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?

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Much ado about muffins… ALL OF THE MUFFINS

So, Cookie Monster some Slate writer ate every single variety of Pepperidge Farm cookie.  While I was mildly disgusted, the piece inspired me to repeat this experiment at Brown — with Blue Room muffins, a collection as diverse as and somewhat carbier than the student population.

My sister, the ragamuffin Tanya Nguyen ‘13 (whose favorite joke is, incidentally, the one with the talking muffins), had independently developed a desire to test each one, so I enlisted her consumptive (I actually don’t think that’s the right word, but you know what I mean) and photographic ­aid in this totally self-indulgent project of great journalistic importance. Any excuse to nosh on a bunch of baked goods, amirite? Pro tips: Muffins are best warm, so nab them freshly baked or microwave them. Most are pretty sweet, especially as you keep stuffin’ your face with them, so have some water or other beverage (recommended pairings listed below). A gajillion couple thousand calories and 16 x 1.95 points later, here are our highly scientific results (in chronological order of sampling, which, don’t worry, was not in one sitting).

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Alums who do cool things: Dan Edinberg ’02

Remember those giant alien costumes from the otherworldly flash mob a few years ago? The extraterrestrial props are a product of BIG NAZO, a Providence-based art group, and it turns out they’re good not just for Spring Weekend shenanigans. The mutant puppet-creatures and robots feature prominently in a newly released music video —“Sweet Salvation” by the Stepkids, an up-and-coming neo-psychedelic soul three-piece based in Bridgeport, CT, whose self-titled debut came out last September.

The Stepkids have yet another connection close to home: bassist/keyboardist Dan Edinberg, who now lives in Brooklyn, graduated from Brown in 2002. The band played in Boston last week, opening for Kimbra on her Vows tour, and because my older sister is dating the drummer Tim Walsh, I was invited as a special guest got to tag along as a music journalist merch girl. I’ve seen them twice before, last year also in Boston on the Saturday night of Spring Weekend and this summer in New York City, but this time they outdid themselves. In addition to performing new songs, Dan casually busted out a violin for a cover of “Heart-Shaped Box” and the band wowed the audience with their live-projected kaleidoscopic light show.

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Pub Crawl: Brown Politics Memo

According to Ben Kutner ’14, Brown students love to talk — and he’s no exception. The founding Editor-in-Chief of Brown Politics Memo had plenty to say during a thoroughly enjoyable fireside Blue Room chat with Pub Crawl about nonpartisanship, accessibility, everyman expertise, “high-falutin’” jargon, and hypothetical fistfights. The Memo is an undergraduate-run online-only newspaper that launched in March 2012. It both covers factual news and publishes original opinions on Rhode Island, United States, and international issues. News junkies, consider yourselves satisfied. Expect an abundance of content as the election campaigning and debating rage on!

Where to get it: Online (Subscribe! to the email list!)

When to get it: ‘Round the clock

Recommended read: The Femo, a women’s rights blog updated every Friday that is not necessarily straight politics but deals with political issues; this article on international aid.

Get involved/in touch: Email it. Like it on Facebook. Follow it on Twitter. The already strong staff always wants more people — not just writers but also editors and social media moguls!

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Pub Crawl: Fashionably Great Unhemmed Magazine

Don’t call them “fashionistas,” but they own mad style. April Zhang ’13 and MJ Batson ’13 are the founding Editors-in-Chief of Unhemmed, Brown’s online fashion style magazine. We had the opportunity to have a conversation with the bubbly pair and share some laughs before yesterday’s new issue  and website redesign(!) launch.  Unhemmed has collaborated with Blog before for Street Style, so we were thrilled to feature them this week on Pub Crawl (formerly Blog on Pubs).

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Pub Crawl: The classy Critical Review

Blog on Pubs debuts this semester with a significantly cooler (and punnier) name: Pub Crawl. At Brown there is, if you haven’t noticed, a healthy abundance of student publications. While you’re already reading one of the very best, this series aims to highlight other noteworthy pubs that may have otherwise escaped your valuable attention. (Email if you’d like your current student pub featured!) 

Still deciding between that hyped-up lecture and that apparently interesting but obscure seminar? During shopping period, you might feel overwhelmed by the tyranny of choice. Sure, you can turn to faculty/peer advisers, friends, crowd-sourcing comparison on Best of Brown (launched last semester and since updated), rando-stalking, or a Magic 8-Ball, but when it comes to real talk re: profs and assignments, first-years will quickly realize and Brown returnees should know by now that nothing beats Critical Review.

Since 1976, CR has compiled anonymous student responses to questionnaires distributed in participating classes at the end of each semester. It’s basically Zagat for Brown academics. Conveniently, you can search the site for courses and/or instructors, which is handy when you want to try out different sections. The written review covers curricular content, prereqs, teaching style, workload, and suggestions to shoppers based on collective opinion. Continue Reading