Author Archive

May

9

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Did I mention Blankenship was prosecuted for a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men?

Bwogline: In a loss that reassured both Democrats and Republicans that we haven’t gone totally insane as a country, populist and “Trumpier Than Trump” Senate candidate Don Blankenship lost the Republican primary in West Virginia.

Ok, I’m supposed to end the Bwogline there, but you have to see this. In the final days of the campaign, Blankenship turned his fire on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, claiming that Mitch’s father-in-law smuggled 90 pounds of cocaine into the country, even calling him
“Cocaine Mitch.” In response to his defeat, the McConnell team posted this on Twitter yesterday, a reference to the show Narcos. 2018 has gone too far, and it’s only May. (NYT/Twitter)

Study Tip: The Pomodoro Method is a good way to stay motivated if you have a large gap of time to fill with studying: work for 25 minutes and then take a break for 5, and every 4 breaks take a half hour. Only check your phone or Twitter during those 5 minutes: it helps to stay focused on the task at hand.

Music: “Somebody get the tacos, somebody spark the blunt / Let’s start the Narcos off at episode one”

Procrastination Tip: Pick a random Wikipedia page and see how fast you can get to “Philosophy” by only clicking hyperlinks. It’s usually possible, given enough jumps.

Overheard: “It’s not about ice cream, it’s not about sunset. It’s about the people.”

hottie via Wikipedia Commons

May

6

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“I am a God” – both.

It’s been an eventful few weeks ever since Kanye returned to Twitter. Can you distinguish his outlandish statements from classic Columbia Fuckboy quotes? Play and find out!

Apr

14

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You see, the thing about the John Jay elevator is…

You may have heard of the recent trend of hiring conservative commentators for the Op-Ed Board of several different publications. Since there’s been literally no pushback over this idea, we at Bwog have decided to give it a try and hire a writer from the finest publication on campus, the Columbia Daily Spectator. Deputy Editor Zack Abrams explains further.

Keivn Williamson at The Atlantic. Quinn Norton at the New York Times. While they may not be the best examples of conservative writers as they were both fired shortly after hiring, we at Bwog are very committed to intellectual diversity. At least we thought we were, until we realized we needed to find some intellectuals (we’re pretty set on diversity.)

Therefore, the Editors of Bwog who definitely edit all the posts you see before publication have decided to hire a writer from the Columbia Daily Spectator in order to better present a more refined, sophisticated counterpoint to our usual nonsense.

For example, many of our more conservative readers were clamoring for a response to my very own slice of coastal chair-elitism, All The Chairs Are Wrong, which they called “basically Chair-Marxism.” In response to In Defense Of The Civil Rights Of Laboratory Yeast Cells, one reader commented that the yeast “ought to pull themselves up by their mitochondria” if they want to “earn their place in society.”

We’re very excited about the slate of Spectator columns that will be featured on the site in the coming days, including “Fuck Spec and the Divisive Nature of College Publication Discourse” and “Discourse and Debate: Does Anyone Actually Read Bwoglines?” and even “Discourse Discourse Discourse. Discourse or Datcourse?”

We hope you’re excited for the big changes coming to Bwog, and remember to keep an eye on our Twitter account in a few hours when the Internet unveils some racist tweets that Spectator twote back in the day and forces us to rescind our offer.

Apr

10

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img April 10, 20185:35 pmimg 1 Comments

It’s coming! (Hopefully)

Every Tuesday, Bwog brings you a recap of the previous night’s Engineering Student Council (ESC) meeting. This week brought updates to everyone’s favorite defunct Bwog sister website, WikiCU, as well as a vote on carbon neutrality and an exciting new cross-Ivy initiative. Luckily, SEAS-adjacent Deputy Editor Zack Abrams stepped in to cover it.

Carbon Neutrality Resolution

After a short friendly amendment period to clarify a few phrases, ESC passed a resolution encouraging Columbia to commit to 100% carbon neutrality by the year 2030, noting Columbia’s previous commitments to divest from thermal coal and its strong earth science research. The resolution passed by a large margin, with no votes against and only two abstentions. Jokes about the writing ability of SEAS students were made.

