Articles filed under “In the news”

http://accidentalmind.org/

http://accidentalmind.org/

A hotbed of research exists around aging in the world of molecular biology. Researchers focusing on cancer, fertility and general mortality look at everything from individual cells to sea urchins, trying to understand how aging works. Princeton MOL professor Colleen Murphy is no exception.

In an article published yesterday in Cell, Murphy and colleagues found aging and fertility connections between the worm C. elegans and humans. That’s right: women age like worms.

Well, to be more specific, reproductive aging occurs far before other aging in both female humans and C. elegans. And in both species, this decrease in fertility is due to a decrease in the quality, not quantity, of their eggs.

Murphy found that the protein TGF-beta (transforming growth factor beta), which is also found in humans, causes eggs to degrade in C. elegans.

For those female students planning to have both a career and families, this may be good news. Murphy foresees further research on C. elegans leading to fertility treatments:

“The dream would be that you could give a woman in her early 30s a supplement or a drug to keep her oocytes healthy as long as possible,” she said. “We have treatments now that extend life span, but nothing extends our reproductive span,” she told the New York Times.

However, don’t get too excited yet. Murphy also looked at mutant worms with low TGF-beta levels. Reproduction in these worms did continue into old age, but there was an unforeseen consequence — death. Worms were still reproducing at 13 days — which is old for an organism that lives 2-3 weeks — but their bodies were no longer healthy enough to lay the fertilized eggs.

“It’s like an 80-year-old woman trying to have a baby,” Murphy said in a press release.

If Goldman Sachs released tables of the best Ivy League universities at making money, Princeton would come second. (This is based on absolutely no analysis of the following figures.)

PRINCO, the Princeton University Investment Co., announced annual returns of 14.7 percent for the fiscal year of 2010 today. After last year’s return of -23.5 percent and this year’s big turnaround, Princeton’s endowment currently stands at $14.4 billion. Annualized returns for the past decade amount to 7.9 percent.

Yeah, cool, a nice chunk of change, whatever. But what bugs me is that Columbia posted returns of 17.3 percent (albeit on a $6.5 billion sum). At least we beat Harvard (11.4 percent increase to $27.4 billion) and Yale (8.9 percent increase to $16.7 billion).

Does that mean we can start getting more free stuff/study breaks/Lawnparties?

quincyfire.blogspot.com

quincyfire.blogspot.com

Apparently our campus has become a lot more sexually healthy over the past year. The Trojan Sexual Health Report Card, created by Trojan® condoms, Sperling’s BestPlaces and Rock the Vote, is an annual ranking of sexual health at American colleges and universities. Last year Princeton ranked 61st. This year we rocketed up to 8th.

So what makes a school sexually healthy? A recent Prince column suggested that there is sexual harassment on the Street. And fellow New Jersey school Rutgers is ranked as the 9th most sexually healthy university — but a gay Rutgers student recently committed suicide after his roommate streamed a video of him having sex. It appears that sexual harassment and homophobia are not considered in the rankings.  What is?

Sperling’s BestPlaces assigned each college or university a GPA based on scoring from 12 categories. See the categories after the jump:

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See? Doesn't he just look like a literary titan?

See? Doesn't he just look like a literary titan?

Sorry, Spencer…you put your money on the wrong Princetonian.

This year’s winner of the Nobel Prize for literature is Peruvian-born author Mario Vargas Llosa, who is currently serving as the 2010 Distinguished Visitor in Princeton’s Program in Latin American Studies.

According to nobelprize.org, Vargas Llosa’s selection was based on “his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.”

A talented journalist and critic as well as author, Vargas Llosa’s more famous works include “The Green House” (1968), “Conversation in the Cathedral,” (1969) and “The Feast of the Goat” (2000).

His better-known exploits include running for the Peruvian presidency, being made a member of the Spanish Royal Academy, and punching Gabriel Garcia-Marquez in the face.

Click here for an interview with Vargas Llosa immediately following the news of his win.

Or, alternatively, click here for a New York Times article on the subject and, as an added bonus, another really intense headshot.

(source: www.yourenglishclass.com/the-great-gatsby-chapter-one/)

(source: www.yourenglishclass.com/the-great-gatsby-chapter-one/)

Attention, all Princeton literature geeks! Our favorite literary Tiger, F. Scott Fitzgerald, is getting some serious time in the limelight lately, as two separate New York Times articles over the past two days can attest.  The occasion?  The Public Theater in Manhattan just opened a new, eight-hour dramatic reading of The Great Gatsby, called Gatz, and it’s taking the New York theater world by storm. NYTimes theater critic Ben Brantley called the piece “one of the most exciting and improbable accomplishments in theater in recent years,” and tickets are selling like hot cakes.  Today’s NYTimes article talks about Gatz as a theatrical phenomenon; yesterday’s piece focused on how to take a modern-day tour of Gatsby’s Long Island, including the house where Fitzgerald wrote the novel in the Twenties.

