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Oct

13

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An example of a Coke Freestyle machine, clearly the superlative way to obtain beverages of the better brand.

Social Media Editor Zack Abrams recently realized the inherent tension between Columbia meal halls, which have Coca-Cola products, and Barnard meal halls, which have Pepsi Products. That’s wack, right? 

This isn’t going to be a very long post, I’ve just been recently thinking about how it’s weird that Columbia and Barnard, these terrific twins who flank Broadway, these premier institutions of Manhattan, each represent a different side of that everlasting soda war.

No matter whether you think Coke products are generally better or if you’re wrong, I think we can all agree that Barnard students will never feel welcome at Columbia, and vice versa, unless we can all drink the same drinks in solidarity. If that means Columbia has to give up those shiny Freestyle machines of the future in favor of the outdated, dirty fountains that Barnard enjoys, so be it. It’s worth the price to pay to bring these two communities together.

Diana pizza. JJ’s fries. Hewitt pasta. (Allegedly it’s good, I wouldn’t know, I don’t eat at Hewitt) Each campus has so much to offer in the food arena. But it would help if it didn’t feel like crossing no-man’s-land every time I filled up my Diana cup with that godawful chemical concoction masquerading itself as “Cherry Pepsi.” It’s worth it for the pizza, but, c’mon.

Barnard students: lay down your fountains, join the future. Or, like, you don’t have to casually worship a capitalist behemoth you can just ask the dining halls nicely to change to Coke products. Can we have a referendum on that? I’m down for a referendum.

Coca-Cola Curves via Flickr

 

Oct

10

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Does UPS ship to wormholes? Do I have to pay extra?

One common trend is writing a letter to your future self to be opened at a later date, serving as a time capsule of thoughts and expressions. Social Media Editor Zack Abrams thinks that’s a garbage idea; instead, he wrote a letter to the one person he knows has his ish together; his tenth grade, straight-A self. 

Dear Tenth-Grade Self,

You’ve gotta tell me how to do it. Last week I had one day where I was busy from 10am to 6pm with only an hour for lunch. I had three whole classes, a volunteer mentorship meeting lasting two hours, and only an hour for lunch. By the end of the day I was drained, hungry, cranky, and I just wanted to lie in my bed and sleep for a week. That’s when I realized; seven hours of classes and work isn’t extraordinary. You do it every single day.

HOW? How do you go to high school every day without imploding? I was exhausted after one busy day; you do the same routine Monday through Friday, week after week, with no hope on the horizon. You don’t even know if you’ll get into college yet (good news on that front) or what you want to do with your life (sorry, still no help here). You’re an insecure mess, and yet somehow you’re thriving. Thriving!

I know you’re in my mind somewhere. I figured you’d be able to help me unlock my previous capabilities. Was there a pill I used to take that magically gave me time-management skills and that I’ve forgotten about? Or has the election of [REDACTED] really affected my day-to-day life to such a degree? Am I just getting old? It’s only been a few years, though that can be a long time. Just look at Obama. (Sigh. Obama. Treasure him while you can.)

I know you probably expect that a message from the future would come with Powerball numbers or a dire warning about the state of affairs, but I’m worried about messing with the timeline because that would mean an end to me. I just need your help, tenth-grade self. You’re my only hope. That, or buying a calendar. I’m gonna buy a calendar too, just to cover my bases.

My (our?) regards,

Your College Sophomore Self.

Post-Atmospheric Postal Service via Flickr

 

Sep

27

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Elsie Fisher and Emily Robinson (right) in Eighth Grade.

Social Media Editor Zack Abrams recently sat down for a conversation with Emily Robinson, CC ’21, who recently starred in the A24 film Eighth Grade. Her current film out is Private Life. Read on to find out what it’s like working with literal middle schoolers and whether or not Bo Burnham ever helped her grab something from a high shelf. 

Name/Year/Hometown/Major?

Emily Robinson, Sophomore in CC, Hopefully Creative Writing, and New York City

Why creative writing?

I love stories, I’ve always loved reading, and I just wanted to take college as a chance to allow myself to explore different forms of writing.

How did you get into acting?

When I was younger we had a neighbor who was a model and she had two kids and she was taking their pictures at her modeling agency and said “Oh, Emily should do this too!” and I was like “Sure!” so I started modeling and then realized acting was a thing, so I told my parents I wanted to try it and they said “Sure, fine.”

I was eight when I started acting and I started doing commercial work and some theatre and then slowly became more serious and it was only when I worked on Transparent that I realized that I wanted to do it forever.

Read on to find out why Emily had to bite 45 hot dogs

Sep

15

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The Kingsmen serve monotonous “doo-wahs” and not much else on their uninspired Spotify debút. At least the blazers are out of sight. 

The Kingsmen want you to know that they’re good guys. In fact, they desperately need you to know that. Their performances and song choices, from 50’s doo-wop to modern pop, all scream one line, in a sandpapered-smooth voice: “LOVE ME.” They want you to know they’re not like the other guys; sure, Notes and Keys were invited to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s house, but have you seen the new baby blue blazers?

And there’s not much to hate in this concise, twenty-six minute project. With five studio tracks and four recorded live, it’s not so long that you might overdose on saccharine sentiments and dulcet de leche tones. However, it’s also far too long; not since Ed Sheeran has a group said so little in so much time. Beige paint. A gray, overcast sky. A plain Ritz cracker. Wouldn’t It Be Nice.

The album opens with “Sh-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream),” a serenade from a lonely middle-schooler to his dance partner, a mop. Or maybe it’s a human woman. The same emotional depth is displayed in both cases. The Kingsmen croon “Life could be a dream/If I could take you up in paradise up above/If you would tell me I’m the only one that you love” with zero self-awareness. Just love me, and everything will be alright. Never mind your hopes, dreams, or individual agency. Hey, can I borrow your juul?

What other songs are on the album?

Sep

15

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Manafort flipped.

Happening in the world: Amidst inner turmoil, Britain and the European Union are reportedly ‘closing in’ on a Brexit deal over two years after the initial referendum. (Reuters)

Happening in the US: Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman who was recently found guilty of several financial crimes, has agreed to coöperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into election misconduct by the Trump campaign. (Vox)

Happening in NYC: After legislation was passed by the City Council on Wednesday, gender non-conforming people born in NYC will have the option to change the gender marker on their birth certificate to ‘X,’ and change it without a doctor’s note. (ABC7NY)

Happening on campus: Check out some free music at Barnard’s Welcome Concert, featuring the “distinguished concert organist” Jan Michalko. Tonight, James Chapel, 8 pm.

Bop of the day: 

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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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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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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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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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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.”

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