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UBC Publications

The 432 Nov 14, 1990

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 Volume 4, Number 6   The Newspaper for Science Students   Wednesday, Nov. 14,1990
The Quest for Intelligent Life
UBC Archives Sena]
-by David W. New-
Humans are intelligent, by and large.
That's why we have universities — it's
why we have language. But the nature of
that intelligence has puzzled philosophers
for millenia; a mind-brain, soul-body
dichotomy has developed as an immutable doctrine. But recent discoveries, in
genetics, biochemistry, psychology, and
computer science, are rendering increasingly many ideas obsolete, as the race to
understand ourselves continues.
It's a unique aspect of the chemistry of Carbon that makes life possible,
through the creation of long, self-replicating chains of atoms, let alone life so
complex as the human brain. In attempting to duplicate trie function of this biological information processing centre,
given the comparative phases of sophistication of genetics, ethics, and solid state
physics, scientists have quite naturally
turned to the element most similar to
Carbon: the semimetal which lies one
period down in the same family, Silicon.
Like Carbon, Silicon polymerizes
easily; unlike Carbon, it conducts electricity. Much more ordered electrical
systems occur in Silicon chemistry, and
at a much lower level than in its Carbon
equivalent. The current generation of
electronic brains, built on a foundation of
order rather than entropy, constrained to
a finite input and given to a broad tolerance in stimulus, are fundamentally different from our own.
Nominations Open for Senate
and Board of Governors (Huh?)
-by Orvin Lau-
Nominations opened this morning for
student positions on the University's
Board of Governors and Senate. Which is
very exciting, but what do these governing bodies actually do? If you don'tknow,
don't worry: numerous candidates in
previous years have gotten this very same
question anywhere from substantially
incorrect to completely wrong when interviewed in The Ubyssey about their campaign. Only the incumbents ever seem to
be accurate.
The university is run like a corporation, but instead of being vested in a
Board of Directors, power at UBC is
divided between the Board of Governors
and the Senate. Note that the areas of jurisdiction of these two governing bodies
are not mutually exclusive. In fact, there
are matters which require both Board and
Senate approval.
Although most sit on at least one
student council as a liaison, student BoG
and Senate reps are not positions under
the SUS or the AMS Constitutions; in
fact, if there were no student government
at UBC, these positions would still exist.
They're invoked in the University Act, a
piece of provincial legislation that governs all B.C. universities, and if you look
at the UBC Calendar, you'll see that all
the members of the Board of Governors
and the Senate, students included, are
listed on pages 7 and 8.
Board of Governors: The Board is responsible primarily for the management,
finances, business, operations, property,
and administration of the university. It
deals with things like setting and approving budgets, appointing all staff, faculty,
and officers, controlling campus traffic,
setting tuition fees, and much more. Its
latitude for making policy decisions is
extremely wide, and any very large deci
sion affecting the university as a whole
will ultimately be made by the Board.
There are 15 Governors on the
Board, two of them students. Eight
members are appointed by the provincial
government, seeing as how most of the
university's funds come from there. President Strangway is also a member of the
Board, but, contrary to common myth, he
is not its chairman.
Meetings of the Board occur once
every one or two months, and can be
long: they easily last from four to six
hours, and from what I've seen, the information packages are extremely thick. A
short part of the meeting is held in open
session, where the public can watch, but
here, mosdy tame subjects are discussed.
The most important and potentially controversial stuff is discussed in the subsequent closed session of the meeting.
Almost all information on the
Board's activities is confidential, so it is
very hard to find out what it really does.
If you find this description vague, that's
Student Governors (or BoG reps,
in student jargon) are also involved with
the AMS Council. The AMS gives both
of them positions on Students' Council,
and they are expected to attend Council
meetings regularly. They're also usually
involved with AMiS committees.
To be nominated for the Board,
you require seven student signatures.
Senate: The University Act makes Senate responsible for the academic governing of the university. Most people make
the mistake of thinking Senate only deals
with matters that are completely academic in nature, but the reality is the other
way around: it deals with anything that
has any academic side to it whatsoever—
for example, admission requirements, curriculum and course changes, student
Continued on page 2...
Feed the Food Bank
Challenge Resumes
Attention all Science students! This year,
SUS plans to kick red EUS butt in the
annual Christmas; food bank drive.
The Engineering Undergraduate
Society has issued a formal challenge to
all other UBC student societies to meet or
beat them in collecting food for the Greater
Vancouver Food Bank Society. We will
be gathering at 3:30pm on Friday, November 23rd in the SUB Main Concourse
to display our formidable and awesome
load, utterly dwarfing their puny endeavours in an overwhelming show of edible
From now until next Friday, Sci
ence Food Bank B ins will be located near
the entrances of all major Science buildings and in all departmental club offices.
Please donate your non-perishable food
items, and the drive should be a huge
success. There are over 4000 students in
Science — if everyone donated just one
can of soup, the stack of cream of mushroom bouillon would reach half a kilometre high.
For more information about this
worthy cause, please contact Antonn
Rozario at SUS (CHEM 160,228-423! )
or the Greater Vancouver Food Bark
Society at 689-3663.
The debate over whether Artificial Intelligence can ever be produced
rages in technological, computational, and
psychological journals. Proponents of a
notion known as Strong AI claim that any
electronic device, however crude—and
by analogy, any low-level animal brain
— is intelligent in some measure. The
simplest switching mechanism, which
chooses between two routes of flow based
on which offers the lower resistance, is
exercising decision, exerting will.
The theory's opponents, including the vast majority of psychologists,
believe the exact opposite, that computers can never be made to emulate the
human brain. They suggest that intelligence arises as a direct consequence of
the complex chaos inherent in cerebral
biochemistry, and the ambiguity with
which it processes extreme subtleties of
stimulus; as long as computers maintain
an ordered basis, they cannot be intelligent.
Newer techniques, however, such
as self-instruction in expert systems and
the resurgence of analog computers in
chaos-theoretical research — indeed,
chaos theory itself — are beginning to
steer computers away from their deterministic routes. Neural networks have
been known to make mistakes in their
learning — artificial stupidity, perhaps,
but a step along a different road from the
fourth-generation adding machines on
desks across the world.
Fourth-generation—the first used
vacuum tubes, and was no more sophisticated than Charles Babbage' s never-built
Continued on page 5...
In This Issue...
Editorial 2
That's Trivial! 3
CommentAri 3
Catatonic Caterwaulers...3
Loose Canons 4
Dik Miller, P.I ....6
New Contest 6
Senate Shorts 6
AMS and SUS Stuff. 7
Dan Quayle Returns 7
Frazzled Undergrads 8
The 432
November 14,1990 Editorial: Zen and Signage
by David W. New
Signage made its first appearance in a
letter from UBC Community Relations.
Apparently, we were supposed to reserve some before it was gone.
The missive continued with a
rough description of how a strong show
of support in our window could firmly
enmesh us into the consciousnesses of
all UBC students for years to come.
Although the long-term psychic effects
Of jthirty -thousand people all having
enmeshed consciousnesses at the same
time probably deserved at least some
consideration, if not outright debate,
we didn't have a window, so we ignored the whole mess.
But it seemed we weren't the
only ones to get such a letter. A couple
of weeks later, signage made its second
appearance in one of those anecdotes
you hear, roar outrageously at, try to repeat, and flub completely. It chronicled
the tribulations of a protagonist who
had dutifully reserved some signage
before it was gone, ultimately revealing that there were in fact two distinct
varieties of signage, the one completely
indistinguishable from the other, with
a $3.00 difference in cost. She ordered
a dozen of each, just in case.
