If you’re going to be in Hawai’i this week…

August 21, 2006

…Mark Panek ’90 will be autographing copies of his new book, Gaijin Yokozuna: A Biography of Chad Rowan, at several locations around Honolulu. The Honolulu Advertiser has a review of the book, along with a schedule of Mark’s appearances.

Of the book, the article says:

Not content to simply chart Rowan’s rise to the highest rank of the sport, Panek presents an intriguing study of Rowan as a outsider whose deft cultural performances evoked the Japanese identity so central to sumo’s ages-old identity.

The article gives an interesting look into Mark’s post-Colby life, as well:

After earning a degree in history from Colby College in Maine, Panek bought a one-way ticket to Hawai’i, arriving in Honolulu with just $500 and a surfboard.

Panek spent his days at the beach and worked nights as a waiter. It was a comfortable life for a 23-year-old college graduate, but Panek knew it wasn’t what he wanted to be doing in 10 years. When a friend from the bar circuit who was moving to Japan asked Panek if he wanted to come along, Panek jumped.

Read the article: Gaijin connection

Gaijin Yokozuna
is also one of the books by Colby College authors featured in the upcoming issue of Colby magazine.


Lena Barouh ’07 knows how to spell “erubescent”

August 14, 2006

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a trend of rejuvenilization (don’t bother looking it up—it’s not a word) has hit the Seattle, Wash. area. With everything from kickball leagues, Scrabble tournaments, and flag football, adults are spending their leisure time trying to recapture their childhoods. The first Monday of every month brings a spelling bee to Seattle watering hole Rebar.

“It’s kind of post-juvenile,” said Josh Malamy, co-host of the monthly spelling bee that drew more than 100 people last Monday night. “Some people do this because they have a history of this. Some people do it as if to right past wrongs, to make up for the kid who didn’t make it to No. 1. Other people are doing it to meet people and socialize.”

Colby senior Lena Barouh, former middle school spelling bee champion, came in second in the August bee. The word that did her in? “Alectryomancy.”

“It’s the only spelling bee I could ever conceive of where saying, ‘Yeah!’ and showing metal devil horns would have been OK and I wouldn’t have gotten thrown off stage,” said Barouh.

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article: Re-bar toasts those who are spellbound by childhood memories

Maine Birds: Biology Professor Herb Wilson’s Blog

August 14, 2006

Biology professor Herb Wilson, who writes a biweekly column called “For the Birds” for the Maine newspapers has a blog about Maine Birds called “Maine Birds.”

Read Herb’s blog: Maine Birds

“Magical” Professor Albert Mavrinac Dies

July 31, 2006

Albert Mavrinac, who was the chair of the government department at Colby from 1958 to 1982, died last Thursday at Thayer Hospital in Waterville.

“Of all the teachers I ever had, he was by far the best,” [Doris Kearns] Goodwin said in a phone interview last night. “He had this magical way of teaching that made us feel that if we could truly understand what he was saying — he was always a step beyond us — you would understand truth and justice.”

Read the Boston Globe article: Albert Mavrinac, 83; professor inspired students for 3 decades

Assistant Professor Adrian Blevins in Head-to-Head, Online, Poetry “Smack-Down”

July 27, 2006

If you like poetry, but feel that it would be more exciting as a competitive sport, then QuickMuse is the site for you.

The concept: take two accomplished poets, give them a random topic, give them 15 minutes to write an on-the-fly composition, then sit back and watch them “riff away,” as the site puts it. In a live write-off, the two poets compose their works directly into the Web site where observers can watch poems unfold, keystroke-by-keystroke, as the author ponders, writes, deletes, contemplates, rewrites, and moves on. Don’t worry if you can’t make the live performance, however. QuickMuse’s very cool “playback” feature allows you to replay the evolution of each poem.

“QuickMuse is a cutting contest, a linguistic jam session, a series of on-the-fly compositions in which some great poets riff away on a randomly picked subject. It’s an experiment, QuickMuse, to see if first thoughts are indeed the best ones. We’re not entirely sure about this, but we suspect QuickMuse will bring readers closer to the moment of composition than they have ever been before.”

On July 25, Colby College Assistant Professor Adrian Blevins was one of those poets. She was matched up against award-winning poet David Rivard. The topic: a poem from Bill Knott entitled, “Advice from the Experts.”

Read, playback, and discuss the resulting poems: Adrian Blevins v. David Rivard.

Read more about professor Blevins: Making Noise, an article from Colby magazine

[via Quickmuse]

Stopping to See Skowhegan

July 25, 2006

Blogger JenoftheNorth stopped by the Colby College Museum of Art to see the “Skowhegan School of Paining and Sculpture: 60 Years” show, and is glad she did.

“i also really liked the ben shahn piece–i think it was called music lesson–and the jacob lawrence hiroshima series. wow. i never knew he taught there either.

anyway, the show overall was meaty enough and well worth the stop…”

Read the post: jen of the north: “skowhegan school of painting & sculpture–60 years”

Osaka University Professor “Robots In” to Class

July 24, 2006

Forget the high price of gas, rush hour traffic, and finding a parking space. Hiroshi Ishiguro, head of Osaka University’s Intelligent Robotics Laboratory, can “robo-commute” to work. He has created a humanoid version of himself that he can control and speak through remotely.

“Everyone, thank you so much for coming today,” it says in polite but languid Japanese at an ATR demo Thursday, its lips moving to the sound. The voice is Ishiguro’s, broadcast through a speaker inside his android double.

Ishisguro also wants to see if the android can convey, through its complex micromovements and life-like appearance, a sense of human presence. In addition to being a technical experiment, the robot is also an experiment on human nature.

But why bother to build robots that look like humans? Ishiguro views machines as good vehicles to learn more about human nature. He combines engineering with cognitive science with the aim of making very humanlike robots, which can be used as test beds for theories about human perception, communication and cognition. He calls his approach “android science.”

Read the article: Meet the Remote-Control Self
[viaWired News]