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A student called up his Mom one evening from his college and asked her for some money, because he was broke.

His Mother said, “Sure, sweetie. I will send you some money. You also left your economics book here when you visited two weeks ago. Do you want me to send that up too?”

“Uhh, oh yeah, O.K.” responded the kid.

So his Mom wrapped the book along with the checks up in a package, kissed Dad goodbye, and went to the post office to mail the money and the book. When she gets back, Dad asked, “Well how much did you give the boy this time?”

“Oh, I wrote two checks, one for $20, and the other for $1,000.”

“That’s $1020!!!” yelled Dad, “Are you going crazy???”

“Don’t worry hon,” Mom said, kissed Dad on the on top of his bald head, “I taped the $20 check to the cover of his book, but I put the $1,000 one somewhere between the pages in chapter 15!”

This reminds me of the student who began his Middle Ages story with:

“He was a dark and stormy knight….”

Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions.
Time limit: 2 hours. Begin immediately.

Art: Given one eight-count box of crayons and three sheets of notebook paper, recreate the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Skin tones should be true to life.

Biology: Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the English Parliamentary System circa 1750. Prove your thesis.

Chemistry: You must identify a poison sample which you will find at your lab table. All necessary equipment has been provided. There are two beakers at your desk, one of which holds the antidote. If the wrong substance is used, it causes instant death. You may begin as soon as the professor injects you with a sample of the poison. (We feel this will give you an incentive to find the correct answer.)

Civil Engineering: This is a practical test of your design and building skills. With the boxes of toothpicks and glue present, build a platform that will wupport your weight when you and your platform are suspended over a vat of nitric acid.

Computer Science: Write a fifth-generation computer language. Using this language, write a computer program to finish the rest of this exam for you.

Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist Controversy and the Wave Theory of Light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.

Electrical Engineering: You will be placed in a nuclear reactor and given a partial copy of the electrical layout. The electrical system has been tampered with. You have seventeen minutes to find the problem and correct it before the reactor melts down.

Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes, a hungry bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel necessary. Be prepared to justify your decision.

Epistemology: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your stand.

General Knowledge: Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.

History: Describe the history of the Papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.

Mathematics: Derive the Euler-Cauchy equations using only a straightedge and compass. Discuss in detail the role these equations had on mathematical analysis in Europe during the 1800s.

Medicine: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until you work has been inspected. You have fifteen minutes.

Metaphysics: Describe in detail the probably nature of life after death. Test your hypothesis.

Music: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.

Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

Physchology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisis, Rameses II, Hammuarabi. Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.

Physics: Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.

Political Science: There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects if any.

Public Speaking: 2500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

Religion: Perform a miracle. Creativity will be judged.

Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

Extra Credit: Define the universe, and give three examples.

Activation Energy: The useful quantity of energy available in one cup of coffee.

Atomic Theory: A mythological explanation of the nature of matter, first proposed by the ancient Greeks, and now thoroughly discredited by modern computer simulation. Attempts to verify the theory by modern computer simulation have failed. Instead, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that computer outputs depend upon the color of the programmer’s eyes, or occasionally upon the month of his or her birth. This apparent astrological connection, at last, vindicates the alchemist’s view of astrology as the mother of all science.

Bacon, Roger: An English friar who dabbled in science and made experimentation fashionable. Bacon was the first science popularizer to make it big on the banquet and talk-show circuit, and his books even outsold the fad diets of the period.

Biological Science: A contradiction in terms.

Bunsen Burner: A device invented by Robert Bunsen (1811-1899) for brewing coffee in the laboratory, thereby enabling the chemist to be poisoned without having to go all the way to the company cafeteria.

Butyl: An unpleasant-sounding word denoting an unpleasant-smelling alcohol.

CAI: Acronym for “Computer-Aided Instruction”. The modern system of training professional scientists without ever exposing them to the hazards and expense of laboratory work. Graduates of CAI-based programs are very good at simulated research.

Cavendish: A variety of pipe tobacco that is reputed to produce remarkably clear thought processes, and thereby leads to major scientific discoveries; hence, the name of a British research laboratory where the tobacco is smoked in abundance.

Chemical: A substance that: 1) An organic chemist turns into a foul odor; 2) an analytical chemist turns into a procedure; 3) a physical chemist turns into a straight line; 4) a biochemist turns into a helix; 5) a chemical engineer turns into a profit.

Chemical Engineering: The practice of doing for a profit what an organic chemist only does for fun.

Chromatography: (From Gr. chromo [color] + graphos [writing]) The practice of submitting manuscripts for publication with the original figures drawn in non-reproducing blue ink.

Clinical Testing: The use of humans as guinea pigs. (See also PHARMACOLOGY and TOXICOLOGY)

Compound: To make worse, as in: 1) A fracture; 2) the mutual adulteration of two or more elements.

