Author Archives: Brian Geiger

Tiger of the Week: Writer, Editor Landon Y. Jones ’66

Landon Jones ’66 (Courtesy Landon Jones)

Landon Jones ’66 (Courtesy Landon Jones)

While the diploma of Landon Jones ’66 may say that he graduated from Princeton with a degree in English, the St. Louis, Mo. native who claims to have actually “majored in The Daily Princetonian.” His dedication to journalism eventually led to a career at Time, Inc., which honored Jones last week with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award at the company’s annual Luce Awards.

On one assignment for The Prince, Jones had the opportunity to interview Malcolm X in the Firestone Library. Despite the activist’s fiery reputation, Jones found Malcolm X to be thoughtful and good-natured. “It was a lesson to me that sometimes what you expect is not what you get, and as a journalist you need to keep your eyes open to that,” he said.

After a brief stint at Life, Jones returned to Princeton to serve as the editor of the Princeton Alumni Weekly from 1969-75. From writing articles to working on the layout to proofreading, Jones performed any and all roles at the magazine. Rather than just continue with business as usual, however, he applied his experience as a student journalist to more accurately capture the politicized environment of the campus.

“I took it from a fairly conservative [magazine] to reflect the way the campus was changing, from Vietnam, to female empowerment, to sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll,” he said.

After his work with PAW, Jones wrote for Time and People before becoming the editor of Money magazine from 1984-89, and, later, serving as the editor of People from 1989-97. Continue reading

Football Gains Cultural Experiences, New Bonds in Trip to Japan

posterWhile the rest of the Ivy League’s football teams are gathering for spring practice, Princeton football has passed that stage in the calendar. Over the spring recess, the Tigers traveled across the Pacific to take on the Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters in Osaka, Japan. The “Legacy Bowl” was an exhibition game held March 21 in recognition of Kwansei Gakuin University’s 125th anniversary.

The Tigers prepared for their match against the Fighters, described as the Alabama of Japan (due to winning four consecutive national collegiate football titles and a record 27 total collegiate titles), while adjusting to reduced caloric intake due to smaller portion sizes, jet lag, and other obstacles.

“Usually we have a big projector, but we had to crowd around our coach’s laptop in a hotel room to watch game film,” said quarterback Garrett Gosse ’16.

The Tigers ultimately came out on top, scoring five touchdowns and a field goal in a 36-7 victory. Chad Kanoff ’17 paced Princeton with strong play at quarterback, completing 15 of 20 passes for 207 yards and earning game-MVP honors.

The score differential does not, however, truly capture the benefits of playing against the Fighters. “A big part of Japanese culture is discipline and respect, so even though we were winning by a lot in the fourth quarter, they were still trying as hard as they could,” said tight end Dylan White ’16. “From a football perspective, it’s awesome — it gets guys who usually aren’t playing a lot more experience.” Continue reading

NSA Director Speaks on Agency’s Duties, Leaks

Adm. Michael S. Rogers spoke in Richardson Auditorium March 10 in a rare public appearance for the director of the National Security Agency and the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.

Admiral Michael S. Rogers (National Security Agency)

Adm. Michael S. Rogers (National Security Agency)

Noting that the “rights of the individual and privacy are inherent characteristics of our very self as a nation” while also bearing in mind the increasing number and potency of threats from cyberspace, Rogers cited his desire to begin a conversation with the public about striking a balance between individual rights and the nation’s security.

“I’m interested in a dialogue about how we will work our way through this challenge as a nation,” Rogers said. “What we are comfortable with, and what we are not comfortable with.”

Rogers briefly described the NSA’s chain of command and oversight mechanisms, including its accountability to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the U.S. federal court that oversees judicial warrants for certain kinds of domestic intelligence gathering.

“Every nation has their approach to this. I right now probably have more oversight and more responsibility to people outside my organization than any of my foreign counterparts, in some ways,” Rogers said.

