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Swarthmore in the News November 4, 2011

The New York Times

The Power of Myth, Kid-Lit Version

By Pamela Paul

November 2, 2011

Treasury of Greek Mythology 

Classic Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes and Monsters.  

By Donna Jo Napoli.

Illustrated by Christina Balit.

191 pp. National Geographic. $24.95. (Middle grade; ages 8 to 12)

Of the many gifts Rick Riordan has bequeathed to the world of children's literature, the one most fervently embraced by teachers and librarians may well be the interest in mythology he has awakened in children. Other authors have been following his lead, with two excellent new nonfiction books for middle graders, Gifts From the Gods, by Lise Lunge-Larsen, and Treasury of Greek Mythology, by Donna Jo Napoli, out now. Classics majors, linguists and otherwise literary-minded parents will greatly appreciate these books -- as will their actual intended audience of young readers.

...As it happens, Donna Jo Napoli, a prolific author of nonfiction children's books and of the gorgeous Treasury of Greek Mythology, published by National Geographic, is a professor of linguistics at Swarthmore College. (How she also manages to write so many fine books for children is a feat in itself.) Her expertise comes through here in the language, which is clear and straightforward, but also eloquent and richly textured.

And so, in telling the story of the mother-earth goddess, Napoli writes: ''Gaia suffered. The cruelty of this father toward his children was unbearable.'' But then, giving even advanced readers good reason to consult a dictionary: ''She offered her children an adamantine sickle lustrous and unbreakable to confront their father with.'' Children familiar with Greek mythology will still have something to learn here.

The myths Napoli has chosen are organized around the gods, goddesses, heroes and mere mortals central to their stories. The stories are strong on action and romantic adventure, and Napoli wisely goes light on explication. Ares is a Marvel Comics-worthy wielder of spear and ''physical magnetism.'' Aphrodite is appropriately bewitching. And when the gods get together, sparks fly. As Napoli writes of Dionysus's parentage, ''Bang! Zeus had another wife.''

Christina Balit's jewel-toned paintings at once illuminate and unify the collection with vibrant full-page illustrations, spot art and decorative borders in a glittery, starred motif. Her work has an earth-mother '70s vibe that calls to mind the sort of art posters that adorn the bedrooms of aging hippies in Santa Fe, but also, Art Deco and, appropriately, Greek mosaics and Egyptian hieroglyphics. The cumulative effect befits the stories told and the intended audience. This is a book meant to dazzle its readers -- and it does.


East Bay Express (CA)

In Safe Territory;
A garage band advances, in spite of the lead singer's reservations.

By Rachel Swan

November 2, 2011

The crowd was sparse when Oakland garage duo Safe performed at the Occupy Oakland demonstration a couple Fridays ago. Which was to be expected. Protesters had just received an eviction notice and were bracing for a giant police raid - no one knew that it would be delayed until early Tuesday morning. The night was balmy, the air was tense, and Safe's fans stood in a small clump in front of City Hall. "It was kind of strange," singer Christopher Edley admitted.

...A carpenter by day, Edley doesn't squander any time on social-networking sites, and he hasn't used gimmicks to win fans. He has no agent or publicist; he's difficult to find on Google; he released his first EP on cassette tapes only. In an era where "stardom" is increasingly dependent on one's ability to go viral, Edley has managed to do things the old-fashioned way. In his case, the cliché about "music speaking for itself" is actually true.

Raised in Cambridge and Brooklyn, Edley didn't grow up playing instruments, other than a six-month stint on the saxophone in middle school - and that was mostly to appease his father. He did, however, listen to a wide swath of the pop music canon, particularly Sixties jazz, reggae, and contemporary R&B. (One of his favorite albums is Janet Jackson's 1986 hit, Control, and if you pay close attention to the chord harmonies on the Safe EP, you can hear the similarities.) Edley was also heavy into visual art, and might have been highly successful at an art or design school had family expectations not steered him in a more academic direction. He spent a year at Swarthmore College, then took off for Portland, then joined friends to start an organic farm in Vermont, then resettled in New York, met a guy who directed videos for MGMT, and landed a job as a freelance video artist. It was around that time that Edley also began immersing himself in music.

In short, Edley's path to the rock world was rather circuitous. But he picked up a lot of useful skills along the way. ...


