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The Quick 10: 10 Great Colleges that Finished Second

My college, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, was just named the number one school for engineering* by US News and World Report (for an impressive tenth year in a row). Being number one is important, but it shouldn't be the only criteria looked at when searching for a school. Here are ten colleges that, while not topping the annual list, are still equally impressive in second place.

1. In my school's category, Harvey Mudd College in California took the silver.

2. For those of you looking to get a doctorate in engineering, Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley tied for second after MIT.

3. For those more inclined towards business, MIT's Sloan School of Business ranked just below the University of Pennsylvania's program.

4. For those looking for a liberal arts degree, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania placed third after a tie between Amherst College and Williams College (both in Massachusetts) for top honors.

5. The Juliard School in NYC has the second-lowest acceptance rate, admitting only 8% of applicants from 2007. The most selective school, the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, only admitted 5%.

6. Williams College picks up another second place accolade-it has the second-highest graduation rate, only behind St. Francis Medical Center College of Nursing in Illinois, 91% vs. 92%.

7. Students looking for plenty of merit-based financial aid should look no further than Anderson University in South Carolina, which fufills 95% of its students' non-need based aid. The leader, Cooper Union in New York, offers a full ride scholarship to anyone who is admitted.

8. Students looking to transfer schools but afraid of being the only transfer student should consider Colorado Technical University, which had 8,352 transfer students Fall 2007. The University of Phoenix accepted 33,337.

9. For those looking for a historically black college, Howard University in Washington, DC was ranked second behind Spelman College in Georgia.

10. Finally, for those looking to join a fraternity, Sewanee--University of the South in Tennessee reports 82% of its student body is involved in a fraternity. This percentage is only surpassed by Clearwater Christian College in Florida, which requires each student to join a fraternity.

* Amongst schools with a Masters as the highest degree offered.

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Animals
Why Tiny 'Hedgehog Highways' Are Popping Up Around London
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Hedgehogs as pets have gained popularity in recent years, but in many parts of the world, they're still wild animals. That includes London, where close to a million of the creatures roam streets, parks, and gardens, seeking out wood and vegetation to take refuge in. Now, Atlas Obscura reports that animal activists are transforming the city into a more hospitable environment for hedgehogs.

Barnes Hedgehogs, a group founded by Michel Birkenwald in the London neighborhood of Barnes four years ago, is responsible for drilling tiny "hedgehog highways" through walls around London. The passages are just wide enough for the animals to climb through, making it easier for them to travel from one green space to the next.

London's wild hedgehog population has seen a sharp decline in recent decades. Though it's hard to pin down accurate numbers for the elusive animals, surveys have shown that the British population has dwindled by tens of millions since the 1950s. This is due to factors like human development and habitat destruction by farmers who aren't fond of the unattractive shrubs, hedges, and dead wood that hedgehogs use as their homes.

When such environments are left to grow, they can still be hard for hedgehogs to access. Carving hedgehog highways through the stone partitions and wooden fences bordering parks and gardens is one way Barnes Hedgehogs is making life in the big city a little easier for its most prickly residents.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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