First Biannual Bioinformatics Workshop Provides Insight Into a Booming Field

The first biannual bioinformatics and genomics workshop took place at Reed from April 13 to 14. A slate of specialists was invited to lead modules on a wide-array of key topics in whole genome analysis. More than two dozen undergraduates from Reed and Lewis and Clark College had the opportunity to study bioinformatic and genomic analysis at the cutting edge of the field.  The workshop consisted of two nine-hour training days in bioinformatics and genomics tools, techniques, and analysis. The workshop kicked off Friday evening, April 12, with a keynote address from Penn State’s Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Anton Nekrutenko. Nekrutenko is a pioneering bioinformaticist and talked about the importance of accessibility and reproducibility in scientific research, especially in the information age.

Women’s Soccer Gains Footing

 

 

While many Reedies hold some pride in their un-athleticism, some desire the presence of physical activity in their lives. Sydney Scarlata is one of them. Having swam and played soccer all throughout high school, freshman Sydney Scarlata was “burnt out” from varsity sports, and saw Reed as a respite from the intense competition of her high school’s team. However, “by the end of first semester I realized I just really missed soccer,” she said. Starting this year, Scarlatta, along with others, have garnered interest for the new Women’s Soccer Club that will be an official PE class next autumn.

Bill Cronon: Disciplines in Dialogue

“William Cronon is the foremost environmental historian of our time,” President John Kroger said last Wednesday evening. “He put the field on the map.” Kroger had nothing but high praise for Bill Cronon when he introduced the guest lecturer in Vollum Lecture Hall. Cronon came to Reed to give back-to-back lectures through the Greenberg Distinguished Scholar program. Cronon came to us from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he is the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies. He is also the author of several well-known books and rather controversial articles.

Improved Band Practice Room Fosters Resurgence of Reed Bands

Two years ago, the Band Practice Room was nearly defunct. Now, it and Reed bands are flourishing. There is a thriving band scene at Reed currently, bolstered in part by an improved Band Practice Room (BPR) and an upsurge in student club involvement. Two years ago the BPR was nearly defunct and twigs were occasionally used as drumsticks, according to current BPR Manager Daniel Ku ‘13. Daniel’s own band—Cellmate—is currently on hiatus as two of its members work on their senior theses, but Daniel has continued to be an active presence throughout the year in fostering community involvement in and use of the BPR.

Thesis Christ: Brian Moore

Economics major and and former Student Body President Brian Moore wrote his thesis on government policy change and whether or not this effects investments made by manufacturing companies. In times of economic downturn, Moore says, many say that the government should not try to change policy, as this creates an uncertain economic environment that possibly discourages investment. For instance, “if you’re a small manufacturer, and the government is considering regulating your industry, you’re less likely to invest until you know how that regulation is going to look, or how that regulation might effect you as a firm.”

Senate Beat: Quest Reform and the Sexual Misconduct Policy

Senator David Azrael ’13 speaks during the April 12 Senate meeting. Quest Reform

For the second time this month, Senate discussed the Quest board’s proposal for a new system in which editors are appointed rather than elected. The Quest board provided an updated draft of the proposed Quest bylaws, in which changes were made to the recall process. Quest Editor Kieran Hanrahan began the discussion: “The primary motivation behind the reform is to maintain a higher quality Quest over a long period of time.”

Senator Alden Jones said, however, “I can’t imagine a situation so bad that the student body would recall [The Quest], but I can imagine a situation so bad that it would re-elect a different Quest. In response, Student Body Vice President Paul Messick noted that “The Quest is for the student body the only institutional memory that we have…Whatever would improve institutional memory needs to be considered.” While passing the proposed changes to the Quest bylaws would mean eliminating an element of democracy, Messick said, “the benefits to the student body would go beyond this conversation.”

Senator David Azrael disagreed with Messick’s point and went on to argue that the effect of the changes would be “consolidating power out of the student body’s hands, into a small group.” He also expressed concern with judging quality: “People like really different things out of The Quest.” While the current board’s focus on maintaining a journalistic standard is great, he said, such a standard should not be imposed on future boards.

