Two happenings we brought to our attention today involving Columbia students past and present on the internet.

First up, by way of tipster “um… anonymous”, Torah Bontrager, GS ’07, has told the Four Hour Workweek blog the story of her escape from the Amish

In the Q&A, Bontrager spells out some “common misconceptions” about the Amish. For instance, according to Bontrager, it’s untrue that “the Amish are ‘peaceful gentle folk.” Amish also speak Amish, which is different from English and actually more closely related to German. Who knew? She also describes community-wide child abuse, including her own experiences with her parents. (The blog is careful to note that this is one person’s experience and is not intended to stereotype all Amish.) At 15, after a near-suicide attempt, she picked up in the middle of the night, leaving her parents and eleven siblings behind.

Over at the New York Times food blog Bitten, famous (ex?)-vegetarian Laura Anderson, CC ’09, has written about going back to her old meat-eating ways while abroad in Paris. “I love food. I would have regretted spending a year in France without ever fully experiencing the animal-based glory of French cuisine.” But it turned out that eating meat makes her think of the moral implications of eating meat, which she finds troubling. Moral of the story: she’s looking forward being a vegetarian again, now “fully aware of what [she’s] given up.”