The nerds have already subsumed much under their regime: social interactions, mass media, restaurant delivery, dating, books, and nearly everything else of value in modern American society, including money itself. But only now have they conquered the very definition of an elite cultural institution, one of the primary means by which today's most privileged are minted:
Having trouble with iCloud? Confused by CrashPlan? Today's smart tech consumers are getting ready to purchase the sturdiest backup media of all: human DNA. The mad scientists behind a weird new study say that the double helix of genetic code has been successfully used to store all kinds of documents, including audio files and text of Shakespeare's sonnets and "a picture of their office," because most of what we digitally save is silly garbage. (Future archeologists will likely be baffled by the discovery of, say, a flash drive holding nothing but hundreds of weirdly filtered pictures of somebody's entrée with a glass of wine in the background. "These [...]
"If I know I will be leaving campus during the day, I almost always put my Harvard t-shirt back in the drawer and pick something more unidentifiable. If it slips my mind and I find myself in Central Square with 'Harvard' emblazoned across my chest, I suddenly become self-conscious." —Oh, honey.
The Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism is donezo, according to Yale, with the rationale that Jews just weren't interesting enough, or something? Actually it was very vague! The head of the program basically said they weren't doing good enough work and not getting published enough. Now Jews are mad.
Meanwhile, while they're beefing about this stuff, Harvard beat Yale in the Regatta again this year. PRIORITIES, PEOPLE.
Forty or so students walked out on their social studies class yesterday, as the fight about an endowment from New Republic owner/figurehead Marty Peretz heats up. The $650,000 undergraduate research fund comes from donations in the name of Peretz, who is, among many other things, a former Harvard professor. (There is already a Martin Peretz Chair in Yiddish Literature at Harvard, since the early 90s; that money comes from his married-into (and now separated) Singer fortune.) Peretz was recently disinvited from speaking at Harvard over his recent thoughts on Muslims. The students' crazy objections seem to mostly be about how Peretz not only hates Muslims [...]
The Post is reporting that Caroline Giuliani, the former mayor's youngest child, was arrested today at the Sephora on 86th and Lexington-near the home of her mother Donna Hanover, Rudy's ex-wife- for allegedly shoplifting from the cosmetics store. The 20-year-old was caught in the act at 3:30 p.m., the Daily News alleges. This is the conversation I had with a Sephora employee shortly thereafter.
Bloomberg presents an extremely comprehensive case for Harvard's finances having been run by idiots. (You may know this already, but the details are amazing.) Particularly one idiot, Lawrence Summers, who set things in motion as early as 2004, before his sudden departure in 2006; he is now unfortunately the head of the White House's National Economic Council. INEXPLICABLE.
"According to a new survey, Harvard freshmen were more likely to have cheated on a problem set or homework assignment in high school than to have had sex."
In my case, this year's Internet experience didn't suck, exactly, but it was—at least in the precincts I frequent—drearily focused on the predictive. Ninety percent of what I read, excluding pornography, maybe, was either authored by, a celebration of, or a brief against Nate Silver. And that's nice! On balance, that a smart, gay adopted son of Brooklyn is a big deal is a good thing. But oh, how I wish we purveyors and consumers of the written word would spend a bit less time quantifying the probability of future events and a bit more [...]
I have three or four things I want to put together. First is The Social Network which I resisted seeing for a very long time (“You’ll love it. It’s great!” It wasn’t.) And second is The Rite which I’ve wanted to see ever since those previews months back. I finally had my paws on The Rite thanks to Netflix but then I couldn’t find anyone to watch it with me at this artist colony I’ve been at all month and I’m leaving tomorrow. So alone and in the deep of the night I watched The Rite in bed. Third and fourth I think is the current economic crisis in America [...]
