared to be fluent in both Russian and English.

Other Russias has two major sections: “invisible,” which includes portraits Lomasko did before 2012, and “angry,” which includes sketches of the 2012 rallies in Moscow protesting Vladimir Putin’s reelection. Lomasko explained her motivation for beginning to go into the city and seek out interesting people to draw as one of widening her worldview. People from her circle did not know how people of other circles lived, she said. To this end, she sketched in public places, then began to write down what she heard people saying as well.

More about Russias after the jump

Feb

15

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A horn almost as majestic as the real thing (from the concert’s selfie station)

When Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets was picking a band instrument in fourth grade, she asked her mom if she could play the French horn, and her mom said no, it was too expensive. Now, after hearing the French horn quartet Genghis Barbie perform at the Miller Theater last night, she is deeply regretting not pushing her mom to let her pick that instrument anyway.

At a rehearsal of the CU Wind Ensemble last Monday, my friend Brent told our saxophone section that, at a particular point in the piece he had composed, they needed to express their love of saxophone in the way that they played the melody. It seemed like a ridiculous direction to me, as I laughed about it with my stand partner. But near the beginning of Genghis Barbie’s concert at the Miller Theater last night, I suddenly understood exactly what Brent was talking about.

Genghis Barbie describes itself as “the leading post post-feminist feminist all-female horn experience.” It is a group of four classically trained French horn players who play pretty much anything that can be arranged for four French horns – which is a more versatile collection of music than you might expect. The group consists of Rachel Drehmann (a.k.a. Attila the Horn), Danielle Kuhlmann (a.k.a. Velvet Barbie), Leelanee Sterrett (a.k.a. Cosmic Barbie), and Alana Vegter (a.k.a. Freedom Barbie). Not only do they excel at their instruments, they love their instruments  – and they demonstrate that love through their performance.

Last night, the group performed at the Miller Theater in the theater’s series of free pop-up concerts. Unlike most concerts, however, this one was dedicated to its theme: prom night. The theater had elaborate, romantic decorations of pink and red, all of the ushers and attendants wore “prom queen” sashes, and there was a selfie station with tiaras, flowers, and cardboard French horns for audience members to pose with. The event also boasted a free open bar. The theater was packed, with people sitting on the stage as well as in the theater itself; this event was more popular than the average Miller pop-up concert.

Did they play any Beyonce though?

Feb

11

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nobody saw me dance here, hopefully

Imagine this: you’re back at your old middle school. You’ve gone to an evening event in support of some younger sibling or cousin, and you have to get up halfway through to go to the bathroom. The bathroom closest to the auditorium is locked, so you wander through the hallways in search of one that the custodians might have neglected to close during their rounds.

The hallways are dark and empty. As you tread from one bank of lockers to the next, motion-activated lights flick on above you, illuminating student artwork and trophy displays in eerie fluorescence. The soft thuds of your footsteps are the only noise you can hear. You think back to your own time at this school – to racing through the halls with your friends, yelling across a cacophony of LL Bean backpacks and plastic folders – and it becomes impossible to reconcile that nostalgia-painted scene with this strangely lonely trip to the bathroom. You start to wonder if you’re not looking for the bathroom after all but for some feeling that has long evaded you – happiness, perhaps, or love.

Find out what a liminal space is

Feb

1

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No worms were harmed in the meeting of this club.

When two friends of Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets told her they were starting a book club at Barnard, she was amazed – there are college students who somehow want to do even more reading? The concept seemed fairly fantastical. Betsy went to the group’s first meeting last night to find out how they plan to operate, and to remind herself that reading doesn’t always have to be a source of stress.

LeFrak 117 has held bad memories for me ever since my first-year seminar last year, during which a gray-haired history professor droned on about twentieth-century Europe while his students tried to ignore his poorly-concealed distaste for their entire generation. But last night, the room seemed entirely transformed – rather than a boring professor, disengaged students, and unread texts, I found kind smiles, engaging conversation, and several varieties of tea and cookies.

A sign on the board proclaimed that this was the interest meeting for Barnard Bookworms, the college’s first ever book club. The meeting’s stated start time was 8 pm, but its organizers, Kira Mitchel, BC ’19 and Shruti Varadarajan, BC ’19, waited a few minutes for latecomers (and snack consumption) before getting started.

The meeting’s first piece of official business was to find out all of the attendees’ favorite books. This question was quickly amended to be either a favorite book or a book you read recently, because several people immediately complained that choosing just one favorite was impossible. Answers ranged from The Martian to Howl’s Moving Castle, and I found myself writing down several titles so that I would remember to look them up later.

Wait, STEM majors read novels?

Jan

24

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Getting ready to argue...

Getting ready to argue…

Yesterday, Bwog Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets attended a talk that focused on Trump’s energy and environmental plans for the next four years. Featuring environmental advisors to President George W. Bush, it seems that the United States’ environmental policy won’t be heavily affected by the change-of-hands between presidencies. The question remains: how can things not change if the leader of the free world doesn’t believe in climate change?

When I walked into the Pulitzer Hall World Room yesterday afternoon, I was pretty excited – and not just because the room is gorgeous. The panel I was about to attend promised to shed light on the ramifications of Trump’s presidency on America’s energy and environmental policy (that was, in fact, pretty much the title of the event). Its three panelists were all former senior energy and environment advisors to President George W. Bush, and, as the room filled, I realized that most of its audience was comprised of graduate students and people who dealt with energy and environmental policy in their careers. Still, I did not feel entirely out of my depth – as a biology major and, more broadly, human who cares about the future of the planet on which I live, I care a great deal about environmental policy. I hoped that this panel would alleviate at least some of my uncertainty about the next four years.

The panel began with a brief opening by Jason Bordoff, the director of SIPA’s Center on Global Energy Policy. He introduced the three panelists: Jeff Kupfer, former Acting Deputy Secretary of Energy; Jim Connaughton, former Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality; and Bob McNally, former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Energy, National Security Council. Bordoff also reminded the audience that the event was being livestreamed online. (The full video is now available on the Center on Global Energy Policy website.) Each panelist then talked for a few minutes about his perspective on the effect of the new presidential administration on energy and environmental policy.

“It’s really dangerous now to try to… say what’s going to happen, because it’s anyone’s guess,” Jeff Kupfer began. He explained that, although Trump made many promises during his campaign, he left many policy-makers wondering about what exactly the details of those promises would entail. But Kupfer also reassured the audience that he believes a great deal of policy in the White House will remain the same as it was in the past, due to the slow nature of the bureaucratic political machine.

“It’s always easier for something not to happen in the government than for something to happen,” Kupfer said.

More politics after the jump

Jan

23

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How do we know that this bagel is, in fact, a bagel?

How do we know that this bagel is, in fact, a bagel?

Have you ever thought about the metaphysical implications of believing New York City bagels are the best bagels on earth? Managing Editor Betsy Ladyzhets has, and her findings are more concerning than they are comforting.

A couple of weeks ago, I got into a discussion on Twitter about New York City bagels. One of my friends from home, whose writing I had been editing, had posted a couple of screenshots of our conversation on her Google Doc, in which she aggravated me by suggesting that the main characters in her story all ate their bagels dry. Her tweet was captioned, “i love knowing exactly how to torment a new yorker.” One of our mutual friends (this one a former New Yorker now living elsewhere in the US) replied in solidarity with me… and, long story short, I ended up agreeing to mail her half a dozen bagels from my favorite bagel place. I purchased the bagels yesterday and am sending them off this afternoon. To say my far-off friend is excited about this development would be like saying the staff at Absolute Bagel are only nice.

Dive into the metaphysical…

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