By the time a note arrived asking me to attend to the Woodward
building signage, a clear pattern was
developing. This word, which appeared
in no dictionary known to mankind,
seemed inextricably linked to such other
bureaucratic catchwords as "attend,"
"landscape," and "community relations."
Its etymology most likely came from the
word "sign," generic suffix attached; its
meaning would then be some sort of po-
liticogeneralization of "sign"... but then
again might refer to how long a particular
traffic routing device reading "STOP"
had been stuck in the dirt.
I settled on the former explanation. Words like this are meant to be
confusing, and if someone had wanted to
be confusing about the latter, they'd have
called it "chronosemiographic content."
And several sightings later, I had an appropriate generalization: somewhere
between density of signs, frequency of
plastering, and text of the poster in question, with any extra media coverage
thrown in that you can get.
With this in mind, I set out on a
phantasmagorical odyssey, thrust upon
me, no doubt, by Fate, to see what signage there was on campus. Before it was
My first stop was an English class.
"RETRIBUTIVISM," read the board
pleasantly as I arrived, somewhat early;
"teleologically." Clearly some cosmic
message was preordained to reach my
consciousness. Entering that state of no-
mind which in-class essays invariably
produce, I watched as my hand traced out
curlicues I had to assume were letters.
And just as I built to what was probably
the conclusion of my paper, the realization struck—retributivism had been teleologically ordained! And so I finished
my essay, enriched by the powers of
Yet there was more. Another class,
some three days later, revealed the enchanted, mystical formula, "(F^C) + A
=> ~(C + ~A)." And as if that weren't
enough for any questing mind, the board
continued, "~F<=> [(DvC)+~F=> A]."
My higher learning processes snapped
off like an incandescent headlight, and
zen permeated my being. Now, I already
had an A in this class... but... surely this
meant I was free to get F's, C's—even a
D, without endangering my overall academic average! Truly the Registrar's
computers are kind beyond measure.
And even that astonishing revelation was not all! Soon, I discovered a
cache of phone numbers scribbled in my
own handwriting on the back of an envelope. The postmark — as all found postmarks do — read Newport, Pennsylvania, 1988. And when I phoned the top
number on the list, I received but a small
token of the vast wisdom of the Com
pany: "The number you have reached
has been changed." Rapidly, I hung up
to contemplate, feeling the now-familiar sensation of no-sensation, the euphoric awareness of no-awareness arising in my brain.
And thoughts flitted across my
empty expanse of Mind. The lumber
you have reached has been planed ...
the diaper you have bleached has been
changed... the number of the peach is
deranged. You have beached on the
Humber; how strange. And it hit me. I
was to wait beside Blue Chip Cookies
until a tall Nursing student in blue jeans
asked me for the time. Then all would
become clear; this stage in my quest
would have ended.
Now, I'm not crazy: I'm not
going to arrive in SUB at 7:00am and
stand there for eighteen hours in the
vain and crazy hope that things will just
happen with no effort on my part—oh
no. That's not how these things work.
The passive is not zen. You have to be a
free receptor, and respond to the signals
you glean.
So I've been hunting for more
signage. Why, just last night I came
across the barest tip of an arrow commenting, "5;" and this afternoon I found
some stray signage which claimed,
"NOT COMLETED." They're going to
give me everything I need to know,
sometime very soon. I can feel it. And
then I can tell you all about it, serve you
up another tale before everything fades.
Soon I'll have reserved my signage. Before it's all gone.
KeenerS Count A'S Science Men Top Sports Points
Many entries attempted to enumerate the
3973 "a's" — that is, 3972 complete
letters and two halves at the top of the
RNA logo—in the last issue of The 432,
by stabbing at random, by extrapolating
wildly, or in at least one case, by marking
up an entire copy of the paper and manipulating an adding machine.
The winner is Charlie A. Moore,
Microbiology, whose guess, recorded in
ballpoint on a small slip of white paper,
was 3988, only 15 away. His entry was
almost lost: addressed to Aaron Drake, it
nearly went into the wrong box. Despite
this, however, Moore successfully wins a
dinner for two at Cugini Ristorante, on
Robson Street.
For the second contest in a row,
second prize goes to Kathleen Moore —
no relation to Charlie. Her guess, accompanied by some ten pages of work and
partial tallies by paragraph, was 3955, an
error of 18, and only three behind first
place. She also identified three instances
of the letter "as," but these were included
in neither her total nor ours. She wins a
Savings Spree book for her efforts.
(The judges confess that they may
have missed a few occurrences of the
letter: but as this would only increase Mr.
Moore's margin of victory, they're not
too worried.)
Thirdprize.a Science T-Shirt, goes
to Lavona Liggins for a guess of 3916.
Liggins' letter, in addition to guessing a
total for the paper, correctiy enumerated
the number of "a's" in itself.
Finally, the booby prize of a Science baseball cap is awarded to Durwin
Pye for a wonderful letter proving that
The 432 contained 25 x 5 + 33 "a's." Pye
confessed that he failed to take capitals
intoconsideration.butnevertheless, 1313
amounts to an error of 2660, the largest
received. "Don't laugh if I'm way off,"
wrote Pye. "I've never done this before
and I might be discouraged from pursuing this as a life-long profession if I get
ridicule on my first attempt." His baseball cap is available in CHEM 160.
Oddly, none of the guesses was a
round number. Had anyone guessed4000,
they would have come in an easy third.
A new contest is announced on
page 6 of this issue.
Two months into the fall term, Science
men have built up a commanding lead
over second-place Engineering in the
Intramurals points race. With a margin of
2836 points to 1990, their dominating position going into next term is assured.
Grad Studies holds a distant third place
with 1162 points.
Science women, meanwhile, are
sitting in second place to Medicine, with
1178 points to the leaders' 1403. Rehab
Med trails the top three faculties with
1012 points.
Today is the last day for registration in the Mountain Bike Ramp Climb
and Mountain Bike Corridor Criterium,
both held tomorrow evening at B .C. Place.
Fees are $3.00 for the Climb and $6.00
for the Criterium.
In two weeks, the first term's
invitational tournaments begin, in basketball, volleyball, hockey, and bodin
ball. Good luck to participants!
Remember—all individuals and
teams registering for Science get at least
30% rebates on all events.
BoG, Senate Seek New Blood
Continued from page 1...
regulations, the operation of the library,
the awarding and establishing of scholarships, the university calendar, etc. It also
has the power to make recommendations
to the Board of Governors.
Mostof the work of Senate is done
on its committees. There are 16 standing
Senate committees, dealing with various
parts of the university: academic appeals,
curriculum, library, and student awards,
to name a few. There is also a budget
committee, which assists the President in
preparing the budget and presenting it to
the Board — proof again that Senate's
powers extend beyond academic matters.
In total, there are 17 student senators. Five of them are senators-at-large,
elected by all members of the student
body. The remaining 12 are elected from
the faculties: each faculty has one student
senator, and only students registered in
that faculty elect that particular senator.
That's why student jargon has it that
there's a science senator, an arts senator,
and so on.
There are 60 other members of
Senate, comprising administrative officers, faculty, alumni, deans, and government appointees. Faculty outnumber
students exactly 2 to 1 on Senate, by the
University Act — 3 to 1 if you count the
deans. The chairman of the Senate, by
law, is President Strangway.
