Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Study Abroad Decreases in Popularity for First Time in 25 Years

By Morgan Jerkins '14

Upon arriving at Princeton, you may feel overwhelmed by all the opportunities and resources offered. Among these are a plethora of study and intern abroad options, from semesters at Oxford to internships with the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Judging from the “Student Voices” link on the Office of International Programs (OIP) website, the programs are highly reputed. Unfortunately for the rest of America, however, the interest is non-existent.The Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange reported that the number of American students studying abroad has declined for the first time in 25 years.

The poor economy was cited as the reason for the drastic drop, yet the report said that those who acquire experience in global competition flourish even in a floundering job market. Multinational companies seek graduates with international experience. Whether the experience lasted for three months or a year, the cultural and intellectual growth is extremely valuable. In fact, studies have also shown that “budding internationalists have an improved academic performance, higher graduation rates, and improved cultural practices and context compared to students in control groups.”

Stacie Nevadomski Berdan of the Huffington Post advocates for colleges and universities across the nation to provide financial assistance to students interested in programs overseas. Even though Princeton has an endowment worth billions, I ask you: Do you truly believe that the university provides enough aid for study abroad?


Monday, November 29, 2010

Dear Santa...Love, Princeton

By Kelsey Zimmerman '13

The holiday commercials seem to have started exceptionally early this year. Days before Thanksgiving, cars tied in giant red bows and Santas graced the commercials on primteime television. Several radio stations started playing Christmas songs the day before Thanksgiving. Of course, it would be remiss to mention Starbucks, as it’s been all holida-fied since the beginning of November.

All these reoccurring reminders of the holidays started me thinking about the gifts I’m purchasing for family and friends in the next couple of weeks. Then I started wondering-if Princeton could have wish list for what it wants for the holidays, what would be on it? It might go something like this…

Dear Santa,

I’ve been a very good University this year. I’ve been focused on educating the 5,000 odd students here and have done a darn good job on it! Here is my wish list for this year…
Air-conditioning for the dorms- the students have already have enough to worry about without living in hot, stuffy dorms during warmer months.
A new gym- Dillon is small, cramped, and smelly. A renovation of the entire building would not be remiss and maybe add in a couple of those cardio machines with personal TVs.
More coffee shops- the ones on Nassau Street are overcrowded already. Let’s put one in every dorm!
Segways for all the students- walking takes too long and bikes require too much physical exertion. This is a much cooler and more convenient way to get to classes!
A dining hall for the squirrels- this way, they would stop getting in everyone’s way on the sidewalks and road while searching for food!


Princeton University- your fav Ivy!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks in the Stacks

I won't lie, senior Adam Bradlow's blog post made me nervous. As I edited his convincing plea for more graduation tickets, I realized I had no such concern, despite my large family. Why? Thesis. The inhibitor suppressing my view of my future self on the podium, shaking some hands, tripping over a long gown.

My thesis has been a nebulous noun at best for far too long. Funding sent me to exotic Ithaca in upstate New York, to use Cornell's Rare Manuscripts Library. It was a chilling experience, complete with nights alone in a sketchy Holiday Inn, and not very fruitful.

Upon returning, I became acquainted with my carrel. The writing on its walls and vicious pin pricks in its cork boards reminded me of finger nail scrapings on the stone walls of early modern prison cells.

And as I sat in that carrel, it dawned on me that I don't even know what research is. I produced 60 pages of JP last year, yet I still do not know what research is.

Canceling dinner with friends due to nerves and bumbling around Firestone C level this evening, I bumbled right into the professor who inspired me to become a History major. An inspirational professor and person who is on academic leave this year, he asked me what I was writing for my thesis. I replied, "I wish I knew." We chuckled. But then I started to explain to him my ideas, and he appeared to be transfixed.

He took forty minutes to assure me of the topic's worth and appeared to be genuinely excited at the direction in which I was heading. I don't know how he pulled it off. But this year, I am thankful for stack C-15-N. I was always convinced that Princeton must have Hogwart's equivalent of the Room of Requirement. Now I know this is C-15-N in Firestone. For all you seniors in need of thesis encouragement, stagger around C floor a bit and you'll find the Stack of Support.

I won't start scrounging for extra graduation tickets yet, they're all yours Adam! But I am thankful for the slightly less obscured vision of my tumble across the stage, and most importantly, my highly anticipated game of thumb war with Shirley.

Happy almost Thanksgiving, all! Remember, mass murder of tofurkies is highly encouraged.

-The Blogstress


Needy for Graduation Tickets

By Adam Bradlow '11

Recently it dawned on me that one day, I might actually graduate—and should probably start making arrangements for graduation ceremonies. I assumed that Princeton—the family-friendly University that it is—would supply more than enough tickets for all my family members. Wrong. For Commencement Day, the ‘actual’ graduation ceremony, each senior gets a total of five tickets—which spells trouble for those of us who are fortunate enough to have a number of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who would like to attend. For those of you who have not started looking into graduation details, it turns out that graduation is actually a three-day event at Princeton: first is baccalaureate, followed by class day, and Commencement is the final day. Unfortunately, tickets are in short supply at all of these events: seniors get two tickets for the first day, four for the second, and five for the third.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Students Thomas Dunne explained to me in an e-mail that, “The number of tickets is determined by the size of the sites/venues. In most if not all cases we have maximized the seating at all the traditional locations. There are standing room locations at many of these events (outside the fence on walkways at the Cannon Green site for example). Also, once the ceremony starts we work to seat any guests who may not have tickets but could fill an empty seat.”

