A Look Back at 2010

2010. A year of the same old Princeton happenings–bitching about Dean’s Date, bitching about grade deflation, bitching about bad FML posts. But there were a few things that we think set Oh-Ten apart: Robot Unicorn Attack, Supreme Court dominance, and the demise of Four Loko.

Here’s what happened in 2010:

  • January: There were exams. There are always exams. For the four years you are at Princeton, you will never have a January that isn’t at least partly awful, on account of exams. However: Dean’s Date liveblog. —DCW
  • February: Chatroulette was just starting to become a campus phenomenon, and by phenomenon, we mean something that people would do at parties when they were drunk. In February, we brought you the story of three friends who ran into each other on Chatroulette–while 16,216 other users from around the world were also chatting and nexting each other. -AW
    All month, we crossed our fingers and it happened: February 10th — Snow Day! With classes cancelled, Princetonians’ inner five-year-olds came out to play. The day unfolded like a story — like Beginner’s Reading story from Highlights For Children where nothing bad ever happens ever and instead the characters perform one wholesome recreational activity after another until it’s time to go home and get warm and Mom’s made hot chocolate with marshmallows oh yeah! It was simple. It was uncool. It was so, so wonderful. It was: Snowball fight in the Junior Slums! Quick now sled down Whitman Hill! Hide out in an igloo! Build a snowman on Alexander Beach! How could you not go to bed that night with a smile? — DCW
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    The Snow Mound Formerly Known as the Blair Arch Staircase

    And it appears oh-so-sleddable. Disclaimer: it is still a staircase.

    [caption id="attachment_8413" align="aligncenter" width="445" caption="Image courtesy of Akarshan Kumar '13, intrepid explorer"]Image courtesy of Akarshan Kumar '13, intrepid explorer[/caption]

    First snowfall of the year(!!!) and it looks to be a hefty one. This photo was taken on 12/26 circa 9:30 PM; apparently there’s about a foot of the fluffy white stuff and more to come. The U-Store — just barely visible here, that glowing beacon of hope and warmth and Olives chicken salad sandwiches — should maybe invest in toboggans.

    21 Questions with… Gabriel Debenedetti ’12


    Name: Gabriel A. Debenedetti
    : 20
    Major: Politics, with a certificate in American Studies
    Hometown: Princeton, NJ
    Eating Club/Residential College/Affiliation: Ivy Club / Rockefeller College

    What was your initial reaction when you found out about the position? I was thrilled, of course! Then, quite quickly, that turned into confusion when my glasses were knocked off in the celebratory mob and I couldn’t see a thing.

    Who’s your favorite Princetonian, living or dead, real or fictional? F. Scott Fitzgerald ’17 is most certainly up there, and Hobey Baker ’14 is as well.

    What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Princeton? This is difficult, because I’ve lived in Princeton for essentially my entire life. But let’s go with the first time I had the filet mignon at the Witherspoon Grill while celebrating my birthday with my family — I’m not sure how many years ago that was. At least five.

    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day? On a given day, I wake up, think about making a newspaper, do reading, go to class, work on making a newspaper, go to lunch, go to more class, work more on making a newspaper, go to dinner and make a newspaper (not always in that order).

    What is your greatest guilty pleasure? Reading The Ink in the Prince office.

    What are your plans for the Prince? Of course, I have many long-term and short-term plans for the Prince, but one of the overarching themes of these plans is pushing the paper into a new and exciting age of comprehensive, high-quality journalism of, for and about the Princeton community. This needs to happen both online and on paper. Let me know how we do.

    Do you know all the words to Old Nassau? I think so, but don’t test me.

    What is your biggest fear? That this town ceases to have newsworthy things occurring every day.

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    The Holly At the Ivy: Princeton at Its Most Festive

    [caption id="attachment_8385" align="alignright" width="250" caption="Princeton at its most picturesque"]Princeton at its most picturesque[/caption]

    Looking for some holiday cheer to wash the bitter taste of end-of-semester craziness out of your mouth?  Without the weight of classes, tests, and papers, the town of Princeton’s a veritable cornucopia of festive cuteness. Here’s some ideas to get you started:

