Laurie Taylor – 8 October 2015

The official weekly newsletter of the University of Poppleton. Finem respice!

October 8, 2015
Cartoon female superhero
Pertinent to the argument?

No sex, we’re academics!

“I can’t imagine any academic at our own university resorting to such dubious devices in the service of self-promotion.”

That was how Brian Bryan, our Deputy Head of REF Strategy, responded to the assertion by a leading scientist in an article in the journal eLife that his “biggest concern” was trying to make his research into “a hot, sexy story” so as to ensure its publication in “a high-tier journal”.

But one Poppleton don who wished to remain anonymous claimed to have evidence that a leading academic from our institution had indeed been guilty of just such a practice. He instanced the recent article by our professor of astronomy, Gerald Dob, in the top-rated Highlands and Islands Journal of Comparative Cosmology.

Although this article bore the scholarly title “An examination of the manner in which particle size, carrier gas composition and flow rate affect the interpretation of thermal analysis data from Mars”, a close examination of the text revealed that Professor Dob had seen fit to include an illustration (see figure 1, above) that could only be described as superfluous to his theoretical argument.

Professor Dob was unavailable for comment but a colleague in the Astronomy Department refused to confirm or deny whether Dob’s forthcoming research on the chemical composition of Venusian clouds would or would not include a full-page portrait of The Mekon.

Going up in the world!

“We’ve finally overtaken the City University of Cittàgazze.”

This was the jubilant cry from our vice-chancellor as the news came through that our university had gained two places in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-16.

Speaking at a hastily convened press conference, our vice-chancellor attributed Poppleton’s “leap up the world table” to the readiness of all its staff “to meet the challenge of change going forward”.

Here is how Poppleton now stands in the new world rankings:

Kakariko Community Centre
Poppleton University
City University of Cittàgazze
Thule Polytechnic
The Gomorrah School of Dance and Drama.

Jeremy Corbyn speaking into microphone

Nominal reticence

As we go to press, we learn that a proposal to name our new teaching block the Jeremy Corbyn College of Political Science has been rejected by the University Naming Committee.

Although the committee apparently accepted the claim by Mr Ted Odgers of our Department of Media and Cultural Studies that students might be inspired by the new name and the slogan “Jez Do It” over the entrance to the college library, there was a strong feeling that “a longer lead time” for naming was required. Such an extended time, argued the committee chairperson, might have avoided some of the current concerns about our existing Gerald Ratner College of Marketing and our Lord Ashcroft Centre of Political Ethics.

It was this “lack of foresight” that might also be responsible for the negative publicity currently surrounding Poppleton’s historic decisions to award honorary degrees to Jimmy Savile, Rasputin, Lucrezia Borgia and Nick Clegg.

Thought for the week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

The bumblebee is too heavy to fly but is still able to. Moral: Don’t accept obstacles because of your lack of “bee-lief”.

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