Senate meetings occur monthly
from September to May. They are always
held on Wednesday nights, at 8:00 pm in
Room 102 of the Law Building. Unlikeat
Board meetings, the public is permitted
to attend and watch, although afew things
are presented in camera. Meetings have a
maximum length of two and a half hours.
Student senators can also be involved in the AMS. AMS Bylaws provide for a Student Senate Caucus, which
is the collection of all 17 student senators.
There are two Senate Rep positions on
Students' Council, elected by the Caucus.
To be nominated for senator-at-
large, you need three signatures from any
UBC students. To be nominated for faculty senator, you need three signatures of
students from your faculty only.
This year's BoG and Senate elections are
going to be held in conjunction with the
AMS Executive elections, from January
21-25. If you are considering running,
nomination forms can be picked up from
theRegistrar's Office, the AMS Business
Office, or any undergraduate society,
including SUS.
Nominations close on November
30, which is the last day of classes this
term — however, you can withdraw
anytime until December 20, the last day
of exams. So if you haven't decided yet,
you can submit your nomination now,
then withdraw it later if you finally decide against running.
The 432
November 14,1990 CommentAri
-by Ari Giligson-
Intelligence. We don't know what it is,
but we respect those people who are said
to posses a lot of it. Let's, for the moment,
as sume that intelligence, whatever it is, is
largely genetically determined. Let'salso
assume that intelligence has arisen in
humans because it was a trait which
enhanced survival—that is to say, through
intelligence our species has been able to
adapt to many environments, and in that
sense it is a positively selected trait (like
antibiotic resistance mutations arising in
That's Trivial!
-by Tanya Rose-
This week, we're turning to Chemistry
for some questions on the elements! Have
fun — answers are on page 7!
1-10 —Easy (lpt)
1. Who first created the Periodic
2. Which elements are diatomic?
3. Who discovered Radium?
4. How does Tritium differ from
5. What's the atomic weight of Helium?
6. Into what metal does Uranium
eventually decay?
7. Which two elements are liquids at
room temperature and lOlkPa?
8. Which three elements are liquids
at body temperature and 101 kPa?
9. Which element has the lowest
boiling point?
10.      What'sthemostcommonelement
in the universe?
— Medium (2 pts)
What's the most common metal,
by mass, in the Earth's crust?
Which two radioactive elements
are not transuranic?
Why does "W" stand for Tung
How is Potassium stored?
What is the nucleus of a Helium
atom called?
— Hard (3 pts)
Which four elements are named
for the same Swiss town?
How did John Dalton prove there
were more than four elements?
What is die bond structure of a
benzene ring?
How is carbon formed?
How did the discoverer of Arse
nic die?
BonusQuestion(5pts): Elements number
104, 105, and 106 are named after the
numbers 104,105, and 106. Why?
But as we know, most traits aren't
necessarily good, ie. are selected against,
or may be good in some circumstances
but not others. For example, thick blubber and heavy fur are great in the tundra
but would be lethal if the environment
were altered to desert. Now what about
intelligence, assuming it is a trait like the
others mentioned? Surely it can'twork to
our advantage all the time.
We seem to have run into a problem with our assumptions because indeed, intelligence always seems to bean
asset and not a hindrance. So let's assume
that there are different levels of intelligence, like different thicknesses of fur.
An intermediate level of intelligence lets
us survive in a rather broad range of
environments. "Aha," you say, "here is
another contradiction, because you are
implying that there must therefore be
positive survival value to low intelligence
and negative value to high intelligence.
But we know that high intelligence is best
and low is worst. Right?" Wrong. Most of
us who have found our way to the hal-
lowedhallsof university havebeen brainwashed into believing that high intelligence means high prosperity or survival.
The assertion here is that either
high or low intelligence is better adapted
to a much more narrow environment, and
that mediocre intelligence allows survival in a much broader range. Of course
I can't prove any of this, because I have
abstracted all these concepts well beyond
their normal tolerances, but humour me
for a while longer and read on.
Abeingof low intelligenceis much
better suited to repetitive labour (ploughing, cutting wheat, mining), which in
certain environments is necessary for
survival. (Now here comes the tenuous
part). An individual of high intelligence
is not suited to such work because this
individual cannot be as happy or feel as
satisfied with this menial labour. The
higher intelligence will always desire new
challenges, variable tasks and problems,
and will generally feel dissatisfaction and
unfulfillment more than the low intelligence.
So what? Well, I don't know.
Assuming that my assumptions are correct, which is an exercise in strong faith,
this may mean that breeding individuals
for higher intelligence will destabilize
the total population. If the mediocre intelligence is removed, and of course the low
intelligence, a disastrous event in the
environment could destroy the population. (I know, people generally don'tdrop
dead just because they are unhappy with
their work, but perhaps if we had a being
with even higher intelligence than we do
Ari Giligson, owner and sole proprietor
of an intelligence so vast it encompasses
whole mountain ranges, eats limburger
cheese with his coffee. Which proves that
wisdom is something else again.
The Kitten Kaboodle
I have no luck
with pets. I
can never
seem to gel: it
right. I'll
admit there
was Dusty,
who I had for
twelve years
before the
Highway Got
Her, but after
that, I lost pets left and right. Patton
stayed for a month before Parvo Got
Him. Benji was with me two months
before the High way Got Him. My salamanders were with me all of six hours
before Ginger, my cat, Got Them. I am
a walking pet graveyard. When I go to
the pound the animals all try and hide
under their food dishes. I am cursed.
Sometimes, I am cursed with
pets that I can't get rid of. My two
newest hostages, Sid and Romeo, the
Dumb Kittens Whom I Got To Make
Babycakes Happy, are cases in point.
They've more or less become used to
the concept of a litter box, although
their accuracy is a little off. You can't
believe how frustrating it is to watch
Romeo delicately dig a small hole in
the kitty Utter, gingerly position himself over it — over it — and casually
drop a load over the side of the box onto
the floor. Then he fills the hole back in.
You see all this coming from a mile
away, and you want to push his little
kitty butt in a bit, but you can't — that
would be a faux pas. (Thai's great —
I'm trying to be polite to a cat that
expresses love by blowing boogers all
over my face.)
On the other hand, I've never
actually seen Sid use the kitty litter box,
but I haven't found any presents lately
either. This leads me to conclude that a)
Sid does not go to ihe bathroom, or b) Sid
is going to surprise me with a hidden
cache one day. I'm going to open the
closet door and... well.you know how, in
the cartoons, the character gets buried by
a ton of sports paraphernalia when he
opens a closet door?
I am convinced that Romeo has a
drug history, though. After my last column on Romeo and Sid, Romeo became
very sick — so sick, in fact, that the vet
gave him a five percent chance of living.
Romeo had a serious flea problem —
which is ironic, of course. Of all the
stupid things that stupid cat could die of,
fleas would be at die top of Stupid Causes
Of Death. How fitting.
However, a week in intensive care
brought life back to Romeo (as well as a
bdl larger than the GNP of more than a
few underdeveloped countries). But they
did something to Romeo that week, I'm
sure of it. All those drugs they gave him
did something to his mind. One minute
he'll be bouncing around the room, chasing stupid things that stupid kittens chase,
and the next minute he will stop dead in
his tracks and stare up at me as if to ask,
Who are you? I'll pet him a little, and
he'll look around slowly: / was doing
something, I' m sure. Oh yes, I remember.
