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An astronaut is coming to our school?

Bucket List represents the intellectual privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. We do our very best to bring to your attention important guest lecturers and special events on campus. Our recommendations for this sparsely populated reading week are below, with no specifically recommended events. If you notice any events that have been left off the list, or a correction, please leave them in the comments.


  • The Eighth Annual N.T. Wang Distinguished Lecture: Growing Pains in the Chinese Social Security System’, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Schapiro CEPSR, Tuesday
  • Student Townhall With The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Faculty House, Wednesday
  • “Can America and China Avoid a Collision?” George Ball Lecture with Kishore Mahbubani, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Faculty House, Wednesday
  • Engineering: Astronaut Appearance, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Butler Library, Thursday

Monday, Feb 19:

  • The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Buell Hall

Tuesday, Feb 20:

  • Whatever Happened to the Class Struggle? Comintern, France and Spain: the Front Populaire and the Frente Popular May-July 1936, 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM. International Affairs Building
  • The Eighth Annual N.T. Wang Distinguished Lecture: Growing Pains in the Chinese Social Security System’, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Schapiro CEPSR

Wednesday, Feb 21:

  • Talk: “Why Arctic Security Matters”, 12:15 PM – 2:00 PM, International Affairs Building
  • Student Townhall With The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Faculty House
  • “Can America and China Avoid a Collision?” George Ball Lecture with Kishore Mahbubani, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, Faculty House
  • Events in African Philosophy with Bruce Janz (University of Central Florida), 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Knox Hall
  • Brexit: A Leap in the Dark?, 6:30 PM – 7:45 PM, Low Library

Thursday, Feb 22:

  • Extreme Engineering: Astronaut Appearance, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM, Butler Library

Friday, Feb 23:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Implications for Governance & Public Policy, 2:00 PM – 4:00PM, International Affairs Building

image via pexels



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Dean Valentini in 2011 chewing a bite of a grilled chicken sandwich from Milano Market.

Why would a robot need to eat organic matter?

Do all emails from the Presidents and Deans sound the same to you? We’ve written before on some tendencies that we’ve noticed in emails coming from campus administrators. Practically the same email comes clogging up your inbox every week, and you can’t even reply-all asking to be taken off the listserv.

If they all sound so robotic, could we create an email of our own? Using Markov chain modelling, we generated an entirely computer-written email. For our input, we used fifteen emails from Dean James J. Valentini from the last year and a half. Then, we ran our programs, separated out the totally incomprehensibly chaff, and added a couple of punctuation marks.

What follows is… well, it’s English, mostly. The chain did have some issues, such as occasionally getting stuck in loops. Robot Valentini couldn’t keep track of admin titles, and so accidentally demoted Bollinger down to Vice President (Vice PrezBo, as the kids call him). The email also announces that the College will team up with the McBain Lounge to pilot a new program, the Columbia College Student Council! Check it out below for all the insanity.

Dear Students,

This summer, I spent time reflecting on the fifth floor of Lerner Hall, 100 Carman Hall, 600 W. 113th St, Room 2BB, and 102 Broadway Hall. I am devastated to be writing to let you know that we have many effective students at Columbia. I have developed new skills necessary to cope with the student health and wellness efforts. Staff from offices, including clinicians from Counseling and Psychological Services, is launching a new website and will schedule recurring trainings to remind you that you will one day tell stories about yourself and those around you.

Also, I encourage you to achieve the goals that Columbia College and Vice President Bollinger announced at the #StartupColumbia Festival in April. This is an opportunity to explore your world, to explore your world, to explore your world, and to explore additional areas of interest through elective coursework. More real and important updates after the jump!



Winter has come to John Jay

Something’s up with the plumbing in John Jay. Staff writer Danielle Mikaelian opened her Rolodex of anonymous sources and did some good old-fashioned investigative reporting.

