Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

Oak Creek: An Unexpected Journey

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

I guess it’s what you get for spending last quarter swimming in the Great Barrier Reef and pondering the infinite cuteness of the koala.  Like many of us who studied abroad, took a quarter off, or were otherwise not around for the fall, I’ve ended up in the infamous Oak Creek Apartments, renowned across campus for their forbidding distance.

Distance only slightly exaggerated.

But how is it really?  The apartments themselves are quite a bit more palatial than your average dorm, not quite competition for Toyon and Roble on the antique charm scale, but extremely livable.  There’s also a pool, sauna, private health club (currently being remodeled, but still), views of other people’s even prettier pools, and kitchens with capacious microwaves.  Additionally, I haven’t checked the statistics, but I think that you are about 7,000% less likely to die of impact with a rogue golf cart on the Oak Creek premises than almost anywhere else frequented by Stanford students.

But more than these materials benefits, Oak Creek seems like it fosters a particular way of life.  For one thing, going back to Oak Creek in between classes is impracticable for classes fewer than about 2 hours apart, so a typical day feels more like commuting to school.  But in one week so far, I’ve found that this constraint actually forces me to make better use of my time–instead of chasing the elusive power nap or re-watching Game of Thrones episodes, I end up reading, doing some light homework, or taking the opportunity to visit friends.  The walk/bike/drive to campus forces the residents of Oak Creek to be more punctual, since it’s hard to kid yourself about how fast you can get to classes when you have to navigate a meadow to arrive.  And if you feel like you need to develop some useful life skills, Oak Creek could be a great platform for improving your cooking, dishwashing, and interior design.

In short, although it involves a trek and a half, Oak Creek is not the horrible spector of bad housing it is often claimed to be.  Sometimes it’s not a bad thing to live on the edge.

 

Stanford Gangnam Style, Undergrad Style

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

Hats-off to the Korean Student Association and all of the dancers in the latest Stanford Gangnam Style parody. Unlike the GSB version, this one actually does the Stanford campus justice.

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The One, the Only, the 2013 Winter Course Guide

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

It’s that time of year again.

Let’s just say that this is NOT what Thanksgiving looks like at my house…

No, not Thanksgiving. I mean, yes – technically it is time for family drama, dried out Turkey, sleeping in a bed that hasn’t been tainted by years of college kids getting it on, and becoming unnecessarily excited that it’s now socially acceptable to eat truly stupid amounts of pumpkin pie. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Oh no. Not that. I’m talking about something far more important: the TUSB Winter Course Guide.

Yes, I know Axess opened a month ago. I’m sorry I’ve been a little late to the game. As you all know, the quarter system is effing exhausting and often prohibits us from doing those things we really want to do. However, because it’s “Break”, and because the lovely few of my saintly friends who actually follow this blog have been bugging me to get off my keister and actually write the darn thing, and because my brain is downright refusing to let me start the 25 page paper I’m supposed to write before the end of the holiday, and because it has recently been brought to my attention that I have atrocious time management skills, I’m excited to bring you the 2013 Winter  course guide.

Given that I didn’t have a spare week to sit around Starbucks and think up super-amazing themes like “the Muppets”, this time around I’m sticking with a classic: “When I Grow Up”. As always, you can rest assured that this course guide is poorly-informed, overly generalized, and rarely if ever politically correct. As always, I will accept no responsibility for any misery inflicted by taking any of these classes. So enjoy the post, enjoy the break, and – above all – enjoy the fact that we get to do this all over again after New Years. Cheers.

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iStanford launches for iPad this Thanksgiving Break

Monday, November 12th, 2012
Home screen

Page one of the home screen upon opening the app

If you’re lucky enough have an iPad, you just got a bit luckier. I’d like to introduce to you iStanford for iPad, the one way stop for all things Cardinal. If you’ve used the iPhone app, you already have an idea how iStanford provides a sleek, convenient mobile experience. The iPad version, however, has been completely rebuilt and redesigned for an ever smoother U/I experience, cool new features, and has integrated some of the most popular web services on the Farm. By combining features from Axess, ExploreCourses, Classowl, and others, iStanford demystifies the mobile side of the college experience.

iStanford was originally released in 2008 as a iPhone tool for students to access campus maps, course catalogs, email professors, and get news and information about Stanford sports teams. Since its first iteration, the app has undergone several face-lifts and added features, and now features real-time information about the campus shuttle service, the Marguerite, as well as campus trivia and class analytics.

