BY JAMES GUNASEGARAM
MELBOURNE – Pre-exam season is a turbulent time for all med students, doubly so in the current COVID climate. The preclinical students have been hit especially hard – their days are now occupied by sitting at home and staring at their computers intently, when only months ago they were sitting at home and staring at their computers absent-mindedly.
This high-octane environment has been the cause of many a mishap in the past, but the latest one dwarfs its predecessors. The Auricle understands that Joshua Leung, a first-year student from the Clayton campus, was watching a biochemistry lecture to revise when yield levels became supercritical, resulting in a chain reaction much like nuclear fission. Through an unofficial arrangement with a member of St. John’s Ambulance, the Auricle managed to contact Joshua for an exclusive interview as he was being raced to hospital.
The teen explained that he hadn’t realised how dangerous of a situation he was creating. “Well I used to watch lectures at 2x speed, but now everyone’s doing that. So I figured that I had to reach at least 4x to be competitive. And after that, hacking Moodle’s webserver to reach 6x felt like a natural step.”
“I realised something was wrong when I started seeing less and less “Do Not Memorise” tags, but it all happened so quickly that I had no time to react. One moment the slides were flashing across the screen as usual, the next there was this loud bang and I passed out. When I came to, my computer was smoking. I was in the middle of calculating its pack-year history when I passed out again.” [UPDATE – The Auricle has heard that Joshua is in a stable condition at Monash Medical Center. While he sustained no major injuries in the explosion, he is being treated for an unrelated case of egomegaly.]
With more and more high-yield content appearing over the years, supercritical yield had been theorised by numerous researchers but never achieved in practice. Previous experiments had focused on PSP revision lectures for their unusually high concentration of relevant content. Researchers believe the high speed of Joshua’s lecture may have been the key, with a table of useful information providing the critical moment that caused the detonation. After one of them spent two hours unsuccessfully trying to explain the concept of nuclear fission to The Auricle’s editorial staff, Chris Wright, who had not been contacted for comment, barged in and declared it further proof that Physics should be a prerequisite for Medicine.
The incident has raised safety concerns for other lectures as SWOTVAC fast approaches. The Medicine faculty has considered introducing speed limits for video content, and has proactively issued yield advisories for most courses. HEP lectures were noted to have dangerous yield spikes when one of the four relevant statistics were mentioned. Population Health and Med Law lectures are currently considered low risk.
The Auricle will continue to update you as the situation develops.