Author Archive - Guest Writer

About Guest Writer:

We've had a lot of writers in the past, so we've consolidated some of our alumni into a "guest writer" author account to make it easier to browse writers. The Guest Writer account is also the way in which we feature authors who have coordinated with our team to write a special piece. Enjoy!

The Power of One Blogger

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Normally I wouldn’t write about my own startup on the Stanford blog. But I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw how fast and powerful just one blog was in spreading the word about Homeslyce, now servicing students starting college.
As you can see from the graph on the right, the number of unique users and page views shot up exponentially in just three days.
So I thought I’d write and share some things I saw and learned with my entrepreneurial home.


NYTimes Essay Contest submission

Monday, August 6th, 2007

So, I’ve been stopped out for two quarters now, and I’m wondering if I’ll come back.
Here’s my NYTimes Essay Contest submission.
“Should I Finish the Remaining Year?” a self-righteous, overly-critical, grandiose exploration of the college experience’s alignment with the corporation and global economy, by Bradley Heinz, in response to the challenge set forth by Rick Perlstein for the New York Times.
How exciting! Encouragement and intellectual space provided by a prestigious publication for me to vent about “the college experience,” or “finding myself” – three years of my life in an institution that has disappointed me. Instead of blossoming into a renaissance man exposed to the ideas and possibilities of the world, some promise of college I must have imagined, I feel as though I’ve been reduced to a specialized component of a larger society whose goal is to innovate, produce, consume, repeat. As I write here at this sidewalk café in San Francisco, having spent my summer couch-surfing and dumpster-diving as an amateur anthropologist and cultural critic, I wonder if I should drop out of Stanford.


Live (ish) from Greece (Day 2)

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

I’ve never been on a cruise. It’s like orientation in your freshman dorm except there’s nowhere to hide.
We just shoved off an hour ago and the wooziness-inducing swaying is making me feel drunk.
Unfortunately, I’m not drunk. Our introduction to the ship’s crew and activities, however, merited at least a couple shots of bourbon. (I’ve never had bourbon. I’m pretty sure it’s what Doris Day drank in That Touch of Mink, though. This has nothing to do with being on a cruise, but I like Doris Day.)


Live From Greece (Day 1)

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

parthenon.jpgI’m in Greece. First, let me say I wish I’d pledged a sorority while at Stanford. At least, back in my mother’s day, the sisters had to memorize the Greek alphabet, and any sort of clue would be helpful at this moment. I didn’t learn anything about the language or the country before coming here (as I was graduating/looking for jobs/moving out of the dorms for the last two weeks).
Over the next several days, I’ll be going from Athens to Istanbul and seeing the islands of the Mediterranean/Aegean along the way. So far, this seems like a (way too) good way to recover from a Stanford education, and for those other currently-unemployed recent graduates who have a mother willing to take them, I highly recommend it.
For the past day I have been 1) in Athens and 2) without luggage. Supposedly the bags are coming soon, but as I write this, I’m still in the hotel robe.
I wore the hotel robe like a toga around Athens today. I put an olive wreath around my head to go with the daily theme—“Greek.”
You must know I’m kidding because, of course, it’s over 100 degrees here and too hot for the robe. I just wore the wreath.


Philosopher Richard Rorty Has Died

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Richard Rorty, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and a significant figure in 20th century philosophy, died yesterday. Disenchanted with the trends of modern philosophy, Rorty shifted in his career from the sort of traditional analytical philosophy taught in philosophy departments to continental philosophy. Rorty received numerous awards, and, according to The Harvard Crimson, was supposed to receive an honorary degree from Harvard last week. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has an entry outlining his thought.
I was lucky enough hear him give a very interesting talk at the Symbolic Systems Forum two years ago, where he attacked much of the current analytical research program in philosophy of mind. A video of the talk is available on the Symbolic Systems website, as is an article from the Stanford News Service about the talk.
UPDATE, 6.10.07: Stanford News Service now has an article on his death.

Live (Puking) from the ER

Friday, June 8th, 2007

I’m in the emergency waiting room of Stanford Hospital. It’s my third trip since I began my Stanford career, four years ago. Three trips in four years, and I’ve never been the patient—I’m just the person dumb enough to drive the sickos here. Always a bridesmaid; never a bride.
So a seventeen-year-old girl just puked ten feet in front of me. Literally, ten feet. Maybe even seven.
For this, I could have stayed at Suites. Guys peeing off the balcony outside my room is gross but, hands down, barf is grosser. I think the drunken nausea of The Barfer (who just got carried away after falling out of her wheelchair) is compounded by the fact that The Barfer is also preggers. For the record, I’m neither drunk nor pregnant—that’s right, Mom and Dad—four years at Stanford and I’m currently sober and not knocked up—I did it! I beat the odds!
I want to look at it—the barf, that is. I really do. I have to see if it’s not that bad or if maybe it was just dry heaving and there was, indeed, no barf. Otherwise I’ll be stuck here staring at the wall forever. I’m going to look.


Stanford’s TECC Insitutes launch this summer (Stanford Spotlight)

Thursday, June 7th, 2007

Every summer Technology Education Cross-Cultures (TECC) launches summer institutes all over China — Each institute places teams of US and Chinese college students in rural areas to teach english and technology. TECC was started a couple years ago by Stanford Students in an effort to close the widening economic divide between rural communities and urban cities in China. Here’s a clip from the Shaanxi institute last year.


Computers masquerading as coffee tables

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

All technical blogs are abuzz with the news. As Microsoft is putting it, “Surface Computing has arrived”. You can find a complete demo with some incredible videos here.