“Students regard their mobile devices as indispensible to the way they learn, work and live,” said Thomas Black, Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs and University Registrar at Stanford University, whose team spearheaded the effort. “Providing them with the native tools they need to more intuitively navigate campus life in a way that feels normal and natural to them has been our primary focus throughout the iStanford initiative.”

Upon opening the app, the user is met with a series of tiles, each of which correspond to a Stanford-related feature. “My Academics” gives you quick access to your grades, GPA, and contact information. My personal favorite, “Classes” is a sleek, intuitive, take on explore courses. You can visually navigate through each department’s offered classes and easily access course descriptions, as well as see how different lecture or section times fit into your schedule. Neat stuff. Some of the more basic features include Stanfordwho, our campus directory, as well as Treevia, a quirky trivia game testing your knowledge on a wide array of Stanford facts.

My favorite feature: interactive course navigation

What makes iStanford for iPad really cool, though, is its integration of various Stanford-related features such as Classowl, OrgSync, and a few others. With Classowl, you can plan your school and social life in one convenient swoop, and Orgsync makes planning your club or student group’s meeting insanely easy. Along with Pathbrite, a feature offering next-gen e-portfolios, iStanford for iPad is really a one-stop shop. More info for Classowl, OrgSync, and Pathbrite is available on their respective websites.

So here’s a short to do list: First, find an iPad. Secondly, download iStanford when the app launches this Thanksgiving. I guarantee your Cardinal experience will get a whole lot easier. Visit the Facebook and Twitter pages for more info!

A Stanford Love Story: Suds, Circuits, and Romance

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Nerd love is the best love.

David Packard arrived at Stanford in 1930 as the Great Depression hit.  He was also, coincidentally, the Stanford dream incarnate.  When he wasn’t busy majoring in electrical engineering, he was playing football, basketball, or track for Stanford.  David had considered a career in basketball before deciding upon more academic pursuits.  In fact, David Packard and Bill Hewlett met because they both tried out for football during the fall of their freshman year!

I think you learn a lot of things in athletics and they’re very important in your later career….  You understand the importance of competition and fair play and you develop a sense of the importance of teamwork.”  - David Packard

The Wonder Woman of the early HP years.

To help pay for his education during tough times, “Dave” worked as a hasher and dishwasher in the Delta Gamma sorority.  He was washing dishes in the kitchen during a sorority party one night in the fall of 1933 when he was introduced to the vivacious young Lucile Salter, a sophomore in the sorority.  The two were married in 1938, the same year Hewlett-Packard was founded.  Lucile’s former chapter of Delta Gamma holds a number of co-sponsored philanthropic events with the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital to this day.

Lucile was crucial to the growth of Hewlett-Packard.  She was the sole breadwinner in 1938-1939, and her paycheck allowed Dave and Bill to focus on bringing new products to market.  According to the Hewlett-Packard history archives, she served as “laundress, housekeeper, bread winner, secretary, bookkeeper, company hostess, and steadfast supporter.”  She even baked metal panels for early HP prototypes in her kitchen oven (source).  What a woman!

 

5 Suggestions for Successful Freshmen

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Don’t forget to pop it every once in a while.

As the curtain begins to fall on my time at Stanford (well, at least the undergraduate part), I’ve been finding less and less time to actually reflect on the time I’ve spent here, mostly because I thought taking 7 classes was an awesome idea and, oh hey, I’m a moron. But I guess that’s not the point. After some gentle prodding from one of my Blog-affiliated friends, I took up my keyboard and began typing what would ultimately evolve into my 5 Suggestions for Successful Freshmen. It has a strange sort of ABABA alliteration to it, so I think I’ll keep the name.

