Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beware the schoolchildren (and confuse the rats)

I registered with the American Embassy when I arrived, which gets me the Consular Alerts.  This gem came in yesterday:

   The Consulate General wishes to alert U.S. Citizens traveling to and residing in The Netherlands that demonstrations by secondary school students have taken place during the past week, and may continue over the next days.

   A gathering on Monday, November 26, on the Museumplein in Amsterdam turned violent, with students throwing rocks and other material, and the police responding with water canons.  Although the Consulate General has not been notified of specific demonstrations planned, there have been calls on the Internet for students to resume demonstrations throughout The Netherlands on Wednesday morning, November 28.  There have also been calls for protests to continue over the following days.

   American Citizens are advised to exercise caution, and to avoid large groups of secondary school students.

This begs at least two questions.  Why are the students rioting?

Hundreds of schools students gathered at the Museumplein in Amsterdam on Monday morning to protest the requirement that they spend 1,040 hours in class each school year. (Expatica)

That isn't really that difficult a school year, is it??

And should we really exercise caution around all gatherings of children...?

The scientists came out with something almost as good...

The Ig Nobel Award in linguistics has been given to “A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards” (BBC News)

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