Archive for the ‘Ideas’ Category

No, Stanford Should Not Give Jim Harbaugh More Money

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Since Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh took the Cardinal from a lowly 1-11 to a bowl-bound, #4 ranked powerhouse, Stanford fans have been worried that he will take his coaching elsewhere. The NFL or other schools, such as his alma mater Michigan, are willing to pay him very large salaries to take the helm for another team. As such, supporters of Stanford football and pro-Harbaugh advocates have made clear the position that Stanford should do what it takes to keep Harbaugh as Stanford’s coach–or, in other words, give him more money with a big new contract.

This is the wrong thing to do. Harbaugh is an excellent football coach, but that does not mean Stanford should give him more money.

The most recent calls for paying Harbaugh more have come from Hoover Fellow Alvin Rabushka, as well as an online petition echoing similar claims. Rabushka claims:

Paying millions to a football coach, even one of the top three in the country, is not in keeping with Stanford’s educational values, even though Stanford football competes against top national programs. Don’t the players deserve the same first-rate instruction in football that students receive in the classroom?

While this argument certainly has merit, I believe it is founded on an assumption that is actually a misconception. Yes, Stanford tries to excel in everything it does. But giving a larger contract to Jim Harbaugh actually runs contrary to this aim.

If Stanford were to excel equally in all aspects, and adding more money to the football program–i.e. paying Harbaugh more than his current salary of $1.25 million per year, or nearly twice the salary of President Hennessy and 13 times as much as the average associate professor at Stanford–did not take away from any other piece of the University, then the argument rests on different grounds. But the university does not excel in all different aspects and there is already a huge disparity in the amount of attention, value, and funding given to some parts of the school over others. Giving more to Harbaugh would make the discrepancy even worse and reaffirm the idea that some students are more worthy than others.


Stanford Bowl Situation…again

Monday, November 29th, 2010

So I realize that Kevin just blogged about our bowl situation.  But that was before BCS standings came out.  And frankly, this is an amazing year for Stanford football.  We are #5 in the AP Poll, 11-1 for the first time ever, Luck just set a single season school touchdown record, and we have had 3 shut outs this season.  We have the best quarterback, arguably the best player (HEISMAN!), in college football.  We are in my mind the best one loss team in the country.  IN THE COUNTRY.  In fact right now our football team is nationally ranked higher than our academic program…and we are Stanford.  We have created one of the most dynamic football teams in the nation without jeopardizing the high academic standards that make Stanford the incredible school we know it to be.  Just a little while ago when we were 1-11, the idea of a BCS bowl seemed impossibly far off, yet here we are, thanks to our amazing players and astounding coaching staff.  In fact, this season has been so amazing that I think it deserves, not one, but TWO bowl articles.

Now that I am done gushing, let’s get down to business.   I will try and make this as simple as possible, but keep in mind that this involves the BCS, so it can’t really be all that simple.

First thing first.  In case you didn’t know, we are #4 in the BCS rankings this week.  Those ranked in the top four get an automatic invite to a BCS bowl game (in BCS speak, an automatic berth).  The schools closest behind us have already finished their regular season, as have we.  With a .0228 lead on Wisconsin, we can comfortably say, unless the voters go insane before their next vote, we should remain ahead.   This essentially means STANFORD WILL PLAY IN A BCS BOWL!  “Which BCS bowl?” you ask.   Here is where things get tricky. (more…)

Star Power for Social Good: Clooney and Prendergast Speak Out on Sudan

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Usually at the start of an event article such as this, I’d provide some background, some details on the event, maybe a few witticisms, and wrap up with some related resources.  And I will.  Just not yet, because that is not the point.  If you take nothing else away from this article, give this sentence your full attention:

Sudan is at the precipice of civil war, and YOU can do something to prevent the next genocide.


  • A Sudanese child soldier: the very real human consequence of inaction in Sudan

    Sign a petition at  ask Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough (Obama’s point person inside the White House on Sudan) to “make sure Sudan’s leaders fully comply with the benchmarks for progress in both Darfur and South Sudan before any incentives are granted by the U.S. Government.”

