Society & Culture

French Baccalaureat Students Not Coping with the Word “Coping” in Exam

Students sitting the French Baccalauréat (Bac), which marks the end of high school, were left more than a bit perturbed by the word “coping” in the English exam. Apparently that one word made the exam impossible. In le Bac, in Question M, French pupils were presented with a passage from Atonement (2001) by Ian McEwan. They were then asked two questions about one of the book’s characters, Robbie Turner: What are three of his concerns about the situation? How is Turner coping with the situation? It turns out the word “coping” was the veritable Waterloo for many French students. With many pupils subsequently taking to social media with #BacAnglais with claims of sacrebleu, but in words the French actually use. One student even went so far as to create an online petition to cancel the Question M. So far, it’s still short of its 15,000 signatures goal. Which may be ...

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Man Crochets Super Mario Bros. 3 World Map

Spending over six years to crochet the World 1 map of Super Mario Bros. 3, was a labour love and no speed run for Kjetil Nordon. The Nintendo fan and crocheting master, not to mention computer programmer, spent over 800 hours crocheting the 2.2m by 1.8m blanket. Image Source: NRK As reported by NRK, it wasn’t without a few hammers thrown in works, as Kjetil Nordon said: “When the water was half way finished I saw that I had chosen the wrong shade of blue. It was almost purple, and very ugly, so I had to undo all of it. That took an extra week.” Perhaps the wrong shade of blue wasn’t quite as bad as being told: THANK YOU MARIO! BUT OUR PRINCESS IS IN ANOTHER CASTLE! Nordon is currently looking for a way to display his work on his wall, safe from harm. Because those Koopalings can be ...

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US Prisoners Punished for Using Facebook

Until recently there was an easy way to suspend a Facebook account. The catch was, to do so required being in a US prison. Even that has now changed, the ease of suspending a Facebook account for incarcerated Americans that is. Going to prison is still basically the same, and perhaps easier to get into than it is to get out of Facebook. Official members of law enforcement agencies may submit a direct request to Facebook via the Report An Inmate’s Account form submission webpage to restrict or control access. This has reportedly been in place since 2011. Although, as Dave Maass reported in Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), suspensions and deletion of content from prison inmates’ Facebook accounts could occur via prison officials emailing Facebook, with little-to-no questions asked. Until now that is. Facebook has revised its policy. Believing it is not Facebook’s role to censor content; and that suspension ...

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Should Realistic Toy Guns Be Banned?

Sydney, Australia, a child seen carrying a realistic looking toy gun in Martin Place has renewed debate about toy guns in general. Plus raised questions of how safe, or unsafe, it is to make toy guns look realistic; and to what degree realism should be pursued – if at all. It follows in the unease of recent siege of the Lindt Café in Martin Place in December last year. That people would be on edge, with a heightened sensitivity to anything resembling a gun, especially within Martin Place, is understandable. It tends to be a combination of several things. One of which is known as the recency effect, where recent events are remembered easily and feature more prominently within the memory (likely related to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve). This is also often related to various acts of committing base rate fallacies, and where people overweight the recent evidence as representing ...

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Stormtrooper Arrested for Disturbance in the School

A man in Lynn, Massachusetts, has learnt about the Dark Side of cosplaying. George Cross, 40, was walking around near Brickett Elementary School on Lewis Street (Route 1A), dressed in costume as a stormtrooper from Star Wars. The school’s principal noticed the cosplaying stormtrooper was carrying what appeared to be a gun. Although suspecting the gun was a plastic toy, fearing for the younglings, the principal extended the school day by placing it into lockdown around 1:30pm. No word on whether the principal first tried to Force push the cosplayer away. After placing a call to 911, police arrived and arrested the cosplayer. George Cross was charged with disturbing a school and loitering within 1,000 feet of it. Lieutenant Rick Donnelly, of the Lynn Police said: “Our feelings are that he was not there to cause harm to the kids, but he used bad judgement.” Adding that: “He did cause ...