I trust Dean Dunne when he says that there simply isn’t any room—I’m sure that the University is working as hard as possible to maximize the number of tickets per senior. But, there simply aren’t enough tickets for many students. One solution might be to move the venue. If I have to choose between not allowing family members at my graduation and holding the ceremonies at the less-than-spectacular Princeton Stadium, I’d choose the latter.

Another solution might be to set up an official ‘ticket-exchange’ between the senior class. Many seniors—particularly those with international families—will not need all of their tickets and would probably happily give their tickets away. Unfortunately, there is currently no easy way for ticket-needy seniors to identify less needy ones. And, on that note, let me end by saying that I am definitely a ticket-needy senior. If you have some extra tickets, drop me a line.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Black Squirrels, an Alumni Gift

By Monica Greco '13

There are several legends associated with our black squirrels here on campus. One credits their existence to a squirrel lab break, so to speak, and another to an experiment gone awry. Skeptics point out that black squirrels aren’t all that uncommon to begin with. There’s truth in this. I’ve seen black squirrels in New York too, though only in certain parks. (And no, I did not mistake rats for squirrels, take my word for it.)

However, the explanation that I’d prefer to believe is as follows: black squirrels were introduced into the Princeton “environment” as a gift from the esteemed and incredibly generous alumnus, Moses Taylor Pyne.
Legend has it that he sponsored the introduction of both black and orange squirrels, but the orange squirrels have since died out. This is perhaps a gross demonstration of school spirit—but I like it.
However, it makes me curious about other things, in particular, the ladybugs that made homes out of my windowsill last year. These ladybugs also happen to be reppin’ some Princeton school spirit, with their very distinct orange and black coloring. A coincidence? Perhaps, but I’d like to think not! In Princeton v. Mother Nature, it seems so far that we’ve got the upper hand.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Harry Potter 7 Part 1. Emma Watson Has Grown Up Well

By Claudia Park '13

I arrived at the Hamilton AMC theater with a couple friends at 11:20 p.m. While impatiently waiting for midnight, we bummed around in the main lobby to admire the eclectic mélange of Harry Potter fans loitering around the room. Truly, the creativity die-hard HP fans employed for the making of their costumes was impressive (they certainly put my measly Gryffindor shirt to shame). We decided to bestow the award of best dressed to a group of high school students proudly lugging around their necks large intricately decorated cardboard boxes in the guise of a Floo Powder Network. Genius.Around 11:45 p.m., we made our way to our seats. Big mistake in waiting until then to stake our spots, as every single theater showing HP (at the very least 10) was packed. Disgruntled, we ended splitting up, but all was well since we were in the same theater, and most importantly, going to see the much, much anticipated HP7. Movie finally began, and the theater erupted into applause, screams, and “OH MY GOD!”

To be quite frank, and I do not know whether this is a result of my belief that the movies will never surpass the books, I wasn’t too swept away by the film. I found myself laughing at parts of the movie that I wasn’t sure were intended to be humorous – most ostensibly, the romantic development scenes. Was it me, or were the scenes with Harry and Ginny, and more conspicuously, with Ron and Hermione, forced and just awkward? Note: Ginny, the zipper trick was clever, and I will keep it in mind as future reference for pick-ups.

After the 2 hours and 30 minutes, I emerged from the theater confused and ambivalent about my feelings about the film. On the car-ride home at 3 in the morning, we held a very serious discussion on the merits of the film. I now present some conclusions:

-HP7 part 2 has much to live up to seeing that so much has yet to happen (I’m not even sure part 1 hit the halfway mark in the book).
-My belief that Rupert Grint was the best casted among the trio of Ron, Hermione, and Harry still holds.
-Dobby, as my friend put it, is a “boss.”
-Emma Watson has certainly grown up well, resulting in my sneaking suspicions that this film may oftentimes appeal more to the male audience.
-Certain moments of suspense in the film were well-filmed – I missed one part of the film as I had to cover my eyes.
-I am sad that Snape did not figure more prominently within this film and eagerly anticipate and expect his character development in part 2.
-Despite my lukewarm response to the film, I do not at all regret attending the HP7 midnight premiere, and plan to do so again for part 2 to be released July 15.

For my safety from possible devoted and exuberant HP7 fans on campus, I would like to say that I am not in any way adamantly forcing my opinions on anyone. I am open to hearing different opinions and look forward to heartfelt HP discussions (in the appropriate setting of Rocky/Mathey?).


USG Senate candidate touts PCP agenda, walks back statement

By Lauren Zumbach '13

In an e-mail to the Princeton Committee on Palestine Listserv, Dylan Ackerman ’14, a candidate for USG class senator, promoted his candidacy as an opportunity to advance the organization’s agenda, a talking point he did not mention in his official campaign materials. Ackerman wrote that his candidacy is “a great opportunity for us as a club, to keep such issues on the table even if the petition/referendum process fails," referring to the PCP-organized referendum calling for Dining Services to provide an alternative to Sabra Hummus. The referendum will appear on the same ballot as the Senate elections.

