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Aliens Trump Underachievement

The match-up between Andy Bernard and Ellie Arroway proved to be a spirited one, but when it was over, Cornell’s top dog had been alienated from the competition by the ET-encountering scientist from MIT.

Ellie Arroway from Contact.

This week’s votes saw no shortage of discussion about typical housemate concerns:

  • Can one anger management course cure volatility?
  • How do you regard alien houseguests?
  • Does a sweet a cappella voice boost your street cred?
  • Are food words ever acceptable nicknames?

It came down to substance of character, work habits, and the promise of great conversation, and MIT recovered from its shocking loss last week to win over the judges up the river and deal Cornell a big upset.

Say the Harvard judges:

“Clearly, MIT and Cornell alumni have done their due diligence in considering all the arguments for and against Andy and Ellie. Andy’s visiting a cappella singing pals would encourage any roommate to look for intelligent life outside the home. However, Ellie does appear to be prepared to administer a terrifying and thorough probing of your personal spaces.

“We at the Harvard Alumni Association tend to agree with the MIT critics: Andy’s insecurities, sarcasm, neediness, volatility, and underwhelming career choice (especially given his excellent academic credentials) make him the lesser candidate. Ellie all the way! Who could say no to a passionate, workaholic innovator, who is clean and tidy, whom you will only see when she steps away from her work to enjoy a cocktail and some out-of-this-world conversation?”

Here are some of the noteworthy MIT votes, as selected by the Harvard judges:

“If Andy was your housemate, he would bring over annoying a cappella singing friends to rehearse. If Ellie was your housemate, she would bring over the first ALIEN SPECIES that the human race has ever had contact with!!! Yeah, sorry, aliens are just a tad more cool and interesting…” —Christian

“Ellie would be so busy working you wouldn’t even notice her, it would be like having your own place. Andy however would always be around annoying you and wanting to be your best friend, naming you “Lasagna” just because you had it for dinner the first night you moved in…. how annoying would that be?!?” —Linda

“I think that Ellie would bring home the best new toys to play with. Alien wormhole generators, new computers, new alloys, even the clothes are stylin’.” —Joe

“Want someone to figure out how to chill a beer in 5 seconds? Ellie. Want someone that may have trouble opening a beer? Andy. Ellie, best housemate, ever!” —Dennis

“Ellie can also talk from experience about the great mysteries of the universe. What a dinner conversation!” —Dan

“If I wanted a snarky, videogame playing, tantrum throwing roommate, I could just go look for any idiot off Craigslist.” —Bob

“Let’s see, live with a person that sells paper in Scranton, PA, or someone that travels the world, and the universe. That’s easy Ellie. I’d have the house to myself most of the time, and when she does come back, the stories she’ll have. Ellie, it’s an easy choice!” —the Alchemist

“Which would you rather tell people: My roommate is an astronomer from MIT involved in the construction of a space travel device vs. I live with a middle aged guy who works for a Scranton paper company who can’t stop talking about how he went to Cornell?” —Dean

“Andy would give you annoying nicknames like big tuna and refer to himself in 3rd person as nard-dawg.” —Funkadelicaa

Of course, Cornellians are ardent supporters of Bernard, and the judges found many of their votes compelling:

“Bernard looks far more friendly and welcoming. Arroway looks prepared to administer a deep cavity search, what with the gloves and flashlight and all.” —Jack

“He’s also musical, so you needn’t waste time or money going to a concert, just have Andy sing a cappella or play an instrument for you.” —Brittany

“What if the aliens came back and mistook you for Ellie? (who knows if aliens can tell humans apart)—I don’t think I’d sleep well with her as a roommate. Andy would probably wake you up with a song—a much better way to wake up than alien abduction.” —Kristin

“Here comes treble!!! Andy’s smooth singing would fill the house with Christmas cheer.” —eeljm

Check back next Monday, Dec. 12, for the third quarterfinal match-up in a battle of the world-savers: Tony Stark vs. David Levinson. They might both be from MIT, but this is a good time for Cornell to think strategically for later rounds of the tournament. 

