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Columbia, the female personification of America.

’14ers out there may have realized that Bwog can be a valuable source of information about Columbia. However, even seasoned Columbians may not know some of this carefully checked, entirely reliable trivial knowledge. Great for parents weekend, when you want to steer away from the topic of grades and significant others.

  • Columbia has its own glacier named after it, Columbia Glacier. It is one of the fastest moving glaciers in the world, and has been retreating since the early 1980s. It is nestled in Alaska’s College Fjord, among a group of glaciers named for the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools. It was christened in 1899 by the Harriman Alaska Expedition.
  • Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal Classification, was librarian of the University and also founded the first library school in the U.S. at Columbia. Despite this, Columbia libraries principally use the Library of Congress Classification system.
  • Famous architect I. M. Pei was commissioned to bulk up the Columbia campus in the 1960s. His design included two 23-story towers which were to face each other across South Field. Pei’s Master Plan was eventually rejected.
  • More Medical School glory: Amelia Earhart enrolled at Columbia as a pre-med student in 1919.
  • Since sharing their only Ivy League title with Harvard in 1961, the football Lions have had only three winning seasons (in 1971, 1994 and 1996). However, the Lions have other athletic strengths. A Columbia crew was the first from outside Britain to win at the Henley Royal Regatta.
  • Since 1969, during the Vietnam War, the University has not allowed the US military to have Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs on campus. Those students who were determined could participate in ROTC programs at other nearby colleges and universities.
  • Columbia’s Science and Technology Ventures currently manages some 600 patents and more than 250 active license agreements. Patent-related deals have earned Columbia up to $230 million per year in the last decade.

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  1. ...  

    little known fact: columbia holds a key patent used in mpeg-2 video compression (literally at the core of the algorithm). that means for every dvd player, dvd encoder, computer with commercial dvd player software, digital broadcast satellite (directv, dish network) receiver and transmitter and for every program encoded (ie: dvd sold or show broadcast), columbia gets a royalty.

    of course the sun is setting on mpeg-2, but man, what a cash cow...

    • Anonymous

      The sun's not gonna set on MPEG-2 anytime soon (too many DVDs out there), but Columbia's claim of the money will. That patent's gonna expire in December.

      • Anonymous  

        i haven't purchased a dvd in over a year.

      • ...

        i give dvds 5 years, tops, until they vanish into obscurity.

        too much pressure: film/television are fed up with living with busted css and are racing to develop new delivery channels. the internet has obsoleted physical transportation of media.

        when was the last time you played a red book cd? you know there are still a lot of them out there...

        • Anonymous

          Our broadband is anemic compared to South Korea or Europe. Hell, Australia's getting its shit together and aiming for 100 Mbps, with 12 Mbps as an absolute minimum for the boondocks. What's the US's current target? 4 Mbps.
          As long as this country's internet remains backward and gov't's not willing to fund it, digital distribution will not be feasible anytime soon.

  2. Ask Cap'n Science

    Another bit of non-so-trivial trivia: in WWII, John Jay Hall was allocated for use exclusively by US Navy midshipmen (officer cadets); the lobby was set up as a standard Navy quarterdeck, and all students billeted there had to salute and ask permission of the Deck Captain on watch for "permission to come aboard."

    More Naval officers were produced by Columbia in that era than at the little satellite operation in Annapolis, earning the residence hall the nickname "The USS John Jay."

  3. Columbia also has it's own  

    mountain named after it. Mt. Columbia in the Sawatch Range of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I climbed it last summer. Beautiful.

  4. yosemite

    when i was in yosemite, i noticed a whole bunch of stuff named after 'columbia', but I wasn't certain whether it was a generally patriotic name (you know, Chris) or specifically named after the University...anybody know for sure?

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