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Oddities News Archive - January 30, 2009

Travel Web site TripAdvisor.com said users ranked New York's Hotel Carter as the dirtiest lodging in the United States. TripAdvisor said cleanliness ratings left by reviewers dubbed the Hotel Carter as the country's dirtiest hotel for the third time in four years, USA Today reported Friday. The bathroom made me want to vomit, one commenter wrote on the Web site.

Officials said Southern Illinois University's draft plagiarism policy, which appears to be lifted from another school's policy, has not been finalized. The Chronicle of Higher Education said Wednesday that the policy, which was drafted by Southern Illinois in 2007 following several high profile cases of stealing work, is nearly identical to portions of an Indiana University policy adopted in 2005, USA Today reported Friday. Southern Illinois officials said the policy will be reviewed and changes will be made where necessary. We think this is a non-story, said David West, director of government and media relations for the school.

Some employees of a Swedish telemarketing company allege their employer urged them to change their foreign-sounding names to increase sales. An unidentified Business by Phone employee alleged he and 13 other employees were pressured by the telemarketing firm to change their names to names more reminiscent

A decision by officials in Birmingham, England, to drop possessive apostrophes from road and street signs has drawn the ire of education campaigners. The Birmingham City Council said it is doing away with the apostrophes in street names including the former St. Paul's Square -- now St.

A U.S. soldier on leave from duty in Iraq hid inside of a giant wrapped gift box at his son's Nevada grade school to surprise the 6-year-old on his birthday. Spc.

The Wellington Zoo in New Zealand said staff will create so-called mousesicles in an attempt to help the zoo's big cats beat the heat. Zoo spokeswoman Stephanie Gray said staff members at the tourist site in the New Zealand capital will be freezing whole mice to feed to the zoo's African wild cats,

A male teenager who allegedly dressed up as a woman to take an exam for a female friend in Schenectady, N.Y., may face lesser charges, an official says. Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said the felony burglary charges currently issued against 17-year-old Deandre Ellis will likely be downgraded to misdemeanor criminal impersonation charges, the Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union said Friday. Schenectady Schools Superintendent Eric Ely said Ellis allegedly attempted to pass himself off as a female student during a junior English Regents exam Tuesday. Ely alleged Ellis was discovered wearing a wig and was removed from the testing site after it was learned he was not the female student scheduled to take the exam. The proctor knew the girl's name, looked at the face, and knew it wasn't her, Ely said. Police, who arrested Ellis after being called to the school, had charged the teen with a felony due to a strict interpretation of a burglary statute, the (Schenectady, N.Y.) Daily Gaz

University of Indiana researchers said a study involving speed dating suggests both sexes have difficulties reading the intentions of women. Skyler Place, a doctoral student in the university's Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and lead author of the study, said men and women viewing video clips of speed dating were equally accurate in reading whether men were interested in the women they were speaking to and had equal difficulty reading the women. The hardest-to-read women were being misperceived at a much higher rate than the hardest-to-read men.

Wedding dress vendors in Britain said they have recorded sharp increases in sales of white wedding dresses for pregnant brides. Tiffany London, founder of online maternity wedding dress seller Tiffany Rose, said she sold 1,000 of her dresses in 2008, a 50 percent increase from the previous year, The Daily Mail reported Friday. It's been amazing to watch our maternity bridal range take off, she said.

A British auctioneer said a porcelain vase purchased 20 years ago for less than $30 has turned out to be worth nearly $15,000. Dukes Auctioneers of Dorchester, England, said an elderly woman purchased the small vase from an antiques store 20 years ago and remained in her cabinet until her death, The Mirror reported Friday. Guy Schwinge of Dukes Auctioneers said he spotted the item while looking through the woman's home at the behest of her family. This is an outstanding piece of English porcelain, he said.

Word of the Day
ambsace
  • Bad luck; misfortune.
  • The smallest amount possible or the most worthless thing.
The word 'ambsace' comes from a Latin word meaning 'both'.