Monday, August 16, 2010

Chemical Engineer Faces 25 Years for Illegally Aiding Iran

Mahmoud Reza Banki GS '05 completed his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, but perhaps an Operations Research and Financial Engineering degree would have been a better choice. He was convicted in June for violating the trade embargo with Iran and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. Though we'd all like to believe an ORFE degree would have helped him stay out of this corner in the first place, he now faces 25 years in prison depending on the decision of a New York federal judge.

To Banki's credit (that is, $3.4 million worth of credit siphoned off to Iran), he was unaware of the activity of his informal banking system.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Second to (Almost) None, says Forbes Magazine

Forbes awarded the University the second place position in its list of the nation's best public and private colleges and universities for 2010. Williams College in Williamstown, MA, incidentally the hometown of ABC's most recent Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky, was given the top position.

Last year's top ranked West Point fell to No. 4 on the list this year. Amherst was ranked third and MIT fifth. Harvard took eighth and Yale tenth.

Rather than base rankings on school reputation as judged by college administrators, Forbes decided to focus on factors that most affect students. Categories for judgment include, among others:

1. How graduates succeed in their chosen professions based on salary
2. Number of alumni listed in a Forbes/CCAP list of corporate officers
3. Satisfaction with college based on freshman-to-sophomore retention rate
4. How many students finish in 4 years
5. A best value ranking based on a quality: cost ratio

So thanks again to Forbes for pointing out that "The best college in America isn't in Cambridge or Princeton, West Point or Annapolis. It's nestled in the Berkshire Mountains."


Ken Buck '81 Isn't Bucking Around

On Tuesday night, Ken Buck '81 won the Republican nomination for senator in Colorado. Graduating from the U. with a degree in politics, he earned his J.D. from the University of Wyoming School of Law in 1985. Most importantly, the bucking bronco is Wyoming's official symbol. Coincidence? Absolutely not.

After a fiercely contested primary, Buck bucked his way to Colorado Republican primacy. The primary saw his transformation from a political nobody into the mascot for anti-establishment conservatives nationwide.

Though Democrats are trying to cast him as a conservative extremist along the lines of Nevada's Sharron Angle and Kentucky's Rand Paul, two other Republican Senate candidates whose prospects are looking grim after some Democratic image handiwork, Buck is trying to distance himself from these images.

So don't call this Tea Partier a Tea Partier, he prefers to be described as a "grassroots" candidate. "It is a much broader group than just tea parties," he said. "What I'm saying to everyone in the media is, don't put labels on me."


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

$$$ for your grades

We can always blame Dean Malkiel's grade deflation for graduate school and job rejections, angry parents and just plain old unhappiness, but now we can add one more item to the list of things grade deflation keeps from us: cold, hard cash.

Yeah, you heard right., a website that lets students bet on their grades, just expanded to include Princeton. If you want to give it a shot, you first upload an official class schedule to the site. Based on information it gathers on your school and the difficulty of your classes, the site then calculates odds for each student.

The worse your odds, the more money you earn if you win a bet. Betting $20 at the start of freshman year that you will graduate with a 4.0 would earn you $2,000 (Odds: 100-1).

Online gambling is illegal under federal law but the site's owners insist that Ultrinisic is not technically a gambling site because getting grades involves skill and students can only place wagers on their own performance.

But, be careful! If, despite the legal risks, you decide to give it a try, a letter from Dean Malkiel won't get you out of a bet.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bye, Bye Goodcrush

Were you hoping to start something up with that cute-guy-with-blond-hair-wearing-red-shorts-on-the-treadmill who just might have smiled back at your repeated glances during your workout the other day? Well, looks like you have to act fast!, the site originally launched as CrushFinder in 2007 by then-USG president Josh Weinstein '09, will shut down on Monday.

The matchmaking service quickly gained popularity at the University - with "Goodcrushing" becoming a verb in the vocabularies of many Princetonians - and moved beyond Princeton in 2009. (I wonder if this news explains the recent influx of love sickness on are we the only ones who have noticed?)

But, fear not fellow socially awkward Ivy Leaguers! If you get squeamish thinking of the backward, pre-Goodcrush days when making a move on that hottie across the room couldn't be done from behind the safety of your computer screen, there is hope! Weinstein has another site in the works (which, apparently, might launch at Yale?).

We'll keep you posted.

(Image: Goodcrush Logo)


B.o.B. probably almost definitely performing at Lawnparties

Remember a few weeks ago when we reported that B.o.B. listed on his website that he is performing at Princeton on the day of Lawnparties? Well, that date has since disappeared. (Never fear: we have proof!)

We know that the details of the USG Lawnparties concerts are typically kept secret before an official announcement but, seriously, trying to cover it up just makes it more obvious that we seem to have cracked the secret. (USG Social Chair Jake Sally '12 still isn't talking.)

If someone can prove us wrong (give us an inkling of doubt), please do so. Otherwise, looks like we'll be listening to "Airplanes," "I'll be in the Sky," and "Nothin' on You" come this fall.