Category: Ideas

This piece is in response to a piece published in “The Columbia Beacon,” which in turn was published in response to an op-ed in the “Columbia Daily Spectator.”

I hated showing my work in math class.

No, seriously, I hated it.

Take 3(4x +7) = 45. I’m sure all of you remember how to prove that this obviously is true. You have to rewrite the equation to distribute the 3 into 4x+7 to get 12x + 21 equals 45. Then, you have to subtract 21 from both sides to get 12x=24. And finally, you divide both sides by 12 to get the answer, x =2. This, again, being obvious, I would just write the answer, x=2. It wasn’t as if math stopped working if I didn’t write out the three steps on my homework along with the answer. The answer would always be two, so why did I have to waste what little energy I had on one of 46 questions I had every evening for homework?

That argument did not save me from losing points on my assignments in 7th grade.

While I love questions about how a government operates and how we justify government action much more than I loved my algebra proofs, I can see why it’s tedious. Sure, prosecutors should focus on true threats to the community and not otherwise law-abiding citizens, the executive branch in the modern era is given significant discretion on how to enforce legislation; it’s fine if the de facto result of prosecutorial discretion means that a certain group of people already determined as safe have some guarantee of safety; and amnesty through this understanding is not the worst thing that has happened to the American rule of law. But did saying any of that make it truer? Would not saying that make it falser? Life, like math, doesn’t change absent the work that went into it. And while proving these complex questions of political theory makes one a better debater, debating the validity of one’s life to everyone who asks is an exhausting exercise of existentialism.

So sure, Joey, we should show our work to the teacher. Maybe it should be in op-ed form, or The Lion, or re:claim, for the sake of posterity. But I think, to stay in math class a moment longer, Undocu is tired of algebra and wants to move on to Accelerated Multivariable Calculus, and would be happy to debate Accelerated Multivariable Calculus, but you insist on debating algebra, and there’s only so many times they can write x=2 before 800,000 pencils snap in unison. I think that’s what they mean by “reconstructed.” Most people don’t question the virtue of DACA recipients. Most Trump-reluctant Republicans prefer to look like they’re being helpful on the issue as is.

And I’m sure you could make a wonderful argument in Accelerated Multivariable Calculus without writing MS minus 13.


If you’d like to submit an op-ed to The Lion, email

Interested in making the next billion dollar app, but don’t have a good idea yet? To help you get started, The Lion team sat down and came up with a few ideas for start-up websites for the Columbia community that would generate a lot of hits and a lot of general happiness.

If you make one of these sites a reality, let us know by commenting below or emailing

Alright, let’s be honest – how many times have you thought, “I really wish Starbucks/Koronet’s/Chipotle/Absolute could deliver food to my door?” Well, with ColumbiaDelivers, your wish would become a reality. You’d pay a ColumbiaDelivers employee to run and get your food for you. In addition, the service would only hire Columbia students – that way, you could get food ACTUALLY delivered to your door. None of that “meet me outside my dorm” crap. None of that “I literally gave you my address, the name of the residence hall, my exact GPS coordinates, and an iPhone map with turn-by-turn directions to my building and you still couldn’t find me?” nonsense. You pay from your dorm room, you get food delivered to your door, and the delivery person gets paid. Everyone’s happy!

Flyering is an archaic practice that is too widely practiced on this campus. Why do clubs still insist on wrecking their members’ print quotas and the printers around campus to print hundreds of flyers that ultimately no one will care about? ColumbiaFlyers brings this practice to the modern age – it allows clubs to upload their flyers to a website that ultimately no one will care about. Does the end result change? No. But is the process satisfyingly more modern? Hell yes.

How many people have used and experienced issues with sites like GrubHub and Seamless? Obviously, the answer is everyone. The reason for this is that those sites aren’t optimized for the Columbia experience. ColumbiaIsHungry is a website designed to get rid of all those issues. It will have all the restaurants that deliver to Columbia listed with accurate wait times (15-30 minutes? Add “1 hour and” to the start of that and you’re getting on the right track) and will provide a smooth interface through which you can satisfy your munchies. The ColumbiaIsHungry team will also be responsible for trying their hardest to work out special student deals and promos available only through the website to Columbia students. The Lion has already had success with finding a solution to our food problems – this could be the next Sandwich Ambassador Initiative.

There are certainly social issues that should be dealt with on Columbia’s campus. Calling these things “problematic” and walking away, though, is certainly not going to help anything. So for all those students committed to pointing out the problematic, for incorrectly characterizing things as microagressions, and for anyone who literally does not get that empty criticism doesn’t accomplish anything – this one’s for you. Simply upload your concern to IAmAtColumbiaAndIWouldLikeToReportSomethingProblematic, and your comment will vanish into the depths of the Internet, just like it was meant to. Alternatively, you could write a post for The Lion voicing a non-empty criticism of a real campus issue!

You know the feeling. You’ve been sitting in Lit Hum for an hour and a half and you haven’t come up with jack shit. Your professor keeps track of participation. You need to say something profound to get your points for the day. Why not sell out? For a small fee, you can contract someone who knows more about that book you didn’t read than you do to come up with an insightful comment that will add to any class discussion! For anyone skeptical of this website’s purpose – namely, people who think, “Oh, you’re missing the point of the Core!” – you’re so wrong. This is the exact balance between literature and capitalism that our school strives to create.

Any other startup ideas? Throw them in the comments below, or email a piece about your idea to