mathNEWS Issue #500: Friday, September 25, 1998

In this issue:

Is It Too Late For A Recount?

By Chadwick Severn

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 500th issue of mathNEWS. What you see before you is the culmination of at least seven production nights, hundreds of man-hours of work, and several bottles of scotch.

"500 issues!" you say?

You betcha.


For some reason that seemed sound at the time, I decided to count issues of mathNEWS sometime last winter. Imagine my surprise when I realized that the 500th issue would land right smack at the end of the summer term.

We started work on this issue at the end of the summer term.

It is only now in your hands.

Can you sense how hard it was to put this issue out yet?

For those keeping track (which will no longer be us, thank God!), this is the largest, longest, and heaviest issue ever published. I can only hope that there will be no more milestones for mathNEWS during my stay at U(W).

So, what's in this issue? You'll find two things mainly. First, you'll find lots of reprints of articles from previous issues. We spent several eternities pouring over back issues of mathNEWS looking for stuff that deserves to see the light of day again.

After coming up with nothing, we then looked for some quality pieces that made us laugh.

After another fruitless search, we just clipped anything that didn't bore us.

Second, we emailed all the former editors that we could find and pleaded with them to contribute new material to the issue. After a lot of soul-searching, and some sizable cheques, we managed to get around a dozen of them to write us new articles or columns. You'll find them interspersed around the issue.

How can you tell the old stuff from the new?

The new stuff looks like this.

The old stuff looks like mathNEWS.

What's With The Cover?

That cover's pretty neat, eh?

Mike, Greg, Richard, and I grabbed all 499 previous issues of mathNEWS and spread them out on the Davis Centre floor for that shot. We had to go all the way up to the forbidden fourth floor in order to fit them all into the picture. Ask us sometime how we got up there.

So, After All This Work...

I hope you enjoy looking back at the history of mathNEWS. Just be thankful that you're getting a "best-of" helping instead of the unabridged version. If this is the first issue that you've ever read, you're probably wondering "Wow, is it always this good?" The answer is yes, yes it is. Why not drop by the next production night and contribute?

Looking over this issue before we send it off to Graphic Services (bless their souls), I feel that I must say something.

"Boy, Hammer is going to get a very swelled head when he sees how much of his stuff we've reprinted."

There are several puzzles in and around the issue, including a GridWord. You can submit solutions to these by email or to the BLACKBOX. We'll be awarding prizes like usual.

Well, there you go. I hope you enjoy this issue. Next week we'll be back with your regular mathNEWS. (I wonder if there were any important announcements that needed to be printed in September...) I think after this 40-page beast, we'll go a little easier next issue... maybe a 4-pager.

[Photo of Chad] Chadwick Severn is the very silly person who decided to try to contact as many former editors of mathNEWS as he could find to write for this issue. The Computer Science/Journalism student will next try to get an interview with Jean Chretien, a feat that he has been assured will be much easier. The 22-year-old has a hamster and watches Law & Order.

Copyright © 1998 mathNEWS.