Tales Out Of School: Strange Stories From The Global Classroom

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The Independent Online
My old mayor's a dustman

The mayor of a Bangkok suburb has agreed to let garbage trucks park outside his house rather than in a depot outside a nursery school. He took action after more than 200 kindergarten pupils and their parents and teachers rallied in front of parliament as the House of Representatives' Local Administration Committee grilled the mayor of Nonthaburi for two hours.

Apichart Asapaviriya, president of the school's Parents and Teachers Association, said they wanted the mayor to move the depot because of the stench from the trucks, which has been wafting into classrooms for the past four years. The Nation newspaper reported that one child had become ill after coming in contact with water used to hose down the trucks, which had seeped into the school's playground.

Pigging out

The University of Illinois has managed to find women to fill all 15 laboratory positions in which the only job is to sniff pig manure. They work three hours a week, at pounds 10 an hour, attempting to recognise certain chemical markers in the manure so that researchers can determine which foods are responsible for making pig manure so foul-smelling. The university sought only women because the female hormone oestrogen improves sensitivity to smell.

Brief encounter

A study carried out by researchers at the University of New Brunswick in Canada has revealed that numerous men and women fantasise about having sex with strangers, flaunting it all in public, or being seduced by an "innocent". "We found that many men and women have had thoughts of doing things, that if they actually did them, would be illegal," said Cheryl Renaud, co-author of the study. A group of 292 heterosexual undergraduate students, between the ages of 17 and 45, split almost equally between male and female, were surveyed on their thoughts about 56 sexual fantasies. Although more than 20 per cent of both sexes reported fantasies men thought about them about twice as often as women. The researchers concluded that while it is normal for humans to think about sex, more research is needed to determine the link between thoughts and deeds.