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December 08, 1999 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-12-08

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, December 8, 1999

(fit oE , iCI T FtI[ ailu

Well, you make me feel corny, corny. So corny, corny.

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily. letters@umich. edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

. i

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

In this time of merriment, I haxe been
called to give ou a special message.
This week. I jovfull, pass the secret of hap-
piness to you, my belox ed readers. Some of

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Daily ' editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect
the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

you w ill read what I say
The world will come
in focus and you will
say, "Oh yeah.
Others won't buy
it. I assure you. What
I say is true. The
happy soul laughs at
corny jokes.
The happiest peo-
ple are the ones who
laugh at the lamest,
stupidest, dumbest
jokes in existence. It
may be that they
laugh because they
are happy, but we also

and take it to heart,


www.don tskipclass. cor
Versity.com has right to free speech


M ost students at the University can
barely remember a time before inter-
net technology - a time where they could-
n't communicate with friends at the touch of
a button, couldn't buy tickets for a concert
from their residence hall, and couldn't check
the notes for their classes online. It is the lat-
ter internet service that has University offi-
cials concerned. In a written statement sent
to faculty last week, Provost Nancy Cantor
said her office, along with the Office of the
General Counsel, will form a small working
group to examine the issues and implica-
tions of online note services provided by
Versity.com and similar internet companies.
Faced with the problem of students skipping
class in favor of online materials and the
issue of intellectual -property being distrib-
uted on the Web, the University has reacted
with understandable caution. But they need
not be concerned. Online notes will do more
good than harm, and the University should
cooperate with companies like Versity.com
rather than work against them.
Prompting Cantor's decision to form a
committee examining online notes was a
group of letters from Versity.com to
University faculty asking them to engage in
a pilot program. While this contact sparked
the University's concern, it should instead
relieve it.
At the top of the University's list of con-
cerns is copyright laws. By putting notes on
the 'web, the University feels intellectual
property laws may be at stake, and faculty
work could be stolen. But companies like
Versity.com have no interest in faculty mate-
rial, other than putting it on the web. Their
new pilot program offers copyrights to fac-
ulty on material they post on the web, pre-
venting any plagiarism or pawning of ideas.
In addition, if the University cooperates in

the new pilot program, the faculty can
choose the notetakers, review notes before
they are posted and place a link to their class
website next to Versity.com's notes. But
Versity is not allowed to do any of these
things until the University agrees to cooper-
ate. It will be to their advantage to do just
In addition to protecting faculty material
from pirating, online note services will like-
ly enhance the academic experience.
Students will be able to link to courses at
other Universities to provide reinforcement
on class material. While some will use the
notes as an excuse to skip class, they will
find that relying only on Web notes won't
prepare them for exams or truly help them
understand the subject matter.
Cooperation in Versity.com's pilot pro-
gram will also remedy some additional
University concerns. One concern Cantor
voiced in her letter to faculty was the notion
that online note services would prevent
guest speakers from coming to class.
Because their material is often unpublished,
a guest speaker might feel uncomfortable
with the possibility of their material appear-
ing on the web. But by cooperating with
Versity.com, the company will agree to
restrict notetaking should special circum-
stances arise. Additionally, for those profes-
sors who wish to restrict material only to
students of their University, Versity.com
would be able to provide this under their
new pilot program.
While the use of internet resources may
seem fully immersed into academia, the
transition has only begun. Rather than fight
the tide of technology, the University should
embrace it, and work with companies like
Versity.com to ensure that online notes ben-
efit students and-faculty at the University.