Basically, I’m going to tell you a senior’s perspective on some (hopefully simple) things to keep in mind at Stanford in order to not pull your hair out. I wish I had done these things more as a Freshman (though honestly, it’s pretty much cross-class advice. Don’t think that just because you’re a junior you should just suddenly stop interacting with people. Well, unless you live in Oak Creek.). I tried to keep the titles short and the descriptions … less so, in the hopes that you’d be able to take away some (hopefully valuable?) thoughts on ways to contribute to having a good “Stanford Experience,” whatever that may mean to you. Personally, I’m new at this whole blogging business, but I think it’s at least better than Twitter, especially since I’m bumping up against 2000 words at the moment and I shouldn’t ever be allowed to use hashtags again. Anyways, without further ado, let’s get this ball rolling:

1. Get Out More.

True facts.

Stanford’s a really awesome place. Don’t get me wrong; that’s why people come here to take pictures all the time, I guess. However, the term “the Stanford bubble” is well-known by most everyone here because it’s so damn difficult to actually get off of campus once you get here. Sure, there’s an awesome-sounding movie playing in Redwood City this weekend, but the CalTrain schedule sucks and then you have to bike to the Marguerite and then you won’t get back in time for Mausoleum and a whole ton of other reasons that people never actually leave. While Stanford is your home for the next four years, it can also feel a bit … oppressive at times, especially since you’re also so close to your schoolwork. This leads to conversations at the dining hall where you just try to talk to people about who has the most work or complain about how tired you are or how well you just did on your midterm, none of which are particularly entertaining topics. Yes, you got a perfect score on the Chem 31 midterm, we’re all super proud of you. Hence, get off campus! Break out of the bubble, even if just for a little bit. Bike or bus to Palo Alto and just take a walk to clear your head, or try some of the awesome restaurants in and around University Avenue if you can’t or don’t want to go farther. Your work can wait a couple of hours while you get some off-campus air, and I’ve found it to be extremely refreshing. Sophomore year, I made a pact with my friends to go out for dinner at least once a weekend, and when we do, we avoid talking about work. Leave campus issues on campus and see what happens. It’s also a nice walk, to be honest. (more…)

I before E, except after Cal: A response to The Daily Californian

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This post is in response to a Daily Californian blog, which can be read here. The opinions expressed in this article are not the opinions expressed by The Unofficial Stanford Blog, The Stanford Daily, or its writers. Oh man, have I always wanted to write that. Buckle up.

Dear Daily Californian,

Recently, you published a blog article (blarticle) entitled “No competition” which, in my humble opinion, went too far. The Stanford Daily has already issued a response, which can be read here, but I thought I would take advantage of this blog’s Unofficial-ness to say some words that the good people at the Daily are too nice to say.

I… I can’t look away. So horrifying, and yet… so beautiful. (Credit: Jasmine M.)

Originally, my article just had the words “get over it” and a detailed sketch of the Tree mooning a bear, but my editor said the text had to at least fill a whole line.

So I wrote more words:

While I’m as pleased as anyone that you’ve learned to proofread, and have access to a platform to show other people this new skill, this is the saddest and most asinine drivel that’s ever been mistaken for a blog. And that’s after I learned “Birds with Arms” exists.

I realize that this post was written in good fun, something with which to placate the ire of students and alumni after Stanford’s beatdown of Cal, but I implore you to keep it classy, or at least relevant. When you fault a young woman for what might have been a keystroke error (Although a score of 10-1, while unlikely, is certainly possible), or insult the readers of the Daily (which include professors, Nobel Laureates, and freshmen in Stern Dining) in one sweeping generalization, you are sucking on the dregs of the stupidest Stanford-Cal rivalry there is, or ever will be: proofreading.

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Celebrate the Big Game Victory Like the GSB!

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

If you haven’t seen this already, or even if you have, take four minutes to celebrate today’s 21-3 triumph over the Golden Bears with some inspiring dance moves by a GSB flash mob of “Gangnam Style.” How they found a rainy day to tape this video is beyond me, but the content and choreography are worthy of the Cardinal brand.

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Your Vote Matters

Friday, October 19th, 2012

So make sure you’re registered! This is my quick and dirty (non-partisan) plea for you to participate in the upcoming election.

