August 30, 2008

OxyBlog has moved!

OxyBlog has relocated from blogger to Wordpress. More importantly, it now has it's own url: . Check out the new look, and look for updates soon!

October 22, 2007

Who's up for husking Prager's corn?

First, let me apologize for the title of this post. Second, I apologize that I didn't live up to my promise of updating with an "much more important and relevant post" tomorrow -- clearly tomorrow has come and gone, but that post is still coming (obviously, this isn't it).

But hey! This is newsworthy too! Us lucky Oxy students are being given the opportunity to try some corn, fresh from President Prager's farm near Sacramento. This is going on on Wednesday night, October 24. Fresh Presidential corn (that could be so misinterpreted) is going to be available in the marketplace that night at dinner.

Better yet though, we get the opportunity to husk it the corn ourselves. As the hand-out puts it: "Be a part of the farm to school experience and help prep the corn for dinner!".

Now, I know that there are many people out there who don't feel that corn husking is not exactly up their alley -- but, come on, how amusing is it going to be to see people spending their lunchtimes down in the quad husking their own corn? Many people might be surprised that there is more to food than driving to the supermarket.

This program is put on by UEPI and, obviously, President Prager as a "harvest festival". This seems like a good way for us Oxy students to find out more about our President, and to connect with her a little bit more. Even if it is over corn.

October 19, 2007

U.S. News rankings covered by the Weekly

The cover story of the Weekly this week is about Oxy's ranking in U.S. News and World Report, something that was blogged about here weeks ago (on September 30th). The Weekly's article is obviously far more in-depth and knowledgeable than this blog could ever hope to be, so if you're interested check it out here:

I think that this is a case where the paradigm between what this blog does (or hopes to do) and what the Oxy Weekly does is clearly demonstrated -- the blog will give you whatever I feel the interesting tidbit of the story is, and hopefully be far more timely than the newspaper can be (in this case, it was weeks earlier), but the newspaper will eventually follow it up with deeper coverage that will give you the full story (assuming it's something worth following up, and not stupid signs).

(By the way, yes, I co-authored the story on the rankings, so in a way this post is a little bit of self-promotion. Can you really blame me though?)

Some signs that maybe should never have been put up in the first place

Okay, it's taken me a while to get back to this blog, but I promise I will be more diligent about it in the future. This particular post is a little bit out-of-date, but it's still worthwhile (that is, if you like stupid...). Keep an eye out tomorrow for a much more important and relevant post.

There have been a couple of signs around Oxy recently that really make you doubt the intelligence of your fellow human beings. For example, take the one above. The above sign was hung in the Cooler for Coming Out Week last week. Clearly, judging from the neatness of the sign, its creator took a whole five minutes making it. Judging from its spelling... I don't even know what to say about that one. How do you spell "together" correctly once, but then spell it wrong the second time? Look, I don't mean to be critical, but if your sign is important enough to hang in the Cooler, and it is therefore of enough worth for someone to take a few moments of their time and read it, you have to care about it enough and put enough effort into it to warrant that. Though this sign may have a worthwhile message, the fact that whoever created it clearly didn't give a crap takes away any significance it might otherwise have. And the fact that nobody spell checked the sign before putting it up there for the world is just all-togher stupid.

Yes, I did say signs, plural. Here's a different sign, from the entrance to the library, that is of a somewhat different nature:
I'm sure there was an important reason for this sign, but I didn't see any live electrical wires anywhere. Were they talking about wires under the half-exposed carpet? If so, someone would have had to have actually gone down and worked their fingers though the seam in the carpet to get to the live wires. Do they really think that someone would do that? The other sign made us wonder how stupid its creator was; this one makes us wonder how stupid its creator thinks we are. Obviously, this sign isn't nearly as outrageous (or high-profile) as the last one, but it definitely falls under the "too alarmist?" category.

