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i've been following the discussion about books of course ratings for a
while, now, and thought i might mention the book OF COURSE, which is put out by
some enterprising youngsters in CALS. this includes course information and some
of the evaluations (when profs have given their permission for release of the
information). i'm not sure who's in charge, but people might try asking at the
CALS Office of Instruction in Roberts Hall.
Now, as to doing this on a larger scale... an organization at our sister
school, the University of Pennsylvania (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH PENN STATE) has
been putting out such a guide for quite some time. the evaluations are done by
the students, much in the same way that they are done here, but are not done by
the university. professors must give their permission for an evaluation to be
done, but may not suppress the results if they are not favorable. the same form
is used in all undergraduate classes, in all schools at the university. results
are tabulated by computer. these results, and the written comments are included in course reviews in a book which is then made available at the U
of Pa Bookstore and several other shops around the university. the organization
is the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education (SCUE), and is involved in
many areas beside course evaluation. it acts as a non-adversarial consumers'
organization for the students, is run by students, and is a recognized campus
organization. if anyone here is interested in doing similar things, they have
been very willing to be of assistance. contact them at:
Student Committee on
Undergraduate Education, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
Thank you for passing on that information about course evaluations at the
University of Pennsylvania. I know that students at many institutions have
worked together to publish course evaluations. It seems there has rarely been
a critical mass of Cornell students interested in pursuing such a venture.
Maybe your letter, which provides a useful contact, will get the process
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Dear Uncle Ezra
While the Business school is trying to improve its image to corporate
America, I was wondering about its image to the rest of the school. I was
interested in taking courses in the B-school, and found it very difficult to
find out what they were offering, and at what times and places. Then, I went
to talk to a professor there about a class that looked interesting, and I felt
like I was not entirely respected because I was not from the school. When I
finally made it to the class, I thought the professor was great, the class well
organized, and the material interesting. Furthermore, I was happily surprised
to find that the B-school students were extremely friendly, and interested in
meeting me, and making conversation. I mentioned this to a friend, and she
says that the reason why they are so friendly is because the school is so
insular, and so they really like a new face. If it is so insular, it is no
wonder, since I had such diffi- culty in finding out what's going on over at
Malott. I realize that part of the problem is that many of us look upon the
B-school people as money grubbing, materialistic capitalists, while the rest of
us are engaged in noble, pure, graduate school research or professional studies that altruistically help the world (ho ho). The point:
the business school has an image problem, right here at Cornell. Do you, Ezra,
or the business school people have comments?
A noble, pure, non-B school grad student
Dear Noble and Pure Grad,
What better person to answer your letter to than Tom Dyckman, Associate
Dean for Academic Affairs of the Johnson Graduate School of Management. Here
is what he had to say:
"For anyone interested in finding out when courses are offered in the
Johnson School, lists are available in the Registrar's Office (313 Mallott)
which provide times, rooms and usually instructors. These lists are available
at pre-registration time which will be about mid-April for Fall Courses.
"According to our students, including those from Cornell undergraduate
programs, the openness of our faculty is unusual. They are invariably willing
to discuss a student's interests regardless of the student's college. It would
be thoughtful, however, to use their office hours to make an appointment if the situation is not an emergency. Teaching is important to our
faculty. They pride themselves in being concerned with the education of
students who have invested a great deal to study at Cornell. Indeed, they are
not likely to be content unless they are will received by their class.
"The Johnson School allows its students as many elective hours outside the
School as any other graduate programs in the country. Both faculty and
students realize the value of what Cornell has to offer in its other programs
and schools. In fact, our interest and enthusiasm for using the broad resources
of the University to increase the educational experience available to our
students is what sets us apart from our competition.
"While some have not found out that we may also have something of
relevance to communicate to students no enrolled at the Johnson School, many
others have. We are a small graduate school and yet, because of the demand
from other parts of the campus, our typical class size runs to fifty and above.
"Those of you interested, regardless of what beliefs you may hold about
graduate education, are encouraged to talk to the faculty and the
administrators and even to sample a class for which you have the prerequisites. You will typically find us in and with office hours posted where
you can sign up for a specific time."
Tom's response seems very positive and encouraging to me. Thank you for
bringing this issue to light. I'm so intrigued now that I just may go over and
see if there are any courses that Uncle Ezra can sit in on...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 3
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dear uncle ezra
With regards to the person who gets dizzy when reading microfiche (p130 of
I would like to suggest the possibility of an allergy. This may
sound ridiculous, but there are people who have allergic reactions to manmade
products. I know one girl who can wear no synthetic materials--even to the
point of having to cut out the manufacturer's label in her otherwise-100%
cotton clothes. I also knew someone in high school who got a rash if she used
Ivory soap. Personally, I went through several winters of getting sick every
few weeks--I was eventually able to connect this to the FLOOR WAX they used in
my high school. (The only good thing about this discovery was that the school
nurse FINALLY believed me that I wasn't making up my nausea & horrible
One of the things we must keep in mind about manmade materials is that they
simply haven't been around long enough for us to really know if they are
completely harmless. I am not suggesting that microfilm is dangerous; this is
a general warning to an audience which will eventually be creating and making
use of many synthetic substances.