The 2008 election featured the energetic participation of youth voters. Four years later, voter apathy is on the rise amongst us millennials. I did a lot of voter registration over the summer and one of the most frustrating things to hear from potential first-time voters was, “I’m not voting.” These individuals didn’t have some strong moral conviction against voting– they just didn’t want to take two minutes of their day to fill out a form. I asked one young man on a skateboard if he was registered and he actually said, “Meh,” and rolled on by. Meh. Like I was offering him leftover potato salad or a club flyer.

With less than three weeks until the election, some voter registration deadlines have already passed and the rest are coming up quickly. California’s deadline is October 22ndand the last day to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot is October 30th. If you’re voting as a California resident, you can register online! Voters from all states can check their registration status here. Remember that the presidential election isn’t the only thing at stake . Read up on your local races and learn what all those propositions are referring to.

So please don’t be that skater kid and “meh” me on this one. Check your registration status and get ready to cast your ballot.

Look- celebrities want you to do this too! And I’m sure David Cross would just blue himself if he knew you weren’t registered to vote.

 

Seen at the Career Fair….

Sunday, October 7th, 2012
  • “And you’re co-terming? Eeeexcellent! We wants it, my precioussss.”

    company representatives walking around in the crowd, whispering, “CS… we want you…” looking for CS majors like drug dealers while panting in their pantsuits.

  • free T-shirts everywhere you go.  You can fill an entire wardrobe just at the Career Fair.
  • lots of startups whose names abused the English language that couldn’t explain what they did
  • massive line for Microsoft
  • free wine-tasting trips to Napa as the top freebie
  • General Motors handing out Detroit chocolate to convince you Detroit is a nice place
  • Palantir’s orange earbuds
  • Wait, there’s a CS career fair tomorrow?  So what was today?
  • Business casual is masochistic.
  • SpaceX was the most popular table.  Don’t understand why?  Sheesh, it’s not like it’s rocket science.
  • McKinsey had a table despite having resume drop before the career fair.
  • Seniors suffered peer pressure to go to the fair.  EVERYONE ELSE IS DOING IT, MAN.
  • Nobody knows what consulting is.
  • Applications to Stanford grad schools sharply increasing.
  • Abundant coughing after FMOTQ.

How Safe Is Stanford??

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A recent report by the University’s Department of Public Safety tells two stories, one of progress and another of lingering concerns.

On one hand, Stanford’s cops have made major gains in reducing crime across a swath of categories, including burglaries, liquor law arrests, and drug violations. On the other, 12 students suffered forcible sexual assaults last year, and bike theft remains a major problem on campus.

Bike theft remains a major problem on campus. Column 1 refers to year, column 2 to student residences, column 3 to on-campus, column 4 to non-campus, and column 6 to total thefts. According to the footnote, statistics on bike theft are being voluntarily tracked by Stanford University as of 2009.

Always an option if you are really running late to class.

In fairness, bike theft is extremely difficult to prevent, given the size of our campus and the number of places where such incidents could occur. However, these numbers are completely unacceptable. With all of the resources at this university’s disposal, no Stanford student should have to fear for their safety or for the theft of often-expensive property.

In addition, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) saw 72 students last year, 59 of whom were underage. The most common referral to OAPE is for intoxication. These incidents are disciplinary actions, and there was a slight uptick from 52 students in 2010 and 61 in 2009. Data on DUIs were not available in the report.

Another interesting tidbit in the report revealed the causes of fires in the past three years. These included a water heater fire, a trash fire, a box of T-shirts left on the stove (Storey), and burning books and paper (FloMo). I’m guessing the frequent popcorn-induced fire alarms were not included in the report; otherwise, they would require their own special section.

Finally, the report provided some useful information that I had never encountered before:

  • Apparently, there is a Freshman Emergency Ride Home Program that, according to the report, “provides taxi service back to campus for freshmen who are caught without a ride or are in an emergency situation (within eight miles of campus). Freshmen must pre-register at: http://transportation.stanford.edu/erh, using Yellow Cab of Palo Alto, account # 300-350. For more information, call (650) 321-1234 or (888) 512-1234.” Freshmen get up to four free rides…probably beats waiting for 5-Sure.
  • Those Cal fans can get a bit rowdy….

