Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 10

Ben Edelman, Harvard Business School Professor, Goes to War Over $4 Worth of Chinese Food

Ben Edelman (left) and Ran Duan (right)

By Hilary Sargent

Ben Edelman is an associate professor at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets unit.

Ran Duan manages The Baldwin Bar, located inside the Woburn location of Sichuan Garden, a Chinese restaurant founded by his parents.

Last week, Edelman ordered what he thought was $53.35 worth of Chinese food from Sichuan Garden’s Brookline Village location.

Edelman soon came to the horrifying realization that he had been overcharged. By a total of $4.

If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a Harvard Business School professor thinks a family-run Chinese restaurant screwed him out of $4, you’re about to find out.

(Hint: It involves invocation of the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute and multiple threats of legal action.)

Full story at (December 2014)

‘Pork or nothing’: Mayor makes Muslim kids to go meatless at French school

A secularism scandal is raging in France, after a mayor in a northwestern town introduced a “pork or nothing” principle at school, even for 27 students who will get no meat substitute.

The rule will apply starting from January 1 in the town of Sargé-lès-Le Mans, and may apply to Jewish pupils as well – though there aren’t any in this particular school.

Mayor Marcel Mortreau bases his decision on the “principle of Republican neutrality.”

“The mayor is not required to provide meals that respond to religious requirements. This is the principle of secularism,” Mortreau told Europe1 radio.

The move was backed up by the Town Hall on the grounds that the food providers face extra work if they have to deliver meat substitutes, the Local reported.

The initiative has been supported by some public school officials.

Full story at (December 2014)

Gurgaon college student who set herself on fire dies

Students of Government College of Girls in Sector 14, Gurgaon, protest the incident on Monday.

Written By Sandali Tiwari

A second-year student of Government Girls’ College in Sector 14, Gurgaon, who attempted to immolate herself on September 30 after an argument with the college principal over re-evaluation of answersheets, succumbed to injuries around 1.15 am on Sunday, two weeks after the incident.

Family members of 22-year-old BSc student Pinky Chauhan, who had been admitted to Safdarjung Hospital with 80 per cent burns, confirmed her death. Pinky, a resident of Kasan village near Manesar, Haryana, had named six college lecturers — including four women — in her statement, accusing them of forcing her to set herself on fire, a police officer said.

“A case under various sections of the IPC has been registered against the college management at Civil Lines police station. Further investigation is on,” Alok Mittal, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon, said. However, a police source confirmed that in the FIR, the name of the principal, Usha Malik, who was transferred after the incident, has not been included.

According to a student, when news of Pinky’s death spread on Sunday morning, students living in the college hostel were asked to vacate the premises and not return before October 25. The student claimed that the move was aimed at avoiding agitation over the issue. Newly appointed principal Gianender Singh remained unavailable for comment despite repeated phone calls.

Meanwhile, the Department of Higher Education, Haryana, has decided to close the two other government colleges — Dronacharya Government PG College and Government PG College, Sector 9, till October 15. Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and HRD Minister Smriti Irani, seeking their intervention in the case.

Full story at The Indian Express (October 2014)

Nobel prize contender San Thang cut from CSIRO

By Nicky Phillips and Bridie Smith

CSIRO chemists Dr San Thang (right) and Dr Ezio Rizzardo were tipped for this year's chemistry Nobel prize. Dr Thang has since been made redundant. Photo: Eddie Jim

A world-leading CSIRO chemist who was tipped to win a Nobel prize has been made redundant.

In September, the same month San Thang was nominated as a frontrunner for the illustrious prize in chemistry, he also ceased working as a senior researcher for the national science organisation, which has been hemorrhaging staff since June last year following severe budget cuts and a restructure.

As compensation, Dr Thang, who has worked at CSIRO for almost 30 years, was given an unpaid honorary fellowship. He continues to work at his former laboratory in Clayton, mainly supervising PhD students.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Dr Thang, 60, said he did not want to criticise the CSIRO, saying the organisation "has given me a very good career".

Dr Thang, who fled Vietnam as a refugee aged 24, is one of a team of three CSIRO organic chemists who developed new plastics and polymers, using a process known as RAFT, that have been widely adopted by industry, including multinationals L'Oreal, IBM and Dulux.

Full story at The Sydney Morning Herald (December 2014)

Where Do U.S. Teachers Rank Among Colleagues Around the World?

In a study published in December 2014 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Stanford Economist Eric Hanushek used new data from the Survey of Adult skills, conducted by the OECD, which seeks to help governments around the world understand the level and distribution of cognitive skills in their populations. Hanushek and his colleagues isolated elementary and secondary level teachers to find out how teacher’s cognitive abilities differ across countries.

He found a great degree of variance between the literacy and numeracy skills of teachers across the developed world. For instance, teacher skills in the worst-performing countries, like Italy and Russia, are on par with workers with just some college education in Canada, while teachers in the best-performing countries, like Japan and Finland, have skills on par with PhD graduates in Canada.

So, where do U.S. teachers fall on the spectrum? They are slightly above average in literacy skills, but below average in terms of numeracy. These results mirror international assessments of student abilities, in which American students also rank below average in math skills compared to their peers in other developed countries. According to Hanushek, this shouldn’t surprise us. He finds that teacher cognitive ability correlates strongly with student abilities.

Full story at The MathCloud (December 2014)