Fitzgerald, who entered Princeton in the Class of 1917, enlisted in WWI before graduating, but not before immortalizing his years here in his semi-autobiographical first novel, This Side of Paradise. In it, he famously sketched out flapper-era Princeton in all its misogynistic glory, giving us gems like this:

“I want to go to Princeton,” said Amory. “I don’t know why, but I think of all Harvard men as sissies, like I used to be, and all Yale men as wearing big blue sweaters and smoking pipes.”

Many of  Fitzgerald’s original papers, including skits he wrote for Triangle while he was here, can be found in Princeton’s Firestone archives.  They’re right alongside those of other literary great J.D. Salinger.

With a little over a month until election day in California, former CEO and President of eBay Meg Whitman ’78 and Democratic nominee Jerry Brown met to swap insults at the first gubernatorial debate. The showdown was held at the University of California at Davis and was the first of three scheduled in the race to succeed Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The NBC KCRA-TV channel in Sacramento, a sponsor of the debate, is calling Brown the winner, with polls showing a 57%-43% preference for the former governor and current California Attorney General.

CAGovDebateSEPT28_2010_01b

Well, regardless of whether she actually could win or not, Whitman still threw some punches. Her most memorable zinger? Apparently, putting Brown in charge of the state’s economy when it is in such a wreck would be like “putting Count Dracula in charge of the blood bank.”

Which is… pretty hilarious. (No offense to Brown or anybody but, really? Dracula? That’s a keeper.)

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CO2_zoom_RTR1QBSNIs it possible? Could we actually make a carbon neutral fuel from carbon? For the past decade or so, scientists have been working on technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and store the gas underground in order to avoid climate change. But what if we took that captured carbon dioxide and turned it back into a fuel?

Assuming solar energy was used for the conversion, we would have a green energy source with no carbon footprint. And not only would we be reducing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but we would also be reducing our dependence on oil. This is precisely what chemistry professor Andrew Bocarsly has been working on since 2003.

Building on 1990s research from then-Princeton graduate student Lin Chao, Bocarsly and Emily Barton GS have discovered a way to convert carbon dioxide into fuel using solar energy.

“We take CO2, water, sunlight and an appropriate catalyst and generate an alcoholic fuel,” Bocarsly explained to Scientific American.

And voila — an easily transportable alternative fuel that does not require a whole new infrastructure.

If it sounds too good to be true, there is one catch: we don’t yet have the technology to produce such a fuel in massive quantities at a low price. But Liquid Light is a startup dedicated to creating that technology. Perhaps by the time you graduate you’ll be pumping your car full of recycled gasoline.

Watch how it works after the jump.

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Ever wonder if Seth Priebatsch, the 21-year-old entrepreneurial wunderkid who dropped out of Princeton his freshman year, misses kicking it with his peers on campus? Well, Priebatsch had this to offer in his Sunday New York Times profile (which described Priebatsch as a “teenage Vulcan):

Why, is that Seth Priebatsch (formerly '11) at Princeton's TigerLaunch?

Why, is that Seth Priebatsch (formerly '11) at Princeton's TigerLaunch?

“I had friends at Princeton; I’m sure it’d be fun to see them,” he says. “But I know that what I’m going after is huge and others are going after it, and if they’re not, they’re making a mistake. But other people will figure it out, and every minute that I’m not working on it is a minute when they’re making progress and I’m not. And that is just not O.K.”

The would-be entreprenuers would be wise to listen to whatever Priebatsch has to offer, terrifyingly determined as it may be: Scvngr, the tech start-up he started while still a student at Princeton, pulled in a cool $4 million from Google Ventures.

Other choice tidbits from the profile (and a video of Priesbatsch giving a TED talk) after the jump!

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6a00d8341c630a53ef01347fc41456970cIn her 1980 bestseller “The Official Preppy Handbook,” Lisa Birnbach defined the prep as someone who had a classic outlook on life and a classic wardrobe to match. You might think that thirty years later, and with the economy in the tubes, a manual on all things preppy would be of no use to you.  But then Lawnparties found you scrambling for an appropriate outfit and then it’s already time to start thinking about job interviews for next summer, and you start to sort of wish you knew some of the inside secrets of this pastel world.

Thankfully, Birnbach and celebrated graphic designer Chip Kidd have released an updated version of the handbook: “True Prep: It’s A Whole New Old World”.  You can watch Birnbach talk about the new book on the Colbert Report here.