get happy because we
laugh. Those special
people who possess
the unique ability to laugh at inane, corny
jokes have a gift.
Next time you hear a corny joke, look
around and see who is laughing. Chances
are that the one who laughs is the one to
whom you'll be strangely drawn. That
corny person is easily amused. We all know
that this is a very good quality in a man and
a woman. If my wonderful woman wasn't
cornier than a farm in Nebraska, we proba-
bly wouldn't work out too well. Corniness
keeps us together. It is the husk of our rela-
At Creighton, I used to hang out with
this guy named Chris "Hick" Hickerson.
This guy has to be one of the corniest men
alive. That corniness sucked the women in
like you wouldn't believe. He'd walk into a
room, flash his signature smile and say

something stupid. The women would fall to
his feet. That is the gift of corniness. Very
few people know of its power.
Corny jokes are the best. I love corny
jokes. I love them so much that about a
year ago, I created a daily corny joke e-
mail list by the name of Corndog. I named
it after the famous Nebraskan rapper.
Yeah, that was the first joke. My own
corniness comes from my father. I knew I
was doomed when the idea of Volt Man
came to me in high school. Volt Man was
a superhero who had the power of physics
at his disposal. During the day. he worked
as a train conductor. His sidekick was
named Joules. By day, she served cus-
tomers at Hertz Rent-a-Car. Volt Man had
a pet mole. He wore glasses, but preferred
to call them "frames of reference." His
nemesis was Ohm Man, an evil rogue who
led the Resistance. I'm sure you get the
Since then, I have only increased in
corniness. Today, I share it with you so that
you may laugh, groan, and love life. Indeed,
if you can laugh at these jokes, you can
laugh at anything.
1. Many of us know the Gospel story of
the woman who was going to be stoned.
Jesus told the crowd, "Let anyone among
you who is without sin be the first to throw
a stone at her." In the Bible, no one throws
a stone. Actually, what really happened
was that a rock whizzed past Jesus' head
and hit the woman. Jesus rolled his eyes as
he turned around to say, "Mom! Stop
2. In the old West, times were rough.
One day, a three legged dog walked into a
bar. The bartender said "What can I do
va?" The dog said, "Give me a whiskey."
The bartender poured the drink and slid the
shot down the bar. The dog took it and

gulped it down. Slamming the glass down
on the bar, the hound slowly turned aroun-
and looked over the place. Then, all of a
sudden, he barked out, "Listen up! I'm
looking for the man who shot my paw."
3. You've no doubt heard the one about
the hunchback who used to use his head to
hit the bell at Notre Dame. He fell to his
death off the tower. It was remarked that
no one knew his name, but his face sure
rang a bell. The joke you haven't heard is
the one about his identical twin who
decided to take his brother's job. He also
fell off the tower and died. No one knew
his name either, but he was a dead ringer
for the last one.
The next joke is 100 percent original. I
give it to you along with my wish that you
all have a very spiritually fulfilling winter
break. Thank you for reading and thank you
for replying. I have enjoyed finding out that
the intelligence and maturity at our
University is higher than the media would
have us think. May you all make it a poin
to smile at everyone you see today.
There was a local artist painting
Christmas signs for the local community
center. He painted various types of signs.
Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. You
get the picture. He was having a really
good time and got quite involved. In fact,
he got so involved that he messed up the J
in "Happy Birthday, Jesus." He acciden-
tally painted it backwards so that it said,
"Happy Birthday Lesus." Well, he didn'
notice this and put the sign up in the com-
munity center. Everyone was busy with
their own decorations, so he shouted out
to the working crowd, "Hey, how does it
look?!" They all looked up, and chimed
back, "No L. No L."
- Mike Lopez can be reached over
e-mail at manatlarge umich.edit.


-N' ' -N ~

.. ........ ...........

'M,. ...AN. $Chu...,..

