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Fall is here at Princeton, and brings with it cascading leaves, crisp winds, apple cider, and Princetoween. Although many underclass students might have procrastinated midterms, the mad scramble to get passes for the Thursday before fall break was prioritized. Some asked friends of friends to ask that one senior that they know, others contacted their CA and OA leaders out of the blue after months without contact, and really desperate students turned to Piazza (a forum for academic discussion) as a last resort. Because anything for that pass, right?
I was dismayed to read about Jon Ort’s conversation about privacy with a Princeton University librarian in his opinion column in the ‘Prince.’ I want to affirm that some, hopefully many, Princeton University librarians are keenly aware of and concerned about privacy issues, especially in an online environment. I have been a Firefox user for more than a decade, and I have exclusively used Duck Duck Go as my search engine of choice for several years. I’m concerned about tracking tactics such as browser fingerprinting, but also about wider issues such as how an erosion of privacy affects fundamental democratic freedoms of association and expression and even our capacity to sustain meaningful personal relationships. I also regularly attend talks at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, which has a robust research program on web tracking and privacy.
During midterms week, Firestone Library often feels like my second home. Between preparing for exams, writing papers, and staying on top of normal coursework, this time of year offers few, if any, opportunities to take a breath. Consumed by academic obligation and stress, it is often easy to forget what we miss out on. While taking a quick break from work in the Trustee Reading Room this week, I looked out of the window to see a bustling campus, with seas of backpacks rushing across Firestone Plaza to get to the next destination. In that moment, I realized that, all too often, Princetonians take “the moment,” that is, the everyday experience of being present, for granted.
In a well-written response to my letter to the editor last week arguing for the live, radical space of the arts while questioning the monumental architecture of the new Lewis Center for the Arts complex, I was accused of threatening “to obscure the great good that the existence of this new center will do for the University.”
Last week, I stunned a University librarian. I was at a training session for Zotero, a trademarked software tool that creates citations for online material and works best with Google Chrome. I confessed to her that I do not use Chrome because I worry about Google’s collection of user data. Instead, I use Firefox, a browser that many consider outdated. To limit the data I hemorrhage into the electronic world, I conduct online searches using Duck Duck Go, a search engine that neither collects nor shares user information. Flummoxed, she declared, “If you want privacy, don’t use the internet.”
This past week, Kyle Berlin ’18 penned a letter to the editor in which he criticized the new Lewis Center for the Arts complex. From decrying the center’s allegedly garish architectural style to its supposed complicity in the Neoliberal Cooptation of the Arts, Berlin spared no aspect of the University’s newest project from criticism in his piece. As it turns out, not only are Berlin's accusations vague and unimportant, but they are wrong, threatening to obscure the great good that the existence of this new center will do for the University.
On Monday, Oct. 9, Emmy Award-winning actor, rapper, and activist Riz Ahmed came to Princeton to speak about his South Asian and Muslim identities in the spheres of society and art. Ahmed broke ground for his performance in HBO’s “The Night Of” as not only the first South Asian man to win any Emmy at all for acting, but also as the first Muslim or Asian to win the award in this category.
It’s daytime, Oct. 18, 2016, and almost every news station is counting down to the next day’s presidential debate. Now, it’s nighttime, and the post-debate news coverage blares on into the morning light. This was the U.S. media reality a mere year ago; so many of us were enthralled by the political vortex of the campaign season. Why, then, did so many of us leave the vortex when the objective of this campaigning was finally realized on Election Day? Merely tweeting our political perspectives from home but failing to participate in politics at the polls on the day it counts leaves the activist job unfinished. The time is near for yet another chance: The New Jersey gubernatorial elections on Nov. 7 are quickly approaching.
“A man who bleeds from his genitals every month has a medical problem,” my philosophy professor once quipped while discussing Plato’s “Meno,” “yet a woman who bleeds every month is healthy.” While there is a unified concept of health, Plato argued, how it manifests itself in a particular entity will depend on the entity’s biological nature.
As a host for the Princeton Humanities Symposium, I found myself over-glamorizing the University to two high-strung, visiting high schoolers who thought the admissions committee was basically the CIA tracking their every breath. Outwardly, I know it’s my duty to project a positive representation of the University. I wanted to make the high schoolers' next three days live up to their expectations of the No. 1 university in the United States, replete with all the trappings that the guidebooks and the internet boast about. But internally, I knew that there was an unavoidable disingenuousness to my words.
Dear commenters on The Daily Princetonian website,
Hoards of blazer-clad students shuffling nervously through upperclassmen dorms marks the beginning of job-application season. It’s often a time of disappointment, frustration, and hits to students’ self confidence as peers compete for specific and limited positions.
Last weekend, a mysterious procession of people weaved its way through north campus. From a distance, they emitted a collective murmur, like a moan of mourning. But if you got close enough, you could catch snippets of individual sentences. In their sudden intelligibility and idiosyncracy, the reader’s emergent voice blending with the voices of others, they sounded more like joy. A cacophony of words, embodied and reverberating and alive.
I used to cry for hours because I thought I didn’t know how to make friends.
"Shall the undergraduates direct the USG Senate to establish a standing committee that works with the Interclub Council to annually collect and release demographic information, such as race, gender, and academic major, about the members of each Eating Club, and additionally, for each selective (‘bicker’) Club, its applicants (‘bickerees’)?