Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wasteful, delusional video from the UVA administration

This year the UVA administration has produced a video providing safety tips for UVA students who will be attending Foxfield. This is, of course, a total waste of resources. UVA students are supposedly the smartest people in the state, yet the administration felt the need to instruct UVA students, as a parent might instruct a seven-year-old child, to drink water and wear sunscreen when spending the day outside. What UVA student doesn't know the risks of getting a sunburn, or that it's possible to get a sunburn through a cloud cover? What UVA student doesn't know that alcohol has dehydrating effects?

Why waste all these resources distributing such obviously unnecessary advice? It is, of course, a completely delusional attempt by the administration to assert that they have control over the situation, when in fact they don't. Foxfield is sheer, reckless idiocy. Minors know that it is easy to obtain alcohol there. Rather than acknowledge outright the immutable fact of underage drinking, the administration shrieks for authoritarianism as an appropriate response, as if punishment is an effective deterrent, and as if deterrence is somehow the most effective way to make underage students safer, healthier, or happier.

The video is a feeble attempt by the administration to demonstrate that they have control when in fact they have little. The administration is attempting to indicate that they're on board with the event, and that they have it under control. They would otherwise be embarrassed to acknowledge that the event is uncontrollable, and contributes to a reputation of drunken idiocy. The unintended message the video conveys is the administration's own powerlessness and embarrassment.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A mystery solved

For a few months I had been wondering why so many scientific and mathematical academic papers were formatted the same way. It's because LaTeX is the industry standard. What I thought was Century, available in Microsoft products, is actually Computer Modern.