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

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.”

Post-College Job: Cleaning the Oceans

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. 

Grace Butler ’16 Pushes Bicycle Coalition Forward

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Claudia Villar-Leeman ’15 Studies the Future of Forests

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.

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

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.

Time-lapse: Arrival Day for First-Year Students

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 MicheleStapleton.com

35 New Faculty Members Get Oriented at Bowdoin

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.
new-faculty

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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