Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Coal (Regulations)

We did it! Amazingly, my experience interning with Greenpeace this past summer actually materialized into national news...sort of. A few months ago, they had me urging citizens to sign their names in support of then-upcoming Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on mercury pollution. The rule was in "public comment" period, which, as I would later learn in class, is a mandated 90-day opportunity for the public to examine and react to proposed EPA rule. Greenpeace sought to deliver many thousands of supportive comments to administrator Lisa Jackson to help demonstrate a public willing to embrace new emissions standards. But by the time I made it back to Boston, however, the fate of our endeavor seemed bleak.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Made It Out of C++

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, the Jewish "festival of lights." The eight-day winter holiday celebrates historic miracles and includes the lighting of a nine-candeled hanukkiah (or menorah, as it is often and erroneously now called). This is one of my holidays, albeit a relatively minor one in my religion. But then, should it have surprised me when one of my international residents asked me if Jews celebrated Christmas?

My favorite dreidel and quintessential Israeli memento, this tiny top bears not a shin, but a pey, reading "A great miracle happened here."

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Yes, it's true: I'm stuck on campus until the twenty-third. But that's not just because I'm an RA (um, yes it is?); I also have my final final exam the day prior. So which awful scheduling decision from eight months ago is keeping me here long enough to experience Boston Logan the night before the-night-before-Christmas?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jumbo Justice

We went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst and brought back first and second places. We defended our title as champions at Tufts. And when we headed out to Yale to wrap up the season, we came back with the first place trophy. We are Tufts Mock Trial (TMT) and this is what we've been up to ever since the Class of 2015 stepped onto campus three months ago.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weekend Update

Crosswords and camcorders? Just another action-packed weekend at Tufts. After my floor decorated the hall for the holidays, I couldn't resit a bit of decorating of my own. I threw up some Christmas lights in the part of the hall nearest my room, and added a few other touches. A review of a creative few days:

Photo Credit: Will Clarkson, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Thursday

It was around two-something in the morning when I finally put down the laptop, grabbed my toothbrush and ID card, and headed down the hall toward one of Tilton's bathrooms. But I hadn't even gotten past my door before I saw it. There it was, being constructed right in front of me. Like elves, residents were busy working late into the night, untangling, taping, and getting ready for the holidays. Here is what they produced:

This was left on my door; so shiny!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Evaluate This: A Timeline

Here's something not to mention on admissions tours: Every semester, Tufts wastes thousands of pieces of paper and hundreds of man-hours stuffing, collecting, and analyzing results of the one big, slow survey. It's called "course evaluations," and unlike most 21st-century universities, we still do them on paper. The process for changing that? Bureaucracy at its finest.

Tufts Course Evaluations: Keeping Scantron in Business

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Play Bi-Play

Now that my mock trial season is over, I figured I'd need something to do for the next four weeks. Enter "Play by Play," the annual Tufts production featuring 10-minute plays written, directed, and performed by Tufts students. Last fall I watched the show, and couldn't help wishing I was in it. This year, unable to audition again for the all-freshman play, I resolved to feed my acting habit this fall with PBP. Turns out, I was in for a surprise.

The Balch Arena Theater at Tufts University

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Only this Fall

The best performance I saw at Tufts my freshman year was "Oleanna." Hands-down, no question. It's a two-person play, it's full of anger and frustration, and it's hard to breathe normally after coming out of it. It's everything a play should be: dramatic, but realistic. No spontaneous singing, no elegant Shakespeare, no outrageous costumes: just real. Real enough to induce emotional reactions. This year, that play is "Next Fall," and it's going on now. If you didn't see it Thursday night, cancel your Friday or Saturday 8pm plans. You're going to the Balch Arena Theater. If you see one performance this year, make it this one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Defending (and Prosecuting) Champions

The last two months have been the quickest, most eventful Tufts Mock Trial season yet. From September 13th to November 13th, we grew, trained, and dominated in the courtroom. Without further ado, your 2011 invitational season recap thus far.

