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Day: January 21, 2010

Fratfix – Simple Economics

I'm sure you all know SOMETHING about economics, and there's nothing more simple than supply and demand. That is, when a service or good is in demand, someone will usually step up and supply that good. Here at Penn State, what do we demand? Big 10 championships. God-like football coaches. Clutch field-goal kickers. Money for the kids.

But an under-appreciated (until now) demand is that of fixing all the things that frats break. Imagine you're a fraternity brother, you're having a party, and someone breaks a window. It doesn't matter how it happened, what matters is that the windows broken and it's cold outside! What are you going to do? You could fix it yourself, but that would probably require actual effort. So you duct tape a piece of cardboard over it, and that seems to do the job.

Are you tired of that being your only option? It no longer has to be! Fratfix is here to help you out! Fratfix's stated goal is to "assist fraternities with preventative maintenance and management of the fraternity house physical plant."

Honestly, this company is a brilliant idea. Sure, there are tons of companies out there that do the exact same things for normal houses, but none of those have the word "Frat" in the name! Come on, who do you want to come lay your pipes? Some middle-aged guy with plumber's crack, or Fratfix?

Freebie Alert: CATA iPhone App

The Centre Area Transit Authority recently released their CATA iPhone App for free. They previously had an app that was basically just a bunch of black and white scans of their bus schedules, then they had the balls to charge me $1.99 for it. (Turns out it was a student who made this app for their ENG411 class and then had the balls to charge me $1.99 for it, YouTube )

But their new app has hit a home run with their new GUI and GPS data. I used the updated website's realtime bus locater often (amazing!), but it was a real pain in the ass to use it on my phone. More times that not I was stuck out in the cold navigating their website to find that I just missed the bus. Now I'll be able to check my bus schedules right before I leave class with only two touches of the glass to find out that I just missed the bus, and I might as well hop on for a few moments to see whats happening.

You can get this app in the iTunes App Store now

Onward State iPhone App Usefulness Rating: A+

It’s a Small World After All?

Or is the Penn State alumni association really just that expansive? The website Very Small Array recently designed a special map of Park Slope in New York City ("brave, bourgiest corner of Bourgie Brooklyn", says Gawker), a hipster haven, music mecca, indie asylum. This map has all the streets in the Park Slope area, but the street names have been changed to the names of the colleges found on the rear windows of the cars parked there (maybe). Not surprisingly, Penn State is one of the largest names on this map, along with most of the ivies. What divine knowledge can we glean from this information?

Penn State (and a large part of Onward State's readers/writers) has a large, under-appreciated hipster population
Penn State graduates are some of the only people who care enough to put a PSU sticker in their rear windshield
Being included with these other prestigious schools CLEARLY shows that Penn State doesn't get the proper respect that they deserve as an academic juggernaut
This website could be a little biased

Take what you want from this map. Regardless of any revelations you come to, it's a pretty cool project by someone with clearly too much time on their hands, and it amused me (and hopefully you) for a solid minute. Not bad.

Spanier Keynote Speaker at ISU Bash

Before gracing Happy Valley with his presence, President Graham Spanier got his undergraduate and master's degrees at Iowa State. I'd say they've served him pretty well—so well, in fact, that Iowa State is having Spanier as their keynote speaker at the 50th anniversary celebration of ISU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Said Michael Whiteford, the College's dean, "That he is a university president and an Iowa State sociology graduate makes his return to campus for our college's 50th anniversary all the more meaningful."

Our beloved G-Span will leave us when he travels to Ames, Iowa, to give his speech: "What You Can Learn Sleeping in the Residence Halls," an apt reflection of today's college students. It's an appropriate subject for the venue, as going to college is infinitely different from 50 years ago. And he, of anyone, would know, from actually sleeping in the residence halls among the rank and file each move-in weekend.

ISU quotes Spanier as saying, "I always enjoy returning to Iowa State, since it brings back so many fond memories." Memories of going back and forth between the library and chapel, of course. No, but really, any man who has participated in the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona and is the president of one of the biggest universities in the United States is the definition of well-rounded, to the point where you wonder if he's for real.

More power to you, G-Span, you've showed us how real you are. Go show your alma mater what you're all about.

Back from Iraq

English 497 is a class that most of us will never take. "Narrative, Oral History, New Media Technologies" allows students to document their recent experiences in the Iraq War.

Penn State created this course in the spring of 2009 to provide an outlet for those adjusting from military service to college life. According to the class website, "Students gained hands-on experience in documentary filmmaking and oral history interviewing while learning pre- and post-production video techniques."

Through videos, writing assignments, and blog posts, the students shared their memories to educate others as well as to examine their experiences on a personal level.

Dave Walker, a 28-year-old from Danville, recently took the class and graduated from Penn State. Says, "Walker's stylishly produced film tracks the contrasts in attitudes and experiences between an enthusiastic ROTC student looking forward to military service and that of one of Walker's friends who served in Iraq."

The students' blogs and videos are available on the website, so check them out if you'd like some personal accounts of the Iraq War.

2011 Senior Gift Committee Apps Available!

The 2010 Senior Gift Committee is now taking applications for next year's Committee. Anyone graduating in May, August, or December of 2011 is eligible to participate in this nearly 150 year old Penn State tradition.

Past gift include nearly every PSU landmark (besides Old Main), including the Nittany Lion Shrine and the Allen Street Gates. Past committees have also provided student and research support through scholarships and endowments.

If you’re an enthusiastic extrovert with a passion for Penn State, then fill out that app and have a say in how your class will be remembered. Will its gift be an awesome Tyrannosaurus Rex building with classrooms in its fire-breathing head, or a nice bench?

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