Bwoglines: Energy And Mass Edition
No beard zone.

No beard zone.

This day in history: In 1905 on November 21. Albert Einstein published “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?” leading to the formula E=mc^2.  Did you learn that in FroSci? (PBS)

China is delaying indefinitely the opening of the new Hunger Games movie and in Thailand several cinemas have cancelled showings of the movie (Washington Post).

In other news, Michael Phelps has a beard. Thoughts? No shave November or just a new look? (Washington Post)

In real news Obama has announced that nearly 5 million illegal immigrants will not be deported (BBC).

Five Guantanamo detainees were released and sent to Europe (Los Angeles Times).


Coquettish grin via Shutterstock

PrezBo Wants To Review F***ball Team
"Can you guys shut up about f*ball?"

“Can you guys shut up about f***ball?”

Tonight Capital published an email from PrezBo sent to the football alumni calling for  M. Dianne Murphy to commission a review of the f***ball program. Considering the unsurprisingly horrible past season for the team, PrezBo is finally ready to figure out what’s wrong with the program and why we suck. The review is asking former coach Rick Taylor to lead the review. Taylor led a successful review of Dartmouth’s program years ago, so here’s to hoping he can work some magic at Columbia. Further, this review does not call for the resignation of current head coach Peter Mangurian as many would hope as a solution to the failure of the team.

The full transcript of the email sent to the alumni can be seen after the jump.

Better Than CULPA: Professor Edwards Plays Facebook Antihero

The first stage of registration may be winding down, but we all know this is only the start. Soon will come the waitlists, the petitions, the trading of class spots on message boards and in dark corners of New York City streets.

It is a world of risk and betrayal, soaring victories and devastating loss. It is a world where you need allies. Allies like Professor Stephen Edwards.

Leaping into the Facebook fray, Professor Edwards has been witnessed guiding students away from his class. Quite seriously, and evaluating their situation from a purely objective standpoint we’re sure.

So if you’re deciding between PLT sections, or just really want to take CS (because you are a masochist), issue a Facebook call for help. Maybe you’ll be the latest to catch a glimpse of Columbia’s newest antihero.

If not, Bwog has you covered. Check out our Actual Wisdom feature with Professor Edwards.

dealing with his fans

Dealing with his fans

Sometimes you just can't get there in time to save them...

Sometimes you just can’t get there in time to save them…

#TBT: Madison Avenue Campus

Once again, Anna Hotter dives into the archives to investigate Columbia’s past in the city. She returns with pictures and tales from Midtown East, where the College made its last, brief stop before coming to Morningside. 

As we mentioned in last week’s instalment of #tbt, Columbia moved to Madison Avenue and East 49th Street in 1857. During the College’s tenure in Midtown, Barnard College became affiliated with the school. It was initially housed in a nearby townhouse. The Madison Avenue Campus was also where Columbia was finally given its current name, Columbia University, making it one of the country’s earliest establishments of graduate education. Columbia didn’t stay in Midtown for long. In 1897, only 40 years later, the school moved to the current location, replacing Bloomingdale Insane Asylum.

Photos and drawings via the Columbia Library Archives

FroSci Gets A Makeover (Sometime In The Near Future)
They all sat on the side opposite Bwog because we're too intimidating.

Everyone sat on the side opposite to Bwog because we’re too intimidating.

As part of Columbia’s effort to revamp the Core science course, an open forum was held last night allowing for student input.  FroSci Fault-Finder Eric Cohn reports.

Last night, to a surprisingly sparse crowd, the Committee for Science in the Core held an open forum as part of its effort to formulate a new Core science course.  The committee was formed last September upon the recommendation of the Educational Planning and Policy Committee after a comprehensive review of FroSci in 2012.  The committee has been exploring alternatives to FroSci, which were discussed at the forum—albeit somewhat nebulously.

