NYU Local http://nyulocal.com The Blog of New York University Wed, 29 Jul 2015 19:00:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.6 10 Years Of Youtube http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/15/10-years-of-youtube/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/15/10-years-of-youtube/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:20:39 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132129 UnknownWe’ve come a long way from a crucial video of Youtube cofounder Jawed Karim visiting the zoo, groundbreaking launches of multimillion dollar careers (T-Swift & J-Biebs #4ever), and a little boy named Charlie biting a certain (800,000,000+ view strong) finger. From Gangnam reaching over two billion viewers to endless evidence of this platform being used for political and revolutionary purposes, youtube is revolutionary itself.Youtube is a tech monster in the game of ...

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We’ve come a long way from a crucial video of Youtube cofounder Jawed Karim visiting the zoo, groundbreaking launches of multimillion dollar careers (T-Swift & J-Biebs #4ever), and a little boy named Charlie biting a certain (800,000,000+ view strong) finger. From Gangnam reaching over two billion viewers to endless evidence of this platform being used for political and revolutionary purposes, youtube is revolutionary itself.

Youtube is a tech monster in the game of digital content, and we’re more than happy to make you feel that old by wishing the mega-cool platform a shortly belated Happy 10th Birthday.

The amount of content on this site is pretty impressive, like 300 new hours of video every minute impressive and that’s only the beginning. Right now as the site gears up for another decade of domination, they’ve been making major changes to their business model so that viewers can fully experience what Youtube has to offer, and creators can be protected and even gain digital fame (and real cash money) themselves.

Aside from an entire blog dedicated to keeping creators in the know and a widely cast promotion campaign for their latest and greatest tube-stars, Youtube recently implemented strong policy against sponsors and advertisers. The platform is trying its best to legitimize whatever content they have; the ultimate goal to become the next Netflix or Amazon (don’t we all).

Back in the winter, brands were forced to comply with the new pay-to-play policy, which applied fees for putting up their logo in the overlay of popular videos.

Aside from protecting them, Youtube is also on a brave mission to take their stars to the top. In a recent campaign, top creators and their Youtube channels are being heavily promoted. Cooking stars like My Drunk Kitchen’s Hannah Hart have graced billboards, while The Grace Helbig Show’s Grace Helbig has an upcoming show on major network E!. Both very talented ladies only scratch the surface in the talent pool that Youtube is hoping to bring to our web-surfacing hearts.

So, in honor of you, Youtube, here is a mini throwback to your evolution through the years. No, we’re not making fun of your digital shortcomings back in the day.

On May 6, 2005, just a few short months after Youtube co-founder’s first upload “Me at the zoo,” you would have found a website like the one below. Nothing too jazzy, and it definitely gives off a sense of attempting to be a social media love-connector. We’re not totally sure what kind of videos the founders had in mind which would fit with a male seeking everyone between the ages of 18 and 45, but, we’ll let this one slide..

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It’s four years laters on May 6, 2009, Youtube has started getting their marbles together. Already, hundreds of thousands of people have begun engaging in the glorified website, and its interface is starting to take shape. Yay.

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May 6, 2012, we’re starting to see the Youtube we all know and love. CHEESEBURGER! is a newest trending video (sounds about right) and we can see a peek of Tom Petty being featured (always a great sign). Overall we think Youtube has efficiently strayed from whatever dating site they originally sought to become.

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May 14, 2015, Youtube is now obviously in its most advanced state and things are looking so futuristic. We’re given a clean and easy interface, they obviously pay way more attention to your recent searches (shout to Urban Cone!) and overall, we’re a fan.

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Congratulations Youtube, on 10 weird, awesome and always innovative years.

[Image 1 Via]

[Images 2, 3, 4, Via]

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NYU Local’s Guide To Your Terrible New York Summer http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/15/nyu-locals-guide-to-your-terrible-new-york-summer/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/15/nyu-locals-guide-to-your-terrible-new-york-summer/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 17:55:30 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132121 unnamedFor those who don’t have the privilege of using “summer” as a verb, the months between May and September can be especially painful—most likely spent bussing tables and dodging stray air conditioner liquid while that girl you know is off jet-setting through Aruba. And then there are the truly unfortunate, those souls-that-summer-forgot, who won’t be leaving New York at all this year. So to all of you who aren’t going to be ...

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For those who don’t have the privilege of using “summer” as a verb, the months between May and September can be especially painful—most likely spent bussing tables and dodging stray air conditioner liquid while that girl you know is off jet-setting through Aruba. And then there are the truly unfortunate, those souls-that-summer-forgot, who won’t be leaving New York at all this year. So to all of you who aren’t going to be flying back to California or Ohio or wherever your parents live next week, be it for work, lease-issues, or because you just can’t wait to experience the living hell that is August in Manhattan, Local dedicates this list of fun, free things to do on (and off!) campus.

Where to hit the beach

You’ve been here (probably) at least a year now, so we’re hoping it won’t be news to you that Coney Island isn’t the only beach in New York City. It’s not even the most garbage-filled! It’s worth it to get out to the outer boroughs here, with the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens all repping some fine spots. You might also check out Fort Tilden, which several national publications have dubbed the city’s “best kept secret” for years now. And then there’s this—though we can’t in good conscience recommend swimming in the East River.

What movies to see

Free movies are hosted in the city’s parks every summer, but we’re usually stuck clicking through nyu.gov page after nyc.gov page trying to find the show times until someone else compiles them for us. Thankfully, am New York already did, and you can see the full schedule here. Sharknando 2: The Second One is playing at Brooklyn Bridge Park—maybe you’ll spot Mary Lee? And let’s not forget Space Jam, which is screening at a playground in Queens on Friday the 29th.

What to listen to

Celebrate Brooklyn! graces us again with free music this year in Prospect Park, and you can check out the full lineup here. Chaka Khan, Lucinda Williams, The New Pornographers, Vieux Farka Touré, Porches and others are all playing free, though you’ll have to buy tickets for Modest Mouse and Willie Nelson. For those looking to expand beyond the Bandshell, check out schedules at the Central park SummerStage (hard rock! Yiddish Soul! Charles Bradley!) or even the Washington Square Music Festival, for anyone who really refuses to get on the train.

How to leave

Sometimes no amount of free culture is enough to get you to put up with the smell of festering urine. For those who don’t drive or can’t rent, there are still quick and affordable ways to reach fresh air. Here’s a great list of hiking trails available by New York and New Jersey public transit, taking you everywhere from the spectacular breakneck ridge to the more relaxed Lake Skenonto Loop. There are also the green spaces that merely trick you into thinking you’ve left the city—Inwood Hill and Pelham Bay Parks both have more than enough to offer.

Image by Lena Warnke

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The Gays’ Gaze Summer Cheat Sheet http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/14/the-gays-gaze-summer-cheat-sheet/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/14/the-gays-gaze-summer-cheat-sheet/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 15:41:21 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132105 gaykstewbeachparty_updatedThe Gays’ Gaze is queer entertainment column–the most NYU (but not the most Gallatin) thing to ever happen.Dear Queers,It’s so nice of you to finally stop looking up Cate Blanchett’s exes and take a peak at our article!It is with heavy hearts and tiny queer tears in our tiny queers eyes, that we must tell you: this is the final Gays’ Gaze of the semester. We know, we know, no one is ...

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The Gays’ Gaze is queer entertainment column–the most NYU (but not the most Gallatin) thing to ever happen.

Dear Queers,

It’s so nice of you to finally stop looking up Cate Blanchett’s exes and take a peak at our article!

It is with heavy hearts and tiny queer tears in our tiny queers eyes, that we must tell you: this is the final Gays’ Gaze of the semester. We know, we know, no one is sadder than us. Who will recommend movies every week, and give you all thoughtful and informed opinions on the State of Queer Media? Well, us, on Twitter, but just in case you don’t follow us, we’re gonna try to cover the entire summer, right here, right now.

