2000

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2908A:
Is success in life more a matter of random chance and circumstance or is it far more dependent upon individual initiative and will?

A: Look at the evidence. You have been successful in presenting your question and getting an answer! The randomness factors are numerous: you came to Duke, you came to the library, and we had this book with an open slot in the queue. On the other hand, you would not have succeeded without your tremendous force of will, demonstrated by taking the initiative.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2909A:
Why does it seem like your surroundings are more vivid (the sky is bluer, music more powerful) when you’re in a good mood?

A: This is a probably a corollary to the complex “Stop to Smell the Roses” syndrome in action. When we are under stress, our senses are distracted. Check out Diane Ackerman’sA Natural History of the Senses (Random House, 1990, Perkins 612.8 A182 N285 1990).

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2913A1:
What’s the one aspect of sex that women enjoy most?

A: You don’t really expect me to stereotype the preferences of an entire gender. Deal with each person as an individual. (Hey, maybe that’s the answer!)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2913A2
Why am I locked in the library trying to get out? It’s Sunday night for God’s sake . . . waiting for the police?

A: The Answer Person, demonstrating the time heals all wounds, or at least answers many questions, assumes that yours is now moot. (See also 2917A.)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2915A:
I love the Backstreet Boys. How do you think I could get one to notice me? Can you put posters up in the Library of them? Thanks. PS–Kevin & Brian are my favs!!

A:Start with their official website. It has links to fan sites, as well as ways interact with them and with other fans.As to the posters, they might overwhelm Nan and the other “Duke Reads” posters. By the way, they are inspired by the American Library Association’s posters. At least one Duke celebrity made that list.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2915C:
What is the deal with the rocks painted white with the green shamrocks on them on the way up to from behind the Chapel?

A: The stones were painted by the Little People . . . no, I mean the members of the Order of St. Patrick. He is the patron saint of engineers. According to the description of the order–obtained from NCSU’s (!!!) website:

The Order of Saint Patrick is a national engineering honorary leadership fraternity that annually recognizes outstanding students in the College of Engineering. The fraternity was named for the legendary Saint Patrick who, it has been said, in chasing the snakes from Ireland, “invented the first worm drive” and thus became the patron saint of engineers all over the world. Indeed he is known as a “master inventor” of many engineering devices.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2916B:
Please tell me some famous Canadian graduates of our fair & special Duke University?

A: You cannot believe the trouble Answer Person had with this one. After many calls to various Duke offices and departments, we have a few names for you:
Tennis star Vanessa Webb.

Both sons of former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney=(actually, one graduated, one is still here).

J. L. Granatstein, director of the Canadian WarMuseum.

Gordon D. Griffin, current US Ambassador to Canada (he was born in Massachusetts, but moved to Canada before his first birthday, and stayed there until coming to Duke for his BA)

Former Duke men’s basketball players: Danny Meagherand Greg Newton.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2916C:
Why don’t you answer these more frequently? Don’t you find them interesting?

A: Actually, I find them too interesting. They distract me from my other work (you don’t really think they pay me just to do this!), often making me go through traumatically emotional episodes as I empathize with the pathetic crises encountered by the writers who apparently have not real lives, or real meaning in their existence. . . .

Okay, I feel better now. Just got a little carried away, and a little behind. I will try to do better in the future. (And ignore my answers to 2913A2 & 2917A.)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2917A:
What will happen in the Year 2000??? {Answered February}

A: The Answer Person, demonstrating the time heals all wounds, or at least answers many questions, assumes that yours is now moot.” [I used that same answer for 2913A2, but it really works!]

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2917C:
What’s the deal with gas stations charging an extra 9/10 of a cent per gallon?

A: You noticed! Their plot to sneak in those nearly 1¢ per gallon increases has been exposed. The entire fuel supply industry will collapse, along with the world’s industrial economy. Y2K failed, but you have succeeded in ending civilization as we know it.

Have a nice day!

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2919A:
What do you think would be the easiest way to get backstage passes to a sold-out boy band concert? (Besides sexual favors)

A:There is actually a website that will sell you backstage passes.They are passes for concerts that have already been held, used or unused, but hey, it is a start.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2919B:
Does the library accept donations of books that patrons think should be available for public use? Also, what are the statistics for psychedelic drug use by undergraduates at Duke?