Inter-Ivy International Student Council

One idea proposed to the Council was an Ivy League International Student Council which would better tackle issues that international students face at the eight Ivy League institutions. While not specifically related to Engineering, board members were encouraged to reach out to contacts at Dartmouth and UPenn who may be interested in representing the international students of their school. No word on whether this would be done through in-person meetings or meme battles, though.

Alumni Association Dinner

The last Alumni Association Dinner of this year will take place at fancy UWS restaurant Café Luxembourg on April 26th. The Alumna has been involved in blockchain and cryptocurrency, which will be the theme of the dinner, though one excited ESC member said “I would go just for the restaurant.”

From the President

ESC interim president Ben Barton (’18) discussed some ongoing issues, including a problem in the mailroom that led to certain students not getting notifications for packages. He also floated an idea to implement package delivery service directly to dorms on campus for qualifying students with disabilities. Finally, Barton mentioned that CUIT is updating the UI for course evaluations and hopefully including a progress bar, though ESC may send out a survey in order to gain more of an idea of how the UI can be improved from the students themselves.

Student Life

Richa Gode (’19), interim VP Student Life, talked about upcoming events including the activities fair for Days on Campus this Friday from 12:30-3:30pm. Gode also mentioned the possibility of late night activities for days on campus: a mini version of “escape the room” is one possibility. Finally, Gode mentioned setting up a meeting with the Food Bank next week to organize a food drive before finals, when food insecurity can affect many students.

Finance (including WikiCU updates)

Ria Garg (’20), interim VP Finance, mentioned needing to decide internal spending for next year along with transitioning control of the finance website to someone new before the person in control of it now graduates.

As far as WikiCU, everyone on ESC is on board with managing WikiCU and transitions are set up; now there are 4 admin accounts for each of the student councils. However, due to security issues (including captchas that don’t display text or stop the user from advancing) the site is not ready for business just yet. However, ESC will publicize the generation of new accounts when they’re ready. Right now, the only way to create an account is to score an invite.

Potpourri

The 2020 apparel is on its way after a short delay.

The recent mental health town hall produced great student input, as the students felt they could speak their mind without administrators present. Most students feel that the Jed committee is too opaque and have felt discouraged after being turned away from joining steering committees. A meeting has been set up with Scott Wright for April 17th to debrief these matters of the mental health coalition.

KCLEA awards were given out.

 

That’s it for ESC coverage this week, see you next Monday!

Apr

5

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The Glorious Lounge

Got a quiver in your liver? Read all about River Hall, a housing hall that I had no idea existed until I was assigned this story a few days ago.

Location: 628 West 114th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive.

Nearby dorms: Shapiro, Broadway, Hogan, St. A’s, those Barnard 116 dorms.

Stores and restaurants: Best halal cart, Starbucks, Morton Williams, Sweetgreen, University Stationary.

Cost: Standardized to $9,292/year
Amenities:

  • Bathrooms: Four shared, gender inclusive, private bathrooms per floor.
  • AC/Heat: No AC; you’ll remain toasty year round.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Two shared lounge-kitchens on every floor (one per suite), complete with seating, television, refrigerator, oven, microwave, and dishwasher (see photos). Perfect place to relax after a long night of studying/partying.
  • Laundry: Located in the basement with four washers/dryers, all free.
  • Computers/Printers: A computer lab is located in the basement with one shared printer.
  • Gym: Fitness room with treadmill, elliptical, and other various athletic equipment located in the basement.
  • Intra-transportation: One elevator and one stairwell for six floors, though the basement is only accessible by elevator.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Hardwood.
  • Facilities: Residents are responsible to maintain kitchens and room/suite trash. Bathrooms are cleaned weekly be facilities, and recycling is removed on a weekly basis as well.
  • Bonus: Music practice room in the basement. Also a short walk away from Riverside!

Read about the room variety and see pics after the jump!

Mar

28

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Ann Coulter last night called President Trump an “Ignoramus” and considered primarying him in favor of someone more supportive of the “MAGA agenda.”

