Week in Review 10/9-15/16

First, I learned this week that I have a small international audience. I can now say that little website spans four continents. I wonder who these people are.


Some of the things that I see around here make me laugh.

Sunday— I attended the Whig-Clio presidential debate watch party. They served free Chipotle! It will be Chick-fil-a at next week’s party.

Monday— Nothing shoots fear into the heart of a Princeton student like the sight of fire inspectors in dormitory hallways. I walked back to just that upon returning from physics class. Fire inspectors are University employees who regularly inspect rooms to ensure that they follow the institution’s fire safety codes. They go into students’ rooms and look around. Every. Single. Room. Usually, they warn students a week in advance about their patrol’s, but today’s were unexpected. There are steep fines on the order of $50-$200 for violating fire code. It is rather common for students to receive fines for having a coffeemaker or placing a poster on the door. Fortunately, my room passed the inspection. I feel like this is a Princeton-specific procedure that is not done at other universities.

In the late afternoon, I went to an awesome lecture by Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George for the James Madison Program.


West and George

Tuesday— The Geosciences Department holds guest lectures every Tuesday and Thursday. Their Tuesday lectures offer a fully catered lunch and their Thursday lectures provide cookies and other snacks. More free food! There also seems to be food in the main atrium on just about any other day of the week. Today’s lecture was by a professor in the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). It was about the laws that govern how plants in general use water. Basically, scientists for the past +30 years believed that plants used water based upon the Water Use Efficiency Hypothesis. This scientist wrote a new hypothesis and confirmed it during the past summer. Basically, he rewrote the way the scientists thought that plants used water. There are huge implications for this in agriculture and climatology.

Later, I attended another lecture, for Whig-Clio, by Princeton graduate John Aristotle Phillips. He is famous at the University because he designed a working model of an atomic bomb for his junior paper. Mr. Phillips never received his paper back due to the fact that his professor, who also worked for the Department of Energy, had it classified. A few months later, the Pakistani government tried to buy the design from him to no avail. Directly after graduating, Mr. Phillips decided to run for Congress, with some friends as his campaign staff, in Connecticut. He beat a seasoned Democrat in the primary but lost the general election. Two years later her ran again with the same result. These are some of the things that Princeton students do just for fun. In 1995-1996, he was Ross Perot’s campaign manager. Currently, he runs a political technology consulting firm called “Aristotle, Inc.” and started the prediction-based gambling market called “PredictIt.” His lecture was fascinating. Technology definitely has an integral role in elections.


Students can relax by a real fireplace in the Rockefeller dining hall

Wednesday— I went to the geosciences guest lecture on using big data to detect climate change.

I went to another guest lecture in the afternoon. This one was on race, religion, and politics. My former social studies teachers would probably be interested in listening to the full lecture.

Thursday— Detecting a theme with guest lectures? Guess what? I went to another! The Woodrow Wilson School usually has a series of guest lectures every week. I went to one by a historian who spoke on politicians and egalitarians. I learned that Thomas Jefferson, though noted for his hypocrisy in respect to slavery, did a lot to expand democracy to the general populous, and Abraham Lincoln was a shrewd politician.


Lecture on history and politics


Sober students going to an eating club for dinner

Friday— I interviewed for a position on the Pace Council for Civic Values’ board of student counselors, but I doubt that I will be selected.

Then, I left for my geosciences field trip.


Saturday— Geosciences field trip