The Daily brief: Aug. 18, 2010

By and
Aug. 18, 2010, 10:47 p.m.
A child in a flood relief camp in Nowshera, Pakistan. (Courtesy of Myra Iqbal/Shajar-e-Ilm)
A child in a flood relief camp Aug. 13 in Nowshera, Pakistan. (Courtesy of Myra Iqbal/Shajar-e-Ilm)

Pakistan floods | Friends of Asfandyar Ali Mir ’12 in northwest Pakistan “had to evacuate within minutes to save themselves from the torrent of the raging flood waters,” Mir writes to us today. “Their entire houses were drowned, and thereby they lost everything they had. A friend from Swat Valley tells me that his entire house, by the bank of a river, was swept away by raging waters in front of his family, which was evacuated from it only minutes earlier.” Mir, a native of Rawalpindi who attended two years of high school in Nowshera, is following the floods in Pakistan that have reportedly displaced 20 million people. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he has never seen a disaster like it.

Shiza Shahid ’11 is in Pakistan now helping coordinate flood relief through the nonprofit she founded last year, Shajar-e-Ilm, and is blogging about it. Mir, a 20-year-old economics major, is managing the group’s website from Stanford.

The Stanford community can help by donating money to aid organizations, Mir says: “I think raising support, money and awareness as it was done for Haiti or the tsunami disasters can certainly help alleviate the immediate suffering of the people on ground.” He is working with ASSU to get a formal campus campaign going, he said Wednesday evening.

Shajar-e-Ilm is offering to accept contributions. Its volunteers are delivering food and clothing to flood victims in the Swat Valley and Nowshera, according to its website. Red Cross, Oxfam, Unicef and other aid organizations are accepting donations.

Nothing to see here | U.S. News & World Report college rankings are out, putting Stanford fifth, tied with Penn and behind Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Columbia. Stanford, which blasted Princeton Review rankings earlier this month, “has a practice of not publicizing rankings,” the University wrote in a blog post reporting Stanford’s ranking today. Throwback: then-University President Gerhard Casper’s 1996 letter urging the U.S. News editor to abandon the rankings.

You bet |, a site that lets students bet on their grades, is open for business at Stanford. University officials are “appalled,” said a spokeswoman.

Overheard | “Stanford’s women’s softball team plays 57 games, half of them away, flying to colleges in Arizona, Hawaii and Washington. Even if creative accounting masks athletic deficits, they end up included in students’ tuition bills.” — USA Today commentary: “Where’s all that college tuition money going?”

Housekeeping | The architects of the Lorry I. Lokey Stanford Daily Building, Cody Anderson Wasney Architects, won a 2010 Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation.

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