  • Write a personal letter to Obama himself:  ask him to remember the January deadline.
  • Join STAND, Amnesty International, or any of Stanford’s other anti-genocide groups on campus.
  • Participate in Stanford’s Darfur Fast:  Nov. 17th, all-day, with breaking of the fast 6-7:30 p.m., 1st floor Tresidder Union.  Register here, suggested donation $10.  Proceeds benefit the Darfur Stoves project.
  • Purchase a STAND Beat Cal Sudan T-shirt:  30% of proceeds go to the Darfur Stoves project.
  • Buy food at Jamba Juice between November 10 and 19, mentioning STAND or Darfur Fast, and a portion of the proceeds will go to Darfur Stoves.
  • Use social media to spread the word!

Our generation can reverse the tide of racial genocide and use creative diplomacy to prevent future atrocities.  Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?


TUSGraph: Daylight Wastings Time

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

TUSB 2011 Winter Course Guide: spice up your courseload!

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Stanford: land of sunshine-y studying all year round

It’s that time of year again!  Not sure what winter classes to take?  No worries; check out TUSB’s course primer.  Whether you’re looking to satisfy a GER, find profound inspiration, or just take a fun class for kicks, we’ve got you covered.

If there’s anything we missed, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comments – we appreciate your feedback.  Additionally, you can check out past years’ course guides hereEnjoy!

Shake Your Groove Thing:  what better way to shake off the winter doldrums (literally) than with some fun dance classes?  Here’s a small sampling of the Dance Department’s awesome offerings.

  • Dance 30Chocolate Heads – contemporary dance from around the world
  • Dance 106African Styles on Stage – inspiration from the African diaspora
  • Dance 138Liquid Flow – “design and engineering through a tactile, kinetic and kinesthetic lens”
  • Dance 147Living Traditions of Swing – taught by the one, the only Richard Powers himself

Out of This World:  all the classes that remind me of Star Trek

  • To boldly split infinitives where no man has split infinitives before!

    Humbio 183Astrobiology and Space Exploration – life on earth and possibly elsewhere, NASA astronauts give guest lectures

  • AA 236BSpacecraft Design Lab – emphasis on practical applications, design, and launching
  • History 6NUtopia: History of Nowhere Land – focusing on Utopian literature of the early modern period
  • CHEM 27NLasers: The Light Fantasticset phasers to stun!


Racking my Brain: A few of the Benefits of Psych Studies

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Unofficial Stanford blog readers, I am about to share something quite personal.  So personal, that I myself only first clearly viewed this thing a few days ago.  Yes, here is a picture of my brain:

Yes, that is a real picture, from a real MRI machine, of my real brain (as opposed to my fake brain).  And this is a story of yet another reason I love this University: the psych studies.

In case you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of Stanford’s psych studies.  Not only did I  get pictures of my brain, as well as contributing to scientist’s knowledge of how the brain reacts to emotions, but I also got paid $126 for four hours of my time.  I can’t think of *ahem* many things that yield that type of pay.  And only for about an hour and a half of that time was I having to lie still in the MRI machine.  The rest of it was consent forms and computer games.

I also learned a little about Stanford’s Lucas Center.  I know we’re a leading research institution and yada yada, but it really is cool to know how much our school is influencing research in the rest of the world.  The Lucas Center is the place where a lot of that goes down.

So if you haven’t, take the opportunity to sign up for a psych study, and get paid to do something easy.  It’s pretty cool.

Inventions for Stanford Students

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Bike safety:

Because God forbid anyone just wore a helmet to protect all that knowledge up there. In case of an accident, a helmet might protect what you remember from that foreign language you took in high school:

“Un sac à dos intelligent et signalant par des LED les directions prises par le cycliste : gauche ou droite. Conçu par Lee Myung Su Design Lab et intitulé “Seil Bag”, ce projet a remporté le prix du Design Concept au Red Dot Awards 2010. Explications et vidéo dans la suite de l’article.”

