Dartmouth is Really Concerned About Drinking This Summer

Two pieces of insubstantial but mildly amusing drinking-related “news” out of Dartmouth (where Keggy the Keg was recently snubbed in favor of a moose as the school’s non-color unofficial mascot):

First is the seminal game-changer of a study published in the Journal of Common Sense Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine by two Dartmouth pediatricians showing that there is “a correlation between alcohol companies’ annual advertising expenditures and underage drinkers’ preferred brands.”

Call me crazy, but is that not the point of advertising? Obviously ads shouldn’t be aimed at underage drinkers (and they’re not), but it’s no secret that underage drinkers can view alcohol advertisements, and those ads wouldn’t be very good ads if they didn’t instill some level of brand loyalty in all viewers, regardless of age or legal drinking status. Tacking on the underage factor to this study seems like a cheap reason for MomBlog Nation to get all hot and bothered that Smirnoff Ice is ruining our nation’s vulnerable youth.

If that isn’t hand-wringingly terrifying enough, the study also concludes that “respondents who said they had a favorite brand were significantly more likely to report having engaged in binge drinking than those who did not specify a favorite.”

Unfortunately Ivygate’s in-house pediatrics correspondent is off this week, so I’ll be doing the analysis in her place: This is basic logic, just presented backwards. It’s impossible to pick a favorite brand if you’ve never had a drink, or if you drink so infrequently that you can’t compare one brand of alcohol to another. Having a favorite brand does not make someone more likely to binge drink, but binge drinking (more experience with different types of alcohol) makes it more likely that a person will have a favorite brand. Please put away your pitchforks and tell us something new.

Thirst for drinking-related news still not quenched? Read on for more hysteria in Hanover. Read the rest of this entry »

Brooks Brothers Replaces Harvard With Yale, Adds Columbia

Despair fell upon Cambridge last week when the Yale Daily News gleefully broke the news that Yale’s logo, not Harvard’s, will grace the breasts of polo-clad Ivy superalumni who just can’t bring themselves to swallow the indignation of wearing a Brooks Brothers shirt without tacking on an extra status symbol. Also, from the Brooks Brothers website, it looks like Columbia will be in the line, too.

According to the Yale Daily News, Bloomberg initially misreported the clothing line as including Harvard in an article that has since been removed.

Harvard’s omission doesn’t draw too much sympathy from this blogger, but in order to avoid missing out on that sweet chunk of loyal alumni change feeling left out (again), Dartmouth and Brown should consider tracking down some local artisans for some totally sweet branded hemp parka hoodies, just so alumni can rep their alma maters as they’re walking from their barista jobs to their Subarus.

In case your calendar wasn’t already circled, highlighted, and gel pen-starred, the Brooks Brother line is dropping August 15.

Harvard Faculty Members Breaking Test Subjects’ Hips, Accepting Bribes (Kind Of)

The good folks at the Harvard Crimson have been on their game this month, publishing stories on consecutive days about the sketchy affairs of certain Harvard professors.

First up is the revelation that three Harvard psychiatrists were found to be in violation of conflict-of-interest rules by accepting money from drug companies. According to the Crimson, they

will be required to refrain from all paid industry-sponsored outside activities for one year and comply with a two-year monitoring period afterward, during which they must obtain approval from the Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital before engaging in any paid activities. They also face a “delay of consideration for promotion or advancement,”

In a letter to their colleagues, the professors also apologized … kind of:

We now recognize that we should have devoted more time and attention to the detailed requirement of these policies and to their underlying objectives.

Touching. Future students of these three profs, recite: “I realize I should have devoted more time and attention to the detailed requirements of your syllabus…”

Next up is the curious case of Douglas Kiel, a Harvard Medical School professor and gerontologist (old person specialist), whose research team failed to appropriately disclose the risks of a padded underwear test to the subjects of said test. The underwear was developed and padded to protect elderly patients from hip fractures. To test its efficacy, Kiel’s team dressed subjects up in underwear that was padded on one side and unpadded on the other (they call that a control sample in third-grade science fairs.) These wacky panties apparently caused subjects to fall with increasing regularity, a fact known and discussed by Kiel’s team for years, but not revealed to the subjects.

One of Kiel’s team told the Boston Globe that the pads probably weren’t the reason for the increased falls because they “weigh less than the average man’s wallet.” Wait — average average man, or average Harvard man?

