Archive for December 17th, 2003

Heavy Reading


Mass. (AP) – A 133-pound tome about the Asian country of Bhutan that
uses enough paper to cover a football field and a gallon of ink has been
declared the world’s largest published book.

Author Michael Hawley, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
said it’s not a book to curl up with at bedtime – "unless you plan
to sleep on it."

Each copy of "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom," is
5-by-7 feet, 112 pages and costs about $2,000 to produce. Hawley is charging
$10,000 to be donated to a charity he founded, Friendly Planet, which has
built schools in Cambodia and Bhutan.

Guinness World Records has certified Hawley’s work as the biggest published
book, according to Stuart Claxton, a Guinness researcher.

from AP News

Will Blog For Food


This week the Dowbrigade received two highly unusual and much anticipated
letters from the Personnel Office of the major metropolitan university
where he has his "cover" job.  The first brought the welcome
news that after three years without any faculty raises the first important
move by the incoming President (following the disastrous no-day tenure
of his predecessor) was to re-establish the pool of money for faculty
merit raises. Furthermore, the letter informed us that after exhaustive
evaluation the Dowbrigade was in the most meritorious category and thus
would receive the maximum raise (amount to be determined at a later date).

The second letter was to inform us that unfortunately our 15-year career
at the university would be terminated three months after the raise kicks
in in January. The reason is simple – enrollment in university-based
ESL programs is down 40% across the board, across the country.  Since
9/11 our students can’t get into the country, or at least its enough
harder that most of them are staying home or going to Australia or England
to study. We have lost over half our students since then, and now, with
15 years as full-time faculty, the Dowbrigade is the low man on the seniority
totem pole. So, at the end of the Academic Year, out he goes.

However, every cloud has a silver lining.  We should of been out
of there years ago, and would have been if it hadn’t been such a cushy
job with those long, built-in vacations three times a year for travel,
writing, presenting, blogging. But actually, we’re better off testing
the open market. People get stale when they spend too long on the same
job. There’s lots of challenging and interesting jobs we could do.

In fact, here is our Top Ten Advantages of Losing Our Job

10. We’re getting out just in time, before BU’s
$1.6 billion Defense Biolab
(featuring the world’s deadliest pathogens) goes on-line

9. More time for Blogging!

8. We won’t have to pay those greedy bastards $80 a month to park our
car WHILE WE ARE WORKING, or pay the tickets and tow fees that inevitable
accrue when we eschew the parking sticker

7.For years now we have been embarrassed to say where we worked. It’s
worth leaving just to finally disassociate our career once and for all
from Long
John Silber
, the Fidel
Castro of American Higher Education

6. Maybe we can get a job at a university with a Football Team

5. We won’t have to swagger up and down the aisles once every semester
as a hired goon for the Education Testing Service during administration
of the Institutional TOEFL exam.

4. We won’t have to touch the Mac Performa computer in our office ever

3. No more endless and senseless meetings of the ultra-boring Faculty
Committee where all we did was institute meaningless change in a deteriorating

2. My mother
keeps telling me its time to grow up and get a real job

1. We just know there is a MUCH better, more interesting, socially-valuable
and remunerative position out there somewhere with the Dowbrigade’s name
on it.

MIT Wright Up in Cambridge


Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology paid tribute to the
100th anniversary of man’s first powered flight Wednesday by perching a
replica of the Wright brothers’ plane 150 feet high, atop the school’s
Great Dome.The rough replica, which appeared to be made of 2-by-4 wooden
planks and some sort of plastic or cloth sheeting, was discovered by MIT
police just after sunrise. Its wingspan was about 45 feet, said Bob Sales,
a spokesman for MIT.

"It’s pretty authentic-looking from the ground," he said.

There is a long tradition of such pranks — known locally as hacks — on
the Great Dome. The perpetrators are rarely identified, though many leave
instructions about how the prank was constructed and how it should be disassembled.
Students once turned the dome into a huge jack-o’-lantern and another time
it with a red-and-white beanie, complete with a spinning blue propeller.

from Channel
5 Boston

Come Again, Matey



Male students at a Canadian university are
being offered a free two-week holiday in Australia in return for their
An advert has been placed in the University of Calgary’s student newspaper
by the Reproductive Medicine Clinic in Albury, New South Wales

It’s getting difficult to find volunteers in Australia because of a new
law that says sperm donors can no longer remain anonymous, reports the
Toronto Star.

The clinic, who placed the advert after a suggestion from a Canadian staff
member, wants men between 18 and 40.

Their airfare, accommodation and expenses will be covered as an incentive
to donate. Applicants must be in good health and willing to have their
blood and semen analysed.

The Clinic said they’ve had 15 responses so far. While donors
must be willing to be identified in confidential records, they would have
no legal responsibilities for any children.

Proof that Saddam is Evil Incarnate


from Jack

RIAA and Cambridge Cops Raid Central Sq Videos


Square, Cambridge has always represented the sleazy underbelly of the
city, a dark doppleganger to brilliant Harvard Square just down Massachusetts
Avenue, and awash in unwashed street people, cut-rate liquor stores,
cheap bars, adult video stores, check-cashing outlets and state agencies
and offices serving people too down-and-out or unsightly to be seen
in the swankier zip codes of Cambridge.

When the Dowbrigade was an undergraduate he
used to frequent Charlies Tap in Central, one of the cheapest of
the neighborhood
watering holes, where 35 cents would still get you a small,
less than completely hygenic glass of generic draft beer. Even down
and out, with a pocketful of change one could still put on a buzz
at the Tap. At
Square is transformed into a hard-edged clubbing crossroads, where
cheap rents have attracted a variety of exotic restaurants and new
wave, techno-house, glitter-goth, gay and ambiguous nightspots which
feed off of each other and create a low-rent, liberated atmosphere
hard to find elsewhere.

Considering the third-world, alternative-economic
circus going down in the area it should come as no surprize that the
RIAA goons have dropped a dime in the Square to the Cambridge Police,
who swooped down in a raid on two outlets selling questionable CDS
and DVDS.

The label on the case said "Master
and Commander," but something wasn’t kosher. The plastic was
grocery store quality, like the stuff used to wrap barbecued chicken.
The cover had the vibrancy of a homemade brochure. Words were blurry.
The price was negotiable.

But now the Russell Crowe movie, which opened Nov. 14 and is still
in theaters, is off the shelves here, the result of a Cambridge police
bust on Monday at two Central Square stores peddling thousands of
counterfeit CDs and DVDs.

Detectives said yesterday that they were tipped off by investigators
from the Recording Industry Association of America, whose agents
have fanned out across the country in an effort to quell the booming
sales of bogus CDs.

Incidently, the video store in the photo (by the Dowbrigade) is
NOT one of the ones raided by the cops. The building reflected in
the window is the Central Square Post Office.

from the
Boston Globe

Self-Defeating Strategy Defined


Bengals receiver Chad Johnson was fined $10,000 by the NFL on Tuesday
for holding up a sign directed at the league while
celebrating a touchdown catch.

After his 10-yard touchdown reception on the Bengals’ first possession
of Sunday’s 41-38 victory over the San Francisco 49ers, Johnson ran out
of the end zone and retrieved a sign stored behind a snow drift.
Johnson, who has repeatedly been fined by the league for uniform violations
and touchdown celebrations, held up the sign that read: "Dear NFL:
Please don’t fine me again."

from the