A: We have always accepted donations of books from friends of the library. We reserve the right to decide what we will add to the collection, based on duplication of titles, other coverage, condition of the materials and appropriateness according to our collection policies. More detailed information is available on the “GIFTS: Books and Collections: Information For Prospective Donors” web page.

As to the your other question, it is difficult to answer, because people who may be reporting the number of users often base their statistics on the perception while using. The numbers always seem larger, more colorful, and to have a lot more meaning than when the experience is over.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2921A:
There seems to be a portrait in the Gothic reading room that doesn’t fit!! While everyone else is wearing Academic Robes, he has the gall to show up in his portrait wearing a regular shirt and tie!! Who is this man, where can I get in touch with him so I can take him out for a beer at the ‘Dillo!!!

A: Dr. H. Keith H. Brodie served eight years a president, until succeeded by Nan Keohane in 1993. He is now president emeritus. Although he did where a suit now and then, it was not unusual to see him in a sport coat or . . .without a coat! Isn’t it appropriate that the guy posing in shirtsleeves is (with his wife) the namesake of the Brodie Recreation Center on East Campus? For a good story about how relaxed he was after completing his service as president of the university, see the Chronicle article.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2921B:
What’s the best way to meet and charm hot chicks?

A: You have a few problems here, first being how you define “hot chicks.” Your answer may indicate your expectations, your maturity, your aesthetic values, your level of flexibility/inflexibility, and your potential of getting past meeting them.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2921C:
Is it true that our Constitutional devotion to “form a more perfectUnion” is ungrammatical, as well as socially impossible?

A: Well, you would think so, but it looks like we a have a situation where usage is not quite perfect. TheOxford English Dictionary’s (Reference Index Area) definition 4.a for “perfect” (volume XI, p. 536) begins “In a state of complete excellence; free from any flaw or imperfection of quality; faultless.” It does go on to state, “But often used of a near approach to such a state, and hence capable of comparison,perfecter (=more nearly perfect),perfectest (=nearest to perfection).” The latest (3d) edition ofThe New Fowler’s Modern English Usage (Ref. 423.1 F786 D554 1996, p. 585) also addresses the matter, and gives a few more examples. (P.S.–My spell checker, reflecting a more rigid interpretation, didn’t like thosemoreperfect variations!)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2923A:
Will I pass my dissertation defense on Thursday so I can finally get out of here and get a job?

A: Answer Person was obviously not fast enough to get this back before your defense, but is nevertheless confident that all went well. I am a firm believer that once you get to the defense stage you had better be prepared to succeed, or your committee has not done its job. I also expect that you did not make the 150 errors referred to in “150 Things NOT to Do on a Thesis/Dissertation Defense.” (P.S.–You can still get a job no matter what!)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2927A:
Can a guy and a girl who have been good friends for a long time change their relationship to be a romantic one–if so, how?

A: Gee, I don’t know. Real life is full of examples of times it didn’t work out. Like Mary Richards and Mr. Grant. And all those combinations on “Friends.” It is ironic, that the reverse is true of the longest lasting romantic relationships, that the partners become more “friends” over time. So perhaps if two people are good friends, and the other ingredients are there (whatever they are), there is hope for them after all.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2928A:
I think I’m undergoing Stockholm syndrome with graduate school. Any advice besides graduate

A: Perhaps you need to identify with a few of the Duke activities not related to yourcaptors. Sports are a goodrelease, either as a spectator or participant. You canescape to a campus film showing, orflee to the American Dance Festival. You might try a book–we a have a few of them here. You are alsofree to go off campus.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2929A:
How cheap are you people? Get some new phones, for God’s sake.

A: I suspect that the Deity has little use for phones, preferring more direct and even less expensive modes of communication. Not cheap, but perhaps short on cash–not that He/She needs it. As to the library, cash is an ever present issue, but Answer Person will pass on your request.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2929C:
For better or worse, we have switched to a web-based system for class registration. Gone is ACES, the Duke University Automated Computer Enrollment System. Who was the voice of the ACES lady? When was ACES first implemented and what did it replace?
[Another writer in response to the last question: "The Hell of drop-add at the IM Building on a sweltering September day."<
/p>

A: The Aces system began in December 1992. ("DeMik aims to retire after 28 years in post," The Chronicle, 4/27/97). According to da Answer Person's inside sources in da Registra's Office, da voice of da lady was a contract. Da company dat put together da package brought in a hit voice, and da feds never found out who she was. No one's talking here either.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2930A:
You need to add more Korean books & periodicals to the East Asian collection. To my knowledge, there are far more ethnic Koreans on Duke Campus than Japanese, and yet the Japanese literature in E.A.C. dwarf the Korean stuff in amount. This is unfair treatment of the culture of so many Duke students. I would like to see some change.

