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img May 11, 20182:12 amimg 2 Comments

“I’ve only known these people for two semesters, but…”

In the past two semesters as Managing Editor and EIC, Betsy Ladyzhets has learned one very important thing: she would die for any and all of the Bwog first years. Here’s why.

Zack: Zack’s superlative for this semester was “human Bwoglines,” which is incredibly accurate because, like Bwoglines, he is filled of knowledge that I never knew I wanted but, once I have acquired it, suddenly cannot live without. A detailed description of why Black Panther probably won’t get too many Oscars? A bot that randomizes and imitates Bwog’s twitter? A desktop app that will tell me exactly how many people are in each Columbia library at any given time? Yes, these things all came from one human brain. All this and more.

Jenny: I have honestly lost count of the number of times Jenny has Stepped Up(TM) this year, especially this past semester. She’ll tackle multiple investigative pieces at once, offer to fill in dailying in a heartbeat, write up a breaking news post when nobody else is free… tl;dr she is the wind beneath my wings. Also, I’m still not over that one time she met Steve Buscemi.

Thomas: Thomas is a quiet, comforting presence at weekly meetings. Whenever the discussions get too high-energy, I look to the back and find him, perched on a blue armchair, listening intently. I see that this Bwog meeting is only a spec of dust in the vast universe of life, and if we get distracted for a moment, well, we get distracted for a moment. I return.

more love after the jump



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img April 26, 20183:03 pmimg 0 Comments

Betsy’s two new best friends

Yesterday morning, around 11 am, our fearless EIC sat down in Butler to begin work on a presentation which was supposed to be the culmination of several weeks of data collection and analysis, as well as a semester’s worth of self-led computer science tutorials. Naturally, she was set to give the presentation at about 10:30 am today. The following ensued.

11:15 am: Even though I’ve been up for a few hours already (thanks, Wind Ensemble obligations), I just sat down in Butler. Since I don’t study in this library much, when I do go here, I tend to guide my actions with the adage What Would Finn Klauber Do – which usually leads me to either the eighth floor or the sixth floor reading rooms. Right now, it’s the latter. The room isn’t too crowded, the natural light from the windows is nice, and I am… already procrastinating. I have 22 hours and 45 minutes until my 10 am class tomorrow, when this presentation is due. Let’s get down to business.

11:25 am: Actually, scratch that, I need to go to the bathroom again.

11:28 am: I was going to write something making fun of the girl sitting next to me who has three (3) “Friends” stickers on her laptop, but then I remembered that I spent a half hour of my morning reading an article on “the top 100 pairings on AO3, ranked” earlier, so I really have no leg to stand on here.

12:01 pm: Have installed approximately 15 R studio packages. Not entirely sure what all of them do or if anyone will be useful for my project, but uh… I have them?

1:20 pm: Figured out how to do one (1) successful thing. Still feeling very proud of myself. Going to take a lunch break.

2:50 pm: Lunch break turned into an impromptu covering a protest break. I love Columbia.

The lack of productivity doesn’t stop there…



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img April 18, 20185:39 pmimg 6 Comments

Soon all those campaigning posters will be cleared away…

At 5 pm today, the results of Barnard’s Student Government Association’s 2018 elections were released in an email to Barnard students, as well as on MyBarnard. The election concluded with a record 49.9% voter turnout.

These results also included the verdict of the referendum on whether or not SGA should write a letter to the Barnard trustees encouraging Barnard’s divestment from eight companies that are associated with or support Israel. The referendum passed with 741 votes (64.3% of the students who voted). SGA’s Executive Board will draft this letter over the course of the next week, and the full council will vote on it during the council’s final meeting on Monday, April 30. A full statement about these referendum results can be found after the jump.