Two co-chairs of the Committee—Earth and Environmental Science Professor Peter deMenocal and Philosophy Professor Philip Kitcher—led the forum alongside two student members, Violet Nieves, CC ’15 and Ari Schuman, CC ’15.  At the beginning of the event, all four expressed their commitment to hearing student input to improve their ideas for a seminar-based course that would likely take one of two forms: the class would either be a chronological survey of the history of the universe, or it would focus on science’s “greatest hits” since the advent of the scientific method.

The “history of the world” version—tentatively known as “Humans in the World”—would consist of weekly topics broken down into very specific phenomena for scientific study to emphasize a particular way of scientific thinking.  Thus, whereas this form of the seminar would bring in the scientific skills along the way with the content, the “greatest hits” version—tentatively called “Scientific Inquiry”—would start with the skills as a foundation and then introduce the content.  Still, Nieves emphasized that the finalized version of the course could be an intermixture of these two proposals.

Nieves began—after a fervid assurance that the “Columbia bureaucracy” would not be staging a “coup” against students on the Core science front—by emphasizing that the committee wants to be in a “quite open” dialogue with students to create “not exactly transparency, but translucence.”  A student later rejected this claim, saying that there was very little transparency until now.  The committee did not revisit this retort, although the holding of a forum seems to be at least a step in the right direction.

Following Nieves, Kitcher—in his dapper purple shirt and beige suit—opened his introductory speech with an apology, anticipating the process to be rather slow.  The audience swooned over his accent and gladly accepted his apology, although I was somewhat disappointed that I may not see the fruits of the committee’s efforts in my tenure.

Midway through the forum, a student proposed that the committee write a list on the Schermerhorn chalkboard of the key components of a new Core science course.  By the end of the forum, the goals (though relatively nonspecific) included:

  • Getting students to think scientifically
  • Curing the fear of science
  • Creating a sense of wonder around the science discussed
  • Teaching scientific literacy
  • Giving students the opportunity to experience cutting-edge research

Read about the specific critiques of FroSci after the jump.

CMTS Director And Actor Talk “The Drowsy Chaperone”
But is drinking allowed in Roone

Unlike alcohol, this show won’t leave you drowsy or needing a chaperone

“This show will leave a tune in your head, a tear in your eye, and a huge smile across your face.” –Jason Eisner, director

The Columbia Musical Theatre Society is putting on a production of The Drowsy Chaperone, a 2006 Tony-winning musical comedy that pays homage to 1920’s and 1940’s musicals. CMTS will have shows tonight (8:00 P.M.) and tomorrow evening (7:30 P.M. and 10:00 P.M.), with tickets starting at $5 for Columbia students. Drowsy correspondent Ross Chapman sat down with the director, Jason Eisner, and an actor, Sam Balzac, both CC ’17, to hear about the musical. Below are excerpts from two interviews with the creative geniuses.

 What is The Drowsy Chaperone?

Jason: The Drowsy Chaperone is a rip-roaring, side-spitting musical within a comedy. It is about a lover of musical theatre who invites the audience into his apartment, and he puts on his favorite musical of all time, called The Drowsy Chaperone. And when he puts the record on, the musical comes to life in his apartment. It takes place in the 1920’s, and the plot is so convoluted and nonsensical in the most amazing way. The characters are very aware that it makes no sense. But it’s about a bride and a groom about to get married, and she’s a showgirl, and her producer doesn’t want her to get married… and mayhem ensues. At its heart, it’s about what we individually love so much. We all have something that we love that keeps us going. This is a man that has his flaws, he’s a very real person, but he’s us. It’s about what keeps us going.

What is your personal relation to The Drowsy Chaperone?

Sam: I’ve always been especially drawn to the music of the 1940’s and the golden age musical. I was raised on that music, which is sometimes considered that of the most tuneful musical era. My mom was really into musicals. She played in the pit a lot in high school. My parents are from New Jersey, so they went to a lot of shows while they were growing up. In that way I very much identify with the narrator. He was introduced to musical theatre culture by his mother, who saw all of these shows when she was a kid. I similarly kind of feel that displacement of being out of the time period but still being in love with that kind of music.