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Alcohol, Pizza and Pie – No Change but Rye

Islington, London, a man was almost charged ₤223,000 for a six-pack of craft beer. What exactly was this beer crafted from, may be a reasonable question. Rumours swell that it was brewed in the fires of Mount Doom itself. Using yeast secretly collected from the very baguette which stopped the Large Hadron Collider. With malts and hops of such pedigree that saffron is thrown on the ground before them as they are loaded on an unsinkable Bismarck guarded by tactical and nuclear penguins. All to form the ultimate craft beer. Or, the man was simply overcharged by accident. The decimal point had been moved a few places. Possibly because the period was being taxed. Fortunately or otherwise, he didn’t actually have the ₤223,000 in his bank account to fund the declined purchase. “I wasn’t really paying attention but I glanced down and saw the first two numbers. “They looked fine ...

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Ireland Referendum Votes Yes for Gay Marriage

It didn’t even come done to the wire. The turnout of voters was large in number, and before long those campaigning against it had conceded defeat. Irish voters were asked whether they agreed to the following statement: Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex. “Yes” was the resounding answer. All of which is moving the Republic of Ireland to legalise same-sex marriage. Making it the first country to do so by popular vote. The country’s constitution will be amended to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Ireland first introduced same-sex partnerships in 2010. The referendum will now allow for same-sex civil marriages. Voter turnout was near 60 percent, with more than 3.2 million Irish people asked to vote. Announced at Dublin Castle, the official results were: 1,201,607 voted in favour of same-sex marriage. 734,300 voted against same-sex marriage. It’s a landmark ...

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Starship Enterprise Building: Chinese Gaming Company Makes It So

The time? Six years of construction. The cost? Some US$160 million spent in the process, including licensing the rights from CBS to build it so. The result? Completed in 2014, finally the headquarters of Chinese online gaming and mobile internet company NetDragon Websoft were built. That the headquarters are a replica of the starship USS Enterprise from Star Trek? It’s beyond avant-garde, and it boldly goes where no building has gone before. The reason? Probably so the chairman, Liu Dejian, can say stuff at work like: “Make it so.” And: “I’ll be in my ready room.” And he has to be taken seriously. Where the debate goes, be it Sovereign or Galaxy, or something else taxing to the Constitution, the Class is still out. Stick with an Excelsior refit if for no other reason than “Excelsior” is such a good word to say. Since no known tricorder scans of the ...

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Egglants, Emojis and Oddities

Quite apart from the debate of whether the eggplant is a fruit or vegetable, a common pastime between scientific types and laypeople in between watching the grass grow, it seems the mysterious eggplant has struck again. But in emoji form. Or rather, the eggplant emoji has been struck off the usage list by Instagram. The reason, it appears, is some say eggplant, some say aubergine and others say brinjal. But when it comes to Instagram and the eggplant emoji, some say it’s vulgar. It’s not like it’s that unobvious why… Which has called things to attention, and in the interests of uprightness, the eggplant emoji has been deflated and put away for now. The party is over. Turns out even sprinkling a little salt on it changes nothing of the bitter taste. Don’t even speak about brinjal pickle, that may just be a phallic overload. Putting aside the best and ...

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Iggy Azalea and Bonds Underwear: Comments of All Colours

Iggy Azalea. She’s so fancy. But what you may not already know, is she’s now also the new face, body, and probably booty, of Bonds underwear. As one of the new celebrities posing for the underwear company, the comments have already begun to fly about Iggy. One commentator, Eleanor Robinson for The Guardian, finds Iggy Azalea at odds with Bonds’ supposed image of the Australian girl next door. Nothing particularly wrong with that. Opinions are what they are. However, the notion that former Bonds girl, Miranda Kerr was ever somehow the girl next door is sure to bring a wistful smile to the faces of many. Along with memories of her initial Bonds campaign back over a decade ago. For that matter, Bonds has helped to launch, or at least play a role in launching, the careers of models such as Sarah Murdoch, Shanina Shaik, and Kelly Gale. So of ...

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