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Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016

Boldly Going Nowhere

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

College Entrance ExamI spent the fall teaching a course called Computer Information Systems (CIS 1303) at Ozarka College in Melbourne, Arkansas. Final exams will be in two weeks. This has been my first experience as a classroom instructor and it's been quite an experience. I think all of us, including me, learned a few things without anyone's brain exploding from an overload of input.I fondly remember my college years, when the Golden Gophers actually went to the Rose Bowl and some beatnik folksinger named Bob Zimmerman, who later changed his name to Bob Dylan, was playing in a coffee house near campus. In those days we actually had to know how to read books, write complete sentences and do math without a calculator. It seemed like just getting into college back then was quite a struggle.I don't remember for sure, but as I recall my old college entrance exam went something like this:HISTORY: Describe the history of iconoclastic secular movements from their origins to the present day, concentrating particularly, but not exclusively, on their social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Include quotes in any ancient language except Latin or Greek.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 Trilateral Commission.PHYSICS: Explain the nature of matter. Include an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science and proof of the Theory of Relativity using Euclidean geometry.ECONOMICS: Develop a plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: abstract art, holographic topography, the wave theory of light, Japanese Baseball.SOCIOLOGY: Explain the sociological problems that might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Define information. Define technology. How do they relate? Why? Create a generic algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Program the algorithm in assembler language utilizing a relational database of random binary numbers. Assuming you had a Cray Supercomputer supporting 1024 terminals accessing your algorithm, design a graphic user interface component and code all necessary control programs in Pascal.PHILOSOPHY: Outline the development of human thought. Estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.EPISTEMOLOGY: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.ART: Using the dull purple crayon on your desk, accurately recreate Leonardo Da Vinci's portrait of the Last Supper in the foreground against a background of the Wrath of God depicted in early cubism form.MUSIC: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with an oboe and drum.CHEMISTRY: Assume you had a bottle of canola oil, a cup of talcum powder, a pint of vermouth, a walleyed pike, two paper clips and a roll of duct tape. Design a device that will explode at exactly 112 degrees Fahrenheit.BOTANY: Set up an experiment to communicate subliminally with a turnip and a kumquat. Describe in detail the esoteric differences between turnips and kumquats, including language barriers and political protocols.MEDICINE: You have been provided with a box cutter, a spoon, some gauze, and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have fifteen minutes.ENGINEERING: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed under your desk, along with an instruction manual printed in Swahili. In five minutes, an angry lion will be released into the room. Take whatever action you deem necessary.ASTRONOMY: Define the Universe. Give three examples.GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Describe in detail. Be brief, concise and specific.