Tag Archives: Penn

Who should the GOP draft to take down Trump? This brave five year-old girl

There’s been a lot of finger-pointing about just who is most responsible for the rise of Trump, but there is at least one point of broad consensus: for too long, the GOP was afraid of attacking him, and his adversaries spent far too long tearing down one another instead.

On some level, their strategy was understandable: Trump was a punchline until he wasn’t, and so his rivals devoted most of their energy to jockeying for second place. Moreover, it’s unclear that any of their attacks would even stick. When Marco Rubio tried his hand at insult comedy, the results fell far short of spectacular.

But those considerations did not deter all his adversaries. Back in 2010, one five year-old girl issued a challenge to Donald Trump, nearly six years before any Republican candidate managed to accomplish the same feat:

Continue reading Who should the GOP draft to take down Trump? This brave five year-old girl

Mystery solved: The Daily Pennsylvanian is in the pocket of Big Marble

A month and a half ago — though my outrage is still fresh like it was yesterday — I wrote a post that insinuated the Daily Pennsylvanian is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean, etc. And by insinuated, I mean that was the exact title of the post in question.

It’s possible I was slightly mistaken. As it turns out, it’s more than just that the Daily Pennsylvanian is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean, etc. It’s that whoever runs the paper these days has been blinded by the sickeningly obsequious DP columnist who goes by the name of Will Marble — if that’s his real name.

Continue reading Mystery solved: The Daily Pennsylvanian is in the pocket of Big Marble

The Daily Pennsylvanian is giving Penn way too much credit

The Daily Pennsylvanian wants to know:

To save you further investigation, the linked article just embeds the relevant tweets in order and concludes as follows, “So who got the best of the Twitter battle? Let us know in the comments below.”*

Continue reading The Daily Pennsylvanian is giving Penn way too much credit

What makes the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “unbreakable”?

Elie Kemper visited Penn last week, which reminds me I’ve been meaning to write this quick little informational post for about a month already. If you’ve never heard of Netflix’s (sort of) original series, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, this post probably isn’t for you (though it could be, in about four hours, if you’d just go watch). And if you watched the show, it’s possible you already know the answer, so allow me to save you some time by recommending some other worthwhile article (like this one) on this very site.

But if you watched all 13 episodes and still managed not to come across an explanation for what earns Kimmy the appellation “unbreakable”, I’m about to show you something you need to see. Now, if you fall into this category, you probably just assumed the name was bestowed because of Schmidt’s relentless optimism in the face of, inter alia, “weird sex stuff“. And that just so happens to be — more or less — what the show’s creators want you to believe, because you are incredibly suggestible:

Continue reading What makes the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt “unbreakable”?

The Daily Pennsylvanian is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean, etc.

Yesterday was April Fools’ Day, unless you contribute to The Daily Pennsylvanian, in which case that happened sometime last week. I’ve already expressed my annoyance with the annual joke issue — and especially the paper’s self-satisfactory celebration — but that’s not actually the worst thing the DP did that day. It messed with me:

Continue reading The Daily Pennsylvanian is a liar, and pathetic, and alone in life, and mean. And mean, etc.

Blink and you missed Penn graduation on last night’s Colbert Report

On last night’s Colbert Report, Colbert reported on ISIS, and what has driven the group’s ability to attract followers from rival militant groups:

Al-Baghdadi has a growing army, recruiting fighters from other militant groups by offering to triple their salaries up to $400 a month.

$400 a month! Baghdadi better be ready for a flood of resumes from recent comp. lit. grads.

As he spoke that last, check out the image that materialized on the screen:

Continue reading Blink and you missed Penn graduation on last night’s Colbert Report

Penn Gazette appears sadly misinformed

From the July/August 2013 edition of the Penn Gazette: A New Book of Old Penn Songs, covering the release of Songs of Penn: Honoring Musical Tradition at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to the article, the book contains 55 Penn-related songs, which is about 53 more than the list of songs with which I was previously familiar. But where gaps in my Penn-related knowledge are, I like to think, outside my curricular responsibility, the Penn Gazette ought not to be afforded the same level of indulgence. Hence, the current post.

The Gazette describes the book as “the first Penn songbook in 90 years”, an appellation I believe to be decidedly undeserved. Behold, a publication known by the precise name “The Penn Songbook”, released circa-2000:

Continue reading Penn Gazette appears sadly misinformed

“Tear gas canisters, BDS Stickers and hope: What I Saw on My Trip to Palestine/Israel This Summer”: a response

The most-commented article right now on the Daily Pennsylvanian’s website (and therefore highlighted alongside the right-hand margin) is a guest column by rising Junior Clarissa O’Conor titled Tear gas canisters, BDS Stickers and hope: What I Saw on My Trip to Palestine/Israel This Summer.

