Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rumors about the expensive upkeep of the palm trees on Palm Drive

So I don't know about you guys but I've definitely hear a ton of people talking about how much Stanford spends to keep the palm trees on Palm Drive alive and well. I was actually just telling my sister about it a couple days ago and I was looking for an exact figure online when I found a Daily article discrediting the rumors. Apparently all this talk about the expensive upkeep of Palm Drive is just a bunch of exaggerated rumors (Sorry if you already knew this but I didn't so I'm writing about this anyway!). The article quoted Herb Fong, manager of the grounds service dept, stating that the palm trees are serviced once ever 3 to 7 years costing $400 per tree (There are a total of 200 trees). Fong also continues to talk about how the majority of trees are donated from local sites, and that they would be demolished if the University did not rescue them. The article even claims that the upkeep of the palm trees is cheaper than that of most conventional trees.

All the talk about the ridiculously expensive upkeep of Palm Drive is just rumors and we can now officially enjoy the beauty of the palm trees without the fear that our tuition money is being used for unnecessary maintenance!

Alright well I'm gonna get back to packing now and I can't wait to see you all tomorrow!


The Sex Lives of Stanford Students

So I finally figured out how to post on this thing. The wonders of technology.

So all summer I've been working on research for the Feminist Studies Department. I worked under Paula England, who is teaches the My job was to basically read about people's sex lives. One really interesting fact I learned was that Stanford has a higher rate of virginity than other colleges: a 30% of Stanford seniors are virgins, compared to the national average of 20%. So despite the fact that we're pretty smart, we're not exactly having roaring sex lives. Good or bad, I'm not too sure.

I also found that Stanford students are involved in hookups and dating more than long term relationships. I also found that a lot of students complained about how small the student population was, which leads to rather awkward situations when it comes to sex. I read about how Person A hooked up with Person B one night, then Person A hooked up with Person C another night, and it turned out B and C were best friends, which led to the two of them fighting over A, which led to A getting angry and quitting the whole hookup scene all was all a very messy, messy affair. I also read about similar accounts of how frustrating it is that everyone knows everyone else's business. I'm not sure if this is solely a Stanford thing or a small university thing, but I found it pretty interesting.

I suppose this is all related to this concept called "Stanford Dating" that I frequently came across while doing my research but never explicitly explained. I'm guessing it has something to do with the prioritizing of school ahead of more carnal desires, and hookups take less time than actual relationships. After some Google searching, I found this amusing 2002 Daily article on Stanford Dating.

So yes, the dating scene here is rather bleak. Hopefully your sex lives are much more successful.

Stanford in Rankings

Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
The Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks us as number 2 in the world in 2007. -

The US news rankings rates our universities as 4th in US rankings itself. -

The Times Higher Education World Universities Rankings rates us 19! -

Obviously, there has to be some reason for these discrepancies. It is probably because of the differences in criteria for all three. However, for us to rank #19 after being 2 and 4 in other rankings is pretty shocking. To me it sort of implies that something that other universities have is essentially missing from Stanford.

The Times rankings are done by the following Criteria-
I can only guess that we miss out because most other universities have more international students (Stanford is at 9-10%, universities such as University of Pennsylvania and Imperial College London have much more and are thus ranked higher on the list) than Stanford.

See you guys soon!

- Shruti

Stanford in Peru

Hi everybody!
I just got back from Peru this week, where I had an amazing experience excavating at the archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar. Seeing as it was Stanford-funded and headed by a Stanford professor, I thought I'd give a rundown of what we were up to (in case any of you would like to apply next year).

The site itself consists of the ruins of several large stone temples, many beautifully constructed labyrinthine galleries, the Square and the Circular Plazas, and Rocas, the extensive underground network of a stone canal drainage system. Site dating is a contested subject, but it was probably in its height around three thousand years ago. It's located in the Andean highlands, about a bumpy ten hour bus ride outside of Lima. For over a decade, Professor John Rick has been taking students to live in the small nearby town of Chavín for a summer and work at the site.

Our excavations this year were severely postponed due to a late approval by the Peruvian government, but once we got started, we worked in two areas: the North Atrium, an area near the Circular Plaza, and under the Circular Plaza in Rocas, the drainage canal. I worked in Rocas, which I absolutely loved and explored to the utmost extent: tiny, dark, humid, stone passages (but in an area without bats, thank goodness). And I mean tiny--we excavated in as little as 24cm of space.

Typical finds were ceramic sherds, animal bone fragments, and crude stone tools. Things got really interesting in Rocas right before we had to stop excavations--we found seven human skulls (probably from about 500BCE) within one meter of muddy sediment.