Upon learning that his e-mail had circulated outside PCP, Ackerman sent an e-mail to The Daily Princetonian seeking to clarify words that he says were misconstrued. Ackerman said he wanted to explain to PCP members that he wasn’t helping with the petition process because he was too busy with his own campaign. He said he would not bring up pro-Palestinian or other political issues in the Senate, but wanted to clarify his position if further action on a failed boycott were to come up.

Below are parts of both e-mails:

Nov. 15 e-mail to PCP Listserv:

"Unfortunately I have not met most of you, as most of our business with PCP is done via e-mail, but I am running to be the Freshmen Class (2014) Senator. I consider this a great opportunity for us as a club, to keep such issues on the table even if the petition/referendum process fails. If you're a freshmen, I hope that you will vote for me, and I hope everyone else can spread the word about my candidacy to other people that they know around campus. I feel I have some very good ideas that I can bring to USG, both involving the work PCP has been doing and elsewhere."

Nov. 19 e-mail to The Daily Princetonian:

"It has been brought to my attention that an e-mail I sent to a campus organization I am involved with, the Princeton Committee on Palestine, has been forward to your office and others on campus, and has caused a fair amount of controversy. I ask that before you write about anything said in it, that you will be willing to hear my side of the story as I attempt to clarify some of my words that I feel were misconstrued.

First, I would like to clarify the intent of my e-mail. PCP operates mostly through online communication, and I do not know the vast majority of its members. My e-mail was intended to alert people likely to vote for me of my candidacy. I understand that some of my words can be misinterpreted as to assume that I would further push a failed Sabra boycott in the Senate. This was not my attention and is in no way what I intend to do if elected. First, I wanted to explain to the other members of PCP why I was not helping with the petition process, as I was simply too busy with my own campaign. Secondly, I wanted the other members of PCP to understand that in light of such an issue coming to the Senate, what opinion I would hold. I do not, however, have any attention of bring such issues to USG discussions.

Secondly, my support of the petition was not in order to boycott Israel. I am one of several members who advocated changing the wording of the petition from a boycott to the desire for an alternative brand. I do not oppose the nation of Israel. I simply feel that many people have overlooked human rights abuses carried out by one particular brigade. My principle reason in supporting the petition was to raise awareness about human rights abuses, educate the students about the situation in Israel, and help foster a discussion on campus about that situation.

Third, I am not running for USG Senate as any sort of political candidate. My USG platform and my reasons for running only concern matters on the Princeton campus and the immediate surrounding area. USG’s purpose is to represent the students; I believe completely that it should never be used as a vehicle for outside political movements. As mentioned above, I have no intention of bringing up Pro-Palestinian issues, or any other political issues if elected.

Lastly, I do not agree that my association with any on campus organization can or does demonstrate how I will operate if elected Senator. Other candidates running are members of Tigers for Israel, Campus Democrats, Princeton Faith and Action, and other organizations that could potentially endorse USG petitions as well. Simply being a member of such an organization does not mean that you support all of there actions now in the past."


Friday, November 19, 2010

Jaguar vs. Anaconda, a Deadly Fight, a Princeton Metaphor?

As Princeton students, we face many challenges, most in the form of exotic wild predators. If you haven't run over an anaconda on your bike at least once on your way to class, I don't know how you do it. However, rather than complain about this wild snake infestation, we should take a leaf out of this jaguar's book and grab the anaconda by the throat. Also, if we start to view all of our problems in serpentine form, they become manageable. As felines, this is how we should handle everything, from vicious problem sets to preceptors who are under the impression that precept lasts an hour rather than 50 minutes.

-The Blogstress

ps- Note how the anaconda drags the jaguar into the water to give itself the terrain advantage. The jaguar eventually manages to pull the anaconda back onto land. An important lesson can be learned from this. Never let a problem set lead you into water. Even if it drags you there at first, insist on finishing it on the shore.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meg Whitman '77 Settles Suit with Former Housekeeper

By Jenna McCarthy '13

Meg Whitman ’77, who was defeated this month in the California governor’s race, paid $5,500 on Wednesday to settle a claim brought by her former housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz Santillan, according to the New York Times. Santillan was employed by Whitman for nine years and was fired in 2009 after Whitman discovered that she was in the country illegally. Santillan claimed that Whitman did not pay her for all of the hours she worked and fired her on the basis of political damage control. Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Ms. Whitman, said that the accusations were baseless, but that, “this is simply the most practical and cost effective way to put the issue to rest.”

However, something interesting to note: according to Fox News, with the $140 million that Whitman spent on her gubernatorial campaign, she could have settled with 25,455 housekeepers!


We Demand a Remodel!

