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Fri, 09 Jun 2023
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The Ten Most Expensive College Courses Covering Bizarre And Crazy Topics

© Image: JustJared.com
With college costs soaring, new grads staggering under record amounts of debt, and a grim employment picture, you'd think students (and universities) would be buckling down and focusing on serious academic pursuits.

Wrong! Crazy courses are a long-time college tradition. But even in the wake of the Great Recession, course catalogs are still loaded with goofy, lightweight classes, and students still are lining up to take them. Many of these offbeat offerings are consistently enrolled to capacity, and some, like "Geology and Cinema" or "Sport for the Spectator" are among the most popular classes on campus. On a per-credit basis, these classes cost just as much as organic chemistry or applied physics. Click here to see the courses.


US: Arvada Woman says Martha Stewart Table Exploded for no Reason

Their Father's Day ended with a bang.

Nancy Passarella and her family found themselves picking up the pieces after their Martha Stewart Living glass top patio table suddenly exploded sending flying glass and food everywhere.

"All of a sudden we heard this loud explosion, and the table proceeds to disintegrate," Nancy told us.

The mother and grandmother took pictures right after it happened, and you can see the family's startled expressions and fresh injuries.

"My son and his girlfriend were cut by the flying glass," she said.

Passarella now believes the table she bought from K-Mart in 2008 or 2009 is unsafe. And she's not alone.

Bad Guys

US: Sacramento woman arrested for allegedly killing her baby in microwave

© Unknown
Ka Vang was arrested today after a three-month investigation into her baby's death.
In what police say is an extremely rare and disturbing case, a Sacramento woman was arrested this morning for allegedly killing her 6-week-old daughter in March by placing her in a microwave oven.

Ka Yang, 29, was arrested at her Sacramento home this morning and charged with homicide after a three-month investigation into what caused unusual burns on the child, Mirabelle Thao-Lo, who was found dead on the afternoon of March 17.

Sacramento police spokeswoman Laura Peck said there have been only three previous cases involving a child being burned in a microwave, and that detectives studied those cases and consulted with medical experts and pathologists before making the arrest.

"It was a lengthy investigation to determine how these burns occurred," Peck said. "When the officers arrived on scene they immediately saw there were unexplained injuries because of the burns. That led to this very lengthy, involved investigation to determine how these unusual and rare injuries occurred."

The infant's fourth-degree burns were among the worst investigators at the Sacramento County Coroner's Office had seen, coroner's spokesman Ed Smith said.

Bizarro Earth

Non-infectious diseases 'now an epidemic'

Nearly two-thirds of deaths in the world are caused by non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart and lung disease, which are rapidly increasing at a cost to the global economy of trillions of dollars, according to UN estimates and preliminary results of a new study.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report circulated yesterday that while the international community had focused on communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the four main non-communicable diseases "have emerged relatively unnoticed in the developing world and are now becoming a global epidemic".


Brazil police say thief used blade to steal woman's long hair at a bus stop

Brazilian police say a thief cut off and stole a woman's long hair while she waited at a bus stop.

Police say the hair was virgin, meaning it had not been chemically treated, and will probably be sold for the production of wigs.

Inspector Jose Carlos Bezerra da Silva said Friday to Globo TV's G1 website that the woman was waiting for a bus in the central city of Goiania when the man used a knife-like weapon to cut the hair, which reached past her waist. She said she thought the man was going to steal her purse so she turned her back to him.

Silva said he'd never seen a theft like it in 20 years.

He said the 24-year-old woman reported the case to police because she is evangelical and had to explain to her pastor why her hair wasn't long anymore.

Source: The Canadian Press


US: Mark Kelly Retires from Navy and NASA to be With Giffords

© Reuters
File handout image of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords is pictured with her husband NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly in this November 2007 photograph from their wedding
Captain Mark Kelly, the astronaut who commanded the final Space Shuttle Endeavour flight, will retire from the Navy and NASA to focus on his wife Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' recovery and work on a memoir with her.

"I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters," Kelly said in a statement posted to his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Giffords is recovering after being shot through the head at a Congressional outreach event in Tucson on January 8.

The as-yet untitled memoir will be published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, which said in a statement it will be a "deeply personal account" of the couple's courtship, Giffords' career in politics and the shooting.

