Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 39

Rotting fruit forces 600 students to evacuate Melbourne university library after it sparked fears of a gas leak – but you’ll never believe which one

•A Melbourne uni was evacuated after a piece of fruit sparked fears of a gas leak

•RMIT evacuated 600 students and contacted emergency services for the 'leak'

•A rotting fruit was found by emergency services and detailed as the smell

By Greta Levy

A library in Melbourne was evacuated after a rotting piece of fruit sparked fears of a gas leak.

Up to 600 people were evacuated from RMIT university after peculiar smell was detected on Saturday afternoon.

The unpleasant stench was found to be a rotting fruit in a cupboard and was being circulated by the air-con at the library.

Up to 600 people were evacuated from RMIT university after peculiar smell was detected on Saturday afternoon

Firefighters eventually found the source of the stench, a rotting durian, in a cupboard building.

Students were rushed out of the building as firefighters, kitted-out with oxygen marks combed the area to find the source of the gas-like smell.

Emergency services were called to the campus library in LeTrobe street just after 3pm.

Full story at Mail Online (April 2018)

Oxbridge admissions dominated by top schools

Over a third of students admitted to Oxford or Cambridge over 10 years were from just 100 schools

Westminster School, in West London, had more pupils admitted than any other school | CMGLEE

By Louis Ashworth, Catherine Lally & Edwin Balani

Oxbridge is dominated by a small group of elite schools, with over half the students accepted over a decade educated at just 250 institutions.

An investigation by Varsity, looking at 11 undergraduate intake cycles over the decade from 2006 to 2016, shows the huge proportion of students who come from a small number of schools.

It found that over a third of students came from the top 100 schools, which includes many of the country’s most expensive independent schools. Just under one in nine students came from a school that sent one pupil or fewer to Oxbridge per year on average.

Access is one of Oxbridge’s most thorny issues, with both Oxford and Cambridge – ranked last year as the two best universities in the world – spending millions of pounds per year on outreach efforts. Both universities have come under intense scrutiny for their disparities in acceptance rates, with one MP last year describing colleges as “fiefdoms of entrenched privilege.”

Today’s findings show that there remains a gulf between a top set of schools who send multiple students to Oxford or Cambridge every year, and thousands of other schools that send far fewer. They have strong implications for ‘access after admissions’, which has become a key focus for campaigners in recent years – it means that many Oxbridge undergraduates arrive with pre-built networks of school peers, while other students will be the only person from their school in their cohort.

Of the top five schools for overall intake, three – Westminster School, Eton College and St Paul’s School – are UK independent schools that charge day pupils over £20,000 a year. Eton and St Paul’s are all-male, while Westminster admits female students to its sixth form. Hills Road Sixth Form College, which is adjacent to Homerton college, is ranked third, with Raffles Junior College in Singapore placing fifth despite a below-average success rate. St Paul’s Girls’ School, which ranks sixth overall, has the most strikingly high success rate among the top schools: over 50% of its pupils who applied to Oxbridge over the cycles were accepted.

Full story at Varsity (April 2018)

Chinese Weibo users defend US teen’s cheongsam prom dress as ‘cultural appreciation, not appropriation’

Keziah Daum | Credit: Twitter

By Neil Conner

China has thrown its support behind an American teenager who was at the centre of an internet storm after she posted images of herself wearing a traditional Chinese dress.

Keziah Daum, who has no Chinese roots, was heavily criticised in her native United States after sharing images on Twitter of her wearing a Chinese qipao dress to her school prom.

Some people accused the 18-year-old of "cultural appropriation", and a post from Twitter user Jeremy Lam - which was shared more than 42,000 times - declared: " My culture is NOT your goddamn prom dress."

Ms Daum, however, refused to delete the post of her wearing the dress, which was red and embroidered with gold and black, and many in China backed her decision.

"I am very happy she has chosen to wear a qipao," said one comment on Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter. "It means that she thinks our culture is beautiful."

"I think she looks stunning. And if Western people are saying that she can't wear Chinese clothes, does that mean Chinese people can't wear Western clothing - such as a wedding dress? That would be stupid."

Ms Daum responded to the Internet backlash in a Tweet, saying: "To everyone causing so much negativity: I mean no disrespect to the Chinese culture.

"I’m simply showing my appreciation to their culture. I’m not deleting my post because I’ve done nothing but show my love for the culture."

The qipao, or cheongsam dress, became hugely popular in China during the 1920s and 1930s, but fell out of favour in the early years of Communist China as it was believed to be 'bourgeoise'.

Full story at The Telegraph (May 2018)

3 Black Teen Finalists In NASA Competition Targeted By Racist Hackers

By David Moye

Three teenage girls in Washington, D.C., came up with a way to purify lead-contaminated water in school drinking fountains that was so impressive it landed them among the finalists in a NASA-sponsored contest for high school students.

Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner and Bria Snell earned a spot in the contest finals ― the only all-female, all-black team to make it that far, according to The Washington Post.

To win the public voting part of the competition, the trio of 17-year-old juniors took to social media to raise awareness of their project.

India Skinner, Mikayla Sharrieff, and Bria Snell, 11th graders from Banneker High School in Washington, D.C., are finalists in a NASA youth science competition.

Their hard work looked like it was paying off. On Sunday, the girls were in first place with 78 percent of the vote, according to

But that’s when a group of users from 4chan —an anonymous Internet forum whose members have been known to spew racist and homophobic comments ― targeted the girls, according to the Washington Post.

The users alleged the teens’ project didn’t deserve to make the finals and that the voting was skewed because the black community was only voting for the girls because they were black, according to the paper.