    The Department for Public Safety teaches a 1-unit Community Police Academy class in winter quarter (LAWGEN 209Q) that, among other things, includes pursuit practice in the driving simulators at The Police Academy in San Jose.

  • Public Safety offers free threat or vulnerability assessments of any building, lab, or facility on campus. The assessment entails a walk-through of the building by their personnel with the building or facility manager. For anyone worried about fire hazards, these are your people to call.

Criticisms aside, Public Safety has unquestionably been working hard. Last year, their Records Division took 185 police reports, assisted 9,281 people over the phone, and helped more than 3,354 walk-in customers. A renewed focus on bike theft and forcible sexual assault would go a long way to ensuring that this campus is as safe as it can be.

 

NSo Excited!

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

    Summer is coming to a close once again, and fall is making a comeback… and it’s bringing more than earthy tones and a new set of trends with it. It’s also the host of a new batch of freshmen, the Class of 2016.

    Although not yet on campus, Sixteen has already managed to become a topic of conversation and a subject of memes in the Stanford community. “Why?” you may ask. Well, it goes without saying that this class is bringing in world-class minds and athletes alike… but doesn’t every class? A freshman class filled with awesome people that you can’t help but talk about is the usual at Stanford. We know current students love nothing more than a surge of ohmigod-I-can’t-believe-I’m-here freshmen, right? I mean, aren’t we cute? (maybe don’t answer that…)

   So, in addition to the usual, super-legitimate reasons, Sixteen has managed to build a reputation through its online presence… gotta love the digital age! Between the Confessions from Stanford ordeal and the level of activity on The Official Stanford Class of 2016 Facebook group, Sixteen has gotten people talking… but it’s more than just the class itself that’s caused a stir, it’s also the changes coming in with us. For example, our Three Books aren’t books. We have a documentary, an app suite, and one book… which is about a metalhead growing up in rural South Dakota. Without three books, is it still true to the Three Books program? People have a whole scope of opinions about that, as you can see by perusing this article from The Daily: “Choice for Three Books Disappointing”.

    For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to hear/talk about these things, I’ll give you a quick summary. Confessions from Stanford is a blog started by Amelia Brooks ’16. She started off using the blog to write about her journey, as an applicant, to Stanford and to give advice to prospective applicants. Then, seeking a variety of voices, she turned to her fellow Sixteen-ers and asked others to post as well, and post they did. The larger Stanford community caught wind of the blog, and before you could say “we love freshmen” there were words like “presumptuous” and “ridiculous” being thrown around. People were aghast that rising freshmen would have the gall to write about Stanford before they even got there, as expressed by StanfordGirlProblems.

Confessions from Stanford

This is what the blog looks like, although I wasn’t able to capture the disclaimer in this picture.

A lot of the ill-feelings that sprung up are undoubtedly related to the blog’s title. The “from” implies that it is coming from Stanford, which it wasn’t because the bloggers were obviously not yet at The Farm. You can’t help but wonder if this is an arbitrary matter being blown up out of proportion… I mean one has to concede that “Confessions from Stanford” is a lot catchier than “Confessions from Where I Live Which Will Eventually Be Stanford.” However, examination of the blog shows that it has a disclaimer, which shows that things have obviously been carefully thought out. Was this questionable choice on the name just a poor oversight? Will things be different once the bloggers are on campus? We’ll have to wait and find out.

   However, in the spirit of objectivity, there are some points that need to be made. First, the blog was not giving any kind of advice about being at Stanford, it talked about getting there and aimed to convey the experience of making the transition to life as a Stanford student. Second, although some find it presumptuous that the authors wrote about admissions, it is worth remembering that as undergrads, we’re all only admitted once. Whether it happened two or ten years ago, it is a singular experience that remains unchanged as time passes, as does one’s level of knowledge about what really happens in the admissions office and about why some admissions angel chose them… but I’ll let you form your own opinions. Yes, some of the posts can come off as a tad presumptuous, so get the info you need to shape your opinions by checking out the Confessions from Stanford blog and enjoy this bit of info straight from the source: The Daily will be interviewing Confessions from Stanford founder Amelia Brooks herself.