John Jay showers are hot and they’re cold
They’re yes and they’re no
They’re in and they’re out
Their temps up and down
They’re wrong, it isn’t right
It’s cold, no end in sight
We fight, we break up
Still haven’t made up
Your temp won’t stay stable, no
I really don’t want to go in, oh

John Jay residents have been warring with the elements for weeks, in a fierce struggle not unlike those seen on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Instead of having hot water in dorm showers, freshmen living in the dorm have found themselves in theoretical hot water as they’re lacking the real thing. As stated by a source,

“So on floor 14 of John Jay especially (but other floors have agreed w this sentiment) all of the showers are either locked (meaning the temp. key can’t get farther than midway) or the hottest setting gets lukewarm. It’s cold in the buildings and having cold/lukewarm water makes it difficult to get over colds.”

Personally, I believe this devastating change results from a bad breakup. Sick of having clumps of hair left in their drains, the building’s showers chose to dump residents…into water colder than the hearts of Econ majors. It is unclear when this disservice to personal health will be remedied. Despite shutting off the building’s water two weeks ago, facilities has failed to persuade the showers to abandon their emotional issues.

Feel like your advice can warm the cold hearts of the John Jay showers? Call Hospitality at 212-854-2779 to save the building’s residents from freezing before midterms…because we all want that.

Read resident testimonials below



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are you a generation 2 up-type quark? cause you’re quite the charmer! ;)

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “Playing with Anger: Racial Literacy and Health Interventions for Black Boys and Men,” presented by Columbia’s Center for Justice
    • Thursday, February 22, 4-6pm, The Heyman Center for the Humanities, 2nd Floor Conference Room, RVSP at link
    • “Dr. Howard Stevenson, Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss “the challenges and ramifications of culturally relevant interventions for men of color… Understanding how the unique life experiences of Black boys and men can be integrated into the intervention protocols and measurement of randomized and quasi-experimental trials is the focus of this talk. Two mental health research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health examine the benefits of racial literacy.”
  • Student Townhall With The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change
    • Wednesday, February 21, 1-2pm, Faculty House, RSVP at link
    • “Like many nations around the world grappling with climate change and threats to the natural environment and public health, Canada is taking action to address these challenges, including ratification of the Paris Agreement and a pledge to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by thirty percent in 2030 from 2005 levels… Minister McKenna will offer brief remarks focused on Canada’s work in climate change, but most of the time will be devoted to answering students’ questions.”
  • Extreme Engineering – Astronaut Appearance: Peggy A. Whitson
    • Thursday, February 22, 6:30-8:30pm, Davis Auditorium, 412 CEPSR
    • Attend this talk, given by Dr. Peggy A. Whitson, a NASA astronaut! “Whitson completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the International Space Station, the second as the station commander for Expedition 16 in April 2008. This was Whitson’s second long-duration spaceflight. She has accumulated 377 days in space between the two missions, the most for any woman. Whitson has also performed a total of six career spacewalks, adding up to 39 hours and 46 minutes.”

Click here for Columbia Astronomy Outreach and a science-themed musical!



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In her natural habitat

Our final personal of the 2018 season: if you haven’t seen Gloriana at a football or basketball game, you’ve probably heard her. She cheers on those Lions even when they’re disappointing her to tears, and she’d cheer for you, too, if you went out with her! Email tips@bwog.com if you want us to set you up.

Name, Year, School, Major: Gloriana Lopez, Senior (2018), CC, Anthropology

Preference: girl for boy

Hometown: San José, Costa Rica

Your nightmare date in seven words or fewer: no food

What redeems you as a human being? enthusiasm through the roof

Library room of choice: libraries are a social construct

Beverage of choice: Iced tea or tequila

Which dating apps have you been active on? (be honest) Tinder (yikes)

Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night? a Columbia basketball game

Historical Hottie: Young Stalin 😍😍

Photo via Gloriana Lopez



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This is where all the hippest kids get their big breaks, right?

Bwog came into some money recently, so we paid an up-and-coming rapper to write us a banger of an open meeting announcement. Lil’ WordPress, with over 84 followers on Soundcloud, just might be the next big thing. The results of a well-spent $43.90 are below.