By Morgan Jerkins '14

On this week’s episode of American’s Next Top Model, stoic Jane Randall ’12, one of the final four contestants, was determined to show her human side. Her goal was put to the test when Miss Jay sent the remaining contestants to Barbara Terrinoni, an acting coach. Now why, do you ask, should aspiring models learn how to act? Well, apparently, a model’s life is one big stage, aside from runways and platforms. A model has to adopt a persona and sharpen their personality skills in to land the big gigs. After this workshop, these ladies arrive at Vogue Italia headquarters to meet the magazine’s legendary editor-in-chief, Franca Sozzani.Sozzani believes that Jane is an attractive woman but lacks character in the face. Can this girl ever catch a break? Despite Jane attempting to impress Sozzani the best that she could, Chelsey won that particular challenge and brought Kayla along with her for a private viewing of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Last Supper”.

For the next assignment, the girls went to Verona and were prompted to be dressed in the finest couture gowns for their photo shoots with Tyra, who was making her directorial debut. Ideally, Tyra wanted extreme sexuality and ultimately was dazzled by Jane’s change in character!

At the panel, Nigel commented that Jane was “less fluid” and Andre Leon Talley thought that Jane was censoring herself as if she were too restrained in her photos. As the judges were deliberating, Tyra argued on Jane’s behalf and said that Jane had a “million-dollar face.” Who would have thought Tyra would have hopped so far on board with the tiger in the end?

However, Talley still did not believe Jane was expressive in her shots. Two women were eliminated……and sadly, Jane was sent home. I guess if we learn one important thing from this experience, it’s that we should invite Talley rather than Tyra to support us during bicker discussions. But back to Jane. Although disappointed, she was proud of herself and her dreams of modeling still carry on. That’s the spirit!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Being Green, Being Mean. My Foray into the Sustainability Fair

The journal “Psychological Science” published an article last year linking being green to being mean. The authors argue that wearing a “halo of green consumerism” makes one more likely to treat others with unkindness as well as to cheat and steal.

Since I believe everything I read, it wasn’t with a bounce in my step that I approached the Sustainability Fair today. The last thing I wanted was to be accosted by a Chancellor Green full of people telling me I wasn’t sustainable and trying to steal my umbrella. But I really wanted to win a trash sculpture, so I donned my camo and went.

Petrified that I would be recognized as the rogue green bean I am, I did my best to blend in. Neon green socks peeked out from my sneakers. I also wore a forest green jacket, green face paint, and even green underwear made of recycled plastic just in case there was a search for unsustainable apparel.

I passed the first checkpoint, the Sustainable Kettle Corn station. I nodded to the men behind the table, and thought I was safe to pass until one called out for me to halt. My heart racing, I stopped in my tracks. I knew I should just proceed without looking back. But I stopped. As I turned around, I prepared not for surrender, but to fight. I was close to ripping off my green jacket and hopping into ninja stance when the man turned out to merely be offering me a map to the sustainable scavenger hunt. He was actually pretty nice and allowed me to take his picture by the kettle corn with my cell phone camera. My cover wasn’t yet blown.

Inside, there were fabulous trash sculptures every way I turned. I was offered sustainable food and drink in exchange for signing up to receive e-mails from countless sustainable groups on campus. That California roll was definitely worth the ten e-mails I have already received from the Cauliflower Amnesty Association.

After making my way through each station, I felt myself transforming. I was no longer green just in attire, but in body and soul. After seeing the atrocities committed upon our environment at many of the booths, my heart began crying shards of plastic. These people weren’t mean, they were my friends!

But my transformation ground to a halt when I was offered a “sustainable” chicken appetizer. I became enraged with this man extending to me chicken in a plastic cup and asked him whether, if Jon Edward could bring back that chicken to talk to us, the chicken would say he had been treated sustainably. My face became less and less green and more and more red and soon I was yelling and crying and bach-bach-baching like a chicken. Screw the environment, save the chickens! That chicken in the cup wanted to be alive, not featured in a cup of goop at a sustainability fair!

That’s when security came and hauled me out of Chancellor Green and into the cold, dark night. I threw my bottle of Dasani into the trashcan in a last act of sustainable defiance and then went back to my room to clip my fingernails.

-The Blogstress


Monday, November 15, 2010

Whitman College, A Hotbed of Killers

By Monica Greco '13

Unease is creeping through Whitman’s halls. You’ll find it in the dining hall, in the courtyard, and even hiding in the bathroom, as a roommate of mine discovered recently.

Maybe this unease isn’t as apparent to our visitors. Maybe you upper campus folk are unaware altogether-- but it is assassins season in Whitman, and this fact is hardly inconspicuous.
Indeed, it is perhaps a bit unnerving to get to the 3rd floor on the elevator and have the doors open up to an angry freshman with water gun in hand. It’s equally disconcerting to see a certain Professor/Master Harvey Rosen armed with a Friendly 538, loaded, leaking and ready to do damage.
Ah yes, but Prof. Rosen is a small fish in the world of assassins, foolishly strolling down the main path in Whitman in broad daylight. The more severe assassins you’ll find sleuthing about at night, interrogating their friends and acquaintances for information, sometimes smooth talking, sometimes being, well, a little gruff. One unarmed freshman was even caught in the bathroom, forced to defend herself with handfuls of toilet water.