Earthquake safety:

This one is a bit ridiculous. It might calm the nerves of some, knowing they could rush to any doorway during an earthquake.

“In anticipation of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake possibly hitting the city of Istanbul by 2030, an MA design student named Younghwa Lee from Kingston’s University has designed a special kind of door that protects residents from falling quake debris. Designed to ensure safety and reduce injury or death, the door folds horizontally in the middle, while the bottom part remains braced against the floor for support. This allows the door to sit in an angle when the earthquake strikes while the person takes shelter under the fold.”


What is CCARE???

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

CCAREI was also among the crowd that gathered at Maples Pavilion this morning to hear the Dalai Lama speak about “The Centrality of Compassion and Human Life in Society”. It was mentioned that His Holiness had previously donated to Stanford’s “Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education” (CCARE) . His generous donation ($150,000 generated from book sales) was one of the largest he’s ever made to a non-Tibetan cause. Dr. James Doty, director of CCARE, comically told the audience that his first thought at the time was “Who am I to take the Dalai Lama’s money?”.

Not knowing anything about CCARE, I was curious about that same thing. (more…)

Crash Course: the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

So we all know that the Dalai Lama is a really big deal.  But do most of us know exactly why?  Probably not.  Have no fear; here’s a primer on everything you need to know tomorrow to understand and appreciate the importance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

What’s in a name?

The literal derivation of the phrase “Dalai Lama” comes from a combination of the Mongolian word Далай “Dalai” meaning “ocean” and the Tibetan word བླ་མ “Blama” (the b is silent) meaning “chief” or “high priest.”

The meaning behind the name is more complex.  The Dalai Lama is the head Buddhist leader of the religious officials of the “Yellow Hat” branch of Tibetan Buddhism.  He is believed to be the rebirth of a long line of tulkus – high-ranking lamas, or spiritual teachers on Dharma (duty) – descending from Avalokitesvara, “the Lord who looks down” and the embodiment of the compassion of all of the Buddhas.

Becoming the highest lama:

The current Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Thondup on July 5, 1935 to a poor farming family in Tibet.   He was barely three years old when a search party sent out by the Tibetan government to find the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama arrived and swept the young boy off to Kumbum monastery where his training would begin.  He began his monastic education at the age of six, when he began studies in logic, Tibetan art and culture, Sanskrit, medicine, Buddhist philosophy, poetry, music and drama, astrology, motre and phrasing, and synonyms.


Interview with Chris Rurik, Student Author and Creator of All of 100

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Chris Rurik, contributor and friend of TUSB and current Stanford senior, has been working for nearly two years on a daily blog called All of 100 along with friends Wyatt Roy ’11 and Lara Ortiz-Luis ’11. All of 100 has only one rule: you post exactly 100 words each day. Any format, any style, and any subject are fair game. Recently, they compiled their favorite posts and self-published a book, also called All of 100; the three will be hosting a release party for the book today (Monday 10/4) at French House at 8pm.

I sat down with Chris to talk about writing, the blog, and how the book came to be.

TUSB: What inspired you to make the book?
CR: The book came later; originally, one day I realized wanted to consider myself a writer yet I never really did anything about it. If I wanted to be a great basketball player, I’d shoot free throws everyday to become a good free throw shooter. So I decided I’d make an arbitrary rule to get myself writing every day and not worry about it too much. Something simple that wouldn’t be great literature. So I said, “Ok—100 words every day.” And I told [co-authors Wyatt Roy and Lara Ortiz-Luis], “Can I email what I write to you every day?” And they said, “Yeah sure…Wait, actually this is a cool idea—can we join?”

We created the blog so we could share with each other what we were writing each day. And then really interesting things started happening: since the only restriction is exactly 100 words it’s open to so much interpretation, and because you’re doing it every day you can try a new approach every day . So eventually we realized, “Wow–some of these are really awesome, we’d like to polish them and collect them.” And that’s where the idea for the book came. That started about last September; it’s been about a yearlong process getting it together.