September 30, 2007

New "Guide to Campus Safety" Has Some Interesting Statistics

This last week, in all of the our mailboxes, we got the 2007-2008 version of the "Guide to Campus Safety". Now, it seems that most people just throw this away off hand, or just throw it in some drawer (who needs to know the school alcohol or weapons or sexual assault or gambling policies anway, right?). But, one thing that most people don't realize is in the handbook are the crime stats for the last three years, and some of them are pretty interesting. Now, keep in mind, these are reported crimes. There is only 1 hate crime on the books from last year (and it was an off-campus hate crime at that), but hate crimes are a crime that usually goes drastically underreported. Anyways, here are some of most interesting of the numbers from last year (just a note: I'm going to look only to the numbers that pertain to on-campus activity):
  • The zeros (meaning there were none) for on campus crimes: Murder, Manslaughter, Robbery, Hate Crime
  • There were 7 reported on campus arsons
  • There was 1 forcible rape, 1 aggravated assault, 1 grand theft auto, and 9 grand theft larceny -- to me, that's a suprisingly high number of major crimes
  • There were 31 violations of the alcohol policy and 28 violations of the drug policy -- meaning there were almost the same number of drug and alcohol violations
  • There were 27 false fire alarms

It's always good to know the facts about how safe/unsafe the campus really is. Do any of these numbers suprise you? Do any seem higher or lower than you expected?

Oxy Immobile in the Rankings

Okay, first a note: I've been really busy over the last couple of days, and I've been sitting on this update and the one I will make later today for a few days now, meaning they're not at timely as they could be. Please excuse that fact, because I believe that both contain relevant/interesting information that people may or may not have heard about. In other words, I'm posting them anyway.

Now, to the post:

The U.S. News and World Report has come out with its latest rankings, and Oxy is ranked number 36 among the liberal arts colleges. This is exactly the same as last year's ranking, something that Oxy is very proud of. But, it begs the question: why isn't Oxy improving in the rankings? We keep hearing about how Oxy's star is rising, and how its reputation and prestige keeps on growing and growing. This year, they had far more applicants accept than they expected, a testament to Oxy's allure (and also why the first-years are in such a housing crunch right now). Why don't the college ranking reflect this then? I can think of a couple of explanations:

1. Oxy's momentum is dying out. Maybe Oxy has reached the heights of its status and prestige, at last for now. All upward trends have to level out at some point.

2. The status, distinction, and allue of all the liberal arts schools is rising, and so while Oxy's prestige is increasing, it is not doing so any faster than its peer institutions. In other words, all the liberal arts schools are going up, and Oxy's rise is only equal to that of the other schools.

3. U.S. News and World Report doesn't know what the hell they're doing.

What do you think? (I just want to point out that you can leave comments on blog posts, without even needing to sign up or be a blogger member.)

September 23, 2007

Fire in Haines

On Saturday night (9/22), at around 1:10 AM, someone set a plastic trash can on fire in Haines. They dumped all the garbage out onto the floor and set the trash can in the middle of the hallway, before setting it on fire. Smoke filled the building, and everybody had to stand outside for a long while until they could vent some of it out. Luckily, someone rushed up with an extinguisher and put it out before it really had a chance to spread. If left unchecked, serious damage could have been done to Haines, and all its residents' belongings. The carpet is singed and the plastic bottom of the trash can is burned into the carpet, but beyond that no serious damage was done. However, this kind of "prank" is probably the worst kind -- it is dangerous to people and their things. At the very least, people had to inhale the fumes of burning plastic (which I think are toxic, don't hold me to it) and everything in the hallway was coated in dust. As it is, Haines residents are going to have to pay for the damages unless whoever started the fire can be identified. A picture of the burned-out trash can is below, along side a picture of the hallway and a couch near the fire so you can see how much dust the fire created.

Note: now you can all rest easy knowing that weather will not be the only thing discussed in this blog.

September 22, 2007

Cool Skies

Ok, this isn't newsworthy per-se, but right after storms is when you get the coolest skies over Oxy. Check out these clouds over Chilcott. Soon enough, LA will be expierening its usual sunny, cloudless days, so enjoy them while you can (if you enjoy this sort of thing). Some more pics below (remember, you can always click on a pic to see a larger, higher-res version of the image):

These are of the sky over Johnson from the Haines parking lot.

Colorado Ave, still wet from the rain.

Rain at Oxy

It's raining! Oxy is experiencing an unusual September storm front, resulting in some wet nights this weekend. If you love puddle-jumping, enjoy this while it lasts -- who knows when it will rain next. If you came to Oxy to escape rain and other non-sunny weather, don't worry. Weather should be back into the 80's and sunny by Tuesday.