I highly recommend anyone vaguely interested in archaeology to check it out--let me know if you want more info. And the VPUE grants mean that it's a completely free trip to Peru (minus the shopping). I know there are a handful of other sites where Stanford goes, including Turkey and Italy, so it's worth a look.

P.S. You can check out my Peru pictures on Facebook...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'd like to buy a, uh, life?!

So our dorm politics chat list is going mad right now, of course sparked by Palin, but the issue of health care came up.  This is a very interesting article from Time magazine on the price Stanford economists put on a human life.  How you could even begin to convert moments to money is beyond me, but I guess it packs a little financial kick behind the old saying, "get a life," huh?


Friday, August 29, 2008

So the Synergy house website provides a pretty detailed account of the history of the co-op. Interestingly, the concept of the co-op seems to owe its origins to the ambitions of several students, as well as the capitalist philosophies of Leland Stanford. Sen. Stanford’s idea that “cooperatives” allowed workers to “organize, operate, and own their own industries” translated into the 1891 establishment of the Stanford University Cooperative Association, which functioned as the university’s first bookstore. During WWII, the co-op philosophy extended into student housing, when the Walter Thompson Co-op became the first housing cooperative. Before this, the house served as the campus’s Japanese House, and following the bombing of Hiroshima, the entire co-op was terminated. Housing co-ops on campus were finally revived in 1970, with the creation of Jordan House and Columbae. However, Stanford’s co-op renaissance was mainly due to housing co-op success at other universities like UC Berkeley—by now, the Leland Stanford co-op philosophy had largely been forgotten.

See you all very soon!


White plaza redo

I stayed a few days after the end of exams last year to see my sister graduate and saw the beginnings of the renovations to White Plaza. It was already totally torn up just a few days after graduation, making me wonder what they were planning to change. I haven't been on campus yet to see the progress this summer, but I found this presentation that shows the architects' plans for redoing White Plaza. It's pretty interesting to see the ideas behind the changes, and it'll be cool to get to see it (hopefully almost done) when we start SoCo next week!
I'm not sure if you can attach things to the blog, so I just went ahead and emailed it to everyone. Check it out!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ROTC at Stanford??!

Hello everyone! I'm itching for SoCo to get started, but first...

Ever wonder why many of the cream-of-the-crop universities in the US - including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia - aren't affiliated with Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs? In many of these institutions, the decision to shun the officer commissioning program has been the byproduct of historical clash(es) between militarism and academia.

Stanford cut its ties with ROTC about 40 years ago, when the US public was trembling in fear of a potential World War number 3, and when renowned Stanford alum Herbert Hoover was publicly voicing his pacifist ideals. Not all of the Hoover clan, however, shared Herbert's feelings. Herbert's older brother Theodore, for one, actively supported the presence of ROTC on campus. Theodore Hoover was a miner-turned-dean of engineering at Stanford who went as far as to include the following sentence in the curriculum of one of his classes (Mining and Metallurgy 101 - ever heard of this course?):

"The human race develops by war, and succeeds in war in proportion to its use of metals; races perish in peace. Culture in increased by invention of new weapons. The pacifist errs in assuming that peace is desirable. Emerson said everything we have must be paid for. We Americans are living in unpaid luxury and must pay in the future by blood and hard work.”

Whoa...hold on there tiger. These spartan words were met by even a more gutsy response from a certain Robert Speers, the student editor of the Daily at that time. Speers contended that the sentence be removed from the course curriculum, adding that such degree of blatant militarism was inappropriate to an elite institution's humanitarian environment. Not too surprisingly, the older Hoover and his proponents immediately retaliated, spitting threats of expulsion of Speers. The fiery exchange between the student and the faculty was eventually deemed...embarrassing, and the matter was put to an end with ROTC being banned on campus for good.

So where is the ROTC today? It's at San Jose State, Santa Clara University, AND good ol' UC-Berkeley, but its presence is missed- either sorely or thankfully- at Stanford. Stanford's ROTC students are forced to commute hours to get appropriate training, but aren't given any credit for the hours of work they put into that training. The administrators' defense against these students' complaints? The ROTC classes simply do not meet Stanford's academic standards, and their Department of Defense-driven causes are incompatible with the University policy.

Whether you're siding with these adamant administrators or sympathizing with the ROTC-less Stanford students, it's interesting to peek into the pages of history that explain the censorship of ROTC at Stanford and other elite academic institutions.

Feel free to read these Daily articles for more info!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kinda creepy...