Full story at HuffPost (May 2018)

Language study in Asia is moving to tablet

Source: Timothy Muza/ Unsplash

By Isabelle Bilton

LANGUAGE learning in Asia is changing. Stuck with a lack of sufficient English teachers across the continent, students are now able to learn the language – vital to success in the modern business world – through a mobile phone.

A pairing of in-class lessons and consistent daily practice online could help students master the English language.

In Thailand, for example, schools are all too often short of language teachers who are fluent in English and students are seldom practising the language every day – or at least not effectively. A survey conducted a few years ago showed that, of Thailand’s 43,000 English language teachers, just six were fluent.

As a result, parents are forced to enrol children in private tuition classes if they wish them to learn English at a high standard. Frustrated with the state of language learning in Thailand and Asia on the whole, mobile language learning company Qooco was set up in 2010.

Driven by a passion to educate Asia’s youth in the English language in a new way, Qooco is an online learning portal through which students benefit from consistent daily lessons and games in language acquisition. Operating in schools across Asia, the platform allows students to regularly add to their classroom learning.

Now, Qooco aids the learning of Mandarin, too, so its students can learn the two most important languages in the business world.

Students must practise daily

In Thailand, despite the government increasing the number of hours students spend in class (from one to five), due to insufficient teaching parents still enrol children in tuition outside of school. But this is only allowing them in-depth practice once a week – commonly on a Saturday.

And it is the same in the majority of countries across Asia, Qooco CEO David Topolewski explained.

Outside of class, the language learning industry in Asia is largely built on a once-a-week system where students attend tuition classes on weekends. “To me, that is the single biggest hurdle that people have to get over now,” Topolewski told Study International.

Full story at Asian Correspondent (May 2018)

Cornell student strips during thesis presentation to protest professor

Letitia Chai removes her clothes during a presentation at Cornell University. | Facebook

By Tamar Lapin

A Cornell University senior stripped to her bra and underwear during her thesis presentation — and got two dozen others to join in — to protest her professor’s contention the week before that her clothing was inappropriate.

Letitia Chai led the revealing demonstration Saturday during her “Acting in Public: Performance in Everyday Life” class to stand up “against oppressive beliefs,” she said in a Facebook Live video of the event.

It came days after her professor, Rebekah Maggor, questioned whether the denim cutoff shorts Chai was wearing during a test run of the presentation were too short.

“The first thing that the professor said to me was ‘is that really what you would wear?” Chai wrote in a Facebook post about the incident. “The professor proceeded to tell me, in front of my whole class, that I was inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body,” she wrote.

“I think that I was so taken aback that I didn’t really know how to respond,” she told the Cornell Sun.

Some students stood up for her, telling the professor she was the one being inappropriate and questioning her perception of men, but one international student sided with the teacher, saying it was Chai’s moral obligation to dress more conservatively.

“Am I morally offending you?” Chai said she asked the student, with tears of rage in her eyes, before storming out of the room.

The professor then came out to ask what her mother would think of her clothing, adding that she had a daughter she worried about, Chai wrote.

“My mom is a feminist, gender and sexuality studies professor. She’s fine with my shorts,” Chai said she responded.

When the professor asked what Chai was going to do, she responded, “I’m going to give the best damn speech of my life.”

Full story at New York Post (May 2018)

Michael Keaton Offers Two Words Of Invaluable Advice To College Graduates: “I’m Batman”

Photo: Twitter

By Josh Sorokach

Who’s your one true Batman? For some, it’s Adam West, who portrayed the Caped Crusader on both the small and big screen in the 1960s. For others, it’s Christian Bale, who more recently played the Dark Knight. Me? I’m a Michael Keaton guy. Keats famously donned the mask and protected Gotham City in 1989’s Batman and 1992’s Batman Returns before Val Kilmer took over the role in 1995’s Batman Forever.

Keaton recently returned to his superhero movie roots by portraying the villainous Vulture in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but the actor was once again on the side of the virtuous when he slipped back into the Batman character during his recent commencement speech at Kent State. Keaton clearly understands how important it is to have a killer closing, so the actor left the young graduates with two words of invaluable advice.

“I got one more thing to say and it will only take me a second,” Keaton said, ramping up the intrigue. “I got two words that I want you all to remember. They’re very important, and if I leave you with anything, I’m going to leave you with these two words. And those two words are: I’m Batman.”

Full story at Decider (May 2018)

Lawsuit says University of Southern California turned blind eye as gynaecologist George Tyndall molested Chinese students

Lawsuit says Tyndall preyed on vulnerable Chinese students who were unfamiliar with gynaecological exams

Five women filed lawsuits on Monday alleging that a doctor who worked at the University of Southern California for nearly three decades sexually abused them, and that the school ignored the misconduct.

The lawsuits claims that George Tyndall preyed on young female patients – in particular, members of the school’s large Chinese student population – because they were often unfamiliar with gynaecological exams.

The two civil lawsuits filed in Los Angeles Superior Court list in graphic detail years of alleged abuse by Tyndall, who worked as a gynaecologist at the university’s Student Health Centre until he retired last year.

One of the women – who were not identified in the lawsuits – alleges that Tyndall forced his entire hand and wrist into her vagina while examining her during an appointment in 2003 and made vulgar comments about her genitalia.

Another woman details how Tyndall, 71, groped her breasts and leered at her on what was her first appointment with a gynaecologist in 2008.

“Just before groping her breasts, Tyndall would lecherously rub his hands together in front of plaintiff … and would say ‘I just want to get them warm for you’,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuits – one filed on behalf of four women and the other on behalf of a former law student – allege that the university failed to act against Tyndall despite complaints about his behaviour going back to at least the year 2000.

They say that the school only launched a probe in 2016 after a supervising nurse upset at USC’s inaction reported him to the campus rape crisis centre. He was then allowed to “quietly” resign in June of last year.

Full story at South China Morning Post (May 2018)