Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Netherlands

Dutch “positivity trainer” has filed a lawsuit demanding that his age be officially recognized as 20 years younger. According to BBC News, Emile Ratelband, 69, wishes to have his birthday year legally changed from 1949 to 1969. “We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he asked reporters. Ratelband, who calls himself a “young god,” believes he is discriminated against because of his age, saying it keeps him from finding employment and successfully attracting women on the dating app Tinder. He told the court that he feels 20 to 25 years younger than his physical age. His success rate on a popular dating app was also mentioned as a reason to change his age. “When I’m on Tinder and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer,” he said. “When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a luxurious position.” On his website, Ratelband calls himself an “entrepreneur in personal development.” Court officials voiced concerns over legal precedence and the lack of a mechanism in place to change a person’s birth date. Ratelband was unable to clarify what would happen to the first 20 years of his life. A judge asked, “Who were your parents looking after then? Who was that little boy?” A local court in the city of Arnhem is expected to rule on the case this month.

Dateline: America

The Satanic Temple is suing Netflix and Warner Bros. over a statue used in “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” over similarities with the groups own idol which they say have caused some viewers to misalign Satanists with the “evil antagonists” depicted in the series. The villains of the horror show commit acts of cannibalism, murder and torture in the name of the Christian Satan. But Temple co-founder Lucien Greaves says these are hurtful stereotypes of Satanists, a group he says believes that undue suffering is bad and “does not promote evil.” According to
CNBC, he accused the show of normalizing the characterization of the Satanic Temple as “a patriarchal, cannibalistic cult.” The statue in question depicts Baphomet, an androgynous figure with both human and goat features. According to the suit, the statue shown in the series is too similar to one the group attempted to erect at the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2014. The real statue—created in protest against a similar monument to the Ten Commandments already on the capitol grounds—currently resides in Detroit. Neither Netflix or Warner Bros. have commented publicly on the lawsuit.

Dateline: Switzerland

Researchers are playing music to cheese to see if it will taste better.
Phys.org reports Swiss cheesemaker Beat Wampfler is working with the University of the Arts in Bern to test whether Emmental, a famous cheese from the region, is affected by being exposed to different kinds of music. The project, titled “Sonic cheese: experience between sound and gastronomy,” began in September when nine wooden crates, each loaded with a wheel of Emmental, were set up in Wampfler’s cheese cellar. Speakers were installed under the crates, each playing a different type of music. Wampfler told reporters that he believes that “Sounds, ultrasounds or music can … have physical effects” on the cheese by altering the way bacteria influences its flavor. The music director Michael Harenberg said university staff were initially skeptical about the idea, but changed their minds after discovering the field of sonochemistry, which studies the effects of sound waves on physical bodies. Among the music being played for the cheeses are songs by Tribe Called Quest, Mozart and Led Zeppelin. Wampfler told reporters that he hopes the hip-hop cheese will be the best, but won’t have results until the cheese is ripe next spring.

Dateline: Florida

A surgeon allegedly mistook a woman’s healthy kidney for a tumor and removed it. According to
WFTV-9 in Orlando, Maureen Pacheco recently settled a malpractice lawsuit launched against Dr. Ramon Vazquez alleging that the surgeon mistakenly removed her fully-functioning kidney during a 2016 spinal surgery. Pacheco went to the doctor complaining of back pain following a car crash and was scheduled to undergo anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery in April 2016. According an administrative complaint filed by Florida Department of Health officials, Vasquez—a general surgeon in charge of opening the patient up and giving the treating physician access to the site—allegedly “noted a pelvic mass and provided a presumptive diagnosis” of a cancerous tumor. The “pelvic mass was clipped, transected and removed in its entirety,” according to the documents. Days later, a hospital pathologist found that the “mass” was actually a “pelvic kidney,” which occurs when a person’s kidney fails to travel away from the pelvis in utero. Pacheco’s lawyers maintained that the surgeon should have been aware of her condition, as MRI images had been taken of her spine and showed the kidney’s location. Vazquez also failed to biopsy the mass before removing it. The case was settled last month, but details were not disclosed. Vazquez’ privileges were revoked immediately after the incident and hospital officials say steps were taken to avoid similar incidents in the future.

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

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