July 24th, 2014

NYU Local’s Best And Worst Comments Of The Year

While NYU Local’s comment sections may not get as feisty as NYU Secrets’, we do occasionally invoke the anger of everybody’s worst nightmare – Anonymous Internet Commenters. We used the magic of crowdsourcing to bring you some of the most ridiculous comments we’ve received on this site—the ones we could approve—since September of 2013, arranged in chronological order.

Phillip Sparks, September 25, 2013I Went On An NYU-Sponsored Tour Of Bushwick, And It Stripped Me Of My Dignity

“I came to this article because I thought it was going to be something entirely different that actually delved into the subject at hand. Instead I got this sarcastic view from a typical uninformed NYU college girl that doesn’t understand New York at all but loves to complain about the man. I know you can do better than this. I’m serious. Go further. How did this strip you of your dignity? Do you even know what that means? Come on NYU Local. I am seriously confused as to how this is even in the freaking NYU paper and not a facebook status update or note or something that I discretely loathe and hide from my timeline.”

Read more…

Artificial Intelligence, Sans ScarJo’s Sultry Voice, Coming To NYU

When IBM Watson announced its partnership with seven universities to allow students to work with the artificial intelligence technology of Jeopardy!-winning fame, it was easy to imagine students training and conversing with a robot for a semester. In reality, Watson is far more complicated than its quiz-whiz robot reputation — and NYU’s plans to incorporate it into academics are, too.

Watson is not a robot, strictly speaking, but rather an artificially intelligent computer system and supercomputer that can answer questions posed in human language. At these seven universities, it will be accessible through a cloud. Watson was first developed in 2005, when Paul Horn, then head of IBM Research and now Senior Vice Provost for Research at NYU, signed off on the next big project after IBM’s success with Deep Blue, the first computer to win a chess game against a reigning world champion.

Earlier this year, IBM created a separate business unit called The Watson Group, which is commercializing the technology for seemingly countless applications. For example, Watson technology’s first commercial application is in the field of healthcare, partnering with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Watson navigates health data in order to provide relevant information to doctors and nurses. Read more…

Tommy John Surgery Saves Pitchers But Doesn’t Solve Baseball’s Bigger Problem

One of the most exciting parts of being a baseball fan is watching young pitchers dominate the league when they first come up. Sure, watching a 20-year old rake at the plate as he hits home run after home run is fun, but there’s a certain thrill that comes with an ace pitcher on the mound, with his command and dominance felt throughout the ballpark. As the strikeouts pile up and the starts begin to become events in and of themselves, fans have ample reason to watch their favorite team when their coveted flamethrower is on the mound.

Ask baseball followers about which young pitchers they most like to watch and you’ll hear a few familiar names. Stephen Strasburg. Matt Harvey. Jose Fernandez. All came up and seemed unhittable within their first few starts, taking Major League Baseball by storm. Each of the three has a devastating fastball and scary secondary pitches. It’s no coincidence that all three were beacons of hope for their floundering respective franchises at the time they came up.

Perhaps, it’s also not a coincidence that with this week’s news that Fernandez tore his ulnar collateral ligament, all three will have undergone Tommy John surgery within just a few years of starting their careers. Read more…

Local Stops: Brooklyn Dudes, Staten Island Wins, And Badass Fifth Graders

Former Local EIC Myles Tanzer has the new lowdown on the Jill Abramson debacle.

The Observer has put out an illustrated guide to Brooklyn guys.

Finally, Staten Island wins something!

A fifth-grader raised $200,000 to clean up the Gulf oil spill. What have you done lately?

Photo of the day by Caleb Savage

Lost Confidence: NYU’s Culture Within Expansion And Controversy [Part One]

Part One of Three

Shining through a mosaic of large windows overlooking the West Village, light from the sunset placed a spotlight on John Sexton, making his cheeks grow redder and his hair fade to a softer gray. His hand crossed his forehead from time to time, allowing the president of New York University a better view of the student standing at the microphone to ask a question.

“He’s trying to get away from the mic,” prodded Sexton, who encouraged the student at the center of the room to describe NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus. “Tell them what it’s like growing up in Dhabi, and what it’s like being a study away student here in New York. They don’t think this is a place where they’re study away students.”

Shy at first, the student depicted the assets of the university’s campus in the Middle East, before recounting some of its flaws. Using a mixture of receptiveness, kindness and lawyer wit, Sexton guided the conversation from start to end, just as he did with anyone else posing a question.

“Send me an email. Give me your ideas,” said Sexton as his conversation with students drew to a close. Squeezed into Sexton’s schedule, Town Halls allow students to engage in frank conversation with their controversial president. The event was scarcely attended though, and Sexton needed to head over and teach his class on his own book, Baseball As A Road To God. “Send me an email — john.sexton@nyu.edu — and I promise you, you won’t be dissatisfied in the effort you put in sending it.”

Read more…

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The McChicken

I had just passed my colloquium. It was an unseasonably cold day at the end of March (global warming, am I right?) but I was feeling victorious. I wanted to do something that would mirror my triumph over the much-dreaded colloquium (basically the defense of a thesis in the form of a two hour conversation with a panel of three faculty members) that all seniors in the Gallatin School for Individualized Study at NYU must complete in order to graduate. I needed to do something that would match my level of elation. That something was going to McDonald’s and buying myself two McChicken sandwiches and eating them in Washington Square Park, despite the cold (see above photo).