Our favorite suggestions on how kick it with the country-clubbers after the jump:

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antm-15-ep-1-jane

If these cheekbones could talk: Jane in action (source: The CW)

If you were following our blog these past few months, you know that The Amazing Race isn’t the only reality series with a Princeton connection this fall.  This season (or, as the show’s creator/judge/host/resident eccentric Tyra Banks insists on calling it, “cycle”) of America’s Next Top Model features junior Jane Randall among its bevy of smizing beauties.

Randall, a former member of the lacrosse team who hails from Baltimore, MD, is back at Princeton while the show airs (Wednesday nights at 8 pm on The CW).  So far we’ve only seen Jane in the show’s casting episode, in which she had a scant few minutes of direct screentime.  Still, that was enough time for Jane to: 1) receive the first profanity-bleeping of the cycle (for her reaction to the show’s new grand prize, a cover and two spreads in Vogue Italia); and 2) be labeled “privileged” by one of the show’s judges for attending Princeton and owning horses.

How the 5’9″ History major did going forward in the competition is everyone-but-Jane’s guess.  But while Jane can’t reveal her ultimate fate on the show, she did call us last week to talk about her Top Model experience.

The Ink: What made you want to apply for the show?
Jane:  In October in I was in New York with my mom, and a photographer approached me in Starbucks and asked if I was a model, and I said no. But it was always something I kind of wanted to do. So I went back to my dorm and actually took a couple pictures in my dorm room with my roommates. I sent it in to some agencies and got some calls back. And then I sent them in to Top Model —  I was watching Gossip Girl on the CW website, and there was actually a link to apply for the next Cycle…

Why was modeling something you always wanted to try?
It’s always been something I’ve thought about doing, I guess ever since my growth spurt. People have always said, “Oh, you’re tall and lanky, you should be a model.” But I never had any idea about how to go about doing it.  And then I kind of took it as a sign when the photographer approached me. I figured, why not send in some pictures and find out if I could actually do it?

Before the show, who or what did you think of when you heard the word “model”?
Mainly editorials in magazines. I wasn’t very familiar with runway [modeling], I’ve never really watched fashion shows. I guess an image in a magazine was what I thought of when I heard the word.

And now?  Do you think of yourself?  Do you consider yourself a model?
That’s a good question. Before the show, I definitely did not — it’s something I [just] wanted to do. But through the course of the show, you’ll see I’m trying to figure out if I can.

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IMG_3601lg-1Princeton Dean of the College Nancy Weiss Malkiel will step down from her administrative role at the end of this academic year, the school announced in a Wednesday press release.

In recent years, Dean Malkiel has become a lightning rod for debate over Princeton’s future due to her role in implementing the school’s grade deflation and four year college projects.

But as the official press release notes, Malkiel’s 24-year tenure as Dean of the College — the second-longest among those holding her job — has also included the introduction of many other recognizable policies and programs.  These undertakings include the Princeton Writing Program, the P-D-F grading option, current course distribution requirements, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, and Princeton’s no-loan financial aid policy.

Malkiel will soon return to the History Department, which she joined as a faculty member in 1969 (her husband Burton Malkiel is also a professor at the University, in the Economics Department).   In her post-administrative career she’ll begin work on “a book about the history of coeducation at Princeton” and eventually teach a freshman seminar on coeducation.

Regardless of the endeavors that lie in Malkiel’s future, among current students she’ll likely be remembered, not always fondly, for her strong support of the grade deflation policy that seeks to limit limit the number of A’s academic departments give out each semester.

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The Fitzrandolph Gates await, 2014ers! (Source: princetonphotographs.com).

The Fitzrandolph Gates await, 2014ers! (Source: princetonphotographs.com).

As New Jersey gets attacked by the mother lode of all rain storms this week (oh hey, Tropical Depression Danielle!), the start of hurricane season prompts every good Princetonian to start his or her annual late-summer countdown till move-in.  (19 days, folks!) At this point, of course, all of our friends at normal schools have already moved in and are partying up a storm–erm, are studying hard, as usual. But hey, we’re too cool to start classes in August.  And so we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

For all you 2014ers out there, have no fear! With any luck, this interim period will be your most hellish Princeton experience by far.  In the meantime, here’s a lovely article courtesy of today’s New York Times about how schools are dealing with  over-protective parents as freshman flock to campus.

At Princeton, parents are politely encouraged to vamoose by students-only events after 5:30pm on move-in day.  Dean Dunne, our Associate Dean of Undergraduates, weighs in: “It’s easy for students to point to [the students-only events] and say, ‘Hey, Mom, I think you’re supposed to be gone now.’  It’s obviously a hard conversation for students to have with parents.”

Here’s hoping your parents know how to let go come September 4th for all you OA and CA folks!  If need be, gently remind them that Parents’ Day is a scant month away…at which point, their pocketbooks and the prospect of dinner off-campus will earn them quite the hearty welcome.