A: The library's collections reflect not just the native languages of the student body, but more the teaching and research activities of the university community. I will pass on your concerns to Dr. Kristina Troost, head of the East Asia Collection, but you might want to speak with her directly (660-5844) or virtually (kktroost@duke.edu). It would be useful to know the specific needs of the Korean community, rather than to simply add more books to the stacks.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2931B:
What happens if I get locked in the library? Does it happen?

A: You don't know if you have ever been locked in the library? Did you write this while you were locked in the library?

Oh, you mean other people. It has happened. What do they do? (1) Spend the night in the library. (2) Use one of those phones behind you to call Public Safety (684-2444); they might ask you to explain why you didn't notice the lights being turned on an off before closing, or why you turned off your hearing aid so the warning alarm went unnoticed.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2931C:
Why can't we smoke in the library?< /p>

A: David Letterman's Top Ten New Slogans for the Tobacco Industry, 6/24/97):

10.

Cigarettes: They're like Big Macs for your lungs!

9.

If you stop smoking, Joe Camel will come to your house and put the hurt on you

8.

Recommended by four out of five doctors named Kevorkian

7.

Tobacco: Still safer than crack

6.

You'd better keep smoking, because Nicorette gum tastes like crap

5.

We'll blacken any lungs for $99.95!

4.

You'll come for the nicotine, you'll stay for the wet hacking cough

3.

Smoke your fat ass good-bye!

2.

Warning: The surgeon general is one lyin' son of a bitch

1.

Smoke this!

Answer Person's Top Ten Reasons Not Smoking in the Library:

1.

The haze of smoke makes it more difficult to read books and computer screens

2.

Nicotine yellow is not a pretty color on book pages and computer keyboards

3.

Ashes give library tables, shelves, floors, etc. a nasty look

4

Smoke gives books a nasty smell

5.

Smoke gives libraries a nasty smell

6.

Smoke damages books

7.

Smoke damages computers

8.

Smoke damages library users who smoke

9.

Smoke damages library users who don't smoke

10.

Burning things in buildings filled with paper is not a good idea

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2932A:
I want to find a job that doesn't suck. Any suggestions?
Bonus Question: Where could I peruse a copy of these hilarious Q&A? Please preserve this insanity for all posterity. It's better than the Onion.

A: Every job has its downsides; even the best are unpleasant, intolerable, unconscionable, unhealthy, unprofitable, unattractive, etc., from time to time. Even Answer Person has those days that are not as wonderful as others. The trick is to be clear about what you like doing, balancing the need to support oneself against the various pros and cons (Is it fun? Is it something you can live with? Etc.). The Career Center can help. Realize too that you are young in the job market, and you can try different things. A job is not a life sentence.

Speaking of new careers, perhaps there is one in doing this full time? Let's see how S. King's book does on the Internet.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2932C:
I graduated in 1990, and I'm really impressed that this suggestion book is still around (it made a great study break during finals senior year!) How long has the suggestion book been around, and how many people have served as Anonymous Answerer in that time?

A: According to the foreword of the limited edition ofThe Suggestion/Answer Book published in 1993, "the original Suggestion/Answer book was started in 1982." As of that date more than 6,500 suggestions/ questions were on file. Perhaps it is about time for a new edition (on CD and/or the web, of course). As to the staffing issue, so far we are only up to two Answer Persons. [And here we are!]

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2933A:
Why don’t you subscribe toHelsinki Sanomat and Velkkaaja?

A: Why don’t we have the leading newspaper from every country in the world? Because we can’t do it all! (You knew that.) But take heart, Answer Person would not dream of leaving you without the latest from Finland. Try the net version of the international edition ofHelsinki Sanomat.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2933C:
You should hire me.

A: You should go to our Personnel Office and tell them why. Maybe we will.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2934B:
My roommate is the biggest bitch ever! How can I get rid of her.
Is it true that if your roommate “commits suicide” you get a 4.0 GPA for the semester.

A: As it is now the summer, can we assume that the problem has resolved itself? And that you have found a more meaningful and effective way of getting that 4.0?

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2935A:
What sort of grueling tests and rituals did you have to pass in order to become the omniscient Answer Person? What happened to your predecessor(s)? Is there a sort ofValhalla for fallen Answer People?

