Arts & Letters Daily, as it so often does, started me yesterday on an entertaining random-walk through the Web of Lies. My latest journey began with a link to a review of The Price of Admission by Daniel Golden. This is a book about selective university admission policies that (as one might guess by the subtitle, "How America's Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates") is rather critical of current practice.

But Golden sees a few shining exceptions: Cooper Union in New York City, Berea College in Kentucky, and the California Institute of Technology. "Caltech doesn't compromise admissions standards to attract donations or foster to a wealthy alumni base. Nobody gets into Caltech because their families are rich, famous, or well connected; they get in because of their talent, period." A noble principle, but as many reviewers of The Price of Admission have observed, not a doctrine that all other colleges could or should adopt. (And as I must note, CIT's selectivity is far less stringent in graduate school as my presence 1974-79 proves.)

Drifting onward, however, that mention of Caltech led me to blogs and discussions re undergraduate campus life, which brought me to a Wikipedia article about the House System, which led in turn to Ruddock House's wiki, where I found a demonstration of excessively-active neural networks that really need to be harnessed to the cause of Science. In the debate to decide Ruddock's new motto, the following were among the candidates:

Mentis cum studio laboro et ludo.I work and play with devotion of mind.
Sine balanis vivimus.We live without chestnuts. (chestnut=motto)
Armipotentes non ceciderunt.The mighty have not fallen.
Fructum directum approbamus.We approve of organized fun.
Inventio recta effectis miseris impedit.Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
Unum pomum per diem medicum acret.An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Omnia dicta fortiora si dicta latina.Everything sounds impressive when said in Latin.

(Some other suggestions are omitted due to naughtiness or silliness.) The proposed mottos "with the fewest nays" were submitted to an official vote in February 2007. The apparent winner:

Virtutis mammilas exsugimus.We suck dry the teats of virtue.

Hubris, thy name is Ruddock ...

(cf. CollegeCollage2 (3 Oct 2000), EmbrosHerete (30 Dec 2000), LensManic (16 Jul 2001), CollegeCollage3 (29 Sep 2001), HeavySleeper (19 Nov 2001), KnowledgeAndSociety (25 Mar 2002), FinalExams (3 May 2002), RealGenius (23 Jan 2003), DitchDay (21 Nov 2003), PurposeOfScience (28 Feb 2005), ...)

TopicLearning - TopicHumor - TopicSociety - 2007-03-11

(correlates: DyslexicMetahumor, FishingForAnAnswer, UnfortuneCookies, ...)