Other students have taken the less aggressive route, resorting instead to dorm confinement or adopting extreme paranoia. There’s reason for this too. For instance, our ordinarily healthy, safe tradition of sharing extra food has taken a turn for the malicious. No—“pizza in the 2nd floor 1981 lounge” is no longer representative of earnest gastronomic altruism, but rather raises suspicion. The good people of Whitman are sometimes compassionate, however, warning their fellow Whitmanites over Whitmanwire, “it’s a trap!” But is it? When maliciousness abounds, who’s to say that this wasn’t an unceremonious attempt for one greedy Whitmanite to throw a wrench into our wonderful food sharing culture, or to keep all the pizza for himself?

The world of assassins is severe and impassioned, the assassins fierce, the people afraid, and the language peppered with allusions to John Wilkes Booth and Che Guevara.


Penn IFC President Resigns after his Arrest at Penn-Princeton Football Game

By Claudia Park '13

On Saturday, Nov. 6, Interfraternity Council (IFC) president and current Penn Wharton senior Christian Lunoe was arrested at the Princeton-Penn football game. On Nov. 10, Lunoe resigned as IFC president.

Lunoe was arrested on the grounds of obstruction of justice and disorderly conduct. As Princeton Police Deputy Chief Charles Davall reports, he was caught with a “hydration pack with an alcoholic beverage, which was not permitted.” Furthermore, Davall attests to Lunoe’s lack of participation at the time of the arrest.

Investigations by Penn’s Office of Student Affairs/Fraternity Sorority Life are currently underway, entailing communication amongst Penn, IFC leaders, as well as the Princeton Police departments.

Lunoe’s first court hearing will occur this Tuesday, Nov. 16.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confessions of a Disaffected Young Democrat

By Adam Bradlow '11

I was raised in an intensely Democratic household—so much so that my mom once threatened to disown me if I tried to bring a Republican girl home for dinner. In high school, I volunteered for the Kerry campaign as well as campaigns for Democratic candidates for local and state elections. And, for winter break three years ago, two friends and I flew to Des Moines to knock on doors in freezing temperatures for then-Senator Barack Obama. I didn’t even think he was going to win—just three days before the Iowa Caucuses, I told my friend that the campaign was destined for failure. What kept us going us going in that crazy week leading up to Obama’s first big victory was caffeine, camaraderie and faith in the man himself. When he said that he was going to bring change to America, we believed him. January 3rd—the night that he won the victory that set him on a trajectory towards the White House—is probably the best day in my short political life.

Still, despite my strong Democratic roots and personal investment in the Obama presidency, I had a hard time convincing myself to vote in this past election: I never considered voting for the Republicans, but it just felt pointless to vote for the Democrats.

Starting in 2008, for the first time in a generation, the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. This was the time to be bold. Instead, they were timid. The past two years have been deeply disappointing—from jobs, to environmental legislation, to LGBT rights—the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress seemed unable to address the pressing issues of our times. Even the healthcare and financial regulation bills were unsatisfying as the final products seemed more the products of special interests than principled legislators. Not only does the Democrats’ timidity over the past two years represent a failure for the country, but a breech of trust with their youngest foot soldiers.
If they are concerned about an ‘enthusiasm gap,’ they have only themselves to blame.

In October 2008, I invested my own time and money to knock on doors and make phone calls for Barack Obama’s campaign against John McCain. Two years later, I was barely able to drag myself to the polling booth. While I'm not happy the Democrats took a "shellacking," I can't help but feel that they earned it.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Obscure Building Series: Stanhope Hall

By Jilly Chen '13

Quick, which is Stanhope Hall and which is Nassau Hall?

Many students would probably have difficulty correctly distinguishing the two, but this obscure building deserves some recognition. (By the way, Nassau is pictured on the left and Stanhope on the right.)

Built in 1803 and resembling the offspring of the more infamous Nassau Hall, Stanhope Hall currently houses the Center for African American Studies. Its humble appearance reveals a rich history and a variety of uses.

It is the third oldest building on campus, erected after University President Samuel Stanhope Smith grew weary of bombs and fires damaging Old Nassau and displacing students. Under different names, Stanhope Hall has served as a library, University offices and congregation grounds for the American Whig and the Cliosophic societies, the Almuni Council, Orange Key, and other student groups.

If all this history sounds scintillating, perhaps read the brilliantly titled book, The Center for African American Studies in Stanhope Hall. Otherwise, pay a visit to the historic structure or sign up for an AAS class to increase your chances of wandering inside.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Send the President a CoalBama CoalGram for Christmas

By Jenna McCarthy '13

Getting a lump of coal for Christmas is no longer just a joke – a Chicago-based company has made it possible for anyone to order online and send a “holiday packaged coal gift” personalized with your own message.

CoalGram.com provides coal-based gag gifts and donates 15% of each sale to charity, so everyone can feel better about themselves by giving coal!

The original CoalGram is simply a piece of coal in a jewelry box, but you can also choose a Stocking Surprise CoalGram or Snowman Pouch Coal Gram.

Not sure if your family or friends would enjoy it? How about President Obama or a member of Congress? You can send a special lump to any political figure you desire. And don’t worry about the repercussions – CoalBama CoalGrams ship anonymously and for free.
To make things even better, the CoalBama CoalGram is only $10! It even comes with a patriotic ribbon.