The incoming officers of the 2018-2019 Barnard College Student Government Association Representative Council are:

  • SGA President: Nicola Kirkpatrick
  • Vice President for Policy: Mia Lindheimer
  • Vice President for Campus Life: Hannah Stanhill
  • Vice President for Communications: Kim Samala
  • Vice President for Finance: Rachel Nordlicht
  • Jr. Representative to the Board of Trustees: Jessica Cruz
  • Representative for Inclusion and Equity: Tirzah Anderson
  • Representative for Campus Affairs: Chelsea Sinclair
  • Representative for Information and Technology: Yasmine Kaya
  • Representative for Arts and Culture: Phanesia Pharel
  • Representative for Health Services: Ava Adler
  • Representative for Food and Dining Services: Yeliz Sezgin
  • Representative for Seven Sisters Relations: Idris O’Neill
  • Representative for Sustainable Initiatives: Caroline Cutlip
  • Representative for Academic Affairs: Solace Mensah-Narh
  • Sr. Class President: Rhea Nagpal
  • Sr. Class VP: Hannah Yoo
  • Jr. Class President: Gabi Garcia
  • Jr. Class VP: Celine Zhu
  • Soph. Class President: Tina Gao
  • Soph. Class VP: Norah Hassan

Statement from SGA on the referendum results after the jump



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img April 17, 20184:18 pmimg 1 Comments

This article is brought to you by Excel’s pivot tables

While we were thoroughly covering every shout and tear of Columbia in-person housing selection, Barnard students were learning to use a new, entirely online selection system run through the StarRez portal. This system caused an uproar among rising seniors and faced a barrage of questions when it was announced in February, but how did it actually play out for Barnard students? EIC Betsy Ladyzhets took an in-depth look at the new system, backed up by the newly available data.

On February 10, 2018, the Barnard Residential Life & Housing office sent out an email to the Barnard student body announcing a new housing lottery system. Rather than an individually-based, in-person selection process, Barnard upperclassmen would pick their housing for the next year based on conglomerate group numbers in an entirely online system.

This new system immediately became a cause for concern, particularly among rising seniors who felt as though they had been cheated out of their chance to secure Barnard’s best suites. But how much did this new system actually affect students’ choices of rooms? What can be learned from this year’s selection process to improve future rounds of housing selection? In order to answer these questions, I spoke to Mia Lindheimer, BC ’19, the current SGA Representative for Campus Affairs (and a former Bwogger!), who has worked closely in liaising between students and Matt Kingston, Barnard’s Associate Director for Housing Operations, throughout the new process, and also examined the data available from Res Life on where each group in the Barnard lottery picked.

So, what changed?



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img April 14, 20183:23 pmimg 0 Comments

Mod, Josh Singer, and Liz Hannah (larger than life)

At a special edition of the Columbia Journalism School’s Film Fridays series, The Post was screened last night in Pulitzer, followed by a conversation with the film’s two screenwriters. EIC Betsy Ladyzhets (who found some of the film’s moments of miscommunication between WaPo’s EIC and publisher hitting a little too close to home) attended, and was appropriately inspired.

Last night, the Columbia Journalism School hosted a free film screening of The Post, followed by a conversation with the film’s screenwriters, Liz Hannah and Josh Signer. The Post, Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film, tells the story of the editors and publisher at The Washington Post who published articles about the Pentagon Papers (a highly classified document detailing the United States’ involvement in Vietnam) in 1971.  The screening was part of the J School’s Film Fridays series; this series, sponsored by the duPont awards, usually highlights exceptional documentary film making, but they made an exception in this case for a film that is a bit more fictionalized. This film features both “brave journalism” and “incredible storytelling,” one of the event’s organizers explained, and would prove inspirational to young and old journalists alike.

After some incredibly greasy pizza and a few technical difficulties, the audience settled in to watch the movie. The lecture hall was packed, mostly with J School students but also with professors, older journalists, and other members of the public – and everyone was enraptured for the full length of the film. The Post is perfectly crafted for inspiration, of course. Meryl Streep (as Katherine Graham), Tom Hanks (as Ben Bradlee), and all the other actors are masters at building powerful, emotional characters, and they are reinforced by gorgeous shots of a newspaper at work, a score by John Williams, and lines that send a direct message about the current political climate.