Deputy Editor Zack Abrams was present last night at CUCR’s latest speaker event, a debate between conservative pundit Ann Coulter and political blogger Mickey Kaus, moderated by TV showrunner Rob Long. 

The Columbia University College Republicans had promised an exciting debate between Ann Coulter and blogger Mickey Kaus. What we got, however, was two friends debating not whether immigration is a net good in America, but how much to restrict it. Those who were hoping that Coulter’s conservative views would be challenged by a representative of the typical American liberal will be disappointed to hear that Kaus mostly espoused conservative views towards immigration, though he supported some liberal policies like Medicare-for-all.

Coulter’s policy toward immigration is twofold: firstly, a moratorium towards any legal or illegal immigration for “a few years” in order for recent immigrates to more clearly assimilate to American life; she supports building a wall on the southern border in order to achieve this goal. Secondly, she supports merit-based immigration so that the new immigrants will be “better than us” and wants to deport illegal immigrants currently within the United States while cracking down on businesses who employ them.

What else did she talk about?

Mar

22

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Damn you, entomologist George Hudson!

Deputy Editor Zack Abrams is a big fan of sunlight and thus not a big fan of Daylight Saving Time. Read his thoughts below. 

Winters are tough. Seasonal depression is at its height as it can heavily weight on your psyche having only a few hours of daylight where you’re not in class or in the library or sleeping through the morning. That’s why I was astonished to ascend from the bowels of Pupin Hall earlier this week after my LitHum class and see the sun… at 6 pm!

I had been accustomed to exiting my final class of the day in pure darkness. This felt like it was shortening my entire night; after dinner, it felt like bedtime, not free time with which I could get work done or relax. I’m not a morning person, so the shortened days felt even shorter considering that most of the daylight hours took place while I was still sleeping.

In a bizarre Act 3 plot twist that no one saw coming, Marco Rubio recently proposed legislation to make Daylight Saving time permanent, ending this ridiculous program that makes millennials sad and everybody else annoyed at having to fix their clocks two times a year. Rubio’s face turn from going to CNN to be yelled at while sheepishly supporting gun rights to national hero willing to make the hard choices in order to better America sets a precedent that we should all follow.

So get out there, take a photoshoot, bask in the sunny weather that will inevitably follow these ridiculous snowstorms, and appreciate the sun! Because before you know it, we have to fall back to the dark ages.

Mar

6

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img March 06, 20185:00 pmimg 4 Comments

1878 called and it wants its goddamned wooden death trap back.

It was once said that all great designers, whether they design skyscrapers or artwork, challenge themselves to design the perfect chair: beautiful when seen, yet invisible when in use. I’m pretty sure I heard that on a podcast at some point. In any case, Columbia clearly didn’t recruit any “great designers” when considering which chairs they should use to populate the campus. Save a select few, all the chairs are wrong.

Take John Jay dining hall. The chairs are uncomfortable to sit in and take up so much room, from their thick handles to their round-seated design. This makes it tough to navigate around the dining hall; the spaces between chairs are so small you either have to squeeze between them, possibly spilling your food and invading the personal space of others, or take a lap around the entire dining hall, searching for an inch of space you can use to your advantage. Their thick design makes them durable, but bulky. It’s safe to say the chairs are wrong.

The study desks in Pupin have the opposite problem; they’re made out of a low-grade plastic, with a tiny piece of laminated wood to use as a desk. Besides blowing away in the wind, the biggest problem these chairs have is the unappealing tilt of the desks which, when combined with the smoothness of the “wood”, makes it unsafe to put anything on them lest it slide off seconds later. Their lightweight composition also causes the desk to swivel easily; more than once I’ve rested my elbow on the side of the desk, only to have it flap up and crash back down in the middle of someone saying something about Dante and capitalism or whatever. The poor quality makes these chair-desks unsubstantial and unusable. These chairs are definitely wrong.

The Butler chairs, as seen in the image above, combine the worst of both worlds: uncomfortable design and lightweight materials.  After a long day pretending to be productive, my back always aches from the un-ergonomic backrest composed of wooden rods. More than once I’ve been tempted to smash the chair over my knee, which would probably take as much strength as pulling a tissue out of a tissue box. While the chairs may be right given the context (all students in Butler give off the appearance of quality with no structure underneath), they are unequivocally wrong.

