Monthly Archives: October 2011

Elevator Etiquette

I posted the following on the intranet site here at NYUAD, accessible to faculty, staff, and students. Pretty tongue-in-cheek (which some students have totally missed, sending me annoyed emails), but also quite true. We’ll see what happens. Hoping for max troll impact.


The following is a public service announcement about proper elevator use throughout the Global Network University.

Hello, Sama Tower residents. Each day we commute from our apartments and dorm rooms to DTC, the dining hall, restaurants, Al Safa, and — sorry for these folks — the CSE labs. Considering that we all live on floors six and above, that means frequent elevator rides for everyone.

As such, we should strive to maximize the efficiency of our collective travels up and down the building. I have seen some less than optimal performance lately, so I would like to suggest the following be adopted at NYUAD:

If you are on the elevator and someone presses a button one floor from yours (i.e. if you live on floor 7 and your friend presses 8), you shall not press the button for your floor. Instead, get out, take the stairs one flight, and go on your way.


First of all, it is a big time saver for those on higher floors on full elevators. Perhaps more importantly, the psychological health of those living on floor 17 forced to wait for stops at floors 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 12 is severely at risk.

Also, if you violate Elevator Etiquette at NYU in New York, people will cough, sigh, say things like “you serious?” under their breath, and generally disrespect you, as you feel their glares piercing into the back of your head. Do you want to be “that guy?”


There are exceptions to EE. You are exempt in the following circumstances:

– You are carrying heavy items

– You are unable to take the stairs (e.g. broken leg)

– You are on the elevator with just one friend, and you want to troll them


Public shaming of those in violation of EE is often enough. Double clicking their illegal floor selection to undo it is also a viable option. Be creative.


If we all start following proper EE, we will save time, get a little more exercise, and generally become better people.


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Some Historical Perspective On Occupy Wall Street

Ken Ford, my grandfather (read his books!), emails:

David Brooks is dismissing Occupy Wall Street as meaningless, or even harmful, but I see it as a reflection of a pretty widespread dissatisfaction — in truth not just with Wall Street, but with America’s power structure and the pervasive role of money in controlling government and society. When the anti-Vietnam-War protests started around 1964-65, they were dismissed, too, as small, misguided, and meaningless. A blip on the radar that would soon blow over.

Of course, they represented something deeper. They grew, became mainstream, did in Lyndon Johnson, and turned into a much broader current of revolution on behalf of women’s rights and minority rights. The “Vietnam era” was a watershed of the 20th century. One can’t help wondering if we might now be on the cusp of something similar, perhaps focused on the rights of the powerless.

I’m actually quite surprised I haven’t read anything to date about this connection between the early stages of Vietnam protests and OWS. As Brad DeLong would say: Why Oh Why can’t we have a better press corps?

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