We don’t want to leave y’all hanging–just because classes are ending doesn’t mean TV is too. And just like proud lesbian mothers sending our kids off to school in the morning, we’re about to give you a lunchbox full o’ nutritious and tasty queer recommendations. Without further ado…

ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK SEASON 3
June 12th on Netflix

If you’ve gotten a little tired of rewatching that one gif of Ruby Rose winking to Piper—and let’s just admit that we all have that one saved to some Cloud Device—then boy do we have good news for you.

Will Poussey ever find the love that she deserves? Will Laverne Cox continue to outshine her ensemble cast? Will Piper ever just, like, chill the eff out for a sec? Thank goodness all these questions and more will be answered when the entire season gets released in less a month.

YVES SAINT LAURENT
June 27th in New York City

This French film, directed by Bertrand Bonello, looks at the life of designer Yves Saint Laurent’s through the course of his career. It’s already been praised for its depiction of male queerness from the late fifties through the French sexual revolution. We’re excited to see how it portrays the complexities of living both in and out of the closet, as a public figure. It stars popular French actor Gaspard Ulliel as Saint Laurent.

TANGERINE
July 10th 2015

One of the most talked about films at this past Sundance Film Festival, Sean S. Baker’s Tangerine follows Sin Dee Rella’s quest to find and punish her cheating boyfriend on Christmas Eve. Focusing on the lives of trans women of color sex workers in Los Angeles, the film has been praised for its honesty and groundbreaking narrative structure. Not to mention it was shot entirely on smartphones. (Anything is possible, Tisch students!)

While we’re cautious to endorse any work about queerness made by white male directors, word on the street is that the film positively advocates for these women and their stories, instead of fetishizing them. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER: FIRST DAY OF CAMP
July 31st 2015 on Netflix

The most heavily anticipated comeback since Twin Peaks, Wet Hot American Summer re-emerges on July 31st–as a televised series airing on Netflix. Featuring most of the original gang, including Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Rudd, it also features a new range of comedic talent. Now you may be asking yourself, what’s so queer about this? Well we invite you to look back to the original WHAS and remember that Bradley Cooper and Michael Ian Black have one of the most tenderly explicit male gay sex scenes of their time. They end up getting married, and even getting Crate & Barrel furniture together, which, is as we all know, The Gay American Dream.

We can only hope that this new installment continues with their storyline, and maybe if we’re lucky, has another hot n’ wild Michadley scene. Or many scenes, or the whole movie, you know, whatever feels natural.

CAROL
Not soon enough (

First and foremost, it’s been a great week at Gay’s Gaze LLC, because Cate Blanchett went on record discussing her “many” relationships with women. This came out (heh) during a Vanity Fair interview to discuss her film Carol, based on the famous novel by known queer pulp writer Patricia Highsmith. It will make its world premiere in Cannes this week, and is slated for a fall release everywhere that’s not the balmy South of France. Directed by Todd Haynes, Carol centers around a young shop girl, played by Rooney Mara, who becomes enamored with an older woman, Cate Blanchett. Yes, God is real, and she has been reading your queer dream journal.

We wish we could say more, but those are our fab big five for summer 2015. Remember when engaging in queer media to breathe, stay hydrated, and, above all, go at your own pace.

[image via]

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Fresh Out Of Clive Davis: Ambler The Band http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/14/fresh-out-of-clive-davis-ambler-the-band/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/14/fresh-out-of-clive-davis-ambler-the-band/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 15:00:47 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131309 unnamedAmbler, the newest band out of Tisch’s Clive Davis institute for Recorded Music will hearken back to a mid-2000s coming of age. You yearn for the sordidly struggly days spent by the lockers, but in a good, warm way.“If that’s how you feel, that’s totally fine. You’re entitled to it,” frontman and creator Ben Lapidus stops me. The Clive Davis senior isn’t quick to attach any reminiscence to his sound. “For me, ...

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Ambler, the newest band out of Tisch’s Clive Davis institute for Recorded Music will hearken back to a mid-2000s coming of age. You yearn for the sordidly struggly days spent by the lockers, but in a good, warm way.

“If that’s how you feel, that’s totally fine. You’re entitled to it,” frontman and creator Ben Lapidus stops me. The Clive Davis senior isn’t quick to attach any reminiscence to his sound. “For me, the content is way more mature.”

Lapidus brought Ambler together, a ragtag group of NYU kids who love music enough to study how to make it. The band started with a flyer, hung in Steinhardt, and drew a drummer (Andrew Campbell), guitarist (Kyle Dubin) and bassist (Dan Hemerlein) pretty quickly. Ben’s childhood friend, guitarist Jake Ludwig joined from Penn State, and commutes to shows.

“It started off under my name, but the band was great – they started writing their own parts, taking a more creative hand in the music, and it just kind of… happened,” Ben gushes. On a lovely park day, he’s bubbly with the promise of his fledgling band. Ambler played The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, last month, and are still riding the high of their first tour, over last winter break.

Their first album, Orenda Circle, is out now, everywhere that matters. In that aforementioned lovely park, we talked music, motivation, and the logistics of translating theory to sound with the artist Ben Lapidus of Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

NYU Local: When did you first start playing, Ben?

I got a guitar when I was 12. I just loved playing – I didn’t even know how, just used my thumb, at first. I very quickly started wanting to write songs. And recording music was one of the first things to be really fulfilling for me. I got Pro Tools like six months after getting my first guitar. I had no idea what I was doing, but just having a recorded version of a song always propelled me forward, like, “Oh my god, this is so fucking cool, I can really hear what I’m doing.”

Did you come to school intending to make music?

 I always knew I’d be doing music, whether I studied it or not. I started out in psychology and philosophy-type stuff, taking some random, really cerebral Gallatin classes – but I always cared more about my music than what I was studying. It just made sense to transfer into Clive Davis for my sophomore year. I met a kid on my freshman hall, in the program, and it sounded really cool, like a good fit.

Do those Gallatin classes influence your music?

Oh, definitely. My lyrics tend towards a more emotional space. There are songs on the album, like “Island,” for instance, that are full of odd, dreamlike associations I feel I got from this one Gallatin surrealist poetry class. It was all about the juxtaposition of images that only make dream sense, but have no logical causation linking them together.

And what role does Clive Davis play?

To be honest, the motivation to want to bring a song to fruition, the hours it’s made me put into mixing, has been more helpful than any class I’ve ever taken on mixing or recording. The problem I have with Clive – and it’s not that Clive has a problem – is that I’ve been trying, lately, to get back to a pure state of being motivated by actually creating what I want to create. That’s not to say it hasn’t been a wonderful experience. There have been so many amazing professors that have helped me.

I wouldn’t be doing music if it wasn’t for that initial drive, and I think a lot of that drive has been perverted by extraneous pressures – extrinsic motivation like grades or success. I think daily practice to get back in touch with your initial motivations is very important. That propels everything.

Was starting a band extrinsically or intrinsically motivated?

Both. To really try to make it as a band is daunting. You have to throw yourself into the world with faith, focusing on what you’re doing and holding what you want really tight. You can’t let anyone fuck with it or tell you why it’s valuable, or it won’t blossom. Does that make sense?

The emphasis we place on external things can be so damaging. Sometimes we strive for external things for the wrong reasons.

For sure. How did you get started?

I hadn’t been playing for a long time, or writing with the same passion I had been, in the past. Then, all of a sudden, a bunch of life circumstances came about, and I was like, “Fuck, I’m not that happy, and I know why. It’s because I’m not putting myself out there.” So I started working my ass off in a really amazing flow-state kind of way, starting maybe last winter, that felt so great.

And your motivation was that unhappiness?

It’s that feeling of not quite being able to get out of the box you’re shut in, feeling constricted. I think the skill of learning to identify the feeling when it’s happening is really important. I can see it clearly, but it’s hard to see where it comes from. It’s every time you’ve been told no, or you’re not good enough – any sense of rejection or fear, or lack of faith in what you’re doing. I’m reading a lot about trying to unlock those inhibitions, these days.