   As for the Class of 2016 Facebook group, all you really need to know is that it’s always buzzing with activity. In fact, the Word Association thread boasts nearly 23,000 comments.

The Word-Association Thread in the c/o 2016 FB group

(I apologize that it’s in Spanish)

This may seem obscene to you, but Sixteen can’t help it, we’re pumped for Stanford and can’t wait ‘til NSO! We’re “NSo excited!”

Breaking the Fall: 2012 Autumn Course Guide

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Ah, summer. One minute you’re shotgunning a beer celebrating with friends after your last final, the next, you’re waking up and rolling over to find that two months of beaching, traveling, summer-schooling, tanning, grilling, working, and/or your resume-building b****work meaningful internship experience have flown by and it’s already August. Which means it’s time to maybe, possibly, conceivably consider what you’ll be studying in the fall. Even at Stanford, summer doesn’t last forever, and eventually we’ve got to come to grips with  all of our first-world problems – namely, enrolling in classes at the happiest place university on earth. But, fear not – I have spent the last fortnight scouring every course in every department this school has to offer (upon reading this line, my proofreader claims that I “need to get laid a life”), with the hope of delivering the BEST list of classes to get you STOKED to come back to campus. It combines all the things I love most in life: cool classes that don’t physically drive me to tears (yes, I’m talking to YOU, “Inventing Classics“), excessive linkage, personality stereotypes, semi-snarky commentary, giant over-generalizations and massive assumptions, and most importantly: THE MUPPETS.  In any case, I hope the article piques your interest in something you might have otherwise overlooked, missed, or been to lazy to go look up.  And if not, all I can say is that I hope it makes you laugh (if only in pity). Other than that, here’s to the remaining MONTH of summer (suck it, Cal) and the boredom and restlessness that will inevitably accompany it. Cheers.

 

Autumn 2012 classes for…

the wise-guy

Old Guys Rule.

AMSTUD 140: Stand Up Comedy and the “Great American Joke” Since 1945

I took this class last fall. Actual (read: more or less deeply paraphrased) quote from the prof: “Hey, Hennessey – I’ve got an idea for a class. It will involve abundant sexism, racism, elitism, lewd and scatalogical references, innappropriate behvaior, excessive profanity, and – above all – some of the most brilliant and observative writers, performers, and anthropologists of our time.  What’s this class called, you ask? Well, it’s Stand Up Comedy and the Great American Joke”. Take this class. It’s awesome.

MUSIC 36N: Humor in Music

My visions of this class involve Steel Panther, Weird Al, and Parry Gripp.

Thank God I’m not teaching it.

 

the romantic

Living up to his name like an absolute champ

HISTORY 33A: Blood and Roses: The Age of the Tudors
Mystery, murder, sex, and scheming? And you thought your family was dramatic.

ATHLETIC 39: Fencing: Beginning
So you can do THIS.

ENGLISH 154: Mapping the Romantic Imagination
The map of MY romantic imagination involves horseback trips through the Florin countryside with Wesley, a sunset on the bow of the (intact) Titanic with Jack, the California coastline in Benjamin Bradford’s convertible, getting stuck on an island in the Caribbean with Cap’n Jack Sparrow, Patrick Verona’s paintball park, and wherever Ryan Gosling is currently located (though, preferably here). To my great disappointment, however, I believe this class refers a bit more to the English romantic poets and novelists and the sublime countrysides they envisioned. Then again, is anything quite as lovely and romanticized as curling up with a little Keats and Byron?

 

the hipster

This muppet is actually called Harry the Hipster. You've probably never heard of him.

ENGLISH 121A: Tattoos, Scars, Marks and American Cultures of Inscription

I feel bad for the poor sucker of a TA who has to read 60+ papers on “Why the dolphin/butterfly/Chinese symbol for “peace”/shooting star/infinity sign/angel wings/song lyrics/Bible verse on my ankle/lower back/shoulder blade/neck/wrist/sideboob/part of my hip that totally gets gets covered by a bikini is a unique artistic expression of my inner self”.

