Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Kentucky

A teen who was banned from school for refusing the chickenpox vaccination came down with chickenpox. According to
NBC News, an outbreak of chickenpox at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Assumption Academy in Walton, Ky., led the state health department to ban all unvaccinated students from attending school in an effort to curb the spread of the infectious disease. One unvaccinated student, 18-year-old Jerome Kunkel, reportedly filed a lawsuit against the Northern Kentucky Health Department, claiming religious discrimination and demanding that he be allowed to return to school. Kunkel’s mother signed a form objecting to the chickenpox vaccine, or varicella, on religious grounds. Some Catholics reportedly oppose the use of varicella because it was originally developed using the cell lines of two aborted fetuses. A judge ruled in favor of the health department, however, and Kunkel was told to stay away from the school. Nevertheless, the senior came down with the disease last week. Kunkel’s attorney told reporters that the family does not regret their decision to opt out of receiving the vaccination. School officials say Kunkel can return to school when all of his lesions have scabbed over. He will be returning to class for the first time since March 15. Now that he has been exposed to chickenpox, he will be immune to the disease for the rest of his life.

Dateline: Texas

The world’s first community made entirely of 3D-printed materials will be unveiled this summer in an impoverished area of Latin America. Austin-based nonprofit
New Story shared a video last week that demonstrates its plans to build a community of more than 50 houses in an undisclosed rural area of Latin America. The video depicts a computer animation of the Vulcan II, New Story’s 33-by-11-foot 3D printer, creating the frame of a house and then going on to build an entire row of homes. According to Fast Company, the company created the printer after developing a more efficient process to build homes in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Realizing the traditional construction process was an impediment, the nonprofit began working with 3D printing company Icon in 2017 to invent the oversized printer with large-scale construction capabilities. The Vulcan II can allegedly finish a house’s walls and floors in a day or less. The home’s roof, windows and utilities can be completed the next day. Its inventors say the printer can be transported to remote locations and used outside continuously for months or years. The team reportedly printed a successful test home in Austin in 2018. New Story was originally planning to build its 3D-printed neighborhood in El Salvador but has since been accepting proposals from other communities. While the company has not divulged the location of the proposed site, they say the homes will serve a community that currently has substandard housing through their jobs at a local factory. The final cost of the homes has not been revealed either, but New Story says they will be cheaper than the low-cost traditional homes it builds now, which cost around $7,000. The new homeowners will pay for them via an interest-free loan that will be paid with a monthly fee based on income. That money will go into a fund for community improvements.

Dateline: Australia

Weeks after the release of a new $50 note, Australian authorities were alerted to a typo that had been printed on its face multiple times. Last week the Reserve Bank of Australia confirmed that a block of microscopic text featured on the note included a misspelling of the word “responsibility.” According to
ABC News in Australia, the word was printed without the third “i,” and reads “responsibilty.” The mistake was repeated a total of three times. The text can be found on the note above the shoulder of a depiction of Edith Cowan, the first Australian woman to serve as a member of Parliament. The text is taken from a speech given by Cowan to the Parliament of Western Australia in 1921. It is included as a security precaution to protect against counterfeiting and can only be seen with the assistance of a magnifying glass. The RBA said it is aware of the mistake and will be correcting the issue on the next print run. It is unclear if they were notified about the issue prior to the publication of an Instagram post by Australian radio station Triple M that showed a magnified image of the text. The image was reportedly sent in to the station by a listener.

Dateline: India

An idol that was stolen from a temple more than 100 years ago has been returned in the hope that it will end a family curse.
The Times of India reports that a 700-year-old idol of the goddess Dhroupathi Amman that went missing from a temple in Madurai in 1915 was found hidden in the wall of an old house. It is believed that a former priest at the temple, Karuppasamy, stole the relic after a dispute with another priest. The matter was raised last year when Karuppasamy’s grandson Murugesan told temple priests that as a child, he had seen his grandfather and father offering worship to a wall in their home. He said he believed that the “wrath of the goddess” had led to the deaths of many of his relatives and was the cause of his own ill health. After consulting with the current owners of Murugesan’s childhood home, police from the Idol Wing were given permission to break down the wall that Murugesan had indicated and found the idol.

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

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