It’s time for the weekly Mishmash: Latitude News’ take on “News of the Weird.” This week, in addition to the Hungarian politician who incited an international incident with his anti-Semitic remarks, we bring you a urine-power generator invented by high school girls in oil-rich Nigeria and why top-secret military forces around the globe seek advice from one of the world’s elite surfers.
“I apologize to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood”
Here’s a recipe for political idiocy with two easy steps: one, go on a witch hunt through a federal government; two, create a list of Jews who are a “national security threat.”
That idea is drawing criticism from Jewish groups — and other rational people — in Hungary, reports The Jerusalem Post. Marton Gyongyosi, deputy leader of the far-right Jobbik party, addressed the Hungarian parliament this week on the ongoing conflicts between Israel and Hamas.
“I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here,” Gyongyosi surmised, “especially in the Hungarian Parliament and the Hungarian government, who pose a national security risk to Hungary.”
Gyongyosi is a throwback to a dark period in Jewish history, but unfortunately his views are hardly marginal in the Hungarian parliament, where the Jobbik party controls 47 of 386 seats, making it the parliament’s third-largest party.
But voices are crying foul across Hungary, Israel and the European Union. The Hungarian government condemned Gyongyosi’s speech, but members of parliament and international Jewish groups are calling for limits to hate speech in parliament. Critics hope to silence the Jobbik party’s “racist,” “anti-Semitic,” and “xenophobic” views.
For his part, Gyongyosi backed down a bit from his speech, explaining on the Jobbik party website that his comments only referred to Hungarians with dual Israeli citizenship, reports The Post.
“I apologize to my Jewish compatriots for my declarations that could be misunderstood,” Gyongyosi wrote.
Could be misunderstood?
Urine-powered generator invented in oil-rich Nigeria
Fueled by big oil exports, Nigeria was the fifth fastest growing economy in sub-Saharan African in 2011. But all that oil hasn’t led to a reliable energy supply for average Nigerians.
“Most Nigerians have to rely on generators because of the epileptic power supply,” reports Radio France International. “Many businesses have also closed down because they cannot afford to buy expensive fuel from the black market to power their generators.”
Tired of power outages, four teenage students — all girls — from the capital Lagos, came up with a solution: a generator that runs on human pee. Certain engines can run on waste products, so why not urine, the students thought. The students essentially found away to isolate oxygen and hydrogen gas from the urine; the generator runs on those gases.
“The generator powers everything in the house,” one of the girls tells RFI. “We were so excited, we were so happy once the generator started working.”
No word on how the generator’s exhaust smells.
Military gets gnarly
When you think of the world’s elite special forces, perhaps you picture Navy Seals, Green Berets or Britain’s SAS.
Did a grungy surfer come to mind? Probably not. Yet Australian Mark Visser is being called upon to train special forces from three countries, reports The Australian.
Visser isn’t exactly a lazy surfer sitting around waiting for the next wave. He’s an extraordinarily physically and mentally gifted athlete who throws himself into incredibly dangerous situations. He drops from planes to surf waves in the middle of the ocean. He can sink to the bottom of a pool, sit for a minute and a half and then swim 50 meters underwater. Here’s a clip of Visser surfing the infamous Hawaiian surf spot “Jaws” — at night.
While tracking down the world’s most dangerous waves, Visser has learned how to train his mind to stay calm while his body undergoes incredible stress. After training in the U.S., the 29-year-old Australian says military organizations began reaching out to him for help. He says he’s working with three countries, but he won’t say which ones.
“The exact nature of what we are teaching cannot be disclosed,” he tells The Australian, “but the greatest benefit is the ability to stay mentally calm under extreme physical pressure . . . They need to be tough enough to survive a situation most people would panic and die in. We have training techniques that allow you to override your rational mind and achieve amazing things.”
Visser says what he does isn’t dangerous, so long as you have the “right guidance.”