Carrots and parsnips: shock new evidence

January 20, 2011

In what is being described as "a dramatic breakthrough", a research team led by our Deputy Head of Neuroscience, Dr E.G. Pataglig, has established that there is no measurable cognitive difference between our experience of carrots and parsnips.

Fifty-six subjects with a well-established preference for carrots over parsnips were presented with a randomised series of pictures of the vegetables while their brain activity was monitored. Subsequent analysis showed that there were no observable differences in the extent to which the cerebral cortex was deactivated during carrot and parsnip presentations.

According to Dr Pataglig, the findings show that the subjects' declared preference for carrots over parsnips was "illusory". He believed the finding had vital implications in the field of vegetable neuroscience and confirmed that similar methods would be used to probe the public's oft-asserted antipathy to sprouts.

We have ways of making you learn

Our Director of Curriculum Development, Janet Fluellen, has vigorously defended our university's decision to offer a new BA Honours in Torture.

The course, which will commence in October, includes specialised tutorials in sensory and sleep deprivation, strappado, mock executions and waterboarding.

Ms Fluellen said she believed that the course would have particular appeal to a wide selection of overseas students hailing from regimes that currently place a pedagogical premium upon information extraction.

She also envisaged that the degree might well develop partnerships with other "torture-oriented" degrees such as microeconomics, but thought it "too early to say" whether or not any collaboration would be sought with the University of Wolverhampton's recently announced BSc (Hons) in Armed Forces.

Never knowingly understood

"Quite honestly, I don't think that Rebecca Boden, Penelope Ciancanelli and Susan Wright know what they're talking about."

That was the forthright response by Jamie Targett, our Director of Corporate Affairs, to the claim by the academics in Times Higher Education that a John Lewis-style partnership model might be a way of cutting the cost of university management.

Targett said that there was no truth whatsoever in the writers' assertion that while academics' work was "monitored, assessed and audited, managerial effectiveness remained largely unexamined".

He and his ever-growing team were "constantly auditing and reauditing and assessing and reassessing the strategic outputs of their goal-oriented processes going forward". This was a complex and labour-intensive exercise that could in no way be meaningfully compared with counting the number of household utensils sold in John Lewis' kitchen department during the New Year sales.

He went on to describe the writers' suggestion that the wealth of the university was being expropriated by unassessed managers as dangerously close to "the worst excesses of Marxism".

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday) Even though this is the most miserable week of the year, do try to offer a little cheer to those around you. After all, you don't want your presence to elicit this type of reaction:

"I'm not getting smaller, I'm backing away from you."

lolsoc@dircon.co.uk.

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