"The Wire" is a fictional television show that many people really liked and that many people think is a very revealing take on The Way We Live in Urban Cities now. As you probably know, it is being taught at universities including Harvard, in a seminar on urban inequality. Now comes a defense of that choice: "'The Wire' is fiction, but it forces us to confront social realities more effectively than any other media production in the era of so-called reality TV," writes the director of the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program at Harvard Kennedy, an esteemed sociologist. How is that possibly true? It's fiction. It's made [...]
Harvard magazine profiles class of 1969 dropouts from Harvard. It's awesome! They are great! Here's one: "She moved off-campus as a sophomore and had a great time 'hanging out, smoking dope, and having sex with a lot of different guys…. It wasn't Harvard that made me leave Harvard, it was me. I wanted to be young, alive, and free. Free to hitchhike around the country, check out California, try living in a commune. And I did all that.'" Now she works in a family planning clinic in Maine! Love you, Joanne Ricca!
Harvard University and the New York Times are the high church bishoprics of the money culture's permanent counter-reformation: elite northeastern institutions that compulsively monitor each other for any sign of declension, heterodoxy, or waning prestige in a time of corrosive status anxiety. Both, of course, have lately fallen on hard times. Harvard has hemorrhaged 27% of its endowment, which plunged from $36.9 billion to $26 billion between June 2008 and June 2009-a crisis that spurred the school's largest ever single bond offering, of $1.5 billion, earlier this year. Meanwhile, the revenue-challenged paper of record finds itself some $250 million in hock to Mexican debt prince Carlos Slim Helú. Both [...]
"An article last Thursday about sexual fetishes that are being discussed more openly as a result of the 'Fifty Shades of Grey' novels misstated the name of a Harvard student social group focusing on such practices. It is the Harvard College Munch, not the Harvard Munch Club."
"On his Rhodes application, he claimed to have a 4.0 average. He did not. His résumé said he had coauthored four books with a Harvard English professor. The professor he listed did not coauthor books with undergraduates, and college students, even at Harvard, typically do not have four advanced books in their oeuvre by senior year. Wheeler also wrote that he was fluent in Old Persian, Classical Armenian, and 'Old English.' Down here on Planet Earth, the only reason you would select such a trifecta is to signal to your readers that you are fucking with them, and are not really fluent in any foreign languages. At Harvard, they loved [...]
Last week, The Paris Review's blog ran "Harvard and Class," a piece by Misha Glouberman (co-authored by Sheila Heti) about the challenges of dealing with class after attending "an upper-middle-class Jewish day school" in Canada and then going to Harvard—which, hmmm! As two recent Harvard grads ourselves, we wanted to offer a slightly different perspective on class, race and the Ivy League, as well as what it’s like to be offered $40 by your peers to remain invisible, please.
SJC: The first thing I thought of while reading the article was Dorm Crew [a student-run cleaning service]. You were one of the first people I met at Harvard—we both [...]
Jack Meyer, who managed Harvard's endowment until 2005, at which point some people tried to run it into the ground, with a little help from pals from Goldman Sachs, while Meyer went off to run a hedge fund, just spent $15 million on a house in Dutchess County, so all's well that ends well.
The September issue of Fast Company contains a breathless look at TED and the viral-video nature of clips featuring its flagship conference's 18-minute lectures — known as TED Talks — by Anya Kamenetz. I spent a good part of this afternoon trying to figure out why this piece, which calls the network of conferences and videos "the new Harvard" in its URL but curiously backs off that claim in its actual headline, got my outrage-o-meter popping. Let's find out!
Last night had Harvard profs giving 10 minute speeches on "big ideas." And this happened: "Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Timothy P. McCarthy, who hinted that his days at Harvard might be numbered during his 10-minute presentation, discussed the future of protest-an area in which 'teabaggers and terrorists and other terrible people might have gotten a head start.'" You betcha yer days are numbered, babe, when that Sarah Palin comes on over to Cambridge! Still, we're on his team-he went on to trash Larry Summers, wondering why the guy who presided over Harvard's endowment disaster is helping to fix the federal government's own financial crisis. That is indeed the big [...]