August 27, 2012, 4:55 am
Overeager trademark enforcers at the University of Alabama cooked up another controversy last week, threatening a local baker with legal action for violating the Tuscaloosa institution’s trademark with Crimson Tide-themed cakes and cookies.
But after a few days of sharp protests from critics, Alabama decided it was getting, well, a little too hot in the kitchen. The university withdrew the threat.
The baker, Mary Cesar, owner of Mary’s Cakes & Pastries in Northport, Ala., is once again free to produce her trophy cakes, houndstooth cookies, and other University of Alabama-styled treats.
The controversy began on Tuesday, when Cesar received a letter from the Collegiate Licensing Company ordering her to stop selling the cakes and cookies, according to The Tuscaloosa News. The letter said…
August 21, 2012, 12:01 am
Now that we’ve made our own Mindset list, it’s time for the official, sanctioned offering. Appearing for its 15th iteration, the annual Beloit College Mindset List tries to explain this fall’s new class of freshmen, most of whom were born in 1994, to their professors.
The list perhaps shows as much about the perspective of its authors as of the subjects in question. To put it another way: Whether there has ever been an era without fabulists and the fame-hungry, or whether the 18-year-olds of today know enough about the singer-songwriter Selena to register that she may still have mourning fans, we’ll leave to our readers.
As it did last year, the Internet looms large on the list of 75 things that have always been true for the freshmen entering college this fall. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics,” the authors write.
August 20, 2012, 3:05 pm
[Edited 8/21, 10:00 am: We've updated the list below with reader suggestions. To see the official Beloit Mindset List, published Tuesday morning, go here.]
The Beloit College Mindset List is getting a little long in the tooth. First compiled in 1998, the annual list purports to help professors reach students who have grown up, quite literally, in a different world. This year’s iteration, which will be released on Tuesday, is bound to reference online life (rotary phones versus smartphones), fashion statements (midcalf skirts versus bra straps), political figures (dead versus alive), and Jay Leno. That is, if the last several years’ lists are any guide.
As the guide has aged, critics contend that it’s becoming less and less relevant and more prone to…
August 9, 2012, 11:42 am
For-profit colleges take a beating this week in Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic, a 42-year-old fixture of liberal satire. In a series of four (so far) strips, President King and another administrator lampoon a sector plagued by legal troubles, high dropout rates, and accusations of fraud. Not that nonprofits are exactly safe: The two characters work at Walden College, where only 18 percent of students graduate on time and only 35 percent graduate at all. “It’s like we’re a for-profit school,” moans King. His assistant responds, “Only without the profit, yes, sir.”
Commiseration continues with today’s strip on the disproportionately high salaries drawn by for-profit presidents.
With any luck, Friday’s strip will address the rate at which for-profits market to low-income, minority, and nontraditional students, a population that might be just right for the absurdly-leftist Walden College…
August 2, 2012, 1:54 pm
The most unfortunate typos are those that are preserved for posterity, like misspelled names on birth certificates or extra N’s on gravestones. This week, spring graduates of Idaho State University were dismayed to find themselves in an uncomfortable position, as their brand-new diplomas, which had just arrived in the mail, seemed to have one glaring problem: a “b” where the “v” in “University” should be.
However, according to the registrar’s office at Idaho State, there is no typo. Kerry Larsen, an administrative assistant in the office, says, “That’s a traditional Old English font, which many students are not familiar with, with a long serif on the left-hand side that makes a ‘v’ look like a ‘b.’”
According to Larsen, the university had just moved to a new printer, and while the fonts used by both printers are classified as Old English, the variations between the two have caused …
July 26, 2012, 3:17 pm
Conference agendas aren’t known for inspired prose. Scanning lists of workshops and breakout sessions, eyes can glaze over. But if an ardent association hits on a metaphor, a “schedule at a glance” can become a literary tour de force, extending the analogy to staggering–or torturous–lengths.
This month in the Windy City, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators held its annual meeting, “Winds of Uncertainty: Navigating the National Commitment to College Access and Affordability.” And through the agenda, many a fitful breeze
doth blow. The abstract for one session asks, “Does a private student loan provide just enough wind in their sail or blow them off course with another debt burden?”
It’s a noteworthy contribution to the financial-aid genre, but the risk managers are nautical miles ahead. In September they’ll muster in Providence, R.I., for the annual …
July 18, 2012, 4:12 pm
Sixteen competitors at Denver’s Water World fought for the title of “biggest flop” last week, in a competition designed to help students pay for college. A park spokeswoman, Joann Cortez, told The Denver Post that it was “one of those things you just can’t look away from even if you want to,” as judges measured the belly-floppers’ technique, splash volume, crowd interaction, and, of course, the acoustics of the flop itself. It’s not as weird as that duck-calling scholarship, but it does sound a lot more painful. This is the 16th iteration of the annual annual Water World Belly Flop Showdown.
While most competitors were in their late teens and early 20s, the day’s champion was a…
July 17, 2012, 6:29 pm
Last week, as coverage of the Freeh report on Penn State’s response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal blanketed the news, some critics started to call for the removal of a bronze statue of Coach Joe Paterno that stands in front of Beaver Stadium.
The report, which highlighted the role that the late head football coach and other top university officials played in concealing child abuse for more than 14 years, incited hundreds of posts on various social-media outlets, and the placing of a guard on the statue itself:
Several observers made a connection between Paterno and Saddam Hussein, saying the statue should be pulled down, “Baghdad-style.” Others suggested replacing it with a tribute or a memorial to the victims of abuse. Similar representations of Paterno have been edited recently: notably, the removal of a halo around his head in a mural by the artist Michael Pilato.
Five days a…
July 10, 2012, 1:40 pm
Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming installment of the Batman film series is called The Dark Knight Rises, but a group of four physics students at the University of Leicester has concluded that a more appropriate title might be “The Dark Knight Crashes.”
In a recent paper published in the university’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, helpfully titled “Trajectory of a Falling Batman,” the students demonstrated that the Caped Crusader could in fact glide from the top of a tall building. But his roughly 15-foot-wide cape, pictured at left in the paper, wouldn’t be big enough to stop him from flying headlong into a losing battle with the pavement.
“He would likely end up getting a bit splattered,” one of the students, David Marshall, told the BBC. Mr. Marshall said if Batman could extend the cape’s wingspan beyond his arms, the gliding strategy would probably work….
July 4, 2012, 1:57 pm
In a lesson for researchers everywhere, a new version of the famous map from which the Americas derive their name was discovered days ago in the library of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller first used the name “America” for the New World in mistaken honor of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who he thought had discovered the continents.
Waldseemüller and his colleague Matthias Ringmann produced sets consisting of the large map, an introduction to the principles of geography, and smaller maps. Those smaller maps were distinctive for the novel way in which the globe …