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A daily look at Bowdoin and the world
Updated: 3 min 2 sec ago

Bowdoin Engineering Student Designs Stander for Disabled Children

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:05

scott mitchell

When Scott Mitchell began his junior year away at Thayer Engineering School at Dartmouth College last fall, one of his first assignments was to design and implement a low-cost solution to a social problem. Mitchell is a five-year, dual-degree student at Bowdoin and Dartmouth, pursuing both a liberal arts and an engineering degree.

Mitchell knew from his experience as a volunteer with Medical Ministry International that clinics in developing countries often struggle to obtain equipment common in the United States. Read the full story. 

Categories: Bowdoin

Watch Live Exploration of Never-Before Seen Barrier Reef

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:05


A World Heritage site — one that is listed by UNESCO as in danger — the Belize Barrier Reef contains deep waters in and around its cayes and atolls that have never been explored. Since August 6, Mike Brennan ’04 has been leading an underwater mapping and exploration of the reef, using cameras mounted on a remotely operated vehicle to provide a live view of the deep-sea world. The crew has posted highlights of the expedition, including footage of a sunken German U-Boat and a vampire squid.

At Bowdoin, Brennan majored in geology and archaeology, and did an honors thesis under the direction of the late professor Leslie Shaw. Shaw conducted archaeological  excavations at the Maya site of Maax Na in northwestern Belize, and Brennan was a member of the project staff. Several years ago, Shaw encouraged Brennan to explore and map the Belizean reef, and to include an archeological survey for Maya and historic shipwrecks.

Brennan earned a masters degree in archaeology in 2008 and a Ph.D. in geological oceanography in 2012 at the University of Rhode Island. He is now director of marine archaeology and maritime history at the Ocean Exploration Trust. His research focuses on environmental assessments of shipwreck sites from ancient times to World War II.

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Put Off Your Work By Reading This Article – Then Kick Procrastination to the Curb (The New Yorker)

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 13:04

Groaning manHow often do you put off until tomorrow what should have been done today? Probably about as often as you do something on the spot that you know should wait until later (think ice cream before dinner). As it turns out, procrastination and impulsivity are two sides of the same coin, both channeling a lack of self-regulation. (You need to start that project… but all the ice cream in your fridge really should be eaten instead.) This affliction is nothing new – even in the 1400s, Egyptian hieroglyphics were warning against putting off work.

Luckily there are many effective strategies to get past procrastination. We work well against a deadline, right? So instead of saying, “I need to write,” tell yourself something concrete such as, “I will write 400 words by lunchtime.” We can also turn to the technology that so often distracts us, with apps that double-check with you before you click on your favorite games – or block them altogether for a certain period of time. Read more procrastination research and strategies from the New Yorker.

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Helen Mohney ’15: Enabling the Disabled to Make Beautiful Art

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 14:43

Art in Action: Helen Mohney ’15 at Spindleworks from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Helen Mohney ’15 is combining her interests in art and mental health this summer, right here in Brunswick, ME. Mohney is spending her summer at Spindleworks, a non-profit art center for adults with disabilities. More than 40 artists sell their work in the Spindleworks store, receiving 75% of the profits, and their work has been exhibited both locally and nationally.

A Visual Arts and Sociology major, Mohney provides daily support for Spindleworks’ artists, helps set up for shows in the Whatnot Gallery, and manages the blog she created for Spindleworks. She is supported by the Preston Public Interest Career Fund.

“It’s really cool to get invested in a project with someone and then see it through,” Mohney says, “and to see how happy they are and how proud of the work that they make.”

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The 30-Year Anniversary of Joan Benoit Samuelson’s Olympic Win (Runner’s World)

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:23
Joan Benoit Samuelson '79

Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79

Thirty years ago this week, the women’s marathon made history as the first women’s running event in the Olympics. And when its winner, Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79, entered the tunnel that would take her into her final laps on the track, she knew that the world and her own life would be changed forever on the other side. The 1984 Olympics were held in Los Angeles – “the media capital of the world,” allowing Benoit Samuelson to prove to billions of viewers that women can rise to the “ultimate in courageous endurance” that a marathon represents – not to mention that she could win the event mere days after undergoing knee surgery. Read more about the what, when, where and who from Runner’s World.

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Students Harness Tech Tools for History, Art, Literature, Education, Politics, and More

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:22

Media technologies conceptOne pair of Bowdoin students has spent the summer creating a stop-motion animated film telling the story of how Huntington’s disease works at the molecular level. Two others have developed mobile apps to enhance the experience of visitors to the Bowdoin Museum of Art and Arctic Museum. Another has devised a way to scrape campaign tweets during next fall’s campaign season, and several more have been mapping information such as language spread in Africa, 19th-century shipbuilding records in Maine, and 18th-century literary landmarks in London.

The list goes on: in all, sixteen Bowdoin students have been harnessing digital technology in impressively original ways through this year’s Gibbons Summer Research Program, and the caliber and creativity of their projects was evident in a recent presentation of their work. Take a look at the elevator versions of each project.

