Katherine Neer Manager of Editorial Special Projects, HowStuffWorks
1. Struggle for Coveted University Spot Becomes Fatal
Imagine making your way through a mile-long line surrounded by a throng of anxious, desperate people all waiting to learn the fate of their future only to have your dreams -- and your body -- crushed. That's what happened to several would-be university students vying for a coveted spot on the University of Johannesburg roster. Devastatingly, one college hopefuls' mother was fatally wounded in the frenetic early-morning stampede and at least 22 others were injured. For many of us, this just seems unthinkable. Why would thousands queue up and clamor for a chance at a four-year degree? Start with a reported 70 percent unemployment rate …
- Fatal Stampede in South Africa Points Up University Crisis
- Fatal stampede as students enroll at University of Johannesburg
- How can we improve education in the future?
2. Harold and Kumar Healthier than the Marlboro Man?
Marijuana is one of the most frequently used illicit drugs in the U.S. Its use -- both illicit and legal (several U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use to treat AIDS, cancer, epilepsy and glaucoma) -- is one of the most long-standing controversial topics out there. Some stand strongly behind the plant, supporting its "recreational" qualities as well as its more practical ones (certain parts of the plant can be used to create a variety of products from cereal to clothing). Meanwhile, others vehemently oppose its use. If you're keeping score on who's winning the debate, strike up another point for the proponents. A new study indicates that pot smokers might be better off than tobacco smokers are where lung health is concerned.
- Pot smokers don't puff away lung health
- More from Curiosity: 10 Drug Myths Debunked
Watch This: Pot Smoke Less Harmful Than Thought
3. A Twinkie Apocalypse?
Hostess Brands, Inc., the 82-year-old company that's readily known for its tasty little cakes and Wonder bread, has found itself in financial dire straits again. The company, which just emerged from bankruptcy court in 2009, is headed back there; this time, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. For now, the company expects to keep churning out the packaged foodstuffs it's famous for -- Twinkie fans, rejoice -- but how long that will last, is yet to be determined. For those of you hoping to stave off a potential loss by stockpiling snack cakes, think again. The rumors of a 30-year shelf life are just that. Most agree that you've likely only got a month or so after the sell-by date for optimal dining. Bon appétit!
- Twinkies Maker Hostess Files for Chapter 11 Protection
- Why bankruptcy isn't a brand killer
- From Curiosity: 10 Quirky Facts About Mass-produced Food
4. 14-ton Space Craft Hurtling Toward Earth This Weekend
The 14.5-ton, $160+ million Russian probe Phobos-Grunt is Earth-bound this weekend -- but not in an it's-scheduled-to-land-because-its-mission-is-over way. This return trip definitely wasn't planned. When it was launched in November, the probe was set to complete a two-and-a-half-year exploratory mission. However, the craft never made it out of low-Earth orbit and has been drifting 129 miles above us ever since. At first, signs were pointing to a faulty navigational computer but now some think an antisatellite weapon could be the culprit for the probe's malfunction.
- Failed Russian Mars Probe May Crash in Indian Ocean Sunday
- Russian Official Suggests Weapon Caused Exploration Spacecraft’s Failure
- From Curiosity: 5 Hurdles to Conquer Before Colonizing Mars
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