QUIRKY WORLD ... Drinking culture puts uni top of the party list

USA: The University of Illinois stakes claim to 23 Nobel Prize winners and tech prowess that contributed to the creation of YouTube, Netscape, Java, and Yelp.

But students at the central Illinois campus don’t just bury their heads in books, they also party — so much so that they’ve earned the top spot on The Princeton Review’s annual list of top party schools in the US.

“Drinking culture is huge here,” according to an unnamed student in the Princeton Review’s 2016 edition of the The Best 380 Colleges. The university has about 31,000 undergraduate students.

University spokeswoman Robin Kaler was bothered by the No 1 ranking — a first for the campus, which has been among the list’s top five for years — and said it painted students in a false light.

“They are serious, they are hard-working, and to try to present them as being somehow irresponsible is insulting,” she said.

The largest of the parties is an annual day of drinking called Unofficial, a St Patrick’s Day celebration that was started by a local bar. The event included fatal accidents in 2001 and 2006. The university tries every year to keep the event under control, often beefing up police presence and, two years ago, even asking parents to help them tone down the partying.

The Princeton Review’s publisher says the collection of lists is meant to paint a picture of life on campus at the schools it reviews.

“We have such a high regard for each of the 380 schools,” said publisher Robert Franek, whose review is not affiliated with Princeton University.

For those who don’t imbibe, the top stone-cold sober school is Brigham Young University, the private Utah school affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tops for most religious students? That’s BYU, too.

Looking for the best campus food? Try the small, exclusive Bowdoin College in Maine.

Most satisfied students? Claremont McKenna University, under what one student told the review was “the constantly beaming California sun”.

Want a job? Go to Clemson University in South Carolina, where students say they’re instantly part of a worldwide network.

Poo patrol

ENGLAND:

A man who is fed up of dog mess has taken to hiding in bushes in camouflage to catch the culprits.

Andrew Hawes, 43, decided to take action after he and fellow residents cleaned up their neighbourhood in Leiston, Suffolk, only for the mess to return within a week. He now dresses in full camouflage and films any offenders, before passing videos to the police who can issue fines.

His campaign — which has a Facebook group called ‘Leiston Dog Mess Name and Shame’ — has even won praise from movie star Hugh Grant, who wrote on Twitter: “My hero.”

The married father of four said: “We spent weeks cleaning up the neighbourhood and removed bucket loads of dog poo. Within seven days, it was all back again and we thought, ‘enough is enough’.”

Monkey business

ENGLAND:

Human babies and bonobos — apes said to be our closest primate cousins — share a common ‘language’, scientists say.

Both are able to make communicative sounds that can be adapted to a range of different emotional states and situations. The ability may be evidence of a lingual “missing link” marking the evolutionary transition from animal calls to human speech, research suggests.

Most animal vocalisations are tied to specific contexts linked to emotional states, for instance to warn about predators or display aggression. Most animal vocalisations are tied to specific contexts linked to emotional states, for instance to warn about predators or display aggression.

Lion’s share

ENGLAND:

The death of Cecil the Lion sparked donations of £550,000 to an appeal founded by a team of conservation researchers.

Cecil, shot last month by an American dentist, was being studied by the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) who set up the appeal to fund future big cat research work.

WildCRU said the unit’s research may be extended beyond Zimbabwe. WildCRU’s director, David Macdonald, said the team would devote themselves to working for the conservation of lions following the “incredible generosity”.

Paint job

USA:

As it tries to get the most out of its €2.6bn attack submarines, the US Navy is finding a lot depends on the right paint job.

A new painting process that helps keep marine life from fouling the hulls is among dozens of innovations aimed at reducing the maintenance needs for attack submarines, which are coming out of service faster than they can be replaced.

The changes were developed by private and government shipyards in response to a request from the navy. Other updates include water-resistant grease for hatches, a special coating on the metal rods that extend the bow planes to minimise deposits, and redesigned bearings to improve support of the propeller shaft.


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