Then he'll drop a log on the floor.
It's drugs. I swear. Before I got
Sid and Romeo, there was Blitzkrieg, so
named because he enjoyed assaulting
anything that moved. Blitzkrieg was the
hyperest, meanest, craziest cat I had ever
seen. He would attack couches, he would
attack doors, he would try and eat the
fridge. Until the day The Pound Got Hold
Of Him. When we brought him home
from the pound, he would sleep half the
day, and the other half he would lie there
yawning. He did nothing. I threw live
mice at him and he cuddled up to them
and slept.
It was the Pound, I'm telling you.
Before he goes in, he's a terror. When he
comes out, he's a valium addict. THEY
did this to him. They gave him Kitty
Electroshock Therapy.
It's a conspiracy. They fed Romeo hallucinogens to combat the deadly
flea infestation. Now, his favorite pastime is jumping on to your pant leg and
starting to climb up you. Every time, he
stops at the knee, and looks around, trying
to remember Who This Person Is That He
Is Clinging To And Why Exactly Did
This Person Put Him There? He won't let
go — you have to pry him off, or at least
assure him that the invisible lizards-in-
pantyhose crawling around on the floor
are On His Side.
Sid, on the other hand, has becomes devious and cunning. We started
to give the kittens flea baths. Which is a
stupid concept — who cares whether the
fleas are clean or not? Anyway, both cats
understandably hate it, but they deal with
it in different ways. Romeo fights and
struggles for all of seven seconds, then
resigns himself to his fate, reasoning that
it's better to be washed than to face the
lizards-in-pantyhose (or else it could be
that he has forgotten what he was struggling about and now is trying to figure out
Who These People Are And Why Are
They Pouring Water All Over Him).
Sid, on the other hand, has come up
with the concept of Mutually Assured
Destruction. Thedoctor says the stitches
will come out in a week.
It doesn't end at MAD, though.
Sid has pre-empted us with a new defense system. To give her a bath, Sid
reasons, we must first pick her up. To
get out of a bath, therefore, Sid must
discourage us from picking her up.
Now, every time we pick her up, Sid
Farts at us.
Although I have to admit that it
has cured Sid's flea problem.
Yet they are fun to have around
the house ... that is, when they aren't
missing the kitty litter box or exploring
the garbage bin (a new game they have
invented: tear open a hole and go in
from the bottom, climb out through the
top and get as much goop as possible
scattered about the house in the process). There's nothing more adorable
than two kitties playing with each other
-Especially these two kitties. Romeo
likes to initiate it, attacking Sid first.
Being much bigger than Sid, he eventually pins Sid down and sits on top of
her wondering Who This Cat Is And
Why Exacdy Is This Cat Attacking
Him? Sid, for her part, struggles, goes,
"Meeew, meeew, meeew," and then
falls back on her new defensive option.
She Farts.
Which never works, because
Romeo blames it on invisible lizards
wearing pantyhose.
Aaron Drake eats plain brown beans.
The 432
November 14,1990 The 432
Volume 4, Number 6
November 14,1990
Editor:      David W. New
Writers:    Aaron C. Drake
Ari Giligson
Orvin Lau
Derek K. Miller
David W. New
Alan Price
Cathy Rankel
Patrick Redding
Tanya Rose
Antonia Rozario
Artists:      Aaron C. Drake
Patrick Redding
Pick-Up:   Erik Jensen
Printed at College Printers.
Area: 9.652 x 10"1 m2.
Multiplicity: 3600.
Frequency: 8.267 x 107 Hz.
Average printing speed:
2.873 x 103 m2/s
"Ah!" cried the laundromat
to see if it had wings — but
Capilano happiness lasts
longer in the spring. The
Four Hundred and Thirty-
Two is published by the
SUS, and every single word
in it is copyright by us —
the author if there's one
attached, the paper if
there's not, in nineteen
hundred ninety (mid-November, on the dot). Hey!
Deadline for submissions:
Wednesday, November 21
Next issue: November 28
*The 432 Guide to Pizza,
Second Edition!
•Corned beef on rye!
•Other exam mayhem!
•And more...
Tuesday 1:30 (CHEM 160):
The 432 Staff Meetings Erik
discovers a tadpole in his
socks, while Dave chortles
like a dead seal and Elaine
drinks a Sprite. (Repeat)
The SUS News Council is
Aaron Drake, Don Hitchen,
Erik Jensen, Dave New,
Antonia Rozario, Jason
Russell, Peter Siempelkamp,
and Elaine Wong. It's all
their fault.
iw ©©wnnsT
Friday, January 25,1991
4:00-8:00pm    SUB 207/209
$5.00 per brew entry
Set up now to enter!
Week '91
Deadline: Nov. 21, 1990
Fabulous prizes to be won!
< ^
Designs should include
"UBC Science Week 1991,'
"4th Annual Trike Race."
Week '91
Loose Canons
The last time I attempted to describe my
idea for this feature, the person to whom
I was speaking frowned and proclaimed,
"I suppose you think that the computer
virus is a high art-form, you self-abusing
techno-anarchistic lackeyofthe pro-porn
Actually, it was more like, "Oh,
that's kind of different." I doubt anyone is
actually offended enough by my stance
on free speech to be driven to such extreme outbursts. To be perfecdy honest, I
had the idea for the name "Loose Canons" first, and was hunting around for
something to stick it above. I realized that
what would be wholly appropriate was a
regular feature that discussed the information age, not neccessarily in terms of
computing power, but in the more general sense through the expansion of electronic media and the evolution from passive entertainment (e.g. television) to
interactive modes rendered feasible by
the "smartening" of consumer technology. The aim here is not to give a sanitized forecast of Things to Come a la
Popular Science, but to develop in the
readers a critical sense of how their lifestyles will be altered by just the sheer
volume of information they will be expected to assimilate.
In the last decade we (the twen-
tysomething crowd) have come to take
personal computers and cellular telephones for granted, even while some of
our parents struggle to adapt to such
mundane and commonplace items as
automated tellers and VCR's. But of
greater concern than the mere sophistication of our toys is the question of who will
have control over the new currents of
information, as they emerge. Policymakers in the past have had good reason
to fear the public's abdity to exchange
ideas, all the way from Gutenberg's press
tocolourphotocopiers. If in fact our TV's
become so smart that we can use them to
sort through the existing wall of transmissions to find programming of a specific nature, then essentially every one of
us will have at our disposal a customized
news service, andnotall th&Three's Company re-runs in the world will keep us
The problem with producing a
regular feature on issues surrounding an
information economy, the globalization
of communications, freedom of speech
and the "exponential growth of available
bandwidth," is that even if readers are
genuinely interested in the social, ethical
and political consequences of these developments, there is always the risk that
many of them who read The 432 for its
light humor and witty insights will take
one look at this introdution and swifdy
"This guy'sapretentious wanker."
My goal is not only to avoid scaring off readers, but also to provoke anyone with an opinion or relevant piece of
information into writing (or drawing)
something for this feature. This means
keeping the ground rules down to your
basic nothing. Essays, poetry, cartoons,
maps, or McHappy Meal board games:
anything goes. If you, the prospective
contributor, don't mind losing resolution, I'll be happy to cram any xeroxable
imagery into the alloted space. That is,
after all, what the information age is all
(As an example of the kind of utter
crap I'm willing to treat as legitimate
experimentation, in an upcoming installment I hope to publish an essay with
all the vowels removedjusttosavespace.)