It also will tell the story of her recovery process and trace Kelly's career from decorated Desert Storm combat pilot to his recent mission as shuttle commander, the statement said.


UK: Arrests at Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebration

About 20 people were arrested for minor drug offences during summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge.

English Heritage said more than 18,000 revellers gathered at the prehistoric site in Wiltshire to witness the sunrise on the longest day of the year.

Cloudy conditions obscured the sunrise which occurred over the ancient stone circle at 0452 BST.

St John Ambulance treated 60 casualties on site for minor injuries and transported four to hospital.

The event is significant for pagans and druids, who mark it with religious ceremonies.


New Zealand Post-Quake Exodus Enters Third Month

© Red Cross Blog
More migrants left New Zealand than arrived for a third straight month in May, the most prolonged decline in 10 years, as people relocated after an earthquake struck the nation's second-biggest city.

Permanent migrant departures exceeded arrivals by 360 in May following readings of 130 in April and 520 in March, Statistics New Zealand said in Wellington today. In the year ended May 31, arrivals outpaced departures by 4,625, the lowest number since the 12 months through January 2009.

Slowing migration adds to the evidence for weaker growth and a declining labor supply this year after the magnitude 6.3 quake killed more than 180 people, wrecked houses and closed businesses in Christchurch on Feb. 22. The central bank may hold borrowing costs at record lows for longer after Christchurch was struck last week by aftershocks, pushing interest-rate swaps to the lowest this month.

"Taxpayers fleeing the country will hamper the government's desire to swiftly restore the budget to surplus, while a softer economy for longer keeps the Reserve Bank on hold for longer," Annette Beacher, head of Asia-Pacific research at TD Securities in Singapore, said in an e-mailed note.

New Zealand's dollar was little changed after the report. It bought 81.08 U.S. cents at 12:25 p.m. in Wellington from 81.01 cents immediately before the release. The two-year swap rate, a fixed payment made to receive floating rates, rose one basis point to 3.32 percent, after touching 3.275 percent on June 17, the lowest since May 24.

Gross domestic product will rise 2.1 percent in the year ending March 31, 2012, according to the average forecast of 11 economists surveyed by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research Inc.

Christchurch Departures

Permanent departures of Christchurch residents in the three months through May were 1,300 more than the year-earlier period, the statistics agency said. About 400 fewer people arrived in the city, the statistics agency said.


Spanish Childcare Case Provokes International Campaign

© David Sillitoe/the Guardian
Childcare activist Sheila Kitzinger has thrown her weight behind the campaign to have the baby returned to her mother.
Childcare experts are backing an international campaign to reunite a woman with her child after the infant was removed by Spanish authorities concerned about her "chaotic" breastfeeding patterns.

Madrid's social services department insisted there were more serious reasons for taking the 15-month-old girl into care, but an official report criticises the mother's habit of breastfeeding on demand and letting the child sleep in bed with her.

"She uses breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy, offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting her take it anywhere, no matter the time and context," says an edited version of the report produced by supporters of the 21-year-old mother, known as Habiba.

These criticisms have angered Spanish paediatricians and also prompted childcare activist Sheila Kitzinger and mothers' groups in Britain, the US and elsewhere to throw their weight behind the campaign to have the baby, known as Alma, returned to her mother.

"This baby must be returned to her mother as a matter of urgency and should be able to suckle whenever she wants to," Kitzinger told one of the campaign groups petitioning for Alma's return.


Job Screening Agency Archiving All Facebook

head in sand
© Unknown
If you're still not using any of the privacy settings on Facebook, here's the most compelling reason why you need to change that as soon as possible.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has given the thumbs up to Social Intelligence Corp, which keeps files of Facebook users' posts as part of a background-checking service for screening job applicants.

A spokesperson for Social Intelligence has clarified in an email:
Data is archived purely for compliance reasons and not used for any other purposes. This is to provide a verifiable chain-of-custody in case the information is ever needed for legal reasons. Archived data is never used for new screens.

As per our policies and obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the only information we collect on job applicants is employer defined criteria that is legally allowable in the hiring process. Examples of this include racist remarks, sexually explicit photos or videos, or illegal activity such as drug use

We are not building a database on individuals that will be evaluated each time they apply for a job and potentially could be used adversely even if they have cleaned up their profiles. It is important for job applicants to understand we are not storing their historical information to be used against them the next time they apply for a job.