Alibi V.29 No.10 • March 5-11, 2020 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Indonesia

An Indonesian official is facing potential sanctions after she suggested that women could be impregnated by “strong sperm” while swimming in a pool. According to New York Daily News, Indonesian Child Protection Commission ( KPAI) member Sitti Hikmawatty drew criticism after making the comment during an interview. “In a swimming pool, there’s a certain kind of sperm that is very strong,” Hikmawatty said. “If a person is aroused and ejaculates [in the pool] a pregnancy can happen even though there is no sexual penetration.” She reportedly also claimed that the “danger” of being impregnated while swimming is higher for women who are promiscuous. In response to the controversy, Nazar, the head of the Indonesian Doctors Association, said, “The water in swimming pools … contains chlorine and other chemicals. Sperm cannot survive in these conditions.” Online commentators were also quick to point out that her statements were scientifically unfounded. “Not all men are aroused when they’re swimming with women,” health influencer Blog Dokter told his 1.7 million Twitter followers. “But even if a man was aroused and ejaculated in a pool the sperm would quickly die in chlorinated water.” Many took the opportunity to poke fun at the official, including men who offered to wear condoms while swimming and an artist who altered the iconic Jaws movie poster, replacing the shark with a sperm swarm. Hikmawatty later retracted her statements and apologized. She said the “inaccurate” statements were her own and were not meant to represent the opinions of the KPAI.

Dateline: California

A man allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen hearse that still had a body in the back. CBS Los Angeles reports that the chase ended in a crash. Last week, authorities were notified that a thief had stolen a black Lincoln Navigator from outside St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Pasadena, Calif. According to reports, a mortuary attendant left the SUV unattended—with a body inside—while they were delivering flowers to the church. When they returned, they found that the vehicle had been stolen. While investigating the incident, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department posted a plea on Twitter: “To the suspect(s) driving around in a Black Lincoln Navigator … Out of all the bad decisions you have made, at least make one good one & bring back the deceased person & casket inside the Navigator.” The next day, a witness reported seeing the vehicle and police attempted to apprehend the driver, leading to a high-speed chase on the southbound 110 Freeway. The SUV eventually crashed, sustaining heavy front-end damage. At least one bystander was hurt in the crash. A suspect, identified as James Juarez, was taken into custody at the scene. The body was reportedly undisturbed.

Dateline: China

Chinese health officials have assured citizens that the new caronavirus cannot spread through farts—as long as everyone continues to wear pants. Global Times reports that fears over the possibility of spreading COVID-19 through flatulence peaked following the release of a report by a team of researchers led by medical adviser Zhong Nanshan that reports they were able to isolate novel coronavirus strains from samples of infected patients' feces and urine. Social media users seemed to panic over the revelation, worrying that infected individuals could spread the disease when passing gas in public. Some reportedly called for official mass production of N95 face mask-like protection designed to cover the anus instead of the mouth. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of Tongzhou District in Beijing quickly stepped in to allay public fears, clarifying that to contract the virus through gas, an individual's air passages would have to be physically near an infected person's anus while they were not wearing pants or underwear. The Tongzhou District CDC cited a flatulence experiment published by Discover Magazine which found that pants can effectively screen out germs from farts. The Chinese agency concluded that farts will not transmit novel coronavirus as long as infected individuals continue to wear pants.

Dateline: Vatican City

Pope Francis says Catholics should give up trolling for lent. The Telegram reports that Francis spoke to tens of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40-day Lent season that leads up to Easter. The leader of the Catholic Church took the opportunity to tell his followers that their actions online carried as much spiritual weight as those in real life. “We live in an atmosphere polluted by too much verbal violence, too many offensive and harmful words, which are amplified by the internet,” he said. “Today, people insult each other as if they were saying 'Good Day.'” In observation of Lent, Catholics are expected to abstain from eating certain foods and many will sacrifice partaking in a luxury that they enjoy. Francis urged his followers to give up negative online behavior as part of Lent this year. He said it was a time “to give up useless words, gossip, rumors, tittle-tattle and speak to God on a first name basis.” Last year, Francis suggested giving up gossip. The year before, he asked that Catholics slow their pace.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.