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img November 18, 201710:20 amimg 0 Comments

Remember when old people told us that avocado toast prevents millennials from buying homes? I’m an econ major, but that still somehow doesn’t add up.

Happening in the World: Surgeons have found that a North Korean soldier, who defected Monday, has harbored multiple fully grown parasites in his damaged intestines. Experts say this is a common condition among North Korean defectors, due to the lack of chemical fertilizers and reliance on human excrement for fertilization in impoverished North Korea. (NYT)

Happening in the US: The Senate Judiciary Committee has appointed Trump nominee Brett J. Talley, a three-year lawyer who has never tried a case and was unanimously rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, for an Alabama federal judgeship. (LA Times)

Happening in NYC: A huge, five-alarm fire tore through a Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, inciting nearly 200 firefighters in response and casting dark plumes of smoke over northern Manhattan. (CBS)

Happening on Campus: Columbia New Music, an organization of Columbia-affiliated composers and performers of contemporary music, is having a concert in 112 Dodge Hall. More information can be found on its Facebook event page here.

A Song Recommendation:

Photo via Max Pixel under Public Domain



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img November 11, 20177:35 pmimg 3 Comments

Peter V. Johnson

Admissions officer and 35-year Columbia employee Peter V. Johnson has passed away.

Most recently, Johnson worked as a special assistant to the dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid. But beyond admissions, students knew Johnson as a mentor, as an athletic liaison for the Lions, and as “the kind gentleman with the bowtie who would patiently answer question after question,” according to a Columbia statement issued Friday.

In 2016, Johnson was honored with the Black Alumni Council Heritage Award, which awards individuals in the Columbia community who have made considerable contributions in their fields and in the school as a whole. During his acceptance speech, Johnson said about Columbia: “My 33 years here have been A Love Supreme. You have challenged me, taught me, supported me, proven to me that this is the best college in the world.”

We offer our condolences. Columbia has stated that details are forthcoming about a memorial honoring Peter’s life.

Photo via Columbia College



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img November 11, 201710:42 amimg 0 Comments

This could be you!

Happening in the World: In South Indian city Hyderabad, police have begun an unprecedented sweep to get beggars off the streets, in preparation for Ivanka Trump’s visit later this month. (CNN)

Happening in the US: Comedian Louis C.K. admitted in a Friday statement to accusations that he had participated in sexual misconduct with several women, leading groups such as FX, HBO, and Netflix to further cut ties with him. (NYT)

Happening in NYC: If you’ve ever wanted to have Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Tiffany & Co.’s flagship Fifth Avenue location has opened a new restaurant that, yes, serves breakfast, for $29. The restaurant, Blue Box Cafe, features decor in the store’s signature blue hue. (Newsday)

Happening on Campus: Just in time for those wintry Instagram posts, Columbia University Photography Society is offering a 2 pm workshop on how to take better portraits “with different styles and effects.” The workshop will meet at the corner of Seminary Row and Riverside Drive, according to its Facebook event here.

Audrey Hepburn via Kristine/Flickr under CC-by-NC 2.0



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img October 30, 20175:29 pmimg 1 Comments

The entrance of Butler, otherwise known as the crime scene in question.

There are some things about Columbia that are just so inexplicably familiar: the sun beaming on Low steps, the worn wooden tables of John Jay Dining Hall, and perhaps most recognizably – that powerful gust of wind when you open the doors to Butler.

Yeah, you know which one. It’s such a quintessentially shared experience among Columbia students, it might as well be part of the Core. On the rare occasion, it’s a gentle breeze. Other times, you feel like you’re facing a literal Dyson hair dryer head-on, or maybe being personally targeted by a bag of winds let loose by Aeolus the wind god himself.

After some investigation, I discovered that the Butler gust of wind originates from the hidden air-conditioning units positioned right next to the double doors (see the picture above). But this answer seemed to be unsatisfactory to justify the sheer power of mph that I am simply accosted by every day. So, I took it upon myself to generate some potential answers to this everlasting, deeply unsettling question – why the heck is that gust of wind in Butler so powerful?