But what did the screenwriters talk about?



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img April 09, 20184:31 pmimg 3 Comments

Roar, lions, roar!

Last night, while students crammed into Butler to start the homework they pretended didn’t exist this past Saturday and one Bwogger strutted around in shorts because, and we quote, “summer starts after Bacchanal,” a few student council candidates had more political goals on their minds. Voting opened for Columbia College Student Council, Engineering Student Council, and other CC and SEAS student council positions at about 11:30 pm yesterday. A few hours before that, several of the running candidates spoke to the Bwog editorial team in order to present their platforms and answer our questions. During those meetings, we were particularly impressed by the CU Roar party: Jordan Singer, CC ‘19, for CCSC president; Elise Morgan Fuller, CC ‘19, for VP Policy; Adam Resheff, CC ‘19, for VP Finance; Sim Mander, CC ‘20, for VP Campus Life; and Isabella Lajara, CC ‘20, for VP Communications. We endorse this party for CCSC because we are confident in these candidates’ ideas for improving key areas of student life and fostering a more active campus community.

Much of CU Roar’s platform focuses on collaboration between different departments or groups, a facet often missing from the Columbia bureaucracy. Jordan Singer spoke about internal coordination between institutional resources such as CPS and ODS and with student groups active in mental health dialogues. She also explained plans to increase mentorship opportunities for students through surveys and more deliberate matching of students with faculty mentors, who would be able to help them navigate specific departments within Columbia and opportunities in their fields.

What else did Bwog like about their platform?



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img April 02, 20188:47 pmimg 0 Comments

A very nice floor plan for a not-so-known dorm!

During housing selection coverage this afternoon, Bwog staffers manning The Couch discovered a dorm about which we had not previously been aware: the brownstone at 627 W. 115th Street. We have not yet been able to gather information from actual current residents of this mysterious dorm, but we still quickly compiled this quasi-housing review in order to inform rising seniors and juniors who have yet to pick about the full breadth of their options.

Location: 627 W. 115th St., as the title suggests. This brownstone has yet to earn a colloquial name.

  • Nearby dorms: Woodbridge, Schapiro, the 600s, River
  • Stores and restaurants: 115th Street halal cart, Morton Williams, Starbucks, Sweetgreen, Pret A Manger, Shake Shack


 627 W 115th St. was formerly the house of Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT), but became an official Columbia property after the frat lost it due to violations in spring 2013. The brownstone was renovated that summer, and became a dorm for primarily transfer students the following fall. A couple of select suites were available during housing selection last year (2017), similar to the situation for Carlton Arms, but the options open to students in regular selection are far greater this year. (It’s still under 10 suites, but for a dorm that has only 15 suites total, that’s a lot.)

Cost: The standard $9,538/year.


  • Bathrooms: Private – one per apartment.
  • AC/Heating: Yes to heating, no to AC.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Each apartment has a small kitchen with a refrigerator, sink, and stove.
  • Laundry: Available in the basement.
  • Fire Escapes: None.
  • Gym: None in the building, but Dodge is pretty close.
  • Bike Storage: None.
  • Intra-transportation: No elevator – only stairs.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: No carpet.
  • Roof: Your own roof!!
  • Note: Unlike most Columbia dorms (but like most upperclass Barnard dorms), the kitchens and bathrooms in this brownstone are not cleaned every week by housing staff; residents are on their own.

Room variety:

  • This brownstone, similar to Symposium (548 W 113th St), consists of spacious studio singles, doubles, and triples. And when we say spacious, we do mean spaciousthe doubles range from 186 to 456 square feet, and the triple (on the first floor) is a whopping 923 square feet. Just check out these floor plans!
  • As of the writing of this post (after one day of housing selection), 3 studio doubles and 5 3-person apartments (one single and one double) are available during 2018 in-person housing selection.