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Quarterfinals, Week 10: Andy Bernard vs. Ellie Arroway

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, would make the best housemate—and why?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

This week’s judge: Harvard University Alumni Association. Twitter: @HarvardAlumni.

MIT-Cornell Fictional Alumni Face-Off

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Andy Bernard and Ellie Arroway.

As before, judges will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining they find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at noon ET.

Sideshow Mel Continues to Surprise, Advance

Despite a stated goal of world domination, Lex Luthor can’t win.  For 70-plus years, it’s been Superman. This week, it’s Sideshow Mel, who was determined the better roommate by Ivy-Plus guest judges from the Penn Alumni Association. As the judges wrote:

“This was a tough call! Both sides were funny, clever, and playful. Unfortunately, while both sides were well argued and had good points, we have to vote for Cornell. MIT was at a distinct disadvantage from the start—hard to make the argument that Lex Luthor would make the superior housemate with all of his evilness. But we liked that Cornell was able to bring the argument back to the fact that Chris Reeves was an alumnus of theirs.”

The votes below represent the ones the judges found especially compelling in making this week’s ruling.

(Lex is) a sociopath, which means he doesn’t care what you need. Sideshow Mel, on the other hand, is a comedian, which means he craves your approval. —Noah

Sideshow Mel is detail oriented and eager to please, he would pay his share of the rent ahead of time and quickly wash his dishes. Luthor would be unfindable on rent day and likely destroy the dishes along with part of the surrounding neighborhood. —David

Bottom line is that Lex Luthor has repeatedly been defeated by Superman, who is known to Cornellians as Christopher Reeve ’74. Corey

For a man considered by many as the greatest villain of all time, Luthor had a surprising number of supporters. Most pointed to his vast wealth and the potential for high-tech gadgets to help around the house. The judges singled out the votes below as noteworthy.

Lex Luthor for the win…what would you rather have your roommate bring to the house – a slide whistle and a monkey, or a 400″ HD TV and a death ray? ‘Nuff said? —Steven

Lex Luthor of course – he would come up with some device to take care of all household chores and make the house energy self sufficient in the course of taking over the world. —Dan

You mean I get to live in one of several mad science style secret lairs as opposed to with someone who will hog the bathroom for hours and hours putting on clown makeup? —Justin

It just goes to show you that anything can happen in this tournament. Check back on Monday, when space exploration takes on paper production, as we continue the quarterfinal round with a different guest judge from the Ivy-Plus family.

Quarterfinals, Week 9: Sideshow Mel vs. Lex Luthor

Round 2 has begun! To keep things interesting, we’ve implemented a few changes.

1) There is a different question to respond to in order to vote. This question will also be changed for the semifinal and final rounds.

2) Voting now ends at noon on Friday.

3) And so you know the judging is fair, our colleagues from other Ivy Plus (the Ivy League plus MIT and Stanford) alumni associations will be judging.

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, would make the best housemate—and why?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

This week’s judge: the University of Pennsylvania Alumni Association. Twitter: @pennalumni.

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Sideshow Mel and Lex Luthor.

As before, judges will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining they find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at noon ET.

Invisibility Reigns Over Crime Solving

The power to be invisible was overwhelmingly deemed a greater contribution to society than the ability to investigate and solve crimes, giving MIT’s Invisible Woman a victory over Cornell’s crime-solving Kay Scarpetta.

With a resume that includes helping save the world from villains like Doctor Doom and Galactus, it’s no surprise that most voters agreed in the Invisible Woman’s immense value. Throw in the fact that her Wikipedia entry states, “Her unparalleled sense of compassion and common sense make her a natural-born leader” and you have your recipe for the match eight winner.

