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September 23, 2014

Dutchman fought to keep amputated leg, made a lamp

Filed under: Science,Weird by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Needing an amputation, Leo Bonten wanted to keep his right leg after the operation because he wanted to make a lamp out of it, claiming it would help him deal with his loss. Ethical clinician Erwin Kompanje and pathologist Frank van de Goot have a discussion about it with Bonten in attendance (see video).

The hospital said ‘no’ to Bonten keeping his right leg, but the law actually has nothing to say about it, only what to do with corpses. Kompanje was surprised at the hospital’s answer, which was entirely baseless. “Your body is your property, unless you give it away,” he explains. The ethical clinician compares it to leaving the hair from your haircut on the floor at the salon: you give permission to have it sweeped up by leaving it there, while you could ask for it and bring it with you.

Van de Goot, who prepared the leg for amputation, says social safety issues must be taken into account like hygiene and infection, which Bonten agrees with as well, although not an issue in his case. Van de Goot agrees with Kompanje that Bonten could keep his leg. He tells of people keeping their baby teeth in a box or gallstones they have had removed, so why not a leg.

However, Bonten was told that he could only get his amputated leg back after it had been buried to follow the letter of the law, which was costly never mind a bit ridiculous. Bonten refused and was initially refused the amputation by the hospital. It was eventually sorted out, but Bonten had to fight for a right he already had to keep his own leg and make the lamp he wanted. “The hospital didn’t have a leg to stand on,” says Bonten jokingly.

The big unanswered question is, what constitutes a corpse, because this kind a situation could very well happen again and the law apparently has no clear answer.

(In Dutch)

(Link: www.improbable.com)

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September 22, 2014

Dutch state lottery open to abuse; state tipped off lottery about investigation

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 7:57 pm

[Photo of children wearing inflatable crowns]The Greek firm that runs the lottery for Staatsloterij (the Dutch state lottery) is susceptible to fraud, Volkskrant writes.

Several former employees of the company, called Intralot, told the newspaper last Saturday that they are capable of removing lottery numbers from the draw. Since this would happen after Staatsloterij has sold the tickets, this doesn’t change the amount of money that can be won, but it does change the chances each player has of winning. As long as the same percentage of winners is distributed equally across regions, ages, and so on as the percentage of players, Staatsloterij has no way of knowing if tickets have been doctored and if so, which ones.

Gambling is strictly regulated in the Netherlands, a monopoly kept by the government under the guise of protecting citizens from addiction.

An investigation has been started into the vulnerability by the Dutch gambling authority. Due to an unfortunate accident the Ministry of Finance tipped off Staatsloterij before the investigation started, Volkskrant adds in a second article. As the Dutch saying goes, ‘where people work hard, people make mistakes’. Other examples of instances where the government made mistakes are the two black boxes that disappeared from the site of the Bijlmer disaster and the lost film of the Srebrenica massacre. Do you know of any other country where the government works this hard?

(Photo of young children wearing colourful inflatable Staatsloterij crowns by Orangemaster)

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September 19, 2014

Authorities score cobra vodka during search

Filed under: Animals,Food & Drink,Weird by Orangemaster @ 6:23 pm

cobra-vodka

The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority recently paid a visit to a few locations in the city centre of Amsterdam and made some interesting finds. They confiscated some ivory artworks, 19 stuffed animals and four bottles of cobra vodka, the latter of which is highly illegal and a bit scary if you ask me.

According to the author of the cobra vodka in this picture, which is surely similar to the one that was confiscated:

“It’s Laotian rice whisky in a bottle with a very dead cobra in it. I’ve seen pictures of such snake wine in Vietnam and was surprised to notice that the concept exists in Laos as well. The belief is that the spirit of the snake inside will make you as strong as a cobra and give you more manly virility. I’d probably reluctantly drink a shot if given to me in a shot glass without the snake, but looking at this bottle with the snake inside does make this super creepy.”

(Link: www.nieuws.nl, Photo of cobra vodka by shankaronline, some rights reserved)

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September 15, 2014

Man steals piece of royal carriage, owns up 50 years later

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 10:02 am

golden-carriage-zoetnetIn 1955 fireman Cor Priele and two colleagues had to guard the Gold Coach which was on display in Rotterdam at the time.

Guard duty must have been boring. The firemen, Poot, Smaal and Priele, started using the royal carriage as a room to sit in and even to play tag around. That’s where things went south. Priele’s boot got caught behind the royal bench and a golden string broke off.

The three guards decided not to tell anyone because it would mean they would get fired on the spot. “I was very, very scared”, the former fireman from Sleeuwijk, Noord-Brabant told Omroep Brabant. He took the string home and kept it in an empty jam jar.

But this year, 50 years after the heinous deed and with both of his colleagues deceased, 83-year-old Priele decided to make amends. He wrote King Willem-Alexander a letter explaining what happened and offered both his apologies and the return of the royal, golden string.

The Gold Coach was built in 1898 by the Spyker brothers (even before they started making motor cars) as a gift from the citizens of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina on the occasion of her ascension to the Dutch throne. Citizens of Amsterdam chipped in 25 cents each.

It is as yet unknown whether the King has taken Priele up on his offer or not.

(Photo by Zoetnet, some rights reserved)

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September 7, 2014

Pink refuge islands will keep their colour, Wijchen says

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 2:05 pm

refuge-island-wijchen-branko-collin

Last week bright pink refuge islands started popping up on Havenweg in the town of Wijchen near Nijmegen.

According to Volkskrant, the civil servant responsible for ordering the paint used the wrong colour code (it should have been a dark red) and the painters never questioned the result, so now Wijchen has its own ‘world famous’ refuge islands.