  • One double (2A) and the triple (1A) have been taken so far, based on Bwog’s records from today; both went to groups with numbers above 30/2200.
  • Last year, 627 was not available in the housing lottery to the extent that it is this year, so it is not listed on Res Life’s cutoff history page. However, Bwog records from last year indicate that suite 5A went to 30/2575, suite 3C went to 28.33/2049, and suite 1B went to 20/945.
  • Tl;dr: there’s no real way to predict who will take the suites available this year, but we believe rising seniors who haven’t yet picked, mixed groups, and rising juniors with good numbers all have decent shots.

Bwog recommendation:

If you didn’t get that Watt two-bedroom apartment you coveted, are upset about how quickly the Woodbridge high-demand suites went, or really are any two- or three-person group picking tomorrow, you should seriously consider 627 W 115th. Sure, there’s no elevator and the lack of AC will be uncomfortable for a few weeks, but the rooms in this dorm are so big and so nice, a Res Life worker we spoke to said it really has no compare among Columbia housing options. 627 would give you a great location, recently renovated apartments, and hardly any neighbors. Plus, how often do you get the option to live in a real New York brownstone (with your own roof!) for only $9,538 a year?

If you currently live in this brownstone or know anyone who does, please drop us a line via, in the comments, on our social media, or literally in person in the John Jay lounge tomorrow. We would love to update this post with photos and resident opinions if at all possible.

You know you want to live here via Our Lord and Savior Columbia Housing



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img March 23, 20181:30 pmimg 1 Comments

The Barnard Store, former home of the elusive Barnard Dad Hat

A few weeks ago, the Athena Film Festival team gave director J. J. Abrams one of the famous Barnard Dad Hats, which have been out of the school’s store for over a year despite enduring popularity with students. This event inspired EIC (and Barnard Dad?) Betsy Ladyzhets to look into the source of the hat’s disappearance, and wax poetic on what they have meant to students.

Even if you think you’ve never seen one, you probably have: adorning a hapless father figure on move-in day, hung backwards on a bedpost in a Plimpton double, or accompanying a harried student grabbing lunch in the Diana Center. You’ve seen that rustic off-white fabric, that characteristic blue font, that proud brim. Even the CC first-years reading this will subconsciously recognize what I’m describing: the Barnard Dad Hat.

When I was a first-year two short years ago, these hats were everywhere. I could barely walk into Hewitt or scroll through my Instagram feed without catching sight of one, much like how I could barely do a lap around the Quad without hearing someone singing along to the Hamilton soundtrack. There was an air of pride about these hats, as though wearing one (especially backwards) signaled that you were truly embracing the Barnard spirit – not only wearing your school’s name with pride, but also offering to share it with those around you, as any good Dad should.

And yet now, I go weeks, or even months without catching sight of these elusive accessories. They have been out of stock in the store since spring 2016, and officially discontinued since the fall of that same year. The hats are now an endangered species, as the Barnard Dads who wear them grow older, graduate, or move on to newer, hotter baseball cap options.

But why were the hats discontinued, and how did J.J. Abrams get one?



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img March 20, 20181:43 pmimg 2 Comments

Where will we get our hangover bagels now?

At about 12 pm today, Nussbaum & Wu was closed due to NYC Department of Health violations. Prospective patrons were asked to leave, and the sign pictured at right was placed on the door.

But don’t fear: the closure is only for two or three days, as a Bwog reporter was told by Nussbaum staffers. Nuss has maintained an A health rating for some time, and is only closing temporarily today because 15 animal droppings were found in the basement. Staffers did not say which animal, but as Nuss’ previous sanitary violations include “evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas,” we’re guessing that mice are the culprits. (See the screenshot below for more information on Nuss’ health rating.)

Nussbaum & Wu has long been a favorite breakfast and lunch location for Columbia students, conveniently located at 113th Street and Broadway – just below the dorm that is colloquially named after the café. This closure comes after Absolute Bagel, another Upper West Side bagel favorite, was similarly temporarily shut down by the Department of Health in October.

We have reached out to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for confirmation and more details, and will update this post upon receiving a response.

