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No better way to start the brand new semester than to come in at #1 in US News & World Report’s Big Important List of College Rankings That May Or May Not Mean Anything– and for once, we’re not tied with Harvard!

Putting schools on top of other schools. Because if we couldn’t, our society would be nothing more than a meaningless body of men that gather together for no good purpose!

The methodology of the US News & World Report Rankings is something as follows (from Malcolm Gladwell’s 2011 analysis):

1. Undergraduate academic reputation, 22.5 per cent
2. Graduation and freshman retention rates, 20 per cent
3. Faculty resources, 20 per cent
4. Student selectivity, 15 per cent
5. Financial resources, 10 per cent
6. Graduation rate performance, 7.5 per cent
7. Alumni giving, 5 per cent

Notice that the biggest contributing factor is “reputation,” which Gladwell criticized as being nebulous and tautological, because it’s essentially ranking driven by name brands, which are in turn driven by rankings, which in turn are driven by monkeys or something. We’re okay with that though, if it suits us. Princeton number one, woo! First place, baby! Let’s totally forget that we were last in terms of racial integration among the Ivies. Oops. Shh. It should be noted that of the top 10 schools, Princeton’s tuition is (marginally) the lowest, and our financial aid is definitely the best.

In other news, surveys of Harvard’s incoming class of 2017 show that more Harvard freshman have cheated on their homework than have had sex. Or, as DS ’14 comments: “They’re probably over-reporting on the sex and under-reporting on the cheating, so it really REALLY sucks to go to Harvard.”

Welcome back Tigers!

We’ve all heard about Woodrow Wilson, Michelle Obama, and Brooke Shields at Princeton. But what about all of the fictional characters who have matriculated at this great, ivy-bathed institution?

It seems the University can’t get enough of our fake alumni:

DID YOU KNOW: Princeton has a Program in Linguistics, but contrary to what you may have seen on TV, “30 Rock” character Jack Donaghy was never employed there to read every English word to canonize the language in his perfect American accent.

- Princeton University’s Official Facebook, 2011

While Alec Baldwin’s big-time network executive character doesn’t seem like an unlikely character you might meet at Reunions, The Ink has decided to weigh in on how some of Princeton’s other faux-alums stack up:


Bruce Wayne, revealed in Batman Begins
Plausibility: High. Just think about the donations the Wayne family could give to the endowment.
Major: Economics with a Certificate in Laying Chicks, I suspect.

Sam Seaborn, from The West Wing
Plausibility: A high-powered speech writer and political guru – sounds about right.
Major: Woody Woo
Trivia Point: His Secret Service codename is “Princeton.”

Doogie Howser, M.D., from Doogie Howser, M.D.
Plausibility: Questionable, but not unlikely. He’s a child prodigy who supposedly graduated from Princeton at age 10. In 1983. (But he’s white and not a woman, so he might have fit in with the lil’ old boys’ club.)
Major: Whatever gets kids into med school these days.
Fantasy Senior Thesis: “Riding Unicorns: How I Met Your Mother and Fooled Her into Thinking I Was Into Her”

Will Smith, from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Plausibility: Well, the proof is in the interview. (Just imagine Janet Rapelye in this situation.)

Major: ORFE, assuming they can all solve Rubik’s Cubes too.

Dr. Manhattan, from Watchmen
Plausibility: VERY High. (Blue is diversity points.)
Major: Atomic Physics, World Destruction
Probable Senior Thesis: “Tachyons: Not a Plot Point”

Princess Mia Thermopolis (aka Anne Hathaway), from Princess Diaries 2
Plausibility: Unlikely. Just because Princeton has castles does not make it the appropriate place for every Disney princess.
Major: The movie says Woody Woo. But maybe she only picked it because it was still in its heyday of selectivity?

