What students are talking about today (February 12th)
1. CrossFit, the intense group workout craze, has found a following at Queen’s University where a Facebook page calling for it to be offered in the campus Athletics and Recreation Centre has more than 500 likes. But the ARC powers-that-be are concerned the instructor who wants to offer it isn’t certified as a personal trainer or an employee. They also say the exercises could have health consequences. The Queen’s Journal isn’t buying the explanation, citing the fact that student-run fencing and archery clubs already use the gym.
2. Science, yes science, has determined that underage American alcohol drinkers are sticking to a relatively small number of, what are in my opinion, dreadful tasting brands. Almost 28 per cent of the 13 to 20-year-old study participants drank Bud Light within the past month, 17 per cent guzzled Smirnoff malt beverages, 15 per cent downed regular Budweiser and 13 per cent sipped on Coors Light. Researchers at Boston University and Johns Hopkins surveyed 1,032 teens online. Their paper is published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
3. McMaster University is shutting down its Chinese government funded Confucius Institute because of what it says are discriminatory hiring practices. CBC reports that the move comes after an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal challenge by Sonia Zhao, who says that when she was hired at McMaster she was asked to sign a contract that said she would not practice Falun Gong, a form of spirituality the Chinese government opposes. There are 11 Confucius Institutes in Canada. They teach Chinese language and culture and have been criticized as an attempt to exert Chinese soft power.
4. Three University of British Columbia students have started a company called ThinkingCapp Technologies, which has released an iPhone app alarm clock that aims to overcome the snooze button. Unlock Alarm opens up a text prompt while playing a song. To shut off the alarm users must retype a given phrase— a song lyric, quotation, motivational advice or joke. It’s a game where typos lead to a loss of a “lifeline,” explains The Ubyssey. Late sleepers may be skeptical, but they should consider that it has been downloaded in 51 countries since December.
5. Computer science students at Johns Hopkins University conquered the bell curve and figured out how to get 100 per cent on all of their final exams. According to Inside Higher Education, Professor Peter Frölich uses a curve where the highest grade on the final counts as an A and other scores are adjusted accordingly. If a midterm is worth 40 points, and the highest actual score is 36 points, that person gets 100 per cent and everybody else gets a percentage relative to it. Students in three courses collectively boycotted their finals, making zero the highest score. That meant everyone got an A. The story of how students collectively banded together is interesting. But they can’t do it again. Frölich has changed his grading scheme so that a zeroes will mean zeroes.