The co-founder of CoalGram, David Barnes, said that they’ve made it easy for everyone to choose any congressman on their website. “I’m sure there will be no shortage of coal on its way to Washington D.C. this year, especially to Obama at the White House.”

So if you’re feeling upset about mid-term elections, don’t worry. You can always seek revenge on politicians through CoalGram.com!


Tears Save Jane, Who Is Top 4 on ANTM

By Morgan Jerkins '14

During this week’s episode of “America’s Next Top Model," the five remaining contestants, one of whom is junior Jane Randall, did not have to strut down the usual runway but rather through the streets of Milan. And by strutting, I mean walking quickly yet stylishly. For the first assignment, the contestants had to make four appointments at different fashion houses---with one of them being the iconic Versace—and report back to the modeling agency by 6:30 pm or risk disqualification.Jane decided to pair up with Chris for the mini-competition. At their auditions for Versace, one of the executive directors said that Jane needed to work on her walk because it was not very good. Jane and Chris were far ahead of Chelsey and Kayla until a bone popped in Chris’s foot and she had to slow down. Because of this sudden impairment, the twosome lost the challenge. Now, Milan is a beacon of art for the international jet-set so the main challenge was to pose like statues with male models.

After Jay Manuel’s persistent questions as to why Jane could not show more passion and expression, our beloved tiger crumbled under the pressure and began to cry. But in the midst of this disillusionment, a glimmer of hope appeared. Jay Manuel was delighted to see Jane show raw emotion. At deliberations, Nigel Barker along with Andre Leon Talley and guest judge, Kyle Hagler, all agreed that Jane was too stiff, cold, and detached from actual emotion. When they questioned Jane about her performance, she broke down and like Jay Manuel, the judges were happy to see some emotion from her. Ultimately, her tears made her a “human being,” according to Tyra, and those tears proved to be her saving grace. Though she was in the bottom two, she was saved while Chris was eliminated. Until next time!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hey Undergraduate Admission, Profile Me!!! Pick Me!!!

Have any of you seen those Student Profiles on the Undergraduate Admission site? I know I stalk the hell out of them with an envious right clicker finger. Every year I write to Undergraduate Admission, begging them to profile me on their site. Why, you may ask? Aside from the narcissistic pleasure I would reap from seeing a gorgeous photo of myself plastered on the web, I also know I would contribute a vital element of diversity to the student group profiled. While almost all of the students on this site are pursuing certificates in finance while chairing at least two committees and participating in at least three extracurricular activities, there are many students on campus who just want to slide by without any Honor Code violations and the most respectable GPA they can tear from the tiger’s claws. Some students, like me, just want their mommies. Admission does not profile these students, but I think it would make high school seniors a lot more comfortable in applying if they see that sometimes the Admission committee slips up and accepts someone who doesn’t quite fit into the Princeton mold. So throw in an app, there’s hope for everyone! After all, not everyone can have the quintessential Princeton experience. That’s diversity!

But Undergraduate Admission won’t post my profile, so I’ll just momentarily take advantage of my position as sole arbiter of the Prox’s content and post it myself.

The Blogstress ’11
Scotch Plains, NJ

The Blogstress ’11 came to Princeton because it was her best acceptance and just swallowed up the fact that it was only 50 minutes away from home.

From the age of seven, she practiced violin and in middle school, she started learning the viola. After devoting countless hours of practice and playing in heaven knows how many orchestras, she tried out for the Princeton University Orchestra her first week of freshman year and was promptly rejected. But at least the conductor took the time to sneer at her.

After playing ultimate Frisbee with Lady Clockwork for a year and a half, she realized she hated the game and quit. But fortunately, she met her future roommates and best friends on the team so it wasn’t a total loss.

But let’s move on from the extracurricular activities, because The Blogstress came to Princeton with academics as her primary focus. Hoping to pursue a health-oriented profession, she loaded her schedule up with pre-med requirements and busted her back to nail the average on the head as often as possible. Seeing herself firmly ensconced in the bulky portion of the bell curve was always a cause for a celebratory sigh of relief before cracking open the orgo text again.

The Blogstress has made terrible errors in course selection almost every single semester and will not graduate with a single certificate in anything. Perhaps Alex Rosen ’11 will lend her one of his, as his Admission Profile seems to indicate he can spare one.

The Blogstress has encountered so many sadistic preceptors and professors over her seven semesters here that she has lost count completely. She now fully understands that success in the humanities and social sciences is based on either one of two things. 1. How successfully you flirt with your preceptor or 2. The Stair Method. (Preceptor closes eyes and throws all papers onto the stairs, labeled A-, B+, B, B, B-, B-, B-, C, C, C. Your grade depends on which step your paper lands on).

At this point in her college career, she really just wants her mommy. She wants to go home, cuddle her golden retriever, take a nap and then wake up as Julia Vill ’12, who plans on majoring in economics and is pursuing a finance certificate while also being an accomplished dancer. Or perhaps as Ashley Mitchell ’11, who also seems to have her act together according to the Student Profiles.