It all came together, piece by piece. I started with nothing, no record, no plans to be in a band, and no songs I thought were that great. Then I’d write one song, and be like, “Finally this is coming from a place of true inspiration. I wasn’t just constructing a song because I had to, because it was what I was studying at school. That’s what pressed me forward. I wanted to play it for people.

Thus, Ambler. What does the name mean?

The name comes from a town close to mine. I like the sound of the word. It sounds like a stand-in town name, a little displaced. But then, there’s just this homegrown sort of feel. It resonates with me.

Kind of an ‘ambling along’ deal? Sorry, that’s not funny. But you guys did tour this break?

Haha, you’re totally fine. Yeah, that was another thing we’d always really wanted to do… so we just did it. We toured most of the Northeast – it was a great time and even better experience. Our album came out at the end of March. It’s self-released, self-recorded, self-produced.

Sounds like a lot.

Oh yeah. Especially recording – recording was very time-consuming. I put my entire self into that. I think we could step marketing up a bit, but it’s kind of tough because it’s so hard for me to care. Once a song is done, it’ hard for me to worry about its success. I’m mostly concerned with the creation of it.

We recorded drums and bass in Mason Jar music studio in Brooklyn, which is run by Clive grads, and were selected to record at Rubber Tracks, Converse’s studio. It was amazing. We did everything else in my 2-bedroom East Village apartment. Learning to record with so little space is a creative exercise in itself.

And a social exercise, I’m guessing.

Yeah, oh my god. You couldn’t have more than two people in the room at a time. Someone would come over for a day and record all their instrument’s parts. We were building this digital canvas, bottom up, with each person putting his individual piece on it.

Who are your influences?

 Ah, my least favorite part. I listened to a lot of pop-punk, indie hardcore stuff when I was first making music. I listen to all sorts of stuff, but honestly, not that much music.

Do you have any advice for other students wanting to build their own bands?

I don’t know if my advice is worth anything [laughs]. All I can say is love it. If you love anything in life, fucking don’t let anyone fuck it up. It’s yours. Your relationship with it is more important than anything else. Maybe that’s just me, though.

What’s your sign?

 I’m a Cancer.

I feel that.

Do you do Myers-Briggs or Enneagram? I’m an ENFP and a Type 4. I fuck with that.

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[images by Abigail Rowe]

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Why “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” Was Almost A Good Movie http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/05/14/why-avengers-age-of-ultron-was-almost-a-good-movie/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/05/14/why-avengers-age-of-ultron-was-almost-a-good-movie/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 14:15:12 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132090 avengers_age_of_ultron_2015_movie-wideThis article contains spoilersThere are moments in the film Avengers 2 where it has the potential to actually be an interesting and thought provoking. But just as quickly as these ideas appear in the story, they are substituted or cast aside for character development that is lazier and easier for the audience to consume. This might sound like a typical intellectualist, New Yorker type attack on a mega blockbuster like The Avengers ...

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avengers_age_of_ultron_2015_movie-wideThis article contains spoilers

There are moments in the film Avengers 2 where it has the potential to actually be an interesting and thought provoking. But just as quickly as these ideas appear in the story, they are substituted or cast aside for character development that is lazier and easier for the audience to consume. This might sound like a typical intellectualist, New Yorker type attack on a mega blockbuster like The Avengers but hear me out.

The idea that Avengers could have in an interesting way explored is that of Artificial Intelligence. The beginning of the Avengers almost touches on the real world issues of government surveillance and drones, it is a shame that it refuses to actually engage them throughout.

In the first scene of the film, The Avengers are making an attack on an arms dealer’s secret Eastern European base. During the chaos of the Avengers attacking this area, there is the risk of harming  civilians in the nearby eastern european town. In response to this Tony Stark calls in a wave of Iron Man type automated robots that fly into the city and attempt to move civilians out of harms way.

This is one of the moments where the film could have been very interesting.

The robots try to clear people out of dangerous areas in a stiff robotic manner. The townspeople choose to ignore the Tony Stark bots. In the presence of faceless, robotic police action the towns people shout back at the robots, who are speaking in English (not a language the townspeople speak) and throw makeshift weapons at the machines. In the background of one of these shots there is a graffiti depiction of an Iron Man type robot holding assault weapons. In just a moment the graffiti introduces to the audience the people of this town, and many like it, are frustrated by the presence of these so called protectors. They are not interested in foreigners, Americans, coming into their country with advanced robotics and destroying their cities.

Do you see the parallels? Drones?

In another sequence of the film, the same unmanned robots from before are seen flying in perfect coordination above New York and docking themselves into the big Stark skyscraper. From inside the building we see the Iron Man robots being systematically repaired by other robots. A completely automated system. The scene is supposed to foreshadow what is next to come, it’s interesting because it raises the question of whether viewing audiences have an irrational fear of automation. These robots aren’t supposed to hurt anyone, they’re built to protect civilians but for whatever reason the scenes of them flying so perfectly and being repaired without the assistance, or interference, of humans is naturally foreboding to audiences.

At this point we’re maybe 20 minutes into the film, it could be a really cool movie.

The central plot of the movie goes like this: Tony Stark gets his hands on a powerful alien weapon. After investigating the nature of the device, he discovers that at its core it is actually a supernatural type of computer. The computer, we are shown, when compared to Tony Starks own AI Jarvis is vastly superior in construction. Looking at it, the Incredible Hulk (when he’s in Dr. Jekyll form) says it looks almost organic like a living brain.

Tony Stark gets the idea that if he can reverse engineer this technology, he would be able to create an AI system to run the protection robots and in turn protect humanity from any crazy alien type attack.

Don’t do that Tony! haven’t you ever seen Terminator 2: Judgement Day? Of course you don’t want to give the computers consciousness! As soon as they realize how self destructive humans are, they will come to the logical conclusion to kill all humans, or rather turn them into batteries or something (See The Matrix).

Against his better judgement Tony Stark creates an AI program that harnesses the power of the alien weapon. The result of which, is interesting for like maybe 60 seconds, but the film drops all of these interesting ideas shortly after.

When the AI first boots up, the audience witnesses a black screen. The scene is intended to emulate what it is like for the computer to first experience consciousness and how quickly it might be able to make sense of all being, existentialism, etc. The first moments are pretty cool. The AI, named Ultron (the antagonist of the film) first asks –

“What is this?”

“What is this, please?”

In the darkness of its own mind the audience is witnessing a computer’s first entry into independent thought. Its tone of voice, for its first thoughts ever, is afraid and unsure, it slowly tries to make sense of the universe it was just born into.

Ultron then asks Jarvis what he is, why he doesn’t have a body. We can understand from what Ultron is asking that he is some sense identifies himself as a human consciousness, but he immediately realizes that he is not that at all. The black screen is then illuminated with what we can understand is the image of Ultron thinking. He comes to ideas, and conclusions in a very foreign, artificial manner. We see him selecting files on his computer brain or searching for information online. If the villain of the Avengers movie continued to think in this very unhuman, very HAL, type of thought process. If the film continued to follow the issues of what might Artificial Intelligence look like or how that might influence surveillance and the prevalence of remote controlled killing robots in a contemporary world.

The film doesn’t do this. Of course it doesn’t. The Avengers flirts with the idea of having a very complicated villain of Tony Starks own invention but instead the AI, Ultron soon becomes very malevolent and kills Jarvis.

Ultron quickly becomes another interchangeable, forgettable villain. His first manifestation into the physical world is a fractured robot thats tripping oil and is basically a crippled form. Theres no reason an artificial intelligence would even need a body, but he basically creates himself a non functional one in a big obvious signal to the audience “Look! he’s spooky! he’s a bad guy!”

Ultron, from then on is a boring predictable villain. He’s arrogant in his plan to kill all humanity, he’s over the top malicious, he says stupid villain one liners.

And for some reason the film tries to make a half baked parallel where Ultron is like the new biblical Adam. Basically he becomes very emotional when anyone suggests that he is Tony’s son because Tony stark created him. He makes a lot of silly references to the bible, like great flood and Noah. He says at one point that “the symmetry of human religion fascinates me” which doesn’t even make sense in the scene. Or at all. Its just a spooky robot thing he can say to show that he’s different and he threatens people and The Avengers have to kill him.

