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We feel your pain, we swear

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Dear Deferred ED Applicant,

Allow me to put words to your feelings.  You feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach.  Rather than feeling angry or upset, you’re merely resentful.  You poured your heart and brain onto a page, committed yourself to a school and the image of four years in Providence, among the antiestablishment youth and the trustafarians.  You waited patiently for 6 weeks, perhaps checking your account before the admissions date in the hopes that some large-scale computer glitch released decisions and you would be the primary beneficiary of a university oversight.  The moment of truth came and, alas, no decision. You don’t know if you should be upset or happy you weren’t openly rejected. Rather than make a decision on you, one not unlike a choice you recently made, the University has decided to continue your wait for five months.

I’ve been there. I like to joke that the wounds are still raw four years later. Questions and decisions start running through your head, primarily whether or not Brown is still your first choice.  Should you stick it to the administration for not seeing your inherent amazingness? Give them the figurative middle finger for their ambivalence and reluctance to welcome you with open arms? Don’t. Continue Reading


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What not to do 24 hours before early decisions come out

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a previous post that went up two years ago, 24 hours before early decisions were released. These tips and tricks worked amazingly well for prospective students back in 2012 (and, not to mention, for all of us when we applied), and they’ll work well for you now. Take heed. Good luck!

Dear Brown 2019 Early Decision applicants,

We’ve been there. Those 24 hours before college decisions go viral are the most excruciating hours of everyone’s high school career. You’d think applying early decision to a school would make the wait a little less painful, but it’s a college admissions rite of passage everyone must go through… and it sucks. It’s also very easy to be overwhelmed by the thrill of it all— the reminder e-mails from admissions officers (as if you haven’t had the date marked on the calendar since the moment you submitted your application), the nagging calls from distant family members (just because you haven’t talked to them since last Christmas doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to be overly intrusive) and the thought that your future will be decided in the coming hours (I guess there’s always Harvard…).

But you can’t let it get to you. Life will go on, regardless of the decision you receive at 5:00 p.m. EST. Keep repeating that to yourself as you decide how to spend the next hours before you get the fateful e-mail. You might be compelled to do certain things, like cry your eyes out to James Blunt (is he still relevant?) or bash your head into a wall, that you will surely regret the day after. As a former ED applicant, I will impart some of my wisdom to you, the stressed-out high schooler, for what not to do on the big day. (Author’s note: Some of these tips are based on actual events. Do not judge me.)  Continue Reading


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BlogDH investigates: Cybersecurity and your Brown email

Sitting in a political science lecture with Professor Wendy Schiller, one blogger learned that Brown had legal and functional access to our Brown email accounts. It wasn’t exactly surprising; what was more surprising was that, when he shared this information with a fellow blogger, neither of them had ever given this any thought.

So, they set off to talk to Dr. Ravi Pendse, Brown’s Chief Information Officer, to gain some clarity on Brown’s email privacy policy. Watch this interview for an an inside look into Brown’s cybersecurity:

After talking to Dr. Pendse, we went to David Sherry, Chief Information Security Officer, to find out what “30,000 daily attacks on the Brown server” really means.

Before gaining an understanding of the magnitude of the attacks, we first had to understand what phishing attacks are. Phishing comes in the form of spam emails aiming to extract private data and information from accounts on a server. More specifically, they might say your “email account is about to be deleted because your inbox is full. To reset the account, please enter your password here.” Some phishing scams purport themselves to be representing the IRS and even ask for your social security number.

Most phishing attacks are automated; a vast majority are “digital door rattling,” meaning people scanning looking for open ports to exploit. In other words, if they gain access to a Brown account and begin spamming other Brown accounts from this initial compromised account, they gain legitimacy, as one is more likely to open an email from another Brown address.

While some phishing emails aim to directly attack and redirect funds, like faculty’s HR benefits or student’s social security numbers in hopes of opening a credit card under their name and even stealing their identities, many times, exploiting Brown’s network is not the end goal.