Mario, Sam, and Kara, a captain who stepped up to help out when we were short a member

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ivory Spirit

Walk around downtown Boston, and you can't help but notice the little stands selling T-shirts throughout the city. At each stall, the selection is the same. There's your classic "Boston" shirt, red lettering on navy. You've got the green shirt with the three-leaf clover (makes you 75% luckier?). And then you see it: The red shirt with white lettering. But those letter's don't spell "Boston" (or bah-stahn, as the locals would call it), they spell "Harvard" (hah-vahd).

Suspiciously missing from apparel stands everywhere

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old Words, New Hi-Tech Meanings

We used to "surf" the ocean, now we "surf" the web. "Chips" came in a bag until they came in a PC. That dude on your forum? If he's a "troll," then what's eating goats under my bridge? In recent years, many common-place words have become technologically charged, and I think it's fantastic.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meet Monaco

This October is Monaco Month, more or less, with the new President of Tufts University being officially inaugurated on the twenty-first, just ten days before he is tasked with the time-honored tradition of handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. In a brief interview with Dr. Monaco, I was able to confirm that he will indeed be accepting students on Halloween. Others drew out important facts from the president, such as his health concerns when distinguishing muffins from un-iced cupcakes.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunny Study Spaces

If you're one of my residents, you know that after 11:00pm on weeknights, it's quiet hours. That means that you're going to be dead silent, respecting the rights of your hall-mates to sleep, study, and sort out their schedules without interruption. If you're unfortunate enough to live in some other hall, however, or (heaven forbid) an unstaffed residence, you might be the victim of some noise pollution. Or, perhaps it's the middle of the day, quiet hours haven't yet set in, and you need some solitude. If the Boston skies haven't opened up to release a torrent of rain and snow, take advantage of the outdoors. Simply seek a sunny study space; see subsequent selection.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tisch Patio Survey

Look on any map of the Tufts campus and you'll notice one large, oddly-shaped building, fairly centrally located. This building is the Tisch Library, an expansive structure complete with natural sky-lighting, a rooftop garden, and a gorgeous rooftop view of the Boston skyline (surprisingly magnificent both during the day and at night, reminiscent of the Day and Night Pixar sketch).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Speaker for the Dead

Wednesday, 7:39pm: "Imagine how apprehensive you get before a presentation, or an interview. Your heart beats quickly, you take a deep breath, and tell yourself, "I got this!" - Imagine feeling that, knowing that at 7:00, you had a big thing to do. You had to walk into a room, sit down, take a needle in the arm...and die. Forever. There's no way in hell the death penalty is right. #iamTroyDavis" - post I left on a friend's Facebook wall.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Return of the Referendum

Last semester, I read an article in the Tufts Daily regarding a newly proposed $20,000 text-messaging system. In response, I wrote an opinion editorial to the Daily entitled "Nonstandard text-messaging rates will apply", which they published, arguing against this purchase on the grounds that it was too expensive, unneeded, and potentially bothersome. Thanks to technicalities, the proposal never even came to a vote. This year, it's back - and so is the opposition.

Scott Tingley / Tufts Daily | Election Day: 9/20/2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

What Has Obama Done for Me Lately?

With presidential campaigns taking place only (not to say infrequently!) every four years, we sometimes get the feeling that the administration cares a lot about us when it's election time, and then forgets about the people altogether. I would argue, however, that this isn't the case. Rather, the people are bombarded with campaign messages and political debate during those election times, and then the people tune out when the commercials stop running. But the politics goes on, and a lot more gets done than most Americans bother to read about...unless you like to watch C-SPAN. Let's take a look.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Arts Credit

In reality, I still have one more arts credit to take for school. I sometimes wonder, though, if I'm not already fulfilling an aspect of that requirement; somehow, the beginning of this year is already filled with art projects. Let's take a look at some of the courses I might have accidentally fulfilled:

