Students given blinkers to stop cheating

Updated 18 August 2013
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Students given blinkers to stop cheating

BANGKOK: A Thai university has taken drastic steps to stop would-be cheats by introducing makeshift ‘blinkers’ for its examinees, thwarting students tempted by a furtive glance at their peers’ exam papers.
The bizarre headgear — consisting of two A4 sheets of plain white writing paper attached by paperclips to a headband — was worn by nearly 100 students on Wednesday during a textile exam.
It was the brainchild of a professor at one of Bangkok’s most famous universities who was concerned that his small exam room would encourage plagiarism.
But a photograph posted on Facebook of the students sporting the blinkers — which they made and customized themselves — during the exam at Kasetsart University, had by Friday stirred ridicule from the Thai press and social media.
The controversy prompted the university to scrap the blinkers while the teacher behind the scheme toured television studios to explain the unusual measure.
“It was for fun, relaxation and humor for the students... I want them to feel relaxed in their exams,” Nattadon Rungruangkitkrai told AFP over the telephone.
The 40-year-old professor said the idea came about during discussions with students last week about how to prevent cheating.
“It is a trial idea agreed between me and the students — they liked it. They said the blinkers could release stress during the exam and help them concentrate,” he added.
An education expert said the incident suggested cheating was rife in the Thai education system and among wider society.
“It’s in their nature to help their friends by allowing other people to copy,” Somphong Chitradub, an education expert at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University told AFP.
“But they have to respect themselves — competing by copying is nothing to be proud of.”


Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

Updated 15 December 2018
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Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

  • The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia
  • The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m.

PENNSYLVANIA: A woman survived a mauling by a bear by repeatedly punching the animal and crawling into a bush as her Chihuahua-mix distracted the attacker.
Melinda LeBarron has broken bones, cuts and bruises and multiple bites after the attack outside her home in rural Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening, her son said. She remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.
Her dog — fittingly named Bear — was also bitten several times and has a broken sternum and separated ribs.
“I’ll just put it this way — she’s very, very lucky to be alive,” said her son, Trent LeBarron, who described her as a tough person. “She was punching the bear and everything. Her right hand’s all swollen up from punching the bear.”
The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m. When Bear the dog barked, Melinda LeBarron, a 51-year-old food prepper at a steakhouse restaurant, looked around to see what had startled the canine.
“The next thing she knew, she was on the ground getting slammed around,” said her son.
The black bear dragged Melinda about 80 yards (70 meters) through her yard, across a road, and into a thicket, while the dog tried to intervene, biting the black bear several times. Some of her clothes were ripped off in the process.
The attack left a trail of blood that relatives later followed.
“As she said in her own words, the bear wouldn’t show her no mercy at all,” Trent LeBarron said. “It wouldn’t stop.”
Eventually Melinda LeBarron went limp, and the bear took an interest in the dog, giving her a chance to climb into a small bush. She then threw a stick to distract the bear and finally made her way home to call a relative for help.
Bear the dog somehow got back into the home and was found whimpering beneath a bed.
“She’s stable now,” Trent LeBarron said. “She’s doing good, she’s actually doing very good. She has a long ways to go and a lot of lot of surgeries coming up.”
Before Melinda LeBarron was able to speak, she wrote on a pad to ask how her dog was doing.
“We asked her if Bear saved her life,” Trent LeBarron said. She nodded her head yes “so fast it was unreal.”
The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
Wildlife officials told WNEP-TV they are trying to track the bear. Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said his agency believes it is a sow with cubs and the attack occurred after the dog ran toward the bears.
Mike Levan, Melinda LeBarron’s neighbor and landlord, whose wife called 911, said a bear sow and four cubs were seen in the neighborhood all summer.