Don't space out
Successful or not, NASA must be supported

I n the wake of any failure by the federal
government, it is typical to ask ourselves
"are tax dollars being allocated effectively?"
This question probably faces the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration more
than any other federal agency.
In September, the $125 Mars Climate
Orbiter disappeared because of a failure to
convert from English to metric measurement
units to calculate how the orbiter should have
entered the Martian atmosphere. Currently,
the Hubble Space Telescope is temporarily
inoperable due to a broken gyroscope. Yet
another failure seems to have occurred last
weekend, when the $165 million Mars Polar
Lander ceased communicating with Earth.
These disappointments and others have given
substantial bite to arguments in favor of real-
locating NASA's funds or entrusting space
exploration to the private sector.
" But even a cursory overview of NASA's
past achievements ought to sway most people
away from NASA's critics. Few people realize
the importance of satellites in all types of
communications mediums -many of which
were put into orbit by NASA. The Viking
missions to Mars in the 1970s as well as the
Pathfinder mission in 1996 both significantly
increased our knowledge of the red planet.
The 1969 Apollo 11 landing on the moon is
yet another obvious example and the data
continually being collected by the Hubble
Space Telescope has proved invaluable to
learning about the universe.
The purpose of government is to provide
services the private sector could not or won't
provide and this stretches far beyond the

sphere of maintaining military and social
programs. The federal government has a duty
to subsidize the arts, public television and
radio as well as scientific pursuits like space
exploration. Without federal funding, the arts
would be accessible only to the rich, cable or
satellite TV would be required to take advan-
tage of educational television, and high costs
would throw academic scientific research
into a lurch.
Libertarians and some conservatives
claim the private sector would do a better job
exploring space. While the private sector will
likely play a role in space exploration in the
near future, there will always be a role for
government agencies like NASA. It is diffi-
cult to conceive of research on black holes or
the age of the universe ever becoming com-
mercially useful. The private sector is also
constrained by time frames - it is nearly
impossible to find investors willing to put up
money for a project that will only start to pay
off 50 years in the future.
NASA's scientists do not have to worry
about making a profit for the agency, rather
they are engaged in perhaps one of the most
noble pursuits of all - to expand humanity's
knowledge of the universe. Most of the data
NASA collects is not "useful" in the sense
that it can be applied to a marketable technol-
ogy, but if commercial viability is the only
standard by which we value information, then
almost all fields in academia are mostly
worthless. Despite its occasional failures, the
services NASA offers are still invaluable. We
cannot afford to place a dollar value on

'U' does not need
to recruit minorities
I was walking in the MLB today. and a
group of people were standing in the hallway
at the I st floor elevator such that everyone has
to walk through their conversation. Trying not
to be rude as I did it, I politely nodded to the
guy speaking. As this happened. the guy
acknowledged me in as much as he looked at
mhe long enough to dismiss ny presence and
to go back to his conversation. He promptly
quit speaking English (it was not that he
couldn't speak English: his English was flu-
ent) and continued his conersation in some
language that I didn't know. As I walked out of
the building. I felt really angry that someone
would use his different cultural and lingual
background to negate me as a person.
Later. I read Scott Hunter's Nov. 6 column.
"Why the minorities don't represent at the
University." One line made me think.
Underrepresented minority submissions high-
light "the need for better recruitment efforts'
to get underrepresented minorities to
University. What does this suggest? That the
University create a black squad and a latino
squad and other ethnic groups to go out and
find kids who are willing to come to the
I hate to use this buzzword that nobody
can define, but I'd like to see a little diversity
at this University as well: I'd like to feel that
it's ok not to be Christian. While I realize that
all of you Christians have the right to be
Christian and not be hassled for being so, rec-
ognize that despite your religious beliefs,
while you use the First Amendment to protect
your religious rights, you hypocritically tram-
ple over mine.
I'd like to feel that it's ok to be white, I
have a shaved head. yet as I walk around cam-
pus people stare at me like I'm a Neo-Nazi
It's socially acceptable - and even cool - to
be a black guy with a shaved head. Why is it
that in this "diverse" environment people cry
wolf and sue if there is prejudice toward
minorities yet tell white people to take it with
a grain of salt because they reaped their cur-
rent advantageous position within society
from evil white slave masters of the past. (In
here with about half of my tuition being cov-
ered by student loans and another fourth of it
being covered by poor money from the gov-
ernment. All of you impressed by my inherit-
ed advantage, raise your hand.)
I'd like to feel that the "multi-cultural"
environment on this campus does not just
serve to bring various types of dances and
cultural shows to this campus, and that this
"diversity" of thought is actually reaching out
to people as opposed to excluding them. I
personally was a member of one of these
groups on campus, only to be told in a dis-
cussion of identity that I would never know
what it's like and that nobody could explain it
to me. After that was said, no "real" members
of the group (I had paid the membership fee
but that didn't mean I was a member) said
anything and stood up for me. This despite
the fact that the mission statement of this
University-sponsored organization had some-
thing to do with making the University com-
munity aware of and educating it on the
issues of this particular group.
I'd like to think that diversity of thought is
not determined by skin color. Mavbe white


