Sunday, September 25, 2005

Camping on the Playa

So we took the twin toddlers camping out on some playa near Five Mile Pass this weekend. Playa is a flat expanse dirt in which nothing grows. Loosely speaking. The main problem with playa is that it gets hot and windy. We avoided the hot part by going late in the evening in September. Lets just say we didn't avoid the wind part. Ashley loved it she played and played and ran around in the tent and outside the tent. Megan did great until it got dark. We had glowsticks and Megan seemed to take alot of comfort in holding a glow stick in the dark. We left the fly off the tent because the tent was already severly deflected in the wind without the fly.

Overall, good idea. Glowsticks were great, wind was annoying but the kids slept through it, watching the stars in teh tent was a big hit. Wish we'd had some kind of heat source in the morning.


Navneet Sharma said...


Nice blog !

Love to read about Utah.

Is it true that coffee is banned on BYU campus? What is your opinion on diversity on campus?

Just curious.

Mike Jones said...

Yes, it is true. There's no coffee on BYU campus. It makes you wonder how (or if) any good Computer Science gets done here. Even worse, there's no caffinated beverages like coke or dr. pepper sold on campus. I say even worse because the coffee thing is right squarely in line with LDS doctrine and the BYU is sponsored and funded by the LDS church so you can se the connection. You can buy caffiene free drinks on campus. And that's a little odd because the caffiene thing is not squarely in LDS doctrine. In fact, the official LDS position is that there is no official position on caffienated soft drinks. But there is at BYU.

Personally, it doesn't bother me either way. As a committed LDS person, I sort of swore off coffee (actually, I never tried it so really don't know what I am missing) and caffiene gives me headaches so I stay away from it. More precisely, the absence of caffiene after a long caffiene run gives my headaches.

We have 2 Indian students (one is Neha Rungta) in our research lab and one Chinese. None are LDS but they seem to do fine with the no coffee thing. Miraculously.

That was long. Ok, now for diversity. Diversity on campus is pretty good if you define diversity to mean "LDS kids from diverse backgrounds and who served their missions in diverse parts of hte world" For me, that's not a bad definition of diversity. But for most people with other definitions of diversity, the campus like pretty mono chromatic.

My opinion is that the University is way excited to accept a wide diversity of students who: 1. will sign and live the honor code. 2. want to live in Utah 3. are academically qualified. The problem is that 1 and 3 tend to be a problem. LDS kids from Africa and South America (there are quite a few--more than in Utah) tend to not fit requirement 3. And there's nothing worse for a bright LDS kid from South America or Africa than to bring them into Provo and let them fail in an academic program that they aren't ready for.

BTW, non-LDS kids who satisfy 1,2 and 3 typically have never heard of BYU and that's a problem. I wish the name was out there more so that non-LDS kids who meet 1,2 and 3 could decide if they wanted to apply or not.

So, that brings us to the Perpetual Education Fund. This is a fund which people donate to and is used to fund studies of South American and African LDS kids in the home towns so they can get the education they need to thrive without coming to a US University, like BYU.
You may not like the monochromatic nature of BYU campus, but I've personally supported the perpetual eduaction fund and that's my sincere nod to increasing diversity in the set of successful families in the world.

Alright, that was more than I have time for. But good questions and they got me thinking. Nice.