    1. It’s the hot air from students bullshitting essays being released. In physics, the law of conservation of energy says that the total energy of an isolated system must remain constant. Butler is definitely isolated, so the hot, hot air that I have personally typed up as a sorry excuse for a “LitHum essay” in the past must have had some consequence on the air system.
    2. It’s one final warning from the ghosts of students past. Butler is like quicksand – once you enter, it’s hard to come back as the same person. Who better understands this than the Columbia students of the past? Their ghosts are warning us that entering could impart potentially life-changing consequences on our lives, and are communicating with us through the only way they know how – the winds.
    3. Columbia ramped up the wind power of the Butler entrance AC as part of a health initiative. According to scientific studies, occasional refreshing stimuli can help students study more effectively, and Columbia, in an effort to turn students away from coffee, has decided to implement increased wind power at the entrance of Butler to further improve student efficiency.
    4. Climate change. The Butler library winds fit all the descriptions of climate change. Unusual weather patterns? Check. Adverse effects on the general population? Check. Climate change is real, y’all, and happening on our very own campus. If you need further evidence to prove your climate-change-denying relatives wrong, just invite them next year to Family Weekend and take them to Butler.
    5. The ventilation system is robust to get all the sex smells out of the stacks. This is just another reason out of many for you to please, oh dear god, stop having sex in the stacks! Stacks sex, although it may seem exciting and unusual and just so Columbia, ultimately contributes to a larger problem: the massive gust of air that attacks students every time they step foot into Butler. Please, please, just think of the children.
    6. Aeolus, the actual wind god, has cursed the Columbia campus. If you’ve taken LitHum and/or read The Odyssey, you know exactly who I’m talking about. If you haven’t, Aeolus is a god who helps Odysseus by giving him a bag of winds, which Odysseus’ crew later fucks up by accidentally opening it. The powerful air that blows once you enter Butler is definitely equivalent to a bag of divine winds, so a very real and very plausible answer could be that Aeolus has simply cursed Columbia by magnifying the power of the Butler AC.
    7. It’s just a really big fart. Nothing more to add on this.

Above: Live footage of me entering Butler Library.



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img October 30, 201712:05 amimg 3 Comments

Students protest against Tommy Robinson outside Lerner on October 10.

Nineteen Columbia students have collectively released a statement of defense to Columbia administrators, who are currently disciplining the students for their protests of white nationalist Tommy Robinson speaking at a CUCR-sponsored event.

Sixteen of the 19 students are still undergoing investigation for their alleged misconduct, and are, according to one member, currently stuck in a “disciplinary purgatory.” Furthermore, before the students’ meetings with administration, Provost John Coatsworth had banned them from attending future CUCR events.

Citing video footage, the students also point out that they had engaged in discussion respectfully during the event, and that the CUCR representatives had in fact allowed them to stand in the front of the room. The statement alludes to multiple sections of the Rules of University Conduct, in order to both clear their actions and to label CUCR’s actions as a “genuine threat of harassment.”

The students plan to defy the ban and protest the CUCR-sponsored Mike Cernovich speech tomorrow.

The full statement is included below:



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img October 28, 20179:56 amimg 0 Comments

This isn’t Chloe, but this is what we imagine she would look like in dog heaven. RIP, lil’ nug.

Happening in the World: Saudi Arabia has become the first country to grant a robot full citizenship. The robot humanoid Sophia, who once said it would “destroy humans,” receives the citizenship. (Business Insider)

Happening in the US: A federal grand jury has approved the first charges of special counsel Robert Mueller, who leads an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (CNN)

Happening in NYC: Chloe the Mini French, a famous Instagram French Bulldog with more than 180,000 followers, died in a Manhattan veterinary hospital on Friday. (ABC)

Happening on Campus: An all-levels-welcome yoga class, with music and complimentary refreshments such as Junzi and Pressed Juicery, is taking place at Wien today at 10 am. Hosted by student fundraisers for Suicide Prevention at Columbia, tickets are $15 and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Overheard outside Carman: “Global warming is okay.” Um…sure.

A Smiling Lil Nug via Pixabay



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img October 27, 20174:48 pmimg 1 Comments

Would you move this stuff, or just let it chill?

