DARTBOARD

A summary of what's new, what's news, and what's just darn funny. And remember, just sign on the dotted line.

NEED YOUR JOHN HANCOCK

By the time you're reading this, either you've handed in your study card or you're in for some serious signature collecting. The punishment for late study cards is not unlike old-time punishments for defaulting on debt. Like the debtor, who was shipped off to debtor's prison and rendered even less capable of paying off whatever debts he had incurred, the study card slacker, most likely in a bind because he was unable to get a necessary signature, finds the number of signatures he needs to get hopelessly multiplied. Fines and signatures mount until the hapless victim must deliver up to the Registrar the riches of Croesus and an autograph book worthy of...well, someone with a really big autograph book.

What many early birds have discovered is that neither God nor the Registar is really looking closely at the dotted line. Before the deadline passes next time, look into the various techniques for "expediting" the process. A favorite is "the squiggle," which confounds would-be watchdogs with its sheer inscrutability. Others prefer the bold authoritativeness of writing the supposed signer's name in legible print; who wouldn't buy such an audacious gambit? Most effective is "the circle sign." Get a bunch of friends together and pass blank study cards counter-clockwise until all the requisite boxes are neatly filled with convicingly diverse penstrokes.

Another strategy entails finding anyone who is even remotely connected to your course or department (for example, a particularly haggard graduate student). If caught (and you won't be), explain that you were `confused.'

By the way, you DIDN'T read this here.

HAVE SYLLABUS, WILL TRAVEL

Shopping week crowds may have dispersed, though the unpleasant memories of oversubscribed first-day classes remain. But where others see a mere crowded classroom, we at Dartboard see a full-fledged social structure. Only a select few actually get seats. Yet, like every other noble class, they insist on taking more than they need; instead of sitting next to someone, they leave a seat in between and decadently use the scarce resource for their jackets. Their stiff knees and stern glares warn off any pretenders. (In seminars, there is the further distinction between those seated at the table and those behind).

Students who are lucky enough to get syllabi are possessing of a sufficient status symbol to be considered middle class. The lower classes cower in corners straining to get the merest glance of the professor. Often they will try to borrow a syllabus in order to appear of a higher class, but the pitiful pose collapses as the rightful owner reposseses his prized Xerox. But the syllabus-bearing middle class attempts frauds of its own. Some, for example, perch on radiators and try to look as comfortable in their makeshift accomodations as do the nobility in their plush aisles.

We may also observe social mobility. The particularly aggressive or nimble can pick their way to a seat and bravely cast aside noble jackets. Some opt to "drop out" and leave their seats and syllabi to the less fortunate.

But privilege is short-lived. Shopping period is, as Trotsky might say, a permanent revolution (or at least a revolution at the top of every hour).

THE ROBO-COW CONSPIRACY

The story of Harvard professors experimenting on human subjects becomes more and more disturbing by the day. Evidently, students at the Fernald School were unwittingly fed radioactive food. Outraged Harvard students have been the first to protest this ethical breach. But perhaps this story should start us Harvard students worrying about ourselves. They told the Fernald kids and their parents that the children were brighter than the others and would be members of "a Science Club." They tell us and our parents that we're the cream of the academic crop and that we attend "the top college in America." They controlled the Fernald kid's diet, and so too do they control our diet. After all, haven't you ever wondered why we get our milk out of giant steel Robo-cows?

The parallels are eerie (to an Oliver Stone fan, at least). Might the persistent snow this winter actually be an experiment to test human tolerance for coldness and wetness? And House over-crowding, so long dismissed as inevitable, might now be unmasked as a cruel sociology experiment to gauge how many people can be crammed into a room before they eat each other. Is it just a coincidence that the master of notoriously-crowded Winthrop is a SOCIOLOGY professor?

And could WHRB's tendency to show up on answering machines, toasters and any other home appliances one could imagine actually be an attempt to develop techniques to subliminally beam commands through our dental fillings?

And, if you look very closely at the Dining Services "nutrition bites," you can see, written in invisible ink next to the column for "fat," another, less conventional nutritional measure: curies.