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[NEWS OF THE WEIRD]

by Chuck Shepherd

SIEGING CHEATERS

• As many as 50 exam monitors were forced to take cover at a high school in Zhongxiang, China in June, fending off outraged students (and some parents) who hurled insults and stones at them after the moni tors blocked cheating schemes on the all-important national gaokao exams. (It was “siege warfare,” and eventually “hundreds” of police responded, according to a dispatch in the Daily Telegraph of London.) Metal detectors had found secret transmitters and contraband cellphones used by groups beaming in exam answers from outside. Independent proctors had been assigned because of longstanding suspicions that the schools’ own proctors routinely enabled cheating (with results such as the 99 identical papers submitted in one subject on the previous year’s exam). Said one student (in the mob of about 2,000), noting how widespread cheating is nationally, “There is no fairness if you do not let us cheat [also].”

THINGS PEOPLE BELIEVE

• Sheriffs and government deedrecorders in several states have reported annoying attempts recently by “Moorish American nationals” to confiscate temporarily vacant houses (often mansions), moving in without inhibition, changing the locks and partying joyously — based on made-up documents full of gobbledygook and stilted legalese granting them sovereignty beyond the reach of law-enforcement. There is a venerable Moorish Temple Science of America, but these trespassers in Florida, Maryland, Tennessee and other states are from fanciful offshoots that demand reparations (usually in gold) for Christopher- Columbus-era Europeans having stolen “their” land. A North Carolina police investigator told the Washington Post in March that “every state” is experiencing the “Moorish American” invasion.

• Britain’s Anomalous Mind Management Abductee Contactee Helpline is the nation’s “weirdest” support group, wrote the Daily Mirror in June, providing a range of services to victims of kidnapping by extraterrestrials and other haunting incidents to about 1,500 people a year, according to co-founder Miles Johnston. AM-MACH uses an ordinary wall-stud detector to locate bodily implants and employs magnetic field meters and mineral lamps to identify “signatures” left on a skin’s atoms by visits to another dimensional reality, Johnston explained. “We are under the threat of termination as a species if we do not get this sorted out.”

BRIGHT IDEAS

• Technology companies are making great strides in odor-detection robots, valuable in identifying subtle scents ranging from contaminants in beerbrewing to cancerous tumors in the body. And then there is CrazyLabo in Fukuoka, Japan, which is marketing two personal-hygiene robots, available for special occasions such as parties, according to a May BBC News report. One detector, shaped as a woman’s kissable head, tests breath odor and responds (e.g., “smells like citrus”; “there’s an emergency taking place”). The other, resembling a dog, checks a person’s feet and can either cuddle up to the subject (no odor) or appear to pass out.

• The local council in Brunete, Spain, near Madrid, has now seen a radical drop in unscooped dog droppings after employing volunteers to find the names of derelict dogs. They then matched the dog with the town’s dog registrations to obtain the owners’ addresses, then mailed them packages containing their dogs’ business (terming it “lost property”). Perspective

• Elementary school teacher Carie Charlesworth was fired recently by Holy Trinity School near San Diego, Calif. — with the only reason given that her exhusband has threatened to kill her. After a January weekend in which Carie was forced to call police three times because of the threats, the husband had shown up the next day in Holy Trinity’s parking lot to see her, provoking officials to immediately put the school in lockdown. In a termination letter, officials noted that Charlesworth’s students are constantly at risk from the ex-husband, that her restraining order against him is obviously not a deterrent, and that they thus “cannot allow” her to continue her career at the school, according to a report by San Diego’s KNSD-TV. (Battered-women support groups, of course, were horrified at the school’s decision.)

© 2012 Chuck Shepherd. Universal Press Syndicate.

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