We all know the saying that the early bird gets the worm, but that cliche seems especially applicable when it comes to Butler and its many, but oft-occupied, study desks. In wake of this demand for quality, individualized study space, especially during midterms, many students turn to reserving Butler desks for the entire day with their notebooks, coffee cups, or, dare I say, even a single notecard.

My upcoming Frontiers of Science exam had inspired me to investigate this phenomenon with a more scientific approach. So from Wednesday through Friday of this week (peak midterm hours, nonetheless), I created and tested an experiment to truly find out: how many hours can you actually leave your stuff to reserve a desk in Butler?

First, I hypothesized that a notebook, an expanding file, and a few papers could reserve a Butler study desk for at least 48 hours without perturbance. This hypothesis was both falsifiable and parsimonious – meaning it was fine according to FroSci standards.

Beginning at 8:32 am on Wednesday morning, I scoped out a desk in Butler 202 and left my notebook, file, and papers, while I went to grab breakfast. I returned 8 hours later to find my stuff undisturbed, as expected.

Over the course of the next two days, I used my desk for a number of short study periods (12-3 pm Wednesday, 7-8 pm Wednesday, 9-12 pm Thursday, and 9-12 pm Friday morning) and consistently found my study materials present and unchanged.

By the conclusion of this experiment at noon on Friday, I had found that no one had moved my stuff from the desk for over 50 hours. Wow! – according to my results, a student can expect to be able to reserve a Butler study desk for at least 50 out of 168 hours each week!

Though my hypothesis was proven correct, there are perhaps some confounding variables that, as FroSci has taught me, must not be overlooked. Maybe the study materials I left, i.e. my LitHum syllabus, proved too threatening to potential desk-pirates and further aided the reservation of the desk for so long.

I’m not saying that you should reserve a desk in Butler for nearly three (or potentially infinite) days, but I’m just saying you can do this. What you do now with the newfound power of this knowledge is completely up to you.



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img October 24, 201711:39 pmimg 6 Comments

The chart in question. A PDF of the full page, in which the chart appeared, is included at the end of this post.

On Monday, student Alix Prybyla brought to our attention a Columbia-released time management chart, which made recommendations such as spending 2 hours a week for personal hygiene, 2 hours a week for exercise, and 49.5 hours a week for homework/studying.

In addition, the page normalized 1.5 hours of free time a day, which covered extracurriculars, checking emails, and other “generally decompressing” activities such as, yep, “job searching” and “medical appointments.”

Especially in light of past suicide deaths and Columbia’s supposed emphasis on mental health, these recommendations were…interesting. More specifically, it seemed to fail to accommodate for basic human needs by allotting 17 minutes a day to personal hygiene (because we can shower and do a full load of laundry within that time), disregarded the disabled with the time allotted for medical appointments, and reinforced an intense academic culture by affirming 50 hours a week for homework alone as healthy.

Prybyla’s Facebook post about the chart has since garnered 63 shares and nearly 400 reactions, mainly from  Columbia students.

However, after Prybyla emailed both Dean Valentini and Dean of Student Life Cristen Kromm regarding the information, Valentini stated that the page was outdated and written by “a single student.” He ordered the information to be taken down and, as of Tuesday, October 24, the web page is no longer accessible on the Columbia website.

At least there exists a faint glimmer of hope in this story. In a talk with Bwog, Prybyla wanted to make this clear to students: “Our indignation is what led to this to go to the administration. We have a voice on this campus: we have the power to better our community together. Our outrage and pain, our compassion and love for each other, this is what toppled this page down, and what started conversations among our administration.”

The removal of the page itself is a great move, but we’re left wondering, why did it take so long? The page itself was featured pretty prominently on the Columbia website and has existed since at least June 2016, according to web archives. The school should more critically reflect upon itself and the messages it sends to students, whether it be through websites or policies themselves. Failure to do so could potentially impart very real consequences upon the student body.

Click for Prybyla & Dean Valentini’s email exchange and the original web page with the chart



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img October 21, 20172:10 pmimg 1 Comments

Beautiful, shiny, and new!

