Quirky World: University has last word on forbidden phrases

Some of the stranger stories from around the world


So a university has decided, without holding a presser, that about a dozen words and phrases are problematic and should be banned from everyday use — and there are no plans to walk it back, even if the announcement breaks the internet.

Still, everyone can be a stakeholder and join the conversation.

Northern Michigan’s Lake Superior State University, on Thursday, released its 41st annual “List of words banished from the queen’s English for misuse, overuse and general uselessness”.

The tongue-in-cheek wish-list of sorts includes starting an answer with the word ‘so,’ ‘presser’ instead of press conference, ‘problematic’, ‘walk it back’, and ‘break the internet’.

Others are ‘stakeholder’, ‘join the conversation’, ‘physicality’, ‘price point’, ‘manspreading’, ‘giving me life’, and ‘vape’, to describe the act of smoking e-cigarettes.

Spring has sprung


Britain’s topsy turvy weather means that spring has come four months early. This past December was the warmest on record, according to latest figures from the Met Office.

As storms and floods batter communities across northern parts of the UK, it was the second wettest December in more than 100 years.

An average of 211mm of rain fell during the month. Only December 1929 was wetter, with 213mm of rain.

Scotland and Wales both had their wettest December since 1910, the earliest year on record — 333.1mm and 321mm, respectively.

December temperatures for the UK reached a spring-like 8C, which is 4.1C above the long-term average. The previous record was 6.9C, set in 1934.

The Met Office said: “This means the temperatures this December, 2015, were closer to those normally experienced during April or May.”

This year is on course for being one of the 10 wettest on record in the UK. The wettest year was 2000, when 1,337mm of rain fell across the country. Provisional figures for the year up to December 29 show 1,270mm of rain.

‘Holiday’ of a lifetime


A vacation in Hawaii not only cost a former Connecticut police officer his job, but also led to criminal charges being brought against him.

The Stamford Advocate reports that Donald Chen was granted two weeks off, from December 1 to December 15, by the Stamford police department, so he could report for training with his US army reserves unit.

Eight days into Chen’s military leave, police received a call from the army, asking where he was. After initially telling a lie involving his “sick” father, police say Chen admitted that he was vacationing in Hawaii with his girlfriend.

Chen, who resigned from the force on December 14, is facing charges of felony larceny and defrauding a public community.

He turned himself in to police on Tuesday.

Rats on a plane


An Air India plane flying to London was forced to return to Mumbai after passengers spotted a rat on board, the airline said.

Although the animal was not found, the pilot returned to Mumbai, because of passenger safety concerns, Air India said in a statement.

Passengers were later flown to London in a different aircraft.

The plane would be fumigated and checked, before being returned to service, an official said.

Maintenance workers would have to make sure that the rat did not damage equipment or chew any wires and that the plane is certified to be rodent-free.

Air India suffered two other mishaps the same day.

A pilot aborted take-off from a northern Indian city, after a stray dog ran on to the runway as the plane was taxiing.

An official at the airport, in Amritsar, said the pilot spotted the dog running into the path of the front wheels of the plane.

He applied the emergency brakes and returned the aircraft to its parking bay. All 171 passengers and crew later boarded the same plane, which took off for London.

In another incident, an Air India plane from Mumbai was hit by a catering van at the airport in Newark, New Jersey, in the United States.


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