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Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Streakers Unmasked

A rare case of an exciting, full-contact economics class. Rita Balaban, a senior lecturer in economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, knew there was a school tradition of classes being disrupted by masked streakers. So when it happened to her — three masked streakers rushing into her classroom — she was "mentally prepared." She said, "To me, it was a no-brainer. It was like, you're coming right at me. This is too easy. I grab the one guy's mask and just -- pfsh! -- pulled it right off, no problem! The other guy wasn't so easy. He dragged me out into the hall." [inside higher ed]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Wed Nov 05, 2014 | Comments (9)
Category: Education, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Business School for Bacteria

Artist Jonathon Keats is back with a new project. He's opening a business school for bacteria. More details at modernisminc.com.




NEW SAN FRANCISCO CONSULTANCY ROUTS SILICON VALLEY MONOCULTURE WITH BIODIVERSITY
Microbial Associates Announces Complete Executive Training For Bacteria -- Microbes Available For Employment At October Launch Event

September 25, 2014 -- Creatively stifled by insular hiring practices, and struggling to distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Silicon Valley technology companies are bracing for the first opportunity to radically diversify their executive workforce next month. On Tuesday, October 21st, approximately 100 billion bacteria will be certified in fields ranging from management to finance to product development by Microbial Associates, the only corporate consultancy in the world fostering successful business relationships between humans and prokaryotes.

"Bacteria are the most industrious organisms on the planet, and also the most creative," says experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, founder and managing director of Microbial Associates. "Forming mountains and oxygenating the atmosphere, they literally made the world in which we live. Just imagine if Google or Facebook were to leverage that world-changing talent."

Mr. Keats is not surprised that bacteria have been overlooked by human resources departments. "Microbes are microscopic," he observes. Moreover they've never been educated for business, credentialed for employment, or prepared for recruitment. Microbial Associates will provide all three services in their offices at San Francisco's Modernism Gallery, where bacteria can be hired for as little as one billionth of a cent per hour.

Business lessons will be provided to bacterial populations in state-of-the-art Pyrex classrooms using chemotactic and galvanotactic techniques developed by Mr. Keats and piloted at Amherst College. "Chemotaxis and galvanotaxis are some of the primary ways bacteria sense their environment," Mr. Keats explains. "By modulating the flow of chemicals and electricity in vitro, we can demonstrate essential principles such as supply-and-demand and strategic planning." For instance, bacteria learn about supply curves by being pumped in and out of equilibrium, giving them the direct experience of a concept most CFOs grasp only in the abstract.

"The bacteria end up knowing more than many executives I've met," says Stanley Bing, Fortune Magazine columnist and author of The Curriculum, who serves as a Microbial Associates advisor. No special background is needed. "We can work with almost any species of bacteria," claims Mr. Keats, "even those in corporate lunchrooms."

Nor is enrollment limited. Because each bacterial cell is less than ten microns long, classroom throughput is more than a billion bacteria at a time, far surpassing the technological capacity of any MOOC. This small scale is also beneficial for employers in a highly competitive real estate market. Trillions of bacteria can fit inside a single cubicle.

Mr. Keats stresses that his biochemical curriculum -- which culminates in official certification and job placement for graduating bacteria -- is intended only to help microbes adjust to the human workplace. "They need to be familiar with how we think in order to gain acceptance as colleagues," he says. "But their real benefit to companies will derive from their innate skill set. Diversity breeds innovation, disrupting the creative monotony of the corporate monoculture. Systems evolved by bacteria can vastly enhance any startup or megacorporation."

Key examples of bacterial business savvy include quorum sensing and horizontal gene transfer. The former allows bacteria to respond dynamically to new opportunities regardless of population size, a crucial skill that most companies lose as they grow. The latter lets bacteria creatively recombine innovations in a changing environment, avoiding the gridlock of corporate patent disputes. Microbial Associates' strategic consultants can deliver these business principles to any boardroom -- from Silicon Valley to New York City --with or without a team of bacterial employees.

"We've learned from bacteria to be highly adaptive," says Mr. Keats. "Microbial Associates can accommodate the needs of any company and we're confident that all can gain from it. Bacteria are eons ahead of us in real-world experience. Perhaps they can even train us how to live and work sustainably in the world they invented."
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Oct 04, 2014 | Comments (3)
Category: Art, Business, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

The MIT Icicle

Back in January 1960, the craze that swept college campuses was creating massive icicles. And students at MIT took top honors by creating a four-story icicle down the side of Baker House. In fact, they declared it to be the largest man-made icicle ever created.

As reported in an Associated Press story about it from Jan 1960:

"They tied an ice cube to a string and lowered it from their window. Then a trickle of water was siphoned from a barrel down the string. By using colored water at times, they got a red, white and blue icicle, which at one point is about 14 inches wide."

The icicle only existed for a few days before it was destroyed, for safety reasons, by the campus authorities.

Unfortunately I couldn't find any color photographs of it, but these are some news photos of it I found. There's a brief article about it at the MIT Museum.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Aug 02, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Fads, 1960's, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Professor Turned Clown

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Discontented with the life of a professor of economics, Dr. Charles Boas became Onions the Clown.

I'm sure this thrilled any living parents who might have helped pay for years of higher education.

Read the whole story here.
Posted By: Paul | Date: Wed Feb 05, 2014 | Comments (7)
Category: Clowns, Eccentrics, 1960's, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia

Duke University Ad*Access

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Seven thousand crisply scanned vintage ads, of varying degrees of weirdness, all nicely categorized? Prepare to spend hours here!

Duke University Ad*Access
Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Apr 02, 2013 | Comments (2)
Category: Advertising, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia, Twentieth Century

Floating inside a giant inner tube, 1972

Crazy college students back in the 70s. Looks like it would have been fun!


SEATTLE, May 12, 1972 -- Pool Cocoon -- Students at the University of Washington went floating on an inner tube one better recently. They made their own inner tube and floated in it. The huge plastic tube was kept expanded by air forced from a blower. Black tape at the top was used to join two sheets of plastic to form the tube.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jan 26, 2013 | Comments (12)
Category: Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.