Bru-Know-It-All: The SciLi Wind Tunnel will blow your mind

Bru-Know-It-All is BlogDailyHerald’s version of Slate’s Explainer.

Did you kids enjoy your epic double-dose hurrication? Didn’t get enough of Sandy (Cohen)? Luckily, there’s a place on campus where you can feel like you’re stuck in a storm any gusty day. There are certain Brunonian rite-of-passage discoveries for first-years: Cracklin’ Oat Bran. VJ Day. The wonderfulness of BlogDailyHerald. A major part of learning our way around Brown is finding all the shortcuts. But there is one alternate route that’s just not worth it when it’s windy out, no matter how late you’re running or how much you want a study snack from Spice.

It looks normal and harmless enough. It’s not even a cramped alleyway or shady lane. You might be tempted to throw caution to the wind — low-hanging fruit, we know — and take this road less traveled. But don’t be fooled: Once the gales pick up, the telltale swirls of dead leaves should be warning enough to stay away from this tiny-tornado zone. But why does this vortex of terror exist? What wrathful forces from above have conspired to wreak havoc on us tired, poor, huddled student masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming SciLi?

Well, it all started in 1971. It was no evil god or supernatural phenomenon but rather a dastardly construction decision that started it all. Ever since the CITadel was erected next to the SciLi, the two fortresses’ sheer height and proximity has forced wind trapped between them to accelerate. And so, the SciLi Wind Tunnel was born. Apparently, the SciLi revolving door was once replaced with a cheaper entrance, and strong winds huffed and puffed and spun the lighter entryway so fast that it turned into an inter-dimensional portal (just kidding, wishful thinking as we all try to avoid studying) came off its axle and smashed into smithereens. Moral of the story: Invest in heavy doors. Didn’t we learn anything from “The Three Little Pigs”?

And lest you think I’m merely blustering, this is serious stuff. Wind is not to be trifled with … ask Odysseus or Dorothy what it’s like to be gone with the wind. The wind-tunnel effect has been well documented, notably around mountains and city skyscrapers. In New York, the iconic triangular Flatiron Building was famous for blowing off hats and billowing up skirts; in the early 20th century, men would hang around the area hoping to sight a bit of ankle. Unfortunately, such compressed breezy velocity can also lead to more severe accidents than windswept hair and disheveled clothing: A man in Leeds, UK last year was crushed to death by a truck that was overturned by high winds exacerbated by the presence of a 32-story tower.

Perhaps Brown should borrow one of those seemingly perpetually stationary windmills from the harbor to place at the SciLi–CIT juncture and harness the cyclonic power. We’ll need all the sources of energy we can get while we’re pressing our noses to the books and screens under the fluorescent influence.

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