Watercooler Stories

By United Press International  |  Sept. 26, 2006 at 6:30 AM
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School to offer 24-hour learning

GOSPORT, England, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A British school with a high truancy rate has decided to shift to a 24-hour schedule, allowing students to show up when they please or to learn on-line.

Under the proposal by head teacher Cheryl Heron, Bridgemary Community Sports College in Gosport near Portsmouth will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., The Telegraph reports. On-line mentoring will be available through the night.

"Why must teaching only be conducted in a classroom? It is possible to teach a child without him or her ever regularly setting foot inside a school," Heron said. "We are talking about schools changing to meet the needs of children rather than requiring children to fit in with the conventional school year, which dates back to agrarian times."

Heron believes that many truants skip school because they are bored. She argues that allowing students to set their own schedules can alleviate that boredom.

When Heron became head of Bridgemary in 2001, the school was classified as a failing one. Since then the school has boosted the pass rate on GCSE exams from 19 percent to 35 percent.

Net revolt possible, survey says

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The World Wide Web could become "World Without Web" in less than 20 years if survey results bear true.

A survey of Internet leaders predicted a cultural group would surface in 2020 that will abandon the World Wide Web altogether as a way to curtail information overload, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver said Monday. Some will retaliate violently against technology, although not a large percentage.

Nonprofit Pew Internet & American Life Project, based in Washington, partnered with Elon (N.C.) University to survey high-tech experts and analysts on what they think will happen, the News said. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said those left behind -- many by choice -- as information and communications technology advances will become technology loners.

Another 35 percent of those surveyed disagreed, the paper said, while 7 percent did not respond to this scenario. Participants were given seven scenarios about the future.

The survey said, "Some will live mostly 'off the grid' simply to seek peace and a cure for information overload while others will commit acts of terror or violence in protest against technology," the newspaper reported.

Lee Rainie, Pew director, said, "It's more like a lifestyle phenomenon rather than a violence and lashing-out phenomenon."

One 'killer' profile gone; others remain

WINNETKA, Ill., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- The profile of the woman who walked into a Winnetka, Ill., school and shot six children, posted by a self-named "murder junky," was removed from MySpace.com.

MySpace officials said they took down the "imposter" profile of Laurie Wasserman Dann, who in 1988 entered a Winnetka school and shot six children, killing one and wounding five, the Chicago Sun-Times said Monday. She later killed herself.

Hers isn't the only grisly profile on the popular MySpace.com, a social networking site for teens and others, the Sun-Times said. Profiles of deceased mass murderers John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer also can be found.

"Jason," the apparent imposter behind the Dann profile, told the Sun-Times in an e-mail exchange that he chose Dann because other killers already had profiles. Calling himself a "murder junky, the man said he also maintains a Gacy site.

Noting, "I just have a sick sense of humor," the man, 33, said he wasn't surprised when the Dann profile was removed, the newspaper said. He said he has had two other profiles taken down already.

MySpace officials said they remove imposter profiles when they learn about them.

Mom gives birth on plane

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- A British Airways flight crew delivered a baby in Canadian airspace over the Atlantic on a flight from London to Boston.

Baby Nadine and her mother, Rabab Ahmed, were resting in a Halifax hospital Monday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. The plane was diverted to Nova Scotia when the pilot reported the medical emergency Saturday.

Ahmed said when she realized what was happening she worried about how her fellow passengers would react to the delay.

"I thought they would be mad or upset," she said. "But everyone was clapping."

Ahmed was en route to Boston, where her father was waiting for her. Nadine is her first child, and she said she did not realize she was in labor at first.

She was 7 1/2 months pregnant and had visited a doctor the day before she left London, getting clearance to fly.

Ahmed holds dual U.S.-Egyptian citizenship. Nadine holds Canadian citizenship thanks to her birth in Canadian airspace.

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