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News for the Week‏

News for the Week‏

All the news that's fit to print. 

Dear students,

Lots of big news to share in the world of science and the university this week.

News from the world of Computer Science: Big news from social media giant Twitter, who reports it is shifting to a two-tiered service: one with no vowels called “Twttr” and one with access to vowels for $5 a month. Twttr would prohibit users from using any vowel except for Y. On the bright side, the vowels in URLS will be free for everyone, as well non-Latin characters-based languages like Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, or Korean. In other news, Google has announced Google Nose, which provides smells for whatever you type into the search engine – just “bring your nose as close as you can to the screen and press Enter."

State Budget Cuts Impact Chemistry: The Department of Chemistry, reacting to budget cuts proposed by the state of Texas, has decided to teach only the odd-numbered chemical elements. Elements such as Hydrogen, Lithium, Boron, Nitrogen, Fluorine, Sodium, and Aluminum are all safe from the budget ax, but Helium, Beryllium, Carbon, and Oxygen are being eliminated to save money. Difficult times require difficult choices, though the instruction of carbon-based life is going to require some creative thinking. Says Susan Smith, sophomore chemistry major, "Having fewer of those complicated chemicals to remember can be a good thing." The eliminated elements may be restored if the Regents approve a modest tuition increase for UT.

UT Austin to Impose Make-Up for "Snow Days:" The six inclement weather days this semester have prompted the following institutional response: assignment of grades for the spring semester will be delayed until September 1, 2014. This delay will allow the three federal holidays of Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day to be used as make-up days for faculty to deliver missing lectures. Participation in the process is voluntary on the part of both faculty and students. The final exam schedule for Spring 2014, including dead days, remains unchanged.

News from the world of Astronomy: In a bold move of corporate/university partnership, McDonalds Corporation has decided to sponsor the university's observatory in West Texas in exchange for exclusive naming rights to the observatory. Administrators and officials representing the restaurant chain noted the great efficiency of this move, since the only re-branding necessary for the observatory is to add an "s" at the end of the current McDonald Observatory's name. Visitors to the facility will now drive through a pair of golden arches as they drive up the mountain road to the observatory, and every investigator who discovers a new planet or supernova gets a free Happy Meal. Discussions are still underway as to whether the university's newest project, the Giant Magellan Telescope which will be the world's largest telescope, will be called the "Big Mac."

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 two cases also purloined from other pranksters. Hope you enjoy the day.

PPS: Not an April fools joke: On April 1, Dr. Abraham Verghese presents "A Doctor's Touch," at 7:00pm in the AT&T Center Ballroom. Dr. Verghese is a New York Times bestselling author of the book Cutting for Stone and is Senior Associate Chair of Stanford University's School of Medicine. He will speak about balancing tradition with technology as medicine enters the 21st century. Dr. Verghese discusses a future for healthcare which marries technological innovation with the traditional doctor-patient relationship. He grounds his practice in a humanistic commitment to listening to patients' stories and providing what patients want most -- a true caregiver. See his TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/abraham_verghese_a_doctor_s_touch. He is also well-known for his New York Times articles "Treat the Patient, Not the CT Scan" and "Restoring the Lost Art of the Physical Exam". He has published extensively in The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Granta, The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. The Co-Op will have copies of his books for sale, and Dr. Verghese will sign copies.

PPS: Each week I try to let you know about events, scholarship opportunities, and important deadlines. A complete listing of this week's important deadlines is here at this link.

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Monday, 17 January 2022

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