TUSB: Have you edited the pieces at all?
CR: For all of the pieces in the book, we took what we originally wrote and edited them several times, both each other’s and our own.

TUSB Classifieds: New Leadership Positions and Jobs

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A bunch of club positions and job applications are available this week. Check out the opportunities listed below, and feel free to comment and add others about which you’ve heard.

Club Opportunities

Stanford Finance – info session tonight at Hillel at 8 PM; applications due October 8; contact Adam Chadroff at for more info

Stanford in Government (SIG) – one of Stanford’s largest student groups; apply here; applications due Thursday

Stanford Alumni Mentoring (SAM) – not technically a club, but a chance to get your career going with a mentor in your field of interest; apply here; deadline Oct. 8

FUSION – Future Social Innovators Network; email app to

Stanford Shakespeare Company – auditions tonight and tomorrow, info meeting tonight at 7:30 PM in Roble Gym, Room 33 (375 Santa Teresa St)

Stanford Mock Trial – info session tonight at Old Union 216 at 6 PM

NAACP Frosh Internship Program – apply here; due Oct. 10

TUSB – for the best and brightest; meeting this Thursday at 9 PM in Old Union 200

Paid Jobs

Admit Weekend Coordinator – apply here; due by Oct. 13

Part-time work at Feminist Studies: Office Assistant Position; email Michelle Zamora this week with your resume to get an interview

Part-time Stanford Psychology Undergraduate Research Assistant – Dweck-Walton Lab of Social Psychology; for more info email Priyanka at

Marketing Director for Stanford Yearbook – email Jonathan Gelbart at for more info; apps due by Oct. 4

Hebrew School teacher – class meets 6-8:30 PM on Wednesdays at congregation in San Mateo; email Jarrod Marks at for more info

Assistant in Hispanic Entertainment Division with Terry Hines & Associates – email interest with resume to; great for those interested in movies and entertainment marketing; must be fluent in Spanish

Other Opportunities

White House Internship Program – application deadline Oct. 3

INROADS –  due by March 31, 2011


Thursday, April 1st, 2010

If you still haven’t been initiated to Chatroulette you should be ashamed of yourself.  If you have been then your parents should be ashamed of you.

For those of you who have thus far maintained your innocence (and have an unnaturally high curiosity threshold), here’s the inside scoop: Chatroulette is full of dicks.  Or, to be a little more gender-neutral, full of perverts.  13% to be exact.

Enter Stanford initiative. Brain-child of Jordan Potter ’11 and his team (Vahé Musoyan ’10, Adrian Torchiana ’09 M.S. ’10, Wyatt Roy ’11), Chabbler seeks to reconstruct the video chat experience- without the nudity.

From left to right: Vahé Musoyan '10, Jordan Potter '11, Adrian Torchiana '09 M.S. '10

From left to right: Vahé Musoyan '10, Jordan Potter '11, Adrian Torchiana '09 M.S. '10

(more…) Your One Stop Destination for Stanford Events

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

I think everyone on campus needs to know about this site. Fountainhop is the simplest, most intuitive events aggregator I have ever seen. It is really useful for small-scale events produced by student organizations especially on campus. It easily beats the official Stanford events page which displays a lot of things students aren’t interested in and I’m not a big fan of the ASSU’s alternative either.
Student organizations have been constantly trying to market their events using mailing lists, in your face marketing, and the whole “fliers in the bathroom while you poop” method. But what about people that are trying to find what events are going on? Fountainhop is a perfect director for that and has the potential to spread across different campuses. Props to whoever created it.
Side note: Fountainhop was created a week ago according to a search that shows the domain bought on 2/10/2010