Gibbons presentations 2014

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What Grizzly Bears Can Tell Us About Insulin Regulation (NPR)

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:21

The brown bear welcomes (Ursus arctos).We know that grizzly bears have different dietary habits than humans (unless you’re reading this to take a break from churning berries and salmon into fat). But in light of the connection between diabetes and fat gain, it still seems like a miracle that bears are not affected by diabetes too, given how precipitously they put on weight before hibernation. Their secret? It may be the way their bodies respond to the hormone insulin.

When you give a pre-hibernation grizzly a normal human dose of insulin, something surprising happens, scientists found — a near-fatal insulin overdose. This means that unlike overweight humans, grizzlies at their heaviest are highly sensitive to insulin, which is a sign of health. Next, researchers aim to discover the mechanisms by which insulin sensitivity fluctuates throughout the year in grizzlies— as well as the implications for humans.

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Funded Interns Pursue Business Training in Diverse Fields

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 13:21

katherine_gracey-1The Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internships Fund, which supports students wishing to develop business skills, is one of the many summer grants available to Bowdoin students. This summer eight students received the grant, choosing to work in diverse fields and locations. We managed to catch up with two Goodfriend recipients: Christa Villari ’15, who is interning for a neuromarketing firm in Boston, and Katherine Gracey ’16, who is with Christie’s in Hong Kong.

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50 Years of Upward Bound at Bowdoin

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:47

In 1965, Bowdoin College signed on to participate in a newly minted federal program, part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty. Launched by the Department of Education, Upward Bound was designed to give high school kids from low-income backgrounds a boost in getting into college.

In the half century since, 2,000 students have graduated from Bowdoin’s Upward Bound program. Between 85% and 90% of these alumni have gone on to college. All have come from Maine towns with underfunded schools and high rates of poverty, and most are the first in their family to attend university.

“We’re looking for students with the motivation to go to college and who have hurdles to getting to college that we can help with,” said Bridget Mullen, Bowdoin’s Upward Bound director. “They’re all here because we believe they can go to college and they say they want to go.” Read the full story.

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Brock Cassidy ’15 Wins Startup Competition in Portland

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:43

Brock Cassidy ’15

Brock Cassidy ’15 wants to show newcomers the wonders of Maine like only a local can. He has founded a company called Day With A Local, which “offers unique tours and local experiences to tourists and people new to the area, through local guides who are experts on that activity,” Cassidy explains, “for example, one could take an art walk with a local artist.” The guides have expertise in a number of  areas, such as architectural history and outdoor adventures. So far, the company is on the web and on social media, and Cassidy aims to add a mobile application into the mix.

Day With A Local was the winner of the Startup Weekend competition in Portland, one of several Startup Weekend entrepreneurial competitions in cities nation wide. Cassidy’s idea was among 50 pitched to the group, and was then selected as one of the top 15. From there, he had to compete for support over other ideas from his fellow entrepreneurs.

Together with a team of about eight other participants, “we built a website, talked to customers, talked to hotels about being partners,” Cassidy says. Then, after a final pitch event in front of the judges, Cassidy’s idea was selected as one of three winning companies. 

Day With A Local is featured on Startups in Maine’s website.

Categories: Bowdoin

The Secret Life of Plastics (MPBN)

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:42

iStock_000030904694SmallThe line was laughable when people first heard Mr. McGuire tell The Graduate’s lead character, Benjamin, that “there’s a great future in plastics.” Now, a few decades removed from the 1960s release of the film, we see that he may have been right. Plastics are some of those everyday objects that we see right through in our daily lives (no pun intended), though they encase our salads, sandwiches, sodas, and so much more. Not only that, but all aspects of the various types of plastic packaging we use are well thought out, from anti-fog coating to micro-perforations that keep salad leaves fresh, to the use of waste products like whey protein to try and combat the environmental impact of all that plastic.

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What Are People Asking Google Worldwide? (Huffington Post)

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 12:41

Google poeticsAuto-completed searches on Google are like a peep through a figurative keyhole into the preoccupations of the rest of the internet world. They are somewhat personalized to your previous searches, but also to your geographical area. Some Google users make a game out of typing the beginning of a question, simply to see what others are wondering about. And that’s just what Huffington Post has done, finding telling results; for example, the two top NYC area completions for “why am…” are “why am I so tired?” And “why am I always tired?” See what similarities and differences they found between New York and the rest of the world, which might indicate deeper patterns in modern life.

Categories: Bowdoin

Beauty Surrounds: Alumna Captures Kent Island

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:58
The Warden's House at Kent Island. Photo by Gail Hines Claypool '76.

The Warden’s House at Kent Island. Photo by Gail Hines Claypool ’76.

On a recent trip to Kent Island, a small Canadian island in the Bay of Fundy and home to the Bowdoin Scientific Station, photographer Gail Hines Claypool ’76 captured this image of the building known as the Warden’s House against illuminated clouds on the horizon. Read what students have been up to on the island this summer in the article, “Summer Researchers Discover Kent Island (And Blog About It).”

