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A daily look at Bowdoin and the world
Updated: 28 min 24 sec ago

Bowdoin Economist: New Football Playoff Lacks Suspense (Boston Globe)

6 hours 35 min ago
Daniel Stone

Daniel Stone

Boston Globe columnist Kevin Lewis mentions the research of Assistant Professor of Economics Dan Stone in a recent round-up of surprising insights from the social sciences.

In his Ideas column, Lewis refers to a paper that Stone co-wrote on “how to make football suspenseful.” Stone and his collaborator, Jarrod Olson, use mathematical analysis to argue that college football’s new four-team, two-round championship, which replaces the single-game championship, will “cut down on narrative drama,” Lewis writes.

“The authors note that a large playoff with many teams reduces the suspense of regular-season games by making the outcome of each regular-season game less critical. Meanwhile, the gain in total playoff-game suspense is not enough to make up for the loss of total regular-season suspense.”

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Post-College Job: Cleaning the Oceans

6 hours 36 min ago

hannah-tennentUp to 15 million tons of trash slips into our oceans every year, endangering the marine mammals, fish, seabirds and sea turtles that may eat the rubbish, get entangled in it or be affected by endocrine disruptors.

Although scientists are skeptical about the feasibility of cleaning up the ocean’s gigantic floating garbage patches, a small Maine organization is attempting to rid the seas of trash. Instead of tackling the ocean’s far-off gyres of rubbish, however, Rozalia Project is trying to prevent trash from entering the ocean in the first place. Most marine debris moves into the marine environment from beaches, harbors and tidal rivers.

This summer, a Bowdoin alumna joined the Rozalia Project, sailing with the organization on its 60-foot boat, American Promise. Hannah Tennent graduated from Bowdoin in May with an earth and oceanographic science major. With free time before starting a 10-month post in September with the Student Conservation Association, Tennent took a temporary position with the ocean-cleaning nonprofit. Read the full story. 

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Grace Butler ’16 Pushes Bicycle Coalition Forward

6 hours 37 min ago

This summer, junior Grace Butler received a Psi Upsilon Environmental Fellowship from Bowdoin to intern with the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, an advocacy organization based in Portland. Butler, a sociology and environmental studies major, took on the task of completing an economic benefit analysis of bicycling in Maine. She surveyed the businesses that support the bicycle economy here to assess how much money bicyclists contribute to the state.

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How Photography Provides Release for Those With Mental Disorders (NYTimes)

6 hours 38 min ago
Abandoned, by Danielle Hark

Abandoned by Danielle Hark

Living with anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder or other mental disorders can make it an uphill battle to stay present and engaged. Danielle Hark found no release from debilitating depression until the day she began snapping photos with her iPhone. “It doesn’t matter how the photos come out,” she says, “it’s a mindfulness process that brings me into my body. I’m not worrying about the past or the future, just looking through the lens.” She turned her experience into the Broken Light Collective, which allows people to come together and articulate their state of mental health through images. Read more from the New York Times.

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Bowdoin Deans Offer Top 10 Tips for First-Years (WCSH 207)

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 13:12

On the Maine TV show 207, Janet Lohmann and Michael Wood, dean and assistant dean of first-year students at Bowdoin, give their best tips for students and parents on adjusting to the first year of college.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 09.22.19

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Tapping Liberal Arts Training in the Business World (Harvard Business Review)

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 13:10

Innovation creativity imagination
They’re trained to solve complex problems. Navigate ambiguity. Innovate. Communicate. These are some of the reasons why liberal arts graduates are sought after by the biggest consulting firms, and why other employers should target them too, says Harvard Business Review. 

Read more about why hiring from the humanities is the way to go for CEOs worldwide.

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Claudia Villar-Leeman ’15 Studies the Future of Forests

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 13:05

Claudia Villar-Leeman with her mentor, Ahmed A.H.Siddig, a PhD candidate at UMass

Claudia Villar-Leeman lived in the woods for 11 weeks this summer to investigate the “chaotic” changes that a bug the size of a dot is wreaking on East Coast forests.

