In the News

April 21st, 2007

RUINING TABLECLOTHS As a committed Democrat, Janet Yellen’67, an influential member of the Federal Reserve Bank’s Federal Open Market Committee, is not likely to replace chairman Alan Greenspan anytime soon. (President Bush recently nominated former Brown parent Ben S. Bernanke to replace Greenspan.) But according to many Fed watchers, she’s certainly qualified to be the Fed’s first woman chair. “I’d ask her a question,” Laurence Meyer, a Fed governor who served with Yellen during the 1990s, told the Wall Street Journal in October, “and all of a sudden there would be diagrams written on the tablecloths.” Yellen, who is president of the San Francisco Fed, was listed as one of the Journal’s “50 Women to Watch.”

WARM SHEETS If the ice around the polar caps is melting due to global warming, what''s the impact likely to be and how long have we got? The work being done in Antarctica by Doug MacAyeal ’76 may one day provide answers. MacAyeal, who describes himself as the “minister of propaganda for icebergs,” has been studying the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets for twenty-nine years. Recently his focus has been to track the melting of baby icebergs as they break off and drift northward. Are they breaking off more frequently as the temperature warms? Do icebergs melt steadily down to nothing, or do they explode into huge pieces once meltwater freezes inside their cracks? “If you took a blowtorch and tried to melt Antarctica,” he explained to the Chicago Tribune in November, “it would take millions of years. But if you get mechanical break-ups, then you''ve got a mechanism to change Antarctica really quickly. Now we have something new to worry about in our angst over global warming.”

WHAT COLOR IS HIS PARACHUTE? When Bank of America took over FleetBoston Financial in 2004, one of the executives it inherited was Brian T. Moynihan ’81, who heads the global wealth and investment management division. Moynihan’s employment contract protected him in case his new bosses wanted to replace him: according to the Boston Globe, it provided for at least $6 million in “enhanced severance.” In October, though, Moynihan took the unusual step of asking Bank of America’s board to tear up his contract and freeze payments into his retirement plan. According to bank officials, Moynihan wanted to be treated like other bank employees and be paid solely on the basis of his performance. “It may indicate a certain nobility of character,” one flustered compensation specialist told the Globe. “But aside from that, I can’t think of a good reason for giving up the contract.” Moynihan needn’t worry, according to another banking specialist: “We’re not talking about a guy who’s going to eat peanut butter and cat food if he loses his job.”

LADIES WHO LAUNCH WOMEN may still have trouble breaking through the corporate glass ceiling, but one way to achieve one measure of equality may be to become an entrepreneur. Nearly half of all privately held businesses are owned by women, and the word’s getting around. Victoria Scaravilli Colligan ’91, along with Beth Schoenfeldt, has founded Ladies Who Launch, a company that provides distribution, marketing, public relations, and other tools for women starting their own businesses. Or, as the New York Sun described Ladies Who Launch in November: “This outfit supplies numerous tools to inspire and enable women’s dreams, while remembering that clever women are feminine and, actually, different from men.” Move over, Gloria Steinem.

APPEL PICKING The Sherwood Anderson Foundation announced in October that it would award its annual $15,000 Sherwood Anderson Writer’s Grant to Jacob Appel ‘96, ‘96 AM. David Spear, copresident of the foundation, was quoted in the Greensboro News & Record as saying, “Of more than forty fiction entries to the writer’s grant competition this year, we think Appel’s short stories … best illustrate the thoughtful, quirky simplicity and the economy of effect that Anderson himself used in his Winesburg, Ohio stories.” Appel is also an adjunct professor of community health at Brown, teaching a course in “Medicine, Law, and Morality.”

JUST A REGULAR GUY When a reporter for Entertainment Weekly caught up with John Krasinski ’02 this fall, he was happy to discover that Krasinski’s ego has not yet caught up with his success as Jim on the NBC sitcom The Office. About his audition for the show, Krasinski told EW: “I was sitting in the waiting room, and in the front door comes this guy, and he’s eating a salad, and he’s like, ‘Hey, are you nervous?’ And I said, ‘A little but I’m really nervous for the people who are making this show, ‘cause there’s always a tendency to screw it up.’ And the guy goes, ‘I’m the executive producer. Nice to meet you.’ And I was like ‘Yeah! Should I leave now, or should I walk into the room and then leave.’ ” Krasinski also has a small role in Jarhead and in Christopher Guest’s upcoming movie, For Your Consideration. Krasinski is also adapting David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men for the screen.

SINGING A TUNE Especially for the tone-deaf, karaoke is a way of standing up and being someone dreams are made of—or at least that’s the idea behind Real Karaoke People, a new collection of poems and prose by Ed-Bok Lee ’98 MFA. “On a spiritual level,” Lee told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in October, “people go to karaoke like they used to go to confessionals—to get things off their chests. In every small town and in every big town, there’s always a bar with karaoke.”

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January / February 2006