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Old 10-10-2010, 04:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome

An eye opening health study conducted 20 years ago that still has not been addressed:

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A student's grandmother is far more likely to die suddenly just before the student takes an exam, than at any other time of year.
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Overall, a student who is failing a class and has a final coming up is more than 50 times more likely to lose a family member than an A student not facing any exams.

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Only one conclusion can be drawn from these data. Family members literally worry themselves to death over the outcome of their relatives' performance on each exam. Naturally, the worse the student's record is, and the more important the exam, the more the family worries; and it is the ensuing tension that presumably causes premature death. Since such behavior is most likely to result in high blood pressure, leading to stroke and heart attacks, this would also explain why these deaths seem to occur so suddenly, with no warning and usually immediately prior to the exam. It might also explain the disproportionate number of grandmothers in the victim pool, since they are more likely to be susceptible to strokes. This explanation, however, does not explain why grandfathers are seldom affected, and clearly there are other factors involved that have not been identified. Nonetheless, there is considerable comfort to be had in realizing that these results indicate that the American family is obviously still close-knit and deeply concerned about the welfare of individual members, perhaps too much so.
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Three possible solutions come to mind:
1. Stop giving exams. At first glance, this seems to be the simplest answer to the problem. Like many simplistic solutions, however, it fails to consider the full ramifications of such a course. Without exam results, all medical schools would be forced to close their doors, having no way of distinguishing worthy students. The resultant dearth of physicians in the next generation would throw so many other professionals (tax accountants, malpractice attorneys, golf pros, etc.) out of work that the economy would go into a nosedive. Regretfully, this solution must be abandoned since it is more dangerous than the original problem.
2. Allow only orphans to enroll at universities. This is an extremely attractive idea, except for the shortage of orphans. More could be created of course, but this would be morally wrong, and in any case would replicate the very problem we are trying to avoid i.e. excessive family deaths.
3. Have students lie to their families. Students must never let any of their relatives know that they are at university. (Initial field tests show that keeping just the grandmother ignorant is neither feasible nor safe for the rest of the family.) It is not enough merely to lie about exams; if the family doesn't know when the exams are, they may then worry constantly and this may lead to even higher death rates. The only solution is that the family must never be aware that the student is even enrolled at a university. Students must pretend they are in the armed forces, have joined some religious cult, or have been kidnapped by aliens. All of these alternate explanations for their long absences will keep the family ignorant of the true, dangerous, fact. Although it might be argued that such large-scale deceptions could not be maintained for long periods, the success of many politicians suggests otherwise.
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Old 10-10-2010, 05:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 10-10-2010, 05:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hah! Was this a joke from an introductory Stat course?
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:58 AM   #4 (permalink)
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...ugh.

Nerds are never funny when they try to make their nerd stuff funny.

I'm looking at you, Jorge Cham (phdcomics.com).
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxquanta View Post
...ugh.

Nerds are never funny when they try to make their nerd stuff funny.

I'm looking at you, Jorge Cham (phdcomics.com).
The salary comparison one was pretty funny, but the other ones were meh. I don't really follow it though.

EDIT: this one:

Last edited by DWarrior; 10-12-2010 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:03 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fluxquanta View Post
...ugh.

Nerds are never funny when they try to make their nerd stuff funny.

I'm looking at you, Jorge Cham (phdcomics.com).
xkcd?
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Old 10-12-2010, 01:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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xkcd?
Pretty much jumped the shark after

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Old 10-12-2010, 05:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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When I was in college I had to get my Linear Algebra exam postponed because I had to testify at a Grand Jury hearing.

My grandmother was still alive.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DWarrior View Post
The salary comparison one was pretty funny, but the other ones were meh. I don't really follow it though.

EDIT: this one:
I have a personal beef with Jorge Cham. During my time at grad school the physics grad student club dropped ALL of our money on having him come and give a "colloquium" because it seemed everyone but me voted for him. Our other options included a couple of Nobel laureates and other world renown physicists. I was pissed, and still am. So for a few thousand dollars we got a "funny" 45 minute talk on procrastination...

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xkcd?
Never really enjoyed that either.

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When I was in college I had to get my Linear Algebra exam postponed because I had to testify at a Grand Jury hearing.

My grandmother was still alive.
FUCK THOSE MATRICES.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by fluxquanta View Post
FUCK THOSE MATRICES.
No shit!
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