Lil’ WordPress, “Open Meeting”

Yo, people of Columbia, I’m here to say
If you’re looking for a chill way to end your Sunday
And you’re just getting out of that hangover fog—
Then come to tonight’s open meeting of Bwog

We got snacks galore—including green grapes
And reporting more notorious than Trump’s pee tapes;
If that sounds like a kinda good time to you then
Climb up the glass ramps to Lerner 510

We start the meeting at 9 o’clock
Just come right in, you don’t have to knock—
All we ask is that you just prepare
A pitch or maybe two that you’d like to share

Now you’ve heard enough of our side of things;
Let’s meet up tonight, we’ll see what it brings,
You’ll soon commit to Bwog because we ain’t no fling,
We don’t wanna cause a fight but we’re the publication king—

So up those damn ramps haul ass and jog
To a squad that’s more dependable than any dog
It shouldn’t be the sort of evening that you’d call a slog,
No, nothing but good vibes at the meeting of Bwog.

Soundcloud Logo via Wikimedia Commons.



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NYCHA Housing. Not pictured: gross negligence of the working-class population that is vital to this city’s existence.

Happening in the World: An explosion near the Israeli-Gaza border yesterday injured four Israeli soldiers, two seriously, in what the media are calling the worst incident on the border in four years. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who already this week has weathered a statement saying he could potentially be indicted on charges of bribery and fraud, said that the incident was “very serious” and that the Israeli army “will respond appropriately.” Strikes on six Hamas targets in the region were carried out in response. (BBC)

Happening in the US: A professor at the University of Chicago’s Business School has invited Steve Bannon to a debate on globalization and immigration. The invitation has been highly polarizing at the university, which has positioned itself as a bastion of totally free speech (e.g., a 2016 letter from the Dean of Students criticizing and disavowing the use of trigger warnings). 100 faculty members signed a letter criticizing the invitation and 1,000 alumni signed a letter asking for it to be rescinded, but there are no current plans to do so. (The Economist)

Happening in the city: More Mayor de Blasio / Governor Cuomo fighting and posturing, this time over how to solve the life-threatening issue of failing boilers in the New York City Housing Authority, which left thousands of low-income residents without heat and hot water this winter. De Blasio harshly criticized Cuomo’s inaction and lack of financial support for NYCHA, adding onto the list of things he claims Cuomo is neglecting in the city (notably fixing the subway system and closing the Rikers Island jail). Political sparring aside, I think Afua Atta-Mensah, executive director of a community advocacy group, put the issue best: “…the vast majority of people in public housing work. They are city employees who pay rent and want basic things like heat, hot water and ceilings that don’t fall in on them.” Amen. (New York Times; soft paywall)

Happening on campus: CMTS’ 24-hour musical is today! From 6 to 9 pm, the Lerner Black Box will host this crazy endeavor, wherein a show is put together in (you guessed it) just one day. Tickets are free and can be found here.

Overseen: Friday the 16th, 11:30 pm, College Walk: Our fearless EIC, Betsy Ladyzhets, walking east and feeling very ill. Press F to pay respects.

Sunday Song Suggestion:

Housing via Wikimedia Commons.



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Columbia was one of the universities named in the Paradise Papers last year, which showed that it was linked to companies that help to hide its investments.

In early November 2017, a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, obtained a series of documents dubbed the Paradise Papers containing information about the offshore investments of the world’s wealthiest people. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists then partially released them to be publicly available. These documents “[shed] light on trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens” (NYT). Corporations and billionaires aren’t the only ones to hide their income overseas, however; many universities, including Columbia, were revealed to be investing and hiding endowments in offshore “paradises” such as the Cayman Islands (TCU) or the Isle of Man (Columbia).

According to the New York Times, thanks at least in part to “lucrative tax breaks” and less traditional investment schemes (ex. private equity and hedge funds as opposed to United States equities or other more traditional methods), many universities have seen greater returns on investments as compared to previous decades. For example, Columbia’s endowment increased from about $7 billion in 2007 to $10 billion in 2017. Yale, another school named in the Paradise Papers (Yale Daily News), has seen a $5.3 billion increase in its endowment over the past decade. Princeton, also named (The Daily Princetonian), had an endowment of $16.3 billion in June 2008, which increased to $22.8 billion by March 2017. Other universities named in the documents include Stanford, Dartmouth, and NYU.

There isn’t a correlation that can be drawn between the fact that these schools were in the Paradise Papers and that their endowments have increased. The manner in which universities like Columbia invest overseas may be unscrupulous, but it is not necessarily illegal.

