Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Citing YouTube / Taylor Momsen Nike Commercial

January 18, 2009

Back in Penn, I remember how the professors were adamantly opposed to the use of Wikipedia in our essays.  We were not allowed to cite a Wikipedia URL in our footnotes, which was troubling as I sometimes based entire essays on information gleaned from Wikipedia entries.

A NYT article suggests that the younger generation is now using YouTube videos as an academic source:

As more video is added to the Web, the proportion of video searches that deliver satisfactory answers will grow, too. The question is, how far will video go as an alternative to text?

Mr. Iskold said that two factors would naturally limit video’s potential to supplant text on the Web. First, much content doesn’t lend itself well to video. And the Internet derives much of its utility from the web of links connecting its sites. But Mr. Iskold said that a shift toward video would continue, and that young Internet users, like Tyler, would only accelerate it.

The numbers are staggering:

And now YouTube, conceived as a video hosting and sharing site, has become a bona fide search tool. Searches on it in the United States recently edged out those on Yahoo, which had long been the No. 2 search engine, behind Google. (Google, incidentally, owns YouTube.) In November, Americans conducted nearly 2.8 billion searches on YouTube, about 200 million more than on Yahoo, according to comScore.

Quite a worrying trend, given that kids wouldn’t be able to tell that this AWESOME viral video of Taylor Momsen from Gossip Girl was actually conceptualized within the staid, bare walls of a large conference room by a collection of suits:

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I’ve got a craving for some noodle soup!

January 8, 2009

Great article from NYT about laksa and its origins.  The pictures of the food made me steam.  It’s quite extensively researched – it even states the main difference between Singapore and Malaysian laksa:

Helen Thong, the restaurant’s co-owner and Mr. Thong’s wife, describes the Singaporean and Malaysian versions of curry laksa as completely different – “like New York and New Jersey,” she said.

In my mind, this analogy is useful when comparing pretty much anything Singaporean and Malaysian.  Haha.

Also saw this other mouthwatering video about Anthony Bourdain eating bak chor mee in Singapore.  I like the anthropological slant to his food review, tracing the DNA of Singaporean cuisine back to the chapalang language and culture of the region.

Logan Hall is no more!

July 7, 2008

Robert Rescorla, former dean of the College, pioneer in the field of behavioral psychology and kickass professor, quoted in the NYT!!!  From the NYT:

July 6, 2008
At Penn, the Subject Is Gossip
By ALEX WILLIAMS

AMONG the University of Pennsylvania alumni whose names will live in history are one American president (William Henry Harrison), two Supreme Court justices, eight signers of the Declaration of Independence, 11 signers of the Constitution – and now, it seems, one former editor of The New York Post Page Six gossip column. The name Claudia Cohen will ring familiar to Penn students for generations to come, as it now adorns a prominent building on the west Philadelphia campus.

Ms. Cohen, who died in 2007, was a former wife of Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire New York businessman. He acquired the right to rename the building when he donated $20 million to his alma mater in 1995, a university official said. Mr. Perelman exercised his naming right this year, following Ms. Cohen’s death from ovarian cancer, despite the fact the couple had divorced in 1994. Ms. Cohen, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, walked away from the marriage with $80 million.

In recent weeks, while most students and faculty members are on summer break, signs for Claudia Cohen Hall started appearing on and around the majestic Victorian Gothic-style building, which for more than a century had been known as Logan Hall.

But not all current and former Quakers are happy to see the name of James Logan, a secretary to William Penn and one of the first trustees of the university, eclipsed by that of a New York socialite known for dating moguls and senators and dishing Hollywood gossip on Regis Philbin’s morning show.

“I, as an academic, am accustomed to seeing buildings with names like Newton, Copernicus, Darwin,” said Ponzy Lu, a chemistry professor at the university. “Then to see the name of this person, who is very fresh in our memory, who is not associated with a pursuit of knowledge – a gossip columnist: it strikes me as being totally idiotic.”

Others faculty members interviewed responded less vehemently, although there were raised eyebrows. Robert A. Rescorla, a psychology professor, said he had certain opinions on the name change “but as a former dean of the college, I better not express them.”

Summarizing the general campus response, he said: “Logan Hall has been here a long time. People don’t like change.”

Mr. Perelman, who built his fortune with takeovers of companies including Revlon, is not only a major donor to Penn but a trustee. Cohen Hall abuts the main quad that for several years now has been known as Perelman Quadrangle.

The renaming of Logan Hall has caused consternation since word of it began circulating in March, said David Lei, a junior, who is executive editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian, the campus newspaper. Several people wrote protest letters to the newspaper, which editorialized against the change.

While many may be unaware of the details of Ms. Cohen’s life – her years as a gossip columnist; her romance with Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, which he famously announced at a 1995 news conference – “the general impression,” Mr. Lei said, “was that the building was being renamed after Ron Perelman’s ex-wife.”

He added: “People were pretty unhappy about it, mainly because the name is quite old and it’s been Logan Hall for a long time. Many students and people in the community were unhappy that the name of a historical building could be ‘bought.’ ”

It is nothing new, of course, for universities to name buildings after the deceased loved ones of rich patrons. Widener Library at Harvard took its name from Harry Elkins Widener, an alumnus who died in the Titanic disaster, after his mother, Eleanor Elkins Widener, provided $2 million.

But the lack of pomp attending the name change of one of Penn’s marquee buildings (it is headquarters for the College of Arts and Sciences) struck some faculty members and students as curious.

“University officials have, in the past, made announcements over the summer that they would rather not get a whole lot of attention – it’s their version of Friday in the news cycle,” Rebecca Kaplan, the campus news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian, wrote in an e-mail message. As for the timing, Ron Ozio, the university’s news media director, said “the university operates year-round, if there are students here or not.” Given Mr. Perelman’s bruising battles with other former wives, it might seem unusual that he would chose to commemorate Ms. Cohen. Ellen Barkin, the actress, went public about her bitterness over their divorce in 2006; Patricia Duff, a Democratic fund-raiser, waged a grueling child custody fight with Mr. Perelman through the late ’90s. (The dispute flared again in court last month when a legal guardian of the child, Caleigh, 13, asked for a protection order against Ms. Duff in Supreme Court in Manhattan, which a judge declined.)

By all accounts, Mr. Perelman remained close to Ms. Cohen after their nine-year marriage ended. Even after they broke up, he spent tens of millions of dollars on research on the cancer she battled in private for years.

Mr. Perelman, whose donation to Penn helped pay for renovations to the former Logan Hall and other buildings, responded to a request for comment with an e-mail message. “Claudia was a wonderful woman, a fantastic mother to our daughter Samantha and my best friend,” he wrote. “I thought it very fitting to honor her with the naming of this building at Penn, from where she graduated and was involved for many years. She loved Penn as I do as an institution that shaped both our lives.”

While Penn traditionalists might consider this personal bond insufficient reason to switch a familiar campus name, faculty members pointed out that, with time, new students will find a daily visit to Cohen Hall as routine as an afternoon sunning themselves on, well, Perelman Quad.

Besides, on the home turf of the famous Wharton School, business is business. “This is the University of Pennsylvania – what do you expect?” Bruce Kuklick, a history professor, said of the name change. “This is a school founded by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin was the arch modernizing pragmatist of the American founding, a guy who always had his eye on the main chance.”

“It would be surprising,” he said, “if they didn’t rename Logan Hall to a high bidder.”