Back to the Fundamentals: The multicultural Macquarie University, in suburban Sydney, Australia, said its restroom posters, installed last year, have been successful in instilling toilet etiquette. The lined-through figure of a user squatting on top of a toilet seat was especially helpful, apparently. Complaints of unsanitariness were such that some students were timing their classes to use restrooms in a nearby mall instead. (Lest anyone believe the problem is confined to multicultural institutions, a recent memo by the 785-member Lewis Brisbois law firm in San Francisco instructed employees to clean urine from toilet seats, to always take the farthest stalls or urinals available, to mask sounds by toilet-flushing (if desired), and to not make eye contact in the restroom. [Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 1-12-2012] [Above The Law blog, 2-1-2012]
Can't Possibly Be True
• Louis Helmburg III filed a lawsuit in Huntington, W.Va., in February against the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and its member Travis Hughes for injuries Helmburg suffered in May 2011 when he fell off a deck at the fraternity house. He had been startled and fallen backward off the rail-less deck after Hughes attempted to fire a bottle rocket "out of his anus" — and the rocket, instead, exploded in place. (The lawsuit does not refer to Hughes' injuries.)
• U.S. Immigration agents in a $160,000 Chevy Suburban that had been custom-designed and -armored specifically to protect agents from roadside kidnappings became sitting ducks last year when kidnappers forced the vehicle off the road near San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and got the door open briefly, enabling them to fire 100 rounds and kill one of the two agents inside. According to a February Washington Post report, the Department of Homeland Security had failed to modify the vehicle's factory setting that popped open the door locks automatically whenever the driver shifts into "Park."
•In February, a 41-year-old man in a pond in Gosport, England, apparently suffered an epileptic seizure while feeding swans in water about three feet deep. Firefighters were called, but the first one to arrive remained on shore, explaining that he had been trained only for "ankle deep" water and would have to await a colleague trained in "chest high" water. In July 2011, a man committed suicide in San Francisco Bay by wading into neck-deep water and remaining until he died of hypothermia. Firefighters from the city of Alameda watched from the shore because they lacked water-rescue "training." (In neither situation was it proved that the victim would have survived if rescued sooner.)
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