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Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

Researchers at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital are reporting that xenon gas has the potential to become a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders.
posted by we are the music makers on Aug 29, 2014 - 52 comments

The Internet sees censorship as data, and feeds on it

In a scientific study of Chinese online state censorship, Harvard researchers not only gathered large amounts of social media in real time from within the country but created a large amount themselves to see what got through and what was removed. Through this method, they reverse-engineered what they describe as "the largest selective suppression of human communication in the recorded history of any country". The results, to use a popular term, will surprise you. [more inside]
posted by Devonian on Aug 28, 2014 - 31 comments

Putnam 2013

“I wanted to use the intermediate value theorem but it just wasn’t happening.” MIT undergrad Zach Wener-Fligner reports from this year's William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, the nation's premier math contest for college students, a test so hard that the median score is often zero.
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2014 - 38 comments

"'You aren't black on the inside' - childhood friends"

I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2014 - 38 comments

Storyboard 75: The big book of narrative

Since the first stirrings of the Nieman Foundation’s narrative writing program nearly 20 years ago, the staff has tended a treasure trove of resource material devoted to excellence in journalistic storytelling. Much of that material went online first via the Nieman Narrative Digest and, in 2009, here at Nieman Storyboard. Storyboard 75 represents some of the most popular posts from our archive so far. Essays, interviews, how-to’s and analyses of narrative journalism.
posted by Artw on Oct 10, 2013 - 3 comments

404 No More

A new study from Harvard Law School (get the full paper here) reports that nearly half of the links cited in Supreme Court opinions are rotten (sometimes cleverly so). A new web-service built through collaboration by many of the largest libraries in the world, Perma, currently in Beta, will enable users to create citation links that will never break.
posted by Lutoslawski on Sep 24, 2013 - 19 comments

Ferguson's formula

Before retiring in May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 seasons as the manager of Manchester United, the English football (soccer) club that ranks among the most successful and valuable franchises in sports. During that time the club won 13 English league titles along with 25 other domestic and international trophies—giving him an overall haul nearly double that of the next-most-successful English club manager. In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a unique opportunity to examine Ferguson’s management approach and developed an HBS case study around it. Now she and Ferguson have collaborated on an analysis of his enormously successful methods.
posted by criticalbill on Sep 10, 2013 - 17 comments

Secret X Members Only

Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity [HBS '13] had been unwitting guinea pigs in what would have once sounded like a far-fetched feminist fantasy: What if Harvard Business School gave itself a gender makeover, changing its curriculum, rules and social rituals to foster female success? The New York Times reports. [more inside]
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Sep 9, 2013 - 36 comments

Five Feet of Books

"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf, which would later be called The Harvard Classics." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jul 11, 2013 - 89 comments

not just used to assess how well Harvard first-years carried themselves

"Posing For Posture"
"Posture photos," as they were then called, were taken of every incoming student at many prestigious colleges in the first half of the 20th century, as a part of the registration process. George L. Hersey '51, now a professor of art history at Yale, says, "I was told to show up at the swimming pool, I took my swim test and posed. We were expected to show up and do this." Students acquiesced in the days of single-sex colleges because nudity was a normal part of the college experience, Knight says. "We never wore bathing suits in the swimming pools, it was considered more hygienic that way," he says. "The House [swimming] races were in the nude." And so posture photos were snapped and collected--and saved for later research which was intended to link physique to temperament. This practice--led nationwide by a Harvard researcher--remained widespread through the 1950s and 60s.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 7, 2013 - 41 comments

reeks too much of "space pirate" or similar bad science fiction

How do you solicit freelance scripts for a science fiction television series that breaks the mold? You create a comprehensive guide to writing an episode of Star Trek. [more inside]
posted by Sara C. on May 14, 2013 - 189 comments

Laptop U

The New Yorker takes on the MOOC: “One of the edX people said, ‘This is being sponsored by Harvard and M.I.T. They wouldn’t do anything to harm higher education!’ What came to my mind was some cautious financial analysts saying, about some of the financial instruments that were being rolled out in the late nineties or early two-thousands, ‘This is risky stuff, isn’t it?’ And being told, ‘Goldman Sachs is doing it; Lehman Brothers is doing it.’ ” Previously
posted by oinopaponton on May 13, 2013 - 149 comments

Joining the Ranks: Demystifying Harvard's Tenure System

'“The ad hoc process is greatly shrouded in mystery; remarkably little is written about it,” says current Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Diversity and Development Judith D. Singer. She smirks wryly as she swigs coffee from her mug, as if this is something she’s explained a hundred times before. “What the ad hoc process does is it takes a recommendation that has come up out of a department, been through a dean, and says, ‘Let’s look at this with a fresh set of eyes. Let’s look at the totality of the evidence and make a dispassionate decision about whether the recommendations that have come up are really in the best interest of the University,’” says Singer.'
posted by un petit cadeau on Apr 15, 2013 - 26 comments

The Unanswered Question

Here's a link to (YT) videos of all six 1973 Leonard Bernstein Norton lectures on one handy page. [more inside]
posted by motty on Apr 13, 2013 - 5 comments

Quiz Bowl SCANDAL!

