STATE TAXPAYERS, in these recessionary times, will be relieved to know that their money is going toward worthwhile social research at the University of Maryland at College Park. Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research and professor of geography, has come up with something big.
Is it a way to keep beach berms from eroding?
A way to protect beaches from future oil spills?
No, he has rated 650 beaches on environmental, biological and human considerations to come up with America's 20 best sand and surf locations.
Marylanders should sleep much better knowing that the College Park professor, a veteran body surfer and beach-lover, didn't forget about them in his survey. Although not in the top ten nationally, Maryland made it into the top beaches category in the Northeast region with Assateague Island. Assateague finished No. 10 on that list, losing points for its flies and mosquitoes.
Maybe next time, Ocean City will make the best beach list. Especially if the professor's future surveys use criteria such as best caramel corn, largest number of putt-putt golf courses and most bars with lewd names.
THE JOHNS HOPKINS University has announced a new graduate program in "the magical world of drama." Those completing 30 credit hours receive a master's degree in drama studies, or M.D.S.
Inasmuch as every other contemporary world grows ever more complex, the world of letters is entitled to, too. At Johns Hopkins, which already offers the graduate degrees of M.L.A., M.S.I.S.S., M.S.B., M.S.A.B.S., M.S.R.E., M.S.E.E., M.E., M.A.T., M.S.A.S., M.S.S.C.G., M.S.A.B.C., M.S.T.E., M.S.G.E., M.S.M.M.H.C., M.S.G.E.S., M.S.S.P.H.C. and M.S.S.E., you can also try for several kinds of doctorate.
(Okay - M.S.A.B.C. stands for Master of Science in Applied Behavioral Counseling. You'll have to figure out the rest on your own.)
No cause here for histrionics; just be sure to keep your universities separate. An M.D.S. from the University of Maryland should mean Master of Dental Surgery.
THE MASS TRANSIT Administration's former bus token, with a hollowed-out design in the center, was a wonderful little coin. You could feel in a large pocketful of diverse change and come right up with the token. Nothing else was like it.
The new token is dreadful. It looks and - more crucial - feels like TC dime. You aren't sure without looking closely which coin in a bunch is the token, if any is.
It is not a sensible change. Bring back the old token.