Monday, June 25, 2012

News of the Weird

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I.V.-League School

Chinese media reported that in early May, at the Xiaogan No. 1 High School in Hubei province, high-school students studying for the all-important national college entrance exam worked through the evening while hooked up to intravenous drips of amino acids to fight fatigue. A director of the school's Office of Academic Affairs reasoned that before the IVs were hung, weary students complained of losing too much time running back and forth to the school's infirmary for energy injections. After the media reports, there was a public backlash—but less against the notion that China was placing too much importance on the exams than against reports that the government was subsidizing the cost of the injections.

Unclear on the Concept


  • In April, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it was fining Google for deliberately impeding the agency's investigation into the company's collection of wireless data by its roaming Street View vehicles. The FCC decided, based on Google's "ability to pay," that the agency needed to double its staff-proposed fine in order to "deter future misconduct." Hence, it raised Google's fine from $12,000 to $25,000. (As pointed out by ProPublica.org, Google made profits of $2.89 billion during the previous quarter-year—or $25,000 every 68 seconds.)
  • In April, police in Newtown Township, Pa., searched (unsuccessfully, as it turns out) for a "skinny" male, between ages 35 and 45, wearing a black tracksuit. He had indecently exposed himself at a place of business—the offices of the Bucks County Association for the Blind.


Kids Today—And Tomorrow

  • In Milwaukee, Wis., in April, Sean Patrick was sentenced to 30 years in prison for owing more than $146,000 for 12 children by 10 mothers.
  • Desmond Hatchett, 33, was summoned to court in Knoxville, Tenn., in May so that a judge could chastise him for again failing to make child-support payments. Official records show that Hatchett has at least 30 children by at least 11 women. He said at a 2009 court appearance that he was "through" siring children.


Can't Possibly Be True


  • The official class photo of Eileen Diaz's second-grade kids at Sawgrass Elementary School in Sunrise, Fla., was distributed this spring with the face of the front-and-center child replaced by a cartoon smiley face. Apparently there was some miscommunication between the school and the photographer about redoing the photo without the child, whose parents had not given permission for the shot. (Another child without parental authorization was easily edited out of the photo, but the front-and-center student could not be.)
  • Chilean artist Sebastian Errazuriz recently created "Christian popsicles" made from wine that Errazuriz obtained by trickery after a priest consecrated it into "the blood of Christ." The popsicle's stick is actually a figure of Jesus on the cross. (Also, The Icecreamists shop in London, England, recently began offering a popsicle made with absinthe and holy water from a spring in Lourdes, France, which many Catholics revere for its healing powers. The "Vice Lolly" sells for the equivalent of about $29.)


Bless Those Researchers' Hearts!

A team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, following up on a Harvard study that found dramatic weight-loss qualities from eating yogurt, did its own yogurt study. The results, summarized in Scientific American in May, noted that yogurt-eating male mice have 10 times the active follicle density of other mice, producing "luxuriantly silky fur," and larger, outward-projecting testicles that make them far more effective inseminators.

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd

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