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Watercooler Stories

Math prodigy starts college at 9

HONG KONG, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- March Boedihardjo at 9 is already at Hong Kong Baptist University pursuing mathematics, but the challenge appears not so much for him as for the college.

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After attending his first university class on mathematical analysis, the 9-year-old prodigy said, “I learned it two years ago,” the China Daily reported Wednesday.

When pressed further, the Hong Kong-born Indonesian-Chinese replied, “You would not understand that,” the report said. He also is taking Spanish lessons.

March is enrolled in a five-year undergraduate and master's program in mathematics. He was accepted by the university last month after acing the math portions and getting a B in statistics on his college entrance test.

On his first day at the university, March came with his father, who brought his bag and raincoat.

March says he is confident of adapting to campus life. University officials plan to provide additional resources to help the child develop his skills.

"We will adjust the curriculum if he finds it too easy," said the head of the university. “He is very impressive. He is still a child, but speaks in an orderly and logical manner.”

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2 sisters + 2 Mattiases = 1 puzzled pastor

KALMAR, Sweden, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Tying the knot for two sisters and two grooms named Mattias recently left a village minister in Sweden befuddled.

The pastor apparently became confused and first turned to the wrong groom during the ceremonies. Then when he got the right Mattias, he tried to pair him up with the wrong sister, the Local reported Wednesday.

To top it off, the minister then forgot to ask one of the Mattiases if he wanted to take his bride for his lawful wedded wife.

"Have you not been asked yet?" the pastor asked.

"No," said the forgotten groom.

The minister offered that he hadn't intended to offend anybody, and the sisters and Mattiases seemed happy enough despite all the confusion on their big day.


Stan Laurel letters on auction block

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Sometimes sad letters from the late English funny man Stan Laurel to a faithful fan are going up for auction in Scotland.

The packet of 18 letters and three photographs, most of them signed by Laurel, were written to Walterina Hunter of Edinburgh over a 10-year period starting in 1952. They are expected to fetch about $4,000 when sold Wednesday to the highest bidder by Scottish auction house Lyon and Turnbull, the BBC reported.

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Writing from the luxurious hotels he stayed at while touring, Laurel confided to Hunter how he was "very upset" by the death of his comedic partner, Oliver Hardy, but that he didn't attend his funeral upon the advice of his doctor. Laurel suffered a nervous breakdown after Hardy died, the BBC said, and later wrote his pen pal that he no longer visited the movie studios "because I don't know anyone there and would feel like a stranger."

The pair only met once, in 1954, when Laurel and Hardy toured Britain and sent her tickets for their Edinburgh performance. Their correspondence ended in 1962, three year's before Laurel's death.


Boy 'backchatter' held over the barbie

MINTO, Australia, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Police in Australia are probing allegations a woman apparently didn't appreciate a young boy's impudence and threatened to barbecue him if he didn't behave.

The 31-year-old Minto woman allegedly picked up the 7-year-old child after he "backchatted" her and held him over a flaming barbecue Saturday, The Australian reported Tuesday. Shocked onlookers then took the boy away from the party.

"There are no indications that the child suffered any injuries and no ambulance was called to the address," a police spokeswoman said. "Officers have spoken to a number of people at the residence and inquiries are continuing."

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