The phrase "loose cannons on the
deck..." refers to the misuse of power
which has been delegated to some individual under the auspices of some greater
authority. Thephrase'sorigins areclearly
martial, and it evokes images of Oliver
North routing dl-gained profits into some
secret war in Central America. Apart
from the hallowed tradition of "loose
cannons" in the oudaw-worshipping style
of popular American cop movies, there
exists a very different view of abused
power, one which declares that some
domains are not legitimately controlled
by any authority, no matter how accepting the citizenry may have become. Keep
in mind that the civil servant whose job it
is to grant broadcasting rights or decide
which periodicals are too obscene to be
allowed into Canada was not elected, but
appointed by some incumbent Suit in
Victoria or Ottawa, and that these decisions are being made on the basis of that
person's own standards of morality and/
or political philosophy. By the time an
appointee is appointed by the appointee
of your elected official, the attitudes reflected may be so far removed from those
of the minister or secretary in charge that
they don't even remotely reflect the desires or expectations of the voting constituency.
The flip side to this threat is the
by Patrick Redding
promise that as each of us establishes his/
her own little island in an ocean of assimilable information, our intellectual and
technological capacity to broadcast ideas
and "broadcatch" the responses will
quickly expand without bound. Any
bound. Pirate radio and press have been
realities for decades, with pirate TV not
far behind. Already, the proliferation of
privately-owned cable and satellite receivers has created a burgeoning gray
market in which initiative and creativity
rather than cold cash determine who gets
air time. If we are shrewd, this impossibly
wide multimedia expressway will never
become clogged with toll booths or speed
As for the peculiar spelling,
"canons," my point is that with the new
media will come forms of expression that
are unique to the individual, falling well
outside the mainstream. Literature, art, or
even science which takes an unorthodox
approach is often termed "non-canonical." It's a favorite adjective of poetry
profs who employ it to justify the awarding of Canada Councd Grants for the
publication of haiku done in airbrush on
sides of beef. So "loose" is an understatement. By the time all you English majors
have bought your first voice-driven
Macintosh XI's, there may be no canons
left to spike.
Also, as I hope to demonstrate in
the next instalment, loose Canons (any of
their fine cameras, photocopiers or cellular fax machines wdl do nicely) are intrinsically subversive and should be used
that way if at all possible. Why? Well, it's
just a darn good way of stretching the
muscles of popular unrest, don't you
know. If, as some have suggested, information is a thermodynamic quantity that
"wants" to be free, then all we need to
provide are convenient channels of least
resistance, whether they be casual E-mail
networks strung along long-distance lines,
or multi-gigabaud soliton-driven fiberoptic ISDN, bringing the digital kitchen
sink to your kitchen.
I hope that this incoherent mouth-
foaming will not deter the less verbose
readers from taking a shot at this little
experiment Or, if you 'rereally disgusted,
a shot at me. Just rest assured that in
future features, I won't have as much
time to shovel as I did for the first.
Patrick Redding is just a pseudonymfor
GnidderK. Cirtap, our staff hygienist.
The 432
November 14,1990 s
Announcing the Pre-G.ST. Christmas Sale!
This is your last chance to save 7% on all Science gear before the G.S.T.! Come and get your
Science wear before going Home for the Holidays! Buy these great stocking stuffers At Cost!
•V-Neck Sweaters! Regular $31.50 ($33.71 with tax) — now $29,00!
•Crewneck Sweaters! Regular $38.00 ($40.66 with tax) — now $34.00!
•Sweatshirts! Regular $18.00 ($19.26 with tax) — now $16.25!
•Nylon Shells! Regular $40.00 ($42.80 with tax) — now $30.00!
•Hockey Jerseys! Regular $27.50 ($29.43 with tax) — now $25.00!
Plus — Black Science T-Shirts are in—white and gold UBC shield in puff ink for just $ 12.50!
And Entertainment '91 and Savings Spree books, Sports Jackets, and T-Shirts galore!
Sale ends November 30/90. Science Sales is a really cool organization situated in CHEM 160 — or call 228-4235.
Intelligence: Good Idea or Just Another Gimmick?
Continued from page 1...
analytical engine; the second came with
the advent of the transistor. Then the
chip, and now the integrated circuit: and
for well over ten years, corporations in
the U.S. and Japan have raced to invent
the first fifth-generation computer, whatever that wdl be. Much of Japanese industry is pinned on the hope of genuine
AI in the next decade.
But how wdl we know, when and
if a true artificial intelligence is built? A
famous thoughtexperimentknown as the
Chinese Room hypothesizes a sealed
enclosure containing a man, a desk, in
and out slots in the wall, and a set of
instructions. Messages enter the room
written in Chinese, of which the man
knows not a word. Consulting the English instructions, he manipulates the characters, calculating what die instructions
say is an appropriate response, and sends
a response, also written in Chinese, back
out again.
The responses seem intelligent,
well-considered replies to philosophical
questions. But is the man exerting any
intelligence, or just following the instructions? Are then the instructions intelligent? Is the interaction between the man,
the instructions, and the room intelligence? Or is the entire scenario just a
delayed conversation with theperson who
wrote the instructions?
A mathematician named Alan
Turing once proposed a famous test for
artificial intelligence. If, he said, one could
hold an arbitrary conversation with a
machine, for an arbitrary amount of time,
and never tell the difference between it
and an intelligent being, then it would de
facto be intelligent. While a skillfully
written program could emulate intelligence for a long time, eventually its responses would give indication that it was
merely following databanked instructions,
and not synthesizing its answers based on
any creative or intelligent thought.
Among the hardest bisks set for an
artificial intelligence is die consistent
comprehension of language. Although
highly developed parsers are available
for modern computers, such sentences as,
"When his fist hit the table, it broke,"
dependent wholly on their context for
meaning, are still lost on computers.
Syntactical and spelling errors, too, foul
up the programs: a true parser must
compensate for the deficiencies of the
speaker. And no computer has yet come
close to understanding a pun — let alone
understanding why a pun would be made.
The 432
When children assimilate a language, an abdity which is strongest before the age of about five, they generally
have no conception that words could bear
multiple meanings. That realization
comes later: the imprinting process which
fixes a specific word to a specific concept
does not allow for ambiguity. Yet it does
permit a great variety of syntactic variation: a young child will simultaneously
find the concept, "The bread ate the
woman," hilarious, and understand what
was meant
How rapidly skills like language
are acquired, or knowledge is acquired
through an already learned language,
passesforameasureof intelligence. When
Wechsler first devised an intelligence
test in the early twentieth century, the
measure for children was the "mental
age," based on ability in a standard curriculum of skills, divided by physical age
and expressed as a percent (hence "quotient"). An eight-year-old doing university graduate work would have an I.Q. of
about 300. More recendy, I.Q. scores
have been carefully scaled to reflect a
standard statistical distribution of population, with unreachable bounds of 0 and
200, and exactly half the populace above
andbelow 100; they have also been almost
completely discredited as measuring
problem-solving ability, an attribute
which reflects cultural origin and motivation but has litde or nothing to do with
One alternate suggestion for a
definition of intelligence defines the term
as the level of proficiency in that mental
ability in which the species most excels
—thus the intelligence of a cat is directiy
related to its stalking ability, and of a
raccoon to its scrounging resourcefulness. But the level of mind achieved in
humanity is comparable neither in
achievement nor in kind to that of any
other species, and has far more aspects. Is
creativity or analysis a higher form of
intellect? Or must die two be measured
on separate scales — if, indeed, scales
have any meaning whatsoever.
