From my very first moment on Stanford’s campus, I knew without any doubt that here, I would be enabled, encouraged and empowered to thrive. President Marc Tessier-Lavigne’s opening words at Admit Weekend about diversity, inclusion and the co-dependent nature of these two abstract ideals filled me with immense joy as I looked ahead to my…
When I first came across Cory Booker’s Daily columns, part of me was prepared to be disillusioned by yet another politician. I came across the columns through a recent Daily article titled ‘Presidential hopeful’s intimate columns about race, homosexuality and groping incident resurface.’ With such a title, given the current political environment, his collegiate writing seemed liable to incriminate him in more than angsty musings on California weather or dining hall food.
Recently, the Verge published a look inside one of Facebook’s deals with a content moderating contractor. Facebook hires these moderators to screen posts reported by users for violating their community standards. These moderators look at reported posts and decide whether to delete or allow them. Author Casey Newton was able to convince some former Facebook moderators, who are generally prohibited from discussing their work by NDAs, to tell her about their experiences. Their stories are deeply upsetting; they are routinely forced to witness extreme violence, constantly monitored and held to incredibly high standards for speed and accuracy. Accuracy is determined by how often moderators’ decisions agree with the decisions of slightly more senior moderators; more senior moderators are given a random sample of a regular moderators’ processed posts and asked to make their own judgments. At Cognizant, for example, moderators must be “accurate” at least 95% of the time. Within the Cognizant work site Newton examines, some moderators have responded to constant exposure to the worst of Facebook by buying into the conspiracy theories. One person genuinely believes the earth is flat, another has become convinced that 9/11 was not a legitimate terrorist attack, and another denies that the Holocaust took place.
“What matters to you, and why?” is the famous short-essay question we all answered to get into Stanford. But consider this different question: “what matters, and why?”
Stanford is renowned for being the home of some of the world’s most brilliant minds, and these minds are undoubtedly one of this university’s greatest assets. As students here, we often witness firsthand the unrivaled intellectual caliber of our professors, and, less often but still occasionally, the difficulty of obtaining and keeping those professorial positions here. We also hear of cases where top-notch scholars don’t receive tenure, a fate shared by half of all the assistant professors here.
As an international student from the United Kingdom, I am no stranger to familiarising myself with the subtleties of language that differentiate my native tongue from that of the United States. In addition to the “chips” or “fries” conundrum and “pavement” versus “sidewalk” debate, I have recently become aware of another linguistic nuance that appears to carry much greater significance: person-first language. A phenomenon that has not yet reached the UK with such widespread impact as it has in the US, person-first language is a type of linguistic prescription linked largely to the disability community which seeks, as far as possible, to place the person before their diagnosis or impairment. For example, in this framework it would be preferable to use “persons with disabilities” over “disabled people”.
It was a dark night — after midnight on Jan. 31 — when journalist Annie Correal received an unfamiliar email with the subject: “MDC Brooklyn Without Power.” The anonymous author wrote, “No heat no power no proper food. Over 72 hours in lockdown.”
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That mischievous three-year old got into the paint-set again. She dipped her fingers in a couple of different colors and splat them on the canvas in random twirls. You’ll probably buy a $10 bright blue frame using your Amazon Prime account and put this in it. That way, she can laugh at her artistic proclivities when she’s older and has moved onto drawing female nudes in exquisite detail.