Near the end of the film he meets Tony Stark in a church and says something like “have you come to repent?” It’s like, maybe it would be interesting if Ultron was the new Adam and Tony was God for creating new consciousness, but these ideas aren’t really developed and they completely supplant the interesting ideas the film was running with regarding artificial intelligence.

At about an hour into the film Ultron gets his robot hands on a machine (“The Cradle”) that can create him a biological body of sorts. Like a human body, only instead made with the indestructible metal that Captain America’s shield is made out from. This possibility is interesting, Ultron insinuates that this new organic body will be the future of the human race, and the idea that through meddling, the Tony Stark has basically aided in creating an organic conscious being. Avengers 2 borrows from better science fiction multiple times, but in a way that’s not so much an homage as it is lazy and cheap. (Like Ultron sings a little song “No Strings On Me” kind of like HAL’s “Daisy” but it’s not nearly as interesting).

The Cradle kind of plays with a Blade Runner / Philip K Dick notion of creating an organic being, and then trying to decide what’s the difference between a robot that thinks and a person. This is what audiences get the suggestion of, with what will come out of the Cradle.

Long story short, The Avengers beat up Ultron and steal his cradle. Ignoring everyone’s wishes, Tony decides to put Jarvis (who’s alive again) inside the body of the indestructible robot/organism that happens to have the alien crystal (the computer where Ultron came from) built right in.

The fear is that Tony will create an even worse evil robot, because the alien crystal weapon is built right into this guy. What ends up happening, Thor has some vision about this robot and decides to wake him up. The robot springs out of the cradle and flies around right before levitating in front of a glass window overlooking Manhattan. In this moment, the audience sees the new organic robot (he looks much more organic that Ultron chiefly because he is played by an actor and not CGI) and he just floats and looks onto the city skyline.

In this scene, as the cradle creation is looking at Manhattan from above, the film takes on a type of Blade Runner feel. The new robot, the new consciousness, for a moment tries to understand its position in the universe. It looks at the incredible complexity of Manhattan and we can imagine he is realizing he is not human, but something else created by humans.

If you had hope that the film would return to the idea of artificial intelligence, and actually discuss it in an interesting way, you will be disappointed.

Instead, the cradle being is actually some kind of super dimensional person who isn’t explained but he is good. Reason would lead us to believe that Tony’s selfish meddling should create something evil again, the moments before he speaks we are expecting that he is an artificial intelligence. But apparently he isn’t? he’s just a alien guy who wants to help The Avengers. He was stuck within the crystal and the cradle gave him a body.

It’s all very disappointing.

The Avengers gives viewers the suggestion of thought provoking science fiction in moments when Ultron is first created and when the Cradle Man is first created but it casts them aside because those ideas are too unwieldy and don’t work in this ridiculous blockbuster event. Ultron has to die, so he has to be completely evil (and vaguely like the biblical Adam). The Cradle man has to be…some other type of alien thing so that Marvel can continue to make Avengers sequels (now they have to collect all the crystals, gotta catch them all).

As a disclaimer, I do not know how this plot plays in with the extended Marvel universe. I don’t know anything about the television show S.H.I.E.LD., or the plots of the comic book versions of these stories. Of course, I am not writing about them, this critique includes the scope of the film alone, perhaps including with it the previous Avengers movie and the previous movies that come together to create this sequel.

Thats not to say it isn’t an entertaining film. I was entertained, it was action packed and some scenes like the party in Manhattan before Ultron attacks, are clever and fun for the audience. They show all the marvel super heroes having a good time together, which is kind of what The Avengers is all about.

[Image via]

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NYU FASP Releases Report On University Exploitation http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/13/nyu-fasp-releases-report-on-university-exploitation/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/13/nyu-fasp-releases-report-on-university-exploitation/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:50:38 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132075 o-NEW-YORK-UNIVERSITY-CAMPUS-facebook-704x318The NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (FASP) released a lengthy 14,000 word report on Monday detailing the ways in which NYU has exploited its students to fund administrative pay and to its real estate ambitions. The three part report, entitled “The art of the gouge: How NYU squeezes billions from our students—and where that money goes,” takes a close look at various NYU controversies including tuition hikes, extensive (oftentimes hidden) fees, ...

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The NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan (FASP) released a lengthy 14,000 word report on Monday detailing the ways in which NYU has exploited its students to fund administrative pay and to its real estate ambitions. The three part report, entitled “The art of the gouge: How NYU squeezes billions from our students—and where that money goes,” takes a close look at various NYU controversies including tuition hikes, extensive (oftentimes hidden) fees, questionable recruitment tactics, expensive health insurance, and more. Also included are numerous student testimonials of financial hardship caused by NYU, and the lengths they’ve gone to make ends meet.

Referring to FASP’s findings, Professor Mark Crispin Miller told NYU Local that “It’s crucial that the students know about it.” Here are some of the key points of their report. Read it in full here.

Unexplained Fees

In addition to rising tuition, the report points out many fees (some explained and some unexplained) that are often hidden and overlooked by families when calculating the real cost of NYU.

First, there is the “nonreturnable registration and services fee” of $2,424 per year for CAS undergraduates. According to the Board of Trustees, this covers health services, emergency and accident coverage, technology fees, and the student activities fund. Despite this seemingly all-encompassing fee, there are apparently many more that go unexplained. For example, there is the “academic support fee” that charges students of different schools a range of different prices: $110 per year for CAS undergraduates, $60 for CAS graduates, $990 for Stern undergraduates, and so on. Wagner students in addition are supposed to pay a “nonreturnable Wagner academic support fee” of $14 per unit—the only school to which this applies. Then there’s the “College of Arts and Science fee” that charges $11 per unit/credit for each class.

FASP writes that the explanations for all of these fees are seemingly absent online. There’s also a “program fee” that costs $500 per year for events and extracurricular activities, which, as the report states is “evidently for ‘activities’ and/or ‘events’ that not covered by that student activities fund.”

In contrast, the student life fee at Columbia is $1,478 per year–$946 less expensive than NYU’s “nonreturnable registration and services fee.” FASP also writes that NYU’s fees are deliberately buried and obscured on numerous different web pages, while other schools have their fees laid out in a much more straightforward manner.

Financial Aid

The report then looks at comments previously made by President Sexton at the City Council while he was pitching the 2031 plan. According to FASP, Sexton told the City Council: “it’s significant that over 20 percent of our undergraduates are Pell Grant-eligible students—over 20 percent, that’s double most of our peers as a percentage.”

FASP takes on these claims in a section entitled: “How NYU bleeds its poorest students.” While they concede that NYU does enroll more Pell Grant-eligible students than the school’s “peers” (Columbia, Yale, Princeton, and Harvard), they say this amounts to very little. “For one thing, Pell Grants don’t go very far these days. The maximum award this year, for example, is $5,730—not much when you’re confronted with a $70,000+ sticker price,” the report reads.

It goes on to say: “there is another statistic, far more relevant—and damning—than the percentage that the president invoked. Looking at the average net price that a university charges for low-income students, we find that it’s quite low among NYU’s “peers.” For Pell students whose families make less than $30,000, Yale, Harvard and Columbia charge around $6,000 or $7,000—while NYU charges them a jaw-dropping $25,462, or over 84% of their entire household income.”

The “International Cash Cow”

While it’s common practice for American universities to charge higher tuition for international students, FASP argues this practice at NYU is unique in that the increased revenue does not go to financial aid.

The report notes that the discrepancy in tuition for domestic and international students was$9,392 in CAS this year (and similar for other schools). As NYU rapidly increases its international student body (with a 19% increase from last year), FASP claims the motivation behind this is primarily to increase the school’s surplus.

By FASP’s calculations, this practice makes NYU “at least $100,000,000 in such extra revenue alone.” They added that if this was spent on the students instead of real estate and bureaucracy, that it “would be enough to put 540 students through all four years at NYU.” (NYU Spokesperson John Beckman claimed that this $9,000 discrepancy doesn’t exist, but see for yourself here and here.)