Nothing says "Wet Floor" like some ResLife construction paper and a stick figure

Friday, September 9, 2011


I recently observed a friend explain Shabbat to a guest a Hillel's first Havdalah service of the year. "On the seventh day of creation," she recited, "G-d rested, and so Shabbat is a day of rest." I agreed with her, of course, and added a few details about the week beginning on Sunday and whatnot. For me, Shabbat is indeed a break from the week, at least during Friday-night services. There's singing, and talking, and eating, and it's all very relaxing and meditative. Later this month, however, Hillel will be co-sponsoring an event just before Shabbat which I think actually highlights a more important meaning for the weekly holiday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When It's Not Unacceptable

Perhaps Pink Floyd "don't need no education," but for those of us in academia, the question is sometimes asked: Can we use double negatives? (Aside: English majors also wonder if my use of passive voice a moment ago is appropriate. Having such thoughts, however, does not make you an English major; that fallacy is called "affirming the consequent." See: computer science or philosophy majors.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wake Up and Smell The Decaf Chai

"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." It's a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin, by far one of my favorite historical figures. The man was one of this country's founding fathers, lived, served, and died in my home-state of Pennsylvania, and is responsible for everything from bifocals, to the volunteer fire department, to the free library. Oh, and electricity was important, too.

Illustration: Michelle Lana

Saturday, August 27, 2011

RA Training

For the past week now I've been on campus, training as a Resident Assistant for the coming year. My all-freshmen coed dorm will soon be filled with students and parents alike, bustling to and fro in an attempt to move boxes, determine the "better" mattress, and introduce themselves to new roommates.

My new Tilton single: the RA room

Monday, August 8, 2011

Deciphering the Core Requirements

One of the first thing new Jumbos will want to sort out before they register for courses this September are the university requirements: the classes you need to take in order to graduate. It makes a lot of sense to start working on these now while you still have some flexibility and perhaps haven't quite figured out your major. Here's the cheat-sheet to getting a Tufts degree.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer Reading Conquests

Every summer, you hear people talk about summer reading. Maybe it's a summer reading list for school, or just casual summer reading on the beach, but everyone seems to think, at least at the start of the season, that they'll be tucking a stack of new books into their brains during the sunny season. Usually, these people get distracted: the ocean, the job, the video games. So how does one go about tackling a summer reading list?

Hint: You won't need a suit of armor.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Title is Loading, Please Wait

One down, four to go. That's roughly where I am in life: 1/5 of the way through, give or take. I haven't exactly consulted the actuarial tables. Suppose I live until 2076, though. On that year, the country will turn 300 years old...and I'll have been around for almost a third of it. A third of U.S. history...can you imagine?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Post-"Potter" (Comic Included)

After the eighth and final installment of the "Harry Potter" movie franchise hit theaters earlier this month, the cast members mustered the strength to claw their way out of their Hollywood trailers and blink at the bright light of day. "The real world?" they gasped, "But how are we supposed to survive...without magic?!"

How many times were we told the world was ending this year? How many times has the world actually ended this year?

Friday, July 29, 2011

ICANNetwork, and so Can You!

I've been wondering for a long time: Who's in charge of the internet? As a web designer, I'm familiar with the process for getting sites up on the web - but it always involves paying someone for a domain name. If I want to put up content at (new from ABC Innovations!), I have to buy it first. But what gives Network Solutions the right to sell me a domain? What if someone in Germany wanted it - what stops their companies from selling it to them? Is there a big international organization for the web? Who prevents me from getting a ".gov" address? Thus began my research.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Show Google Some Love

I couldn't resist. Polar bears? Space travel? Chocolate cake? Yes, yes, yes! When Google asked "What do you love?" at the bottom of their homepage today, I just had to check out their new little toy.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Please Sir, Can We Take Some More?