See Nuss’ current record on the NYC DOH website after the jump



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img March 07, 201811:15 pmimg 19 Comments

Earlier this evening, Columbia University announced the removal of Dr. Thomas Jessell, a prominent professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, as reported by the New York Times. Dr. Jessell is a renowned neuroscientist; his accolades include the Canada Gairdner International Award in 2012, the Kavli Prize for Neuroscience in 2008, and membership in the Royal Society of London since 1996. He received his doctorate in neuroscience from Cambridge University, then began his career in academia at Harvard before becoming a professor at Columbia in 1985. His research has focused on sensory-motor nerve circuits.

An official statement from the University stated that Columbia “has ended the administrative positions of Dr. Thomas Jessell and will be winding down the Jessell lab,” following “an investigation that revealed serious violations of University policies and values governing the behavior of faculty members in an academic environment.” Columbia will, however, help to continue the projects of the lab and the careers of its 25 other members, including graduate and postdoctoral students. The University statement also reinforced Columbia’s commitment to “protecting the welfare of all members of the institution and the integrity of the academic mission.”

Official reports do not state the reasons for Dr. Jessell’s dismissal. However, Bwog received an anonymous tip earlier today suggesting that these reasons may relate to sexual misconduct. When asked to confirm or deny this information, a representative of Columbia’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs replied, “We have nothing further to say.”

Read Columbia’s full statement after the jump



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img February 25, 20185:04 pmimg 1 Comments

Betsy on Low the next time it’s warm out

At last week’s meeting, one Barnard Bwogger came to the pitch table with an honest question: how does one make guy friends at Columbia? EIC and fellow Barnard student Betsy Ladyzhets (who has made some very good guy friends at CU) is here to answer that question. Note: some pieces of this advice are more serious than others.

1. Join a student group with guys in it. This tactic is most successful if the group is a. related to something you’re passionate about and/or b. a group that has a significant time commitment, such as long field trips or frequent rehearsals. The first will help you make friends because other people in the group will have similar interests to you (always good grounds for friendship), and the second will help because spending a significant amount of time with someone always leads to bonding.

2. Hang out in Ferris a lot. Don’t just eat in Ferris. Study in Ferris. Nap in Ferris. Live in Ferris. Camp out at one table for an entire Saturday, and wait for guys to ask if they can sit with you when peak hours hit. When they do, strike up a conversation — by the end of the day, you’ll have befriended at least one.

3. Follow Columbia guys on Twitter. You can tell a lot about someone from their Twitter account, including whether or not they’re friend material. Because most Columbia students are proud enough of going here to include that information in their bios, it’s not too difficult to find a few potential friends with a quick search. Like a few tweets, DM a couple of vaguely Columbia-relevant memes, and soon you’ll be getting invites to their Carman parties.

More advice after the jump



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img February 11, 20186:54 pmimg 3 Comments

Definitely the best-dressed presidential candidate we’ve ever seen

On Thursday evening, the Russian community of Columbia came out in high numbers to listen to and challenge Ksenia Sobchak, one of the opposition candidates running against Vladimir Putin in the upcoming Russian election. Betsy Ladyzhets, EIC and interested party whenever someone challenges Putin, was there to take copious notes and write belated coverage.

When I stepped into the Kraft Center on Thursday, I momentarily thought I had stepped into Moscow. I saw Russian newspapers, heard Russian voices, and sat in front of Russian TV cameras. Although the event, a conversation with Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, was sponsored by the Harriman Institute and NYU’s Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia for the ostensible purpose of increasing conversation about Russian policy issues in the U.S., it felt more like a campaign stop for Ms. Sobchak. She spoke in English and referenced American issues, but the most powerful moments of her talk were her addresses to Russian members of the audience, and her responses to their questions.

Ms. Sobchak is, in her own words, an “unusual candidate.” She first entered the public eye in Russia by hosting a reality TV show, Dom-2, then went on to host several more reality shows and act in a few movies before creating her own show, Sobchak Live, on which she challenges the dominant political opinion spread by the Kremlin’s intense media control. She is also a successful businesswoman, with her own fashion lines, and has been called “Russia’s It Girl.”  She has never run for office before this current presidential campaign.

