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Quick Takes: Protest Over Political Ban at Illinois, Another Scandal for Pa. Loan Agency, Patent Loss for Johns Hopkins, Sick Students at Georgetown, Ig Nobel Prizes

October 3, 2008
  • Faculty members held a rally at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to back the Obama presidential campaign Thursday to show that they will not follow guidelines issued by the university that bar them from rallies or wearing political buttons on campus, the Chicago Tribune reported. The university says it isn't enforcing the guidelines, which it says are required by state law. And one state official told the Tribune that the law limits political activity by students, too -- a view not even the university endorses. Professors say that the guidelines unreasonably limit their freedom of expression.
  • The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Authority has been criticized for high salaries and perks for employees. Now, a former purchasing agent, Kyle Becker, has been arrested and charged with bribery and conflict of interest, The Patriot-News reported. Becker is charged with accepting bribes from Daniel Snyder, who was also arrested, to send printing projects to Becker's business.
  • A federal appeals court on Thursday overturned a lower court's 2007 ruling that a manufacturer of cardiovascular devices had infringed three patents owned by another device maker and Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that a jury verdict that Datascope infringed on the three patents for blood clotting methods was not based on "substantial evidence." The jury had awarded Johns Hopkins $230,292 and the patent licensee, Arrow International Inc., $460,583. A Hopkins spokesman said the license produced $720,000 in revenue for the university in the 2008 fiscal year.
  • More than 170 students at Georgetown University are ill, suffering from a highly contagious norovirus that left many nauseated and dehydrated, The Washington Post reported.
  • With Nobel Prizes due to be announced next week, it's time for the Ig Nobels. The winners for 2008, announced Thursday night, were honored for work on the sound of potato chips crunching, comparative flea studies, fake medicine, and the use of Coca-Cola as a spermicide, among other topics.
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