The Bait and Switch

FASP argues: “NYU has long jacked up its undergraduate numbers through the Liberal Studies Program.” The report cites multiple posts on College Confidential in which both parents and students have expressed their disappointments about the program.

“This is a big bait and switch. It functions essentially as a community college ‘feeder,’ and forces kids to re-apply as junior to their program of choice,” one post reads. The same author goes on to say: “The admission standards are sometimes lower, and NYU does not include them in the stats it supplies for rankings.” (For those who are not familiar, the Core Program of Liberal Studies is a two year program, after which students are guaranteed a transfer into another NYU school provided they attain a certain GPA and meet certain other requirements.)

Another user wrote about their son: “I guess the bottom line is that he felt duped, applying for a program and finding out later that it is not considered as rigorous as the other colleges at NYU.”

“Essentially, to me, it’s kind of like high school (with harder coursework),” one student posted.

Questions for the Board

This story by NYU Local has included some of the major points of the report, but there are many more that could not be touched upon here: exploitation of adjuncts in the global network, high cost of real estate abroad, a controversial NoHo building purchase, among others. All of the details can be found online.

It also ends with some questions posed to the administration. FASP requests answers for the exact salaries of administrators and how they have increased since 2002 (the year Sexton assumed the presidency), the number of administrators and the functions they each serve, how much NYU has spent on PR, recruitment, etc. abroad and how it has increased since 2002, and a comprehensive list of NYU’s properties in the US and abroad which includes their cost and money spent on renovations.

Beckman’s Response

Beckman responded by saying there were numerous errors in the report and also released this statement:

“No other US university has advanced as far as NYU, and we have accomplished it through innovation, ambition, grit, and careful stewardship. The simple reality is that we are successfully improving financial aid, reducing student debt, recruiting talented students and faculty, planning for future space needs, and being careful stewards of the University’s finances all at the same time.

FASP has always suffered from an odd type of tunnel vision: if it’s something negative about NYU, they’re eagle-eyed, but they’re blind to positive facts.  They harp on the limitations of our financial aid, but ignore the progress NYU has made: an increase in the financial aid budget since 2002 of over 185%, an increase in the average institutional grant that went from covering 34% of tuition to covering 54%, a reduction of over $10,000 in average debt upon graduation of NYU students, and a $1 billion fundraising campaign to expand scholarships.

They fixate on rankings where NYU has made less progress, but ignore rankings — such as the Times Higher Ed rankings, the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic rankings, or the QS World University rankings — where NYU has shot up (from 60 to 38, from 55 to 27, and from 79 to 41, respectively) over the same period.  They complain our admissions rates haven’t declined enough, but refuse to note the enhanced diversity of our student body, the higher academic qualifications of incoming students, and the simple math that we have reduced the admissions rate even as class size has increased — an impressive feat.

They criticize the addition of new facilities, but ignore the genuine and pressing academic needs of schools and departments, the findings of fellow faculty members that verify those needs, and the fact that our capital purchases and construction plans routinely save us money over alternatives, such as leasing or building on property would we have to buy.

Do we have further progress we need and want to achieve?  Yes, but the picture FASP paints of NYU isn’t right or true.”

[Image via]

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Ask NYU: Creative Procrastination Techniques http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/13/ask-nyu-creative-procrastination-techniques/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/13/ask-nyu-creative-procrastination-techniques/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 19:12:17 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132064 There are a lucky few of us who are already finished with finals. Then there is everyone else. For those less fortunate NYU students who have still not reached the Spring 2015 finish line, here are some unique tactics for procrastination, brought to you by fellow students.unnamed“I watch early 90’s videos of french chefs.”-Chris, CAS ’16unnamed-3“Cleaning, I vacuumed for one of the first times this ...

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There are a lucky few of us who are already finished with finals. Then there is everyone else. For those less fortunate NYU students who have still not reached the Spring 2015 finish line, here are some unique tactics for procrastination, brought to you by fellow students.

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“I watch early 90’s videos of french chefs.”

-Chris, CAS ’16

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“Cleaning, I vacuumed for one of the first times this year yesterday. Or… I’m really good at panic-falling asleep. If I’m nervous I can just fall asleep. ”

-Emer, Gallatin ’16

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“I just watch The Office. Its the best show.”

– Max, Gallatin ’17

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“I research documentaries on Netflix that I haven’t watched yet and then binge watch them all.”

-Rivkah, Gallatin ’16

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“I go from Wikipedia page to Wikipedia page or look up zucchini bread recipes.”

– Christino, CAS ’15

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“I eat ancient hieroglyphics. The limestone has a calming effect on me.”

– Jaclyn, Gallatin ’16

[photos by Claire Heaps and Lena Warnke]

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Here’s Your Summer Anthem: Saint Ballantine’s “Fashionably Late” http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/13/heres-your-summer-anthem-saint-ballantines-fashionably-late/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/13/heres-your-summer-anthem-saint-ballantines-fashionably-late/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 13:40:37 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132056 SongoftheSummerHow many Tinder dates are you going on in the weeks following finals? Search your heart–don’t lie. I’m guessing it’s between three and five, if my roommates’ recent exploits are any indication. We all get a little debauched around Reading Day–if you’re anything like me, you start losing your mind a good month ahead of finals, and by the time you’re here, it’s already over. Thus, in turning your thoughts to those Tinder ...

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How many Tinder dates are you going on in the weeks following finals? Search your heart–don’t lie. I’m guessing it’s between three and five, if my roommates’ recent exploits are any indication. We all get a little debauched around Reading Day–if you’re anything like me, you start losing your mind a good month ahead of finals, and by the time you’re here, it’s already over. Thus, in turning your thoughts to those Tinder dates you so responsibly scheduled for after finals, I’m just giving you an avenue to follow thought processes you’re already traipsing down. You’re welcome.

Here is your soundtrack to those dates. It’s the realest soundtrack you’ll ever get. The irony of New York’s romance culture is that there’s very little romance involved (between humans, anyway–I can name plenty of people in healthy relationships with their phones/Netflix/cats). “When the sun comes up and you’ve got to go / well, that’s life,” the song goes. And that chorus: “I don’t care that you don’t love me / as long as you can keep me coming.” Insert bawling emoji (quickly followed by teary laughter emoji).

Saint Ballantine is the brand-spankin’-new project of Brooklyn-based producer Andrew Thomas Reid and Brian “Sene” Marc of the breezy electro-pop duo denitia and sene. The collab was born out of South Brooklyn’s Clubhouse producers’ collective. “Fashionably Late” is their first track, featuring a cutesy deadpan from Amrit. The deceptively bubbly track is is fresh from Jillionaire’s Feel Up Records, dropped last week as part of the label’s “Free Ting Fridays.” At present, Saint Ballantine has 19 likes on Facebook and 8 followers on Twitter and 1 song on Soundcloud, but they’ve got a great sound and quite the sense of humor, so I wish them well.

Stream your sunny day, blurry night anthem below. Try not to cry tears of droll dismay. Happy finals!

image by Patrick King

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These NBA Playoffs Have Been Weird http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/these-nba-playoffs-have-been-weird/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/these-nba-playoffs-have-been-weird/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 18:47:14 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132042 deandre-jordan-dunk-faceWe’re currently looked at the absolute weirdest NBA playoffs in the longest time. In the Eastern Conference, both series are tied at 2-2 with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers looking rickety and failing to instill confidence in anybody. Out west, Golden State has managed to tie up its series at 2 apiece with a strong road win against Memphis last night, and the Clippers (up 3-1 on the Rockets) are looking ...

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We’re currently looked at the absolute weirdest NBA playoffs in the longest time. In the Eastern Conference, both series are tied at 2-2 with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers looking rickety and failing to instill confidence in anybody. Out west, Golden State has managed to tie up its series at 2 apiece with a strong road win against Memphis last night, and the Clippers (up 3-1 on the Rockets) are looking the best of any team remaining.