If the Blogstress takes away one piece of knowledge at graduation, it will be that she wants to be her own boss. She will not kowtow to a preceptor/professor disguised in business casual to determine her level of self-satisfaction. She has realized that it is much better to be the one passing judgment upon others rather than to be the one bearing the brunt of such decisions. But nonetheless, she will slosh through the rest of this year, and hopefully leave this University with a diploma and a few friends with whom to recall her good ol’ college days years down the road.

Love and kisses,

The Blogstress


Four Loko, a History

By Morgan Jerkins '14

Have you noticed absurdly brightly-colored cans at your average room parties? I know Four Loko is somewhat old news, but the drinks are becoming such a movement that a bit of their history is in order. In 2005, three students at The Ohio State University created a beverage after noticing that other college students were mixing drinks containing alcohol and caffeine together. The trio then formed a company called Phusion Projects and started to sell this 23.5-ounce malt beverage product, Four Loko. Since its birth, Four Loko has swept the nation, spawning Facebook groups with names like “All I remember was touching the 4 Loko can” and nicknames such as “Blackout-in-a-can.” Despite this comedic surface, there is a deeper, and much deadlier, significance to this concoction.

Ramapo College, which isn’t too far from Princeton, and Central Washington University have already outlawed the drink. Nine students at an off-campus CWU party were hospitalized after consuming the drink, with blood alcohol contents ranging from 0.12 percent to 0.35 percent. Keep in mind that 0.30 is considered to be lethal. One can of Four Loko has 660 calories and is equivalent to six light beers and two cups of coffee. Due to the persistence of 18 attorneys, it was revealed that the Food and Drug Administration has never approved adding caffeine to alcohol.

The New York Times reported that Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the colorful packaging and flavors of the products are “explicitly designed to attract under-age drinkers.” Chris Hunter, one of the co-founders of Phusion Projects, argued that the company is being singled out. Regardless, this drink has become wildly popular, and judging by the thousands of people who rave about the drink on Facebook, there seems to be no indication of a coming slump.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Harvard Diversifies Portrait Collection because it's Too White and Male

Harvard is taking diversity to a whole new dimension. That is, 2D. If you are a white, male portrait, you better do some Harry Potter style frame shifting and make room for more minority and female faces. The Boston Globe reported that Harvard has been engaged in a project to diversify the subjects of the many oil portraits that hang in libraries and other areas of campus. A 2002 inventory found that 690 of the 750 such portraits were of white men. Only two were of minority individuals, and the rest were white women--generally the wives of presidents, members of benefactors' families, or Radcliffe College professors. Everyone will be relieved to hear that in recent years 10 new portraits of minority individuals linked to Harvard have been added to the collection. The latest was unveiled on Friday. It is of Chester Pierce, a 1948 Harvard grad who for many years was a professor of psychiatry and education. He also may have been the first black college student to play a football game at an all-white Southern university, the University of Virginia. Check out the Globe's slide show to formulate your own opinion on some of the Harvard portrait collection's recent additions. Or go Facebook stalk. Or do my homework. Or make my bangs grow out faster.

-The Blogstress


Sunday, November 7, 2010

E-Quad Produces the Big Earners

By Jilly Chen '13

A recent study conducted by The Wall Street Journal found that undergraduates with engineering degrees earn higher starting salaries compared to some of their liberal-arts counterparts.

Starting salaries for our E-quad friends averaged $56,000 while communications and English majors averaged $34,000. Even economics majors, those with the highest paying liberal-arts degree, earned $14,000 less on average compared to starting engineers. This data was collected over ten years, through surveys administered by Payscale.com, as part of The Wall Street Journal Paths to Professions project.

While the discrepancies grow less pronounced as graduates advance their careers, engineering majors still maintain an advantage, even in typical liberal-arts "hotbed" areas. Such data appears to have influenced an increase in students declaring as engineers, according to the study. On campus, traffic statistics from "the other side" of Washington Rd. could potentially verify the findings.


Friday, November 5, 2010

A few fun videos

View some of the videos made by 'Prince' staff members in a digital media boot camp over fall break:

"Josue LaJeunesse on Haiti"
By Lisa Han:

"Save the Dinky!"
By Patience Haggin:

"Princeton's Cogeneration Plant Powers Campus"
By Tasnim Shamma:

"Princeton's Local Businesses"
By Pritha Dasgupta:

The class was
led by former professor and executive director of the UChannel for the Woodrow Wilson School Donna Liu. She is also the founder of AllPrinceton.com.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Not Just a Dream, Thanks to the Dale Awards

By Haley White '12

The University recently hosted a reception for the winners of the 2010 Martin A. Dale Summer Awards and for the 2009-2010 Dale Fellow. The Dale funds students to work on projects that they have always dreamed of pursuing. The Summer Award winners were rising juniors who spent the past summer doing everything from learning hula in Hawaii to traveling to London to research Jack the Ripper. The 2009-2010 Dale Fellow, Christopher Simpson '09, returned to South Kingston, RI, his hometown, after graduation and spent the past year developing a community theater company. The winners of the Dale Awards all began their projects with clearly stated goals and ideas. In many cases, they ended their projects on completely new paths. Genevieve Bentz '12, who went to Rome to paint, got distracted by her camera and wound up taking thousands of frames of pictures. Gabrielle Wilkerson-Melnick '12 stuck with her plan to experiment with communal living by staying on an ashram in India, a kibbutz in Israel, and a commune in Virginia, but decided to change her major from Religion to Anthropology along the way.
If Dale grants were traditional research grants, the U. would probably fault the recipients for changing course during the summer. The beauty of the Dale Awards are that they are not traditional research grants. They give students the power to follow their intellectual whimsy, something that we all need to do sometimes, especially when we are twenty.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010