A: Being the Second Answer Person, one question I never got answered is what tests the first one had to pass (or maybe fail). My process was particularly, as you suggest, grueling. First there was the background check, to be sure all that bad stuff was behind me. Unresolved criminal actions are not viewed favorably, as they (THE POWERS) prefer that the job not be done from a jail cell. Then there was the challenging intelligence and basic knowledge test, the same demanding battery to which we subject candidates for vice presidential nominations. A sense of humor is important, though apparently it is better demonstrated in by THE POWERS in their final choice. Deity-like powers are essential, or at least the ability to pretend you have them. Finally, there is the requirement that you cannot say “No’ within .000002 seconds of being asked to take on the job. (By the way, these qualities are often found to be common among reference librarians.)

There are no “FALLEN ANSWER PEOPLE.” When they have come up with all the answers, they just write away into the sunset.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2935B:
What is Histrionic Personality Disorder?

A: According to theEncyclopedia of Psychology, Second Edition (John Wiley & Sons, 1994/ Ref. 150.3 E57 1994, Vol. 2, page 146) individuals with a histrionic personality disorder “are best characterized by their lively and dramatic, albeit fickle behaviors, by their tendency to exaggerate life events so as to draw attention to themselves, and by their easy excitability and tendency to react emotionally to the slightest promptings.” There are other encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks of psychology in that section of the Reference collection if you want other opinions, but I can’t figure out why you would need them. Or why you wasted MY valuable time with this nonsense. MY life is complicated enough without having to deal with this stuff, and if you would only be a little more considerate of my feelings, well . . . oh, never mind.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2936A:

Why does the floor sound hollow in the 1st Floor hallway by the computer lab?

A.1You are walking down an empty hall,
No books are in site, no staff on call;
The world of the web is on the side;
To get there first this hall you may stride.
Seeking knowledge, two routes to follow,
To print and web, the path is hollow.
The route was chartered in decades past,
So hurry to your destination fast.

A.2 It isn’t a hollow sound, it is a hallowed sound.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2936B:
Does anyone get charged for late books . . . ever?

Library fines are not always a great way to keep some people from retaining books. Sometimes, those who can afford them, consider fines to be no more than extended book rental fees. (Answer Person remembers one undergraduate, years ago, calmly writing out a check to cover more than $700 in fines.)
Having said all that, there is no free lunch. According to the Circulation web site:

If books are not returned within 30 days after the due date, the patron will be billed $80 ($50 Replacement fee, $25 Processing Fee, $5 Billing Fee). If the actual replacement cost exceeds $50, the fee will be the replacement cost plus Processing and Billing Fees.
Recalled books not returned within 10 days are fined at the rate of $1.00 per day per book.
Lost books should be reported to the Circulation Desk immediately.
Unpaid bills will be sent to the Bursar’s Office or the Payroll Office.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2936C:
i. Where has the pen gone?
ii. Is UNC a good university?

Ai. Answer Person hasn’t been able to track down the person who stole it.
Aii. Yes, UNC is, indeed, a “good university.” Duke is a Great University. (Yes, greatness cost more, and yes, Answer Person is biased.)

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2938A:
What causes ice cream headaches?

“It’s blistering hot out, but sweet relief is at hand. You pick up that ice cream cone, or cold drink, or even bite into an ice cube. The coolness is wonderful…but ouch! There’s that pulsing, intense pain in the head. . . . Informally, it’s known as ice cream headache. The constriction of blood vessels brought about by the abrupt temperature change may play a role, but in truth, doctors have never studied the problem very closely because it poses no real medical risk. Usually, the pain passes in a minute or two. Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Dr. Walter Stewart says this small summer mystery does have its intriguing aspects. . . . The interesting thing, I think, about ice cream headache is that it may be more common among people who have migraine. So there may be a link between the vascular effect of something very cold up against the palate of the mouth, and the kinds of physiologic factors that are involved in predisposing people to have migraine headaches. . . .While ice cream headache isn’t exactly a hotbed of cutting edge research, doctors do know that keeping ice-cold foods towards the front of the mouth and eating more slowly lessons the chance of getting one. In any case, there’s no reason to give up the Rocky Fudge Nut Crunch.”

“At the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, I’m Tom Haederle reporting”

Copyright 1997 The Johns Hopkins University. All rights reserved. [http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthnewsfeed/HNF_539.HTM]

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2939C:
What is the meaning of life?

