533rd Cabinet

At Meeting VIII of the 532nd Session, we held elections for the upcoming spring semester. Please join us in welcoming the 533rd cabinet of the Philomathean Society:

Moderator: Andrew Bortvin
First Censor: Michael Freeman
Second Censor: Nick Joyner
Scriba: Prakash Mishra
Treasurer: Heather Tang
Recorder: Abhinav Suri
Librarian: John Schifalacqua
Archivist: Jeremy Cohen

sic itur ad astra! Φ

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Voices High and Low: Selections from an Accidental Archive


Monday, December 5 5-6pm

Join us for an exploration of a multilingual, multicultural and multicentric archive!

Part time-machine, part-archive, the Cairo Genizah is a collection of various writings of Jewish communities from the Middle Ages through the late 19th century. The collection was orginially deposited in the storeroom of an Old Cairo synagogue in the 10th century and consisted mainly of Psalms and Scriptures. It eventually grew to include over 200,000 written fragments ranging from Hebrew poetry and magic amulets to romantic correspondence and merchants’ receipts, written in a variety of languages including Hebrew, Aramaic and Judeo-Arabic. The Genizah presents an intimate, complicated paper trail of medieval Mediterranean society.

Mediterranean snack platters from Shalom Pizzeria and other refreshments will be provided.

A Jewish Studies Bassini Internship Project
Curated by Dalia Wolfson

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Meeting the Eighth: Forays into Bad Statistics


Friday, Decemeber 2 7:30pm

It was Andrew Lang who once said: “Politicians use statistics in the same way that a drunk uses lamp-posts—for support rather than illumination.” Join junior member Kathleen Zhou (W’17) as she takes us on a regression ride through the world of misrepresentative statistics.

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PTS x Philo Present Persona: Asian Americans in the Media


Thursday, November 17th 9 PM – 12 AM

Persona is a philanthropic art gala that will provide student artists a venue to display their art revolving around their identity and a platform for the discussion on the portrayal of Asian Americans in the media. There will be entertainment, substantive art, enjoyable food and drinks, and a raffle contest that involves gift cards and movie tickets; all proceeds will go to Tzu Chi, an international humanitarian organization.

Persona is a date-night that is open to ALL PENN STUDENTS!
Dress Code: Formal
Pre-sales: $8 each *
Door sales: $10 each
* For pre-sales, please contact a PTS board member or a Philo member, or fill out this form!

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Meeting the Seventh: Dissecting the Election / Beyond Argo

Friday, November 18 8:26pm

In the first literary exercise of the night, Bill Cao (CW ’17) will talk about the models that were used to predict the results of the presidential election, with a specific focus on 538’s prediction model and all of the factors that they have considered. After understanding the models that were used, we will then look at the actual exit polls from the election and compare them with historical polls to see if any assumptions of the prediction models did not hold in this historic election.

How do you think about the Iranian Revolution, and what goes into that historical conception? By looking at examples of history, popular culture (Argo!), journalism, and scholarship, we will explore the the construction of the Iranian revolution and US Hostage Crisis from an American lens. Together with Notorious LPB (C’18), we will consider how a complicated history is represented by our government, and how we construct cognitive schemas for understanding historical events.

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Friday Afternoon Tea: Patrick Bredehoft

Friday, November 11 at 4 PM

Patrick Bredehoft is the Director of Penn’s Alumni Interview Program, which coordinates the efforts of over 18,000 Penn alumni volunteers in 100 countries to offer an interview to every Penn undergraduate applicant. Patrick has previously worked as a Regional Director for Penn Admissions, as well as an IB English teacher at a high school outside of Istanbul, Turkey. He holds a BA in Literature from Dartmouth College and an MA in Education from Lesley University. He has been a Bob Dylan fan for decades: during his time at Penn, Patrick has participated in five annual presentations of various Dylan albums, and has led three Dylan-focused online book groups through the Kelly Writers House.

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Meeting the Sixth: Are Computer Scientists Professionals?


Friday, November 4 at 8:33 PM

Who exactly knows what in the world of computer science? How does the non-technical layperson – or governmental workers – know who to turn to when they are seeking a technical solution to a problem? Are people who code qualified to make decisions in critical infrastructure and life-support systems?