Jason: A few years ago, I started a list on my phone of musicals to direct when I got to college – yes, I was that person – and this was at the top of my list. Last year, I was the assistant director for a couple of shows here. I didn’t want to waste any time putting together a show, so at the end of last year, I put together a team, thought about the vision of the show, how to make it different from the original production, and how to also pay homage to it. So I proposed to the CMTS board. We got accepted, and six months later, two days before the show, here I am.

Themes, yellowface, and Hell Week after the jump

Bwoglines: Things Prezbo Would Rather Ignore Edition
Not here, not anywhere

Not here, not anywhere

A thorough account of sexual violence at the University of Virginia. TRIGGER WARNING: This article contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault and may be triggering to some people (Rolling Stone)

A fierce debate on what constitutes sexual consent at Harvard University (The Boston Globe)

An account of the price paid by survivors of sexual assault in college (The Washington Post)

Consideration of how best to protect the rights of the accused as we begin to better pursue cases of sexual assault, with a focus on our own University (The New York Times)

An old reminder that we have recognized the need for a change (The Huffington Post)

 To those who are interested in resources available to sexual assault victims, their friends, and their families, the Columbia Sexual Violence Response page can be found here.

This post was reformatted on November 20th, 2014.

Quiz: Registration Woes

How To Survive The Polar Vortex
Is that a mountain or is that Butler covered in snow?

Is that a mountain or is that Butler covered in snow?

With the recent temperature drop and the prospect of  a snowy couple of weeks, Anna Hotter brings you her definitive alpine survival guide. Don’t let the cold keep you inside! Huddle up and go enjoy the few hours of sun we have left in these dark times.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s cold as fuck right now. As someone who has regularly dealt with sub-zero temperatures in my native Austria, I wanted to compile a list of things that will hopefully make your life a little less miserable. Here they are in no particular order.

Underwear: This one might seem insignificant, but believe me, it makes all the difference. At home, we have “Skiunterwäsche,” which I believe to be the equivalent of thermals here. Get some! Seriously, that bottom layer of cozy-yet-breathable clothing will make your 8:40 class in Pupin seem a lot less far away.

Tights:  Even though they look thin, tights are great for keeping your legs toasty. My mom often wears them underneath her jeans, and even though I hate the feeling myself, it really does work. Also, if you’re looking to invest in a new pair, and are able to splurge a little bit, get cashmere ones. They are more expensive than wool tights, but wool can’t compare in terms of softness and warmth.

Hats:  While it’s apparently a myth that most of your body heat escapes through the head, you should still wear a hat, or at least earmuffs. Cold temperatures can be big triggers for headaches, especially if you leave the house with wet hair.

Boots: This one is more snow-related, but still important. Get boots with rubber soles so that you don’t slip on the slush! You can kill two birds with one stone by wearing rain boots, since they won’t get wet once the snow melts. Just put on thick socks underneath and you should be fine (Hunter actually makes ones that fit their boots).

More survival tips after the jump…

Dean Of The College Hinkson Attends SGA Meeting
"Meeting people for the sake of meeting people"

Meeting people for the sake of meeting people

At this week’s SGA meeting, hot topics included alumnae relations and diversity, and Dean Hinkson made an appearance. Passionate politico Joe Milholland was there to get you the scoop.

At the Monday night SGA meeting, Barnard’s Dean of the College Avis Hinkson was the administrative guest. The council members of SGA asked her about general topics of student life at Barnard. While she declared many of her answers to be off-the-record (her justification was that there was no official agenda and she wanted a “casual, candid” conversation with SGA’s membership) she did provide a few clarifications on administrative actions.

On the subject of the recent Barnard town hall on alumnae-student interactions, students said they want to have Constellation Dinners on campus, and, instead of focusing on the purely job-search aspect of alumnae interactions, SGA President Julia Qian wants to allow students and alumnae to “meet people just for the sake of meeting people.” According to Qian, the notes from the town hall are being shared among the committee, and concrete plans will come from the Alumnae Association of Barnard College.