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Art School(ed): A holiday gift list, brought to you by RISD alumni

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This Friday will mark the first day that it is socially acceptable to listen to holiday music. With Handel’s Messiah and Sevivon, sov, sov, sov come all of the trappings of the holiday season: inflated ornaments at the Providence Place Mall, tents lining the parking lots of Best Buy (no, not that Best Buy),  and family members requesting your own Christmahanakwanza wish list.

Art School(ed) is here to help you with the ever-daunting task of drafting up that Christmahanakwanza gift list, drawing only from the fruits of RISD alumni’s labor. After the jump, check out the products crafted and designed by graduates of Brown’s creative neighbor.

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What we’re reading: Ferguson edition

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Today, BlogDH lends it platform to the coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

We start with the fundamentals: how was the decision reached? The Washington Post provides insight into the process of how grand juries in Missouri work. If you want to read any of the material that the Grand Jury looked at in the past months, the New York Times has an interactive feature containing the documents released by the county prosecutor.

For coverage of the protests taking place after the decision was announced, the Root does straight reporting on how the police force responded last night in their article “61 Arrested, 10 Businesses Destroyed, 150 Shots Fired.” On the other hand, Mic.com uses 20 photos to portray a much more civilian-centered account of the protests in Ferguson. Spoiler alert: the police force in St. Louis have a very different interpretation of the protests than the civilian protesters do.

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Much of the news coverage is centered around the resulting violent protests. Obama’s address to the nation asked for a peaceful response after the Grand Jury’s decision was released. The Huffington Post contrasts Ferguson with civil unrest around the nation that has nothing to do with politics, such as the scene of wreckage in San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series. In international coverage, Palestinians have been tweeting advice to protesters in the states on how to deal with tear gas.

Moving on from reporting, we look to analyses and media centered responses. FiveThirtyEight details why it is so unusual for a Grand Jury not to indict the accused, except in the case of police officers standing trial. The Root speaks to legal expert and attorney Eric Guster about the possibilities for bringing Darren Wilson up on civil charges, as the past few months have only held deliberations over criminal charges.

Some important opinions articles on the subject of race relations are being recycled due to continuing relevance. In August, Carol Anderson wrote an opinions piece in the Washington Post on why black rage against an unjust system is ruthlessly bashed in the media, while white rage against progress and equality is backed by the courts and the government. The Atlantic just bumped a powerful features piece called “The Case for Reparations: Two hundred and fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

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Hyphens of Brown: A tale of two names

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“Hello, can I make a reservation for two at 7:00, please?”
“Yes, what’s the name?”
“Kate Storey-Fisher.”
“Okay, Ms. Fisher—“
“Actually, the whole last name is ‘Storey-Fisher.’”
“Oh, sorry about that, Storey. Now—“
“MY LAST NAME IS STOREY-FISHER IT’S HYPHENATED OKAY?!”

I’ve had many conversations that go something like the one above, and I’m sure most other people with hyphenated last names have had similar experiences. Disregarding the fact that I also have to include “and that’s Storey with an ‘e’ and Fisher with no ‘c,’” clarifications that anyone with a last name other than Smith can relate to, many people just don’t seem to grasp the idea or importance of a hyphen.

Hyphenated names are more than just quirks designed to confuse maître d’s; they represent a shift in the long-standing tradition in America and many other parts of the world of passing last names down the patriarchal line. While much change has been made in society towards gender equality, this process of naming lags behind, and hyphenated names are still rare.

Hyphens are a step in the direction of equality, but it can feel like they bring up more issues than they solve. Which parent’s name should come first? What if there is no hyphen to bubble in on a standardized test? What do I do when the name on my license is missing my hyphen and doesn’t match my plane reservation, so I can’t check in for my flight? And of course, what are people with hyphenated names to do when they have children themselves? These are just some of the struggles of being a hyphen-baby (hyphy?).

In an environment like Brown’s, many people are familiar with hyphens and understand their use. But students and professors at Brown with hyphenated names—all united by that unwieldy underscore-hyphen combination in their @brown.edu email addresses—still have their fair share of anecdotes and opinions related to their hyphens. I sent out a call to the people with hyphenated last names in the Brown community and found many who were eager to share their hyphen-stories. Continue Reading