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Study…like a Champion

Monday, February 8th, 2010

SLAC hoodie.jpgEver wondered when performance apparel would hit the library? It has. A new company, “Study Like A Champion,” has begun producing sweatshirts, t-shirts and sweatbands designed to amp up your study experience. SLAC aims to be the “Nike of study apparel,” worn by the best students in the country (and, of course, all the wanna-be’s). Photos are available at
How much the hoodie will actually boost your grade isn’t clear. But it sure as hell will do its best. The sweatshirt features a red “DO NOT DISTURB” planted across the back of the hood. It unzips for heat control and has a little hole in the right pocket so you can run your headphones up through the inside of the sweatshirt.
The kicker: it has glow-in-the-dark strings on the hood. Why the glow-in-the-dark-strings, you ask? It’s so that when you’re walking back from Meyer at 1AM bikers – the “haters” – don’t run you over.
The mythology of the SLAC gear is exactly that – the “haters” against the “champions.” It’s a bit like the UnderArmo(u?)r obsession with protecting “our house” or Nike’s love of “just doing it.” For a 5’10 170 pound half-Jewish guy with glasses, it’s a little easier to identify with the SLAC mythology. Think back to all of the times you head out to the library on a Saturday night and take the back exit of your dorm. SLAC is here to tell you that you’re a champion, not a loser. And that you should walk out, loud and proud, iPod blaring Rat-at-at, backpack loaded with fresh notebooks for a “killer study sesh.” Most of all, believing in yourself.
And after all, that’s what apparel is all about. Nike shoes won’t make you any faster. A new suit won’t make you any smarter. And SLAC hoodies won’t make you more prepared for a test. But if it makes me laugh at 1AM in Meyer, I’m all for it.

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Who Needs Maslow, Anyway?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

“The HAPPY LAMP has arrived!”
General hullabaloo ensued.
This was the enthusiastic arm-waving excitement generated by the arrival of the HappyLight Deluxe Sunshine Supplement Light System (as seen on the Martha Stewart Show). In that moment, all the gnawing predicaments of mundane daily life seemed to melt into the ethereal glow of therapeutic glow generated by 19-inch-by-13-inch frosted lamp pane.
No more hiccupy sleep disruptions, no more sluggish lethargy… No more sudden flares of unexplained annoyance… (No more awkward conversation starters and no more harrowing personal insecurities. No more being side-splashed by cyclists riding through puddles! Hell, why not shoot for the stars: no more IHUM readings! No more lines at the Axe and Palm! No more clumps in the dining hall breakfast oatmeal!)
SAD no more!
All hyperbole aside, however, I do sincerely believe that Seasonal Affective Disorder is an issue worth addressing. It’s not just a slightly pathetic, ironically amusing acronym. Campus culture at Stanford is notoriously chirpy and fast-paced. Thus, a lot of persisting concerns are submerged under choppy schedules that make students too busy to introspect. It’s ridiculously easy to feel guilty about operating on an emotional level even slightly less peppy than that of a pre-teen riding a sugar high.
What of the reports that peg U.S. undergraduate depression diagnosis rates at 14.9%? The 2005 Harvard Crimson revelation that 80% of its students were experiencing mental health problems?
A lot of the ways in which mood disorders/mental health issues are addressed appear ineffectual and gimmicky, it’s true. Bright yellow vitamin D pills and free-form doodling with crayons can hardly be described otherwise. But just as few academic resources are allowed to remain stagnant and underutilized (burgeoning ranks of residential tutors, the recent freshman inundation of the CDC’s Open House), campus well-being resources such as The BRIDGE and Vaden’s CAPS program should not be dismissed as irrelevant in times of dire need. But before I start to sound overly bland and blase (it’s really probably too late to remedy that), there’s always the kernel of real pleasure to found in taking a short walk in the bracing air between bouts of rain. Allow your brain to unclench from academic and extracurricular stressors at least a few moments each day.
It’s really incredibly difficult to give this kind of advice without sounding like a caricature of some peroxide-bleached shrink figure, I realize. But don’t worry… I’m just slightly dazed from the residual glare of the omniscient HappyLight deity, that’s all.

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