In Print: #ButtScan And Bulletproof Suits
The Newscripts blog would like to be closer Internet buddies with our glossy print Newscripts column, so here we highlight what went on in last week’s issue of C&EN.
It's not every day that academics get to take off their pants for a cause.
But in this week's Newscripts, C&EN Senior Editor Michael Torrice writes about how one daring humanities job seeker dropped his or her pants and won $100 to boot.
Rebecca Schuman, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, challenged the readers of her blog to enclose a photograph of their (clothed) rear ends in an academic job application to prove a point. She advertised the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #ButtScan and promised $100 to the first person to actually submit a #ButtScan application.
Schuman often writes about how absurdly involved applications for humanities positions are and seriously doubts that job committees go through the hundreds of 80-plus-page applications that are sent to them.
“What happens is you meticulously and lovingly craft these 85-page dossiers. And then you pay $14 to send them. And then you get a gaping chasm of silence—literally bupkis, nothing—until April when they send you a form rejection letter," Schuman told Michael.
Much to her dismay, she crowned a winner just 48 hours after her call to action. She had posed the challenge as a joke but paid up when a reader sent her proof of the submitted application. #winning
Bottoms up: #ButtScan challenge gives academic job applicants a chance to win $100. Credit: Shutterstock/C&EN
The second Newscripts item is for a select crowd that has both a dangerous job and a deep pocket. A Toronto tailor is offering bulletproof men's suits for a pretty $20,000 penny.
What started as demand from bankers in the oil and mining sectors who feared for their safety at business meetings in dangerous locales has turned into interest among certain (undisclosed) international leaders and country presidents.
And it may also turn into a high-end conversation piece, says a company spokesman, who believes customers "want to have interesting bar talk with their pals about their James Bond, Bruce Wayne, or Tony Stark suit.”
"I think most men who buy the suits will do so for the protection," Michael says. "$20,000 seems like a lot to shell out for a conversation starter. But then again, I don’t have that kind of cash around to begin with. Maybe people in higher tax brackets can take that kind of hit for bar talk."
If it were to attract the wannabe superheroes, Michael is betting on those who want the Batman look. "I think it’s more of a Bruce Wayne thing. Tony Stark has the Iron Man suit. That one makes this suit look like you’re wearing a burlap sack for protection. James Bond doesn’t need it. He is so smooth, few can get the jump on him. Plus if they did, they’d start to monologue about how great they are, giving him time to find a way to get out of the situation. But Gotham City is a dangerous place. And Bruce Wayne likes to be stylish. So I could see him buying the suit for nights on the town."
Michael, who isn't interested in the $20,000 Batsuit, says that if he could have any action-hero accessory, he'd go with the Batmobile. "Living in Los Angeles means spending a lot of time in traffic. With the Batmobile, I could probably drive around the traffic," Michael muses. "But it would be tough to park. So it would have its pluses and minuses."
Bruce Wayne suit: A lightweight armor protects dapper gents from bullets and knives. Credit: Mike Paul