THE E’ER INSCRUTABLE | 1916: Annus Fugae Deorum

“Nulla è cambiato, la terribilità della tragedia è identica, tutte le apparenze effimere con cui la civiltà maschera e diversifica nei tempi il puro istinto umano sono qui abolite; l’uomo modern, l’uomo del secolo ventesimo, l’uomo che possiede cannoni e torpedini si ricongiunge al suo progenitore selvaggio, al suo antenato remoto armato soltanto del suo rude vigore e del suo coraggio feroce.” -Mario Morasso, writing of the Russo-Japanese War, April 3, 1904

This is my last article during my first year as a student at Cornell. I normally avoid personal pronouns and excessive self-reference in my articles; today, however, calls for a break in that routine, hopefully not to the displeasure of my readership of one and a half. I have a contention to make: 1916 was the year Germany should have won the war. The world would have been a better place if the apish “Mad Brute” of American wartime caricature, if the perpetrator of the Rape of Belgium had carried the day at Verdun and at the Somme. This is, I am aware, as argumentum ex silentio as it gets: bear with me.

Photo Courtesy of Buzzfeed

TALK IS CHIC | Fashion Forward or Fashion Backward

Cuddling in Eleni’s queen sized bed recounting a fun evening, we began discussing our lack of photo documentation this year.  By the time you reach senior year, is taking a #selfie in your novel mixer costume lame/sad/pathetic/overdone? Or were we having too much fun dancing and twirling? Either way, we’re getting nostalgic and sappy as our time at Cornell comes to an end:

GO:  Won’t we want to look back at pictures of us in our Brandy Melville crop tops and LF chokers, which are likely to be painfully outdated? ET: Or the body contouring, mini dresses that may only be acceptable and flattering in this realm of our lives?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | The Cornell Daily Sun and Cornell History

To the editors of The Cornell Daily Sun,
History is never finished.  The past is always rediscovered and historical texts revived.  So it is even with Cornell history. We write to right an omission in our recently published Cornell: A History, 1940-2015.  At the center of this revision is The Cornell Daily Sun. In our book we describe President Hunter Rawlings announcing on October 8, 1997, to the surprise of many in the Cornell Community, that he had “mandated that within three years all freshmen be housed on North Campus.”  We gave the impression that this resolution of the vexing perception of a white West Campus and a black North Campus was his idea — and his alone. It was certainly a bold exercise of presidential leadership that would forever change undergraduate life at Cornell, leading eventually to the creation as well of the West Campus House system.  But what we did not know when writing our History was that the idea of an all freshman North and an upper-class House system on West had already been advanced in the Sun by Editor in Chief Hilary Krieger ’98. Three weeks earlier Krieger had published a lengthy editorial entitled “Housing Solution.” In it she wrote:

So what might be a dramatic yet constructive solution?  We offer one.  It is by no means the only viable one, but it signifies the type of thinking and action necessary in order to realize real progress.  In order to link the contrasting cultures of North and West, students must literally come together.  By putting all the freshmen on North campus, all students could interact, live and learn from each other.

Prof. Emeritus Frank Moon, engineering, details the history of the engineering college Friday ( Brittney Chew / Sun News Photography Editor).

Faculty Gather to Remember Engineering College’s Storied History

Festivities for Cornell Engineering’s sesquicentennial commenced with a welcoming presentation on its history  Friday, featuring keynote speakers Lance Collins, dean of the engineerng college, Prof. Emeritus Francis Moon, engineering, and Prof. Emeritus John Abel, civil and environmental engineering. The College of Engineering has a rich history at Cornell, according to Moon, who served as the director of the Sibley School of Mechanic Arts from 1987 to 1992. The Morill Land Grant Act of 1862 required the teaching of mechanical engineering, but at the time, there was no model for the curriculum of mechanical technology. Through the joint efforts of leading figures like philanthropist Hiram Sibley and engineer Robert Thurston, the Sibley College paved the way for the education of mechanical engineering. Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering grew in prominence between 1885 and the early 1900s, Moon said.

History Department Seeks Student Feedback on Major

As Cornell attempts to “Reimagine” the future of many of its internal functions, the History department has began to re-examine itself. A panel of professors within the history department held an open meeting yesterday in McGraw Hall with students to discuss the future of the major and the department.
“Periodically, we like to revisit the major and take the time to touch base with the students,” Prof. Maria Cristina Garcia, history and American studies, said at the beginning of the discussion. “We like to make sure that the requirements aren’t too onerous or too easy and see what else the students hope to gain from the department.”

C.U. Historians Praise Obama's Policy on Information Freedom

Cornell’s historians — professors, graduate students and archivists — see President Barack Obama’s policies toward a more transparent government not merely as a step forward, but a complete reversal in direction.
On Jan. 21, Obama released a memo in which he encouraged governmental agencies to “adopt a presumption of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in the Freedom of Information Act and to usher in a new era of open government.”
The act, which allowed for the disclosure of most official governmental documents, was first instated in 1966 during the Lyndon Johnson’s Administration.
“FOIA was built on a presumption of openness and disclosure rather than secrecy,” explained Prof. Fredrick Logevall, history.

Book Review: The Wordy Shipmates

After suffering through years of history lessons about the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and John Winthrop’s role in shaping his “city upon a hill,” one would think that (yet another) novel on the subject would be a less exciting read than the New York City phone book.
Sarah Vowell’s newest novel about the Puritans’ stateside adventures, however, is a pleasant anomaly in the catalogue of history books about 17th century New Englanders. Witty and cheeky in the face of Puritan sobriety, Vowell interprets excerpts of our forefathers’ diaries and doctrines to reveal a society more complex than our history books have taught us.