Right, so, after the wild and multi-national success of the first two installations of this feature, I had to scale back my frequenting of these exciting events to do things like go to class (!) and do work (!!!!!). Luckily, I was still able to squeeze in a couple choice outings to some of the best events yet. Here they are.
Event: Biostatics/Lectureship Seminar: “Observational Studies in Health Care: Are They Any Good?”
Food: Cute chocolate-M&M cookies and coffee
Summary: Here’s a fun fact: the Public Health department is in, like, Warwick. OK, maybe not that far, but you can see water from the entrance to the building. In any case, their lecture–by the chair of the Columbia Statistics Department, who has a sick British accent–was doooooooope. Seriously, I loved it. Super interesting. You should check out his study here. Basically, they found that academic medical research on drug effects is very often discreditable, but can be optimized to be kind of worthwhile. Sorry, you’re bored now. But it was interesting, I swear. And cookies!
Event: Mark Anthony [self-proclaimed “psychic lawyer”] Discusses [his book] “Never Letting Go”
Food: No. I mean I guess the bookstore Blue State is right there, but what do I look like, an ATM?
Summary: I’m going to have to be kind of artful in how I write this up to avoid offending people. Yeah, no, just kidding. This guy, who gave a Bookstore presentation to a largely non-Brown-affiliated crowd, is a professional bullshit artist who takes advantage of gullible audiences to a) make money off of them and b) manipulate their deepest emotions. Here’s how his readings go: “I see blue… Does that mean anything to you? OH WOW YOUR DEAD COUSIN’S FAVORITE COLOR WAS BLUE??? HE’S IN THIS ROOM!!!!” At which point subject begins to sob and make personal revelations. It was all very upsetting to me. What a douche. Also, if you could just imagine the kind of face that someone calling themselves a “psychic lawyer” and possessing the same rhetorical style as a televangelist would have, that’s the face he had. I hope he reads this. He’s an asshole. All that said, he’s also really smart and was extremely thought-provoking (albeit in all the wrong ways).
Event: Think Responsibly: Have the Right Night
Food: Candy/chips, sweet free T’s (not edible)
Summary: Have you ever wondered how much one shot is in a standard Solo cup? Me too! Have you ever wanted a free (very yellow) t-shirt in exchange for allowing someone to teach you the answer to that question? Not explicitly, I bet, but once they mentioned it I was down. Also fun: wearing the blurred vision goggles and trying to walk in a straight line. It reminded me of wearing the figurative blurred vision goggles and trying to walk in a straight line in Jo’s in front of the policeman who’s always standing there. Man, do those guys not care. Anyway, long story short, free “Think Responsibly” t-shirt for 15 minutes of alcohol safety education. I love thinking responsibly, I love alcohol safety education, and I love free t-shirts! Win-win-win!
Event: Why Do We Watch Stupid Cat Videos?
Food: Pizza and soda.
Summary: An all-around disappointment. It seemed there was minimal preparation by the leaders, assuming that people would be happy to watch cat videos and eat pizza. Those are already two things I do way too much of in my free time. (In fact, side note, the pizza-and-soda schtick is getting really old at these events. Where are my mini egg-rolls????) There was very little attempt to answer the question that was just, you know, the title of the event. No big deal or anything. Better than nothing, I guess, but definitely not all I had hoped and dreamed of. I’d say this Wired article does a much better job of exploring the lure of cat videos.
That’s all, folks. We’ll see what raucous attractions reading period holds.