The Wall of Tolerance

Here's a bit of cross-cultural trivia. In the upper midwestern United States, parchment diplomas are decorative items suitable for framing or hanging on mom's refrigerator.1 A transcript is the generally accepted proof of a university degree. A transcript is printed with state-of-the-art technology which in 1987 was green and white fanfold DECWriter paper.

Fast forward to the 21st century go northeast a few thousand miles, and you'll find that the crucial document to the Irish visa department is the parchment diploma. Even though the important Irish "leaving certificates" are often printed on dot matrix computer paper, the immigration worker looked at my Oshkosh transcript as though I'd passed a dead fish through the slot in the perplex window. I was told that the diploma must be on parchment and it must say B.S. in a specific field of study. So I wrote to the kind folks at U.W. Oshkosh for a replacement for my lost decorative diploma. They were very helpful, but the University of Wisconsin no longer prints diplomas which specify a major degree. In fact, until UW changed printing companies you were lucky to get your correct name, school and BA, BS or PhD spelled correctly. UW's reasoning is that it is too easy to forge a parchment diploma. They have a point, most post 1987 ink jet printers can print a more convincing diploma than my original. I haven't seen a DECWriter in a while, so parchment diplomas might actually be easier to forge than fanfold green and white paper transcript.

The unappreciated frontline government workers did come through in the end and I thank them. I now have two decorative diplomas indicating that I have a Bachelor of Science in an unspecified subject (B.S. Physics, Comp Sci minor) and my wife has two B.A. diplomas which mention neither her Spanish nor her Journalism degrees. But while looking for my original, I dug up another document to hang on mom's fridge:
Wall of Tolerance

I doubt if this is what Rosa Parks had in mind, but it works for me. So here is my challenge for the traditional media, try to immigrate or get a work visa into your home country and document what happens. Good luck! I wonder how many of us would have the tolerance to make it through the red-tape and other obstacles at our own border, especially in my homeland where few even bother with a passport?

1 Were it not for my grades in Digital Signal Processing and Nordic skiing, mom's dodge station wagon might have qualified for one of those "super student" bumper stickers that are so despised outside of the U.S.

A GREAT child, tell her I'm trying to insure her dads occupation at SUN Microsystems with my novel 'DCD' technology. If only Santa Clara listened! I would first ask if anyone within America today remembers who 'Rosa Parks' is? Typically, Americans are far too busy worrying about everyone or everywhere else to see their own faults. TOLERANCE within America, 'Hard to Find' in 2005! SONY's 'P3" will likely obsolete stand alone PC's, drive global adoption of GNU/Linux on CELL, justify Armonk's GRID efforts while adding cash to their coffers.

Posted by William R. Walling on May 18, 2005 at 09:09 PM GMT+00:00 #

Stand alone PCs obsolete? They're almost as popular as LP phonographs, Compact Cassettes and VHS videos ;-) One problem with large companies is that it can take a long time for a clever idea from one of the 10s of thousands of employees or customers to trickle up to the attention of those in control and become a product. But compared to some of its competition, Sun is relatively agile so I wouldn't give up on us yet.

Posted by bnitz on May 19, 2005 at 02:16 AM GMT+00:00 #

I sure hope we haven't forgotten Rosa parks and tolerance.

Posted by bnitz on May 19, 2005 at 02:18 AM GMT+00:00 #

SUN acceptance of my 'DCD' ware would certainly be welcome, watch for kids who won't accept the notion they can't create that next 'big thing'. I love their genius!

Posted by William R. Walling on May 19, 2005 at 06:35 PM GMT+00:00 #

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