Google is Giving Space to Cornell in Manhattan; NYC Still Isn't Silicon Valley -- But It's Getting There!

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Sam Levin
From left to right, Google CEO Larry Page, Cornell President David Skorton, Technion's Director Craig Gotsman, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
Move aside, Silicon Valley! Or, you know, watch your back. New York City is trying to compete with the tech-y town to be the tech center of the universe -- and Google is helping.

(FYI: New York City is still second to Silicon Valley, but it's trying!)

Today, Mayor Mike Bloomberg joined Google CEO Larry Page and Cornell President David Skorton to announce that Google will be doing something outside of its typical scope of activities: providing space for a temporary university campus in New York City.

As a central part of its Applied Sciences initiative -- aimed at attracting industry jobs and startups and expanding the Big Apple as a tech hub -- the city is building a campus on Roosevelt Island for CornellNYC Tech, an engineering and applied science campus that will be run by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

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Meet Trinity College's Newest Professor: Dr. Conan T. Barbarian

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Professor Conan T. Barbarian
The website for Trinity College in Dublin was vastly improved last week when a prankster posted the profile of a new English professor, Dr. Conan T. Barbarian. The profile, which has since been taken down but can be viewed on the cached page, features a picture of a shirtless Arnold Schwarzenegger and a biographical paragraph that is faithful to the Conan the Barbarian canon. MSNBC reports that Trinity spokeswoman Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn believes someone affiliated with the university is responsible for the alterations and not outside hackers. That, or Conan's sworn enemy, Thulsa Doom.

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New York Law Students Suing School For Not Handing Them Jobs

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One of the benefits of law school, according to middle-class parents everywhere, is that three years of hellishly hard work and thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt will pay off with a job at a fancy firm with $100K to start. We were under the impression that this is usually an implicit understanding, not explicitly stated by law schools themselves. But three New York Law School graduates are suing the school for just that, alleging that NYLS told them that 95% of grads get a job right out of school -- and the number isn't true.

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Rachel Maddow Commencement Speech Announced, Smith Ladies React: Video

Julie Bolcer tells us that Rachel Maddow has been named this year's commencement speaker for Smith College, the Seven Sisters college to which Lisa Simpson was once encouraged in a dream to come and "experiment." The Smith senior class' reaction to the news, recorded in this video, is delightful.

Hell, Columbia! Thieves Steal School Laptops; Private Info of Thousands Imperiled

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Thieves stole three laptops from a locked campus office at Columbia on January 18, putting vital computer info from 1,400 students and others in danger. Finally, we might get an idea of how much porn they're looking at when they're supposed to be matriculating instead of masturbating.

Seriously, though, this is, well, serious. Students and employees who were victims were offered two years of credit-monitoring services. The students, however, are still required to pay nearly $19,000 a year in tuition.

Sam Roweis, NYU Professor and Math Star, Leaps to Death

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37-year-old math wizard Sam Roweis had an impressive resume -- Cal Tech, MIT, a "rising star" at the University of Toronto, Google; tons of grants, fellowships, and honors. He joined the NYU faculty as an associate professor in the Vision Learning Graphics Lab of the Computer Science department last year. Professor David W. Hogg called Roweis' move to NYU "one of the best things to happen in my work life," and said "we meet every Thursday to talk and work."

Roweis and his wife recently had twins. The twins' care seems to have been an object of a dispute between Roweis and his wife last night, in the course of which he went out the 16th-story window of their Washington Square Village, school-sponsored apartment. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

As is customary in these cases, no one saw it coming.

Yale-Harvard "Sissies" T-Shirt Pulled, Despite Long Ivy Tradition of Sissydom

GLBT activists have gotten Yalies to pull a t-shirt prepared for the Harvard-Yale game that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald on the front, " I think of all Harvard men as sissies," and added on the back, "WE AGREE."

We hate to align ourselves in any way with rightwing douchebags, but we think this is a bridge too far. While such a taunt might be construed, and happily, as homophobic at a game between, say, Skunk Holler Tech and Fritters (AL) A&M, we doubt very much students and alumni of the Ivies in question would do so, or start fistfights in retaliation (though we can't speak for those brutes at Dartmouth).

And Harvard men have usually been rather sporting about their effete reputation, as the clip from Tom Lehrer shows. Why, they probably Prepped with some of the fellows on the other side, and will join them frequently at drinking establishments when they're all working for investment banks in Manhattan, and share a laugh at how sissies of whatever sexual preference in fact run the world.

Liquor Store Bursar Fraud Case Sprinkles Glory on NYU, City

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The dailies are covering the story of John Runowicz, a former NYU employee who allegedly bilked the university out of $409,000 by submitting bogus receipts for reimbursement.

According to the Post, the Daily News, and the Times, Runowicz did so by dumpster-diving at Warehouse Wines & Spirits, retrieving receipts of $100 or $200 at a time, and submitting them as out-of-pocket expenses to the University's bursar for reimbursement.

He did this 13,000 times over the course of five years before NYU officials caught on.

It's hard to tell who should be most embarrassed by this story.

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Court Deals Blow to Columbia's $6.3 Billion Harlem Land Grab (Updated)

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A State Court of Appeals decided this afternoon that New York State was wrong to grant Columbia University eminent domain rights that enabled it to seize land from property owners whose businesses were located in the footprint of the university's expansion.

This ruling marks the culmination of a protracted legal battle over the fate of West Harlem.

Only three property owners are directly impacted by the decision. In nine years, Columbia has managed to buy out all but three of the businesses in the neighborhood. Now the owners of two gas stations on 125th Street, and Nick Sprayregan, the wealthy owner of Tuck-it-Away Storage who financed the lawsuit, will get to stay put.

But as a check on a large and controversial public-private project that Columbia's been steamrolling since it first announced its expansion plans in 2001, the suit may have greater significance.

We're reading the sixty-five page ruling now.

Update: Reached by phone today, Nick Sprayregen told the Voice, "This decision is a victory for private property owners that have faced such abuse. It's outrageous. I am fortunate that I have the resources to take them on." More below the fold...

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Times: Even CUNY is Getting Too Competitive

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We've always said the wave of the future -- or such future as we have -- is not in white-collar jobs, but in trades and handicrafts. Here is another harbinger: the Times reveals that CUNY's six community or two-year colleges -- the sort of places where you'd go to school if you were too broke and/or too unsure of your commitment to go to an expensive four-year college -- are for the first time rejecting masses of applicants. "Thousands of students" looking to enter Borough of Manhattan Community College and other local two-years were "shut out this fall," the Times reveals.

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