  • Hinkson also clarified that Dean of the Barnard Library and Academic Information Services Lisa Norberg is stepping down because she is starting a 501c. Hinkson did not comment on sexual assault policy or trans student admission.
  • There’s a survey for the Barnard student body about diversity at
  • There will be a senior class open mike at Sulzberger Plaza on November 23 at 8pm.
  • The Medalist Committee, which goes over nominations for commencement speakers and medalists, has 3 faculty members, 4 students members, 2 trustees members, DSpar as the chair, and two admin guests, according to President Qian.

Editor’s Note November 21 12:15 pm: The reasons for Dean Hinkson’s request for her answers to be off-the-record were previously misunderstood and have been corrected in this post.  Also, it was previously written that Dean Hinkson suggested Constellation Dinners and “meeting people for the sake of meeting people.”  The former suggestion was actually made by students, and the latter was made by SGA President Julia Qian.  We have made these corrections in the post.

Not just networking via Shutterstock

Talking Titus: A Conversation With KCST
titus andronicus

Culture yourselves this weekend!!!

This semester, the King’s Crown Shakespeare Troupe, better known by their acronym KCST, is putting on one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest works, Titus Andronicus. Shakespeare scholars Julia Goodman and Maud Rozee met with the production’s dramaturg, Jo Chiang, to discuss the show. Titus Andronicus will be in the Glicker-Milstein Theater this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are free and can be reserved in advance at the TIC.

Bwog: What’s the play about?

JC: Titus Andronicus is, first and foremost, in its original interpretation, a revenge play—or arguably, a satire on revenge plays. It can be argued that Shakespeare was making fun of the revenge plays of his time by making this revenge play so sensational. Someone kills someone that’s the family member of someone else, that person gets mad, and there’s a lot of killing and things in between to make up for it, and in the end everyone dies. So, that’s kind of the story. But there’s a lot of nuance about institutional violence, and there’s racism, and misogyny. There’s things besides just killing, and that’s what we’re trying to highlight.

Bwog: How did you choose this show?

JC: Every single year KCST has an advisory board meeting before the next semester—so in this case, it was last semester—where people present proposals for plays they want to do, their reasons why, and their vision. Sometimes they have people who are going to do design to come up with, like, “Here’s our aesthetic vision.” So Becca [Meyer, the show’s director] proposed Titus Andronicus. I was actually on the advisory board. You have to do two shows before you can be on the advisory board, but after that everyone’s welcome to sit in there. So I was in attendance to discuss it and decide. The general climate was that everyone realized how relevant this play was to this campus at this time, because it deals with sexual assault. Not just sexual assault, but the aftermath of sexual assault, the way women’s voices and stories are silenced or ignored, and the role that greater institutions play in perpetuating environments where these kinds of violences occur and legitimizing them. Because we found that so relevant, we thought this was a great way of showing that we can combine both politics and art. Sometimes people perceive theater as existing in a vacuum and we wanted to challenge that. So we almost unanimously decided on this play.

Bwog: Can you talk a little bit about what Becca’s vision was and how she presented it that got everyone in KCST behind the idea?

JC: It was tying it to current events, basically. One of the draws was that historically, Titus Andronicus has not been well received, so that’s part of the challenge as well. People either love it or they hate it. It is incredibly bloody, it’s very sensational. A lot of people think it’s overblown, over the top, and impossible to do well. Definitely in Shakespeare’s time, people just could not stand it. It’s part of that challenge, to take a play that is quite obscure, and not one of his major canonical works, and present it in front of an audience. And hopefully it can resonate.

Read about how KCST is relating the play to current events on campus after the jump…

House Of Ramps: A Parody
once upon a time, psets were always done here for some reason

The ramps are connected by more useful stairs

We have all experienced the awful maze that is Lerner, and know that the only thing it’s useful for is Glass House Rocks and questionably cool architecture. Well, now it’s useful for parodies! Toni Airaksinen, BC ’18, makes a guest appearance and gets creative with a spin-off of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Follow her lyrics below and sing along! 

