AltSpec Archive



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img September 06, 200912:43 pmimg 2 Comments

It’s time for AltSpec once again, in which Bwog reminds you that you’re far less successful than your esteemed colleagues.

h1n1 rap screenshotPiglet flu took down Big Red and now it’s bearing down on light blue.  Thankfully, “Dr. John Clarke” has some nearly-rhyming advice to avoid the sniffles.

Remember that you can always validate your choice of major with a hint of economics.  Job market be damned, let’s all learn a dead language.

The last person to save Columbia from perpetual embarrassment decided his time was better spent steering engineers than Lions.

With our growing debt, we’re all going to be manic-depressives by the time we’re thirty, guaranteeing a similar fate for our alien mutants children.

The New York Times uses the cover of a restaurant “review” to spy on an unsuspecting Columbia couple eating lunch. “I’m already turning elitist” cries one, hiding his pride.  Photo via YouTube.




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img July 21, 20095:29 pmimg 20 Comments

Put down the wands – a wizard will not be joining the Columbia community in the fall. Multiple tipsters alerted us (with startling quickness) to Emma Watson finally going on the record about her Ivy destination. And yes, as predicted, Brown won this battle. Guess we’ll have to settle for the White House.



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img July 05, 200911:57 amimg 6 Comments

We return from our 4th of July break with a round-up of some other stories we received this past week. First, former SEAS dean/idiosyncratic emailer Zvi Galil has resigned as president of Tel Aviv University, after only two years in the post. Galil became president of the Israeli university in 2007, after twelve years as dean of SEAS, and a full twenty-five years on Columbia’s faculty. University sources told Haaretz that he was “forced out” of the position by the university’s executive council, though the council itself denied this. The article seems to indicate that Galil will stay at TAU, though we’re fairly certain Columbia engineers wouldn’t say no to a return.

On this side of the Atlantic, the New York Times reopens Obama’s 1983 Columbia student magazine article about a nuclear-free world, at the start of their front-page article about his attempts to actually achieve that idea. In a more literal reopening, Community Food and Juice, closed by a kitchen fire in April, will resume business on July 15th. Organic snobs everywhere – rejoice!



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img May 31, 200911:12 amimg 1 Comments

It was this man’s vision to lead SEAS, of all things.

Columbia grads spawn from the east coast to represent the entire country around the world.

Green monkeys.  Chalfie’s dream finally comes to pass.

We’re far too busy cleaning up to fix the problem.

Back in the day, anti-Semitism was endemic.

It’s Ebola, but it’s not ebola.

This school may not have decent sports, but it offers solace to those who picked champion institutions.



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img May 24, 20091:48 pmimg 17 Comments

The architecture firm behind the new geochemistry building at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has won three design awards at the 2009 Sustainable Design Awards (building pictured at right). 

Xerox’s new CEO, the first African American women CEO of a Fortune 500 company, is also a Columbia graduate. Her degree? Master’s in engineering.

Three more Columbia faculty members have been named to the National Academy of Sciences.

Obama nominates a Mailman School professor to a Health and Human Services post.

Perhaps this will help him get an award: a Columbia pre-med student is featured in a Times article about web sites for cramming.



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img May 10, 20092:46 pmimg 3 Comments

1968 low policeThanks to one of the few female graduates in the early days of the law school, copyright law was blessed with the “fair use” clause.  Here’s to in-class movies and music.

Measles, mumps, and rubella are frightening now, but as a child you would have preferred putting off your immunization visits to being saved from disease.

A ‘72er (not to be confused with a ’68er) has some words of wisdom for ambitious New School and NYU “protesters.”

The adults have found out about college kids’ drug of choice.  Run!

Professors will get even less work done next semester.  The world’s largest collection of pop music since the 1950’s will be available for use by Columbia professors soon.



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img May 03, 20098:11 amimg 6 Comments

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Stop panicking about lil’ piggy flu.  We’ve found a way to make it politically incorrect.

The only reason we have a potential pandemic is all those corrupt doctors.  Free Viagra be damned, we want our vaccine!

The 2013’s are signing away their souls (on Facebook).  Columbia has the fewest downsides—compared to Cornell.

Hopefully they’ll face better economic times.  One Columbia graduate has found fame in, erm, illicit affairs.

For the rest of us, Yankees’ seats are becoming more affordable (if you were paying thousands of dollars to begin with).

Leave all of that behind.  If you’re stuck at home because the big, bad economy took your job, rest assured that it’s the best for your GPA.



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img April 26, 200912:42 pmimg 12 Comments

Match the quote to the speaker.  To give you a break from problem sets, it should be pretty easy, but answers after the jump anyway.  Good luck!



