On Campus

What students are talking about today (Aug. 16 edition)

Buying drugs online, hacker hostels and disco fries

Photo by Yeshe on Flickr

1. Canadians are among the top sellers and buyers of illegal drugs including steroids, marijuana and cocaine from a growing website called Silk Road that hides online identities.

2. Millennials are often accused of being narcissists with attention spans like those of kindergarten children. Apparently the attention span thing is unwarranted. A U.S. study shows that those born between 1979 and 1989 bought 30 per cent of all books, while baby boomers (their parents’ generation) bought just 24 per cent.

3. The University of Georgia decided that its The Red & Black student newspaper will be overseen by a non-student with a final say over all editorial content. The student editors say the move was made because they published content the university didn’t agree with. They staged a walkout.

4. Toronto is home to hacker houses too. The New York Times noticed these rentals where tech-obsessed young professionals get together to live and work on start-ups in Silicon Valley. Successful companies Pinterest and Canada’s own Pebble started with similar living arrangements.

5. IKEA, the dorm room king, is about to open a chain of budget hotels in Europe. The company promises it won’t be named “IKEA Hotel,” nor will it have IKEA furniture (that’s probably wise).

6. Peter Shawn Taylor, an editor-at-large of Maclean’s, says student slave labour is former Ontario premier Mike Harris’ greatest achievement in education. He’s talking about the requirement that high school students complete 40 hours of volunteer work before graduating. Many twelfth-graders in Ontario are probably furrowing their eyebrows in disgust as we speak.

7. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird abruptly reversed course on his plan to get badly needed medical supplies into Syria by way of a Canadian aid organization called Canadian Relief for Syria. This came after a report by Maclean’s Michael Petrou that linked the group to a charity once run by Al-Qaida financier Ahmed Said Khadr, whose son Omar is currently in jail at Guantanamo Bay.

8. New Zealand researchers have cast doubt on a 2007 study that concluded six-month-old babies have a moral compass. The Yale University study showed babies prefer people who help others over those who hinder them. The new study suggests infants simply prefer interesting events.

9. Another world university ranking has confirmed what we already know. The University of Toronto (27), the University of British Columbia (39) and McGill (63) are our top three contenders. The Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking is particularly subjective, using criteria such as alumni and staff Nobel prizes and highly cited researchers. Of 500 universities on the list, 22 are in Canada.

10. The Maclean’s Blog of Lists offers you 7 Surprising Facts About Poutine. Disco fries, anyone?

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