Archive for April, 2007

Does everyone have something to hide?

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

In a stroke of high irony, the Dean of Admissions at neighboring MIT has resigned after it turned out that she had lied on her resume.  After 28 years at MIT and about nine years as the Dean of Admissions, an anonymous phone tip-off launched an investigation that eventually forced Marilee Jones to resign, according to the Harvard Cimson and the US News & World Report.

I slept almost all day today, which was sheer bliss.

Last night Andrew, John, Ryan and I went to the first Upper Hall at the newly-built Queen’s Head pub in the basement of Memorial Hall.  The atmosphere was fantastic, the pub looks gorgeous, and the food was lovely – we had buffalo wings and nachos (paid for with Board Plus, woohoo!).  The free-flowing beer and other drinks was an additional perk for us seniors; the specially-brewed 1636 was pretty tasty as well.  I’m glad the four of us went early enough to beat the long lines and find a place to sit.

Afterwards we stopped by the party in the suites next door, and then ended the night with an hour long chat in our own common room where I drank seltzer and ate cookies.  Or more accurately everyone else ended their night – I proceeded to watch various tv shows on my computer until it was clearly time to go to bed.

Too tired to blog.

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

I need more sleep.

My schedule is ever more packed, although I’m not really complaining because it’s all free dinners, cool day trips and meetings with friends.


 Singapore Day @ NYC (21 Apr 2007)

Swept away

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Still a little breathless (and fatigued) from a very packed weekend which included spending about 12 hours in NYC (and about 10 hours driving back and forth) for the remarkable Singapore Day in Central Park plus the club afterparty.  Plus it was also pre-frosh weekend at Harvard… toughest admissions season to date, so I’ve heard.

Tomorrow (actually in 3 hours) I leave for New Haven by train, but I’ll be back in Boston by 8pm.

So much seems to be happening I can barely keep up.  Maybe I’ll get more of a chance to blog by Thursday…

On the drive back to Boston yesterday I was amused/puzzled by the decision to edit out the words “cherry pop” from the radio version of Christina Aguilera’s latest track, “Candyman”.  Is that really more suggestive/lewd/vulgar/corrupting than the lyrics to, I don’t know, Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous Girl”?  The longer I’ve been here the more bizarre I find American culture.

Senior Spring @ Quincy 610

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Wow, it’s been a busy couple of days.  But mostly fun-busy, I think.  But perhaps that’s just selective memory.

Senior Spring @ 610 

I threw another party tonight, mostly in honor of pre-frosh weekend, although I think I eventually only met a handful of prefrosh (the rest of the time I spent running about searching for refills, cleaning up and greeting people I know).  The party was pretty successful on the whole, and it did end at about the time I’d been planning.  I’m proud that I kept fairly close to budget, despite the fine selection of finger food and cocktails served.  My favorites were the English cheddar with carmelized onions and the seafood paté on melba toast.  More pictures and so on will have to wait.

In a couple of hours I will drive Ming, Nathan, Justin and myself down to NYC for Singapore Day.  And then at about 3am on Sunday morning I will drive Rika, Justin and myself back.  The next 36 hours are going to have to be about many naps…

Deliver us…

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I don’t really know how to process what’s happened over at Virginia Tech today.  It seems utterly inconceivable, and unreal.  There was a time, long ago, when I was able to imagine something like that happening on a college campus (mine, for instance), but now that it’s actually happened I can’t begin to picture it.

God’s comfort be with the affected families.

I filed my taxes this morning, the last day to do so (I thought I’d missed the due date).

The Big Weekend

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

There is a lot happening this weekend.  Dozens of parties, a whole slew of student-run activities (SEA Night, Fiesta 2007 etc. etc.), people visiting, free trips, plans to catch meals together.


There’s also been a very elevated incidence of baked goods from Rosie’s, and chocolate.  All the benefits of thesis-induced starvation are quickly becoming a distant memory.

I’m not complaining.  If only I had the motivation to also study for the Ec midterm I have next week.

Where’s my senior spring??

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

First of all, it’s freezing.  And the weather report keeps threatening snow.  Up to seven inches!  In the middle of April!!

Second of all, I’m swamped with work tonight/this morning.  Admittedly this is my own fault and is directly attributable to poor work choices last week.  But why are there so many things going on in the meantime?  There’s no way I can keep up with the dozens of events, parties, symposiums, free trips, concerts etc. that I want to attend.  Gah.

In other news, I’m so excited that I have my cousins visiting.  The first family relations I’ve had visit me at Harvard!  I feel bad that tomorrow I have barely any time for them at all.  But I’ll make up for that over the weekend, I figure.

Response to: “The Great Global Warming Swindle”

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Ok, so here’s my public service post.  A couple weeks back I saw a film that first aired Mar 8, 2007 on Channel 4 in the UK titled “The Great Global Warming Swindle” that (in brief) rejects the idea that climate change (global warming) is significantly prompted/accelerated by greenhouse gases produced by human industry (namely carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels). 