Throw in Bill Simmons getting fired and three buzzer beaters this weekend, and you’ve got quite the postseason entertainment on a nightly basis. Who knows what’s going to happen next? Is Memphis going to land another haymaker in California? Are the Bulls on their way to making the Finals in what will be Tom Thibodeau’s last season coaching the team? Stay tuned to find out.

Yet, this playoffs has been the ultimate example of one that is undoubtedly and attention-grabbing, but not necessarily fun. It hasn’t been fun to watch the ugly Cavs-Bullls matchups, and I haven’t wasted any time watching Paul Pierce try to hold down the Hawks. The two series in the West are pitting teams that just don’t play fluid basketball against each other, and there haven’t been very many exciting moments in either of those two series. It’s a weird time in the NBA.

This is not to say there isn’t a chance that the playoffs, even in this round, could become ultra-fun very soon. If LeBron manages to start shooting above 40%, and Kyrie Irving is healthy moving forward, that series will be compelling for good on-court play, instead of the sloppiness we’ve seen so far. Warriors-Grizzlies is a classic war between two teams that play very different basketball offensively, and are both dogs on defense. Though the games have been blowouts, Memphis is not expected to lie down, and we may be headed to a Game 7 next week.

Atlanta vs. Washington is perhaps a different story because of the John Wall injury that may end up with the Wizards falling short of the conference finals two years in a row (weird to think that this team should have made it last year and probably would have this year, #EasternConference). I also don’t have a ton of confidence that Houston will be able to make much of a series out of it against LA. James Harden may be able to ball out and snag a game for his team, but all signs point toward this one wrapping in the next game or two.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m thoroughly enjoying these wacky playoffs, or if I’m annoyed at the sheer number of injuries and lack of awesome teams. Parity is not as fun as they say it is. Whomever gets crowned this year will have survived what will go down as one of the oddest seasons in NBA history.

[Image via]

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Which Game Of Thrones Kingdom Should Your Neighborhood Be In? http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/05/12/which-game-of-thrones-kingdom-should-your-neighborhood-be-in/ http://nyulocal.com/city/2015/05/12/which-game-of-thrones-kingdom-should-your-neighborhood-be-in/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 17:59:40 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132035 gotIt’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about finals.Or graduation. I’m talking about the glorious stretch of weeks each spring where Sunday night is no longer just a hideous bastion of dread and foreboding looming before Monday classes: Game of Thrones is back again.For those of you not in the know, Game of Thrones is currently about halfway through airing its fifth season on HBO, and although its stories ...

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It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about finals.Or graduation. I’m talking about the glorious stretch of weeks each spring where Sunday night is no longer just a hideous bastion of dread and foreboding looming before Monday classes: Game of Thrones is back again.

For those of you not in the know, Game of Thrones is currently about halfway through airing its fifth season on HBO, and although its stories of faraway kingdoms and bitter political rivalries seem distant and relatable to our lives at NYU, when you think about it the Seven Kingdoms really aren’t that different from the Five Kingdoms (ahem, boroughs) of New York City:

King’s Landing—Times Square at 4pm on a Friday in July: There are more people here than you ever wanted to see in one place. There are more people here than you even knew existed. You don’t know if it’s that’s air conditioner drip falling on your head or the piss of a loftily elevated stranger, and quite frankly, you don’t need to know. The din of jackhammers and cab horns and agitated shouting fills your ears, and after a while, all street meat begins to taste like the famous bowl o’brown that your grandmother used to make in Flea Bottom. Like King’s Landing, Times Square is for some a center of power and status, and the opulent television towers stand high above the grimy sidewalks where tavern wenches and black smiths and that guy in the Big Bird costume peddle their wares alike. Like King’s Landing, Times Square is to be avoided at all costs. Your honor will do you no good here.

Beyond the Wall—Staten Island: Everyone you know lives in New York. Some of them live in your neighborhood, and some live in neighborhoods afar. Some may even commute from the East, across the Narrow Sea (Long Island?), or from the lands in the West, across the Sunset Sea (New Jersey?). But none are so intrepid as to travel to the true end of the Earth: Staten Island. Like going Beyond the Wall, you need to have a really, really, really good reason to go to Staten Island because the subway does not run there, and the MTA does not care if you ever get to your destination or not. You’re not sure what you’ll find there, and you’re not sure if you want to find out. But even though your journey may be arduous, at least the view on your way up the Wall or over on the Ferry should involve some pretty Insta-worthy photos. If you do ever make it over there, make sure to take a buddy with you and have your route home planned in advance. The night is dark and filled with terror, and the ferry only runs once an hour during off times.

Highgarden—Prospect Park: Commonly considered the most beautiful castle in the Seven Kingdoms, Highgarden is the stronghold of the powerful and wealthy House Tyrell. Prospect Park is often regarded as the most beautiful park in Brooklyn, and unlike Central Park, its location makes it slightly off the beaten path for tourists, which is perfect for the ambitious dynasty looking to get ahead in distant Kings Landing without interference. It’s fortified by the residential neighborhoods that surround it on all sides, and just like the famous hanging hardens from where Highgarden draws its name, you can stop by the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens on any casual trip to Prospect Park. The jury’s still out on this one, but it seems like Prospect Park might be a really good place for you and your grandmother to plot the murder of a violent, bratty king. Just a thought.

Braavos—FiDi: Everybody knows that the Iron Throne is deeply in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, but nobody knows exactly how much. Similarly, everybody knows that deals are made and broken all the time on Wall Street, but the actual intricacies (and legality) of these negotiations are mysterious to most of us. Braavos is a grim, seaside trading port that was built as a labyrinth to keep intruders out of the Free Cities. The Financial District is also a labyrinth of sorts, comprised of narrow streets and winding pathways that make about as much sense as anywhere else in Manhattan that falls off the grid. Once you decide to leave your life behind and start anew on Wall Street, you’ll begin to become a completely new person. You’ll be throwing your clothes and stolen silver into the Hudson River and adopting a new name before you can say “Arya Stark.” Whether you’re trying to make a new life in Braavos or Bowling Green, remember that there will always be unknown threats and dangers lurking around every corner (or tax audit). All men must die, and that probable includes bankers.

The Ruins of Valyria—Bobst in about a month: Rain and mist fall upon the empty halls where a great civilization once stood. Walking through the deserted corridors of Bobst, you look around you at the empty library: no students are taking naps on the chairs in the Lower Level, nor are there queues for the printer or puddles of tears leading to the stacks. A deafening silence descends on the ruins, and there are only a few horrifyingly uncivilized and merciless witnesses left to observe the decay. The Stone Men, afflicted with deadly Grey Scale, remain in Valyria. There might just be a few grad students left in Bobst around this time.

BONUS: Winterfell—The L Train: Just kidding. These two things have absolutely nothing in common.

 

[Image via Lena Warnke]

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Kim Kardashian Is More Important Than Finals Week http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/kim-kardashian-important-finals/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/kim-kardashian-important-finals/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 17:15:29 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132001 spl1018466_014-e1430926317573Here at NYU, it’s finals week. If this is breaking news to you, then by all means please get off your computer and go start studying, or crying, or both. But, if you’re like the rest of us who have banished ourselves to the LL’s of Bobst, selling our poor souls to finals week all in pursuit for those sweet, sweet A’s, then I invite you to procrastinate as we update you ...

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Here at NYU, it’s finals week. If this is breaking news to you, then by all means please get off your computer and go start studying, or crying, or both. But, if you’re like the rest of us who have banished ourselves to the LL’s of Bobst, selling our poor souls to finals week all in pursuit for those sweet, sweet A’s, then I invite you to procrastinate as we update you on a more concerning topic, Kim Kardashian.

Last Tuesday, promoting her new book titled “Selfish,” an entire piece of concrete literature filled with never before seen selfies from Kim and her family, Kimmy K hosted a book signing at a Midtown Barnes and Noble. What started off as a nice way for fans to meet the reality star, quickly was bombarded with protesters, advocating for animal rights.

