"A [student] ther was of oxenford also ...
Ful thredbare was his [overcoat] ...
For hym was [rather] have at his beddes heed
Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
Of Aristotle and his philosophie,
Than robes riche, or [fiddle], or gay psaltry."
--Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, circa 1386
"I can understand why the faculty would want to wear sandals, but do they have to be flip-flops?"
--Caltech postdoc, 2003
True, we now have teraflop computers instead of parchment, but in one respect, not much has changed in academia since Chaucer's day. Look at a vacation photograph of my family, and without any clues, you can pick out my first cousin, the marine biologist. The full red beard (and matching chest hair) dripping with seawater is a dead giveaway. But my brother the businessman, even in a bathing suit, looks like he could be presiding over a board...