Two alumni received Oscar nominations last week: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi ’00, co-director of the documentary Free Solo; and Ethan Coen ’79, who wrote the adapted screenplay for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with his brother Joel. Read more about the films: From Deadline, a look at Free Solo’s elaborate camera work, and from The New York Times, a review that dubs Buster Scruggs “one of the darkest movies by Joel and Ethan Coen, and also among the silliest.


Former HP CEO Meg Whitman ’77 talks about her new “snackable” video venture Quibi, her take on polarization in American politics, and her observations on leadership in business. — The Financial Times
 
A review of Helen Zia ’73’s new book, Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao’s Revolution, notes that it “lets us eavesdrop on the conversations” of people who fled China in the late 1940s and early ’50s. — The Wall Street Journal
 
Biographer Robert Caro ’57 details his experiences traveling around Texas and paging through the archives of President Lyndon B. Johnson. — The New Yorker
 
Reporter Nick Confessore ’98, who has written about Facebook, discusses his approach to online privacy, as a journalist and in his personal life. — The New York Times
 
Freshman Iowa State Sen. Zach Wahls *18 talks about his first few days on the job and what he hopes to accomplish during the upcoming legislative session. — Little Village Magazine

Attorney and businesswoman Liz Hallock ’02  announced her run for a seat on the Yakima (Wash.) City Council. — The Yakima Herald
 

“The big thing is the sound. I’m not really looking for how they cut.”

— Composer Julia Wolfe *12, while shopping for scissors to use as instruments in her new oratorio, “Fire in my mouth,” a tribute to the women killed in the Triangle shirtwaist factory fire of 1911. Read more about the piece, which premiered last week at the New York Philharmonic, in The New York Times.


Lucia Jacobs *87, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, explains her fascination with the brains of squirrels and how a greater understanding of their hippocampal plasticity could improve human memory. — The Harvard Gazette
 
University of Montana biologist Doug Emlen *94 discusses the fighting behaviors of dung beetles and the physiological aspects that lend themselves to different strategies. — National Geographic
 
MIT graduate student Meicen Sun ’12 writes that countries in recent years have been erecting “virtual borders,” such as China’s Great Fire Wall, to restrict the flow of information. — World Economic Forum
 
Nikki Linn ’91 and Rusty Niedwick received $200,000 from Lori Greiner on ABC’s Shark Tank for their company Kitty Kasas, which produces stackable cubes for cats. — Forbes
 
In These Times editor Dayton Martindale ’15 explains how his stance on nuclear power shifted after reading literature suggesting that humans were ill-prepared to deal with large amounts of nuclear waste. — Grist
 
Alexandra Halbardier ’08 is the chief customer officer of Alto, a Dallas-based ride-sharing company, which just raised $145 million of venture funding. —Dallas Morning News
 
Former Indian Space Research Organization scientist Nambi Narayanan *71received the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. — New Delhi Television

Jesse Marsch ’96 left his job as head coach of the New York Red Bulls to become an assistant for RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga, following an unfamiliar path that could make him a candidate to lead the U.S. national team in the future. — The New York Times