    1. Bent Spoon’s Flavors of the Week include Peppermint Stick and Cinnamon Caramel. Need we say more? Nothing says “goodbye, semester!” better than celebratory ice cream.  (Peppermint paired with the dark chocolate gelato is a particularly fantastic combo).
    2. If you’re going for pure gluttony, look no further than the hot chocolate from the Lindt Chocolate Store in Palmer Square.  They melt a Lindt truffle in every cup. Don’t question it, just go. Now.
    3. Check out the insanely adorable Boy Scouts’ Christmas Tree sale over in Palmer Square (their lot is right across from the Hulfish Parking Complex).  Way to look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting, boys. Very impressive.
    4. If you’re still scrambling for gift ideas, pick up some cheap used-book gems for everyone on your list at Glen Echo Books on Nassau, which we featured during last year’s holiday season.  Or check out the table of (relatively) cheap stocking stuffers at Paper Source–because let’s face it, who doesn’t need a set of self-adhesive mustaches or a talking Sarah Palin keychain?
    5. Take a moment (or ten, or twenty) to walk around Palmer Square in the evening before you grab your Dinky out of town. The storefronts are twinkling, the 30-foot tree looks like it’s wearing a giant light-covered tea cozy, there are wreaths on every door and displays in every window…and Princeton just might win the cutest town ever award.  Enjoy your breaks, everybody!

    Help this guy get an autographed photo of Paul Krugman

    [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="207" caption="This is Paul Krugman autographing something. (source: Nobelprize.org)"]This is Paul Krugman autographing something. (source: Nobelprize.org)[/caption]

    If writing that paper isn’t hard enough, try working the phrase “I smoke crack rocks” into it.

    That’s what Gabriel Parent of Carnegie Mellon University did for the PhD Challenge, deftly inserting the sentence into a peer-reviewed, academic paper published in Proceedings of IEEE Workshop on Spoken Language Technology. (See the paper here.)

    His reward:

    • One box of chicken-flavored Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup
    • One pack of leather elbow patches
    • The Official 2010 PhD Challenge Winning Paper Award Certificate
    • One Autographed 8×10 Photograph of Nobel Prize Laureate Paul Krugman

    But the PhD Challenge is having a tough time getting that autographed photo of Paul Krugman for Gabriel, which is where The Ink comes in.

    Princeton, can anyone get this guy an autographed photo of Paul Krugman? Let the PhD Challenge know!

    (h/t The Awl)

    21 Questions with… Khameer Kidia ’11


    Name: Khameer Kishore Kidia
    Age: 22
    Major: French and Italian
    Hometown: Harare, Zimabwe
    Eating Club/Residential College/Affiliation: Tower/Forbes

    What was your initial reaction when you found out about the scholarship? I felt a little dazed but deeply privileged and honored. The Zimbabwean Committee is a little more humane than the American one. They send you home and wait five to six hours, during which your family sits in silence with you in a room (as though there has been a death), and then they call.

    Who’s your favorite Princetonian, living or dead, real or fictional? Jack Donaghy

    What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Princeton? Two words: Tomo. Sushi.

    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day? I think probably more than anything, I listen to people repeat the things I say to them; either in what they assume is a correct imitation of my voice or in a purposefully melodramatic affectation that sounds something akin to a cross between a dying old lady and a mule.

    What is your greatest guilty pleasure? Whatever I happen to walk out of the Wa with after 3am.

    What are your plans for the Rhodes? To read for an M.Phil in Medical Anthropology for two years at Oxford, likely focusing on the institution of systems of health care and medical education in Zimbabwe.

    Do you know all the words to Old Nassau? No, but I vow to learn them before I graduate.

    What is your biggest fear? Catheterization. Don’t ask.

    Continue reading…

    Anonymous Thesis

    [caption id="attachment_8347" align="alignleft" width="249" caption="image source: http://elem.com/~btilly/effective-ab-testing/"]image source: http://elem.com/~btilly/effective-ab-testing/[/caption]

    Dearest seniors,

    As you work through all those intellectual and logistical hurdles of thesis chapter drafts, remember the words your third-grade teacher would chant before every spelling test: “Put your name at the top of the page.” Below is an email sent out to English seniors after one hurried (or humble?) (or ashamed?) senior submitted a nameless thesis chapter to the department:

    Subject: Draft

    Someone dropped off a 20-page thesis draft w/o a name.  It is titled “The Blood Cycle.”   Who are you?

    Best, Marcia

    It seems Princeton won’t let this thesis exist among its peers—Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, A Woman in Berlin—as an authorless document. Keep chipping away at those pages, thesis fairy. You won’t walk out of the gates without a name. But if you slip some thesis pages under my pillow, I won’t ask questions.

