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 V.13 No.24 | June 10 - 16, 2004 

Odds & Ends

Dateline: EnglandMichael Gunn, a 21-year-old student at Kent University, is suing the school for not warning him that plagiarizing is wrong. “I did plagiarize,” Gunn admitted to FOX news service. “I never dreamt it was a problem.” Gunn was told on the eve of his final exams that he wouldn't be getting any grades for this past semester's course work because all his papers turned out to be lifted in their entirety from various Internet sites. Gunn apparently felt the activity was condoned by the university because he had turned in several stolen papers and “no one spotted it.” According to the BBC, Gunn is suing the university for the return of his tuition money because he should have been warned that using already published text was against the rules. Unfortunately for Gunn, students who may be misinformed about the definition of plagiarism are given guidelines that say lifting material from other sources and passing it off as their own is against school regulations. “In the School of English, this information is provided in the faculty handbook and in the department's own handbook, both of which are issued to all students,” deputy vice-chancellor of Kent University David Nightingale told reporters.

Dateline: North CarolinaThen again, who can blame the kids when they've got such great role models? Turns out Orange County school board Chairman Keith Cook plagiarized nearly all of the speech he delivered at Orange County High School's 2004 graduation ceremony. The speech, which incorporated several “life lessons” from the film Titanic, was virtually identical to a 1998 speech given at a Madison, Wis., high school by Donna Shalala, then secretary of health and human services. When asked last Tuesday by a Herald-Sun reporter where he got his speech, Cook said, “I wrote that.” Later, after the newspaper e-mailed him a website link to Shalala's speech, Cook called back and admitted he had downloaded the speech off the Internet after typing the words “graduation speech” into the Google search engine.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: New YorkNew York police are searching for the owner of a severed human hand which apparently dropped out of the sky and landed on the deck of a boat anchored off Long Island. The boat was located near the Lawrence Village Marina where several parties were taking place on several different watercrafts. According to the New York Post, the hand mysteriously landed on the deck of one of the boats. “At this point, we don't have a clue where it came from,” Nassau Detective Sgt. John Azzata told the newspaper.

Dateline: North CarolinaZachary Lee Foust, arrested in Chapel Hill on charges of breaking into a parked car to boost a speaker box, only added to his woes when he stole the cell phone of the police officer who arrested him. Foust, 19, was initially charged with a felony count of breaking and entering an auto and misdemeanor larceny at about 4 a.m. last Saturday morning. On the ride to Orange County jail, Foust somehow managed to take the police officer's cell phone from the patrol car's center console. When he got to the jail, the officer noticed his phone was missing, but thought he had misplaced it. While Foust was being booked, however, the officer heard a telltale beep. According to the Herald-Sun, the missing cell phone was found in Foust left shoe. “I removed my phone and advised him I would be back with another warrant,” the officer wrote in his report. Misdemeanor larceny was later added to Foust's charges.

Scott Rickson

Dateline: Washington, D.C.A research paper recently published by the National Department of Economic Research (hereafter known as the National Department of No Duh) has found a strong link between peoples' happiness and the amount of sex they have. Sex, apparently, makes people happy. “Money, Sex and Happiness: An Empirical Study” by David G. Blanchflower and Andrew J. Oswald also concluded that people with high incomes are happier than people with low incomes. The study looked at the lives of 16,000 random Americans. Ultimately, the report concludes, people who are rich and have sex more than four times per week are happier than people who are dirt poor and had no sex at all last year. “Happiness research” is an emerging field of economics that looks at the consequences of having money.

Compiled by Devin D. O'Leary. E-mail your weird news to devin@alibi.com.

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