A Man in Spain Didn't Show Up to Work for Six Years


A Spanish civil servant elevated the term “playing hooky” to new heights, after officials discovered he had been skipping work for at least six years.

Joaquin Garcia, a 69-year-old supervisor at a wastewater treatment plan in the southwestern city of Cádiz, was busted in 2010 after he became eligible for a commemorative award celebrating 20 years of service, the BBC reports. Inquiries to his manager revealed that although Garcia had been granted the position in 1990, nobody had heard a peep from his office in years. Garcia lost an appeal related to the case earlier this year.

According to The Independent, when Garcia's manager tried calling him, Garcia allegedly couldn't answer questions about what he had been doing. “We thought the water company was supervising him but that was not the case,” Jorge Blas Fernandez, who worked as the city’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 2015, told Spain’s El Mundo newspaper.

A legal case launched against Garcia in 2010 alleged that he had collected an annual salary of €37,000 despite having not worked since 2004. This week, Garcia lost his appeal against the lawsuit. He was ordered to pay a fine of €27,000 (or $30,000)—one year’s worth of his annual salary after taxes, and the largest sum that the wastewater company could legally regain. 

Garcia denied the allegations. The 69-year-old said that he was a victim of political bullying in a previous position and the company moved him to a different post. He showed up to work at his new job every day only to find that there was nothing to do. Since Garcia had a family to support, he didn’t report the situation, and instead spent his days reading philosophy.

Garcia reportedly wrote to the mayor, requesting not to have to pay the fine, and he also sought a review of the judgment.

While Garcia’s six-year work hiatus has made global headlines, this isn’t the first time that a paid employee simply stopped going to work without a manager's notice. In 2015, an Indian public official named AK Verma was fired for taking a 24-year “furlough.” Meanwhile, an unnamed city worker in Norfolk, Virginia was sacked in 2010 for collecting a salary with benefits for 12 years without showing up to work. Makes you feel a little better about that "sick day" you took last week, huh?

[h/t BBC]

Astrophysicist Developing Face-Touching Warning Necklace for Coronavirus Gets Magnets Stuck Up His Nose

Nothing good can result from shoving things up your nose. One astrophysicist learned that the hard way.
Nothing good can result from shoving things up your nose. One astrophysicist learned that the hard way.
RusN/iStock via Getty Images

History is full of innovators who have suffered for their ingenuity. Thomas Midgley, Jr., for example, was struck with polio and developed a pulley system to help get himself out of bed. He was strangled by the contraption. Henry Smolinski thought he had a viable prototype for a flying car made from a Ford Pinto in 1973. A wing fell off and killed him.

All things considered, Daniel Reardon got off easy. He only had to have magnets professionally removed from his nose.

Reardon, an Australian astrophysicist, is one of many innovators attempting to assist in the coronavirus pandemic. According to The Guardian, Reardon was in the process of designing a necklace that could alert the wearer when they were in danger of touching their face, one of the primary methods of transmission for viral illness. His idea was to have magnets worn on wrists that would activate a circuit on the necklace.

But then Reardon realized the electronic field in the necklace only completed its circuit without a magnetic field, meaning it buzzed constantly. Having failed in his task and growing bored, Reardon decided to play with the powerful neodymium magnets, clipping them to his earlobes and then his nostrils. This, he said, is when things went “downhill.”

When Reardon removed one set of magnets from outside his nostril, the remaining magnets inside his nose were attracted to one another. Reardon then used more magnets to try and remove them, expecting the outside pull would negate their attraction on the inside of his nose. Unable to control them, he soon found himself with multiple magnets lodged in both nostrils.

After realizing pliers only made the problem worse—they were attracted to the magnets—and that he had failed to achieve his goal of not touching his face, Reardon went to the hospital, where all of them were removed. (One nearly fell down his throat, but he managed to cough it up.) Doctors made an informal diagnosis of self-inflicted injury due to isolation and boredom.

Neodymium magnets are typically sold with cautions, as they are strong enough to “leap” toward each other from several inches or even several feet apart. Though they do not often come with explicit warnings not to shove them inside your nose, it's best avoided.

[h/t The Guardian]

Canadian Man Named Lorne Grabher Stripped of His Right to Have a ‘GRABHER’ License Plate Is Appealing the Court’s Decision

Lorne Grabher shows off his forbidden license plate.
Lorne Grabher shows off his forbidden license plate.
CBC News, YouTube

For about 25 years, Nova Scotia, Canada, was home to a vanity license plate emblazoned with “GRABHER.”

Lorne Grabher had given it to his father as a 65th birthday gift in 1991, and it eventually passed to Lorne himself. Anyone who knew the Grabhers no doubt recognized the last name, but the same couldn’t be said for one passerby, alarmed at what seemed like a blanket imperative for abduction and assault. In November 2016, the anonymous individual filed a complaint with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, who informed Grabher that his plate would be revoked the following month.

Grabher, proud of his Austrian-German heritage and outraged at what he considered to be a violation of his rights, sued the Registrar. This past January, CBC News reported that the Nova Scotia Supreme Court sided with the Registrar, ruling that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not extend to this particular situation.

“The seven letters (‘GRABHER’) on a government-owned license plate can be interpreted as promoting sexualized violence (without full contextual information),” the court stated in its decision. “Preventing harm that could flow from such a message on a government plate must be seen as pressing and substantial.”

Though disappointed with the outcome, Grabher was determined to continue the fight, even if that meant taking the case all the way to Canada’s Supreme Court.

“I’m not giving up,” he told CBC News in January. “I’m in it for the long haul.”

True to his word, Grabher is now filing an appeal through his lawyers at Calgary’s Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on the grounds that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does, in fact, cover personalized license plates, and there is no evidence to suggest that Grabher’s plate actually promotes sexualized violence [PDF].

While you wait for the next chapter of this epic battle of wills to unfold, check out 11 other controversial license plates here.

[h/t CBC News]