“Robert, Robert. That’s the Colosseum.”
I don’t know when it quite hit us that we were, in fact, in Rome, but it might have been the point when our bus, throwing us backwards and forwards as it stumbled through the cobblestone streets, started circling the Colosseum. As that most legendary of ancient ruins loomed before our eyes, I started hitting my friend’s arm frantically, eyes wide open, jaw dropped in disbelief that we were actually there, that it was actually there, as if all the books and photographs all these years had actually been lying.

About two weeks ago, two researchers poking around inside iOS came across a file entitled “consolidated.db” that seemed to be generated each time an iPhone was synced with the host computer. That file, once opened, showed a time-stamped record of the phone’s location (via cell tower triangulation) that spanned back several years. The two researchers, Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, found a similar file on each machine of theirs that had been synced with an iPhone. If you have an iPhone, there’s a similar file on your machine right now.

We pride ourselves in our diversity. Be it racial, socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, geographic, religious, linguistic or intellectual, Amherst battles against homogeneity within its student (and faculty) population with very high standards. One area in which we are sadly lacking, however, is that which is present around our male students’ faces. Specifically, the number of students with facial hair is grossly underrepresented.

There are good movies, bad movies and weird movies. And once in a while there comes a movie that defies what you think you know about cinema. With chills running down your spine, you stare at the screen for the entire run. And when the lights finally come on, you sit still, stunned, every part of your body palpitating.

For almost three months, St. Petersburg held me tight in its icy grip. After my arrival here in late January, a combination of bureaucratic complexities (the Russian visa system is an enigmatic process worthy of a Kafka novel) and personal indifference meant that I never stepped foot outside of the city. I say indifference because I never had any particular desire to leave; why bother going out to explore Russia at large when Petersburg alone had so much to offer?

“Poetry makes nothing happen,” W. H. Auden wrote in his elegy for another celebrated poet, W. B. Yeats. In a way, Nicholson Baker’s latest novel, “The Anthologist”, proves how very right —and very wrong — that statement is.

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