In the question-and-answer portion, Rogers was asked about the NSA’s data-collection practices and its respect for the privacy of U.S. citizens. One exchange was tense. Continue reading

Students’ Open-Source Tech Project Enables New Voice-Command Apps

Computer science students Shubhro Saha ’15, left, and Charlie Marsh ’15. (Courtesy the Jasper Project)

Computer science students Shubhro Saha ’15, left, and Charlie Marsh ’15. (Courtesy the Jasper Project)

For Shubhro Saha ’15, the idea of developing an open-source platform for voice-controlled computer applications was born out of a simple desire: to have his house act like billionaire Tony Stark’s in the Iron Man films. “I was sitting around last June and I wanted to live like Tony Stark — I wanted the experience of sitting in a room and talking to my walls,” Saha said.

Jasper, the platform that Saha created with fellow computer-science major Charlie Marsh ’15, operates like a customizable Siri, allowing users to create their own voice-command tools. Its release earlier this month led to broad interest from programmers, as well as coverage from Forbes, Wired, and a number of niche technology sites.

The idea grew from a collaboration last summer: After Saha built a prototype of his idea, he reached out to Marsh to see if he’d also be interested in working on Jasper. Saha first met Marsh when the two worked on a project for COS 333: Advanced Programming Techniques.

When Saha video chatted with Marsh to demonstrate the prototype of Jasper, Marsh was “incredibly impressed” with the progress Saha had made. “From there I was sold,” Marsh said. “I really wanted to be involved.” Continue reading

Bernanke Speaks About Challenges of Chairing the Fed

Ben Bernanke was a tenured professor at Princeton and chaired the economics department from 1996 until September 2002, when he went on public-service leave to serve on the Federal Reserve board. Four years later, he was appointed as the Fed chairman.

Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured in a 2010 visit to campus. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

Former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, pictured in a 2010 visit to campus. (Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)

“The biggest thing I’d ever run before [the Federal Reserve] was the economics department at Princeton, so there were a lot of new things to think about,” Bernanke said in a speech at McCosh 50 on April 2. While his work as department chair gave him “a lot of experience working with prima donnas,” Bernanke said that leading the Fed was filled with new challenges.

“The thing that surprised me the most about the job was how much of it involved dealing with political figures,” Bernanke said. “The Fed is independent and apolitical, that’s very true — there were no politics in our decision-making. But it’s still very important for the Fed to coordinate with and explain itself to Congress and the administration.”

Bernanke was invited to campus by the Whig-Cliosophic Society to receive the 2014 James Madison Award for Distinguished Public Service. Past recipients of this award include Golda Meir (1974), Bill Clinton (2000), and Antonin Scalia (2008). Continue reading

O’Shea ’16 Wins Jeopardy! College Tournament; Next Stop: Mathey Trivia Night

Terry O’Shea '16, pictured with Alex Trebek, is a lifelong Jeopardy! fan. (Photo: Courtesy Jeopardy! Productions Inc.)

Terry O’Shea ’16, pictured with Alex Trebek, is a lifelong Jeopardy! fan. (Photo: Courtesy Jeopardy! Productions Inc.)

Terry O’Shea ’16 won the 2014 Jeopardy! College Tournament, making her the tournament’s first ever Princeton and Ivy League champion. Despite filming the final round about a month ago, O’Shea has had to keep quiet about her success until the final episode aired Feb. 21. The wait did not, however, diminish the excitement when the news broke.

“The Princeton reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive. I’ve gotten emails and Facebook messages from so many people, people I’ve lost touch with, some people I’ve never met,” O’Shea said. “I even received an email from a Princeton alumnus to congratulate me. He had also been on the show, and he wished me luck during the Tournament of Champions.”

At Princeton, O’Shea is tentatively majoring in English with a certificate in French. She works as the assistant prose editor for The Nassau Literary Review, the co-editor-in-chief for The Public Journal, and is a member of the Bee Team. The Princeton organization that had the most immediate impact on her exceptional Jeopardy! performance, however, can be found taking over the Mathey College Common Room on select weeknights.

“I’m a regular at Mathey Trivia Night. Twice so far the organizer has asked a question about what the fruit of a rose plant is called,” O’Shea said. “It’s called a hip, and that was a $2,000 question during the tournament.” Continue reading