Realising their mistake, the municipality wanted to have the pink islands painted over but citizens liked the effect, so the striking colour stays. Deputy Mayor Paul Loermans said about the mistakes: “To err is human. Apart from getting the colour wrong, the painters actually did a neat job.”

Omroep Gelderland suspected a marketing stunt because a bike race for women will be passing through Wijchen next week, but everybody involved denies the allegations vehemently. “A lucky mistake”, both the organizers of the race and the municipality told the broadcaster.

This shade of pink is sometimes called ‘zuurstokroze’ in Dutch, ‘candy cane pink’.

(Photo: reconstruction via Google Street View)

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August 28, 2014

Two Belgian tanks ram each other on Dutch motorway

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 4:18 pm

Dear stand-up comedians: Christmas has come early this year.

Like two cars swerving to avoid a duck crossing the road in slow motion, two Belgian Piranha-type tanks rammed each other near Valkenswaard, Limburg on the busy N69 (giggle) motorway, attempting to avoid a tractor. Both tanks are leaking fuel, but fortunately no one was hurt. I’m sure some egos are bruised though, as they should be.

Let me see how many cheap shots I can take before reading other people’s comments:

‘Sergeant! There’s a big green tractor that keeps getting closer! BAM!

‘Whew! It’s a good thing this is just a military exercise’.

‘Crew cruise control on these things really suck.’

After the crash:
‘Right, I’m off for a slash, toodles’.

(Link: www.nu.nl)

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August 25, 2014

Henk Krol refuses to pay back subsidies

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 2:46 pm

gaykrant-aliFormer parliamentarian Henk Krol refuses to pay back subsidies that he allegedly used to bankroll his sex shop GayTel.

According to AD, the Ministry of Education is knocking at the door of the foundation Vrienden van de Gay Krant (Friends of de Gay Krant, a gay paper) to get their money back. The foundation has demanded that former chairman Krol pay up. The foundation has accused him of bad management. Krol refused to comment.

AD wrote in April this year that Krol used “the subsidies as his private ATM”. The subsidies were meant to build an online meeting place for teenage gays called 18min.eu. In August 2008 a supplier of IT services for Krol’s companies complained to Krol about unpaid bills, to which Krol responded: “We need new bills that aren’t addressed to Gay Krant, Best Publishing Group or GayTel, but to the foundation.”

AD is unclear about whether the 206,833 euro they mention is the entire subsidy or just the part that was stolen.

Last October Krol quit his seat in the Dutch parliament (50PLUS, party for the elderly) after allegations emerged that he had failed to pay pension premiums for Gay Krant employees.

In 2009 Krol won the State Award for Gay Emancipation for his “fundamental contribution to the acceptance of gays in the Netherlands”.

(Image: Fok.nl)

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August 14, 2014

Supermarket lets clients test different toilet paper

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 2:55 pm

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Although it looks like a beginner’s art installation, someone snapped a picture of a toilet at Dutch supermarket Jumbo that lets people try different kinds of toilet paper. The assumption is that the toilet could be for employees rather than clients, while many people are surprised that there are rolls and have not all been stolen.

(Link and photo: www.neatorama.com)

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July 25, 2014

Sad Dutch Kickstarter projects are sad

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink,Gadgets,Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:24 am

The Dutch have had their own Kickstarter site for a few months now and I have seen many interesting projects get the funding they probably deserve. However, they are a lot of ‘non-starters’ on the site because anybody can ask for money and hope for the best without being serious. The projects that get my attention usually fall into four categories: the good ones that usually get funded, the ones that don’t get funded or get insufficient funding, the ones nobody gives a toss about but could be serious, and the jokey ones. Let’s have a look at the last two categories, the losers and the jokers:

- ‘I need a computer to review stuff on the Internet and become a YouTuber’.
How about you get a job? It would go faster, too.

- Two guys want to deliver apple pie to their friend for his 17th birthday, but would rather someone else pays for it.
You can’t find 5-10 euro for your best friend? Ouch.

- ‘I make music. To make these tracks, I need money. You want to spend money on music’
It sounds more like you don’t want to spend money on music…

- Someone want to sell ‘trustee rings’ to prove their ‘fidelity’ and got 1 euro so far.
They have GPS and Wi-Fi to track your partner. Stalker alert!

- A statue for Louis van Gaal, but only if the Netherlands wins the World Cup, which it didn’t.
Nice try.

- Frying up extreme eggs.
Ever since a potato salad got funded, Kickstarter is full of food-related projects.

- ‘A story about a boy that lives in a crappy world.’
Buy a diary, write it down and take up drinking like the rest of us.

(Link: www.kickstarter.com/discover/countries/NL, photo of a lightbulb by Emil Kabanov, some rights reserved)

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July 19, 2014

Dummies begging in the streets for charity

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 10:42 pm

homeless-badt-jwtBoing Boing wrote about this remarkable campaign for a charity in Amsterdam:

The Dutch homelessness charity Badt dressed mannequins as homeless people, sawed coin-slots in their foreheads, and seeded them around Amsterdam with signs soliciting donations. It’s a clever campaign, but it says something a little unpleasant, in that we are apparently more willing to give money to a doll with a slot in its forehead than an actual homeless person.

The campaign was created by JWT, the ad agency that is housed in the Hirsch & Cie building on Leidseplein in Amsterdam. According to Reclamewereld it took a week to create this campaign and the costs was less than 100 euro. Both the mannequins and the clothes came from donations.

(Illustration: crop of the video)

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