By Charlie Metzger '12

The Madison Program recently sponsored a public lecture by James Q. Wilson, Professor at Boston College and arguably America’s greatest living political scientist, on the topic of political polarization in America. I went for a couple of reasons: Professor Wilson is a really big deal, polarization really interests me (shameless plug: Whig-Clio is holding a screening of the award-winning documentary “Split: A Divided America” the week we get back from Fall Break), and—this one was really important—Professor Wilson co-wrote the textbook my American Government class used during my sophomore year of high school. Two parts of the lecture particularly interested me:

First, Professor Wilson’s explanation of the origins of our present hyper-polarization included an argument that higher education is a contributing factor to our polarized state. Apparently, surveys taken by reputable political scientists have shown that the distribution curve for Americans with college educations is bimodal rather than unimodal—meaning that that highly educated voters are likelier to identify themselves as closer to one end or another of the political spectrum. The distribution curve for Americans without college educations is unimodal, closer to the normal distribution.

Second, and this is an observation based on Professor Wilson's omissions, the lecture made no mention of the effects of polarization on the American political system. It’s in vogue to bash partisanship these days, and I definitely think partisanship in Congress has had a paralyzing effect, but very few political commentators seem to be talking about the benefits of partisanship and polarization.

At a very base level, partisanship ensures that the minority opinion is heard and helps prevent a tyranny of the majority. On top of that, it shows that voters are engaging with relevant issues. Granted, there are plenty of unsophisticated partisan opinions to be had, but one bright spot in this election cycle (which many politicians, Democrats anyway, have described as gloomy and despondent) is that voters paid attention to a midterm election cycle. Who would’ve thought?


Mad Woman

By Sophia LeMaire '11

The other day, I was talking to a friend about the latest episode of Mad Men. Besides pining for the wiggle skirts, we agreed that it was a good thing that times have changed since then. Despite the fact that the rights of women and minorities have come a very long way since the ’60s, in the middle of looking for jobs and applying to graduate and professional programs, there’s something appealing about a world in which I am not expected to be ambitious.
“I don’t think I would mind if women were still mostly housewives and secretaries,” I said.

I suddenly felt the people around us go quiet, and daggers were shooting from the eyes of other women around me. “Erm I mean, all I want to do is wear a pantsuit and never cook or clean in my life!” The angry hordes relaxed.

We defend our right to be ambitious fiercely, but sometimes I wonder if we’re still just products of the times. Although the harassment of women in the workplace portrayed in the show, which has undoubtedly been watered down to make it palatable to a modern audience, is something that needs to stay in the past, I realize that I don’t have an innate ambition that draws me to the more prestigious careers that I have the opportunity to pursue in this day and age.

As a black female engineer at Princeton, I’ve definitely taken advantage of the things people before me have fought for my right to do, but what we aspire to be is strongly a product of our society. If the options “housewife or… housewife” were all that were presented to me as the choices for my future, would I wish that I could be a mechanical engineer while I vacuumed the den?

Ambition should be about doing the best you can wherever you are, more than reaching a certain level of achievement. It would take a lot of pressure off of us if being here wasn’t about becoming the most presigious person we know as much as about taking advantage of the opportunities presented to us and committing to doing those well. I am thankful every day for the chance to do whatever I want and the sacrifices people made to make it possible for me to do so, but cleaning and cooking dinner every night in a house dress really doesn’t sound so bad.


Harvard Humor

By Brian Lipshutz '12

What could possibly be a better way to relax over Fall Break than some jokes about marginal tax rates? No really, I promise it’s funny (and it involves Stephen Colbert).

In case you’re not a regular reader of “Greg Mankiw’s Blog,” which I highly recommend, here’s a bit of background. Mankiw is a Harvard economics professor and former chairman of President George W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors. He is also the same Mankiw who wrote the textbook used by Princeton ECO 100 classes.
T Mankiw wrote a piece earlier this month in the New York Times about how marginal tax rates can affect our incentive to work. This is something taught in most introductory economics courses, and also something that many liberal politicians seem to forget. Put simply, if the next (marginal) dollar I earn at my job is taxed at a rate such that I would rather be doing something else, then I will choose not to work. The government loses the tax revenue, and society loses my productivity.

Stephen Colbert responded, as he is wont to do, with some satire. The kicker is a video produced by Respectably French, a sketch comedy troupe at Harvard.

So if you’re on your way back from the “Rally to Restore Fear,” here’s a little Colbert for the road. And if you’re not, here’s to the incentives of marginal tax rates.

Here is Mankiw’s article:

Here is Colbert’s video (if you just want the Mankiw bit, fast-forward to about 2:50):