UMD dropout wins more than $1 million in World Series of Poker

Photo courtesy of

EDITOR’S NOTE: The original post incorrectly stated how much Merson won. The post has been updated. 

I sent a routine request last Friday, a Facebook message asking for an interview with a former Terp.

Laurel native Greg Merson dropped out of this university when he was 19 but just more than a week ago, he raked in more than $1 million by besting a field of 474 to win the six-handed no-limit hold’em tournament at the 2012 World Series of Poker.

He agreed on Saturday to talk about his accomplishment. But not yet, the 24-year-old wrote. He was still sort of busy.

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Keeping up with the Konspiracies: UFO on the Capitol Beltway

Image via Twitter

Last night, some otherworldly things happened on the beltway just outside of our beloved College Park. Twitter exploded after a flatbed truck was seen hauling a UFO-like figure down I-495, escorted by police.

The government (psshh) was quick to cover up the incident, saying that the UFO was actually a Northrop Grumman X-47B aircraft, one that does not need to be operated by a human. Can we be sure to trust the word of a few military spokesman though? I’ve come up with a few of my own solutions.

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Campus complainer: Calm down, guys. They’re just pretzels


When I was a tyke, often times my weekdays were spent at the mall with my mom, waddling around behind her as she browsed the shops  — long enough to be completely bored, but not so long that she’d miss Oprah at 4 p.m.

The one thing that could always keep me smiling and satisfied on one of our excursions (Outside of a new Street Shark action figure) was a cinnamon pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. Oh, they were glorious. All that greasy and cinnamon-y goodness was a delicious distraction from the horrors of extended stays inside department stores. It was my own little escape.

As the years progressed and my mind developed, Auntie Anne’s and I grew apart. Partially because I was no longer dragged to the mall against my will and also because, well, they’re just pretzels.

I’ll say it again: They’re just pretzels.

And because they’re just pretzels, I was shocked at the crushing hype I heard in the time leading up to Auntie Anne’s grand opening in Stamp Student Union. The hype hasn’t diminished, either. There’s always a line and people can’t stop raving about these things.

According to a Jan. 31 article in The Diamondback, the shop was averaging 600 pretzels a day just 11 days after it opened. 600 pretzels a day? Students are shelling out more than $3 for a bit of dough? A sprinkling of cinnamon? That’s insane.

While I may not be a man of refined tastes, my taste buds have grown since my days as a youngster at the mall. A pretzel is a fine snack every once and a while and hard pretzels compliment a sandwich well. But a pretzel as a whole meal? You’ve got to be kidding, especially when Stamp is packed with actual food.

The kind of people that roll up to Stamp to grab lunch and consistently end up with a raisin pretzel probably have the same diet as a 7-year-old. These people are the kind of folk who you could sit down in front of a freshly made plate of chicken pomodoro, piping hot and homemade, and they would push it away. Why? Because they want buttered noodles. Offer them steak and mashed potatoes? Forget about it; they want chicken tenders.

A group of simpletons is what we’re dealing with here.

These simpletons will probably get defensively about there beloved pretzels. They’ll probably whine and ask, “Ooohh, but they have way more than just pretzels! Have you ever tried a pretzel dog? That’s not just a pretzel!”

Yes, it’s not just a pretzel. You got me there. It’s not just a pretzel, rather, it’s a combination of two mediocre foods not deserving of any hype or huge business that it’s received. It’s also something a 7-year-old would gladly have instead of sushi.

So, go on, pretzel lovers. Have your pretzels. Eat them all day, everyday, because you’ll soon tire of them and realize they are in fact just pretzels. When that happens, meet me down at Subway.

— Taylor Schwink is a senior journalism major and student blogger for The Diamondback




The puppies are coming the puppies are coming the puppies are coming

(Photo by Daisy Parker)

It took them 98 years, but they finally figured it out. The SGA is one giant step closer to curing finals week.

The Student Government Association announced Wednesday that they were bringing puppies from the A Forever-Home Rescue Foundation to the Stamp Student Union next Thursday for students to cuddle with.

The Facebook group says “Puppypalooza 2011-Who Let the Puppies Out!!” is co-sponsored by the SGA and Stamp; the event description says the event is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and students are told to (and we are not kidding about this) “come and de-stress for finals in the atrium by cuddling your heart out with the cutest puppies you have seen.”

We’ll let the Facebook comments speak for themselves:

  • Is this real??? It sounds too good to be true!!!
  • PUPPIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • omg, this is awesome.
  • this is literally the greatest thing i have ever heard of in my entire life
  • I’m gonna be there. Swimming in puppies.

See you there. I’ll be swimming in puppies with that other guy.

You can also check out Campus Drive on Facebook and on Twitter at @theDBK.

Earth survives another day, despite efforts of asteroid

Couldn't find Liv Tyler this time around. Didn't want to find Ben Affleck.

Somewhere outside Barstow, on the edge of the desert, a team of scientists have been tracking an asteroid. Yesterday, it passed by Earth from about 201,000 miles away — closer to our fragile little home planet than the Moon. According to the Los Angeles Times, it was the closest an asteroid had come to Earth in 35 years.

The terrifying deathrock was about 1,300 feet wide, which, it appears, would have caused serious problems had it come for a closer visit — in 1908, an asteroid less than 200 feet wide knocked down 80 million trees in Russia and caused an explosion about 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Continue reading

MOON RAINBOW go outside right now

UPDATE, 12:37 a.m.: This story was updated to make the description of what was happening in the sky scientifically not wrong.

It’s cool, though it’s not technically a rainbow — we originally thought it was a moonbow (and then a moon dog), but it appears the technical term for what’s going on is “a ring around the Moon.” Some guy named Keith has extensive explanations of these phenomena on his website.

The collective genius of Wikipedia says this phenomenon is “caused by refraction of the light from the full moon in the ice particles floating in the clouds, as opposed to a rainbow, where light refracts in the water vapor that makes up the clouds.”

Students near South Campus Commons were overheard saying things like “whoa” and “holy shit,” and a quick check of social media yields descriptions like “awesomeee,” “sickk,” and, more curiously, “rings around moon bittersweet doom warm milk empty room turntable crackles mysterious tune.”

It is also, according to MSNBC, the smallest full moon of 2011. Go figure.

We’d have taken a picture of it for you, but it’s surprisingly difficult to photograph a dim, moonlight-based phenomenon with a mangled Blackberry. Go check it out for yourself — all those people standing in the road staring straight up? They’re having more fun than you are. GO! BE ALIVE!

Farmville might actually be good for something

This farm could bail out an entire country's economy.

Facebook applications are responsible for as many as 235,000 jobs worth up to $15.1 billion, according to a new study released by the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Some of that number is people literally employed in the Facebook apps business — more than 53,000, according to the report, including Farmville developer Zynga, which now employs more than 2,000 people and is worth $15-20 billion. With a ‘b.’ Continue reading