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QUICK TAKES | Man regains his hearing after making a shocking discovery

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

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A British man from southern England who thought he was going deaf was happy to learn he was just forgetful. Wallace Lee said he complained for years about diminished hearing in one of his ears. After his doctor couldn’t find anything wrong, the Royal Navy veteran used a home endoscope and discovered part of a noise-reducing earbud lodged deep in his ear canal. After a doctor removed the foreign object, Lee said he remembered using earbuds about five years earlier during a flight to Australia but he failed to connect the noise-reducers to his hearing troubles. Lee assumes that when he removed the soft rubber buds from his ears, one of the plastic inserts became detached without him noticing.

Testing mishap

More than 50 high school students had UPS to blame for potentially having to sit through another standardized test. Officials with the El Paso Independent School District said a batch of their ­students’ completed SAT tests flew out the back of a moving UPS truck in October on the way to processing. District officials say most were recovered, but 55 tests were lost. The timing ­presented problems for some seniors who have looming college application deadlines and whose next opportunity to take a major college entrance exam wasn’t until Dec. 10.

Smokin’ down the road

A veteran Chinese runner known to Western media as Uncle Chen earned headlines with a respectable 3-hour, 28-minute finish at the Xin’anjiang Marathon in November. Not bad for a 50-year old. And pretty astonishing for a chain smoker. Photos show Uncle Chen running the Jiande, China, race while lighting up from a pack of cigarettes. According to Canadian Running, Chen only smokes when he runs. Marathon rules prohibit performance-­enhancing drugs. Apparently, nicotine isn’t on the list.

Online downgrade

Online classes may be hard for students, but they’re especially hard for attractive ones. So says Lund University economist Adrian Mehic of Sweden whose research in a recent edition of Economic Letters argues that the preferential grades typically given to attractive female students disappear when classes move online. According to Mehic, only female students fall back to the rest of the pack when school goes online—attractive male ­students receive higher grades even when classes stop meeting in person.

No royal title

It appears Mariah Carey’s coronation ceremony is officially ­canceled after the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled the singer can’t claim exclusive ­ownership of the titles “Queen of Christmas” or “Princess Christmas.” Carey’s 1994 smash hit All I Want for Christmas Is You has earned her tens of millions of dollars in royalties and has become the foundation theme of her personal line of lotions, ­perfumes, and clothing. Singer-songwriter Elizabeth Chan had filed a motion against what she called Carey’s attempt to monetize Christmas. “Christmas is for everyone,” Chan told Variety. “It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned.”

One packed chicken

Less than three weeks before Thanksgiving, airport security in Florida reported an illegally stuffed bird. Transportation Security Administration agents say they confiscated a whole raw chicken with a gun hidden in the cavity from a passenger trying to smuggle the contraband through security at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Nov. 7. According to TSA guidelines, raw meat can be transported either in a checked bag or carry-on provided the meat is kept on ice, and an unloaded firearm can be checked if declared at security and packed in a locked, hard-sided case. The TSA didn’t say whether the loaded chicken was packed on ice or whether the gun it contained was unloaded.

Eggs-iled protester

A University of York student thought a crowdfunding campaign might get him out of a scramble after he threw eggs at the new king of England. British officials arrested Patrick Thelwell Nov. 9 for throwing eggs at King Charles in York in what Thelwell claimed was a protest against “a society that punishes the weak and the poor and rewards the wealthy and the cruel.” Thelwell, who complained that he was the recipient of vitriol from the crowd after his four-egg barrage missed King Charles, began an online fundraiser to raise money for his legal defense but only managed to collect about $211 in donations before GoFundMe shut down his page.


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