Connect with us

All Articles

BunsenBwog: Different Day, Same Channel


Making progress.

BunsenBwog had been stowed away in the metaphorical chemistry stock room over winter break, but science doesn’t take a holiday. Instead, Columbia’s tireless teams of professors and (let’s be honest) mostly graduate students have been toiling away during the winter months, presumably synthesizing the most chemically pure hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. In reality though they were up to some cool stuff, and you can look forward to left brain correspondent Zach Kagan’s roundup every Saturday:

  • Dr. Kleiman’s group at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health found a connection between epilepsy medication and the development of cataracts.  Antiepileptic drugs alterthe way glutamate receptor proteins operate in the brain, but it turns out that the eye’s lens has similar glutamate receptors that are also affected. Not to be outdone, the Medical Center also had a pioneering discovery which challenges accepted knowledge about esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus- which is a pretty gross disease despite sounding like a west coast sandwich shop- is strongly connected to esophageal cancer. It was believed that Barrett’s esophagus was caused by the lower esophagus, but new research using very unlucky genetically altered mice reveals it’s actually caused by stem cells frenzied up by all sorts of acidic fluids. Medicine is icky.
  • Still trying to lose that holiday season gut? Can’t resist a little extra dessert at John Jay? Well, instead of blaming yourself- and why should you, you lovely Bwog-reader you – blame your parents. After all they gave you that rotten CD36 gene that makes you predisposed to craving fat rich foods according to a new study led by Columbia professor Kathleen Keller. Her goal is to use this data to make healthy food that fools the brain into thinking it’s full of delicious fat, and while it’s a noble goal, Kathleen, we’ve just been hurt too many times.
  • There’s no doubt that NYC uses a lot of energy, but a team of Columbia engineers set out to find just how much. Professor Vijay Modi created an energy map of the city that graphically displays how big our energy bill is, and it’s a doozy: “Midtown Manhattan has more energy use than the whole country of Kenya, and New York state uses more energy than all of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Modi. Take a look at the map yourself here.
  • Every now and then Bunsenbwog salutes efforts made in the softer sciences, and this is an idea worth some sort of vigorous hand gesture.  Columbia econ professor Brenden O’Flaherty has proposed that Calgary solve its homelessness problem by paying people not to be homeless. The idea is that a stipend to everyone who rents or owns a home will reward people for keeping roofs over their heads. The money has to come from taxpayers somewhere, so it remains to be seen how much O’Flaherty  can motivate people with their own money.

Tenured Columbia faculty member via Wikimedia Commons.

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published.



  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Fix it all with ketamine….

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous you couldn’t pay me to live in Calgary…

  • Have Your Say

    What should Bwog's new tagline be?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Recent Comments

    is it too late to bully them into letting me take a gap year? :( (read more)
    Academic Calendar Updates, Pre-Orientation Programs Canceled Or Modified
    June 29, 2020
    This is great news Columbia is opening up on schedule. (read more)
    Academic Calendar Updates, Pre-Orientation Programs Canceled Or Modified
    June 25, 2020
    EXPEL ALL RACISTS FROM COLUMBIA! Tod Howard Hawks, Columbia College, Class of 1966 (read more)
    Racist Messages In FIJI GroupMe Surface, Involved Members Asked To Disaffiliate
    June 25, 2020
    It is great Columbia will be opening on time in the fall. (read more)
    Academic Calendar Updates, Pre-Orientation Programs Canceled Or Modified
    June 25, 2020

    Comment Policy

    The purpose of Bwog’s comment section is to facilitate honest and open discussion between members of the Columbia community. We encourage commenters to take advantage of—without abusing—the opportunity to engage in anonymous critical dialogue with other community members. A comment may be moderated if it contains:
    • A slur—defined as a pejorative derogatory phrase—based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or spiritual belief
    • Hate speech
    • Unauthorized use of a person’s identity
    • Personal information about an individual
    • Baseless personal attacks on specific individuals
    • Spam or self-promotion
    • Copyright infringement
    • Libel