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How bizarre!
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-07-17 08:39:35
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Austrian driver's religious headgear strains credulity

bizarre01_21An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as "religious headgear". Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons. Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism.

The Austrian authorities required him to obtain a doctor's certificate that he was "psychologically fit" to drive. The idea came into Mr Alm's noodle three years ago as a way of making a serious, if ironic, point. A self-confessed atheist, Mr Alm says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a light-hearted faith whose members call themselves pastafarians.

The group's website states that "the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma". In response to pressure for American schools to teach the Christian theory known as intelligent design, as an alternative to natural selection, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote to the Kansas School Board asking for the pastafarian version of intelligent design to be taught to schoolchildren, as an alternative to the Christian theory.


Polar bears have maternal Irish brown bear ancestors

The maternal ancestors of modern polar bears were from Ireland, according to a DNA study of ancient brown bear bones. Scientists in the UK, Ireland and the US analysed the teeth and skeletons of 17 brown bears that were found at eight cave sites across Ireland. The new research has been reported in the latest edition of Current Biology.

bizarre02_17Previously, it was believed that today's polar bears were most closely related to brown bears living on islands off the coast of Alaska. However, analysis of mitochondrial DNA - which is passed from mother to child - has shown the extinct Irish brown bears are the ancestors of all today's polar bears, the scientists said. Their work provides evidence of the two species mating opportunistically during the past 100,000 years or more.

Hybridisation has been recorded recently in the wild where grizzly bears have encroached on polar bear territories. The bears split from a common ancestor to become separate species between two million to 400,000 years ago. However, just before or during the last Ice Age the two species came together and polar bears mated with female Irish brown bears, the scientists said. The maternal lineage can still be traced to all polar bears today, they added. Prof Daniel Bradley, of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Dr Ceiridwen Edwards, formerly of TCD and now at Oxford University, collaborated with Prof Beth Shapiro, of Pennsylvania State University, in the study. Previously, Dr Edwards attempted to carry out DNA analysis of a sample taken from bones of a polar bear washed into caves in North West Scotland 18,000 years ago. However, DNA had not survived in the remains from the Bone Caves at Inchnadamph in Sutherland.


This moron got his Lamborghini serviced at Best Buy

bizarre03_400_19This photo provided by a reader shows car crime on the level of taking your Lamborghini to Best Buy to get a stereo (or DVD player or iPad) installed. Because it's someone taking their Lamborghini Murcielago to Best Buy for a stereo installation.

Forget that going to Best Buy for installs is occasionally fraught with problems, it's the place where you take your Hyundai TIburon. Not the place where you take your Lamborghini.

We're not going to judge you too harshly if you want to trust a bunch of high school kids with your Saturn Ion speaker install. People get busy, even if it's an easy DIY job. But a $350,000 Italian exotic? Are you mental? Perhaps this will finally prove that most Murcielago owners have more money than sense. And they get that money by cutting corners.


Court picks name for child in parental disagreement

A COURT has been forced to step in and choose the name of a two-year-old Australian girl because her parents couldn't agree. The little girl was yet to have her birth registered, with each parent calling her by a different name, the Herald Sun reported. The Family Court of Australia recently decided that the first name the mother chose should be used and ordered that the girl be registered by that name. She has already been known by her father's surname. The couple's relationship broke down before the girl was born. Justice Colin Forrest was asked to rule on a name, as well as the amount of time the child and her brother spent with each of the parents.

"I am drawn to the conclusion that the father's opposition to the name (chosen by the mother) is yet another example of his determination to control the mother and her parenting of these two children," Justice Forrest said. He said the child would ultimately choose for herself which name she preferred to be called. But, Justice Forrest said, the problem was the fact the birth had not been registered. The court heard that the mother offered a compromise of having the two names hyphenated, but the father vehemently opposed the suggestion.

The mother said she picked the girl's name because of the name's meaning and the way the toddler looked when she was born. But the father claimed the name the mother picked was blasphemous in his Islamic faith and the hyphenated name suggested was as offensive to him as the name the mother had chosen alone. Justice Forrest said an imam gave evidence there was nothing about the name that was offensive to Islam. But the imam told the court he did not know the meaning of the name the father had selected for the child and did not know whether or not it was offensive to Islam.

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Emaneul Paparella2011-07-17 12:37:44

Bizarre indeed! It brought me back to a bizarre exchange in the very pages of Ovi which took place following an article by Jan Sand titled “Sucking Spaghetti.” See the above link to it. The exchange went on for a good while and got weirder and weirder by the day. Hopefully it entertained some readers and enlivened the mood. In that article “pastafarianism” mixed with octopus tentacles as a sort of culinary article of faith and dogma of the FSM Church (Flying Spaghetti Monster) was explained to would be converts to the new religion, complete with hate mail which the FSM Church tolerated and as Mr. Sand appropriatetly exemplified with his outlandish jargon. Of course, the piece pretended to be an item of humor but the real agenda was quite obvious: an ironic spoof on religion and those who take it seriously. One suspects the same motivation on the part of the Austrian atheist here mentioned who now drives around with his “religious gear” i.e., pasta strainer on his head as depicted on his driving license photo. One cannot blame the Austrian authorities from ordering a psychological evaluation.

But on a larger scheme of things, this also brings me back to my musings on tolerance and multiculturalism in the EU of a few days ago and the exchange with Ovi's magazine editor Thanos Kalamidas, a tolerance and dialogue between believer and non believer that seems to be in shorter and shorter supply in the EU. The ineluctable fact remains that two wrongs never made a right, and to fight fire with fire is to make a bigger fire. More importantly, the abuse does not take away the use. The abuses of religion, which usually transforms a legitimate religion it into a nefarious cult devoid of freedom and democracy, does not take away its validity or use as an important component of every important civilization throughout history, and this despite what the Church of the Spaghetti Monster and Mr. Sand, of happy or unhappy memory as the case may be, would like us to believe.

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