Inside the biggest scandal in quiz bowl history. Probably attracting more media attention than quiz bowl has ever received, it was recently revealed that a Harvard player accessed questions prior to several recent national tournaments, leading NAQT to strip Harvard A of multiple national championships. Coverage has been extensive, ranging from Bloomberg to The Telegraph.
posted by kmz on Apr 9, 2013 - 43 comments

I go Pogo

In the 1952 presidential race, The Crimson decided neither General Dwight D. Eisenhower nor Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson were good enough to endorse, so the paper went for a certain possum from Okefenokee Swamp: Pogo. Buttons were made, campaign was waged and Pogo's creator, Walt Kelly was invited to give a speech. When he was delayed coming in to Harvard from the airport, riots broke out. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 21, 2012 - 22 comments

TakeNote: An Exploration of Notetaking in Harvard University Collections

TakeNote: An Exploration of Notetaking in Harvard University Collections [via mefi projects, nasreddin is Curator and Coordinator] [more inside]
posted by mlis on Oct 11, 2012 - 7 comments

"I had little anxiety about buying things because I simply couldn’t afford anything."

"A Harvard MBA Pays Down $101K Of Debt." Two years after he graduated from Harvard with an MBA, Joe Mihalic, now manager of strategic alliances and business development at Dell, vowed to do “everything in my power–short of lying, cheating, and stealing–to pay down" his student loan debt, (then totaling 90K,) "in the next ten months.” After applying for a weekend delivery job, he also decided to chronicle the steps he was taking on a blog: "No More Harvard Debt." First page of posts is here. Penultimate post explains his process: "Mission Accomplished." [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 16, 2012 - 194 comments

The successful scientist thinks like a poet but works like a bookkeeper.

Harvard sociobiologist E. O. Wilson explores The Origins of the Arts.
posted by shakespeherian on Apr 25, 2012 - 38 comments

We write to communicate an untenable situation...

Harvard’s annual cost for journals from these providers now approaches $3.75M. In 2010, the comparable amount accounted for more than 20% of all periodical subscription costs and just under 10% of all collection costs for everything the Library acquires. Some journals cost as much as $40,000 per year, others in the tens of thousands. Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years, which far exceeds not only the consumer price index, but also the higher education and the library price indices. These journals therefore claim an ever-increasing share of our overall collection budget. Even though scholarly output continues to grow and publishing can be expensive, profit margins of 35% and more suggest that the prices we must pay do not solely result from an increasing supply of new articles. Harvard's Faculty Advisory Council asks Harvard's faculty to change how they publish. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Apr 24, 2012 - 80 comments

Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance

Homeless Paintings of the Italian Renaissance.
"A particularly important nucleus of the [Harvard] Photograph Archive's collection consists of a group of images of Renaissance Italian paintings that Berenson famously classified as “homeless,” that is, works that were documented by a photograph but whose current location was unknown to him....Berenson published some of his photographs of artworks “without homes” with the express invitation and hope that their owners, public or private, might come forward and claim them as their own...It is in this spirit.. that we have developed the project to catalog, digitize and make available online the Photograph Archive’s images of "homeless" paintings by Italian artists between the thirteenth and the sixteenth centuries. By the project’s end--scheduled for the summer/fall of 2012--we will have published on the Internet records and images, often rare or unique, of around thirteen thousand pictures."
posted by vacapinta on Apr 15, 2012 - 4 comments

Science + Cooking

Harvard's Science & Cooking class - a collaboration between eminent Harvard researchers and world-class chefs - featured a series of public lectures from scientifically-minded A-list chefs, including Ferran Adrià (of elBulli), Wylie Dufresne (from wd~50), Grant Achatz (of Alinea), White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, and Nathan Myhrvold .
posted by twoleftfeet on Apr 15, 2012 - 14 comments

To-Go-Bots

MIT is leading an NSF-funded project with researchers from University of Pennsylvania and Harvard that aims to enable anyone to "design, customize and print a specialized robot in a matter of hours." Constructed from "cyber-physical primitives," the robots (some early examples here) would be able to be made in bulk on demand and could help change the entire workflow of device and robot creation, from engineering to warehousing to assembly.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Apr 3, 2012 - 14 comments

America's Deep, Dark Secret

"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments." An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Feb 21, 2012 - 37 comments

FDR at Harvard

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a Harvard man through and through.
"From 1900-1904, young Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with his Groton chum Lathrop Brown, rented rooms in Westmorly Court, (now B-17 of Adams House) the newest and most luxurious building on Harvard's Gold Coast. Equipped with all the latest innovations – central heat, electricity, a modern "hygienic" bathroom – the suite contained over 600 sq. feet of living space spread over 4 rooms, with 14' ceilings, French doors, and a working fireplace. These spacious quarters, which were originally decorated in high Victorian style by FDR and his mother Sara have been recently restored to their pristine Gilded Age condition... [more inside]
posted by vacapinta on Feb 13, 2012 - 13 comments

Robert Paul Wolff's "The Philosopher's Stone."