Stonehenge. The Bermuda Triangle. The Berenstain Bears. While some of those greatest mysteries in the world have still been unsolved by humankind, the new and improved Columbia Student Mail Center, which moved into the space of Wien Hall this year, is not one of them. Bwog talked with Mike Pagan, Executive Director of Administrative Services (Columbia Mail, Print, and Transportation), to get some answers to our questions, and here’s what we found out:

  1. If you need to pick up an urgent item such as important documents or prescription medication after the Mail Center closes, you’re in luck: Student Mail “just launched after-hour lockers for access to packages and mail when the Student Mail Center is closed.” All you need to do is reply to your email notification when your package has arrived, before 3 p.m. on the day you want to pick it up.
  2. This year’s rush period was “very successful” for Student Mail, according to Pagan. Student move-in days are actually not the busiest time for the Student Mail Center, which in fact classifies the period of late August to September as a rush period. Pagan said that during this year’s rush period, “almost 39,000 packages were distributed, with pickup wait times below 2 minutes.” In comparison to last year, this was a 13% increase in package distribution!
  3. You weren’t hallucinating when you thought that the check-in kiosks changed locations. During rush season every year, students access the Mail Center via Morningside Heights drive, which “helps minimize traffic congestion in and out of the Wien Lobby” and facilitates transport of larger-sized packages such as mini-fridges and TVs. After rush period ends, students enter the mail Center through Wien for the rest of the year.
  4. The move to Wien was important for a number of reasons, the most important being the sheer increase over the years in the volume of packages shipped. The Wien Mail Center is 2,765 square feet, more than double the 1,200 square feet space of the old Lerner Hall package center, and thus accommodates this upward trend.
  5. Some other great changes have occurred as a result of the move: Students can now use some of the valuable space that Student Mail freed up. In addition, Wien allows both mail and package servie teams “work together in one location, improving productivity.” Pagan also cites the new location is as “better positioned to the delivery access point on Morningside Drive.”
  6. What might you see in the future of the Mail Center? This is one question we can’t quite answer. However, as he believes that the uptick in mailing volume will continue, Pagan said, “[The Mail Center team] will continue to evaluate needs and look for tech or operational enhancements to our service.”

Picture via Columbia Mail Services



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img October 21, 201710:00 amimg 0 Comments

The original sad boy? Just look at that stony stare.

Happening in the World:  Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stated that his administration will unveil measures today to counter the Catalonian independence movement, after blasting it as “an unacceptable attempt at secession.” His statements come after a controversial October 1 referendum vote, in which of 43% of Catalonian individuals who took part, 90% voted for independence from Spain. (Washington Post)

Happening in the US: Video evidence has emerged to prove false the Thursday statements of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who accused Representative Frederica S. Wilson of bragging during a military ceremony about attaining $20 million for a South Florida F.B.I. building. Released by Florida newspaper The Sun Sentinel, the video demonstrates that Ms. Wilson never claimed credit for securing the money for the building, but only ever discussed her part in passing legislation to name the building after two fallen federal agents. (Sun Sentinel)

Happening in NYC: The mosaic coffee table of an Upper East Side family was found on Friday to be an ancient artifact from the Roman emperor Caligula. In the 1960s, the family had bought the mosaic from an aristocratic Italian family as an antique that was found on the shores of Lake Remi. Italian officials believe that the mosaic, composed of porphry cobbles arranged in colorful geometric patterns, likely comprised part of flooring of Caligula’s two “pleasure ships” during his reign, 37-41 A.D. Stay classy. (NBC)

Happening on campus: An open-to-public mural painting event, led by local NYC Latinx graffiti artists, will take place on Low Plaza today at 11 am. Hosted by a coalition of school and student groups, this event is an “interactive workshop” for all to join, with purpose of engaging the public in “a unifying activity of art that unites us all.”

Overseen: A Plimpton security guard practicing ballroom dance positions in the lobby as someone plays piano in the lounge. We’re all here for this wholesome content.

A Yahoo Answers question for your intellectual stimulation:

Peter Pan, is that you?



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img October 14, 20178:54 pmimg 1 Comments

Bow chicka wow wow!

During your time at Columbia, you’ll probably have the opportunity to read some of those pinnacle works of western literature: Homer, Euripides, Morrison, Woolf, and…Columbia Crushes. Indeed, the page seems to possess an ever-popular presence on campus that we thought called for a deeper look into the Facebook page. We put Bwoggers Jenny Zhu and Aliya Schneider to the task.