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Mexico are just as Mexican as the Mexican
kids there. I'd like to think that when Ward
Connerly came here a couple of years ago that
I didn't hear people calling him a sell out to
his race. I'd like to pretend that people can be
white and oppose affirmative action without
being called racist, and that people can be
"underrepresented minorities" and oppose it
without being considered sell outs to their
In truth. nobody really cares about diversi-
ty here. Cultural/national groups around cam-
pus just have to point to the fact that they're
encouraging "diversity" by existing and by
hosting functions and the University will fund
them. People still will look at me like I'm a
Neo-Nazi. Bollinger earn his salary whether
minority enrollments go up and down, whether
there's any real diversity here or not. He just
has to have a few fireside chats, say a few
words and fight the anti-affirmative action
lawsuit and he's set. Heck, canceling classes
and hosting Martin Luther King Jr. events
makes this look like a damn fine institution!
King once said he dreamed of a land
where his children would be judged by the
content of their character and not the color
of their skin. (Has anyone else noticed the
irony in the University's dual celebration of
King's ideas of civil rights and diversity as
well as racially preferential treatment?) The
reality of the matter is that until people
around here widen the scope of the term
"diversity" beyond buzzwords and numbers
of "underrepresented minorities," this
University will remain as stagnant as ever.
WTO protesters
deserve support
In the spirit of the campus' numerous
environmental organizations, overseen by the
Michigan Student Assembly's Environmental
Issues Commission, we wish to commend the
actions of the thousands who rallied in Seattle
this past week to protest the World Trade
Organization. Through the collective actions
of the numerous environmental, animal
rights, public health and labor activists, the
world was exposed to the serious downsides
globalization has to offer. From the oeaceful

the public, WTO and international leaders to
recognize the need for trade agreements to
also guarantee protections for both the envi-
ronment and workers.
In light of the sweeping successes of the
demonstrations, we must condemn those ac
of violence by a very small minority o7
approximately 100 self-proclaimed anar-
chists. We further condemn the excessive use
of force and countless civil rights violations
by the police officers of Seattle. It is their col-
lective action turned on the innocent, peaceful
demonstrators who helped to fuel the so-
called "riots" and violence that ensued in the
streets of Seattle.
Again, we wish to express our fullest sup-
port for the more than 50,000 peaceful
demonstrators who stood up to the threats of*
corporatized, global threat prompted by the
WTO. Because of their actions we are opti-
mistic that the future of global trade will be
forced to consider and recognize the impor-
tance of both human and environmental
Letter on grammar
was 'pointless'
In response to the Maury Brick's Nov. 7
letter "Store Clerks Should Improve Their
Grammar': Wow. In my years here at the
University, I have read some pretty pointless
letters to the editor. But I have to say that this
is probably one of the dumbest things that I
have ever read. Perhaps Bricks would rather
hear the individual behind the fast food
counter say something along the lines of
"What the hell do you want?" which, as far as
I know, would be considered proper gram-
mar Or, better yet, following the old adage
about wanting something done right, may
he should lead by example instead of gripin
about it. I'm sure he wouldn't be the first
intolerant University law student to end up
working behind a fast food counter. Maybe if
he would just get over himself and try to
understand that those people are just trying to
offer him a service, he'd be a happier person.





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