The biology major won a National Science Foundation fellowship to work with scientists who are looking into the decline of eastern hemlock trees. In 18 states, the conifers are being wiped out by the hemlock woolly adelgid, an invasive insect from Asia.

First accidentally introduced to the United States in the 1950s — possibly by someone importing an ornamental hemlock from Japan — the pest is at this point unstoppable. “Hemlocks are doomed,” Villar-Leeman said. “I am not sure if they will go extinct, but the bug is uncontrollable and scientists are studying how the forests will change after the die-off.”

With 22 undergraduates (selected from an applicant pool of over 700), as well as graduate students and seasoned scientists, Villar-Leeman worked in the Harvard Forest, the university’s 107-year-old, 3,750-acre ecological research area in Western Massachusetts. Read the full story.

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Where Did the Black-and-White Cookie Come From? (Eater)

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 13:04

Black and White Cookies with a Cup Of CoffeeThis pastry, associated with New York City and its numerous delis, is more of a flat cake than a cookie – which may have to do with the Dutch word koekje (pronounced “cookie”), meaning little cake. The Dutch settled on the East Coast in the 17th and 18th centuries, a time during which other cake-like cookies – such as the madeleine – were also making an appearance.

The cookie’s fondant topping, split down the middle in flavor and color, is said to represent the half-moon, a medieval symbol that draws a connection with New York’s European past.

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Time-lapse: Arrival Day for First-Year Students

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:36

This time-lapse shows off the flurry of activity that began on campus at 9 a.m. Tuesday as 504 incoming Bowdoin students moved into their residence halls. The students departed on their orientation trips early Wednesday morning, and will be back on campus Saturday. Classes begin Thursday.

By Mattie Daughtry of

Categories: Bowdoin

35 New Faculty Members Get Oriented at Bowdoin

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:34

Bowdoin’s first-year students are busy getting oriented to their new home in coastal Maine. But what about new faculty members? They’ve got their own orienting to do.

This year’s New Faculty Orientation, hosted by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs on August 27-29, welcomes 35 faculty members (including tenure–track professors, visiting faculty, and postdoctoral fellows) representing disciplines from across the College’s curriculum.

“We’re so excited to finally see all of you in one room,” said Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd at the opening of the orientation. “You’re a distinguished group of people, and you’re joining a distinguished group of people.” Read the full story.

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“We as a Society Are Paying for Somebody to Be on the Streets” (NPR)

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:33

New YorkBrenda Rosen, quoted above, is the director of Common Ground, a company that manages supportive housing used by many formerly homeless patrons. This housing includes a doctor, social workers, and security. No, it’s not free – but neither, Rosen says, is homelessness. Trips to the ER, shelters, and jails cost more for New York than the services provided by the facility described above. And so begins a heated debate about whether housing counts as health care – and who should be responsible for it.

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Optimize Your Social Media With Tips from Top Marketers (Hootsuite)

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 13:28

Social-mediaBN80Nearly everyone uses social media these days - but are we using it well? Hootsuite asked a panel of expert social media marketers a variety of questions on how to optimize success for you and your business over various platforms. They cover tips they learned recently, social media marketing habits they are still working to improve, and more.

Categories: Bowdoin

President, Deans, Staff Welcome (and Reassure) 1st-Year Parents

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:04

cristlecollinsjuddParents and family members were likely offering their 18-year-olds plenty of last-minute advice yesterday as they helped the students move into dorm rooms and prepare for their first year of college. At the same time, family members were not spared nuggets of wisdom offered by people very familiar with the Bowdoin experience.

Relatives of incoming students gathered in Kanbar Auditorium/Studzinski Recital Hall for two different sessions to listen to members of Bowdoin’s administration speak about what incoming students might experience in the coming four years. These experts (many of whom have sent their own kids off to college) also offered a bit of advice to parents.

Read excerpts of remarks from President Barry Mills, Dean for Academic Affairs Cristle Collins Judd, Dean of First-Year Student Janet Lohmann, and others.

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Overheard on Move-in Day

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:03

BDS-6Although move-in day for first-year students went smoothly for the most part, at least one suitcase switcheroo did occur. One student had mistakenly picked up the wrong suitcase and now another student was missing her luggage. Word quickly spread among proctors in all eight first-year bricks to keep an eye out for the misplaced case.