Or is intellect itself, what we
consider to be the various higher mental
functions, the distinctive feature of humanity? Such was the predominant theory for centuries, but more recendy several effects of intelligence have been
pinpointed. The recent anthropological
discovery that all humans are probably
descended from a single, small core group
of women in southern Africa, coupled
with linguistic developments in the last
year which indicate that all human lan
guages are related after all, in three major, millenia-long waves of expansion
also from southern Africa, indicate that
language, or those same cognitive processes which allowed the generation of
language, triggered the ascent of humanity and our differentiation from the remainder of the animal kingdom.
The cranial development of early
hominids involved the increase in complexity of the cerebrum and cerebellum,
and the continued formation of the cerebral cortex. The tendency which had been
developing through the evolution of the
animal kingdom, towards multiple layers
of brain, each governing a slightly higher
process of thought, from reflex to instinct
to learned response, arrived at an analytical self- and world-awareness in humans,
leaving in other closely related species
merely the capacity for such analysis,
lacking the innate impulse to employ it.
Hominids — most particularly,
australopithecines—also had the largest
brain-to-body-mass ratio of all closely-
related mammals. (An early offshoot
branch of the phylum mammalia, occurring some time before the divergence of
marsupials, never evolved rapid eye
movement sleep, and as a consequence,
have a much higher brain-to-body-mass
ratio than do any other mammals; what
exactly this statistic means is unknown.)
Although the notion that brain size has
very much bearing on intelligence has
long been discredited, the evolutionary
direction is clear: cranial complexity was
being encouraged by natural selective
Whether this trend to intelligence
was an inevitable tendency or merely a
side effect of the selection of some related trait, whether the development of
self-awareness was coincidental or otherwise, forms an evolutionary statement
of the cosmological anthropic principle.
In its weak form, the principle states that
since humans exist, die universe must be
such that humans can exist; in its more
controversial, strong form, it suggests
that conditions in the universe are such
that human evolution is not just possible
but inevitable — as if the ultimate purpose of the universe is to be observed and
If the strong anthropic principle
holds true, and human evolution is inevitable, then the chances that we are the
only intelligent race die universe has are
extraordinarily low. The most pessimistic calculations of how many intelligent
species there must be, based on what we
know of our own, imply thousands scat
tered across each galaxy — assuming
such-and-such a percentage of stars have
planets, such-and-such a percentage of
planets are hospitable to life (by that very
quirk in Carbon chemistry mentioned
above), such-and-such a percentage of
life-bearing worlds give rise to intelligent
species, and so on. And this leads to the
question of where exacdy the others are.
It could be that there aren't any. It
could be that the universe has existed
many times before with no life at all, that
intelligence is only the luckiest of accidents, and the only reason we can see any
is that we're it. But this explanation strikes
most scientists as the cop-out it is; those
involved with such projects as the Search
for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence can see
only four reasonable answers to the question.
First, we could be too early. There
could as yet be no galactic civilization to
encounter us — and in a galaxy with ten
thousandraces, some few have to be first.
A reasonably zealous race would take a
mere three million years to finish settling
the entire galaxy, even allowing for relativity — a mere pittance, on a galactic
Second, and conversely, we could
be too late. If all the other races have
already declined or been destroyed, if
destructive von Neumann probes are
roaming the cosmos and destroying
spacefaring ships, we might be too young
to make any difference.
The thirdoption is that we're being
avoided. Whether through ugliness or
quarantine, we'reacivilization ostracized
by the universe at large. Givea the exis-
tenceof other races, the odds against then-
having discovered us by now are ridiculously low.
The fourth possibility, of course,
is that we're simply too stupid to have
noticed the emissaries which have been
sent to us. In which case, we hardly deserve to call ourselves intelligent anyway. And hardly know ourselves at all.
"So remember when you're feeling very
small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth,
And pray that there's intelligent life
somewhere up in space,
Cause there's bugger-all down here on
-Monty Python
In fact, he wishes to make it clear that if
a potato walked up and asked to be boiled,
he would rather eat a lichen than oblige.
November 14,1990 Dik Miller, Private Eye
-by Derek K. Miller-
When we last left our intrepid hero (Dik
Miller, in case you've forgotten, or don't
realize that he's a hero) he was on board
a U.S. Air Force transport plane bound
for Saudi Arabia. Come to think of it, that
was where he was when we left him the
time before that, too. Methinks the plot
has not been advancing rapidly enough.
So let's not waste time. We left Dik saying
"Angela Crisco!"
He was surprised as he said it because he
had last seen her several episodes before,
when she had been (a) naked and (b)
pointing a gun at him. Subsequently, he
hadbeen kidnapped by people wanting to
know her whereabouts, of which he had
lost track. By now he was, needless to say,
rather confused. Anyway, back to the
story. We'll start over:
"Angela Crisco! What are you doing
She eyed me levelly. "I'm going
to Saudi Arabia to prepare the troops for
war with Iraq."
I closed my eyes and waved my
hands awkwardly in front of my face.
"Hold on a second here. Who are you that
you're going to prepare troops for war
with Iraq, anyway?"
"I'm a U.S. government envoy,
working for the State Department."
"So why were you trying to shoot
me a few weeks ago?"
She blinked. "Sorry?"
"You were trying to shoot me."
"I've never met you before."
Ever have one of those experiences where you've been minding your
own business, then someone tries to shoot
you, then you get kidnapped and taken to
a far-away foreign country, then you get
rescued and taken to an even farther-
away foreign country, and the person
who tried to shoot you shows up on the
way and denies that he or she ever did
such a thing? It can set your head spinning, I tell you.
"Got any aspirin?" I asked.
"As a matter of fact, I do," she
replied, pulling out a bottle from her
"Thank you." I gulped down a
couple of tablets without water. "Now
then, if you haven't met me before, why
did you approach me?"
"Actually, I was trying to get by,
and you were gawking out the window
and blocking my way."
"So when you said, 'Excuse me,'
it wasn't a subde way of striking up a
"Not at all."
"And you have no recollection of
standing on a beach wearing nothing but
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is a famous scientist with
a lot of letters in his name. You can make lots of words out
of them, like "Bean," "Harder," and "Ducks." And whoever
can form the most words of four or more letters from Dr.
Chandrasekhar's name by Wednesday, November 21st ...
will win a Tiger Brand Sweatshirt from the T-Bird Shop.
(No hyphenated, foreign, slang, or obsolete words; likewise, no proper (capitalized)
nouns or abbreviations. And all words must appear in the OxfordEnglishDictionary,
Second Edition. Second prize is Science Boxer Shorts, third prize a Science T-Shirt.)
a fur coat and pointing a gun at me?"
"None whatsoever."
"B ut y our name/s Angela Crisco?"
"Yes it is."
"Well, go figure."
"Thank you, I will." With that, she
walked by me and disappeared through
an access door.
A speaker crackled and an uneasy
announcer came on the line. This being a
military aircraft, there was probably no
one on board who was used to telling
people what was goingon. "Ehm.. .er.. .is
this on? Okay, ATTENTION PASSENGERS ... oh, sorry ... Attention passengers, we will soon be putting down... er
... landing at the U.S. air base near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Please seat yourselves and ... uh ... return your trays to
the upright position, ha ha, um... Diplomatic personnel will be on hand to greet
you. Thank you." Click.