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Will Occupy Phila. Vacate Plaza for Renewal Work?

By Jan Ransom

November 1, 2011

With construction slated to begin this month on a makeover of Dilworth Plaza, it remains unclear whether Occupy Philly plans to relocate.

The $50-million project, which includes an ice-skating rink and a café, is shaping up as the first point of contention between the city and protesters since the protest next to City Hall began nearly four weeks ago.

"I think there's a tension, but we're really committed to working through what's best for this community and being as respectful as we can to all the different needs we're seeing arise through this situation," said Gwen Snyder, executive director of Philadelphia Jobs With Justice and a representative of Occupy's labor committee.

But is there a chance that Occupy will refuse to move?

"I think it's possible," Snyder said. "It's a democracy. It's both messy and beautiful. I don't have a solid yes or no answer. I think it will evolve over the next week or so."

For varying reasons, protesters are on both sides of the fence, so to speak. Some are willing to relocate to avoid a head-on clash; others would rather not give in as long as they have a consensus.

...In a letter yesterday, Occupy Philly thanked the city for its cooperation and agreed to address several concerns. The letter said that police overtime was not needed and that protesters could police themselves and that the city could use the money for education.  ...

Note: Gwen Snyder is a 2008 Swarthmore College graduate.

Occupy Wall Street gets a Desi Flavour

By Arthur J. Pais

November 1, 2011

Social activism is in Prachi Patankar's DNA. Even as she came to the United States aged 16 from India, she had been aware of the power of citizen activism, mainly learning from her father who was fighting against water pollution and issues related to the construction of dams in western Maharashtra.

After receiving her BA from Swarthmore College in 2000, she went back to Maharashtra where she established a school for children of people displaced by dams.

She is a founding member of the 3rd I New York collective, a monthly film and music salon that showcases the works of South Asian independent filmmakers.

She has also worked with media-focused non-profits like POV and Youth Channel, as well as those focusing on social justice issues such as Witness, Chhaya and Drum (Desis Rising Up and Moving).

But nothing she has done excites her as much as her solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, now in its fifth week.

..."I have never seen such commitment anytime before," Patankar says.

"Each day more and more people are joining the protests not only in New York but in many cities in America and Europe. People who were hardly activists are now finding themselves energized."

...Patankar, who also has an MA from New York University in international education and communications, has managed Kitchen Conversations, a daily public dialogue program and the monthly immigration film series at the Tenement Museum . ...


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Swarthmore isn't resting on its green laurels

By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer

October 31, 2011

Looking back, Swarthmore's leaders are a tad foggy on how the borough came to far outpace other communities in the use of alternative energy.

Maybe it stemmed from the borough's long history of environmental activism. Or the nature of a town founded by Quakers that is host to a celebrated liberal-arts college.

In any event, Swarthmore has achieved a level of green that most towns would envy. In the last year, more than a quarter of the energy needed to power its homes, buildings, and schools - 27.9 percent - came from renewable sources.

That was enough to rank the borough third in the nation in an Environmental Protection Agency competition among communities vying to buy the largest percentage of green power.

...In 2002, Swarthmore laid claim to being the first municipality in the state to make a pure Pennsylvania-generated wind purchase.

...Somewhere along the way, Swarthmore College engineering professor Carr Everbach began calculating. Using air-pollution data, actuarial tables, and more, he concluded that the college's annual power use - in this region, coal predominates - caused one premature death every two years.

For a college with Quaker roots and a highly active student environmental group, Earthlust, that didn't sit well.

Not long after, the college began buying wind power.

"It really is a social experiment, deciding you want to do something with your energy profile," said Ralph Thayer, the college's director of maintenance.

In 2006, SmartPower came calling with a challenge. The goal was for local governments to buy 20 percent of their power from renewable sources, and for at least 200 households to do likewise.

The first 20 communities to do so would win a one-kilowatt solar array. The deadline was 2010. Swarthmore hit its mark in 2007.

...But far in the lead was Brookeville, Md. Not far from Washington, it has just 90 households.

Billings jokingly cried foul. She realized it was unlikely Swarthmore would ever catch Brookeville. "But it really pumped me up to call the college and see if they would commit to more," she said.