“Once again we are confronted with a choice between a person who can help a few people by solving a handful of murders or someone who can save the world. I’ll go with saving the world any day.” —The Alchemist

“A superhero vs. a medical examiner? Come on, clearly Sue Storm offers more to society, but just in case it isn’t patently obvious, I’ll spell it out; Kay Scarpetta just sifts through the after-effects of crime, while Sue Storm prevents crime.” —Sven

“Kay Scarpetta is a crime-solving ME, and Sue Storm is a super-hero scientist. When Galactus comes to eat the Earth, Sue will still be a super-hero scientist; the best Kay can hope to rate is dessert.” —Charles

“Sue can save the world from global warming with her force field. Kay causes global warming with her Mercedes. GO TECH.” —Katharine

Despite a varied career that includes work as a chief medical examiner, private forensic consultant, and head of the National Forensic Academy, Kay Scarpetta’s supporters were minimal. The most impassioned pro-Scarpetta response came from Ken, an impartial observer with a unique perspective.

“I have degrees from both MIT and Cornell, so that factor cancels out. But I vote for Kay Scarpetta since her work educates more people about the real world. Yes I know it’s fiction, but the scientific basis shines through and the nation certainly needs to improve its scientific literacy.”

This concludes the first round of voting. Enjoy the holiday and check back on Monday, November 28, for Round 2, when we discover how Sideshow Mel reacts to the sordid tactics of Lex Luthor. We may even have a surprise in the way of judging.

Week 8: Cornell’s Kay Scarpetta vs. MIT’s Sue Storm

THIS IS THE ROUND ONE FINALE!

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, has the potential to offer the greatest contribution(s) to society?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Kay Scarpetta and Sue Storm.

Representatives from the Cornell and MIT Alumni Associations will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining we find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Rosebud Lives On

The legacy of Citizen Kane was too much for the cult appeal of Quantum Leap.

Due mostly to his potential to offer great contributions to society–and not necessarily what he actually achieved in his fictional life–Charles Foster Kane lives on, narrowly defeating time traveler and string theory innovator Sam Beckett. In the closest match up since Sideshow Mel defeated Dilbert, Kane’s media control was deemed more powerful than Beckett’s time traveling exploits.

Kane used his family’s affluence to build a media empire, encouraging a U.S. war with Spain and dabbling in politics in the process. His actions benefited only himself, but his wealth and power were too much to ignore.

“Charles Foster Kane; the ultimate frat boy…A monumental life, writ large. ‘Rosebud’ is the ultimate ending to an American life. In contrast, Sam Beckett is little more than a cartoon character, writ very, very small.” – Nixons Farm

“This is a joke, right? It’s Charles Foster Kane! He’s a legend! He starts wars! Who can possibly question that he would have more to offer to society?” – Bernardo Menezes

“Without Charles Foster Kane, Cuba would still belong to Spain. No independent Cuba=no Bacardi Rum or mojitos. Let me see–Cuba libre or string theory? No doubt which had a greater impact…” – Tom Furlong

It’s no surprise Sam Beckett’s supporters were passionate. As pro-Beckett voter Kevin Yeh points out, he saved Jacqueline Kennedy from assassination and freed the great-grandfather of Martin Luther King, Jr. from slavery. And it’s hard to argue against the Quantum Leap tagline, “Setting right what once was wrong.”

 “San Beckett wins. Final episode of Quantum Leap: ‘The lives you touched, touched others, and those, others. You’ve done a lot of good, Sam Beckett, and you can do a lot more.’ – David Hsu

“Sam Beckett did more to spread popular awareness of string theory than anyone else. Clearly a bigger contribution than the invention of yellow journalism.” – The Alchemist

“The premise of Sam Beckett’s leaps is that he is trying to put things right in the world. Sounds like an open and shut case of one character trying to help society and another out for his own good.” – Alfred Morgan

In the end, the power of Charles Foster Kane overwhelmed the science behind quantum physics, with Kane supporter Jeffrey Folinus summing it up best.

“Charles Foster Kane, certainly. And he would agree.”

Check back Monday for the final week of round 1. It should be a close one – two very powerful women from two very different worlds.

