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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Humanites v sciences with a whipped topping of perversion

Published: January 20, 2006
Section: Arts, Etc.

The average student at a liberal arts school such as ours generally has two choices regarding which path to take through four years of quality education offered by top-notch staff and state-of-the-art duck and squirrel population all for the measly sum of $120,000 plus room, board, meal plan, student activities fee, technology fee, gratuity fee, gratuitous fee, duck and squirrel maintenance fee, presidential salary fee, and the fee to round off the number of fees to 10 so theyll fit in the Excel spreadsheet used to print and calculate the final fee.

The two paths to be discussed here differ greatly. They are so divergent, in fact, that the Office of Financial Affairs had been seriously considering the addition of a divergence fee to plug up the gap between the respective paths. This motion, however, was put to a sudden and screeching halt after a myriad of heartfelt protests ensued, orchestrated by the employees of the Office of Financial Affairs which complained that the Excel sheets could not handle the required 11th column.

Like most of this column usually is (not column as opposed to row as employed in the previous sentence, but column as opposed to actual piece of journalism), that last sentence is not true. The Excel sheets could have definitely handled the column. Its just that it would have necessitated an extra page being sent out for the tuition statements, and the Office of Financial Affairs has lately been running low on gold-encrusted printer paper.

At this point, there are a few questions you might wish to discuss amongst yourselves:

Q1: Is Rafi making up this stuff purely for entertainment purposes, or is it that hes just ignorant and bitter that he doesnt have any gold-encrusted printer paper like the Office of Financial Affairs?
Q2: Is there even an office called the Office of Financial Affairs?
Q3: Isnt it a palace?
Q4: When, if ever, is he going to get to the paths?
Q5: I mean, really?
The answers can be found in the Appendix A section of The Hoot. (If it doesnt exist, dont blame me. Im not in charge of creating sections. The section editors are.)

The first path to be considered in detail is the humanities path, and it is a tricky one. Do not fall victim to it like so many others have and be fooled by its attractive name. I will say this once, and once only: For all the animal-loving midyears out there, for Gods sake, the humanities path has nothing to do with manatees. What it has to do with is paper, which, unlike a manatee, is made from trees.

Regardless of the humanities class that you choose, the general rules are as follows:
1. For every book you are required to buy for the class, 3 times its total page count will be assigned for reading every night. Books will be provided by the University Bookstore free of charge, for a nominal fee of everything you own and love.
2. For every 50 pages of reading assigned, you will have to write 6 to 8 pages worth of paper on your laptop.

3. For every humanities class you take, you will be assigned enough reading to require you to purchase at least 3 new sets of eyeballs each semester.

4. These new sets of eyeballs will be provided by the Office of Financial Affairs, free of charge, for a nominal fee to be tacked on to the fee to round off the number of fees to 10 so theyll fit in the Excel spreadsheet used to print and calculate the final fee.

5. Worn out sets of eyeballs must be placed in the B.U.R.P. containers to be used as a source of fuel for the heating system during winters.

To get through these types of classes, a student will need to master a basic set of survival skills including scoppling, fendling, blardification, and verbal composition. (For information on scoppling, fendling, and blardification, read the Humanities Survival Manual, pgs. 2-436,982. Skip page 7.) He also must not be afraid to resort to cannibalism, not because he might have to eat somebody in general, but because he might have to eat somebody in particular, such as his roommate, who, after never leaving the dorm room even for basic nutritional needs for want of the reading he still has to get through, will inevitably be the only person he sees during his whole freshman year, and consequently, the only food source immediately available.
Additional questions to ponder amongst yourselves:

Q1. What the hell are you talking about?
Q3. Well?
The other path that warrants serious discussion is the Sciences path. In the Sciences path, there is very little assigned reading, thank God, but on the downside, you still have to understand everything on your own in order to do all the lab reports you will be assigned on an hourly basis. Without the aid of assigned reading, this will be rather difficult. Luckily, however, you can always copy the lab report of the one guy in lab who seems to have somewhat of a clue as to what might be going on, sort of. The downside is that you might get reported to the Union Judiciary for being a Bad Student and subsequently expelled. The way out of this is to make a donation of gold-encrusted printer paper to the Office of Financial Affairs.

This may seem to the below average layman to be an obvious case of bribery.

However, after a Sciences degree is bestowed upon you following graduation, you are no longer a below average layman. You are a below average scientist. In this way, the loop completes itself, and logic prevails.

RING RING RING! Is that what I think it is? YES IT IS! Its time for that one smidgeon of pure, actual truth placed somewhere in every article for God only knows what reason! Here it is folks. Read carefully. If you dont know how, ask a Humanities student.
In the Sciences path, you may encounter a few weird professors who say weird things and have weird conceptions of what they call perversion. Usually, when one conceives of the thought, he immediately pictures some malcontent doing various ghastly and illegal things, registering as a sex offender, joining NAMBLA, and then being defended by the ACLU. But perversion, in the Sciences path, is a lot different from this everyday conception. I present to you a quote, written down by yours truly, said by a chemistry professor in response to a student inquiry early in the month of December, 2005 concerning the nature of chemical equilibrium.

CHEM STUDENT: Could you also take the product of the concentrations of the reactants over the product of the concentrations of the products to get the equilibrium constant?

CHEM PROFESSOR: Sure you can. I mean, if I were REALLY perverse, I could take the COSINE of the product of the concentrations of the reactants over the product of the concentrations of the products!

I think I speak for all of us when I say this: Professor, thats GROSS.