In today’s world, virtually all business relies on tech. Even companies that do not have a technology department find themselves paying other companies to use software. However, there are so many buzzwords, and a lack of technical literacy, that often we rely on computer scientists to inform and ultimately make decisions.

For all areas in which we require specialized knowledge, we employ professionals. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other professions exist in a separate class of workers with special privileges and certifications. In the world of computer science, however, exactly who has this expertise is hard to determine.

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Afternoon Tea with Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Election Edition


Friday, November 4th 4 PM – 6 PM

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is a nationally recognized authority on political communication, campaigns, and political rhetoric. The Elizabeth Ware Packard Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, she is also the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Director of the University’s Annenberg Public Policy Center.

Jamieson has authored or co-authored 16 books, including Packaging the Presidency: A History and Criticism of Presidential Campaign Advertising, Presidents Creating the Presidency: Deeds Done in Words, Echo Chamber: Rush Limbaugh and the Conservative Media Establishment, and unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation. The Obama Victory: How Media, Money, and Messages Shaped the 2008 Election, which she co-authored with Kate Kenski and Bruce Hardy, won the 2010 PROSE Award in government and politics from the Association of American Publishers, the 2011 International Communication Association’s Outstanding Book Award, and most recently the Diamond Anniversary Book Award from the National Communication Association.

In 2011 Jamieson was named to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, whose mission is to bolster teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. She has won numerous teaching awards from the University of Maryland, University of Texas, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Jamieson is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Political and Social Science and the International Communication Association.

Jamieson helped create FactCheck.org and FlackCheck.org, nonpartisan websites that monitor deception and confusion in U.S. politics. FactCheck.org has become a go-to resource for the 2012 campaign season, often cited by the press and used by candidates from both sides of the aisle.

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Breaking the Silence: How To Stop Sexual Violence on Campus RESCHEDULED

EDIT: For emotional and electoral considerations, this event has been rescheduled to late November/early December.

Wednesday, November 9 6:15 PM – 8 PM

What role Penn should play in combatting campus sexual violence?
What capabilities do students have in forcing the administration to act?
What can we do with organizations that send harmful messages?

If you are frustrated with the campus culture and institutional inertia, this is the forum for you. Come join Sofie Karasek, a co-founder of End Rape on Campus, as she helps us grapple with these questions. This will be a guided group discussion where everyone is encouraged to contribute. Having been extensively involved in campus activism, Title IX litigation, and survivor advocacy, Sofie is uniquely experienced in redirecting passion into tangible results.

Sofie Karasek is the Director of Education of the national survivor advocacy organization, End Rape on Campus (EROC). The organization works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities; prevention through education; and policy reform at the campus, local, state, and federal levels.
EROC has filed over 75 federal complaints, provided assistance to 700+ survivors, and been instrumental in passing survivor rights legislation in California (affirmative consent), Massachusetts (rape kits), Virginia (trauma informed curricula & education), Illinois (confidential advisor & taskforces) and more.
Sofie is a leading advocate for California’s affirmative consent law and a plaintiff against UC Berkeley’s on Title IX violations. She has written for the Guardian and the New York Times, and been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Bloomberg Businessweek, and documentary film “The Hunting Ground.”

To get into College Hall, please use the East Entrance by Fisher Fine Arts.

Cosponsored by Vagina Monologues, Penn Women’s Center, Lambda Alliance, and SPEC.


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Poe Vespertil, 2016

Once upon a six o’clock dreary,
While I pondered weak and weary
Over many quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore,
While I pondered, nearly napping
Suddenly there came a tapping
As of someone gently chanting
Chanting at dear Philo’s door.

Tis the Vespertil, I shouted
This it is, and so much more!


Come follow our annual tradition as we follow Locust Walk during a dusk time procession, reciting the Raven and the Bell by Edgar Allen Poe along the way. Maxwell Levy ’18, this year’s Poe Toaster, will be leading the procession. Cider will be served.

The event begins at 6:30pm, Monday night, and we will be departing promptly at 6:59pm.
Please use the East Entrance of College Hall, by Fisher Fine Arts Library.
FB Event

Kelly Sullivan Med '21 prepares for the Vespertil.

Kelly Sullivan Med ’21 prepares for the Vespertil, 2016.


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