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The University of Washington has a new online degree program called Integrated Social Sciences. One of my jobs is to create major and degree codes, and so today the adviser of the program emailed me to ask if it was okay to use ISS for their major code, even if it might be confused with International Student Services. Here's what I said:

If you guys are okay with possible confusion with International Student Services, the International Space Station, and whatever else uses those initials that’s fine by me. You’re right that I can’t create a code until you’ve gotten FCAS approval, but in the meantime if the International Space Station asks me for a major code of ISS, I’ll tell them sorry, it’s already reserved.


And here was her reply:

You know, Randy, I wasn’t worried about the International Space Station … until now. The other day I drove past our local gravel yard. The reader board out front exhorted me: “Time to start thinking about drainage problems.” Before that I wasn’t really thinking about drainage problems. When the International Space Station makes a fiery re entry into the earth’s atmosphere, I’m hoping it lands on the gravel yard.

Thank you for preserving the ISS major code from territorial poachers from outer space.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
akirlu
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:03 pm (UTC)
Hah! I do love this place, sometimes.
akirlu
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:05 pm (UTC)
Also, I hadn't realized the new online degree program had progressed to the point of needing a degree code. Good golly, I wonder if my chair knows that? Last I heard, it was still in the developmental stages. There will be grumblings among the faculty, oh yes there will.
randy_byers
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Well, do note the bit about "I can't create the code until you have FCAS approval." But according to the adviser they are at the Tri-Campus review stage, so they're getting close. I'm not sure when they hope to start admitting students. Maybe for Autumn 2014?
kalimac
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:35 pm (UTC)
I once had a job with a small publisher where my tasks included assigning the ISBNs. What a strange sense of power that gave me.
randy_byers
Feb. 4th, 2014 05:37 pm (UTC)
Ha! The power of the code. I can feel it!
kevin_standlee
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:22 pm (UTC)
Just don't use mixed alpha-numeric codes that allow you to put both letter O and number 0 in the same code. (*Shudders* over recent crisis caused at Day Jobbe over someone flopping 20O and 200 because the system allows letter O in the codes.)

My Nevada license plate is actually SM0F3 although of course it reads as SMOF3 because Nevada (sensibly) doesn't allow letter O in their license plates.
randy_byers
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'm stumped. What's the 3 for?
kevin_standlee
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
Licensed to SMOF
I can't have Nevada license plate SMOF because James Stanley Daugherty already has it on his van. In deference to the late Bruce Pelz, who claimed SMOF2 (and as I recall wouldn't say who SMOF1 was), I picked SMOF3.

Effectively, it's a homage to the late Bruce Pelz. I would have felt too arrogant using SMOF1 or SMOF2.
randy_byers
Feb. 4th, 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Licensed to SMOF
Well, that's pretty much fannish as hell! I love it.
kevin_standlee
Feb. 4th, 2014 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Licensed to SMOF
I wonder if anyone who drove to Worldcon last year noticed my van parked in the garage across the street from the hotel?

This plate also allows to me to indulge both my major hobbies, as a portion of the registration fee goes to support the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. As it happens, we've not been to ride it since we moved to Nevada, even though it's an easy trip from Fernley. Maybe this year.
wrdnrd
Feb. 7th, 2014 06:36 am (UTC)
That's possibly the best campus email i've ever read.

I only wish someone had been there to offer guidance when comparative literature chose their code. The day Dana encountered that for the very 1st time, she handed the sheet to me and said, "Chris, i need to know what major this code is for, and i can't ask DD" (who was standing right there and, of course, worked in her office whereas i technically didn't). I managed to keep a straight face while i told her, but of course, DD was standing right there so decorum wasn't preserved for long.
randy_byers
Feb. 7th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
Maybe at the time the curriculum abbreviation for Comparative Literature was coined the anatomical term wasn't so pervasive? It's hard to imagine it being allowed otherwise. I'm not sure when the Comparative Literature department was started here.

By the way, I've just popped something into campus mail for you.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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