ARTSTUDI 131: Sound Art I 
Because taking just “music” was too mainstream.

FILMSTUD 301: Fundamentals of Cinematic Analysis 
Take this class so that the next time you’re giving your pretentious opinion about the latest film showing at INSERT NAME OF UNKNOWN THEATER HERE, you’ll be able to reference a little-known technique/genre/style/paradigm/buzzword that your professor mentioned once in class.

COMM 182: Virtual Communities and Social Media
This should prepare you well for your vague “job” in the vague cross section between “media” and “social networking” at that start-up no one has ever heard of.

 

the history buff

I want that blazer.

HISTORY 95C: Modern Japanese History: From Samurai to Pokemon
Samurai…. Pokemon. SAMURAI… POKEMON. I’m not quite  sure what’s between these two poles (the history of sushi?!?!) but it’s guaranteed to be awesome.

COMM 125: Perspectives on American Journalism
I don’t know enough about journalism or, frankly, television to confidently explain why “The Newsroom” sucks and “The Wire” is the bestest thing ever since Ike’s Menais a Trois. Admittedly, I should probably take this class and many others on this list. In any case, if you believe the slow death of the newspaper is a genuine travesty or that Cronkite and Murrow could give Colbert and Stewart a run for their money, then this might be the class for you.

HISTORY 103F: Introduction to Military History
It’s like the Military Channel… sans couch.

HISTORY 243G: Tobacco and Health in World History
Not to get all Nick Naylor on you guys, but I’m genuinely curious how one-sided this class is.

HISTORY 59S: The Digital Historian’s Toolkit: Studying the West in an Age of Big Data
From my quick read of the course-description,  it seems like this class involves old documents, scanners, and many a rubber glove. That said, if you like seeing history immortalized and like to wonder “what did they think back then?” and “how did that really happen?” then this is the class for you.

EDUC 116N: Howard Zinn’s ‘A People’s History’ and the Quest for Historical Truth
If you’re reading this section, theres a decent chance that you identify yourself as a history buff. Howard Zinn was the guru/godfather/mack-daddy of all American history buffs. Student, meet the ultimate teacher.

HISTORY 308D: Pre-Modern Warfare
I’m not exactly sure at what point/what contraptions fall under the heading of “Modern Warfare”, but if you’re telling me that I get to take a class on how to use the history of ninja stars, crossbows, catapults, and broadswords, then SIGN. ME. UP.

CLASSGEN 103: The Greek Invention of Mathematics
My sole incentive for taking this class would be figuring out exactly which Greek mathematician to fantasize about brutally torturing  whilst in the middle of my Math 52 midterm.

 

the patriot

Coming Soon: Muppets take 'Merica.

CSRE 51K: Election 2012

I should really, REALLY take this class. Seriously, because – besides Obama – I’m not really sure who’s actually still in the race.

COMM 162: Campaigns, Voting, Media, and Elections 
See above comment.

COMM 164: The Psychology of Communication About Politics in America 
I’d like to think that, to the individuals who plan to lead my country and allegedly have my best interest at heart, I am more than just a number and that my opinions and behaviors are more than just statistics.

ECON 18: The Washington Debate About American Competitiveness
If I take this class, will I get a job?

PUBLPOL 170: Political Corruption
It’s not cheating if you don’t get caught.

PUBLPOL 154: Politics and Policy in California
Let’s hope that by the time this class is over, Michael Tubbs will have a place in its curriculum.

ECON 25N: Public Policy and Personal Finance
Something about tax-brackets… maybe. I expect to see a lot of pitchforks and raised fists.

HUMBIO 120: Health Care in America: An Introduction to U.S. Health Policy
Obamacare. And other stuff. Probably.

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WhuhOh OhNo PoPo: why a more serious Stanford Police would make for a safer Stanford.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

Since I’m working abroad this summer, it’s always nice to get updates from the Farm.  However, I couldn’t help but facepalm upon opening up Gmail this evening to find not one, but FOUR emails from the Stanford Police regarding an escaped prisoner.  Sigh.  Now, I could take a jab or make a joke here, but I’d prefer to take it as an opening for some long-needed dialogue.