Sam Montgomery (aka Hilary Duff), from A Cinderella Story
Plausibility: See above on princesses. Queens, however, we accept.
Major: Comp Lit
Trivia Point: “RaspberrySmoothie” gets hilariously upset in this College Confidential chatroom about how unfair it is that Princeton admits Duff’s character:

I can’t believe she got into Princeton! Nowhere once in that movie did I see her studying, working, or doing anything but moaning about how much her stepmother sucked. And she wasn’t even geographically diverse, a legacy, award-winning, or a minority. What a slacker.

Amory Blaine, from Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise
Plausibility: High. The character is based off of Fitzgerald, a Princeton graduate drop-out himself.
Major: Literature or Philosophy. He would deem anything else too vocational.

Fred Flintstone, from the Flintstones
Plausibility: Based on this episode, the University was appropriately named “Princestone” in Fred’s time. Just ask John Nash, he’ll remember.
Major: Wheel and Fire Engineering (WAFE)

Some other non-canonical alumni include: Charlie Epps from “Numb3rs,” President Charles Logan from “24,” Paul Kinsey from “Mad Men,” and Angelina Jolie’s Russian spy character in that one movie no one watched called “Salt.”

Can you imagine how crazy Reunions would be with all these characters?

a collaboration by Oren Fliegelman ’16, Vivienne Chen ’14

First week of classes, lost gloves, and bicker. Here’s what Princeton has been up to on the interwebs this week:

Res college listservs:

Subject: Panda buttsex gloves
Date: February 5, 2013 10:51:50 PM EST

Hey Forbes,

I apologize for the disruption, but I seem to have misplaced a pair of gloves. The gloves depict twopandas having buttsex, and they were a gift from my roommate. I’d greatly appreciate it if, should you happen upon them (is that a saying?), you returned them to me. (Email me!)

That’s two pandas having buttsex, as in a total of two panda couples (a pair on each hand).

Peace and blessings,

Oh cute panda gloves! What?!

Tiger Admirers:
PrincetonFML :
When “that guy” in your new precept doesn’t look like he’d be “that guy”:


Is there something we missed? Add it in the comments!

Shake off your New Year’s Eve hangover and say hello to 2013… and end-of-break panic. But don’t worry. Although you forgot a semester’s worth of material, breathe easy knowing that UPC’s got you covered on what’s trending in 2013. When your thesis adviser starts hunting you down or someone mentions “fiscal cliff” again, distract them with Snapchat and conspiracy theories on why Shirley T is really leaving. You’re welcome.

Presidential elections Presidential search
Cornel West Anne-Marie Slaughter
Freshman rush Multi-club bicker
Lawnparties Bonfire Cannon Green Bonfire
Save the Dinky Arts and Transit Neighborhood
Princeton Borough and Princeton Township Princeton
Comment wars on the Prince website Bribing people with food to debate professors
Tiger Compliments
Instagram Snapchat
Mic checking Goldman Rebuffing Scalia
Hurricane Sandy A storm of pre-frosh
Steve Carell
New Firestone carrels
Bruce Wayne Jay Gatsby
Shirley T Shirley T’s clone (the product of Shirl’s mol-bio “research”)

Inspired by The List from the Washington Post. 

Have something to add to The List? Leave it in the comments below.

For anyone who has somehow managed to avoid the news, Princeton football scored 28 points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and beat Harvard yesterday at a final score of 39-34, leaving open the chance for a bonfire at Canon Green (pending a victory over Yale). Better yet, they did it in front of the masses of alumni who had come down for Homecoming.

At halftime, the Tigers trailed by 20 and were yet to score; at it’s highest, the team faced a 24-point deficit, making their win all the more dramatic.

Following the victory—which was sealed with a late 39-yard touchdown pass—Princetonians of all ages stormed the field, celebrating the Tigers’ undefeated record in the Ivy League.

The Tigers are scheduled to face Yale on November 10. A Princeton victory would complete the sweep necessary for our first bonfire (in honor of the two victories) since 2006!

In case you missed the last 5,000 emails about the football tailgate at Frist (um since when does a tailgate include an inflatable obstacle course?), the Princeton vs. Georgetown game was yesterday evening. Here are two videos from the halftime show (because we’re not so into the actual football part either).

