Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mike Slackenerny, Ph.D.?

If you've ever taken the tour down my sidebar, you've seen the link I have to the Ph.D. Comics strip. This has been one of my favorites for years, it appeared regularly in the student paper at my graduate institution, and the online archives got me through one overnight mercenary shift on an ion probe blasting zircons. Today's comic shows regular character Mike Slackenerny turning in his thesis to the university registrar. Now, if you follow the strip, you know this is significant because Slackenerny has been in grad school for some untold and absurdly long period of time. What I loved about this strip though was that it is actually true. When I took a "final" copy of my thesis to the university registrar (same registrar, by the way, that is alluded to in this strip), I was told I needed to adjust the margins, I had to add 1/10th of an inch to the right (non binded) side. I luckily had not printed this version on the insanely expensive all cotton thesis paper I later had to use (which, of course doesn't count as a qualified tuition expense on my 1098-t). What got me was that the official measuring stick was an old wooden ruler that was worn down on the corner, you actually couldn't see the markings on the last 1/4 inch, which made me confused about the need for such precision. Allegedly, even though the margins in my thesis LaTeX file were set right, paper has enough lateral movement in printers that you need to add extra width. Anyways, not that anyone cares about the trials of printing final thesis copies, but I thought it a good way to advertise Ph.D., the comic strip. Check out my sidebar for the most recent comics, or click through to the site for the complete (free) archives. Here are a few of my favorites...

1 comment:

CJR said...

Heh. That first one is the finest summation of the ultimate pointlessness of a thesis that I've seen for a while.

I've always had a soft spot for this one - in fact, I quoted it at the beginning of my thesis.