Reedies Discuss Obligation, Sanctity, and External Pressure at Union

Three months after President Kroger canceled or altered three Paideia classes, Reed community members filled out the pews in the Chapel on Friday for the Reed Union entitled “Student Autonomy: Its Possibilities and its Limits.” President Kroger attended but only spoke up twice: once to explain that he could stay for the entire Union because he had canceled his theatre date with his wife, and a second time to joke that he did not intend to argue that having sex on campus is an Honor Principle violation, as President Sullivan did in 1961. English Professor Roger Porter introduced the Union’s five panelists and started the discussion by asking what student body autonomy is and how it should be defined. John Sheehy ’83, trustee and author of Comrades of the Quest: An Oral History of Reed College, described the relationship between students and the administration as a “dance,” saying that there is “inherent tension between freedom and responsibility.” Sheehy said that spring crises like this semester’s Paideia controversy, which he jokingly referred to as “Paideiagate,” bring tension to the dance. According to Sheehy, “when the dance fails, it fails due to apathy on the part of one partner,” so it is necessary to continually question the relationship between the student body and the administration, and the way the community functions as a whole. Judicial Board Chair Lilli Paratore ’13 made a distinction between individual student autonomy and student body autonomy.

Hum Play 2K13 Has Some Novel Concepts

The direktors tout that Hum Play this is year will be “dirtier, raunchier, and uncircumcised, as it should be.” The show will be in Vollum Lecture Hall on April 26th at 7 p.m. A sub-free show will be the day before at 9 p.m. There is a one-butt per seat policy so students will be lining up early. Direktor Megan Finley says the wait is worth it because “Peter Steinberger said that ‘Hum Play keeps the original feeling behind Renn Fayre alive.'”

The actors are all freshman and the direktors are all Hum Play actors from last year. They are Megan Finley ’15, Meghan Comer ’15, Ray Zuniga ’15, Madeline Resse ’15, and Alex McCracken ’15. Zuniga says that “the first rule of Hum Play is you don’t talk about Hum Play.”

Thesis Christ: Clara Redwood

Clara Redwood’s ’13 thesis: “Creating Origami Crease Patterns for Curved 3 Dimensional Objects.”  

Clara Redwood’s ‘13 thesis desk is littered with origami paper. Clara, the only girl who is strictly a math major in her class, is writing her thesis with Math Professor Irena Swanson on folding algorithms.

Clara, of Buffalo, New York explains that one could use folding algorithms, for instance, “when [they] try to figure how you can have a solar panel fold down into a tiny box and then fold out into space.”

Clara, on the other hand, is “writing an algorithm that turns a square piece of paper into an ellipsoid.”

Clara’s algorithm will allow one to input the three radii of an ellipsoid. The algorithm will then take those three radii and output a crease pattern that, once folded, will become a three-dimensional origami ellipse. The complication in creating an ellipsoid in contrast with a sphere is that in an ellipsoid, every curve is going to be different.

Eileen Myles: Laughter and Short Poems

“If you were waiting for the poem, that was it,” said Eileen Myles after reading the two lines of her poem, “Tree,” to open last Thursday night’s poetry reading. The comment was met by laughter from 60 or so people gathered in the Eliot Chapel, and set the precedent for an unpredictable hour of poetry, ranging from a lengthy poem discussing theology to a poem entitled “Paint Me A Penis.” Although the hallowed halls of the Eliot Chapel were slow to yield applause and snaps never once seemed appropriate, laughter was frequent, and the poet held her audience spellbound. Drawing upon a quote from Myles’s novel, Inferno: “Awards are the only currency American writing has to describe a writer’s work. It’s almost French,” Visiting Professor of Creative Writing Samiya Bashir went on to recount the many of the awards Myles has received, including a Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital, Arts Writers Grant, three Lambda Book Awards, a Shelley Award from the Poetry Society of America, and, most recently, a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a memoir, Afterglow. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she moved to New York in 1974 to become a poet.