Letter from the Editor: Thoughts on the Backslash

Dear readers,

We have a lot of great articles for you this week. Athavan has written a spoiler-free review of two newly released movies, The Mitchells vs. The Machines and Army of the Dead. Meanwhile, Ewan has covered an important bill and what it means for your freedom of speech. Make sure to check out the newest installment of Sam C’s houseplant column as well as her album review.

As the term goes on and midterms loom on the horizon, it’s been a challenge to keep up with studies while taking the time to enjoy the warm weather. Recently I had the idea to type exam review notes in Latex. Once my thought-to-Latex conversion reaches an adequate speed (say, fast enough to do court stenography, should a partial differential equation go on trial for emotional distress caused to students of fluid dynamics), I could write up some nicely formatted mathematical articles for this newspaper. A confused second year with a cluster headache and three overdue assignments might then actually read The Iron Warrior for fifteen minutes before realizing this isn’t MathNews. Still, maybe the subtle wit of the Sams’ treatise on NFTs (coming soon!) would entice her to keep reading.

In any case, I am a notoriously bad typer and Latex forces me to reach for the backslash too often for my liking. Is there any distance greater than the apostrophe key on which your pinky rests and the backslash? A bird pecking seeds out from the keyboard would make fewer typos.

To satisfy my curiosity I took a typing test. The results: 23 WPM, 79% accuracy. And I was looking at the keys. Do you ever wonder why the articles I put out are few and far between? Maybe I can file for a disability accommodation. I think I should have been the second born son of Estonian immigrants in Sacramento, 1936; no luck inheriting the family curtain rod manufacturing business but I could have gone to Berkeley to study organic chemistry and hired a nineteen year old secretary to compose my papers, which would never get published anyway. If we could all agree to reformulate the keyboard to have the backslash right below the space bar I’d be much obliged.

Still, I have been pecking away at the keys very diligently this past week to put out some investigative journalism. Keep an eye out for the Iron Warrior’s report on essay mills, which is slated to be published in the coming months.

As always, take care and stay safe. With midterm season approaching fast it’s a good a time as any to take a quick break from schoolwork and enjoy the weather.

Nela (with Ella)

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