Stanford students, by and large, do not take the Stanford Police seriously, and this perception reduces the safety of Stanford students.

The Stereotype

It’s pretty easy to understand why Stanford students are disillusioned.  Stanford is lucky to have a very low crime rate, so university-wide alerts are rare.  What this means for our police is that every alert is read with scrutiny.  Thus, when 3 of only a handful of alerts per year warn us about “hot prowls” and Indian men smelling of apples, there’s ample cause for skepticism.

It also troubles me personally that I get duplicates of every notification.  This suggests a lack of robustness in their alert system, which makes me feel like I’m getting the message intended for some hapless student stranded in the physics basement.  From a nerd’s standpoint, it’s also upsetting that whoever is coding AlertSU is probably using an inferior Container class when really they should have used a Set to avoid duplication… but I digress.

The fact of the matter is that, from an absolute standpoint, the Stanford Police actually keeps us very safe.  After all, the greatest danger to a Stanford student is, unfortunately, the Stanford student.

Saving Us from Ourselves

If you're dressed like this, you've probably exited the realm of making good choices. ;)

The main reason it bugs me when people don’t respect the Stanford Police is that they then extend this to everything the police stand for.  Bike lights.  Stopping at stop signs.  Responsible drinking.  I know I probably sound like a nag here, but I’ve had too many friends come home bleeding after dark from some failed combination of the three.

I’m also frankly pleased with the strong presence of the police at busy on-campus events like Exotic Erotic.  While I hope that my friends and I will never need their help, it’s always comforting knowing that those students who do push their limits will have trained professionals taking care of them right away.  So if treating those saviors for sloshed students with respect is gonna cost me the few seconds of stopping at a stop sign, so be it.

I want Stanford students to have greater cause for confidence in our police, because I think that once we believe in their authority, we’ll also have greater cause to watch out for one another.

Constructive Steps

Rebel wannabes: slow your roll.

If it is, indeed, a numbers game, then the Stanford police should notify students of all their successes to balance out their foibles.  But everyone knows that the moment you become that spammer guy on the dorm chatlist, nobody takes you seriously again.  (Seriously, dude, stop trying to sell me your psych books.)  So that’s out.

However, one thing that could really help would be to start from the bottom up with education on what our police actually does.  New Student Orientation has plenty of time for in-dorm instruction, and considering recent dorms’ great success in promoting safety among their residents (I’m looking at you, Larkin ’11-’12), I think a fifteen minute spiel on What the Stanford Police Do For You could do wonders.

We, the students, also aren’t exempt from some scrutiny.  To those of you who don’t use bike lights: um, seriously?  They cost max $10, and they’re free at NSO.  Man up.  Additionally, unless you are James Dean or Steve McQueen, I think you can afford to take a few seconds to pause at a stop sign.

Big Picture

Hot prowls and all, the police are there to help you.  So the next time you see a Stanford officer, treat the situation with respect.

Unless he smells like apples.  In which case, RUN.

Top 10 Things I Observed While Sitting at The Claw

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

A couple days ago, I decided to break the time-honored tradition of napping until 9pm and actually spent my afternoon outside. I walked to The Claw and sat. Just sat and observed. And I sat on that stone bench for almost three hours, as sunlight, water mist, and teenage pheromones bathed my skin. Here are a few observations I made during that time:

10. There are a lot of BMX riders on campus

Things needed to do this: 1. helmet 2. shin guards 3. severe disregard for gravity

Does Stanford attract more thrill-seeking cyclists during the summer, or are they more visible because there are fewer people on campus? I saw a least 4 different BMXers pass through my perch outside the bookstore. Gnarly.

 

9. People run

This is nothing new; Stanford students can jog year-round, thanks to almost-perpetual sunshine and ample trails. But I’m not just talking about the running club (which I was inadvertently part of, as they apparently meet near where I was sitting), but random people. In jeans. One was running to the post office, ostensibly to mail a package before it closed. Another because–I’m not sure. It looked like he suddenly realized he could get places in less time by simply moving his legs faster. If time is money, and running saves time, then these people were coupons still ridiculous-looking.

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