Unless you’re pulling off an Inception-style dream-dive, you don’t need to occasionally experience the stomach-churning feeling of freefall, sorry not sorry.

Don’t even get me started on these Library Tycoon wannabees. What possible justification could you have for wanting chairs that tilt back a little bit, other than wanting to scare students half to death? My current theory is that in order to increase membership rates into the Bloomingdale Insane Asylum, they stashed these chairs in cafés nearby to induce people into insanity. Then they gathered the chairs back up when they opened Columbia. No one has ever actually had the thought “Hm, you know what I’d love right now? If my stomach went from a solid to a plasma” while studying. Also, the softness of the cushions juxtaposes badly with the hardness of the wood. These chairs are wrong.

Do you have a least favorite chair? Yell at the person next to you about it or maybe put it in the comments.

Mar

1

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img March 01, 20182:10 pmimg 4 Comments

This Bwog article is *not* brought to you by Stamps.com.

Deputy Editor Zack Abrams always has voices inside his head but he’s pretty sure he’s not crazy; he’s just a podcast addict! Here are his recommendations for a good podcast to listen to when working out, commuting on the subway, or generally trying to avoid other people. Sources say if you like enough of his Tweets, he’ll give you a personalized suggestion. 

Anything ending in the word “Studies” : S-Town

Created by the producers of Serial and This American Life (which you should listen to no matter your major), this podcast tells the story of a “Shit Town,” and the intriguing man who gave it that title. It’s one of the best narratives I’ve ever listened to, and I was hooked instantly. Listen to the first episode below.

Economics: Planet Money

From NPR, Planet Money discusses how the economy actually works in our lives by telling compelling stories. They’re short, sweet, and with 800+ episodes to catch up on, you’ll never run out of new content. Listen below to an intriguing episode on capitalism in North Korea.

Plenty more recommendations after the jump!

Feb

24

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img February 24, 20186:20 pmimg 1 Comments

Students are planning a nationwide school walkout on April 20th to protest gun violence, agitating some administrators.

In a statement released by the official Columbia Admissions Twitter account today, Admissions clarified that students facing disciplinary action for peaceful protests will not be “at a disadvantage in the Columbia admissions process.” This statement comes in the wake of many schools promising the same, including MIT, Brown, Yale, and several others.

The Needville Independent School District, located outside of Houston, Texas, has promised that any and all students who participate in a school walkout protest, such as several being planned to protest gun violence, would be suspended for three days. Other districts have also made similar threats to the chagrin of gun control and First Amendment activists. These walkout protests are being planned after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left seventeen dead on February 14th.

Columbia has joined a growing list of schools that have promised that students who are suspended or otherwise disciplined for peaceful protests will not be judged by admissions, whether they have already been accepted to the school (the biggest protest is planned for April 20th) or if they wish to apply in the future. In a letter to students, Stu Schmill, Dean of Admissions at MIT, said they made the choice to “articulate the importance of responsible citizenship.” Many schools also released statements following the publication of that letter via Twitter.

Columbia Admissions clarified that the decision only applies to Columbia College and SEAS. At the time of publication, Barnard Admissions has yet to make a statement.

Update, 2/26/18, 5 pm: Barnard Admissions has now made a similar statement, stating that Barnard will “support the First Amendment rights of all students to engage in peaceful protest.”

Feb

17

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The Dastardly Dabber himself.

Paul Ryan recently tweeted (‘n’ deleted) about a whopping $1.50-a-week raise for a high school secretary as a result of the tax bill. In anticipation of the money raining from the sky, I decided to treat myself to a $1.50 shopping spree around MoHi. Here’s how it went.

With a light heart and a heavy wallet, I set out from the Columbia gates with my mind on my $1.50 and my $1.50 on my mind. However, my stomach was empty, so I decided to head to Community for some gourmet food. Except, I took a look at the menu. Forget food, the $1.50 wasn’t even enough for some fresh juice. I would need to wait three weeks to afford a single glass of orange juice, without tip. Ah well, brunch is for people on TV anyway.