I moved to my seat and strapped
in, still pondering the strange turn of
events that placed Crisco and me on the
same plane. It couldn' t be coincidence; it
had to be some sort of grand cosmic plan.
Okay, maybe it was coincidence.
The plane lurched, descended,
swooped around a bit, and then made a
dramatic landing on a packed-sand runway that cut across a ramshackle collection of huts, tents, and fuel drums that
were strewn across the desert like the
debris from someone's Oreo cookie
The former D.H.S.E.D.C. hostages (me included) were ushered down
the ramp to a waiting open-sided tent,
where a podium had been set up. As we
sat in the folding chairs provided, a stereotypical U.S. officer, chest emblazoned
with those incomprehensible litde medal-
type squares that look like Chiclets,
walked up to it, cleared his throat into the
microphone, and spoke.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gen
tlemen. On behalf of the government of
the United States of America, I would
like to welcome you to our facility, nerve
center of Operation Desert Shield..."
He kept talking but I stopped listening when I saw Crisco emerge from
the plane, accompanied by two important-looking officers who were bending
and gesturing to her in a way that suggested that she was even more important
than they looked. I ducked my head and
scurried away from the tent to follow her,
only just barely catching the speaker's
words as they faded from audibility.
"...and please don't stray outside
the areas shown to you. This is a very
dangerous place, and there are many
classified operations going on...." Great.
I was already breaking the rules. Oh well.
I had managed to get this far. Why stop
Crisco and her entourage walked
into a nearby tent and I followed, winding
my way around back. Sinking down to
my knees, I pulled up the bottom of one of
the canvas flaps and peeked inside to see
Angela and the two others donning Arab
costumes, complete with the caftan-like
robes and the head-things-whose-name-
This was getting interesting.
And this is where we end for this week.
What about all the "fun stuff and humourous parodies of the situation in the
Middle East" that I promised last issue?
Well, we kind of got to some of it. Watch
for more. No, don't stop reading because
this story never gets anywhere! Please.
Give it a chance.
PS. In case you were wondering,
the transport plane refuelled in flight
(you know, like at the beginning of Dr.
Strangelove?), which is why it didn t land
somewhere more convenient. Besides,
there have to be some props to this ridiculously shaky plot, don't there?
Senate Shorts
-by Orvin Lau-
The day that this paper comes out is the
day of the November Senate meeting,
and this evening's agenda is going to be
a really interesting one, as there are a
number of interesting things happening.
First on the agenda, Senate will be
debating whether or not to review the
existing guidelines that bar students from
being involved in appointment, promotion and tenure decisions—this debate is
going to be a hot one. Then we'll be
appointing the members of the committee on teaching evaluations that I helped
establish last month. Plus, we'll be approving the list of candidates for degrees
(yes, I vote on who graduates), changes to
the general admission policy, and an
annual report from the student appeals
committee, and a few other things. The
chairman, Dr. Strangway, may also —
but no guarantees—make a statement on
the Cariboo House incident.
For all you AMS keeners, this
Senate meeting overlaps with the AMS
Council meeting — so if you're sick and
tired of watching that, come on over to
Senate to see some real people make
some real decisions.
Nominations have just opened for
next year's positions on the Board of
Governors and Senate. If you're thinking
of running, you can pick up a nomination
form from me. It's easy to get nominated:
you only need three signatures for Senate, and seven for the Board. And especially if you're debating running for Senate, try to attend the Senate meeting tonight, provided you read this paper on
Since nominations are open, I wish
to announce that I will not be running for
re-election as the student senator for the
Faculty of Science. I have decided for
two reasons that next year, I will be
running for re-election as a student sena-
tor-at-large—first, my work on teaching
evaluations wttl affect all students, and it
is appropriate that I be a representative of
all students; and secondly, I would like to
see other students involved in Senate, and
it is much easier to be elected under a
faculty than at large. By not running
again for Science, it will be much easier
for a new student to get elected. If you're
interested in my old position, you can see
me for info and details. I hope to see some
worthwhile candidates running.
Orvin Lau sidelines as a human cannon-
ball to pay for his tuition. His favourite
colour is probably puce.
The 432
November 14,1990 SUS (Productions (Proudly (Presents
That's Trivial! Answers
SUB BALLROOM   NOV.. 16th 1990
HAPPY HALF HOUR 8:00 - 8:30 (Drinks 2 for 1)
GET YOUR BOAT RACE TEAMS (5 members, 1 female) IN NOW!
inquire at CHEM 160 for more information.
Available at
CHEM 160
fAMS (Briefs
-by David W. New,
Acting Science Officer-
These are the minutes of the AMS Enterprise. Its four-hour meeting: to explore
strange new ideas — to seek out new
issues, and new referenda — to pedantically debate what no man has debated
The meeting was called to order
by Captain Kurt at 6:30pm on Wednesday, October 31st, 1990. After several
presentations and the ritual passing of
minutes, AntoniaRozario beamed aboard
to take on the position of Fall Convocation Graduating Speaker. Starship Ombudsperson Carole Forsythe had just
accepted positions on two more committees when the ship was hit by a blast of
All crew were briefly stunned, by
the sudden impact of a letter from Jason
Brett to the B.C. Organization to Fight
Racism, which concerned the CiTR music
policy. The document was finally adopted
by a beleaguered few, while some thirty
crew members reeled into abstention. B ut
no sooner had they regained their respective footings when anotiier blast rocked
the deck, this one in the form of a nude
painting in the Gallery Lounge. A lengthy
debate resulted in the formation of no
policy, and the taking of no action, beyond what had already occurred.
The bridge crew headed for die
transporter room: to investigate the cause
of the disturbance. It seemed the University'wanted to collect AMS fees on aper-
unit-per-term basis next year, doing away
with the 9-unit ceiling and the all-at-
once-in-September pay scheme. Almost
instantly, thecrew were beset by amotion
to look into this, and began flailing wildly
about with their phasers set to kill. Three-
quarters of the motion's text had been
blasted away before it managed to pass,
its goal now diminished to apurely financial (as opposed to bylaw-changing or
plebiscite-holding) impact study.
Some stray referendum coordinates scratched on a rock led our intrepid
band to the mythical Planet of Weird
Voter Inducements. Behind one rocky
overhang they spied a general election
with a year's worth of referenda attached;
in a verdant glen they saw free cookies
and coffee at an election booth; in a
subterranean tricorder reading, they
caught a glimpse of a Kurt Preinsperg
dunk tank. Images of the Totem Park
cafeteria, the centre of the SUB Main
Concourse, and booths galore which
opened for more than two hours a day
flashed before their faces. Finally they
directed their chief officers to craft an
official proposal for the AMS to use in
January, and beamed back aboard their
The starship, meanwhile, was in
complete disarray over a proposal to use
preferential voting in the January elections. The few who knew what it was
were arguing over what it meant, and
proved themselves unanimously incapable of explaining it to those who didn' t.
After it developed that none of the crew
had taken a Statistics course, the matter
was referred to a future voyage, when
Ship's Arts Officer Mark Keister could
provide a more organized proposal.
Their business dealt with, the crew
proceeded to debate where to go, if 'to go,
and what warp speed to go there at. Chief
Engineer Brett won out (in principle)
with his vague proposal for The Travelling AMS Show, and the Enterprise took
off at about warp nine for parts unknown.
Dmitri Mendeleyev.
Hydrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine,
Chlorine, Bromine, and Iodine.
Marie Curie.
