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Anna-Sofia Lesiv

Complacent Valley

This is not what a Stanford education is supposed to look like, I remember thinking. It was only my third week at the University when my entire freshman dorm had marched off to the annual Fall Career Fair held in White Plaza. I wandered through its rows aimlessly, unsure of what I, without a single grade on my transcript, was meant to offer the nicely dressed recruiters, waiting eagerly for me behind their well decorated booths. The thought of my summer internship or first job had barely crossed my mind; as for me, school had just barely begun.

CS + Ethics

Early this year, research fellow Hilary Cohen and professors Jeremy Weinstein, Mehran Sahami and Rob Reich were pictured in a copy of The New York Times. They stood together in the atrium of the Gates Computer Science Building, a determined look crossing each of their faces. “On Campus, Computer Science Departments Find a Blind Spot:…

Kids these days

In the late ’60s, Joan Didion ventured to San Francisco in search of “social hemorrhaging.” She had an apocalyptic tone and an eye for disaster. She came to the city that was a mecca for kids that wanted to stay lost. She came to write about the rebels, the runaways and the counterculture. Slumming it…

Failures in Ottessa Moshfegh’s ‘Eileen’

Ottessa Moshfegh is the queen of short stories. She is the goddess of the weird, the disgusting and the deformed. In “The Weirdos,” aptly named, a lethargic heroine and an overly-superstitious-paranoiac actor move in together. Both are completely self-absorbed and awful. The boyfriend is compulsive. “He had a theory about how to stay in shape.…

Stanford’s rebels

Editor’s note: This column references a 1972 New York Times article, “In the Matter of H. Bruce Franklin,” which was not linked or attributed in the text below. It also erroneously dates H. Bruce’s Franklin’s receiving tenure to 1970 and names Alan Dershowitz as having represented Franklin; Franklin received tenure in 1965, and Dershowitz prepared a brief on…

The relatable brilliance of ‘My Brilliant Friend’

When Lena imagines herself in her mind, her actual appearance is not what she pictures. Lena is chubby. Glasses cover her eyes, acne covers her skin. She’s coming of age in a poor and violent suburb of Naples, being hurled towards adulthood, while grasping – as if for a branch in a hurricane – for…

Google’s city

After blocking the construction of the Lower Manhattan Expressway – which would have uprooted neighborhood blocks and erased Washington Square Park from the map – Jane Jacobs packed her New York memories and moved to Toronto. She was off-put by the Roman-inspired grandeur of constructions like New York’s Lincoln Center, which dedicated immense amounts of space for…

The future of history

In the ’30s, Palo Alto caused quite a stir. This quiet and conservative university town that only voted for its first Democratic president in 1960 – when it chose John F. Kennedy – became, overnight, the scene of a rather salacious scandal. The Palo Alto Medical Clinic, considered the first group practice in the U.S., had just…


The National Front's tactic failed because France already had an established protection against such slick maneuvering — a policy of silence.

Nostos and nostalgia

The France of today, however, is no longer the giddy, optimistic place it was when it held its expo. Instead of eagerly welcoming others to their capital, Paris is now a place where citizens gather in squares to chant hostilely, “This is our home!”.

The price of equality

When low income students are absent from the humanities, it means that their voices and distinct perspectives are absent from campus culture. It means that while one class of students is busy seeking financial security, another is creating the university’s identity.

Identity and the algorithm

Today, when our occupations and behaviors are confined increasingly behind the unassailable dictates of economics, the indisputable truths of big data, the contempt espoused by Dostoevsky’s anti-hero for certitude looks surprisingly heroic.


Business conditions are changing. For starters, 3D printers and robots are faster and more precise than even foreign laborers.

Media is magic

On the day of the election, Donald Trump tweeted that Utah was reporting failed voting machines all over the country. It was meant to read the “county,” but that didn’t matter. The tweet was out there. Saying it made it real — at least on Twitter. Somewhere between the time when Trump activated his Twitter…

The political economy of technology

I sat across from Mark Mancall as a flock of SLE students, eager to pick the mind of their program’s founder, gathered for dinner. As the conversation drifted to technology, the man who urged us with vehement confidence to do our homework on the works of the canon, leaned back, perplexed. “It’s out of control,”…
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