The college did. By now, it is at 100 percent, as are the borough's offices.

Truth to tell, it was the college that really tipped the scales for the borough. But in the end, 13 percent of the green power was bought by households and businesses.

"It was not that much more expensive," said Andrew Bunting, owner of Fine Garden Creations and curator of the college's Scott Arboretum.

...Swarthmore placed third.

...What gratified Coleman about the way the town came together in all this was "not the competitive aspect, but the unity."


The Atlantic

"Just as Singapore Airlines now sets the standard for air travel worldwide, Yale-NUS College aspires to influence the shape of undergraduate education throughout Asia." -- Richard Levin, President, Yale University

Why Is Yale Outsourcing a Campus to Singapore?

In their race to go global, American colleges are ignoring the roots of liberal education

By Eric Weinberger

October 2011

So it has come to this: Rick Levin, president of one of America's great universities, hopes to build a college that will enjoy the reputation of Singapore Airlines, which many of us remember from National Geographic ads featuring comely stewardesses beneath the legend "Singapore Girl, You're a Great Way to Fly!" The occasion, on April 11, was the formal announcement in Singapore of Yale-NUS, where NUS is the National University of Singapore, Yale's partner in a proposed new liberal arts college that will admit its first students in 2013. The intellectual direction for this endeavor will come from Yale, but Singapore will pay the bill -- a selling point to Yale administrators keen to show the low-risk (because no-cost) nature of the enterprise.

...What reasons does Levin offer for this momentousness -- beyond the discovery that Singapore and NUS present "a partner worthy of and committed to this ambitious undertaking"? He begins his speech by looking back to 1828, when university officials published The Yale Report, an argument for liberal education that set the course for many new colleges then arising across the young United States. (The 2010 prospectus reminds faculty that Yale graduates promoted the Report's ideas "as founders or first presidents" of dozens of institutions, "including Princeton, Columbia, Williams, Swarthmore, and Dartmouth, and Middlebury.") Through Yale-NUS, Levin declared in his speech, the university would have "an opportunity to influence the course of 21st century education in Singapore and Asia, much as we did in our own country during the 19th century." ...



5 zero emission motorcycles built by students

Jaspreet Kaur Walia:

October 28, 2011

Zero emission motorcycles built by students

...There are many students who are coming up with great concepts that may soon be seen on the roads. Below is a list of five zero emission motorcycles that have been built by students and rank high on the style as well as speed graph.

1. Hydrogen-Powered Motorcycle 

Hydrogen-Powered Motorcycle Swarthmore College Students Build Hydrogen-Powered Motorcycle

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Motorcycle is an awe-inspiring creation by Alex Bell and Abdres Pacheco. These engineering students from Swarthmore College were hell bent to come up with a motorcycle that would fare well when tested for efficiency that included battery propulsion, hydrogen fuel cell and internal combustion. These environment lovers made good use of a chassis that they extracted Buell cyclone that they found in a salvaged yard. The much needed structural support for frame, motor, rear shock connection and swing arm was offered by an additionally built piece after the motor was taken out. The efficiency of the vehicle is estimated to be around 46% by the designers, which is not bad at all. Ballard has been used to make the fuel cell, which is a PEM or Polymer Exchange Membrane. This PEM has the capability to produce a power of 1.6HP or 1.2Kw. The motorbike also consists of two Ergenics metal hydride cylinders that have been used to store hydrogen in its purest form. The loose hydrogen is allowed to bond with other materials. The cylinders also have some kind of a metal power that comprises of Aluminum, Lathnium and Nickel, which reacts with hydrogen.



The Delaware County Daily Times (PA)

Colleges: Edwards posts another shutout for Cabrini in playoff opener

Daily Times Staff Report

October 31, 2011

Swarthmore 2, Haverford 1

Haverford's national ranking meant nothing once freshman Erin Sindelar scored in the 86th minute.

The win vaulted Swarthmore (12-5-0, 7-3-0) into third place and secured a bye for the Garnet in the Centennial Conference playoffs. Swarthmore takes on second-seeded Gettysburg in the conference semifinals Saturday at Johns Hopkins.

...Junior Alexa Ross scored in the ninth minute to put Swarthmore ahead, 1-0. Sarah Andrade tied the game for Haverford in the 80th minute.