It has one more neutron.
4 atomic mass units.
Bromine and Mercury.
Bromine, Mercury, and Gallium.
Technetium and Prometheum.
It stands for Wolfram, the German for Tungsten.
In oil.
An alpha particle.
Erbium, Terbium, Ytterbium, and
He showed that Lead was denser
than Earth, Air, Fire, or Water, so
must be a different material again.
All six carbon atoms resonate
between single and double bonds
with one another.
After a giant star has fused all its
Hydrogen into Helium, it fuses its
Helium into Carbon.
By eating some.
Their creation is disputed. Both
an American team and a Soviet
team submitted names (including
Rutherfordium, Kurchatorium,
and Nielsbohrium) for the elements in the 1960's and early
1970 's. Finally, the elements were
named as neutrally as possible,
after their numbers.
Questions for Dan Quayle
-by Aaron Drake-
What do they mean when they say that we
fell head over heels for someone? Our
head is always over our heels. Except
when we fall. Maybe they should say we
fell head beside heels.
Certain things always seem to
come in groups. Have you ever heard of
someone receiving a single kudo? If
you've got one, is it flotsam or jetsam?
Why does a kit always have a kaboodle
attached to it? What is a kaboodle anyway?
What do diey mean by, "the full
nine yards?" A first down is ten yards. If
you're going the full nine yards, you
haven't made a first down. "Yeah, I'm
gonna do it! I'm going the FULL NINE
YARDS. I'm going to almost make it but
Who is Pete and why are we always doing things for his sake? Who is
Mike and why are wealways doing things
for the love of him?
Where the heck is Kingdom
Bleach For The Unbleachables.
I'm a little confused over that one. What's
the point, then?
What does the T stand for in T-
Monkey wrenches. Ever see a
monkey use one? Pointless, I tell you.
... Organ grinders ... they turn
them, not grind them.
If a mdlion monkeys had a million
typewriters and typed for a million years,
would you be able to tell the difference
between that and The Ubyssey?
Seriously, The Ubyssey wouldpile
up more shit,
Ooooh, I'm gonna catch it for that
one, boy.
Ever been hit in the head by a
padlock? They aren't padded.
How come Donald Duck wears a
shirt, but no pants? How come Mickey
Mouse wears pants, but no shirt? Goofy,
on the other hand, is fully dressed. He
even wears a hat. And he's supposed to be
the dumb one. Is this a message?
Does God ever have gas? Really
—we were created in his image. We fart.
Does he?
'The (Drawers of SUS
-by Catherine Rankel-
November 1st: I can't say that all that
much happened to us at this meeting.
Summing up, there were many, many
reports and more money was given out.
(Don't you wish you were there?)
•Microbi was the first Science club
to get its club grant — $526 worth.
•Two Academics Coordinators
were voted in, Giovanna Vassone and
Kevin Chung. By now you may have
been accosted by bleary-eyed year and
departmental reps handing out Black &
Blue Review forms — make them happy
and complete the questionnaires. The only
ones who will gain from this will be you
when you get your copy of The Guide
next summer.
•It was announced that Antonia
Rozario wdl be the Convocation Speaker
at the ceremonies this November.
•Sports jackets are in, but you
need 20 Sports points before you van
even consider being seen in one of these
hot items. Anyway, $38 will buy you
fame among Science students and a smart-
looking jacket.
•Contracts  for  the  upcoming
Dance were given to Microbi for the bar
and Geology for security. (Look out for
fermenting beer and hiking boots in your
face, should you not cough up the $4 to
get in.)
November 8th: More happy clubs this
week: Biosoc got $1445 and Comp Sci
ended up with $466.
•Nicky Meola is our newly appointed Sports Treasurer, so don't scream
at Rachel for your rebates.
•Antonia makes her appearance
again this week as the official SUS Food
Drive Coordinator.
.•Emily Fong, third-year rep, vacated her position a mere six weeks after
the election, leaving two others to inform
and represent °04 third-years.
•The 25 black T-shirts which Dean
ordered have arrived, and are available
for $12.50 in CHEM 160. Dean is also
working on a pre-GST sale — no commission for sales staff, so this is the perfect time to buy.
•Senate elections will be happening soon and we need a Science Senator.
Come in and see Orvin if you're interested.
The 432
November 14,1990 Hey, You. Bored?
-by Alan Price-
To each person, many dilemmas come from time to
time. This Friday, a dilemma will confront you. What
should you do? Should you:
(a) Attend a fun and social activity, such as (and
specifically) the President's Choice Dance?
(b) Sit at home quiedy and recall fond memories
of childhood?
(c) Meet your friends and have fun at the Presi-
dent's Choice Dance?
(d) Contemplate the source of bellybutton lint?
The choice is yours. You must make the decision
that will make or break your ultimate existence. As Bo
says, "Do it."
This has been a public service announcement.
All tickets are available from your friendly neighbourhood SUS Council members.
2iklD 228-WlT
ITOCKSP^ Ttf WOLOtHCH. ICWHCa »oc»rr tr _^ .1^^
•JjB l*V7   SEUS     MEET
fte*   MATCH iu   t/i5MPo^
Bittersweet Recollections of
a Frazzled Undergraduate
-by Antonia Rozario-
I am a fifth-year Biology student who has seen her fan-
share of student selfishness. I have had to deal with
dumb jerks that rip midterm answes off walls even
though they say DO NOT REMOVE, and have had to
deal with flaky bubbleheads who monopolize entire
lectures discussing their hair ornaments. I have had
people borrow class notes off me only to return them the
morning of the exam that covered them, and have
witnessed people taking multiple copies of handouts so
that their classmates were left sharing.
However, what has left me the most frustrated
and aggravated has been witnessing dumb jerks coming
to school when they were sick. Although this is a com-
¥ ^\0^'
mon problem, it was never made so blatantly clear as it
was during one particular Classical Studies class, during the second term of my fourth year of studies....
On this particular March morning, all of us pre-
med keeners were crammed into a steamy classroom in
the Henry Angus budding trying to write a vocabulary
test. As I desperately tried to figure out the Latin term for
"condition characterized by having a swollen nose, diluted urine and furry teeth," the person behind me
started to cough in a mechanical, machine-gun-like
After the first ten minutes of incessant hacking
and loud swallowing, I was a bit disgruntled. As the test
proceeded, though, and I realized that this idiot had no
intention of leaving, I became more and
more irate. Thoughts of killing myself by
inhaling liquid paper fumes were intermixed with thoughts of killing the cougher
by forcing her to inhale my fists. As the
last seconds of the test ticked away and
we were told to hand in our papers, this
dumb broad was still making audible
gurgling sounds with her throat.
For the most part, she probably
didn't affect my overall test mark that
much. Perhaps there were only three or
four more terms I could have gotten if I
hadn't been so distracted. However, this
worthless cow-witch did manage to give
me an aching headache that lasted for a
few hours, and did happen to spray the
back of my head with several ounces of
phlegm. True, I did eventually fail the
course with a mark of 30.67%, but that
was more likely due to the fact that I'm
academically inhibited by courses I find
insultingly easy. (.. .Or maybe it was due
to the fact that my mother spanked me as
a child?)
This painful recollection did more for
me, the writer, than it did for you the
reader. On the one hand, it truthfully and
comically displayed the perils of coming
to school when sick. But on the other
hand, it also served to remind us that there
is yet another person in this world that
deserves to be puked on.
The 432
November 14,1990


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