“[I]t was like a national day of protest.  There was a counterculture dimension to it.” Roberta Balstad, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions
“…hardly principles on which normal market economics is based.” Barack Obama, CC ’83
“They basically set her up.” Steve Cohen, Executive Director of the Earth Institute
“It’s one of those events that is of low probability but high consequence.  The consequences could be extreme.” Joseph Stiglitz, Professor and Nobel Prize winner
“[Colleges need] to put affordability front and center as they chart a path forward.” Paul Giacomo Jr., Attorney


Answers after the jump! (more…)



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img April 19, 200910:26 amimg 2 Comments

ZekeAnother blog has discovered our friend Sarah Dooley.  Yes, her character is a lot like Michael Scott, but so much cuter!

A Columbia grad student played in that intertubes-inspired concert at Carnegie Hall: “I haven’t hardly played at all.”

Drought in Africa: yes, it could happen, and it’s happened before: “startling.”

Ever wonder what happens in that underground lab by Avery?  It’s the behavioral labs for the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions.  A reporter discloses the horrors within.

Studying at a university that crushes your self-esteem, remind yourself now and again that you have skills.  It’ll raise your grades by one third of a grade.  Hopefully.  Maybe.

The J-School, with PrezBo’s impetus, is leading the way in adapting its curriculum to the post-print world.  In love with newsprint?  First, learn Photoshop.

The world’s largest collection of pop music is now available for your perusal at a library near you.  Hopefully, most of it is pre-Britney.

News flash: Ivy League tuition is expensive.  So we’ve signed up for a government supplement fund to help GI’s complete their education here.



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img April 12, 200910:41 amimg 0 Comments

The weekly “Gee, really?” news of the week: replacing soda with water is healthy.   In fact, water even has fewer calories.

The Chronicle is careful not to judge when reporting on Massad’s probable tenure.  It’s just been a “rocky road,” but not the delicious kind.

Harvard was mentioned in global media more often than Columbia last year.  A quick, biased investigation suggests that it was merely to save newsprint; “Harvard” has one fewer letter.

Finely-aged conservatives whine about kids these days.  We’re “radicals,” “attacking” the social order.  Imagine the bridge club chaos that would ensue if the status quo were altered.

Payouts and salaries are dropping across the board, but publishers are desperate.  Meghan McCain’s book was just sold for “high six figures” in an auction.  Of course, nobody seems to know exactly what the book will be about.

Journalism’s flailing has been a gift for the J-School: the number of applicants has soared and the number of entry-level jobs is expected to increase, as well.  Veteran reporters, no longer employed, are turning to academia for fulfillment.



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img April 05, 20092:48 pmimg 3 Comments

At the Double Discovery center, they confirm and reconfirm that dating abuse is just not okay.

Our pediatric neuroscience department was managed by a fraudster.  John Bzdil pleaded guilty on Tuesday for defrauding Columbia for $180,000 used for personal expenses.

Miller Theatre has a “new” director.  Granted, she was the acting director since October.

A Columbian is related to the host of the most listened-to radio show in America.  “Now please stop judging me by my last name.”

Senior Justin Floyd revealed his taste for conservative dress to Meredith Vieira.



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img March 29, 20098:04 amimg 5 Comments

Irvine R. Levine, style guru, insisted on his bowties and the use of his middle initial during his forty-five years at NBC.

The former Weatherman and 1968 revolutionary Mark Rudd has released his new memoir, but The Wall Street Journal is far from impressed.

An oddly-specific study shows that fast food makes people fat.  For 50%, never fear: aerobics improves male heart health only (sorry, Barnard).

Columbia is making peace with the neighborhood, and UTS is making peace with the earth.

The man is frightened that Wikipedia will mean academic demise.  Revolt, peons – Britannica calls your name.

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img March 22, 200910:51 amimg 2 Comments

Celine Dion
 Photo via Wikipedia

Locally – Our women’s archery coach demonstrates that arrows can indeed puncture humans.

Internationally – We’re not opening international campuses, just research facilities.  All the glory, none of the undergrads.

Internally – All those Twinkies in your college diet will make you forget everything you’ve learned.

Virtually – He got a journalism Master’s here, now he’s reinventing the editorial(izing) process.  And he’s not writing for Bwog.

Underwater – Yes, the glaciers really are melting.  We’re just double-triple-checking.

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img March 15, 20093:55 pmimg 5 Comments

To exams:
Who were you fooling with all of those hours you spent in Butler last week? Not the good people at, apparently — the cheatsheet site reports more traffic from Columbia than any other school. So this is how you were using those WiFi maps.

To global warming: Emitted in Texas, sequestered in Memphis? A new map shows where rocks can store excess carbon dioxide. Watch out, Sprayregen: Columbia’s moving into the storage business, too.

To fat kids: The closer the fast food, the fatter the students. Considering the nearest McDonald’s is about five blocks from campus, Columbia might be in the clear, but just think what obesity rates must be like at Hamburger University

To costly journalism: Attention, bankrupt media outlets! The J-School wants your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning for a paycheck. Provided they submit three clips and a cover letter, of course.

To low attendance: People do actually watch sports at Columbia. Particularly women’s basketball. If you don’t believe us, check out this nifty press release.

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