F-ck You, makes the grade?

A British high school student has received partial credit for writing nothing but a two-word expletive on an exam paper because the phrase expressed meaning and was spelled correctly. How hard can it be to spell fuck you?

The Times newspaper quotes examiner Peter Buckroyd as saying he gave the student two points out of a possible 27 for the English paper. Buckroyd told the Times that it “would be wicked to give it zero because it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling.”

Buckroyd says the student would have received a higher mark if the phrase had been punctuated, in this case an exclamation point would have done well. Buckroyd is a senior examiner for the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, one of several bodies that grade British high school exams. The alliance confirms the story is accurate, but says Buckroyd’s decision to award the student marks is not official policy.

“The example cited was unique in the experience of the senior examiner concerned and was used in a pre-training session to emphasize the importance of adhering to the mark scheme: i.e. if a candidate makes any sort of response to a question then it must be at least given consideration to be awarded a mark,” the alliance said in a statement.

But it added that obscenities on exam papers “should either be disregarded, or action will be taken against the candidate, depending on the seriousness of the case.” Since the actual mark was something like 2 out of 27 I am not sure why this is such big news, but it sure is weird.

Seven Arrested at High School Grads

Seven High school students arrested, for drugs? Fighting? DUI? – Authorities say seven people attending high school graduations in Rock Hill, South Carolina, are facing charges after police say they cheered while students’ names were being called. Only in the good ole’ US of A!

Authorities say six people at Fort Mill High School’s graduation were charged Saturday and a seventh at the graduation for York Comprehensive High School was charged Friday with disorderly conduct. Police say those arrested yelled after students’ names were called while diplomas were handed out.

A police spokesman says school officials request police patrols to prevent graduation disruptions that include standing, hollering and clapping. He says those attending the commencements are told their behaviour can be prosecuted. This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of, no wonder this next generation is so messed up.

Mow your Lawn or Go to Jail

In Ohio they take grass-cutting very seriously. So seriously infact that homeowners who don’t mow their lawns face a stiff fine, even jail time in some cases.

The city council has decided to get tougher by increasing the maximum fine for failing to cut the grass from $150 to $250. And they’ve also added up to 30 days behind bars if a violator is particularly bad. Mayor William Healy says it’s the type of action needed “in order to clean up our neighbourhoods and our city.”

In the US it seems you don’t even get enough jail time for serious offences like assualt and robbery so this was a bit suprising.

Weird News Roundup

Here are some weird news shorts:

-Police in Arkansas say they found DNA evidence on a half-eaten candy bar helped them zero in on a robbery suspect. Should have eaten the whole thing, eh?

-A group of up hundreds of enraged young men killed 11 people who were accused of being witches and wizards in western Kenya, in some cases slitting their throats or clubbing them to death before burning their bodies. I guess they have never seen an of the Harry Potter movies.

-In yummy news, a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos has overturned, spilling the cookies still in their plastic sleeves into the median and roadway.

-Only in the Big Apple, a Manhattan restaurant is offering a hamburger that costs $175 and is topped with gold flakes.

Anyone want to live in a metal box?

A Detroit-based construction consortium hopes to use empty shipping containers to build a $1.8 million, 17-unit condominium project. The Detroit Free Press reports today that the project would stack empty containers four high, cut in windows and doors, install plumbing, stairways and heating, and add amenities such as balconies and landscaped patios.

Groundbreaking could take place this fall on the project if it wins city approval, and it could open in 2009. It’s designed by Detroit-based architect Steven Flum. Developers plan to offer condominium units measuring 90 to 180 square metres.

Prices will range from about $100,000 to about $190,000. I guess it is an interesting idea for afforable housing but those prices seem more than a little extreme. I would think $30k-$40k per dwelling is more reasonable.

Mounties Taser 82 Year Old Man in Hospital Bed

Here is a little story about those brave Canadian Mounted Police Officers up in Canada, Frank Lasser, 82, was subdued in his hospital bed because he was not willing to relinquish a small pocket knife he was holding.  This guy just came out of heart bypass surgery recently and when unable to breathe properly becomes delusional.  He said he couldn’t explain why he refused to let go of the knife even after the Mounties arrived.  There were three Mounties present so I can’t imagine why they had to resort to using a taser gun, talk about excessvive force.

Here is a couple of amusing quotes from the officers, “Whether the person is 80 or 20, we are dealing with a person who had a deadly weapon in their hand,” Cpl. Scott Wilson told CBC News.  “We could not deploy our … pepper spray, because we could potentially contaminate the entire hospital.”  Gimmie a break!

Lucky Break for Trapped Woman

The newspaper boy unlocked a side door and saw the couple about two feet inside, 84-year-old Blanche Roberts helpless looking right back at Pitts. Her right leg was pinned beneath the body of her 77-year-old husband Fred, who apparently had died last Wednesday evening of a heart attack after mowing the lawn.

Her only request was for water. She knew her name and her relatives, but described her husband as “sleeping,” said Pitts, who delivers the Southern Illinoisan, published in nearby Carbondale, Illinois. The coronoer said Fred Roberts likely died of a heart attack, based on accounts from the Roberts’ visitors that day.

Blanche Roberts was taken to a hospital in nearby Herrin. The hospital on Tuesday wouldn’t confirm whether she still was being treated there; Pitts said the couple’s relatives told his wife Monday that she was doing fine.

Pitts has delivered on that route for three years but said he never met the Robertses before Sunday. But he thinks fondly of Blanche Roberts, who often tipped him in letters. Lucky for the curious newspaper delivery boy, eh?

Kinky Underwater Fun

Marine biologists studying wild octopuses have found a kinky and violent society of jealous murders, gender subtrefuge and once-in-a-lifetime sex. The new study by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, who journeyed off the coast of Indonesia found that wild octopuses are far from the shy, unromantic loners their captive brethren appear to be.

The scientists watched the Abdopus aculeatus octopus, which are the size of an orange, for several weeks and published their findings recently in the journal Marine Biology. They witnessed picky, macho males carefully select a mate, then guard their newly domesticated digs so jealously that they would occasionally use their 20-to-25-centimetre tentacles to strangle a romantic rival to death.

The researchers also observed smaller “sneaker” male octopuses put on feminine airs, such as swimming girlishly near the bottom and keeping their male brown stripes hidden in order to win unsuspecting conquests.

Shortly after the female gives birth, about a month after conception, both the mother and father die, researchers said.

“It’s not the sex that leads to death,” said Christine Huffard, the study’s lead author. “It’s just that octopuses produce offspring once during a very short lifespan of a year.” I guess the conclusion is that underwater sea life is very similar to us.