For example, when first introduced, DDT was considered a pesticide which
would be harmless to humans, as contrasted with its arsenic-compound forebears.
If you nod and say "Yes, but it is not used anymore" I would like to point out
that it is still in use in other countries--not merely 'third world' nations,
either, but 'major' ones such as England.
Well, two comments in one--I suppose that might reduce your Email load
somewhat. Keep up the good work, whoever you are.
p.s. I forgot to mention that both microfiche and microfilm readers have fans
to keep their insides cool--these might stir up dust, triggering an allergy.
Alternatively, fiche and film readers that have automatic copiers built into
them might cause a reaction by the printing liquids. (Have you ever smelled a
xerox copy?) (Picture me wrinkling my nose in disgust, please.)
The possible causes for dizziness and other problems encountered when using
microfilm/microfiche equipment are, as you suggest, myriad. Fans, for example,
not only stir up dust and other pollutants, but also give off a whining or
humming noise which might be annoying ...I'm told that some frequencies can be
quite painful. Allergies to synthetic materials are a real problem for many
people, and might be among the causes, as you suggest. Other possible problems
are eye strain, lack of motion cues, allergies to the printing material (dry or
liquid toner or treated paper, depending upon the age of the unit), or too much
strain from concentrating on the same thing for too long.
More information on some of these hazards is available from the following
Is Your Computer Terminal Hazardous to Your Health?
Popular Computing, July, 1982, pp 131-132.
Are Computers Hazardous to Your Child's Health?
Personal Computing, May, 1981, pp 34-35. Another problem, more related to operating a computer or terminal, is RSI, or
Repetitive Strain Injury. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, RSI is
related to tennis elbow and similar maladies, and results from the rapid,
repetitive movements your hands make on the keyboard. In extreme cases people
have been unable to move their hands or arms beyond a very limited range of
motion. I heard of a programmer who had to have both hands surgically restored,
something he described as having your hand muscles restrung like a tennis
While technology has given us the ability to rapidly and accurately obtain
and use information, we have to remember to be careful, and to take proper care
of ourselves while using computers or fiching for information. Good precautions
include taking breaks every once in a while (at least one every hour, for 5
minutes or so) and using common sense to keep from going beyond our limits.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Question 4
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Where can we find the killer-green-bud which is so prevalent through-
out the fall semester?!!
Jonesing for a good time,
A Cornell Bud.
The "Killer-Green-Bud," eh? I take it you mean marijuana. I have no idea
where you can find any. It is still illegal in NY State. I could talk about
other ways to have a good time, but instead, I'll use this opportunity to talk
a little about pot.
Unlike the 1950's, the sensationalism surrounding marijuana use has been
greatly reduced. A lot of research has been done in the past thirty years and
educated people no longer believe that a person who smokes pot is necessarily a
violent criminal, a heavy drug addict, insane, socially unacceptable, or a bad
person. But the scientific research has turned up quite a bit of startling
information. I asked Teresa Bakota of Health Education for some details on the
effects of the drug. She sent me some pamphlets from the Do It Now Foundation which indicate that your nickname "killer green bud" may be a
lot more appropriate than you realize.
When marijuana is smoked or eaten, it triggers effects ranging from mild
euphoria to drowsiness, nervousness, and paranoia. The effect varies with the
person, dose and strength of the THC. Next day "hangovers" are not uncommon --
characterized by slower reactions, trouble concentrating, and an overall "blah"
feeling. In addition to THC, pot contains 421 other mysterious chemicals that
settle in fatty parts of the body as well as the brain, sex glands, heart and
liver while they metabolize, a process which can sometimes take several weeks.
The National Academy of Sciences categorizes marijuana's effects on the
brain in three important operations:
it slows coordination (ever notice delayed
body reactions?), distorts perceptions (senses of color, touch, taste, and time
for example, can get all warped), and it interferes with cognition (concentra-
tion, calculation, and concept formation are difficult, if not impossible).
Sometimes users desire these effects, but they are clearly dangerous when
driving a car or operating other heavy equipment. When they extend to times
when a user is not high, this could be an indication that use has gotten out of control.
Some more medical facts, just for the record:
--Marijuana contains up to 50% more carcinogens and tar than cigarettes.
--There is evidence that pot can impair the function of the immune system,
therefore making users more susceptible to colds and minor ailments.
--Smoking dope interferes with the lung's functions, so less oxygen gets
where it is needed.
--Marijuana use slows sperm production in males, even resulting in less
healthy sperm. Pot also changes the hormonal balance in women.
--Pot reduces brain cell sensitivity to messages from other cells and may
cause permanent damage to nerve cell connectors.
--Short term memory loss (phone numbers, names, facts for exams) is a
definite problem in frequent smokers.