Robert Paul Wolff is most famous as the author of In Defense of Anarchism and as the "only person on the face of the earth who has read, cover to cover, Immanuel Kant's Inaugural Dissertation, Karl Marx's doctoral dissertation, and Newt Gingrich's doctoral dissertation." His memoir has also drawn considerable interest. But as a part of his blogging he has habitually offered "micro-tutorials" to encourage his readers to re-acquaint themselves with the classics of what might be called the Heroic Age in the study of society -- the writings of Marx, Freud, Weber, Ricardo, Mannheim, and others. His newest micro-tutorial, on Durkheim's Suicide, begins today.
posted by anotherpanacea on Dec 8, 2011 - 25 comments

From the comments: "Someone pass me the crowbar please."

Soft robotics are inspired by animals which don't have hard internal skeletons, like squid, worms, and starfish. Developed at Harvard, with funding from DARPA, this particular soft robot, "not only walks, it knows several different gaits and can deflate to stuff itself through tiny little gaps." Another design here, and another (also), and another. In addition to movement, soft robotics can also be used for grip. More information about the Harvard lab is available here (with a student describing the research here).
posted by codacorolla on Nov 29, 2011 - 26 comments

R.I.P. Professor Derrick Bell

Derrick Bell, Law Professor and Civil Rights Advocate, dies at 80. Bell was a pioneer of critical race theory and the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School. Bell was also a lover of gospel music, and hosted an annual gospel choir concert.
posted by likeatoaster on Oct 6, 2011 - 25 comments

What Is Middlebrow?

Dorothy Gambrell of Cat And Girl fame spends an awful lot of time talking about education, class, debt, money, and the hollow promise of aspirational media to discuss how much she hates Good Will Hunting
posted by The Whelk on Sep 22, 2011 - 108 comments

A Happy Life Depicted in Diagrams

The Harvard Study of Adult Development is the longest prospective study of mental and physical well-being ever conducted. For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been following 824 individuals through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age. Designer Laura Javier took ten of those cases and visualized them in the Elements of Happiness. [via flowingdata]
posted by anifinder on Jun 27, 2011 - 13 comments

You Don't Want Fries with That

You Don't Want Fries With That. A new Harvard School of Public Health Study claims that even if calorie counts are the same per serving, eating servings of french fries or potatoes causes more weight gain over time than servings of nuts and yogurt. "Although calories remain crucial, some foods clearly cause people to put on more weight than others, perhaps because of their chemical makeup and how our bodies process them." [more inside]
posted by Ike_Arumba on Jun 25, 2011 - 118 comments

My God, it's full of galaxies

"The 2MASS Redshift Survey (2MRS) has catalogued more than 43,000 galaxies within 380 million light-years from Earth. In this projection, the plane of the Milky Way runs horizontally across the center of the image. 2MRS is notable for extending closer to the Galactic plane than previous surveys - a region that's generally obscured by dust." Hires image.
posted by bwg on May 28, 2011 - 10 comments

Study finds many white people view racism as a zero-sum game

Whites believe they are victims of racism more often than blacks. Researchers at Harvard Business School and Tufts University have published a study (PDF) that concludes that "many Whites believe ... the pendulum has now swung beyond equality in the direction of anti-White discrimination."
posted by desjardins on May 24, 2011 - 265 comments

A Typical Jordan Game

Compiling the Absurd Box Scores from Space Jam. Courtesy of The Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective.
The Monstars, behind a vicious defense and a quick-strike transition offense featuring the unprecedented 3-point-line dunk, seize early control and take a 66-18 lead going into the half. Pound (Barkley) and Bupkus (Ewing) are dominant. Things look grim for Jordan, Bugs Bunny and crew.
posted by KevinSkomsvold on May 12, 2011 - 14 comments

Jorge Borges

Jorge Luis Borges delivers the Norton lectures at Harvard, 1968: The Riddle of Poetry :: The Metaphor :: A Poet's Creed
posted by puny human on Apr 28, 2011 - 17 comments

Amo Amas Amat

Harvard's 1869 Entrance Exam (PDF - NYT)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 9, 2011 - 85 comments

Get Smrt

openculture.com is offering hundreds of links to free online courses from the top universities in the United States (and Oxford).
posted by gman on Jan 12, 2011 - 16 comments

LGBT Books At Harvard Vandalized

Approximately 40 books dealing with LGBT issues were vandalized with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library on the Harvard campus on November 24, according to a report filed Friday by the library security staff to the Harvard University Police Department. Something similar (minus the peepee) happen in San Francisco, where they took the books and made Art!
posted by Blake on Dec 13, 2010 - 69 comments

Sexless, Striving, and Ten Billion Strong

E.O Wilson: Ants are a lot like us. Deborah Gordon: No, ants are like ants.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 24, 2010 - 35 comments

"(What suicide note would be complete without a bibliography?)"

