What students are talking about today (Aug. 20 edition)

Rihanna cries, a stolen iPad and socialist summer school

1. In an interview promoted on her OWN Network even more often than Proactiv acne treatment, Oprah gets pop star Rihanna to cry and admit that she has forgiven Chris Brown for hitting her. “We are very, very close friends. We built a trust again,” she said. For the record, they’re not in a relationship, even though they chill in San Tropez.

2. Vancouver cyclists are angry at police for doing their jobs. Cops have been handing out $100 fines to those without lids, as a city bylaw dictates. Helmet haters say such laws cause people to cycle less. So far this year, 1,112 tickets have been given to bikers without headgear.

3. NASA’s Curiosity rover zapped its first Martian rock with a laser on Sunday. The rover, which landed two weeks ago, was sent to help answer the question: is Mars habitable? Considering the basic human need to burn tiny holes in things, the answer appears to be yes.

4. U.S. congressman Todd Akin started a Twitter storm when he told a TV station that he’s against abortion, even in cases of rape, because women’s bodies somehow block unwanted pregnancies when there is “legitimate rape.” There is no scientific evidence to back up such a claim.

5. A university recruiter in Victoria, B.C. tracked down thieves who stole her iPad. The thieves disabled her Track My iPad app, but her Track My Friends app was still running, allowing the victim to trace it to an apartment building. A stolen backpack in a nearby Jeep allowed police to pinpoint an apartment where they found the tablet and arrested four “prolific offenders.”

6. A professor and a student from the University of Bergen in Norway are heading to the North Pole on a hovercraft to measure ice thickness, the sea floor and seismic data. The University of Alberta’s dean of science only went to the Northwest Passage and not in a hovercraft.

7. Now that the student movement has lost steam, telegenic former CLASSE leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois has found work teaching at a “socialist summer school” in Quebec. He said the Parti Québécois, which has a slim lead in election polls, cannot resolve the concerns of students in Quebec, even though they have promised to repeal the emergency bylaw and tuition hikes.

8. A U of T professor says Mayor Rob Ford’s dangerous driving is the symptom “of a disease that seems to particularly afflict white male conservative politicians of a certain age.” Not all old white males are evil though, according to Mariana Valverde. Others simply “mask the symptoms of their condition better.” Others still are liberal. And luckily, there’s a cure: Toronto’s Gay Village.

9. Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney issued an apology after the bank nixed a $100 note that featured an Asian-looking woman peering into a microscope. “The Bank’s handling of this issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us,” he said in a press release.

10. Binge drinking apparently makes students happier. A survey of 1,595 undergrads showed that drinking excessive amounts increases social status. Translation: drinking makes students feel like they fit in. Disclaimer: that doesn’t negate all the other awful things that can happen when drinking.