Once I swiped in—it was a blast

Soon turned out, I was in a House of Ramps

Seemed like the real thing, only to find

No couches, desks or study space in sight

Once I had bubble tea, and it was divine

Only for $4.95

Seemed like the real thing but I was so blind and

The Pasta Line has everyone losing their minds

In between

This building is so confusing, I’m not feeling fine

Nothing but ramps and glass inside

No actual study space and no piece of mind

At least if I fear the tourists, I know they just can’t

Swipe inside

The second verse is after the jump!

Bwoglines: Acting Childish Edition
How we imagine the Yik Yak squabble went down

How we imagine the Yik Yak squabble went down

Low-key obsessed with One Direction? (C’mon…look at Zayn…) Check out this extensive and entertaining One Direction glossary. (Vulture)

According to a study at the University of Missouri, 23% of college students have revenge sex following a breakup. (The Cut)

For all you ice cream lovers: Shake Shack and Big Gay Ice Cream are teaming up to create the limited-edition “Layer Shake.” (Gothamist)

Apparently two of the Yik Yak co-founders kicked the third co-founder out of the company à la Facebook. (ValleyWag)

An immature man via Shutterstock

Basketball Home Opener Tonight!
Taking command of the game

Taking command of the game

[Update, 10:17 pm]: The Lions defeated Wagner 70-56. They move to 1-1 on the non-conference season and play at Lehigh on Sunday (11/23).

Remember Basketball Mania? Well, basketball is coming back to Levien Gym, but this time, you’ll get to some real action. The 2014-15 Columbia Lions men’s basketball team takes the court tomorrow night for their first home game this season. Maodo Lo, Cory Osetkowski, and company will be knocking down baskets like there’s no tomorrow, so go cheer them on!

The third-ranked Lions lost their first game of the season, 57-56, to Stony Brook on Friday. Wagner is also 0-1, so the two teams tip off tonight on even ground. Maodo Lo led the charge, scoring 19 points and grabbing four steals.

So why watch them? The Lions are 81-32 all-time in their home openers and have won 5 of their last 6 at Columbia. They also own a 33-22 overall record against the NEC conference to which Wagner belongs, so their chances of winning are super high. You’ll probably even be able to hear the band play Roar, Lion, Roar! for the first time since last basketball season.

Tip-off is at 7 pm in Levien.

It’s go time via Columbia University Athletics/Mike

CCSC/ESC To Propose Increase In Student Activities Fee
All this is going to your Student Activities fee

All this is going to your Student Activities Fee (sort of…)

Today, CCSC and ESC* announced in a College-wide email that the councils will be voting at their weekly meetings on whether to propose a $4.50 increase in the semesterly student activities fee. Thus, the semester rate would hike up to $112.50 from $108 and would go towards “funding for student groups and student activities—it is equal to the amount of money needed to have a balanced budget next year.” CCSC’s meeting on Sunday at 8pm will be open, as will ESC’s meeting on Monday at 9:30pm, and both councils encourage anyone who wants to voice an opinion to attend. Both meetings will take place in the Satow Room in Lerner.

The Student Activities Fee factors into the semesterly Student Life Fee and goes toward each student’s respective student council.  Historically, the Student Life Fee was increased regularly up to the 2012-2013 academic year.  It has remained at that level, $108, since then, “despite increases in student group programming and costs.”

ESC VP of Finance Robert Ying also commented on the proposed raise:

“The amount of $4.50 was based on the difference between the projected growth of student group spending for next year and the amount of money available from the student council budgets to give to student groups. While this is a ~4% increase over last year, it’s worth noting that since it hasn’t increased for a number of years, the amortized per-year increase is lower.

The Student Activities Fee pays for the large majority of student activities on campus, including student groups (i.e. ABC, SGB, GBB, IGC, CI, CSGB groups), student council programming, school-wide events, funds and grants available to groups and individual students, and more.

The expected budget increase from the raise in the Student Activities Fee is intended to go to governing boards through the Funding at Columbia University (F@CU) process this coming spring.”

You can read CCSC’s email about the change below.

Learn about where your money will be going after the jump.