What we’re reading

We’ll start with one of the more controversial pieces circulating the internet this week: Jonathan Chait’s “Not a Very P.C. Thing To Say.” Chait’s thesis is simple: political correctness, and the subsequent (or concurrent) culture it operates in actually works against that which it claims to advocate for. In other words, political correctness isn’t bringing us any closer to equality. What isn’t simple is the ensuing discussion, with Gawker and Slate publishing particularly thoughtful responses.

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Parking lots and gas stations are lit 10 times as brightly as they were just 20 years ago. The Atlantic has been producing some great video content recently, including “What Happened to the Milky Way?” exploring how 99 percent of the U.S. living in light polluted areas affects our culture and health.

Then, there’s the Super Bowl content. Deadspin‘s “The Patriots Knew Exactly What Was Coming” is an in-depth look into what will soon be dubbed Carroll-gate.

Another internet back and forth this past week began with Nicholas Kristof’s “Where’s the Empathy?” a story about his high school friend who just died of multiple organ failure, “but in a deeper sense…died of inequality and a lack of good jobs.” It serves as an anecdotal counterpoint to those claiming the poor have it easy by living off welfare. The Economist published a response piece entitled “Hard problems,” which argues that if we were a truly empathetic nation, we would make it harder to qualify for benefits to incentivize searching harder for work. And then, New Republic published a response to that piece, “Welfare Doesn’t Destroy Families. Poverty Does.”

The New York Times‘ “The Surprising Power of Blue-State Republicans” looks into exactly that: the surprising power of blue-state Republicans.

The Trip Treatment,” from The New Yorker, illuminates the renaissance of research on the potential medicinal qualities of psychedelic drugs.

And last, but certainly not least, “The Mental and Physical Toll of Student Loans,” from The Atlantic, ditches the usual metric for assessing student loans–a cost/benefit analysis–for a look at how “the mere act of borrowing money for college can be detrimental to health and mind.”

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Alums who do cool things: Gabi Lewis ’13, Greg Sewitz ’13, and a lot of crickets

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To the best of our knowledge, none of the crickets graduated from Brown.

“Once people take the first bite, the barrier is overcome, so it’s all about getting people to take that first bite.”  – Greg Sewitz.

Gabi Lewis ’13 and Greg Sewitz ’13 — now of New York Times fame — are co-founders of the food startup Exo, which makes protein bars with cricket flour. With equal parts of both skepticism and curiosity in tow, BlogDH took a field trip to Brooklyn to interview them on crickets and what it’s like to be a real adult.

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It turns out that crickets are one of the most nutritious bugs out there, and they don’t taste terrible either. But before you get too grossed out, remember that it could be worse: two of the most protein-rich bugs are actually the dung beetle and the cockroach (although eating cockroaches does sound like a cheaper and more reliable solution to your insect infestation).

Gabi and Greg walked us through all the benefits of eating these crunchy critters. Crickets are:

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PSA: Download Microsoft Office through Brown for FREE

Office 365

Brown CIS has been making moves lately. This past semester, they hooked us up with an online subscription to The New York Times, listened to our movement to improve Brown Secure, and took steps to make our demands dreams a reality. Now, they’re at it again, offering all Brown undergrad and graduate students free access to Microsoft Office 365. This set includes the usual suspects (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as well as a few ancillary programs (Outlook, Publisher, Access). Gone are the days of using third party programs and bootleg substitutes (or just paying a lot of money). To download the programs, go to this link and follow the instructions. You’ll have to use your Brown username and password to log in, and then you’re good to download any of the programs. So have at it, Brunonia. A new era awaits us — one of equal access to programing and equal opportunity to make snazzy PowerPoints.

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Did you really read Morning Mail? Brown U. Library grants unlimited NYT access to Brown community

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Sure, you thought the University Library was already killing the game with its incredible Instagram and Josiah Carberry hype, but its definitely got more up its sleeve.

Those of you without a New York Times subscription know how frustrating it is to browse the publication’s site and find yourself blocked from consuming more content after only reading a few articles. In a Morning Mail announcement of epic proportions, the University Library informed students and faculty that it would be granting members of the Brown community unlimited online access to the New York Times by way of an exclusive site license (!!!!). OMGame-changer. Your research papers are about to become all the more Times-ly.

Click here for more information about how to access the site license. As for you, Brown Library: You rock. Don’t ever change.


Professors who do cool things: Seth Rockman

While Gordon Wood (the subject of this squabble) and our beloved Michael Vorenberg continue to hold it down in Peter Green, a trendsetter has emerged from the History Department’s Sharpe House. According to a recent article in the New York Times, capitalism has become the fashionable topic for historians across the country and Brown’s own Seth Rockman is part of the vanguard. Professor Rockman, an early Americanist, has focused his research on slavery and the elaborate economic machinery that kept the peculiar institution running—incredibly interesting for history nerds, but not quite exciting for the student masses.

In a textbook case of historical contingency, however, Rockman noticed that emphasizing a trendy topic such as capitalism in his course might attract more students from other disciplines to his lectures. Subsequently, as the Times notes, Rockman’s course enrollments jumped up when he changed its title from “Capitalism, Slavery and the Economy of Early America” to “History of Capitalism.” Naturally, the lure of big ideas and power relation exploration—the opiates of undergraduate study—attracted students in droves. Capitalism, additionally, will provide the organizing theme for his introductory U.S. survey class next fall. With a couple of books in the works (including one entitled Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development), there is little doubt that Rockman will remain a key player in this emergent wave of capitalist historians. And long as there are new hegemonic relationships to “explode,” Brown students will be along for the ride.


(BlogDH) Date Approval Matrix

Sextion: A dating approval matrix

With the advent of Brown University ComplimentsAdmirers, and now Scramblers, it is clear that lust love is in the air. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, it’s time for you to start thinking about how to spend it. Whether or not you consider yourself a dating aficionado, Blog has decided to help. Here are some activities you could do with your main hang that cover the entire date/not date spectrum (based on the level of thoughtfulness).

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