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News Quirks (12/17/14) 

Published December 17, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

We Feel Your Pain

Law school students at Harvard, Columbia and Georgetown universities demanded that their schools postpone final exams because they were traumatized by grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and New York not to indict white police officers who killed black men. Students said the decisions and subsequent outrage kept them awake, distracted them and made them question the integrity of the legal system they are preparing to enter. What's more, taking part in local protests limited their study time. All three schools announced that students who felt that recent events would impair their exam performance could petition to have their exams rescheduled. Reacting to the schools' responses, George Mason University School of Law professor David Bernstein said that Columbia had "chosen to infantilize" the students, and Harvard Law School graduate Elie Mystal blogged that "a lawyer has to be able to function in the face of injustice." (Bloomberg Businessweek)

Fathers-to-be have the opportunity to experience the pain of childbirth at Aima maternity hospital in China's Shandong province. After several new moms complained that they got little sympathy from their partners, the hospital began offering free sessions where participants have pads attached above the abdomens that give pain-inducing electric shocks for up to five minutes as a nurse gradually raises the intensity from one to 10, causing the men to writhe in agony. "It felt like my heart and lungs were being ripped apart," said Song Siling, who lasted only until level seven. Insisting that the simulations could never match the torment of actual childbirth, nurse Lou Dezhu did note, "If men can experience this pain, then they'll be more loving and caring to their wives." About 100 men volunteered for the sessions. Most are expectant fathers, but some are thrill seekers who sign up for "taster sessions." (Reuters)

Name Games

Narcissistic parents are putting pressure on their children by giving them unusual names, according to Dutch researchers. The team from Amsterdam University found a clear link between parents' own sense of superiority and the extent to which they "overvalue" their children. One of the most obvious ways to make children "stand out from the crowd," the researchers reported, was by giving them a "unique, uncommon first name." (Britain's Express)

Shiftless Generation

Two boys, 15 and 17, tried to steal a car at gunpoint but failed, according to Houston authorities, because they "had issues operating the vehicle." It had a manual transmission. The suspects demanded that the driver tell them how to operate the vehicle, but after he provided a few instructions, they ordered him to get out and tried but failed to make their getaway. (Associated Press)

Reasonable Explanation

Police who charged Zachary Torrance, 18, with robbing four Alabama Subway sandwich shops said he told them he was mad that the "Jared diet" hadn't worked for him, so he wanted his money back. The weight-loss plan he referred to is named for Jared Fogle, who went from 425 pounds to 180 pounds in two years by eating two low-fat Subway sandwiches a day. (Birmingham's WVTM-TV)

When Guns Are Outlawed

Nathan Rolf Channing, 27, was arrested for pointing a banana at two sheriff's deputies in Mesa County, Colo., who believed it was a gun. One of the deputies started to pull his own gun when Channing yelled, "It's a banana!" He explained he thought it would be a "funny joke" to post on YouTube, but the deputies didn't see any cameras in the vicinity. At that point, Channing admitted this was a "trial run of the joke." Channing, a resident of Fruitvale, was charged with felony menacing. (Denver's KDVR-TV)

Marvin Tramaine Hill II, 27, admitted attacking his pregnant wife with a McChicken sandwich after police arrested him at their home in Des Moines, Iowa. Police said Hill's wife had mayonnaise on her shirt and face when they arrived, prompting Hill's arrest for simple domestic assault. (Huffington Post)

Felonious Irony

State police arrested Gregory Bolongnese, 22, at the bus station in Plattsburgh, N.Y., after they found marijuana, cocaine and LSD hidden inside a stuffed lion doll wearing a D.A.R.E. T-shirt. D.A.R.E. is short for the anti-drug program Drug Abuse Resistance Education. (Associated Press)

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About The Author

Roland Sweet

Roland Sweet was the author of a syndicated column called "News Quirks," which appeared weekly in Seven Days.


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