A new target for the Pundits? The biggest lecture hall in Harkness Hall, WLH 201, was filled to standing-room-only yesterday as Viking enthusiasts flocked to the first meeting of the popular “Vikings” class. Some wore horn-studded Viking helmets ostensibly given out by the course’s professors. The wannabe Leif Eriksons gathered to enjoy the introductory lecture, entitled “Wow, Vikings.”

Four Yale buses will take about 150 students to Washington, D.C., and back on Jan. 20, the day of the Presidential Inauguration. Given the historic relevance of this year’s election, three cultural houses — La Casa, the Af-Am Cultural Center and the Asian American Cultural Center — in addition to Saybrook College, have each made arrangements for the trip. Lucky students will be able to make the trip for a reduced rate on these buses.

Special YCC elections will be held online this weekend as one representative from Branford College and another one from Morse College are studying abroad this semester. The representatives, Marie Calvert-Kilbane ’10 and Michelle Glienke ’11, were faced with a choice between advocating on behalf of Yale students for the improvement of undergraduate life, or Europe. They chose the latter.

Rev. Sharon E. Watkins DIV ’84 will be the first woman to deliver the sermon at the National Prayer Service on Jan. 21. President-elect Barack Obama, Vice President–elect Joseph Biden, and members of Congress and the Supreme Court will be in attendance at the National Cathedral the day after the Inauguration.

Two Connecticut senators have launched a reassessment of the state’s television and film industries’ tax credits. State Senators Toni N. Harp and Eileen M. Daily plan to adjust the tax credit policies for these industries in order to “brighten the revenue picture,” Sen. Daily said. According to a review, media industries have brought $222 million to state wages since 2006.

Nineteen days after Christmas, the giant Norwegian spruce tree on the New Haven Green is still lit.

But Yale University Dining Services is on to the next holiday. The residential colleges are now bedecked (prematurely, according to some disenchanted students) with hearts and other love-filled Valentine’s Day decorations.

This day in Yale history

1962 A fire broke out in a room in Trumbull College around 4 p.m. The fire was caused by a short circuit in an electric cord to a vacuum cleaner. The shorted wires set a large couch on fire and the occupants of the room were unable to control the blaze. Material loss from the fire itself was minimal; most of the damage was caused by water and smoke.

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