It might seem like a big coffee table with a fancy top, but its in fact a powerful computer equipped with dozens of sensors and cameras monitoring the surface and running a schmoozed up version of Windows Vista. The project was secretly under development since 2001 under the code name “Milan”. Its priced in the $5000 to $10,000 range for now and is being targeted at the Hotel industry and other large corporate customers.


Stanford Joins WRC, FLA

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Today’s Daily front cover prominently features a very interesting story about Azia Kim’s involvement in ROTC, but the biggest news of the day–that Stanford is joining the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) and the Fair Labor Association (FLA)–received no notice on the news pages, and was relegated to a long op-ed by President Hennessy.
The WRC is a consortium of colleges pledging to ensure sweatshop labor is not used to produce licensed apparel with their logos, with a governing board split evenly among university administrators, representatives of United Students Against Sweatshops, and human and labor rights experts. Their website has a list of useful FAQs. (One thing to note, in particular, is that the WRC requires participating colleges to pay 1% of their gross licensing revenues up to a maximum of $50,000. I’d be curious to know how much that would end up being for Stanford.) The FLA, by contrast, is an organization with more corporate influence; according to its website, it’s a “multi-stakeholder coalition” of corporations, universities, and NGOs. Hennessy makes a good point in his op-ed that an optimal solution would have both labor activists and corporations working together in one organization; I imagine that either side would be very distrustful of an organization dominated by the other side.
Notably, Hennessy said that Stanford will not join the DSP, or Designated Suppliers Program, an additional program of the WRC that takes a significantly more activist role in ensuring sweatfree labor. In this program, universities are obligated to shift their licensed apparel (over a several year period) into factories which primarily produce college apparel. The argument is that doing so ensures that the colleges will have significant negotiating power. (Technically, the DSP will allow factories in which less than 50% of the apparel is from colleges, so long as the rest of the apparel comes from makers that will abide by the DSP’s standards, but that seems unlikely.)


Draw Results

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

The results for the housing draw have been posted. Statistics for this year are available online. Previous years’ statistics are available here, although the link to the 2006 statistics is currently broken and sends you to the 2007 statistics; a copy of the Google cache of the 2006 results is here.
Nothing quite as shocking as last year’s Toyon drawing unpreferred seems to have happened. Toyon drew around 1600 or so, still shockingly low for juniors or seniors who remember when Toyon was very hard to get into but at least juniors aren’t being assigned there. Also, it looks like co-ops like Columbae are getting filled with people who want to live there, as opposed to last year when people who hadn’t ranked it were put there.

Banned BBC documentary on Bush and Florida

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

Everyone needs to see this BBC video clip about the shady election process in Florida during the 2000 elections. It is sickening how manipulative Bush and the gang were, and how racist sentiments and attitudes still subtly pervade our society.
An interesting story to read, on the subtlety of modern racism, is “Gold Coast” by James Alan McPherson. I encourage everyone to read it.

Bicycle Wrecks

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

My wife and I, journalists from Alaska, are making a short, non-commercial documentary video about bicycling on the Stanford campus — the sheer beauty of it, the rush, the joys and pitfalls, and the collisions.
If you’ve been in a crash on your bike, whether solo or with others, we’d like to interview you. If you’re agreeable, please contact Peter at or Kathleen at, or call 1.650.494.1361.
We’re also interested in talking to Stanford musicians who’d be interested in writing and playing original music for the project.
Hope to hear from you!
Peter Porco

Feminicide = Sanctioned Murder

Monday, May 14th, 2007

The conference Feminicide = Sanctioned Murder: Race, Gender and Violence in Global Context will examine the murders and disappearances of women in Mexico, Guatemala and Canada that are occurring on an epidemic scale, and interrogate closely the gender, class, sexual and ethnoracial components of this violence against women. The aim and purpose of the conference is to stop the violence and map out ways to bring about justice.
Distinguished participants include Elena Poniatowska, one of Mexico’s most eminent writers, whose innovative writing advocates for women and the poor in their struggle for social and economic justice, and Lydia Cacho, who recently received the 2007 Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights from Amnesty International for exposing a net of pederasts linked to the government and big business, and for creating a shelter for the children, victims of trafficking and abuse in Cancún, Mexico.
The conference, presented by Chicana and Chicano Studies of The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University, brings together the most knowledgeable experts on the subject of feminicide in recent years, including mothers of murdered and disappeared women, activists, academics, writers and journalists, human rights lawyers, artists and filmmakers.


Let’s make this blog interesting

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

I love the idea of a Stanford blog. The students here have such a diversity of opinions, and exciting thoughts and issues are constantly circulating through our community. I truly believe that the rise of the ‘blog’ has been one of the most exciting things to happen to internet, and that it can be the perfect medium for facilitating this discussion. However, I’m also dismayed that this blog has been more of an alternative Stanford Daily, with many of the posts just rehashing yesterday’s news. I call upon all of my fellow bloggers to write about the things that make them feel uncomfortable. Upload posts that incite discussion, and get all of us thinking. Bring out the issues that lie just beneath the surface of everyday life that we are too timid to talk about. The last thing I want is for this blog to be a nice news forum, where people write about benign and, frankly, boring topics. Let’s make the Stanford Blog something special. Let’s make it something that people are excited to check out.

Gender what?

Sunday, May 6th, 2007

Do I look like a slut? Uh huh.

This is a compilation of all of the videos we could scrounge together of the night’s performances. Enjoy. :)
More event pictures here.