|Wednesday, June 7, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 149
Whitlock on prison reform
|Wait -- doesn't
'BS' stand for bachelor of science?
Over the years in a university one hears a few choice descriptions of the studies offered. They differ greatly from the descriptions one reads in the college catalog, and they are often given by someone studying (or teaching) something else. Where should we start with our "nature of the majors" tour?
English? English professors don't waste their time with mundane chores like teaching people how to speak the language. Their specialty is not language but rather literature -- books you would never read unless they were assigned.
Economics was once mistakenly called "the dismal science." While a subset of the field is math based, they had a more accurate title in centuries past as being professors of "political economy." But the modern economist likes to hide his or her value judgments behind a veil of science. Like politicians, you could line them all up end to end and still never reach a conclusion.
While on the subject of masquerading as scientists, why is it that people who study politics insist on calling themselves scientists? A political scientist is someone from the College of Natural Sciences who votes. Long ago these political science professors learned that humanity didn't attract grant money, so they defected to the "social sciences." Most of the other humanities were too proud to follow. That is why they never have any money.
Everyone says that a person should study computers these days. Computer science and engineering should be very popular majors. The problem is that not enough students speak an Asian language. Yes, I know science is universal, but when you can't tell the computer lab from the language lab ....
Of course, if you want "computers" on your résumé but don't really want to know about them, you can study MIS or some related topic in the College of Business.
Speaking of the College of Business, why people need to be taught to be greedy is hard to understand, but I'm sure the public relations students have a good explanation. Accountants are people who are told how much money the company made and create the books accordingly. Read "Dilbert" every day and you have the equivalent of a management degree.
What about the true scientists -- folks who lead valiant inquests into the nature of the universe in order to better mankind? Normally they do this while pulling down big salaries designing ever better ways of killing people. They often publish on arcane subjects on the theory that any knowledge, no matter how seemingly unimportant, will fool college administrators into giving them tenure.
Engineers tend to be uncreative scientists who are willing to admit they are just after a paycheck. Architects are people who are not smart enough to be engineers and not talented enough to be artists. Artists are people who can't figure out how to make money doing what they do.
History majors are ...
Forsberg, a senior history major,