I won't continue to flood you with details...you get the idea. Despite its
sometimes relaxing and enjoyable effects, marijuana can be a very dangerous
substance--especially if you are a frequent user. The facts get scarier when
you realize that long-term effects have not been identified yet. I haven't even mentioned the economics, or danger of buying it from strange
sources. Who knows what other chemicals could be lacing your supply?
While pot is not physically addictive, it can be psychologically
addictive. If you want to quit, you may feel pressure from your former smoking
buddies, but they may actually want to quit, too. All you really need is the
desire to stop using marijuana and then just stop. Some other things that help
you fill in the "gap" that marijuana leaves at first include getting plenty of
exercise, eating a junk-food-free and healthy diet, and learning to relax in
different ways than using pot. If this isn't enough, you may want to consider
If you want more information on drug and alcohol related issues, please
call the Health Education Office in Gannett at 5-4782. And if you feel the
need to talk to someone about your habit, or if you want a professional
evaluation to see if you or a friend's drug involvement may be problematic,
don't hesitate to contact Psych Services at 5-5208 or Alpha House Outreach at
273-5500. There are people out there who are ready and willing to help you
kick this habit if you want.
If you're wondering "How can I have a good time without my weed?" then I
think it's time to learn about other alternatives.
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DEAR UNCLE EZRA
WHY ARE THERE 47 DAYS OF LENT THIS YEAR
There are normally 46 days of Lent every year if you include both Ash
Wednesday and Easter Sunday in your counting. Since this year is a leap year,
there is an extra day in February and an extra day in Lent. According to Father
Mike Mahler of CURW there are 46 days of Lent every year. My next question
then, was "But where does the traditional 'Forty Days of Lent' come from?"
Apparently, in the Middle Ages, Lent was a penitential season of 40 days
of fasting. The number "40" is a significant one in the Bible as it represents
a period of trial and testing (the forty days of the Flood, Moses and his
followers wandering for forty years, Christ spending forty days by himself in
the desert). However, as Sunday is traditionally considered the Lord's Day, it
was never included in the medievel Lenten count. Therefore, Lent extends for a
period of seven weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.
Lent is supposed to be a time of renewal. Traditionally, people try to
give up something that they really enjoy (or even a bad habit that they would
like to quit) in order to appreciate what they might normally take for granted.
Another idea for those who observe Lent is to "do something". Make a promise
to yourself that you'll say hello to a new person every day, get in touch with
old friends, do some volunteer work, spend an extra moment in meditation or
prayer. This may make Lent a more enjoyable and fulfilling season for both
you and those around you. Easter will arrive more quickly than you think.
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I am trying to find out the number of a good frind of mine, who's now a
researcher at the Frontier Research Program in Wako City, Saitama, Japan How
can I get the phone number for the research institute???
This assignment was extremely entertaining and educational, but it was a
very difficult undertaking, to say the least, given the fact that all you gave
was a name and city. An address would have helped greatly, as well as a check
on the name. Actually, I wonder if the name of the institute was given
incorrectly. In any case, I regret to say that my search proved fruitless, even
though I had a great time doing it. Here is what I tried.
I first contacted the AT&T operator and asked for overseas directory
assistance. She told me that this was free of charge, so I went for it all and
asked to be connected with the operator in Wako City. Unfortunately, they had
no listing for an operator in that city, so she connected me instead with the
operator in Tokyo. I asked the Tokyo operator if I could contact an operator in Wako City,
but she told me that that operator did not speak English. Instead, the Tokyo
operator looked the number up for me, but told me there was no listing for the
Frontier Research Institute in Wako City, Saitama, or for any place with a
similar name beginning with Frontier. I couldn't convince her to look for all
places ending with Institute in that city.
I next referred your problem to Professor Robert Sukle of the Japanese
department in 423 Morrill, asking if he had heard of the Institute or knew of
any way to find the phone number, seeing that the operator in Tokyo knew of no
listing. Unfortunately, he hadn't heard of the place before, nor could he tell
me a definite way to find the phone number. He said the directory listing, at
least in Tokyo, is quite enormous (a stack of books at least 3 feet high), and
that the Institute could possibly be listed under its Japanese name. He did
offer a few suggestions, though.
One is to contact someone in the department who speaks Japanese who could
assist you in calling directory assistance in Japan. Another is to check the
reference section in Olin, where they have a listing of most international research institutes. Finally, he suggested visiting the graduate
school of business, where they might have a similar list.
I checked out the International Research Institute Listing in Olin but
found no Frontier Research Institute in Japan, and the book was published this
year. In fact, the only Frontier institute is in Alberta, Canada. I suggest you
talk with the reference librarian in Olin to investigate further; there may be
someone there who could be of better assistance.
What would help a great deal is the exact address of the Institute.
Perhaps you received the location or the name of the Institute incorrectly from
your friend, so you may want to double check. For future reference, if you ever
need a telephone number overseas, you can ask the operator for overseas
directory assistance, which is free of charge. They can in most cases provide
you with the number you're looking for, and always at the right price. Good
luck finding your friend!