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Friday, January 2, 2009

You can't make this stuff up.

I'm often reminded of what Rich Cook said about the nature of the universe. Sure, he wrote about programming, but the principle stands in all fields.

Here are a few perfect examples.

#1. A man has fled the country (or "willingly relocated to south america to help the poor") due to legal issues with his plastic surgery practice. Sure, that sounds normal enough, until you hear the issue: he was turning human fat into biodiesel (which, apparently, is against the law in California - something about medical waste and fueling vehicles). The Beverly Hills doctor, one Craig Alan Bittner, claimed his patients knew about and supported his practice of turning their fat into biofuel for his SUV.



Can you smell the Gasoline?

A quote from his blog (lipodiesel.com, now shut down):
“My patients universally love the idea of converting their unwanted fat into fuel... Not only do they get to lose their love handles or chubby belly, but they get to take part in saving the Earth.”

While I commend his efforts to be eco-friendly, he definitely crossed a line somewhere. Though the 1996 report to the National Biodiesel Board did say that animal fat was a good source for biofuels. Oh, and did I mention EWWW?!

#2. Sure, we all loved making fun of the guy who sued to attempt stop the LHC because it would "end the world". But scientists have to withstand ridiculous lawsuits all the time - like the one by Russian Astrologer Mirana Bai. She sought to sue NASA for probing a comet.


Comet Tempel 1.67 sec.
after Deep Impact

She claimed that the project "Deep Impact," which sent a space probe on a collision course with the comet Tempel 1, "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe” (as quoted in the newspaper Izvestia).

Bai claimed that the cost of her "moral sufferings" due to the "crater" created by the probe's impact and its affect on her astrology totaled to $300 million. Firstly, I don't think there is anything you could do to me short of total deformation or loss of limb or life that could even begin to total to $300 million dollars. Secondly, she neglected to mention that Tempel 1, which was only discovered in 1867, doesn't actually appear in astrological predictions or the horoscope. So how could it have affected her so cosmically if it wasn't taken into account in the first place?

#3. Albeit the Middle East isn't a big place for women's rights in general, this example really takes the cake. An eight year old girl who was married by her father to a 58 year old man cannot divorce him until puberty.


Blushing Bride?

The Guardian article quotes a lawyer as saying
"The judge has dismissed the plea because she [the mother] does not have the right to file, and ordered that the plea should be filed by the girl herself when she reaches puberty"
The doting dad apparently sold his daughter's hand to settle debts for a grand total of 30,000 riyals ($7,800), although the girl still lives with her mother. The Mother is divorced from the child's father, and was thus seeking the divorce for her daughter. The father stipulated to the buyer that the marriage could not be consummated until the girl was 18 - as if that were some comfort for the child who currently doesn't even know she's married. Is it just me, or is this totally screwed up in an unbelievably insane sort of way?

Feel free to note any other notable examples in comments...

Also, on a random note - why do all the examples always seem to involve lawyers? There ought to be a good punch-line to add here.

1 comments:

Cunning_Linguist said...

Thsi blog has done me such harm that I am now bringing lawsuit against you. Of course, if you want to stop all of the ugliness we can settle out of court. I believe my pain and suffering is worth a shared bottle of wine and possibly a ham sandwich. Whaddya think? Otherwise I'm suing you for 99 tybillion kajillion dollars and 14 cents.