PW Presents: Almost, Maine

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Marli Scharlin’s ’16 production of Almost, Maine, coming to the PW downspace this weekend, is truly an ensemble show. There are no lead roles, but rather a cast of supporting characters each seamlessly stabilizing and carrying the next in toy-like fashion, such that if one performance fell, so would the show (yes, that is a Jenga metaphor, and a well-constructed one at that. Pun intended.) Luckily, no performers fell. Well, not figuratively. Quite literally, several characters fall.

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9 things we learned at the Janus Campaign Finance Debate

As politically and socially active as Brown is, three (vastly important) words rarely enter the myriad of debates and discussions taking place on the Main Green, in classrooms, dorm room floors and, because this is Brown, at parties on Saturday nights: campaign finance reform.

Everyone sort of knows what it is (“we need to get money out of politics!”), but few talk about the specifics. How are we going to get money out of politics? Exactly why is that so vastly important? Is it an attainable goal?

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The Janus Forum sought to answer this question by organizing an informal debate between Harvard Professor of Law Lawrence Lessig and UCLA Professor of Law Eugene Volokh. Both are outspoken members of the campaign finance reform debate, Lessig an advocate for overhauling our current campaign finance system (he recently started a grassroots PAC to support candidates pledging to reform campaign finance laws), Volokh, an eminent critic of reform.

What ensued was a nuanced and in-depth discussion of not only the theoretical problems and solutions (or lack thereof, according to Volokh) but also of tangible steps forward. Here are the highlights.

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Best places on campus to check yourself out

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It’s no doubt that we live in the age of the “selfie,” to linguists’ dismay, but what does this really tell us about the underlying principals of current society? Ok, we’re not about to invoke Chomsky or get too technical here. In fact, TIME Magazine put it quite simply: our generation is a bunch of narcissistic assholes. Well, you’re in luck, kiddos, because the following list of the best places to check out your appearance on campus will help you become the best version of your “assholey-millennial” self!

For the record, I am physically repulsed by the word “millennial,” and I would push instead for the label “fabuluxe trailblazers,” but whatever, TIME, you win this one.

1. BioMed building facing Brown St.

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This is the quintessential checkout spot. The extremely reflective windows seem to go on for days, and allow you to catch a glimpse of your entire body in motion, because sometimes you just need to triple check that your skirt is obeying gravity on those windy autumn days. Also, apparently there are offices behind these windows. Cool, then, this has just confirmed my worry that a bunch of strangers may have gained insider’s access to my nostrils.

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A Cool Thing You Shouldn’t Miss: A Better World by Design

better worldA Better World by Design, or the only conference clever enough to advertise in the middle of a crosswalk, is back for its seventh year and is cooler than ever. Founded by Brown’s Engineers Without Borders in 2008, A Better World by Design seeks to “bring a global community of innovators to Providence” to create a powerful exchange across fields to “build a better world.”

The three-day conference is packed with lectures, panels, and workshops intended to get you thinking about how passionate individuals and teams can change the way we look at the world through innovative design. Events will take place this weekend, September 19-21, mostly on College Hill and spread across Brown and RISD’s campuses. This year’s theme is “wayfinding” or “a collective design process used to solve social changes,” so expect programs drawing from the fields of “mapping, interactive art, design policy, and DIY biology.”

You’ll have the opportunity to hear a ton of influential speakers and attend programs that cater to nearly every interest. Seriously. This year’s program offers lectures ranging from “hearing colors” to effectively redesigning public policies to lessen social disparities. Needless to say, this conference offers programs that go way beyond our normative definition of design.

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Chow Down Brown: Ch-ch-ch-changes in campus eateries

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Can’t you smell them already…?

Let’s be honest – the thoughts that run through a college student’s mind often fall into a pretty specific set of categories. They may vary in content and percentage depending on the person, of course, but you can almost guarantee that they include the following: homework, romance, various forms of inebriation, and of course, food.

Brown University Dining Services therefore has ambitious tasks to accomplish in feeding Brown’s hungry students. Aaron Fitzsenry, culinary manager of retail dining and one of our favorite food authorities on campus, sat down with me to discuss some of the exciting culinary ch-ch-ch-changes taking place across campus this year.

The Blue Room will soon be introducing a Mediterranean Bar a few nights a week. Fitzsenry dreamed up this idea this summer while he was strolling down Thayer Street looking for inspiration in the existing business models. Featuring fresh and local ingredients such as hummus, tabbouleh, chickpea salad, fresh Narragansett feta, and Sam’s Bakery Syrian wraps, the Mediterranean Bar will be joining the ranks of student favorites Kabob and Curry and the Naked Burrito Bar. As the Herald reported, the Blue Room will also be serving savory pastries of the leek-and-parmesan and cherry-Greek-yogurt varieties. And don’t worry – those muffins and cookies you dream about will continue to be baked fresh daily. Rotating soup and meal specials can be found on the Blue Room’s website, in addition to any and all ingredient information about which you may be curious.

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Marjorie Thompson, Associate Dean of Biological Sciences, passes away

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As reported by the Brown Daily Herald, Associate Dean of Biological Sciences Marjorie Thompson passed away Monday afternoon while on leave from the University. Thompson ’74 Ph.D’79 was highly regarded among students and faculty and will be missed dearly.

BlogDailyHerald is taking submissions from friends, family, and other loved ones for a memorial to Marjorie Thompson. We will publish the submissions on our site. Please send messages, photos, music or artwork to blog@browndailyherald.com.

Support for students is available from Counseling and Psychological Services (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) located in J. Walter Wilson, 863-3476, and from deans in the Office of Student Life (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), 20 Benevolent Street, 863-3145.