More after the jump



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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.



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I’m the one in the pink sash.

New York City is packed with amazing culture and inspiring art, but sometimes it’s difficult to break the Morningside-bubble and experience it all first-hand. “Where Art Thou” is a weekly guide to interesting and notable lectures, events, and performances for the literary/musically/theatrically-inclined on campus.

On campus:

  • TOMORROW at 6 pm in the Lerner Black Box, come see CMTS’ 24 Hour Musical! Actors have exactly 24 hours to learn their lines, music, staging and choreography before the house lights go up. Your friendly neighborhood Arts Editor will be in it, which is why you should honor her sacrifice of sleep/sanity and go see what is sure to be a highly entertaining show!
  • Monday at 6:15 pm, the Harriman Institute (Int Affairs 1201) is hosting a screening and discussion with the director of Children of Peace: The Story of The First Generation of Children Born After the Bosnian War. The film takes place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the aftermath of the destructive Bosnian War. As the new generations grew ever more divided, six young people from six divided cities met and decided to do a performance about their mutual thoughts and beliefs.
  • This Friday at 8 pm, and Saturday at 3 and 7 pm, the Center for Science and Society is putting on “Science! The Musical” in Fayerweather 513. Janice, a first year PhD student, has just had her first paper accepted to an academic conference. The only problem is, she hasn’t written the paper yet! In the few short weeks before the conference, Janice must learn to do interdisciplinary science. Will she publish, or will she perish!?

Off campus:

  • This Saturday, Feb 24 from 11 am to 5 pm, you can celebrate the Lunar New Year Festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with performances, interactive gallery activities, and artist-led workshops. Find the program here.
  • Tomorrow at 8:30 pm, UWS bar Prohibition NYC (503 Columbus Ave) is hosting Broadway Night. Come listen to Broadway’s current and future performers sing about love, sex, and heartbreak, including work from composer Sam Balzac (CC ’17). Check out the FB event here and the Prohibition website here.

Musicals via Wikimedia Commons



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Richard blessing the foliage behind him

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, it’s never too late to find someone to cuddle up with this cold, (possibly) snowy post-Valentine’s weekend. Our next personal is none other than Richard Shin of Columbia Crushes Fame. But fear not, despite all the Columbia Crushes posts about him, Richard is single and ready to mingle. Email us at tips@bwog.com if you’re interested in him (before someone else beats you to it)!

Name, Year, School, Major (grad students encouraged): Richard Shin, CC 2018, Data Science
Preference (girl for girl, etc): Boy for girl
Hometown: Cumberland, MD
Your nightmare date in seven words or fewer: Being recognized from Columbia Crushes
What redeems you as a human being?
Great friends who tag me too much on Facebook
Library room of choice: Ref
Beverage of choice: Bubble tea
Which dating apps have you been active on? (be honest) Tea
Where can you usually be found on a Saturday night? Out and about
Historical Hottie: Joseph Stalin



The ruins of the Ummayyad Mosque in Aleppo

Bwogger Cara Hudson-Erdman got intellectual this Friday and attended a lecture at the Italian Academy. This discussion focused global intervention in the protection of cultural monuments in war zones and the role of sovereignty versus international responsibility. Through a wave of witty academic banter, posh British accents, and overuse of the word “colleague,” the key question of the event was: is there an international responsibility to protect cultural heritage sites when states fail to do so?

At Columbia, we students find ourselves inundated with references to antiquity just by walking into the library,  and we often forget that sites of their origin are under threat of destruction. At the Italian Academy, the International Observatory for Cultural Heritage Lecture addressed this topic, titled Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones: Protecting the Past for the Future. The keynote speaker was James Cuno, the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, who is a major proponent of the idea of a universal cultural heritage and an advocate international intervention to protect cultural sites at risk of destruction. In particular, Cuno spoke about the situation in Syria, where in the midst of a civil war ISIS has destroyed sites such as the Ummayyad Mosque in Aleppo. Cuno emphasized that this destruction should be considered cultural cleansing as well as an indicator of genocide.