Hey guys! Can you believe that we're meeting in less than a week already?! Crazy stuff! I can't wait.

I've been at Stanford all summer and I like to go out for runs at night, so last night I went out for my usual jog around campus. I used to be able to run through the Quad past MemChu at late hours, with no problem at all, but that was before I played the Branner Game during Spring Quarter. The Game was about the real 1974 murder of Arlis Perry inside MemChu. Maybe I was just extra freaked out because of my serious lack of sleep at that time, but what really got to me was that she was reportedly last seen alive walking around campus at night before her body was found. MemChu looks really cool lit up in the dark, but I can't help but get a few chills every time I think of that murder!
I found an article in the Daily about Stanford murders, including Jane Stanford's mysterious death:

See you guys soon!
<3, Janelle

P.S. I'm sending the Exec Summary of the White Plaza construction to the stanfordsafari@gmail account (since I can't figure out how to link it here...) It even has sketches of how everything's supposed to look when the construction's all done.

California Pacific Railroad: An Account of the Last Spike

An interesting account of the hammering in of the golden spike in Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869, from the Utah History Encyclopedia:

It turns out that Leland Stanford himself was unable to actually hit the spike with the hammer.

Can't wait to see you guys!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tree Auditions!

Hellooo everyone! I can't believe that, in less than a week, we are going to be diving headfirst into the COOLEST 2008 soco! YAY. Alright, down to business. I think most of us would agree that the Tree contributes a ton of awesome wackiness to our beloved Stanford atmosphere. I couldn't believe some of the stories I heard this year about stunts that past Tree candidates have pulled in hopes of scoring that crazy costume (climbing Hoover Tower, eating live snakes, submitting oneself to being beaten with lightbulbs). I'm sure a good number of the alleged stunts have been blown out of proportion over time, but it's still entertaining to hear the legends! Here's some stuff I found in online Stanford Daily articles...

Erin Lashnits (2005) claimed, "I successfully hurled myself off a slip-n-slide from the 10 meter tower while on fire, conducted a marathon all-girl moonbounce bra-and-panty tickle fight and had sex on a tightrope strung from the birdcage in White Plaza. Pretty hot."
Adam Monroe (2005) said that for their first task, each tree candidate had a jellyfish placed on their face and had to eat through it.
In 2004, the Tree apparently got a kidney or appendix removed.
One Tree tried to land on Hoover Tower at the end of a skydiving adventure. He also was shot out of a cannon into Lake Lag (thankfully, the lake was full that day!).
One candidate dressed up as a deer and hurled himself at the current president's car.

Is this normal behavior for smart kids? I'm guessing not. But I for one think our student body's abnormal ways of playing hard really set us apart from the other colleges that work hard.

Ciao! *Anna*

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Get excited!!!

Is it bad that this still looks totally scifi even though I've gone by it a million times???

this is fun:

:) Wendy
check out this awesome birding site:


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jane Lathrop Stanford

I confess. I killed Jane Stanford.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Interesting windows..

Hi everybody! I was just going through a bunch of pictures my dad took of campus when he was visiting and I saw this one-

This is a picture of I think the Gilbert Biology building. I find the windows really interesting. I want to know why they are made curved like that, what would be the function of windows like that in a biology building? I tried looking it up online, but I can not find anything.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Stanford Fountains

Since we all love Stanford's waterworks, inside and out, I pulled up an old Daily article that briefly talks about three of our favorite watering holes :)

The Claw

The Claw, located in front of the Bookstore, was designed by the sculptor Aristides Demetrios in 1964 to accompany the dedication of White Plaza.  Demetrios was commissioned to design the fountain in 1963.  Funded by the White family in honor of their two sons who died young, the bronze and copper sculpture can sprout water from 80 jets, though most go unused.

The Red Hoop Fountain

Though this fountain, located between Green and Meyer Library, often draws attention and has been assigned an assortment of strange names, the Shumway Fountain - the official name for the popularly dubbed "Red Hoop Fountain" [I've heard the Toilet Bowl too]- was actually designed by a landscape firm that specializes in water elements.  Tony Sinkosky, one of the principal landscapers responsible for Shumway, also designed a hotel in Munich and a Boeing training center.  While creating quite the artistic impression, Shumway is one of the only fountains not sculpted by an artist.

Water Clock Fountain- the "Timetable"

Located at the end of Serra Street, down the road from the Tanner Fountain in front of Hoover Tower, the water clock fountain can be found adjacent to the Electrical Engineering Center.  Designed by Maya Lin, who is also responsible for designing the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., the fountain was completed along with the extension of Serra Mall.