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Kopp's Weekly -- Exciting News from the World of Science

Kopp's Weekly -- Exciting News from the World of Science

This has been a semester of breakthroughs in the College of Natural Sciences.

Dear students,


This has been a busy semester in the world of science;  some of the more exciting news:

FROM THE WORLD OF MATHEMATICS: Prof. Lorenzo Sadun in the Department of Mathematics has written a paper that proposed that the country should convert to "metric time." Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days. Furthermore, seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays. Said Professor Sadun:  "The advantages of this are many.  But one that will impact college campuses everywhere is that 8am classes won't be so disagreeable to students anymore, since really these will in effect be like having a class at 9:36am."

FROM THE WORLD OF COMPUTER SCIENCE: The Department of Computer Sciences has been preparing the campus for the an upcoming internet cleaning shutdown.  Yes, the internet will be shut down for cleaning from March 31 until April 2 for the twenty-four procedure. According to Professor Bruce Porter, chair of the department, the cleaning is necessary to "clear out the electronic flotsam and jetsam that had accumulated in the network."  The cleaning will be done by "five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots situated around the world." Users are warned to disconnect all devices from the internet by midnight.

FROM THE WORLD OF BIOLOGY AND GLOBAL CLIMATE: Professor David Hillis in the School of Biological Sciences has published a landmark paper that links global warming to a decline in the world's sheep population. As most sheep are white, large numbers of sheep increase the planet's albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected back into space). As the population declines, the ground absorbs more solar radiation, in turn warming the planet. Researchers warned of a potentially destabilizing feedback mechanism: "As the climate warms, demand for wool sweaters declines.  Sheep population drop further, and the planet warms further. Scientists warn of a possible 'runaway sheep-albedo feedback.'"

FROM THE WORLD OF ASTRONOMY: Professor Dan Jaffe's article in Nature reported a startling discovery by astronomers at the MacDonald Observatory. The increasing force of trade winds has apparently slightly accelerated the spin of the Earth. As a consequence the length of the day has decreased over the past century, rendering the calendar inaccurate:  "Just as February has an extra day in leap years, we conclude that March should have 30 days once every 100 years, not 31…"  In other words, "tomorrow should be 2 April, not 1 April," said Professor Jaffe, "I guess the April fools is on all of us."

Happy April 1st,

Sacha Kopp
Associate Dean,
College of Natural Sciences

PS: Hopefully it's clear that all the above are utterly false.  They are in some cases also purloined from past pranks the BBC, New York Times, and other news outlets.  And in all cases the innocent UT faculty quoted were involved only to lend their names, though hopefully they have their own April Fool's jokes lined up for today.The awards are due Monday, April 1st by 4pm

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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

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