On September 18th, Mitchell Heisman posted his 1904 page long suicide note online, and then shot himself in the head on Harvard square. The note, according to wikipedia, "discusses sociobiology, transhumanism, history, religion, death, nihilism and other philosophical issues at some length".
posted by DZack on Sep 26, 2010 - 145 comments

"It was like I had become a psychiatric call boy."

The Secret Lives of Big Pharma's 'Thought Leaders' An article in the Chronicle details the love affair between Big Pharma and the academic doctors anointed as "Key Opinion Leaders"--arguing it's not about the money. There's been some push back at Harvard, after a recent embarrassing episode.
posted by availablelight on Sep 16, 2010 - 19 comments

How you like them apples?

"DateHarvardSQ is a unique online dating platform matching discerning women with Harvard University educated men determined to make a difference in the world as foremost doctors, lawyers, businessmen, academics and professionals. DateHarvardSQ is owned and operated by a dedicated team of Harvard University graduates, whose goal is to help their community of peers find meaningful relationships across the globe." Ladies, be sure to check out to Preview the Harvard Men waiting for your Smile.
posted by grouse on Sep 2, 2010 - 90 comments

Morality Play

Scandal brewing at Harvard. Marc Hauser, evolutionary biologist/psychologist who is an authority on how animals think, is taking a year's leave of absence because a university review has concluded that there were "irregularities" in the conduct of his research. One article is being withdrawn. Others under suspicion. Hauser is well-known for his studies of cotton-top tamarin monkeys. Not clear if he will be required to give up his edge.org page. His most recent book is about morality (previously).
posted by cogneuro on Aug 10, 2010 - 117 comments

Davis Souter's commencement speech at Harvard

Now-retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter got invited to deliver this year's commencement address at Harvard. He used the opportunity to expound on his legal philosophy and to give a not-too-subtle smack down to the originalists he so often argued with on the court. [more inside]
posted by AwkwardPause on Jun 5, 2010 - 37 comments

The Talented Mr. Ripley + Six Degrees of Separation + Clark Rockefeller ...

"Former Harvard student Adam Wheeler was indicted [yesterday] on multiple counts of identity fraud and larceny. According to the Boston Globe, Wheeler allegedly built a 'fraudulent life history that led to his admission to Harvard, and for using forged academic materials from Harvard when he applied for the prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships.'"* In his transfer student application to Harvard "...Wheeler claimed he got a perfect score on the SAT, straight A's at prestigious prep school Phillips Academy Andover and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology...In reality, he had never attended either school..."* He has plead not guilty to the charges. [more inside]
posted by ericb on May 18, 2010 - 164 comments

The Harvard Depository

Harvard University finished in 1986 construction of the Harvard Depository, a mysterious storage facility in a publicly undisclosed location 30 miles from campus where large tracts of land are less expensive than in Cambridge. While the facility was originally intended to store Harvard's least-used volumes, it is now home to 45 percent of Harvard's collections. David Lamberth, chair of the Library Implementation Work Group, calls it a "precise warehouse" for which the term "library" would prove inaccurate.
posted by stbalbach on Apr 2, 2010 - 45 comments

Did you even DOOO the reading?

Do you feel disappointed in government? Does Obama seem a little too meek for the Presidency? Do you wish he'd make larger structural reforms? Maybe, suggests Matt Taibbi, there's an answer. [more inside]
posted by jock@law on Oct 23, 2009 - 43 comments

The 'Democratization of Music.'

uPlaya uses algorithms to determine if a song will be a hit. [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Oct 12, 2009 - 42 comments

I prefer to think of it as a 'trolley opportunity'

Michael Sandel's "Justice" has long been one of the most popular courses at Harvard. Now for the first time the class is being broadcast online. The site for "Justice." [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Sep 27, 2009 - 25 comments

Job perk: graze your cow in Harvard Yard

Harvard theologian grazes his cow in the Yard. Harvey Cox, recently retired as Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard, has exercised his customary right as holder of the oldest endowed chair in America to graze a cow in Harvard Yard. It's hard to tell who had a more unusual day: the professor, author of influential books like The Secular City and The Feast of Fools, or the cow, named Faith for the day, on a day visit from her home at The Farm School in Atholl, Massachusetts.
posted by Rain Man on Sep 14, 2009 - 43 comments

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