I. The condition or attribute of living or being alive; animate existence. Opposed to death.
II. With reference to duration.
III. Course, condition, or manner of living.
IV. Phrases formed with preps. with the meaning ‘alive’.
V. Lives (OE. lífes), the gen. sing. used a. predicatively = alive; occas. as n., those who are alive, the living.

For LOTS more detail and examples, see the Oxford English Dictionary, available in the Reference Department Index Area, and online through the “Research Databases” section of the library’s web pages.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2940A:
What clinical experiences have encouraged you to pursue medicine?

My only pursuit of medicine has been as a patient (or transporting other patients); the experiences were illness and damaged body parts.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2940B:
How can I get Goldman Saks to hire me?

Get those grades and self-esteem up!

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2941A:
Would it be feasible and reasonable to ask that when the next printer upgrade is planned that printers with double-sided printing be installed? Several departments (such as comp. sci. and elec. eng.) have such printers, and while they are not as high capacity, surely high-capacity double-sided printers exist. It would greatly reduce paper useage.

It is feasible, though reasonable is another question. A laser printer equipped to handle double-sided printing costs more than twice as much as the one-sided variety. There is some savings in paper (though not all printing jobs exceed one page), but no savings in the significant expense of toner cartridges. They would make the most sense at the E-Reserves stations, and will be considered in the next go around. Replacing all our public printers with this option would be prohibitively expensive.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2941B:
How long is the track upstairs in Wilson Gym? How many laps to a mile?

According to the people at Recreation Facilities, the upstairs track at Wilson is 480 feet, or 160 yards, or 1/11 mile. So that means, oh yeah, 11 laps for a mile run.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2941C:
There are crickets in the library. I can hear them chirping.

What are you suggesting, or asking? It doesn’t surprise me that we have crickets (we do let everyone into the library), though I have never heard them. If you do meet them again, please let the people at the Circulation Desk or the Reference Desk know approximately where. They will notify our Preservation Officer. Crickets sometimes dine on books, and their chirping tends to drown out the sound of people doing construction work in the building.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2942B:
I’ve heard that William Styron graduated from this University. Why don’t we make a bigger deal out of that? Was there a falling out between Duke and Styron?

Falling out–I don’t think so. The voluminous Styron papers (more than 22,500 items) are in the Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library. See the finding aid at http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu:80/dynaweb/findaids/styron/@Generic__BookView.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2945B:
Prohibit the consumption of crisp apples & other equally obnoxious “loud” food in the library. Who wants to hear every smack & lick of the inept person next to you?

Believe it or not, we actually prohibit the consumption of all food–at whatever decibel level–in the public areas of the library. Check out the signs at the end of the Exhibit Area.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2946A:
My boyfriend insists on calling me a “varmint.” Sometimes he also calls me a “beast.” When he’s feeling rambunctious. (He doesn’t do anything else too mean.) How can I make him stop?

He doesn’t do anything else “too mean?” Perhaps in his neck of the woods these terms are ones of endearment. Perhaps in the remote areas where civilization has yet to make an imprint meaness is a way of expressing affection. Explain to him that this is the big city. I’d suggest he call you appropriately, or not at all. Your call.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2946B:
The rectouterine pouch is also called the “cul de sac of Douglas.”? Who isdouglas and how did he/she come to have the flap of peritoream between rectum and uterus named after him?

James Douglas (1675-1742) was a Scottish anatomist and obstetrician, who, according toMedical Discoveries–Who and When (Reference 610.9 S352) first described the anatomical feature around 1730. He was involved in a lot of other things as well, including exposing a woman’s fraudulent claim to have given birth to rabbits(!). For more information see theDictionary of National Biography (Reference 920.042 D554 v.5, pp. 1234-1236).

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2946C:
How can I improve my attention span?

You are doing much better. You got out the entire question without losing your train of thought. Granted, there weren’t many cars in the string, but it is a start. Try some mental exercises. Next time go for a longer sentence. Then a couple. Then a paragraph. You will see progress in

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2947B:
Why won’t Gore just concede already? What a sore loser!

Perhaps he felt he owed it to the more than half of the electorate who voted for him–like maybe he should care enough to show he valued their votes. By the time you read this he may have conceded–but I make no election predictions.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2947C:
For that matter, why won’t Bush? What a whining bitch!