    21 Questions with…Catharine Bellinger ’12


    Name: Catharine Bellinger
    Age: 20
    Major: Woodrow Wilson School as of now, but I’m switching to Classics with Woody Woo Certificate
    Hometown: Washington, DC
    Eating Club/Residential College/Affiliation: Tower

    In 10 words or less, what is SFER? A non-profit mobilizing the next generation of education reform leaders.

    In 10 words or less, what’s up with the American education system? Unequal access to great teachers; but everywhere, pockets of success.

    What is the best thing you’ve ever done at Princeton? Cheered on the senior class in the P-rade.

    What makes a great teacher? A great teacher sets very specific goals for what students will actually be able to do (by the end of the lesson, the unit, the year…), then constantly checks for understanding and adjusts instruction. In practice, that means if students fail a math test, the teacher doesn’t say, “well, my students didn’t try very hard.” She says, “how can I teach these concepts better?”

    What is the most promising area of education reform? Innovations in teacher preparation. Check out “Building a Better Teacher” in the New York Times. The related videos will blow your mind.

    What was your favorite academic subject in third grade? Reading. My teacher used to find me under her desk with a book, hiding. I think I was probably avoiding math.

    Do you believe in Santa? Of course.

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    Decking the Halls

    Now that the holidays are so close we can almost taste the gingerbread cookies and Manischewitz, we’ve gathered up some pics of our favorite Christmas lights and ornaments and dreidels and bows and ribbons and and menorahs and general Santa paraphernalia on campus  to  give you a mere taste of the festive fabulosity that will begin in 72 hours. Scroll through our highlight reel of the campus’s weirdest and most wonderful holiday dorm displays. IMG_1861And, yes — those are life-size Taylor Lautner and Robert Pattinson cutouts donning their holiday best.

    Continue reading…

    Valerie Smith to replace Nancy Malkiel as dean of the college

    [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="497" caption="Valerie Smith (via princeton.edu)"]Valerie Smith (via princeton.edu)[/caption]

    Dean of the college Nancy Malkiel, known to many students as the architect of Princeton’s grade deflation policy, will step down from her position and be replaced by Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature Valerie Smith.

    Smith, who expanded the University’s interdisciplinary Center for African-American Studies, will take charge of the University’s undergraduate academic program on July 1, 2011. Malkiel will have been the longest-serving dean of the college.

    The Office of the Dean of the College is responsible for the development of undergraduate students, including the supervision of the residential college system, admissions, and financial aid offices.

    The search committee charged with finding Malkiel’s replacement included Provost Christopher Eisgruber, six other faculty members, and two undergraduates, Sachs Scholar Veronica Shi ’11 and USG chair of the Undergraduate Life Committee, Mike Weinberg ’11.

    More on this story as it develops.

    21 Questions with…Amira Polack ’12



    Name: Amira Polack
    Age: 20
    Major: WWS, Cert. SPA
    Hometown: Glendale, CA
    Eating club/residential college/affiliation: Ivy/Wilson/NA

    What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Hit snooze.

    Do you see yourself ever deleting your Facebook? I have yet to delete my Myspace account, which has sat around unused for a couple years now. I’d have to say that at this rate, deleting my Facebook is unlikely.

    What’s the coolest new start-up? Princeton’s Social Entrepreneurship Initiative – a start-up that will start up start-ups – or Prepidemic, even though I don’t wear men’s clothing.

    Small World or Starbucks? Small World – their chai is like dynamite.

    What magazines do you read? Uh. Business Today. Please.

    What is your favorite cookie? Murray Dodge – the ever-changing cookie.

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    Time to invest in a balaclava

    Screen shot 2010-12-14 at 12.08.20 AM

    Not sure if you realized, but it is really, really cold right now. If you don’t believe me, check this. Yep.

    In the interest of your health, your warmth, and your extremities, we’ve decided to outline a few places on campus not to go because they entail enduring way too much cold.

    McCosh Courtyard/Firestone Plaza

    Christ on a cracker, this has got to be the worst place; right in the center of campus Princeton’s architects managed to create two of the strongest wind tunnels I’ve yet to experience, and every time the wind blows through there I question the very existence of God. If you aren’t wearing earmuffs, or a face-mask, expect minor burns while you thaw in Firestone lobby.

    Continue reading…