In the face of a failing state, Syria, a country whose map resembles a “jigsaw puzzle,” Cuno argued that there is a moral responsibility for other powers to intervene to protect these valuable historic sites. His reasoning stems from his idea that artistic and cultural monuments belong to a shared, international heritage that transcends national borders and states. The moderator, Columbia’s Professor David Freedberg, identified Cuno as “untrendy” for propagating such beliefs, characterizing them as values of the Enlightenment, and the same ones that bolster encyclopedic museums such as the British Museum. Cuno was also joined by a panel of art history and political science experts including Vishakha Desai, former president of the Asia Society, Thomas Weiss, professor of political science at CUNY and an expert in state sovereignty, Edward Luck, a SIPA professor and former advisor to Ban-Ki Moon, and Mariët Westermann from the Mellon Foundation.

Read more after the jump



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It’s the year of the dog!!!!!!

Happening in the World: Following the Prime Minister’s resignation, Ethiopia declared a state of emergency. The Prime Minister’s resignation is said to be a result of growing tensions between the four parties in the country’s ruling coalition, which has been in power since 1991 and currently holds all 547 seats in parliament. (Reuters)

Happening in the US: After a new development in the FBI’s investigation of the 2016 Presidential election, 13 Russians have been charged with tampering with the election. Three of the thirteen Russians have been accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while five have been accused of aggravated identity theft. Read more about the indictment here. (BBC)

Happening in NYC: A former teacher and his twin brother were arrested for allegedly creating bombs in their Bronx home. Several materials used for making bombs along with a diary detailing a plan entitled “Operation Code Name Flash” were found. (NY Daily News)

Happening on Campus: The Chinese Students Club is hosting the 40th Annual Lunar Gala in celebration of the Lunar New Year this Sunday from 6:00 to 9:30 pm. There will be performances and food! Get more information about the event and tickets through the Facebook event.

Image via Pexels



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This is why you don’t unsubscribe

While the rest of you were ghosting your desperate Valentine’s Day hookups, Bwogger Idris O’Neill was ignoring e-mails from the multiple listservs she’s signed up for. Finding herself being a kind of, sort of, almost member of clubs, she’s been torn between seeing new clubs and the good times you’ve had together. She swears: it’s not you, it’s her.

  • Leave the GroupMe. Lose the E-board’s numbers. You’re going to think you’ll need them, but this is a nasty break-up. You gotta throw the whole club away.
  • Ignore them at 1020. You should expect to see them everywhere. It’s the Columbia Curse: everyone you’re trying to avoid will show up to the same party. Always. If you can’t ignore them (because we’re classy; we ghost), engage in small talk about anything but the club.
  • Accidentally sit across from them in a dining hall. God damn John Jay and their forcibly inclusive tables. Make pleasantries referring to old inside jokes and then leave. You’ll get pulled back in if you stay too long.
  • Never unsubscribe from the listserv. The whole point of ghosting is to inoffensively leave. Just read about all the cool club activities you can’t do and simmer in jealousy.
  • Make a new e-mail account. You’ve gotten yourself this far with your generic FirstName.LastName@gmail.com account. Take this opportunity to get weird – srirachaslut16, maybe – those UNIs were boring anyway.
  • Stop playing yourself and just drop out. When it comes to it, it comes to it. Though if you’ve reached this extremity, you probably weren’t good enough at ghosting anyway.

“Have a hydrated weekend” via a listserv I haven’t left



The logo would probably be some abstracted sketch of Low Library.

What if the 2018 Winter Olympics were hosted at Columbia instead of Pyeongchang? Here’s Bwog’s list of Columbia’s  campus sports events, in the case that CU wins the 2026 Winter Olympics bid. 

  • A sprint to get signed into EC on a Friday night. The EC security guards would get to fire the starting pistol.
  • Slalom racing racing through Ferris past all the people blocking your way. Probably also avoiding a former hookup at the same time.
  • Dropping your silverware into the soap bucket in John Jay without getting splashed. Bonus points awarded if your fork still has a limp piece of lettuce on it.
  • Speed skating but it’s just trying not to step in all the puddles in the SEAS north area of campus. Where is all this water accumulating from? Can a STEM student explain this phenomenon to me please?

More extreme sports after the jump

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