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WANG | On Mental Health

This upcoming weekend, Cornell will host the fourth annual Ivy League Mental Health Conference, where delegates from all the Ivy League schools come together to discuss the state of mental health on our campuses. Considering Ivy League schools recently got slapped with a D or worse by the Ruderman Family Foundation for our leave of absence policies, there’s a sense of urgency in rectifying the mistakes we made. If we’re really among the best schools in the nation, it’s time we act like it. Cornell Minds Matter has been the driving force in organizing the conference, brainstorming, making calls, asking for funding. As a small part of the organization, I’ve gotten a first-hand view of the planning for the conference.

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WANG | On Buttigieg and the Religious Left

Normally, Christianity and liberalism don’t blend well in this country, if at all. But in one of the oddest interviews in my recent memory, a Cornell alumnus and a green mayor from South Bend, Ind. engaged in a whole new debacle on the issue. On one side was the casually smug Bill Maher ’78 hosting an episode of the Bill Maher Show on HBO, and on the other was the newest rising star of the Democratic party Pete Buttigieg (pronounced Boot-Edge-Edge), dressed in a toned down outfit that gave the vibe of suburban dad getting off from work more than presidential hopeful. Buttigieg’s resume has landed him on voters’ radar — Harvard educated, Rhodes Scholar, Afghanistan veteran, speaker of seven languages and mayor of a rebounding Midwestern city — but it’s his down to earth demeanor, wide smile and most importantly, a laser-like ability to lay out his thoughts that has had him surging in recent polls.

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WANG | On Yesterday, Song-Writing and Artificial Intelligence

By now, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming film Yesterday. It follows a struggling musician who gets the break of a lifetime when he’s rudely waylaid by a truck, and he awakens to a world suddenly forgetful of The Beatles. Through sheer bashfulness and chutzpah, he starts to “write” hit song after hit song from the Beatles catalog for a girl he’s after. We can guess where the movies goes: He gets the girl, writes the hit song, rides off into the sunset. The whole movie is a sundae in cinematic form: Sweet and reliable with a pleasant aftertaste.

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WANG | Tackling LGBT Topics as a Chinese American

When I was younger, I found myself in a Shanghai bookstore looking up at a tall bookshelf that seemed to be only that large to mock me. Oddly, I had an urge to get to the top shelf. So, I climbed. Well, it ended poorly. I only got a foot on the shelf before wiping out and bringing down with me an impressive amount of material.

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WANG | Escape Reality

This weekend, I went with a group of friends from the LGBT resource center to Escape Ithaca. The facility, which is surprisingly one of five escape rooms within commuting distance, is located just a couple of blocks from Cornell in Downtown Ithaca. Escape Ithaca, which is the first escape room in Ithaca, charges $10 for each person (we had 10 people in total), which is rather cheap for an escape room (which usually charge $20 to $45 per person). I swear people have a Ph.D. in creativity when it comes to fun. We invented skydiving to fly, rafting to churn and Catan to indulge in our imperialistic urges.

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WANG | Gillette is Chasing Profits, Not a Purpose

A YouTube commenter is apoplectic. “Just STOP buying Proctor and Gamble Products.” Another chimes in: “Gillette you just lost a 20 yr. customer.” Over the weekend, Gillette released a short film on YouTube titled “The Best Men Can Be” with a message that was simple, reasonable and needed: men should hold other men accountable for their actions. You’d think something level-headed would get a level-headed response in return. Instead, if you go by YouTube commentators, none seem too pleased.


WANG | To Be Kyler Murray

For some reason, on Saturday afternoon, I sat myself down to watch the University of Oklahoma and Texas football teams lock horns to determine the winner of the Big 12 Championship.  And even though I don’t know half the words I just typed thanks to my neophyte nature when it comes to college sports, and my disdain for football that largely stems from the abusive damage it lays on its players, I stayed sitting and watched. Because once in a while, you just have to see something exceptional. Kyler Murray, who plays quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners, is short for his position. He’s also one of the five most talented athletes in the world.


WANG | Fighting Words

Wang Dan is still alive, somehow. The Tiananmen Protest activist is perhaps the most famous almost casualty of the restlessness that swept through the Chinese youth during the late ’80s and early ’90s. Jailed, attacked and almost assassinated, the man who organized one of the most significant protests in modern history when he was still a freshman in college arrived last week at Cornell to a packed auditorium. On first glance, he’s a less than imposing man. But then listen a little, and the ferocious takes on the state of modern Chinese society roll out rapid-fire style.


WANG | Even Ravens Get Bored of Scarecrows

In the biggest game of his life, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kenta Maeda had finally run out of surprises. In a critical Game 4 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, Maeda had been asked to bail out the Dodgers in another sticky situation. Bases loaded, two outs, down 5-4, he was tasked to holding the Red Sox from expanding their lead any further. Up to the plate came Steven Pearce, who looked like the kind of guy who spent his spare time wrangling cattle just for kicks. As a pitcher, Maeda is particularly meticulous.


WANG | Making Work Meaningful

There’s a moment in David Bowie’s 1972 Top of the Pop performance of his hit song “Starman” in which it seemed the entire Isle of England froze. Bowie, dressed in a skinsuit mishmashed with beaming colors and buoyed by a shock of red hair, is in the midst of an upswing. For a piece of innovative musical composition that promised deliverance, “Starman” begins ominously on the 11th chord, before moving up an octave to prepare for the chorus: “There’s a Starman Waiting in the Sky; He’d like to come and meet us.”

In this upswing, surrounded by hipsters, instrumentalists and college students, Bowie’s lead guitarist Mick Ronson shyly approaches to sing with him; instead, in one sweeping gesture, Bowie embraces him for the chorus. They sing together; a country implodes in shock. Nowadays, this doesn’t seem much.