Many would chastise me for consuming such foul (literally fowl) food, but McChickens make me happy. I often call my predilection towards the McChicken sandwich a guilty pleasure but I always wonder to myself “why should I feel guilty about a thing that makes me happy?” That’s the big question. Should you feel guilty about your guilty pleasures if they make you happy?

My vegan friend thinks I should. We were once out one night at some bar in god knows where and I got a little tipsy and insisted that we just call it a night so I could go home, get my McChicken and go to sleep. As I was telling her my plan for the rest of the night, she had been sipping on her vodka martini, and she did a spit take where she found out I would be stopping before eventually going home. “You would really eat that garbage?” she said to me. “Do you know how inhumanely McDonald’s treats their chickens?” Fire was coming out of her mouth at this point. The truth is I didn’t.

Read more…

All Of The Technology To Help You Make It Through College

We definitely could not survive our world today without the help of our beloved, addicting technology. I’m sure not a day passes where you don’t use your laptop, smartphone, Xbox, camera, or something or other.  Whatever it is you’re most attached to, everyone’s got his or her favorite apps, and gadgets, and widgets, and plugins. I know my four years here at NYU wouldn’t have been possible with all of the tools I use to make my school/work life easier. So here are a few of my favorite productivity hacks:

Boomerang: As a student, emails are kind of like our lifeblood. Internship opportunities, meeting up with other students, teacher assignments, the list piles higher and higher. Boomerang is an organizational wizard’s best friend. You can schedule emails to bounce back into your inbox whenever you need them to, basically eliminating one more to-do reminder from your brain. You can also schedule emails to send at a later time if need be. Read more…

Studying Sucks, So Here’s A List Of Ways To Procrastinate

Study breaks are something we all have in common, whether we’re pre-meds, Sternies, or underwater basket weavers in Gallatin. Some of us watch Netflix, some of us cry into our ice cream, and still others snort more Adderall in the Bobst bathrooms.

Since it’s the last stretch before sweet, sweet freedom, and you might be running out of ideas for distractions, here are 15 slightly unusual study break suggestions, including some original ideas from NYU Local staff. Make the most of them!

1. One-man, five minute dance parties to Beyoncé in a Bobst bathroom. (Alternative: Re-enacting the elevator fight with two friends.) Read more…

Enjoy Summertime in New York The Obscure Way

The school year is coming to a close, and the sweet, humid freedom of summer is just over the horizon. And for those of us who refuse to go back to Mom and Dad’s house over the break, the opportunities for entertainment are nearly limitless.

Here’s are a handful of less quotidian things to do this summer in the time you’d usually spend reading NYU Local: 

May 18—Anthropomorphic Bunny Taxidermy Class: If you claim to have never wondered what exactly is the proper way to skin, stuff, and dress a rabbit in Victorian-era clothing, you’re lying. Even better, this class is eco-friendly: all carcasses are recycled discards from the feeder/pet food industry, naturally deceased, or discards from the food service industry. But remember that this course isn’t BYOC (bring your own carcass), so don’t even think about using this as an opportunity to keep the spirit of your dead pet bunny alive.

May 15 through May 31—Shakespeare in the Parking Lot’s Production of Hamlet: A parking lot adjacent to Bryant Park will be the stage in which The Drilling Company’s interpretation of Hamlet will be performed. Modified to reflect contemporary society, Gertrude is an alcoholic, while Claudius is a power-hungry business man. With performances happening Thursday through Sunday until May 31, this is an easy opportunity to get some culture for free.

May 29—McKellen Me Softly: A one-night-only celebration of queer icon and fangirl fodder, Sir Ian McKellen. The festivities will feature a raffle of McKellen-themed artwork, a so-called “geek party,” and a LGBTQ benefit, the proceeds of which will help support Geeks OUT, an organization established to support the growing community of the nerdiest members of the LGBTQ community. Read more…

If We Can’t Bond Over Football, We Can At Least Bond Over Our Turds

As we all know, shit happens, literally. Everyone releases hundreds of pounds of poop each year—and if you don’t, ingesting some MiraLax of flaxseed should help jumpstart that peristalsis.

The remnants of food our bodies reject, however, are rarely the subjects of conversation, partially because society has largely stigmatized poop, favoring less smelly/lumpy things to discuss at cocktail parties (like personal branding, probably). Or, as former art critic Simon Taylor put it, we’ve established a “bourgeois hierarchy of the body, which privileges the head and denigrates the lower bodily stratum.”

Not that anyone needs reminding, but it’s finals season, so it seems pretty timely that just when everything is turning to shit, yet another NYU-centric community page has emerged to reverse Taylor’s words. NYU Shitting Experiences, or simply NYU POOP, launched less than a week ago, and it calls for students to “Private message us your most heart felt, disgusting, filthy, and embarrassing shits at NYU!” The page then posts these narratives of nuggets, releasing the abject secrets to the world for commenting.

Read more…