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Nixon’s Legacy On Presidential Media Tactics (The Atlantic)

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:56

American Union Flag (XXL)American presidents haven’t always been so media-wary in the name of “national security” and “executive privilege.” President Richard Nixon was convinced that reporters were out to turn the public against him, despite clear evidence of support from certain newspapers. As a result, he “intimidated journalists, avoided White House reporters, and staged events for television” — presidential practices that many take for granted now, 40 years after Nixon’s resignation.

Categories: Bowdoin

Conor Williams ’05 Reports New Findings on School Breakfast (EdCentral)

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:51
Conor Williams '05

Conor Williams ’05

When Conor Williams ’05 was growing up, his incentive to eat breakfast came from a single Cheerios commercial and from his three younger brothers – who would “eat me alive on the field, on the court, or at the card table” if he skipped his morning meal, writes Williams in EdCentral.

Adding to these compelling reasons to eat breakfast, it has long been thought that students who miss the meal are worse off in school. However, with new changes to school breakfast programs comes new research on their efficacy – and it proves to be a mixed bag. Some studies report that providing in-class breakfast can improve student health and obesity rates; others show no increases in test scores and attendance. So is it worth policymakers’ time to push for breakfast funding? Read Williams’ take.

Categories: Bowdoin

Community Matters Fellows Tackle Social, Environmental Issues

Tue, 08/05/2014 - 12:40

The 22 students granted 2014 Community Matters in Maine Fellowships recently gathered in front of advisors and peers to present on their summer internship experiences. The fellows worked on a wide range of social and environmental issues, including food insecurity, fisheries conservation, access to higher education for Mainers, and town planning in Brunswick and Topsham. Take a look at the projects they accomplished and some photos from the fellowship celebration.


Back row (from left): Marisa Browning-Kamins ’16, Elena Schaef ’16, Bryan Golger ’15, Justin Ehringhaus ’16, Marko Peraica ’15, Emily Weinberger ’15, Katherine Churchill ’16, Hugh Ratcliffe ’15, Mariana Guzman Marquez ’16. Front row (from left): Wilder Nicholson ’16, Audrey Phillips ’16, Grace Butler ’16, Caitlin Schaffer ’16, Madeline Davis ’16, Kaylee Wolfe ’15, Violet Ranson ’16, Simon Pritchard ’16, Elizabeth Szuflita ’15, Tenzin Tsagong ’16, Nora Hefner ’16, Jordan Lantz ’15

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Published Author Morgan Rielly ’18 Talks ‘Neighborhood Heroes’ (207)

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 13:36

Morgan Rielly


Maine native Morgan Rielly ’18 has plans to study history when he begins at Bowdoin in the fall, but he has already proven himself quite a historian, having published the book, Neighborhood Heroes: Life Lessons from Maine’s Greatest Generation, a series of profiles of World War II veterans.

As he tells WCSH’s 207 (while wearing a Bowdoin Polar Bear necktie), Rielly began interviewing veterans who were his neighbors in the town of Westbrook when he was still in eighth grade.


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Ten Tips for Better Networking (Business Insider)

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 13:35

Businessman and businesswoman standing at water cooler.



Though the mere mention of the word networking sends some folks spiraling into dread, there are all kinds of benefits — from additional business opportunities to increased creative innovation. Whether you tend to be shy, or you think of such interactions as forced and unnatural, Business Insider has you covered, with tips from moving your desk to using genuine favors to your advantage.

Categories: Bowdoin

Bring on the Science (Bowdoin Magazine)

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 13:35

bring-on-the-scienceAt a research hub on the coast of Maine, scientists are busy investigating the biology and ecology of bats and rats, lobsters and crickets, bacteria and yeast, eelgrass and elderberry. Shedding light on the inner workings of marine and terrestrial landscapes. Exploring the functionality of computer systems and the mystery of particles that cannot be seen. Answering questions with serious implications for human health, cyber security, the environment, and our understanding of the universe.

You might not immediately picture a small college campus as the site of this vibrant research culture, or liberal arts students as the scientists. But it’s all happening at Bowdoin, where undergraduates in the full range of scientific disciplines are becoming seasoned researchers well before graduation, working alongside faculty members who are leaders in their fields.

Read the full story, which originally appeared in the most recent edition of Bowdoin Magazine. Also, check out the online bonus material: students and recent graduates give us the inside scoop on what it’s like to do science research at Bowdoin.

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This New Robot’s Job Is to Be Part of the Family (Slate)

Mon, 08/04/2014 - 13:35

RobotIntroducing Jibo: A robot that takes family photos so that nobody gets excluded from behind the camera, syncs and reads you reminders, and lets your children send you a message if they’re too young for a phone. Jibo founder, robot researcher and MIT Media Lab professor Cynthia Breazeal believes that Jibo begins to bridge the gap between all the interconnected application technology we currently have and the “heightened interpersonal, emotional engagement” that humanizes technology, which we associate more with science fiction. So will families actually want to introduce such a companion into their home?

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