Cupcakes Collide With Tuscaloosa Trademarks

From WBRC video

Overeager trademark enforcers at the University of Alabama cooked up another controversy last week, threatening a local baker with legal action for violating the Tuscaloosa institution’s trademark with Crimson Tide-themed cakes and cookies.

But after a few days of sharp protests from critics, Alabama decided it was getting, well, a little too hot in the kitchen. The university withdrew the threat.

The baker, Mary Cesar, owner of Mary’s Cakes & Pastries in Northport, Ala., is once…


The Mindset of a Particular Set of Minds

Now that we’ve made our own Mindset list, it’s time for the official, sanctioned offering. Appearing for its 15th iteration, the annual Beloit College Mindset List tries to explain this fall’s new class of freshmen, most of whom were born in 1994, to their professors.

The list perhaps shows as much about the perspective of its authors as of the subjects in question. To put it another way: Whether there has ever been an era without fabulists and the fame-hungry, or whether the 18-year-olds of tod…


The More Things Change …

Hillary Diane Rodham, at Wellesley College in 1969.

[Edited 8/21, 10:00 am: We've updated the list below with reader suggestions. To see the official Beloit Mindset List, published Tuesday morning, go here.]

The Beloit College Mindset List is getting a little long in the tooth. First compiled in 1998, the annual list purports to help professors reach students who have grown up, quite literally, in a different world. This year’s iteration, which will be released on Tuesday, is bound to reference …


Deceit and Fraud: Totally Hilarious

For-profit colleges take a beating this week in Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic, a 42-year-old fixture of liberal satire. In a series of four (so far) strips, President King and another administrator lampoon a sector plagued by legal troubles, high dropout rates, and accusations of fraud. Not that nonprofits are exactly safe: The two characters work at Walden College, where only 18 percent of students graduate on time and only 35 percent graduate at all. “It’s like we’re a for-profit school,” m…


Congrabulations on Your Grabuation!

The most unfortunate typos are those that are preserved for posterity, like misspelled names on birth certificates or extra N’s on gravestones. This week, spring graduates of Idaho State University were dismayed to find themselves in an uncomfortable position, as their brand-new diplomas, which had just arrived in the mail, seemed to have one glaring problem: a “b” where the “v” in “University” should be.

However, according to the registrar’s office at Idaho State, there is no typo. Kerry Larsen…


Tortured Metaphors Top the Conference Agenda

Conference agendas aren’t known for inspired prose. Scanning lists of workshops and breakout sessions, eyes can glaze over. But if an ardent association hits on a metaphor, a “schedule at a glance” can become a literary tour de force, extending the analogy to staggering–or torturous–lengths.

This month in the Windy City, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators held its annual meeting, “Winds of Uncertainty: Navigating the National Commitment to College Access and Afforda…


Students Graded on Splash and Panache in Scholarship Contest

Erica Wuenschel, winner of the female division, scored a $1,000 scholarship for her flop. Steven Mitchell/ The Denver Post

Sixteen competitors at Denver’s Water World fought for the title of “biggest flop” last week, in a competition designed to help students pay for college. A park spokeswoman, Joann Cortez, told The Denver Post that it was “one of those things you just can’t look away from even if you want to,” as judges measured the belly-floppers’ technique, splash volume, crowd interaction,…


Threats Continue Against Joe Paterno Statue

Last week, as coverage of the Freeh report on Penn State’s response to the Jerry Sandusky scandal blanketed the news, some critics started to call for the removal of a bronze statue of Coach Joe Paterno that stands in front of Beaver Stadium.

The report, which highlighted the role that the late head football coach and other top university officials played in concealing child abuse for more than 14 years, incited hundreds of posts on various social-media outlets, and the placing of a guard on the…


Meet Batman’s Real Arch-Nemesis: Gravity

Christopher Nolan’s forthcoming installment of the Batman film series is called The Dark Knight Rises, but a group of four physics students at the University of Leicester has concluded that a more appropriate title might be “The Dark Knight Crashes.”

In a recent paper published in the university’s Journal of Physics Special Topics, helpfully titled “Trajectory of a Falling Batman,” the students demonstrated that the Caped Crusader could in fact glide from the top of a tall building. But his …


An American Treasure Turns Up at Ludwig Maximilian U. of Munich

In a lesson for researchers everywhere, a new version of the famous map from which the Americas derive their name was discovered days ago in the library of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

The document, found in a volume at the U. of Munich Library, shows the name "America" applied to the continent now known as South America. (Photo by U. of Munich Library)

In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller first used the name “America” for the New World in mistaken honor of the Italia…