These incidents come less than a year after Marc Hauser, a Harvard psychology professor, was found “solely responsible” for eight instances of scientific misconduct. Hauser took the 2010-2011 year off, but will return to Harvard in a research (not teaching) role. No joke: Hauser researches, among other things, moral judgment in adults, according to The Crimson.

Of course, we all remember the original hoodlum on the Harvard faculty: Henry Louis Gates Jr., the dude who had the audacity to break into his own home, and wound up getting arrested, then flown to Washington, D.C., for a “beer summit” with President Obama and the guy who arrested him. Yes, those things all happened.

“Dear Harvard” video applicant rejected from Harvard; settles for Tufts

Change of plans for all the overeager, under-qualified applicants to fair Harvard College: Apparently the writers of Legally Blonde lied — an entertaining admissions video is not, in fact, sufficient to guarantee acceptance. Grace Oberhofer found that out the hard way: making an entertaining admissions video, and getting rejected anyway (via The Crimson’s Fly By Blog).

We last heard from Oberhofer in mid-April when she promised the world that “On John Harvard’s statue, [she]‘d never pee.” Turns out that she’s attending Tufts, so she’s only a short subway trip away from defacing the founder of her dream college. I wonder how the folks at Tufts felt being so obviously a second choice to such a … passionate … individual.

Two More Cornell Students Die in Ithaca’s Infamous Gorges

More sad news out of Ithaca (via the Cornell Sun): two members of the Cornell community, Nathaniel Rand ’12 and a visiting international student (whose name has yet to be released), died in separate incidents in the Fall Creek gorge on Saturday. Both deaths were accidental, and brings the summer total of gorge deaths to three.

Cornell University President David Skorton sent out a campuswide e-mail urging “each member of our community and every visitor to our campus to observe the necessary and strict prohibitions that are in place to protect all while enjoying our natural areas.” Skorton also promised additional police patrols and alluded to potential additional safety precautions.

Some clarification on the details: Gawker wrote that the two students “fell to their deaths” and represent the third and fourth such deaths this summer. The Cornell Sun, however, reports that Nathaniel Rand ’12 was trapped underwater while swimming with friends; the unnamed visiting international student apparently lost his footing when walking near a gorge trail. The only other gorge-related fatality this summer was on May 30, when Kendrick Castro slipped in the creek and was swept downstream to his death just one day after he graduated from the University. Read Skorton’s full e-mail after the jump:
Read the rest of this entry »

Effete, Mormon, Ivy-League Elite to Seek GOP Nomination

To the great surprise of almost nobody, Jon Huntsman, Jr. (Penn ’87) on Tuesday announced his campaign for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election.

It’s no secret what Huntsman been up to lately — after two successful terms as governor of Utah, President Obama banished his potential challenger to the Far East appointed Huntsman as U.S. ambassador to China, where he proceeded to randomly stroll through an anti-government protest and found himself temporarily blocked from Internet searches.

But before he was an accidental-Chinese-dissident-turned-Presidential-hopeful, Huntsman was a humble, salt-of-the-earth Ivy Leaguer like the rest of us. Well, kind of like the rest of us — he actually started at the University of Utah after dropping out of high school (to play keyboard in a rock band called “Wizard”) and before spending two years as a Mormon missionary to Taiwan.

The interwebs are pretty sparse on details of Huntsman’s time at Penn. We know that he graduated with a B.A. in international politics and does not appear to have been involved with student government, or any other activities that would have made his undergrad years particularly Google-friendly. He returned to Philly to speak at Penn’s 2010 Commencement, and his speech was pretty OK. Reviewing the Youtube video, Huntsman uses good enough sentence structure and vocabulary to seem vaguely Presidential, at least until you notice the Penn banners in the background.

So, does he have a chance at the Oval Office? Huntsman lacks the “batshit crazy” or unexciting-old-white-dude characteristics of his competition for the nomination, which may or may not be a good thing based on the Republican base’s seeming voracious appetite for those qualities. But, should he make it through the primaries and secure the GOP nomination, the absence of those same qualities, along with sensible, centrist positions on many social and fiscal issues, could serve as a boon in winning over general election independent voters who still think Obama was born in Kenya are unhappy with the current administration’s inability to simultaneously fix the economy, save the polar bears, and cure cancer.

Note: IG editor emeritus Alex Klein was at Liberty Island for the announcement, having hitched a ride with a bus full of adorably earnest College Republicans. Check it his report at The New Republic when you get a chance. — Ed.