Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: United States

According to a recently published poll, over half of Americans believe Arabic numerals should not be taught in school—despite the fact that Western mathematics has already been using Arabic numerals exclusively for over a thousand years. Last week the CEO of
CivicScience Inc., John Dick, published a tweet that highlighted data from a poll conducted by his company that found more than half of all Americans felt Arabic numerals should not be included as part of public schools’ curriculum. “Ladies and gentlemen: The saddest and funniest testament to American bigotry we’ve ever seen in our data,” Dick wrote in response to the results, which have yet to be formally published. The poll reportedly received responses from over 3,600 people earlier this month. In response to the question of whether Arabic numerals should be taught in schools, 29 percent said they should, 56 percent said they shouldn’t and 15 percent had no opinion. Presumably, those who answered negatively were unaware that Arabic numerals—the numbers 1 through 10—have been used exclusively in Western math for generations. Before the adoption of Arabic numerals around the 12th century, Europeans used Roman numerals exclusively. Dick posted another tweet that highlighted the political affiliations of those who took part in the poll. According to the poll, 72 percent of Republicans said they did not believe Arabic numerals should be taught, compared to 34 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Independents.

Dateline: Japan

The Japanese government is considering an amendment to the country’s law that would make it illegal to operate an unmanned drone while intoxicated. According to the
South China Morning Post, 79 accidents involving drones were reported during Japan’s previous financial year, compared with 63 reports in 2017 and 55 in 2016. While none of these incidents were said to involve alcohol or drugs, authorities are debating whether to include language in the nation’s civil aeronautics law that would punish drone operators who are found to be under the influence. “We have no records of someone causing an accident with a drone while drinking, but we do know that in the US about three years ago, a drunk person landed a drone in the grounds of the White House,” said a spokesperson for the transportation ministry. “We obviously want to avoid that sort of situation, so these new laws are designed to stop something before it happens.” Under the new laws, a drone operator will be required to carry out preflight checks of the vehicle, and authorities will conduct inspections in the case of an accident. Last week the Japanese government enacted a new law that restricts the flying of drones over US military and Self-Defense Forces facilities and venues hosting 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic events. The new law was passed to prevent potential acts of terrorism.

Dateline: Florida

A man accused of murdering his family is asking that a millionaire bail him out of jail.
Click Orlando reports that Seminole County police arrested Grant Amato on three counts of first-degree premeditated murder in connection with the deaths of his mother, father and brother in their Chuluota, Fl., home last January. According to reports, Amato is accused of killing his family after they forced him to cut ties with a woman he’d met on MyFreeCams—a website where customers pay to view sexual photos and live video. Amato allegedly stole $200,000 from his father and brother to wire to the woman, a Bulgarian cam model. Amato reportedly asked a Seminole County judge to let him out of custody on bond while awaiting trial. The judge granted him a $750,000 bond in April, but Amato has been unable to raise the required funds. Reporters from numerous outlets claim that Amato has been offering exclusive interviews in exchange for money to post his bond. Earlier this month he allegedly emailed a journalist, writing, “If you happen to know any millionaires who would like to post my bond, I’d be eternally grateful and I’d give exclusive rights to you for my story.” His offer has yet to be accepted. Amato has pleaded not guilty to the accusations against him. If released on bond, he will be required to wear a monitoring device and will be barred from using any computers.

Dateline: Austria

Austrian authorities are asking their citizens to stop French kissing cows. According to
Huffpost, a Swiss charity app that asks followers to kiss cattle to raise money is causing concern for health officials in Austria. The KuhKussChallenge launched last week on Castl app, an app for the “first true challenge community.” It asks users in German-speaking countries, including Austria, to kiss cows “with or without tongue.” Austria’s minister for sustainability and tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, warned that kissing cows could cause them to become aggressive, placing both users and livestock at risk. “Pastures and meadows are not petting zoos,” she said in a statement. Last week she took to Twitter to discuss the issue, claiming that “Negligent handling of Austrian pastures has led to serious accidents in the past.” She called the challenge “dangerous mischief.” It is unclear what charity the challenge is meant to support.

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

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