Today in academia: the perfect dorm room microwave, the absent professor, a fake university and admissions essays as performance art.

  • This is a perfect product to cook ramen. It is not fake: "When the cook time for food is entered on the microwave, a highly rated YouTube video of the same length is pulled up and played on an iPad-like screen attached to the front, allowing users to enjoy a new video while they wait for their food. The microwave can also send a text message and a tweet mentioning the user when the food is done being cooked," writes the Pennyslvanian about a student created masterpiece. The tweeting part, we guess, is just in case you can't wait 60 seconds in the same room as your ramen is being heated. [The Daily Pennsylvanian]
  • Suddenly, making fun of the absent professor doesn't feel so good.  As blog Under the Button wrote, UPenn students who were waiting at PSCI-291 for their professor to arrive were alerted by an email ("We are so sorry for this last minute cancellation.With Dr. Henry Teune's passing, this course should have been cancelled over the summer and was an oversight.") that he had been dead for several months. [Under the Button]
  • If you attended the Italian University 'Carolus Magnus,' we're sorry. The impressive-sounding university is fake. The Verona-based institution has been swindling people since 2005 and was finally shut down. According to the AFP, "around 10 students were paying around 7,000 euros ($9,600) for a worthless, unrecognised degree," some of who were enrolled in "art and entertainment management" or "economics and business management" courses. [AFP via Inside Higher Ed]
  • This seems like it could be a very embarrassing tradition. How would you like to have your carefully-worded, check-off-all-the-proper-boxes college admissions essay "brought to life" by upperclassmen? The New York Times finds it all to be harmless tradition at Middlebury college, especially since the "essays remain anonymous, and those whose writing is selected have the choice to opt out." But we have to think there's more than a few students slouching in their seats as their personal statements are read. [The New York Times]
  • Princeton gets the ugly inflatable rat treatment. The long-used attention-grabbing union tactic has now been plopped in front of Princeton University's Firestone library to protest the employment of nonunionized asbestos removal workers, reports the school's newspaper. It adds: the "rat has prompted inquiry and debate among students previously unaware of the University’s labor practices." Meaning: "On the online student forum PrincetonFML, one unidentified student asked on Thursday, 'What was with the giant inflatable rat on Nassau Street today?'" [The Daily Princetonian]