"The US currently runs an estimated $1.5 trillion (£932bn) annual budget deficit, and has already exceeded the national debt limit of $14.3tn." - BBC News, 7 July 2011

"Only 27 days are left to raise the debt limit and prevent the government from defaulting on its borrowings for the first time in U.S. history, an event that could devastate world markets." - Reuters, 7 July 2011

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Pig Ate It

No, I'm not blaming a four-legged animal for lost homework; I'm blaming it for lost coins. If you've ever dropped half-dollars into a piggy bank, you may have ended up in this predicament. The slot on the top of the pig, through which one deposits coins, is plenty large, but the diameter of the hole in the bottom of the ceramic porker is much smaller. Drop large coins in, like half-dollars, and they'll go in fine...but they won't come out.

Benjamin Franklin half-dollars ($0.50)

I've spent hours reaching through the bottom of an overturned piggy bank, grabbing the large coin inside, and attempting to drop it directly through the slit from which it came. The process is frustrating and painstakingly slow. Having been asked to assist with the stuck coins predicament recently, however, I've coined a new solution.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Google Plus

If the new "Plus One" button wasn't a tip-off, Google just launched their new, invitation-only social networking service: Google Plus. With Facebook already at 500 million members, however, can Google really hope to break into this market? Especially with a service they aren't letting people sign up for?

Google's Plus-One button, available for Google Account users

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


When it comes to registering for classes, Tufts follows the time-honored seniority tradition: seniors pick first, freshmen pick last. But the ExCollege doesn't seem to have gotten that memo. In fact, the University's home for new and unusual courses doesn't stagger course selection at all. Come 9:00am EST on Tuesday, September 1, 2011, potentially thousands of students across campus will be logging on to grab spots in some of the coolest classes offered. Those classes, as of today, are listed online.

(No elephants are harmed at the Experimental College)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

PhD in Despicableness

After making some of my friends watch Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (to mixed, although overall disappointing reviews), I couldn't help but reflect on the music, plot, and devices over the next few days.

Without going into details as to how I think they were able to go about presenting the ending as chillingly as they did, or how tying the theme from "Brand New Day" into "Everything You Ever" was some awesome juxtaposition, or the tragicomedy genre was something I had never before heard of, I will say this: Has anyone noticed the similarities between Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Universal's "Despicable Me"?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Applied XKCD

When Facebook Questions first started, I had a crack at it, trying to provide some insightful answers for the community. I remember coming across the query: "What is the most important academic field for our future successes as a nation?" In other words, what should we study? As the topic was something I often asked myself, I was compelled to leave a reply.

In November of 2010, I suggested an answer: Politics. I went on to argue that we simply couldn't have "teachers, or engineers, or anything else unless the government is willing to support it ... [W]e need people to study politics, so that they can continue to create schools, projects, and policies that allow us to thrive. Once government is in place, we can move on to more advanced fields - education, sciences, arts."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Parody: The Semi-Sincere Form of Flattery

Writing about outstanding seniors got me thinking about one of the most famous valedictorians of all time: "Weird Al" Yankovic. Yes, the singer/songwriter graduated at the top of his high school class and went on to top the Australian singles chart ("Eat It," 1984) and the almost-top of the Billboard Hot 100 (#9 for for "White & Nerdy," 2006). For those who haven't heard Weird Al, you should start listening. His new album, Alpocalypse, will be his first release since 2006, expected to hit stores June 21st.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Years Fly By

My mother was quite surprised to receive the following email in her inbox Thursday afternoon. I think this is hysterical:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lower Moreland, Class of 2011

If editing the ElmLeo (Lower Moreland High School's award-winning yearbook) taught me anything, it was how to craft witty (if not corny) article titles. Just as that position has been passed on, I've resigned to let this post have a fairly normal, straightforward title. This post is about the next graduating class of my alma mater. First and foremost: congratulations to the class of 2011!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sing o' the Devils