Yes, the band did just make fun of Mitt Romney. I think they’re in the formation of a stick figure man. Hangman anyone?

And, of course, no halftime show is complete without “Call Me Maybe”:


Looking for something to get you through your last final? Getting pumped up for Dead Week revelry? Just want something #orangeandblack to rage to? Hats off to Nikki Muller ’05, who I’m pretty sure has come up with this year’s Reunions anthem. We think this song is gold.

UPDATE — We got in touch with Nikki Muller to get some insight on the inspiration behind her video. A few comments from the artist herself:

On the origins of this song:

The idea came from the fact that most female Ivy Leaguers super downplay their educations in a social setting because it’s immediately perceived as bragging. My friend Aliza Pearl and I (class of ’04, also in the video) were saying that guys react to you saying you went to Princeton on a date as if you just said you’d served time… “You went there? What for? When was that?”

On the choice of musical style:

I thought it’d be funny to, for once, give a girl a chance at some no-holds-barred Kanye West-style self-aggrandizing, which of course is best done through aggressive rapping.

On post-Princeton struggles, but seriously (#payattention2012):

The self-deprecating turn applies to a lot of us who are having a tough time finding jobs these days, and pretty much points out a great education doesn’t guarantee you a comfortable life, nor does it mean you think you’re better than anyone.

On douchey Whartonites:

I also went to the prom of a guy who’d gotten into Wharton when I was in high school, and he absolutely sounded exactly like Greg does in the video. His improv was a little too close for comfort.

On how this song can change your life:

I actually wrote it nearly a year ago and then put it away for a while because I was afraid the tongue-in-cheek quality wouldn’t translate… then I revisited it and thought, “Why haven’t I recorded this yet?!” The song’s been my alarm ringtone on my phone for the past month, which a.) reminded me to get off my butt and make the music video and b.) motivates me to get out of bed. “You went to Princeton, bitch. Stop being lazy.”

No promises of a live Reunions performance (yet), but Muller is starting to tour colleges with her musical standup, so keep an eye out (eating clubs, potential for next fall’s comedy nights? Come on). In the meantime, the Ink suggests you follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

A great 60s-tastic shot of Nassau Hall. (photo from

A great 60s-tastic shot of Nassau Hall. (photo from

As of this afternoon, Princeton has offered 726 students spots in the Class of 2016 from a 3,443-person applicant pool, the University announced at 3pm today.  It’s the first time Princeton has offered students the option of applying Early Action–meaning that admitted students are not contractually obligated to attend, and may apply to other schools for Regular Decision if they so choose–since 2006, when Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Virginia all simultaneously eliminated their Early Decision programs.  Harvard took 772 students for the Class of 2016 out of 4,245 applicants, with an acceptance rate of 18.2%, while Yale had an 18% dip in Early Action applications this year, due in part to Princeton and Harvard’s reinstated programs.

Jury’s still out on how many admitted students will matriculate, though Dean Janet Rapeleye has said that the accepted Early Action students should represent about a third of the year’s total admits.

To read more about Princeton’s Early Action pool for 2016, including a demographic breakdown for admitted students, click here.

Still working on the perfect look for formals? Computer science students Daniel Chyan ’14, Angela Dai ’13, Tiantian Zha ’13 and Amy Zhou ’13 might be able to offer some advice.

They took first place at the Facebook Camp Hackathon last weekend, beating teams that qualified at earlier competitions throughout the country. Their creation? Color Me Bold, a program that analyzes a photo and offers jewelry and accessory suggestions. Whether you want to give your outfit an extra splash of color or just want to see what it takes to win a hackathon, you can test it here.

Screen shot 2011-12-07 at 4.41.00

Some tips from Zha:

  • After uploading a photo from Facebook, click and drag your mouse over areas of the photo where the outfit you want to match is. If coloring inside the lines isn’t your strong suit, you can right click to erase.
  • Next choose whether you want jewelry or accessory recommendations – jewelry works best at the moment.
  • Princeton’s network isn’t the speediest, so give it some time.