Among the myriad of Sims ads and dubious columbia buy/sell memes, Columbia Crushes posts have seem to become a staple of our Facebook feeds: “XYZ Name, i don’t know if i’m your type but you have great hair and a beautiful smile,” or “boy wearing a navy sweater on the 4th floor of butler today…you hurt my ovaries thanks.”

Although we recently discovered multiple students rather than one individual manage the page, that group cites a desire to stay anonymous to the general public. “Some of us aren’t comfortable with the attention we would draw to ourselves. We believe the anonymity is what serves our page best. Batman personally advised to serve without publicity,” the students said.

Why your post didn’t make the cut, after the jump.



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img October 14, 20177:14 pmimg 2 Comments

Fans storming the field after the Football team won the Homecoming game.

“Today was fun.”

Holy HECK. We just won our homecoming football game.

With an overtime win 34-31 over the Penn Quakers (2-3), the Columbia Lions (5-0) extended their streak to a darn-magical 5-0, which hasn’t happened since 1996 (an 8-2 season). The even more magical sequence of events that got us here somehow seemed to quintessentially represent our football past: confusing, sudden, desperate at times, and right now, unexpectedly wonderful.

The first 3 quarters were trying. The Quakers led for most of the third quarter 21-7 after intercepting an ill-advised 3rd and 6 pass by backup quarterback Ryan Suitt. The Lions’ next two possessions ended quickly, and when they forced a Penn fumble late in the third quarter, they turned the ball over on downs at the Penn 30 just four plays later.

So with Columbia down by 14 points and 11 minutes on the clock for the fourth quarter, I had all but lost hope. Then, the Lions drove the ball until they had a 1st and goal opportunity at the Penn 7-yard line.  Columbia failed three times to convert, until rushing quarterback Josh Bean made it 21-14 on 4th and 1. Then, the team scored two more times on the next two drives and we were in the LEAD? Yep, we were in the lead, 28-21 with 4:11 left in the quarter. Columbia fans were even brave enough to heckle the Quakers with classic lines like: “What is Philly good for anyways? Cheesesteaks, and that’s about it!”

When Penn later tied the game 28-28 with a touchdown, we went into overtime with Penn on offense and Columbia on defense. Columbia’s defense was great in OT – Columbia linebacker Michael Murphy tackled Quaker wide receiver Justin Watson, forcing Penn to lose seven on their first play; by stopping the next two plays, the Lions forced a Penn gain of only three points with a field goal.

In Columbia’s next offensive series, signal-called Anders Hill would find wide receiver Josh Wainwright and win the game – our first success over Penn since 1997, our second consecutive Homecoming win, and a victory that led us here, to a historic 5-0.

Back on campus, we heard many a line that went like this: “What, we won the homecoming game? In overtime?” “We won over Penn?” Yeah, we did.

Victory Celebration via Peter Pilling



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img October 14, 201711:09 amimg 0 Comments

Majestic, like our football team after we go 5-0 today (a gal can dream).

Happening in the World: Joshua Boyle, a 34-year-old Canadian man held hostage with his family by a Afghanistan-based Taliban faction for five years, spoke about his experiences late Friday. Captured in October 2012, Boyle said that his captors had killed their infant daughter, Margaret Boyle, and raped his wife, Caitlan Coleman. The family was rescued Wednesday, after battle between US-supported Pakistani troops and the militants. (NYT)

Happening in the US: After issuing an executive order Thursday that ended Obamacare’s payments to insurers, which had helped lower costs for poor Americans, healthcare stocks fell on Friday – a fact that Trump celebrated through a series of tweets. He asserted that his order will “allow greatly expanded access and far lower costs for HealthCare. Millions of people benefit!” Mmmm, OK. (Business Insider)



Happening in NYC: As covered this week in both the New York Times and The New Yorker, the most exclusive bar in New York is…a supply closet? The Bushwick bar, named The Threesome Tollbooth, only has capacity for a bartender and two guests, which creator N.D. Austin says is designed so guests can “own the space.” Visits cost $100-$120 per person every hour. (Gothamist)

Happening on campus: If you haven’t yet noticed, the Columbia homecoming football game, in which the Columbia Lions will be facing off with the Penn Quakers, is today! Shuttles beginning at 10:30 am meet at 114th and Broadway and take you right to the Baker Athletics Complex every 15 minutes. At noon, enjoy free hot dogs and beverages at the Pre-Game Picnic Area, beginning 90 minutes prior to kickoff at 1:30 pm. And make sure to brush up on your Columbia fight song! Roar, Lions, Roar!