In the column, O’Conor describes her recent visit to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and elsewhere in the company of “two other Penn alums, a larger group of Presbyterians from Atlanta, Jews, Muslims and secular folks, and one alumni of Birthright Israel.” [The editorial oversight that allowed this sentence to be printed as is simply boggles my mind. Thank you, “Summer Pennsylvanian.”] In any event, O’Conor believes that this field trip qualifies her to hold forth on the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict because she’s gone where no American visiting on Birthright has gone before:

Throughout the entire trip, I could not help but think of my fellow Penn students who have taken a Birthright tour of Israel or are there now on Birthright Excel. I know that they do not go where I went. I know that they are told nothing about what they are seeing outside their bus windows through Palestine/Israel. For example, although Israeli soldiers accompany Birthright groups to encourage the identification of young American Jews with the Israeli army, these groups do not visit the more than 600 military checkpoints, roadblocks and barriers that are symbols of Israel’s control over Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

O’Conor seems to know a lot about what people do on Birthright for someone who — I’d wager — never went on such a trip herself. Having staffed two in the past [full disclosure: I staffed two Birthright trips in the past, and what people do on Birthright is hook up], I would dispute that the American visitors are “told nothing about what they are seeing outside their bus windows through Palestine/Israel” — though I would agree that they probably don’t often experience checkpoints like O’Conor did.

But I’m not writing to defend Birthright; I’m writing to o’ffend O’Conor. The ironic thing about her description of a Birthright trip and all that it omits from the itinerary is that her own seems somewhat far from complete. Here is a list of her experiences on this recent trip — the locations, people, and organizations she writes of having visited:

Continue reading “Tear gas canisters, BDS Stickers and hope: What I Saw on My Trip to Palestine/Israel This Summer”: a response

Study shows that all dogs know exactly one trick

The latest installment on my trip down Science Friday lane, a segment from February 2011: Can Dogs Smell Cancer? My initial reaction was that this seems like something new and exciting — you can teach (old?) dogs new tricks:

Researchers in Japan say they have trained a Labrador retriever to sniff out cancer in people. Writing in the journal Gut, the scientists say the dog was better than conventional tests in identifying people with colorectal cancer.

The dog, named Marine, sniffed the breath and the stool samples of more than 300 people and had a whopping 98 percent accuracy rate, picking out the 40 people in that group who actually had cancer.

98% is pretty good, so I was curious to find out how far the field of study had advanced over the intervening two and a half years. But the only development I could turn up was a piece that appeared in this past May’s Penn Current, Penn researchers use dogs to detect ovarian cancer. The article started off with some helpful background:

When it comes to the sense of smell, dogs far surpass the capacity of human beings. Humans sniff out odors using about 350 different olfactory receptors, but canines utilize more than 1,000 to inhale a world jam-packed with smells, including the volatile organic compounds or odorants altered in the earliest stages of ovarian cancer.

But as I kept reading, I quickly discovered that in spite of the article’s title, dogs cannot yet detect ovarian cancer. Unlike the Japanese dogs discussed on Science Friday — who actually could detect one kind of cancer — the Penn lab’s detection ability is, for now, merely aspirational [bolded for emphasis]:

The ability to smell cancer is seldom used by doctors. But, combined with chemical and nanotechnology methods, Penn researchers hope to use dogs to develop a new system of early cancer screening that could save lives.

For this study, [scientists] will analyze tissue and blood samples from ovarian cancer patients. They will look for the chemical signature of the odorants from the patients, and check them against the volatile compounds emitted by healthy samples to confirm that they differ.

Currently, doctors use expensive diagnostic tools to detect ovarian cancer, instruments that still fail to find the cancer until it has reached an advanced stage. Tanyi says more than 70 percent of ovarian cancer cases are diagnosed in Stage 3.

If we could make a new screening method, it would be much easier to detect early stage cancer, and early stage treatment is much more effective,” he says.

It would seem that in two and a half years, science has progressed hardly at all. One day, dogs will be trained to sniff ovarian cancer — but we’re not there yet.

And while that might seem disappointing, it shouldn’t be all that surprising. After all, the original findings from Japan don’t seem so impressive in hindsight [pun intended, and will make sense momentarily]. Sure, the study found that dogs can detect colorectal cancer — but sniffing bottoms is the same trick they’ve been perfecting over the last 30,000 years of doggie evolution: Continue reading Study shows that all dogs know exactly one trick