Perhaps he felt he owed it to the near majority who voted for him–like maybe he should care enough to show he valued their votes. By the time you read this he may have conceded–but I make no election predictions.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2948C:
Why does Duke grant an A.B., but a B.S., a B.S.E., etc.? (Maybe the A.B.’s know what it stands for, and can be snooty about it?)

This question was actually addressed once before (see 2745c, repeated below). The fact is, almost anywhere in counts (e.g., diplomas), B.A. is used instead of A.B. As to why A.B. still appears at all, even the University Marshall’s office can’t say at this point. All we can do is quote Tevye: “Tradition!”

Question 2745C:Why does Duke give an A.B. degree instead of a B.A.?

A.B. is short for the New LatinArtium Baccalaureus, or Bachelor of Arts. Our use of A.B. in preference to B.A. is an outcome of the long tradition of using Latin in matters scholarly. While examples of this practice are still easy to find, the tradition may be slowly fading away. Duke began to use English for its diplomas with the 1933 commencement. The change was made because Latin had long ceased to be the common language of scholars, and because (as one member of the faculty put it) “more than nine tenths of the students cannot read their own diplomas.”
Until 1946, our commencement programs used the phrase “A.B. degree” in the listing of degrees to be awarded. In the following year the phrase “Bachelor of Arts degree” replaced it. However, the University still uses the A.B. form in descriptions of degrees awarded; see, for example, the 1998 edition of Who’s Duke, our publication for prospective students.
Some institutions have used S.B. (Scientiae Baccalaureus) for their Bachelor of Science degree. Duke has always used the “B.S.” (which has been known to cause a few grins). As with the A.B., we use A.M. (Artium Magister) for the Master of Arts degree.
There’s no authority governing the use Latin in these matters. It’s left to each school to decide if, when, and how the language will be used.

Tom Harkins
Associate Archivist
Duke University Archives

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2949A:
Why do they airbrush theVictoria’s Secret models?

Is this somehow a secret? Have you seen these people without their makeup? They are in the business of presenting perfection; sadly, for them (though happily, for the humanity), we are all delightfully flawed.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2949B:
Where should I go to med school? My state school for real cheap or some big name? Is the $100,000+ debt worth the reputation & residency placement?

Didn’t you face this same question when you were deciding where to go to college? Reputation does matter, but not as much as what you make of your educational opportunities. When Answer Person was (briefly) in law school many years ago, we were told by young lawyers that a couple of years after you graduate your accomplishments and personal rep matter more than where you went to school. Perhaps with med school it may not be that simple, but use the same process you used to decide on college. Talk to physicians and med school faculty and administrators; read the literature; and look for a school that offers a program geared to your personal career goals.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2951C:
Are you a student? How did you get this job?

Am I a student? Aren’t we all, members of this great institution of higher learning, students? But, in the great official, organizational scheme of things, I am not a student–I am a librarian. I could tell you how I got this job, revealing the years of experience and training that prepared me for the position, and made me the obvious choice, but that would jeopardize my secret identity. It might reveal so much information that you would figure it out, and then your life would be forfeit.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2952A:
Why do dictionaries have page numbers?

That is a very good question. You would think that the alphabetical arrangement would just about handle the problem. Answer Person suspects that it is a ploy by publishers to make bigger claims for their products (“not only do we have a gazillion words, our dictionary is 35,000 pages long!”), or perhaps for those who are chalengned bye alfabetts ant speeling.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2952B:
Where does all the money from parking tickets on campus go?

According to a September 4, 1997 article (“Officials hike parking ticket fines“) in theChronicle, “Beth Campbell, business manager of the Duke University Police Department, said the notion that ticketing is a money-making ploy is a widespread misconception. She explained that parking service’s commitment to keeping fines comparable to those at other institutions leaves very little room for flexibility in setting the prices.” Gee, that was what we did with library overdue fines back when we collected them, but no one believed us either.

QUESTION/SUGGESTION/COMMENT 2952C:
How would I go about pursuing a job in a minor-league sports front office? What is required?

Getting a job with a minor league team is pretty much like getting any other job. I would start by getting in touch with the neighborhood team (Durham Bulls Baseball Club, P.O. Box 507, Durham, NC 27702; 687-6500; info@durhambulls.com), setting up an interview to talk about your interest and abilities, and the opportunities they have–I am sure they will be able to discuss the field in general as well. P.S.–did you know that Rush Limbaugh worked 1978-1983 in the Kansas City Royals front office?

 

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