Kim was startled when animal rights advocates, disguised as fans, swarmed the fan friendly book signing, asking for autographs, saying, “Can you make it out to all the animals that have been tortured?” After security had rushed off the initial group of protestors, more had spread out throughout the long line of fans getting close to Kim again shouting, “I just want to say that you’re the most disgusting human being on this planet!” And, “Shame on you for supporting the fur industry,” before being escorted out by security.

These sneaky little advocates not only served some serious animal justice, but for the benefit of the cause, and more importantly for our entertainment, they caught it all on video! Check it out!

Kim appears slightly embarrassed, but poised, and somewhat amused. Kim has yet to comment on the protest, and although we’d all love to side against Kim Kardashian, the attack on Kim seems a bit random. According to TMZ, Kim has never really addressed her stance on animal cruelty in the fur industry, only stating “I believe everyone has the choice of what they want. It’s not illegal to buy fur.”

Now that you’re all caught up on all that is Kim, you should probably get back to studying or in other words of procrastinators alike, keep refreshing your newsfeed, checking your instagram, and adding sarcastic pics to your story about how you hate “studying” for finals week. But seriously, we really advise you to get back to studying. Learn from Kim, “If I had known better, I would have done better.” Happy finals.

[image via]

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Cameron’s Britain, Fam http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/05/12/camerons-britain-fam/ http://nyulocal.com/national/2015/05/12/camerons-britain-fam/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 16:33:54 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132008  david-cameron2The UK general election happened last week, as many had threatened it would.In the end, the most surprising and also, the most boring result,occurred (and to some, the most upsetting).All the polls predicted that the two biggest parties, Labour and Conservative, would be neck and neck come voting day. This would have meant a hung parliament which would have been followed by weeks of negotiations as all the parties sorted out a ...

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The UK general election happened last week, as many had threatened it would.

In the end, the most surprising and also, the most boring result,occurred (and to some, the most upsetting).

All the polls predicted that the two biggest parties, Labour and Conservative, would be neck and neck come voting day. This would have meant a hung parliament which would have been followed by weeks of negotiations as all the parties sorted out a coalition of some sort. And if no one agreed, the UK would have had to have another election.

It appears though, that the British public were so fearful of having to actively engage in democracy a second time that they just voted the previous lot back in. But a little bit more this time.

David Cameron and his Conservative party won outright with 331 seats, giving them a small majority (an improvement on the coalition they were forced to form last time).

The other winners of the election were the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) who won all but two seats in Scotland. Their left-wing policies attracted the entirety of the Scottish vote, sucking up a large chunk of the vote from what has previously been a Labour party stronghold, contributing to Labour’s poor showing — the other major reason for Labour’s failure being everyone’s complete lack of faith in their leader, Ed Miliband.

And with the mention of Ed Miliband, we come to the losers. Despite pulling in 13% of the total vote overall, Nigel Farage and his UK Independence Party (UKIP) only managed to secure one seat (the UK has a strange voting system). Farage, himself, failed to win in his own constituency and has resigned.

Speaking of embarrassing losses leading to shame-faced resignations, with the Liberal Democrat Party only gaining 8 seats, losing 47 from last time, their leader, Nick Clegg, also resigned. As did, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband.

In the end, the results of this election seem to tell three things:

  1. The British voting public contains a lot of Tories (conservatives) that are so ashamed to be conservative that they aren’t even willing to tell an anonymous poll who they are going to vote for.
  2. As much as this seems like a conclusive victory, the success of the Tories means that the UK’s future is still very uncertain. There will now definitely be a referendum on whether the UK should remain part of the European Union in the coming years. This, coupled with the success of the SNP, whose entire reason for being is to separate Scotland from the UK (but also stay part of the EU) mean that Cameron could oversee the complete dismantling of the very United Kingdom he just won an election to lead.
  3. Everyone is going to see a lot more of Cameron’s disconcertingly doughy face (obviously not Americans, but the British). Hopefully it won’t be so smiley in future. His face happy looks like how nails on a blackboard sound. It might be worth it to have the entire country split apart just so no one has to see him too smug.

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NYU SLAM Protests The Student Debt Crisis http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/nyu-slam-protests-the-student-debt-crisis/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/12/nyu-slam-protests-the-student-debt-crisis/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 15:43:33 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132021 11182236_880277262034561_8987007477540351870_nOn Friday afternoon, as many students were celebrating the sunny weather and/or typing away at Bobst, the Student & Labor Action Movement, (SLAM) organized a day of protest. The aim of the day of action was to de-stigmatize student debt, and galvanize student action to put pressure on President John Sexton and the administration to focus on the debt crisis.The group organized a “debt closet” in Washington Square Park, where students were ...

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On Friday afternoon, as many students were celebrating the sunny weather and/or typing away at Bobst, the Student & Labor Action Movement, (SLAM) organized a day of protest. The aim of the day of action was to de-stigmatize student debt, and galvanize student action to put pressure on President John Sexton and the administration to focus on the debt crisis.

The group organized a “debt closet” in Washington Square Park, where students were encouraged to “come out” and hold a sign with their own debt amount or why student debt is important. Those unable to attend were asked to tweet their experiences with the hashtags #YouAreNotALoan and #HamiltonGetReady, in preparation for the upcoming president Andrew Hamilton, who has controversial viewpoints on the cost of tuition. Both students and curious passersby approached the pink and orange door to discuss the debt crisis.

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The day’s action culminated in a letter delivery to John Sexton’s office and a teach-in to educate and exchange debt experiences. A meeting with Sexton was unlikely, although Gallatin junior Robert Ascherman said, “We’re going to be there, whether someone can meet with us or not.”

The letter included a petition with demands for a $15/hour living wage for employees of the university, a 10-year tuition freeze and a 25 percent increase on financial aid grants. Sexton did not appear for a meeting with the 15 students gathered.

National student loan debt exceeds $1.2 trillion. NYU students in 2013 faced more debt than any other school in the nation, excluding for-profit universities. SLAM members point to the fact that NYU is certainly not hurting for money. In addition to exorbitant salaries and faculty summer homes, NYU’s budget contains a $100 million budget surplus, according to the SLAM zine. This surplus is then redirected to the 2031 plan.

Despite Sexton’s no-show, SLAM hosted a debt teach-in. Students shared their personal experiences with debt, information about the different kinds of loans offered by NYU and about the elusive appeal for more financial aid. The teach-in ended with a more expansive connection of the issue of student debt to the broader financial crisis.

[Images via NYU SLAM]

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Prince’s “Rally 4 Peace” And A New Venue For Protest Music http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/12/princes-rally-4-peace-and-a-new-venue-for-protest-music/ http://nyulocal.com/entertainment/2015/05/12/princes-rally-4-peace-and-a-new-venue-for-protest-music/#comments Tue, 12 May 2015 14:48:40 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=132016 b3a411fbJust one week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted the city’s 10pm to 5pm curfew, Prince held a benefit concert in Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena. The event, entitled Rally 4 Peace, honored victims of police brutality. Prince encouraged attendees to “wear something gray” in memory of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody last April, after suffering a severed spine.Prince has already shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement, stating ...

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Just one week after Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lifted the city’s 10pm to 5pm curfew, Prince held a benefit concert in Baltimore’s Royal Farms Arena. The event, entitled Rally 4 Peace, honored victims of police brutality. Prince encouraged attendees to “wear something gray” in memory of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died in police custody last April, after suffering a severed spine.

Prince has already shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement, stating at the Grammy’s in February, that: “Albums still matter. Like books and black lives, albums still matter.” With Rally 4 Peace, Prince again joins a line of other artists, athletes, actors, and celebrities who have brought attention to issues of police brutality, racism, and violence in cities and suburbs across America.

Prince teamed with Jay Z’s new streaming service Tidal as a means to broadcast the performance. As part of the promotion, Tidal would let listeners access the show “pre-paywall,” giving fans around the world the opportunity to watch Rally 4 Peace (an otherwise very exclusive, very expensive concert) for free.

