All cars should have ‘Catholic converters’: The exam howlers that earn an F in annual competition to find the best gaffes

July 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

In future, all cars will be fitted ‘with Catholic converters’, if under-pressure students are to be believed. The statement, written by a University of Ulster undergraduate in a paper on vehicle emissions, is just one of a string of exam howlers identified by academics during this summer’s marking season.

It was submitted to a Times Higher Education competition by John Milliken, a lecturer in education, who was also amused by another student’s claim that ‘the [hole in the] ozone layer was caused by “arseh*les”. Dr Milliken said: ‘He probably meant aerosols, but then… maybe not.’

One topical blooper was entered by Verity Brack, information technology programme director at the University of Sheffield, after a student wrote that Google was ‘one of the two main suppositories of data in the world’.

Meanwhile, Josephine Kelly, a lecturer in business and government at Aston University, was intrigued to read that the Coalition government had a ‘toff stance on tax avoidance’. She noted that the student actually meant to write ‘tuff’.

There was also a new interpretation of London’s thriving social scene in the 18th century in a paper on the creation of the Spectator publication in 1711.

‘Within these coffeehouses, men from all different parts of the world could interfere with each other’, wrote a student in a paper marked by Andrew Rudd, lecturer in English literature at the University of Exeter.

Modern history was equally troublesome for a first year at the University of Southampton. According to Suzanne Reimer, senior lecturer in geography, the student observed that ‘globalisation has led to a growing interconnectedness between small-scale people and larger-scale cities across the globe’.

Britta Osthaus, senior lecturer in psychology at Canterbury Christ Church University, who teaches a course on the mental capacities of animals, was surprised to read that ‘octopuses are intelligent because they have been found to be able to predict the winners of football matches during the World Cup’. This was a reference to Paul the Octopus, the cephalopod that ‘predicted’ results in the 2010 tournament.

Meanwhile, Alix Green, lecturer in history at the University of Hertfordshire, was baffled to hear that ‘Hitler’s role in the Second World War is often overlooked’.

Original story here




Odd news from around the world

Amazonian rain forest was created just 2,000 years ago by climate change which wiped out ancient farmers: “Huge areas of the Amazon rainforest were grassland until just 2,000 years ago, it has been revealed. Researchers say the find sheds new light on the Amazon’s history – and show it was a savannah rather than the high forest it is today. They believe much of the area was grassland until a natural shift to a wetter climate about 2,000 years ago let the rainforests form, according to a study that challenges common belief that the world’s biggest tropical forest is far older. By analysing pollen and other particles trapped in the mud, the group was able to build up a picture of how the ecosystem has changed, on both local and regional scales, over the previous 6,000 years. The scientists also studied man-made earthworks, uncovered by recent logging in Bolivia, that included ditches up to about a kilometer (1,100 yards) long and up to 3 meters deep and 4 meters wide.”

Mountain top airport: “This is a new airport runway set to open in China next month. Chinese architects levelled several mountain tops to build the spectacular £80m development in Hechi, a city in China’s southern Guangxi province. Engineers managed to slice off the mountain tops to create a 1.4-mile runway that will provide a spectacular if nail-biting panorama for arriving passengers. It sits amid several mountain ranges, including Jiuwangda to the north, the Phoenix Mountains in the north-west, Fengling to the east, and Duyang to the west. The Green Dragon Mountains sit to the south-west. The airport, which is 2,200ft above sea level and has only one terminal and one runway, is so narrow that it can only accommodate three flights an hour – compared to the number that the mainland’s busiest airports handle on an hourly basis which is 20 times that.”

Giant sinkhole opens up under Chinese parking lot and takes the cars with it: “This car park in China collapsed into a pit after a sudden and heavy rainfall washed away the soil beneath. The stricken building is next to a construction site in Chengdu, in south-west China’s Sichuan province. Five cars dropped 30ft into a deep pit and another left hanging precariously over the edge after the incident, which took place earlier today. Several trees were also dragged in, but no casualties were reported.

The $500 rocket skates you could ride to work: 12mph motorised electric skates: “While we wait for the hoverboard to arrive, one Los Angeles inventor has come up with a worthy stopgap – motorised roller skates. RocketSkates are designed to be strapped on over regular footwear, and monitor foot movements to make them easy to control. They also lets riders simply tip forward to stop, should they find themselves needing to climb stairs, for example. Each skate has two hub motors controlled by an on-board microprocessor, and are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. When you want to let each skate’s two hub motors do the work, you just tip your feet back so that only the rubber wheels make contact with the ground. Their maximum speed is 12 mph (19 km/h), and the range depends on the model chosen. The $249 R6 will get you around 6 miles (9.7 km) or 45 minutes of use, the $499 R8 is rated for 8 miles (12.9 km)/70 minutes, and the $599 R10 will whizz along for 10 miles (16 km) or 90 minutes. For all models, a full charge of the lithium-ion batteries takes 1.5 hours.”

‘Pornographic’ 100-ruble note needs to be replaced says Russian MP: “A Russian MP has called for the replacement of ruble bank notes featuring a nude Greek god, claiming the image’s miniature genitals are pornographic and a bad influence on children. The widely circulated 100-ruble note, worth around $3, depicts a statue of Apollo on the portico of the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The figure has a partially visible penis peeking out from under a cloak. Roman Khudyakov, a lawmaker in the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, said he had written to the central bank asking it to change the note’s design. “I sent an official request to the Bank of Russia asking it to replace the 100-ruble notes showing the naked Apollo,” Mr Khudyakov told AFP, adding he was alerted to the image by sniggering school children.

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.

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