"Glee." It's a television show about a group of high school kids who sing. Sounds cool, right? It's a shame real life isn't like that. Or is it?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Food for Thought

The USDA needs to stop redesigning the Food Pyramid. But seriously. They're the department of agriculture, not graphic design; give it a rest! Sure enough, they've done it again, bringing new meaning to the phrase "reinvent the wheel." The new circle-shaped "MyPlate" (that's right, plate, not pyramid) was unveiled Thursday - unbelievable. I did some digging to enrich my complaints, and so without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, a brief history of the USDA's food guides:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stumbled, Tripped, and Landed On

Lately, my friends don't stop sending me StumbleUpon links; that is, links to anything and everything on the web, happened upon at random (or, as the website calls it, the "best of the web"). Well, now I'm returning the favor. I've collected the most creative things I've lately stumbled upon, tripped over, had shoved in my face, plastered onto my Facebook wall, and otherwise presented on my screen. We've got winners from 3 categories: Art, Music, and Language creations.

Art: Imagination by Paul Neave

Move your mouse to create beautiful swirls and colors. Extremely mesmerizing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Imagine All the Jumbos

You've seen the flyers. You've seen the website. You've even seen the Daily article. But now, for the first time, Tufts4theCure brings you a brand-new video to send to all your friends (and family, and coworkers, and acquaintances, and frenemies, and arch nemeses, and benevolent overlords).

Friday, May 27, 2011

Worst Buy

Today I've been invited to go shopping at one of the most evil stores imaginable. No, not Build-A-Bear; I'm talking about Best Buy.

I didn't even need to open Photoshop for this one; it was the #1 Google result for "worst buy."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cross-Post: ScribeFire (Test 1)

This post is a test to see if I can publish to Peacelight and TuftsBlogs simultaneously, or at least sequentially, without too much effort.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


On April 1, 2010, I received an email from Tufts Admissions. The first word: "Congratulations!" Why they select April Fools Day to release decisions continues to puzzle me. But yesterday I received a new email from Tufts Admissions. It, like the previous decision, determined whether or not they were going to offer a spot. This time, it wasn't an undergraduate position at the university; it wasn't even for me.

It was for this guy:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Doors Are Alive With the Sound of Music

Have you ever been sent one of those thick Hallmark cards, the ones that play music? When I started sorting through my things to move back home for the summer, I came across a few of these singing greetings. Not needing them anymore, I started taking them apart. Before long, I had turned my musical cards into musical doors, rigging various rooms in my house to sing when entered. If you find yourself wondering what to do with your old musical cards, you may want to check this out.

Singing cards contain speakers inside. These can be removed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Primary Error

I missed the election. That's right people, yours truly, political junky and all, didn't vote.

I was coming back from Delaware on May 17th, the day of the Pennsylvania Primary. I originally expected to be back in the state by 6:30pm, giving me time before the polls closed at 8:00pm. Then again, it was going to be close.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Be Careful What You Click For

On the internet, a click is a powerful thing. One click can pay a bill, send an important email, or download a dangerous infection. It is important, therefore, that you know what you are clicking. Here three quick tips to help keep you safe.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stop Watching Paint Dry

I painted the cannon for the first time during my freshman year, for the Tomas for Tufts campaign. Little did I realize that, with a bit of technology, I could have started even earlier. Had I known about this website earlier, I might have been painting, screenshotting, and sharing my cannon masterpieces with friends long before I set foot on campus. Ladies and gentlemen, I share with you:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Facebook Privacy Settings

In my "Introduction to Sociology" class, our professor surprised us all with a mid-lecture slide featuring a mash-up photographs. Each of these were pictures of students in the class, sometimes at parties, and sometimes with controlled substances clearly visible. Her point seemed to be that you have to be careful what you put on the internet. Others have given even more drastic advise: delete your Facebook account, never allow photographs of yourself to be posted on the internet, and never give anyone your real name.