Every restaurant I checked was way too expensive for my budget, so I walked south until I hit Panda Express. The average meal would take me ten weeks to save up for, about the same as Chipotle, so that idea died quick. Even Koronet’s and Famiglia were a no-go; I couldn’t even get garlic knots with my $1.50.

At this point, I was feeling really drained, but then I remembered that Walgreens is expecting $200 million dollars in savings from the Republican tax bill this year!  Though they haven’t announced any plans to share the savings with its employees, I knew that the wealth would eventually trickle down, so I laid down in the fifth aisle and waited for the sweet, sweet crumbs dribbling from the corners of executives mouths as they feast.

Six hours later, I checked my wallet and I still had the same $1.50. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll get around to trickling down soon anyway. My last stop of the day was Ivy League stationers. After using my student discount and spending a few hours finding loose coins on the sidewalk, I was able to walk away with a shiny new pen. It’s not a ballpoint, but it’s still… functional. It’ll work perfectly when I go to the polls in November.

Feb

9

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img February 09, 20181:30 amimg 3 Comments

PrezBo?

He would probably stop eating Deantini. He also would fit in his Audi.

PrezBo via Bwog Archives

Jan

31

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img January 31, 20182:51 pmimg 5 Comments

PrezBo never knew what hit him.

Deputy Editor and frequent FiveThirtyEight reader Zack Abrams has created a site so HTML-heavy that he had to throw the whole Bwog away and host it somewhere else. Go here for the full experience or scroll down for an overview of the site. Note: use Google Chrome to see the preview, but the site itself works on any browser.

Last week, I went through 100 posts on everyone’s favorite meme group, Columbia Buy/Sell Memes, and collected data on the original poster, time, topic, reactions, and a few other categories. Using that data, all of it from December or this January, I threw together some graphs and pretty much learned HTML and JavaScript, all for the sake of the memes. Fun bonus fact: though Rafael Ortiz posted 11 times out of the 100, he only got the third highest reactions-per-meme among repeat posters. If you liked that fact, you’ll love the whole site. Check it out here or scroll down for an embedded preview.


Jan

31

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The face you make when you hear about the Bruno sweep.

Happening in the World: Cape Town is about to run out of water. ‘Zero-day,’ the day the taps turn off, is April 16th after drought and overuse have drained the city of its water supply, and citizens have little hope of a way out.  (NPR)

Happening in the US: Trump gave his State of the Union address and managed to stay on script the entire time, prompting the usual descriptors of “presidential” and “finally making a change.” (NYT)

Happening in NYC: Mayor De Blasio was prevented from attending the Grammy’s due to “ethics rules,” probably because he would’ve had a duty to report the robbery of awards from Lorde and SZA. (New York Post)

Happening on Campus: Columbia, in an email sent out to the student body today, declined to bargain with Columbia graduate student unions, prompting a strong reaction from the unions, which are planning a protest this Thursday.

Bop of the Day: 

Jan

22

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Pianist Simone Dinnerstein returned to the Miller Theatre for a performance of works by Franz Schubert and Philip Glass

Deputy Editor and live music aficionado Zack Abrams attended the Miller Theatre last Thursday for the show ‘Glass + Schubert,’ a solo recital by pianist Simone Dinnerstein who performed music by Franz Schubert and Philip Glass.

After an enjoyable experience at the Miller Theatre last semester, I was once again excited to see Simone Dinnerstein perform classical works by Philip Glass, this time accompanied by works by Franz Schubert as well. The single performer made for a less dynamic performance than last time, but there was still much to be appreciated in the nuance of the pieces, which meshed together far more interestingly than the works of Bach and Glass at the first show.

The stage was set to amplify the presence of the single grand piano; a row of fake candles lined the edge of the stage, flickering in their electronic regularity. Soon after I sat down, the lights dimmed and Dinnerstein entered wearing flowing red silk over a sequined dress. Her dramatic solitude, as there was no sheet music and therefore no need for a page-turner, enhanced the melancholy tone of many of the pieces.

Click here to hear about the music!

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