BruNews: Monday, February 24


Life on College Hill can be pretty all-consuming and although we are constantly inundated with educational material, we Brown students sometimes forget what’s happening in the outside world. BruNews, a new experiment and potential daily column, is intended to give a very truncated report of what’s going on in the world and is equipped with hyper-links galore so you can read more about whatever piques your interest. Now, you’re ready to take on any dinner party ever–and impress your parents, friends and professors alike. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a proposal today to cut the U.S.armed forces to its pre-World War II size, including eliminating an entire class of Air Force attack jets. The result, according to the New York Times: a military capable of defeating any adversary, but too small for protracted foreign occupations.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-gay bill that imposes a 14-year sentence on “first time offenders” and up to life imprisonment for offenders of “aggravated homosexuality.” The White House released a statement urging Ugandan lawmakers to “repeal this abhorrent law.”

Ukraine issued an arrest warrant for ousted president Viktor Yanukovych for the “mass killings” of civilians. Yanukovych’s last public appearance was on Saturday, when he delivered a televised speech in which he claimed he was still the legitimate leader of Ukraine and vowed not to leave the country. Ukrainian protestors demand new officials “who can say no to the oligarchs” in parliament.

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How I got my swag back: the Mid-Year Activities Fair

So. Many. Flyers.

So. Many. Flyers.

The Mid-Year Activities Fair does not get a lot of publicity. It makes sense, because joining a new extra curricular second semester is usually reserved for frosh and the upperclassmen who are having existential crises because they just broke up with their old extracurriculars and want to fill the void with new ones. For me, however, any gathering of trifold posters and free pens is a perfect excuse to snag goodies. I will confess that I had no intention of picking up any new hobbies. My goal (like always) was to steal shit that was already being given away, and get my mojo back.

aerial arts 2

This year’s fair was in Alumnae Hall, which was a bit awkward, because the last time I was in there was for SPG. Even more awkward, Aerial Arts was doing a demonstration on the stage… which they also did at SPG. Did someone mistake this for Throwback Thursday? Slightly disappointed by the lack of lingerie the students around me were wearing, I took the plunge into the equally sweaty and far less sexual mob. Let’s take a look at my haul:

Tech House: With a table covered in a Settler’s of Catan board and Nintendo 64 Cartridges, tech house had a very inviting setup. They had no freebies to give me, but I settled for the implied offer that I can come by and play drunk Pokemon later this semester.

That an axe is an heirloom, not even kidding.

That axe is an heirloom, not even kidding.

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Clay Pell’s YouTube ads are everywhere

I was sitting down last Tuesday with a bowl of popcorn, geared up to watch Beyonce and Jay Z’s grammy performance for the umpteenth time, when one of those annoying YouTube ads popped up. It was a five seconder. Not bad, I thought. Except then a sad-looking man filled the screen while acoustic guitar played in the background.

“Hi. I’m Clay Pell. I am announcing my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor of Rhode Island…”

I quickly clicked SKIP AD. But as I continued to surf YouTube, I found I couldn’t escape it.  Nobody in the state of Rhode Island can. It appeared before every music video and movie trailer I attempted to watch. I started to have nightmares about it.

“Hola. Soy Clay Pell. Hoy, anuncio mi candidatura para la nominación…” AHHH. IT’S EVEN IN SPANISH.

I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what bothered me about the ad, and then I realized: Pell had the same expression and voice typically reserved for anti-depressant and laxative ads. Between the James Blunt-esque music and Pell’s puppy dog eyes, he could just as easily have said: “Hi. I’m Clay Pell. I’m here today to talk about your inflamed colon. I want to let you know — I’m here to help.”

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Rhode Island once again has a Christmas tree


‘Tis the season for overly dramatic and arboreal scuffles.

In response to last year’s flak regarding renaming the 17-foot evergreen in the State House a “Holiday Tree,” Rhode Island’s Governor Chafee ’75 P’14 P’17 has restored the Christmas tree title in a statement issued on Monday.

Rhode Island of all places is a peculiar site for a debate over public religious tokens, considering the Rhode Island Charter of 1663 was the first legal document in the world that completely decoupled church and state in favor of toleration, according to historian J. Stanley Lemons.

However, unsurprisingly, much of the hubbub last year surrounding the name “Holiday Tree” came from none other than Papa Bear Bill O’Reilly. In classic Factor fashion, he sent Jesse Watters up to Providence to ask Brown students for their take on the issue. Watters aired a segment portraying Brown students as the only population in the state that preferred the holiday tree over a Christmas tree, saying that all people he spoke to in Providence preferred the traditional name “except if you go to Brown University.” Continue Reading

Janet Yellen ’67 nominated as next Fed chair

Barack Obama, Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke

This afternoon, President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to be the next chairperson of the Federal Reserve. Indeed, you probably already heard–this is big news in its own right. Yellen (if her nomination is approved) would be the first Fed chairwoman, and her appointment marks the end of Ben Bernanke’s eight-year tenure. What you probably haven’t heard is that Yellen is a member of the Brown University class of 1967.

The nature of our school could probably point you towards a few of her political beliefs–she’s a Democrat, and thus a proponent of a strong Fed stimulus program. After leaving Brown with a degree in economics, she headed to Yale to get her Ph.D. in–you’ll never guess–economics. Her extremely successful career in education and government reached new heights when President Obama nominated her as Vice Chairwoman of the Fed.

This Wednesday, the big promotion finally came. Brown should be proud to have such an accomplished, intelligent woman in our ranks. Here’s to hoping her appointment goes smoothly. Once she’s in office, she’ll need all the luck she can get.

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BruNews Weekly Round-up: September 29


Rhode Island killing it: The University of Alabama has released a map revealing the statistically worst things about every state. Rhode Island came in first for the highest rate of illicit drug use, with around 12.5 percent of the population using. Just another fact to add to one of the strangest states in the country. Check out your home state’s fact at Policy Mic.

Too cool to miss: Scientists at Harvard and MIT have successfully created “photonic molecules,” a phenomenon that occurs when photons bind together into a solid state. The coolest part: these molecules could potentially be used to make light sabers. Light sabers. Harvard Professor of Physics Mikhail Lukin stated “It’s not an in-apt analogy to compare this to light sabers. When these photons interact with each other, they’re pushing against and deflect each other. The physics of what’s happening in these molecules is similar to what we see in the movies.” Maybe they’ll use real light sabers for Star War VII. Just maybe (International Business Times). Continue Reading