Computer Resources: The major item of any budget, allowing for the acquisition of any capital equipment that is obsolete before the purchase request is released.

Eigen Function: The use to which an eigen is put.

En: The universal bidentate ligand used by coordination chemists. For years, efforts were made to use ethylene-diamine for this purpose, but chemists were unable to squeeze all the letters between the corners of the octahedron diagram. The timely invention of en in 1947 revolutionized the science.

Evaporation Allowance: The volume of alcohol that the graduate students can drink in a year’s time.

Exhaustive Methylation: A marathon event in which the participants methylate until they drop from exhaustion.

First Order Reaction: The reaction that occurs first, not always the one desired. For example, the formation of brown gunk in an organic prep.

Flame Test: Trial by fire.

Genetic Engineering: A recent attempt to formalize what engineers have been doing informally all along.

Grignard: A fictitious class of compounds often found on organic exams and never in real life.

Inorganic Chemistry: That which is left over after the organic, analytical, and physical chemists get through picking over the periodic table.

Mercury: (From L. Mercurius, the swift messenger of the gods) Element No. 80, so named because of the speed of which one of its compounds (calomel, Hg2Cl2) goes through the human digestive tract. The element is perhaps misnamed, because the gods probably would not be pleased by the physiological message so delivered.

Monomer: One mer. (Compare POLYMER).

Natural Product: A substance that earns organic chemists fame and glory when they manage to systhesize it with great difficulty, while Nature gets no credit for making it with great ease.

Organic Chemistry: The practice of transmuting vile substances into publications.

Partition Function: The function of a partition is to protect the lab supervisor from shrapnel produced in laboratory explosions.

Pass/Fail: An attempt by professional educators to replace the traditional academic grading system with a binary one that can be handled by a large digital computer.

Pharmacology: The use of rabbits and dogs as guinea pigs. (See also CLINICAL TESTING, TOXICOLOGY).

Physical Chemistry: The pitiful attempt to apply y=mx+b to everything in the universe.

Pilot Plant: A modest facility used for confirming design errors before they are built into a costly, full-scale production facility.

Polymer: Many mers. (Compare MONOMERS).

Prelims: (From L. pre [before] + limbo [oblivion]) An obligatory ritual practiced by graduate students just before the granting of a Ph.D. (if the gods are appeased) or an M.S. (if they aren’t).

Publish or Perish: The imposed, involuntary choice between fame and oblivion, neither of which is handled gracefully by most faculty members.

Purple Passion: A deadly libation prepared by mixing equal volumes of grape juice and lab alcohol.

Quantum Mechanics: A crew kept on the payroll to repair quantums, which decay frequently to the ground state.

Rate Equations: (Verb phrase) To give a grade or a ranking to a formula based on its utility and applicability. H=E, for example, applies to everything everywhere, and therefore rates an A. pV=nRT, on the other hand, is good only for nonexistent gases and thus receives only a D+, but this grade can be changed to a B- if enough empirical virial coefficients are added.

Research: (Irregular noun) That which I do for the benefit of humanity, you do for the money, he does to hog all the glory.

Sagan: The international unit of humility.

Scientific Method: The widely held philosophy that a theory can never be proved, only disproved, and that all attempts to explain anything are therefore futile.

SI: Acronym for “Systeme Infernelle”.

Spectrophotometry: A long word used mainly to intimidate freshman nonmajors.

Spectroscope: A disgusting-looking instrument used by medical specialists to probe and examine the spectrum.

Toxicology: The wholesale slaughter of white rats bred especially for that purpose. (See also CLINICAL TESTING, PHARMACOLOGY).

X-Ray Diffraction: An occupational disorder common among physicians, caused by reading X-ray pictures in darkened rooms for prolonged periods. The condition is readily cured by a greater reliance on blood chemistries; the lab results are just as inconclusive as the X-rays, but are easier to read.

Ytterbium: A rare and inconsequential element, named after the village of Ytterby, Sweden (not to be confused with Iturbi, the late pianist and film personality, who was actually Spanish, not Swedish). Ytterbium is used mainly to fill block 70 in the periodic table. Iturbi was used mainly to play Jane Powell’s father.

Here is an explanation of the school homework policy for the average student. Students should not spend more than ninety minutes per night. This time should be budgeted in the following manner if the student desires to achieve moderate to good grades in his/her classes.

15 minutes looking for assignment.

11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment.

23 minutes explaining why the teacher is mean and just does not like children.

8 minutes in the bathroom.

10 minutes getting a snack.

7 minutes checking the TV Guide.

6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the assignment.

10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom or Dad to do the assignment.

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