Many Russians are skeptical of Ms. Sobchak’s campaign, suggesting that she is only allowed to run as a distraction against Alexei Navalny, the leader of Russia’s Progress Party and one of President Putin’s biggest critics. Mr. Navalny has not been allowed to run in this year’s election. Ms. Sobchak, critics believe, is only in the race to increase voter turnout and maintain the illusion of democracy.

So what did she say at Columbia?



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img February 06, 20185:58 pmimg 16 Comments

Last week, it came to the attention of No Red Tape (NRT) that a member of the Student Governing Board leadership (SGB) is currently under investigation by the Student Conducts and Community Standards (SCCS) office for multiple allegations of sexual assault. These accusations include an alleged rape perpetrated against a general body member of NRT. SGB, as the umbrella organization responsible for managing Columbia student groups organized around religious, spiritual political, ideological, humanitarian, or activist concerns, is in charge of managing NRT’s funding, approving events, and controlling discipline, as well as other administrative responsibilities. Specifically, SGB requires all student groups in its domain to send representatives to the Town Hall meetings it holds at least once a semester, at the risk of cutting funding to the groups who do not attend.

Sources have confirmed that the accused individual was asked to leave his fraternity as a result of similar allegations, and has stepped down from other leadership positions on campus.

“For obvious reasons, we at No Red Tape are profoundly uncomfortable with this individual having any power or say in No Red Tape actions, funding, discipline, etc.,” a member of NRT wrote in an email to the group’s faculty advisor. Besides the responsibility that NRT’s leadership feels towards its members, this student explained, it constitutes a “wild conflict of interest” for an anti-sexual violence activist group to be required to attend meetings with an individual undergoing investigation for gender-based misconduct. They, therefore, asked that NRT be excused from Town Hall meetings at which this individual would be in attendance. The NRT member further requested that SGB student leadership, or the Columbia advisor in charge of SGB, “ask this individual to recuse himself from any and all decision-making related to No Red Tape, if there ever comes a time when SGB has to vote on a No Red Tape-related matter.”

This morning, the NRT member who wrote this email met with NRT’s and SGB’s faculty advisors to discuss the student’s concerns. At this meeting, it was agreed that the alleged perpetrator would be “quietly” removed from financial decisions involving NRT. However, it is less certain whether NRT can be exempt from Town Hall meetings. SGB’s advisor can make this request on the behalf of NRT, but if the advisor tells the reason for the request to the student chair of SGB who would actually make this decision, the NRT member involved in SCCS’s investigation could be charged with retaliation.

SCCS’s Gender-based Misconduct Policy and Procedures for Students document states that, during a disciplinary investigation, both the “complainant” (alleged survivor) and “respondent” (alleged perpetrator) have the right to “privacy to the extent possible consistent with applicable law and University Policy.”  A member of NRT calling attention to the existence of the investigation and information about the respondent violates this confidentiality policy, which is crucial to ensuring a successful investigation and a fair trial for both the complainant and the respondent. Such violation could warrant a retaliation charge, which would hinder the ongoing investigation and potentially result in disciplinary action for the complainant. As such, neither NRT’s leadership nor either advisor can call for the alleged perpetrator to be removed from his SGB position or otherwise rescind his responsibilities related to managing NRT without the possibility of disciplinary action.

“The University has an obligation to warn the campus community about potential ongoing safety threats,” Bwog’s source wrote. “I argue this falls under that category. Leadership positions over other students are a privilege, not a right, and if you’re under investigation for multiple rape allegations, I think you (at least temporarily) forfeit that privilege.”

Bwog has reached out to both SCCS and SGB for comment and has been notified that SGB will send us a statement tonight or tomorrow morning. We will update the story when we receive it.