If you’re skeptical about taking fashion advice from a computer algorithm, well, Facebook’s seal of approval is pretty convincing. It’s even more impressive considering they had just 24 hours to put it together.

Princeton’s team was also the only one with more women than men, which might account for the fashion-forward hack. Zha said she got the idea when thinking about day-to-day problems she’d like to solve – “accessorizing can definitely take up as much time as I have available. The girls were totally onboard–and outvoted our one male team member.”

Check out an interview with the Princeton team and video from the hackathon here – considerably tamer than the Hollywood version, but the Ripsticks do look pretty cool.

Triangle sold out so fast when people thought this was a real Sondheim-adapted rap musical.

Triangle sold out so fast when people thought this was a real Sondheim-adapted rap musical.

Cornel West, African-American Studies/Religion professor and one of our many celebrity academics, recently announced that he will be leaving his Princeton post in 2012 to teach Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, the school where he first began his career in academia.

For his time at Princeton, West will be remembered for more than just his commitment to paideia (which I learned is not a Spanish rice dish), his multiple political arrests, and his theological bromance with fellow professor Robbie George.

Oh, and that time his cartoon self roundhouse kicked some R. Kelly supporter in the Boondocks.

Since he began teaching at Princeton in 2001, West’s radical liberal politics have made him a controversial figure. A smattering of editorials and always well-phrased comments in the Prince since his arrival highlight the various opinions on West: “Princeton’s foremost hire” to “clownish entertainer,” “hero” to “charlatan,” and “exemplary human being” to “media whore.” My crowd of friends isn’t a big fan of West either, and as one friend once put it: “Why is he in academics at all? Why does he matter?”

I’ll be honest. Despite his platitudes, gangster proclivities, and propensity for showmanship, I believe Professor West matters.

Continue reading…

Christopher A. Sims (image source:, Denise Applewhite)

Christopher A. Sims (image source:, Denise Applewhite)

Thomas J. Sargent (image source:, NYU Stern)

Thomas J. Sargent (image source:, NYU Stern)

After almost four decades of work exploring the causal relationships between policy decisions and the economy, Sims and Sargent received the Nobel Prize this morning in recognition of their independent, but complementary, research.

While Sargent’s research focused on more long-term economic trends as inflation targets, Sims, the Harold H. Helm ’20 Professor of Economics and Banking, focused more on short-term economic developments. Through statistical analysis, Sims and Sargent investigated whether changes in economic policy cause these developments, or whether policy-makers anticipate these developments when shaping policy.

And although the Nobel Prize website has yet to post details about the research and the winners, congratulations have already begun to flow in from around the world, some more cryptic than others. A personal favorite? “go VIKINGS we fianlly [sic] won.” Surely somebody gets it…

In an interview with the New York Times this morning, Sims said that his research holds real and important implications for the current state of global economic affairs, and recovery from it:

The methods that I’ve used and that Tom has developed are central for finding our way out of this mess.

When pressed for a simple policy solution, though, he hesitated. Whoever finds one of those, it seems, will be in the running for the next Nobel.

HESSLER_ENVIRO_200There are probably a lot of Princetonians who fall on the genius spectrum, but not all of them get official recognition, much less official recognition and a no-strings-attached $500,000 grant.

Then there’s Peter Hessler ’92, one of 22 MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Hessler is a long form journalist who drew on his experience as an English teacher and foreign correspondent in China in three books where he crafts “richly illuminating accounts of ordinary people in such rapidly changing societies as Reform Era China.”

He’s written about Peace Corps projects in Nepal, a Uighur money-trader seeking asylum in the US, the effects of China’s auto boom on industrial centers and nearly-abandoned villages … yeah, pretty much everything. So, what’s next for a genius writer with half a million dollars to burn? Hessler hopes to head for the Middle East in search of more stories – check out his interview for more.