It was a disturbing film to watch, to say the least.  Anyhow, I was disturbed enough to ask some questions and do some research on my own, so here’re the results.  In summary: “Swindle” is a big swindle.

Read my more detailed comments below (originally posted to the campus discussion list where I first heard of “Swindle”):

To C and everyone else,

I’m glad the Channel 4 “polemic” (their label, not mine, but note this is NOT an objective “documentary”) has come up on this list again so I can post about it. I can say that when I first saw it I thought it seemed pretty persuasively put together, and being a complete non-expert in the very specific fields covered (oceanography, atmospheric dynamics etc.) I wasn’t prepared to come to any conclusions. As background, I am a senior in ESPP, so it’s not as if I haven’t had a substantial amount of exposure to these fields or their experts; I’m just not an expert myself, as I imagine to be generally the case in society.

So I went to the head of ESPP, Professor James McCarthy, who’s worked on the IPCC report (co-author and/or co-chair for parts of the two most recent Reports). (Unrelated: He’s also Master of Pforzheimer House.) Anyway, I sent him a copy of the video and asked for his response. After he saw it, he rejected the arguments presented as being generally without merit (which is putting it mildly). Which of course skeptics and cynics might find unsurprising. However, here’re some revealing facts that emerge, which you can verify from various online sources.

To summarize:

(1) The main scientific counter-theory (or theories, if you like) to a significant human contribution to climate change via greenhouse gases has been roundly refuted a number of times already by a slew of other papers in Science and Nature, and mostly before 2005! (For example, the clips of Professor John Christy talking about discrepancies in troposphere/surface warming are outdated since Professor Christy has already authored a paper admitting that his earlier findings were wrong.) For more details on all this, here’s an easy-to-read summary:,,2032572,00.html

(2) The journalistic integrity of the filmmaker, Martin Durkin, is very questionable, which you can easily verify for yourselves. See the complaints of intentional and complete misrepresentation levelled by one of the scientists who appeared:

Carl Wunsch, the MIT oceanography professor in the film, has posted his official response to the “The Great Global Warming Swindle” program on his MIT website. In it, Professor Wunsch says that he was completely misrepresented, and is very unhappy about that, to say the least. He opens his response with: “I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component.”

And specifically on the way his comments were edited into the film: “By [my comments’] placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important—diametrically opposite to the point I was making—which is that global warming is both real and threatening.”

On the film “An Inconvenient Truth” (heavily attacked by “Swindle”): “I am often asked about Al Gore and his film. […] Some of the details in the film make me cringe, but I think the overall thrust is appropriate.” (emphasis mine) In other words, one of the few credible scientists in the film (and the only credible one according to Professor McCarthy) in fact believes the exact opposite of what the filmmaker(s) portrayed him as saying/believing!

Read Professor Wunsch’s response in full (and see links to other revealing news articles and websites about the science and filmmaker behind “Swindle”) online here:

I appreciate the attention of those people who’ve read this far. I think debate is important, including in the natural sciences (and of course in the policies that lean on that science). At the same time I think the definitive conclusion to draw about Durkin’s film is NOT to take anything in “Swindle” very seriously without careful consideration.

Jason Yeo

PS: Please feel free to forward this to other lists where you’ve seen “Swindle” discussed or mentioned. I think it’s important that people have an opportunity to conclude for themselves whether the film has any actual merit.

PPS: Kindly refrain from making overly broad assumptions about the details of my personal (non-expert) opinions about climate change or how individuals and societies should respond to the issue.

I wish I’d been there

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

This article made me cry a little. 

Because the devaluation of beauty should always cause us to weep.

Back to our regular programming

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

I’m so hungry right now.  This morning after I finally dragged myself out of bed I hurried to write a (horrendous) response paper on Nietzsche’s The Use and Abuse of History, which took long enough that when I finally made it to the seminar room Prof C had already finished talking about it.  Gah.  This after I spent hours reading tiny print on Mexican buses…  why does this happen so often?  Anyhow, my tummy was rumbling all through class, and I am just biding my time until dinner is served in 15 minutes – at about 4.30pm they usually put the first batch of food out.

Speaking of food, last night I came back to find, at 1.30am, a huge selection remaining at Brain Break, which is unusual.  This selection included my favorite bread (club wheat), peanut butter and my preferred jam (strawberry).  Plus there were actual whole chicken quarters in gravy from some kosher event, so I microwaved one of those and devoured that too 🙂

In happy news, I came back to find a big wad of cash in an unmarked envelope on my desk, buried under the pile of papers I evacuated from my KIV folder right before I left for Mexico.  Yay!

And right now, it’s snowing?!?  Of course.  After all, it’s April in Cambridge, and it was 70F yesterday.  Naturally.

I can’t wait to type up my Fall 07/08 style report.  I finally got caught up on all the shows I missed while thesis-writing.  Thumbs up for video podcasts! 🙂