Months back, my Shakespeare teacher really liked my critical lit essays on the Bard, particularly one I wrote about the Fool archetype. He entered it into some sort of contest that honors critical papers every year. Today he announced, in class, that I won. There was a certain satisfaction, as dozens of confused heads whirled back to me, the kid with long hair, black close, and skull necklaces, half asleep in class.
The academic papers have gone so well this year. How? I wait till the last minute. I don’t always pay attention in class (the ratio of sexual frustration and my attention span are diametrically apposed). I’m glad for all the praise…but I just have this sneaking paranoia that one day, the academia police will bust down my door and reveal me as a flim-flamming fraud.
I thought for sure, this would come about when I got back my History paper. Our class is “Shakespeare’s England” meaning that it is half lit, half history (taught by two teachers). My paper on Witchcraft in England was my first non literary, non creative writing paper that I’d done in years (let alone at the grad level). Sure, my little tricks work for literary analysis…but how could I hide from the scrutiny of a history teacher? But the paper said “A.” The teacher wrote that my topic was interesting and very well argued.
So screw paranoia. I’m going to enjoy this. I have another credit to go on my resume for when and if I need to find a teaching job (in between things). I’ll also work with my teacher on getting the afore mentioned Shakespeare essay ready for publication somewhere.
Oh…and apparently, my Christopher Walken card trick (mentioned a few posts back) has reached some kind of mythic status…and spread on the web. My Dad told me a few friends of his found mention of my performance on some website. More on that later…
Yep, I know the feeling…
I am so picking up what you’re putting down…
My first semester of grad school (or maybe second, I don’t remember any more), I had this bizarre project due for an even more bizarre teacher (to illustrate, he planned on dedicating the rest of his life to researching how to create 3D virtual environments – pretty cool – to be used as torture devices – REALLY creepy). Anyway, it was a vague assignment, write a paper/review/concept statement on memory palaces. I didn’t have jack for content – although I did read everything, which was far better than my classmates – so I decided I’d make up for it by doing something artsy-fartsy-crafty. So I turned in the thing at the end of the semester (having spent only a weekend working on it) knowing that I’d get an “F”, drop below the minimum GPA for the program and get thrown out… only to get an “A” and an email from the professor stating: “You are the type of student that makes people want to teach. Thank you for restoring my faith in what I do (or something to that effect).” I was like – WHAT THE FUCK?!?!
And it’s been like that ever since… every time I’d turn something in, or do something for work, I just knew I’d be discovered for the fraud I am… but no, people keep praising me, paying me, and seeking out my services. It’s nice – REALLY NICE – but it blows my mind, because I see myself as a bumbling idiot when it comes to most stuff, far happier wasting my life away in front of the altar that is TV.
Wow, longer post than I meant, but I totally understand the feeling…
POST THE LINK!!!
MIT students pull prank on conference
Computer-generated gibberish submitted, accepted
Thursday, April 14, 2005 Posted: 7:29 PM EDT (2329 GMT)
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) — In a victory for pranksters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a bunch of computer-generated gibberish masquerading as an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference.
Jeremy Stribling said Thursday that he and two fellow MIT graduate students questioned the standards of some academic conferences, so they wrote a computer program to generate research papers complete with “context-free grammar,” charts and diagrams.
The trio submitted two of the randomly assembled papers to the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), scheduled to be held July 10-13 in Orlando, Florida.
To their surprise, one of the papers — “Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy” — was accepted for presentation.
The prank recalled a 1996 hoax in which New York University physicist Alan Sokal succeeded in getting an entire paper with a mix of truths, falsehoods, non sequiturs and otherwise meaningless mumbo-jumbo published in the quarterly journal Social Text, published by Duke University Press.
Stribling said he and his colleagues only learned about the Social Text affair after submitting their paper.
“Rooter” features such mind-bending gems as: “the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning” and “We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions.”
Stribling said the trio targeted WMSCI because it is notorious within the field of computer science for sending copious e-mails that solicit admissions to the conference.
The idea of a fake submission was to counter “fake conferences…which exist only to make money,” explained Stribling and his cohorts’ website, “SCIgen – An Automatic CS Paper Generator.”
“Our aim is to maximize amusement, rather than coherence,” it said. The website allows users to “Generate a Random Paper” themselves, with fields for inserting “optional author names.”
“Contrarily, the lookaside buffer might not be the panacea…”
Nagib Callaos, a conference organizer, said the paper was one of a small number accepted on a “non-reviewed” basis — meaning that reviewers had not yet given their feedback by the acceptance deadline.
“We thought that it might be unfair to refuse a paper that was not refused by any of its three selected reviewers,” Callaos wrote in an e-mail. “The author of a non-reviewed paper has complete responsibility of the content of their paper.”
However, Callaos said conference organizers were reviewing their acceptance procedures in light of the hoax.
Asked whether he would disinvite the MIT students, Callos replied, “Bogus papers should not be included in the conference program.”
Stribling said conference organizers had not yet formally rescinded their invitation to present the paper.
The students were soliciting cash donations so they could attend the conference and give what Stribling billed as a “completely randomly-generated talk, delivered entirely with a straight face.”
They exceeded their goal, with $2,311.09 cents from 165 donors.