“We have eyes and ears open in all the dorms,” a proctor reassured the mother of the suitcase-less student. ”Someone will realize in the next few days it is not theirs.”

Read more snippets from conversations overheard as incoming students and their families arrived yesterday.

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Maine Girl Finds Rare Blue Lobster (WCSH)

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 13:02

bluelobsterA Maine lobsterman’s 14-year-old daughter recently caught an unusual crustacean — a blue lobster.

The chances of this occurring are one in 2 million, according to WCSH Portland. The blue color arises from a genetic defect that leads to excessive production of a particular protein, the Boston Globe reports.

The girl named the lobster Skyler and donated it to the Maine State Aquarium, which has three other blue lobsters and an orange one. Other rare lobsters colors are bright red, yellow, a marbled calico, and a crystal hue (which marks the rarest of lobsters, an albino).


Categories: Bowdoin

Go Ahead and Pull That All-Nighter…If You Want to Mess with your Memory (Scientific American)

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 12:10

SleepingAtWorkAnyone who’s ever gotten in a heated argument over the course of past events knows that memory is subjective and sometimes unreliable. You might confuse your flight number and departure time. Or you might be influenced by a leading question. Why? Because we reconstruct memories each time we revisit the event, which allows an opportunity for errors to sneak in depending on the context. One of these contexts is, apparently, sleep deprivation: students who had pulled all-nighters were more likely than their well-rested counterparts to remember misinformation presented 45 minutes after looking at a photograph. Read more from Scientific American.

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Bowdoin Biologist Talks Sea Creatures on Radio Show

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:14


Bowdoin’s Janet Gannon joins a panel of marine experts on public radio August 26 to speak about sea life in Maine and the shifting ocean ecosystem. Airing at noon to 1 p.m., the “Maine Calling” show was organized by Charlotte Rutty ’16, who interned with MPBN this summer. “The show will be about what cool creatures these ocean lovers spot out on the water, as well as how this may be changing,” Rutty said.

Gannon will discuss these issues on air with Adam Baukus, a researcher from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and with Casco Baykeeper Joe Payne. Listeners are invited to call in with questions and their own observations. In addition to teaching marine biology at Bowdoin and providing logistical, scientific and GIS support every summer at the Bowdoin Scientific Station on Kent Island, Gannon is an avid sailor who writes about her ocean explorations on her blog, An Ocean Lover in Maine.

Gear up for the show with this mini-documentary about a Bowdoin student’s investigation of green crabs in Harspwell Sound - and learn more about what’s been going on at Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center this summer.

Bowdoin NewsRead more Bowdoin News »

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An Article To Help Simplify Adult Life (CNN)

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:12

Dishes soaking in the kitchen sinkLaundry will always be one of those things that we wish Mom and Dad would still do for us. Still, we get used to it in college, and learn to do it only when we run out of underwear. But what about the other items – window screens, cars, dogs, and even the washing machine itself – that also need consistent cleaning? How are you supposed to know when it’s time to clean all that? Go take a look at this crash course from CNN – and don’t forget to wash your face.

Categories: Bowdoin

Orange Throwing, Eeyore’s Birthday, and More Strange Traditions Around the World (Laughing Squid)

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:11

Globe256You may have heard of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, a tradition that started in the 1400s as a way to get the bulls from their corral to the ring – but has become “a way of having a party, but kind of a deadly party.” This is only one of many strange celebrations from around the world: learn about the World Bodypainting Festival, the Yorkshire Pudding Boat Races, and other “unbelievable local traditions” from John Green, vlogger and author of The Fault in Our Stars.

Categories: Bowdoin

What’s Wrong With a Little Friendly Competition? (NPR)

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 13:10

gold silver bronze medalsThe urge that kicks in around age 5 – to be “first to put shoes on, first to get into the bath, first to get upstairs to brush teeth” – is perfectly natural. So why does the idea of competition make some parents nervous? While being first usually has positive rewards, both socially and physiologically, being last can be devastating. Not to mention that the part of the brain responsible for helping us cope with losing is late to develop. Here’s how to make sure kids are competing first and foremost against themselves.

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