Week 7: Charles Foster Kane vs. Sam Beckett

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, has the potential to offer the greatest contribution(s) to society?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Charles Foster Kane and Sam Beckett.

Representatives from the Cornell and MIT Alumni Associations will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining we find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Levinson Lays Down the Law: MIT Win Streak Hits Three

In Independence Day, “cable repairman” David Levinson flew into orbit to vanquish Earth’s oppressor, but in the Cornell/MIT Fictional Alumni Tournament, defeating his opposition required far less effort.

Cornell’s Mitchell Pritchett may have no trouble when it comes to convincing a jury of his peers, but when it comes to overall contributions to society, saving the Earth from impending doom carries more weight than defending habeas corpus.

Most pro-Levinson responses revolved around a central theme: he saved the world. Even with Perry Mason, Matlock, and Johnny Cochran by his side, Pritchett Esq. would have had a tough time making a case for himself.

If there’s one thing the judges have learned throughout the course of this tournament, it’s that Cornellians, no matter how daunting it may seem, can come up with a defense for their brethren:

Mitchell Pritchett all the way. We need a man from a modern family that understands the modern world we all live in. #MITCU – Allen

Levinson only thought of the computer virus idea because of his father, otherwise he would have kept drinking himself into a coma and the aliens would have taken over. Mitchell is a devoted father, successful attorney, and a shining example of how to succeed despite society’s prejudices and narrow perception of family values.- Keith

I vote Mitchell – he makes us laugh every week, and showed great ingenuity using the placebo effect on his dad this week. Must have taken Psych 101 at Cornell… – Julianna

Even MIT alums found some fault with Levinson:

Sorry fellow alumni, Levinson’s use of a Powerbook (pre-OS X no less!) is a huge knock to his geek cred. Contrast with Mitchell’s awesome Spider-Man costume (and wall-clinging ability!), and I’ve got to give this round to Mitchell. – Todd

Saving the world was the popular point made by the Engineers, but some chose to stray down the path of ridiculing Mitchell’s profession and his…delicate sensitivities:

Definitely Levinson. He’s got a cuter spouse, he whines marginally less, and he’s not a lawyer – Doug

No contest—-the only drawback to David Levinson is that he did not truly save the world by having the dinosaurs refine their diets to attorneys such as Esq. Pritchett. – Jeffrey

David Levinson went from cable guy to world-saving hero in the span of a few days (thanks to his MIT education). Mitchell doesn’t even come close. Plus, how would he save the world from certain annihilation given his crazy fear of birds?… – Kirpeep.com

In the end, this was a battle between a man of science and a man of the law. While the justice system is an important part of maintaining civility, science is what advances society and sometimes, rescues it from a race of aliens who have the ability to build massive spaceships and fly across the universe, yet didn’t have the foresight to install Norton Anti-Virus on the mainframe computer of the mother ship.

Week 6: Mitchell Pritchett vs. David Levinson

To vote, simply answer the following question:

Which person, if real, has the potential to offer the greatest contribution(s) to society?

Cast your vote three ways:

  • Submit your answer in the comments of this post
  • Respond via the Cornell or MIT Facebook pages
  • Tweet using the hashtag #MITCU

Need some inspiration? Learn more about Mitchell Pritchett and David Levinson.

Representatives from the Cornell and MIT Alumni Associations will be looking for posts that are clever, witty, absurd, and downright ridiculous. The more entertaining we find your comment to be, the more likely it will tip the scale in favor of your alma mater. Voting ends each Friday at 1:00 p.m. ET.

  • Congrats, Tony Stark!

    Tournament brackets

    Click to enlarge. See full brackets below.

  • What's at stake?
    The winning school will take ownership of the soon-to-be-constructed Social Media Cup trophy.

    The losing school will be forced to produce a video that pays homage to both the tournament winner and his or her alma mater and promote the video on their own Facebook page.

  • Check out the complete brackets

    Tournament brackets

    Click to enlarge

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