Update 2/12/18, 4:45 pm: In a statement issued via its Facebook page, SGB has declined to comment on the article above, instead only restating relevant policies regarding members with conflicts of interest.

According to SGB, members with conflicts of interest “should” ideally “remove themselves” from voting processes; “the board” can also remove these members from discussion. In regards to the actual presence of the individual accused of sexual assault at meetings where NRT is also in attendance, the statement more broadly stated that there are “exceptions for town hall attendance as circumstances demand.”

This announcement came six days after the original article was published on Bwog. The full statement is available here.



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img January 30, 20188:11 pmimg 1 Comments

Tag yourself, we’re the ‘Yes, this is data’

Bwog Science was active yesterday – while new writer Riya covered a film about autism, EIC Betsy Ladyzhets went to a visiting Yale professor’s talk on quantum computing. She has little knowledge of both quantum physics and computing, but was still inspired by Prof. Steven Girvin’s self-described miraculous solution to the problem of quantum computing error.

Quantum physics (i.e. the physics of atoms and subatomic particles) is full of paradoxes. Perhaps the most famous of these is Schrödinger’s cat, a thought experiment devised by Erwin Schrödinger in response to the concept of quantum superpositions. According to this principle, a quantum system such as a photon can exist in multiple states of energy at the same time – until it is observed by the outside world, when it will collapse into one of the possible superimposed states.

Schrödinger demonstrated why he found this principle ridiculous by constructing a feline analogy: imagine a cat is placed in a sealed chamber, along with a measurement device containing a small amount of a radioactive substance and a relay system linking this device to a vial of poisonous acid. An atom of this radioactive substance might decay, which would cause the relay system to shatter the vial, poisoning the cat. But with equal probability, the atom might not decay, in which case the vial would remain intact and the cat would remain alive. However, because the whole thing is inside a sealed container, nobody could know if the cat is dead or alive until they opened the box. In this analogy, the cat is a photon, technically existing in both dead and living states (0 and 1 states) until someone checks on it.

Steven Girvin a professor and vice provost at Yale who studies the quantum mechanics of large collections of atoms, started his talk on quantum computing yesterday by calling attention to paradoxes like that of Schrödinger’s cat. “Is quantum information carried by waves or by particles?” he asked. The audience (of, I gathered, almost entirely physics students), chucked as he announced the answer: “Yes.” Quantum mechanics has come a long way since Schrödinger metaphorically killed (and didn’t kill) a cat, but it hasn’t gotten any less difficult to wrap one’s head around.

What does any of this have to do with computers?



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img January 26, 20189:14 amimg 0 Comments

Overseen in LeFrak

Happening in the World: In Russia, Vladimir Putin is basically running for president against himself, and seems poised for reelection on March 15. The Kremlin is struggling to make the campaign interesting, however; current organizations attempting to “generate buzz” include “I Really Like Putin!”, “For Putin!”, and “Putin Team.” (NYT)

Happening in the US: An Amtrak engineer in Washington state made a fatal mistake yesterday when he failed to sufficiently slow down before going around a curve. The train derailed at a bridge in DuPont, killing three people and injuring 62. (USA Today)

Happening in NYC: In October, 2017, Taylor Swift purchased a townhouse in Tribeca for $18 million. Now, Douglas Elliman, the brokerage firm that facilitated the sale, is suing her for skipping out on its $1 million commission. (Curbed NY)

Happening on Campus: The Black Theater Ensemble is holding auditions tonight and tomorrow night for its spring one act festival! This semester’s theme is “Black to the Future” (or, Afro-futurism). Find more information in their Facebook event.

Overseen: See right. We are all either entirely chill or not chill at all.

Plant of the day: Welwitschia mirabilis is a unique plant that is endemic to (i.e. is only native to) the Namib Desert. It consists of only two leaves, a stem base, and roots, yet can grow to over five feet tall and live up to 2,000 years, and draws all of its water from the desert’s fog. Two samples of this incredible plant currently live in the Barnard Greenhouse!

Photo via Bwog Staff

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