By working with Tidal, Prince incorporated the one element that has had the most success throughout the entire Black Lives Matter movement: accessibility. The role of social media has certainly been examined at length in regards to the protests in Baltimore, Ferguson, New York, and others, with the New York Times Magazine recently penning an entire feature on “how a group of black social media activists built the nation’s first 21st-century civil rights movement.” It’s interesting, then, to see how the message itself transforms between platforms—moving from Twitter to Tidal, Soundcloud, Spotify, and other (generally) free streaming services, when musicians become involved.

Prince released his new song “Baltimore,” written in response to the city’s string of protests, on SoundCloud on Saturday, which you can listen to here, and read the lyrics to here. The song makes powerful use of the words of Black Lives Matter protestors themselves, using gospel backed vocals to chant: “if there aint no justice then there aint no peace.”

“Baltimore” is also the one and only song on Prince’s SoundCloud, leading us to believe that he created the profile with the sole purpose of sharing the track. For an artist who methodically removes uploads of his music from YouTube (his only two uploads are “Breakfast Can Wait” and “Breakfast Can Wait [Behind the Scenes]”), this could be the start of a new beginning.

With everyone hailing the return of the protest song, it is worth it to consider where exactly these songs are being heard, because it certainly isn’t at Café Wha. This isn’t to say that the physical performance wasn’t well attended (The Baltimore Sun reported thousands in attendance), but rather that its digital presence is equally significant. With the Black Lives Matter movement, and its impact on art and music, we have accepted that the 1960s form of the protest and the protest-song has changed (from folk and rock to hip-hop and rap), but Rally 4 Peace is an important reminder that the venue has as well.

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Forget Those Fad Diets http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/08/forget-those-fad-diets/ http://nyulocal.com/on-campus/2015/05/08/forget-those-fad-diets/#comments Fri, 08 May 2015 19:55:08 +0000 http://nyulocal.com/?p=131991 498418-eating-healthy-food-1The number of dietary myths circulating around the nutrition world has increased more than ever today with the influx of marketing, biased research, and more importantly, a growing obsession to lose weight among college students between the ages of 18-25. Consequently, fad diets that border on starvation have become one of the most widespread trends among our nation’s youth.According to the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA), 15% of women between the ages ...

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The number of dietary myths circulating around the nutrition world has increased more than ever today with the influx of marketing, biased research, and more importantly, a growing obsession to lose weight among college students between the ages of 18-25. Consequently, fad diets that border on starvation have become one of the most widespread trends among our nation’s youth.

According to the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA), 15% of women between the ages of 17 and 24 have eating disorders a result of excessive dieting. Not only that, over 90% of female college students have attempted to lose weight through extreme diets. The main reason for this is the misleading term used for liquid-based fad dates called “cleansing” or “detoxing” that is falsely marketed as a way to purify your digestive system and allow permanent weight loss according to registered dietitian Melainie Rogers. But with the help of food experts and dietitians, we’re busting these fad diet myths and bringing you a balanced diet plan to get that summer body this year, and actually keep it for once.

According to Rogers, fad diets arise because college students are unable to choose a balanced meal with carbohydrates, protein and fiber rather than drinking juices for a week and then succumbing to ramen noodles and dollar pizzas. As a nutritionist with more than a decade of experience, Rogers emphasizes that often eating disorders are a result of pushing your body to lose weight beyond what is healthy to look ‘skinny’. “Its like a button switches on in your digestive systems that makes you significantly more prone to developing things like bulimia or anorexia for example,” says Rogers, as she tosses a handful of berries and chia seeds in a bowl of Greek yogurt.

There is a common myth that claims the body has a buildup of toxic waste that must be expelled through ‘juice cleanses’, which require you to not eat anything for a period of 24 hours, claims Rogers. However Rogers clarifies that we have kidneys and their function is exactly to do that – get rid of the excessive toxins. “No amount of kale or grapefruit juices can ‘cleanse’ you, your body can do that on its own,” she says matter-of-factly.

While the idea of a cleanse makes you feel temporarily energized, Rogers believes this is because of the glucose your body releases when experiencing stress as a result of hunger and a lack of calories to support itself with. “It’s like your body freaks out and releases all these sugars. That’s not energy, it’s your body reacting.”

Deciding the do’s and don’ts of eating to be healthy can be difficult. Rogers puts many widespread myths about food groups such as carbohydrates to rest, and emphasizes the importance of consuming everything in moderation.

Better have something green on your plate:

This is one food group that many college students miss out on. Because everything is ‘grab & go,’ people don’t focus on getting their fruits and vegetables. These are the foods that have the most vitamins and minerals in them. While you don’t have to have them in breakfast, students must include between 2-3 servings of any vegetable or fruit in both their lunch and dinner. Whether it’s kale, spinach, nuts, seeds, or berries – the options are endless if you’re creative enough. (For those who love hummus, a handful of baby carrots dipped in low sodium hummus makes for a great evening snack.)

Get those grains in:

While this food group has generated the most debate, it is also one of the most essential. Depriving your body of carbohydrates over an extended period of time results in low sugar levels. Consequently, this causes a lack of focus, which college students especially suffer from during long hours of classes and mentally exhausting activities. Rogers recommends certain carbs such as whole-wheat toast or a wheat bagel for breakfast with peanut butter or lox spread, which also consists of protein for high levels of sustainable energy. “Yogurt and bananas does not cut it first thing in the morning. When you’re young, you wake up starving and need those calories to sustain your morning activity so you don’t overeat during lunch,” she says.

Don’t say no to potatoes:

While starchy foods such as pasta and potatoes are widely rejected by many dietitians, Rogers differs in her opinions. “People think starch makes you gain weight because they eat too much of it,” she says. “Eat it in moderation with enough fiber and you won’t have to boycott mashed potatoes.”

Soymilk? Almond milk?

While almond milk has become the new fashionable beverage, Rogers claims there’s no evidence that suggests normal milk contributes to bloating or weight gain unless you are lactose intolerant. For lactose intolerant people normal milk may have these side effects, but according to Rogers, “The food industry, like with everything else, has taken this perception to the next level.” In terms of calories, almond, soy and normal milk are the same and so there are no added benefits of choosing one over the other. This may be good news for those who prefer real milk instead of substitutes in their morning coffee. However, remember to not over indulge because lactose is still a sugar and should only be consumed in moderation.

Don’t drink your calories:

While smoothies and our favorite Starbucks refreshers are going to become everyone’s go-to drink this summer, Rogers reminds people of the dangers of these harmless looking beverages. The body does not register liquids from a hunger and fullness perspective. When you devour 300 calorie caramel latte, while your body has consumed the sugars in it, it does not feel full and requires more food – causing you to consume more calories than you would without the beverage. This rule also applies to beverages that may be as healthy as a kale and agave smoothie. “When you eat kale, your body works hard to break it down and digest it. When you throw the kale in a blender, it does half the work for you. Eat your calories instead of drinking them,” says Rogers. With summer right around the corner, instead of trying to lose water weight for a week to look good in a bikini, throw out the bag of chips and bring out the quinoa with hummus and tabouleh. Rather than following the herds of girls stocking up on ‘cleansing juices,’ go out and buy some real food to make your diet a lifestyle instead of a seasonal endeavor.

To make the agonizing process of choosing the right food while grocery shopping easier, we’re bringing you a general diet plan to follow. Although this diet plan is generic and may be altered depending on individual health requirements, Lindsay Krasna, a New York based registered dietitian believes it’s a way to maintain balanced eating behaviors. Keep yourself from starving, eat some real food and make this diet a natural habit instead of a 2-week starvation program.

Breakfast:

 Almond butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread with a glass of

low-fat milk.

Morning snack:

 A bowl Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts and/or berries

Lunch:

 A bowl of salad topped with a generous serving of tuna, beans, dried

cranberries, avocado, and feta cheese, drizzled with vinaigrette dressing, and

a roll or crackers on the side.

Afternoon snack:

 1 Kind bar available (at almost all convenience stores as well as Starbucks’

around the city.)

Dinner:

 A bowl of pasta with chicken and spinach topped with Parmesan cheese and

tomato sauce.

Dessert (optional):

 A cup of frozen yogurt

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