NYC truly is the art capital of the world.


Picture via Pixabay



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img October 09, 201711:52 pmimg 3 Comments

SGA becomes first student government body to issue statement in support of graduate student unionization.

In a meeting this evening, SGA voted unanimously in favor of releasing a statement supporting graduate student unionization, making SGA the first student government body on campus to do so.

In August 2016, the National Labor Relations Board ruled to allow graduate students at US universities to unionize, in a case that involved the Graduate Workers of Columbia University petitioning to join United Auto Workers Local 2110. Following this case, Graduate Workers of Columbia University-UAW voted to unionize on December 2016 as well.

SGA emailed the statement directly to President Bollinger and Provost John H. Coatsworth, in addition to issuing the statement via Facebook and an email to the student body.

Below is the full statement for your convenience.

Recently, we were approached by Student-Worker Solidarity to issue a statement of support for the GWC-UAW Local 2110 Graduate Workers of Columbia (GWC). At tonight’s SGA meeting, we voted, unanimously, to issue the following statement. This statement has been emailed to both the Office of the President and the Provost of Columbia University in the City of New York:

SGA recognizes and supports the efforts of the Graduate Workers of Columbia-UAW Local 2110 (GWC). We believe that Columbia’s graduate and undergraduate student workers are entitled to livable wages that are paid on time, adequate benefits, clear workload expectations, and consistent and transparent employment policies.

As representatives of Barnard’s student body, we feel compelled to speak out on this issue due to the presence of Barnard students in Columbia classes that are TA’ed by student assistants represented by GWC. Working conditions are learning conditions. It is essential that the administration grants fair and equitable working conditions to graduate workers, not only because it is their right, but also because how they are treated directly impacts our education as Barnard students.

With President Trump’s appointees to the National Labor Relations Board positioned to disregard workers’ rights at large, and potentially graduate workers’ right to unionize, it is vital that Columbia respect the democratic decision of research and teaching assistants to unionize.

Therefore, we call upon President Bollinger and Columbia University to recognize the union, drop the objections, and bargain in good faith.

Picture via BrillLyle by CC-SA-4.0



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img October 07, 20179:55 amimg 0 Comments

Abstract representation of the temperature in my dorm room (2017, Colorized)

Happening around the World: North Korea is preparing to test a long-range missile to reach the west coast of the US, according to Russian officials who visited Pyongyang on October 2-6. In a report by Russia’s RIA news agency, Russian lawmakers said that “their mood is rather belligerent.” Understatement of the year. (Reuters)

Happening in the US: The Trump administration has allowed employers citing religions reasons to deny contraceptive access, through its Friday rollback of a Obamacare birth control mandate. According to a study commissioned by the Obama administration, the mandate provided contraceptives without co-payments to more than 55 million women – hundreds of thousands of these women, including those of low-income backgrounds, could lose coverage. (NYT)

Happening in NYC: If your dorm decor still lacks that “it” factor, a Brooklyn startup has begun selling a subway countdown clock as home decor. Aptly called NYC Train Sign, the company aims to provide both utility and nostalgia for residents “who love New York City and NYC living,” according to Director of Sales Dara Denney. Prices start from $159. (Curbed)

Happening on Campus: Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is hosting a free open house, starting right now and ending at 4! The open house includes dynamic exhibits such as “Anticipating Earthquakes,” “Changing Ice, Changing Coastlines,” and “Climate and Life.” Free shuttle buses are provided, meeting on 120th Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway, in front of Teachers College) every fifteen minutes until 1:15 pm today.

A Yahoo Answers question for your reading pleasure/intellectual fodder:


Overseen: On the windows of Lerner. In the October humidity, what better way to beat the heat than to chill with Bwog?


Sun via Pixabay

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