SYDNEY — Australia’s government has been rolling out a new C$35-billion broadband network, but it’s facing a peculiar challenge: Cockatoos. The pesky parrots have gnawed through steelbraid wires, costing C$78,000 in repairs, according to Reuters. “They are constantly sharpening their beaks and, as a result, will attack and tear apart anything they come across,” said network builder NBN Co. project manager Chedryian Bresland in a blog post. “Unfortunately, they’ve developed a liking to our cables... these birds are unstoppable when in a swarm.” Yellow-crested cockatoos are well-known for their big appetites, eating everything from fruit crops to wooden window frames. “(The cable) would have to be an acquired taste, because it’s not their usual style,” said Gisela Kaplan, a professor in animal behaviour at the University of New England. “It might be the colour or the position of the cables that’s attracted them.”
‘I want found women’
OTTAWA — While a Canadian government ministry may have good intentions, it’s attracting unwanted attention from “lonely hearts,” according to the National Post. Some Facebook users are mistaking the Status of Women page for a dating service offering Canadian wives, maybe because the account username is “Women in Canada.” There are frequent posts proposing marriage, which are regularly deleted by staff. “Many of these comments originate from users located outside of Canada,” said spokesperson Léonie Roux. A post about a gender-based analysis conference, for example, included comments such as “Happy women in Canada. I’d love to have a date with one” and “I want found women live in Canada.”
CALGARY — Workers at a new laboratory at the University of Calgary may have a tough time going for coffee or a bathroom break. That’s because anyone entering the facility — part of the Western Canadian Microbiome Centre — must be thoroughly cleansed of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microscopic critters, according to Reuters. The day begins with a thorough shower as workers enter the underground, windowless space. They then change into sterile scrubs, Crocs shoes, paper coveralls, a face mask, hair net and gloves. And if they leave the lab for a break, they must repeat the process to get back in. Planning is key, said Kathy McCoy, the centre’s scientific director: “Be prepared. Realize that if you are going to drink three litres of water in the morning, you might have to go out and shower to get back in.”
OXFORDSHIRE, U.K. — A British math tutor who is also a pastor found himself in the hot seat recently after using the wrong pronoun, according to the Daily Mail. Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, said, “Well done, girls” to a teenager and a friend at a school, but the “girl” actually identifies as a boy. Sutcliffe apologized but he was later suspended after the student’s mother made a complaint. The tutor must now attend a disciplinary hearing to face misconduct charges for “misgendering.” He is also accused of breaching equality policies by referring to the pupil by name, rather than “he” or “him.” While Sutcliffe said he was given no official instructions about how to address the student, he admitted, as a Christian, he had avoided using male pronouns. “I had always tried to respect the pupil and keep a professional attitude as well as my integrity, but it seemed to me that the school was trying to force me to adhere to its liberal, Leftish agenda.”
Too fired up
LITTLETON, COL. — A fired-up hockey coach got himself fired recently when his words of encouragement before a game were too hot to handle, according to the Huffington Post. The unnamed assistant coach was filmed giving a pep talk to the youth, using phrases such as “I want to see you beat up Green Mountain. Fuck Green Mountain! Fuck their coaches! Fuck their wives!” The coach’s speech was an unfortunate event and “not a representation of our association, and out of respect for the families and the sport, we are diligently working to correct the situation,” said George Stieduhar, president of the Littleton Hockey Association. The coach later issued an apology to both teams.
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