Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends

Joshua Lee
5 min read
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Dateline: Nevada

A satiric Facebook event inviting people to storm Area 51 has prompted the US Air Force to issue a serious warning. According to the
Facebook page for an event titled “Storm Area 51, They Cant Stop All of Us,” over 14,000 people have opted to attend at 3pm on September 20, and more than 13,000 people are “interested.” The only details given on the event’s page were: “We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry. If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Let’s see them aliens.” The Nevada military base popularly known as “Area 51” was publicly acknowledged by the CIA in 2013. According to documents released by the agency, the base is a testing site for the nation’s U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs. But for decades, the base has been the focal point of conspiracy theories that posit the government is in possession of extraterrestrial technology, including spacecraft, or even a living alien. “Naruto” is the name of a popular anime character. The Facebook event—which is presumably meant to be satirical—is being hosted by Supreme Memes and Area 51 Memes. It reportedly received responses from over a million users who wanted to attend, but that number has dropped considerably since a spokesperson for the US Air Force told NPR “Any attempt to illegally access the area is highly discouraged.” Illegal trespassing on a military base is a federal offense, and signs surrounding Area 51 state that the use of lethal force is authorized against trespassers. Comments left on the event’s Facebook page seem to indicate that most of the backers understand that the event is a joke.

Dateline: Nebraska

A woman mistook a six-foot sculpture of Spider-Man’s hands for a Satanic symbol and called it a hate crime, forcing city officials to publicly respond.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports that Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird received a letter from a woman earlier this month that accused the city of hosting “a sculpture of two hands open, painted Red & Black, and formed into Devil Horns” outside the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. She called the sculpture a “hate crime against the church” and demanded its immediate removal. City official Lin Quenzer had to explain to the woman that the sculpture wasn’t a city issue, and that the hands were meant to represent those belonging to the fictional character Spider-Man—not “devil horns.” The sculpture is part of an art project sponsored by Campus Life, a ministry of the nonprofit Lincoln Youth for Christ. Campus Life Executive Director Matt Schulte also responded to the woman, explaining that “The sculpture is most definitely not … devil-related.” In an interview with CNN, Shulte said, “We are a Christian organization that has been impacting kids for a long time … clearly we would have never have put something out there that celebrated the devil.” Quenzer said the city will not seek to remove the sculpture.

Dateline: Finland

A food tech company has developed a new protein source that it’s marketing as “food out of thin air.” According to
CNN, Finnish company Solar Foods recently announced the creation of a natural single-cell protein that can be made by mixing carbon dioxide, water and renewable electricity. The company calls the substance “Solein” and plans to start selling it for mass consumption within the next two years. “It’s a fully natural fermentation process, with an end product that looks and tastes just like wheat flour,” says the company’s website. “And the best part? It won’t run out.” The protein is reportedly suitable for multiple diets and can be used with most food types. Its creators also claim that it’s 100 times more environmentally friendly than other protein sources. It supposedly uses very small amounts of water, is 10 times more efficient than soy production (by a metric of usable protein yields per acre) and can be made in any climate. Food experts say the new protein source could help combat world hunger in the coming decades.

Dateline: Mexico

Circle K has made a public apology in Mexico after tweeting an offer for condoms on Secretary Day. According to
BBC News, the convenience store chain tweeted an offer for a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate and a pack of condoms that it called the “executive combo.” The Spanish word used for secretary in the ad is “secretaria,” which applies only to women. The translated text reads: “Happy day to all the secretaries. Celebrate with them the proper way with this executive combo,” and is followed by “If you know what I mean,” in English. The tweet was quickly decried on Twitter as sexist for reinforcing gender stereotypes and promoting sexual harassment in the workplace. The ad was soon removed and Circle K apologized in a tweet, saying it “deeply regrets the contents published on social media, which aimed to publicise an offer and never to promote any stereotype whatsoever.” The company said it is taking measures to ensure an that incident like this never happens again.

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

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