16-Year-Old Girl Sails Around the World, in Pink Yacht

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Many said she would never make it, but teenager Jessica Watson shut them all up when she completed her months long journey, and sailed into Sydney Harbor, on May 15, 2010.

The Australian sailor took off on her daring trip around the world, on October 18, 2009, all by herself. For over 200 days and 23,000 nautical miles, Jessica was all alone on her 30-foot-long pink yacht, “Ella’s Pink Boat”. She had to overcome strong winds, waves as high as mountains, and loneliness, in order to prove young people can accomplish their dreams, whatever they might be.

Ms. Watson said the toughest times were when bad weather was forecast, and she had to fight against monster storms. But she managed to keep her cool, kept her boat afloat, and against all odds, complete her journey around the world.

Having become the world’s youngest person to sail around the world, non-stop and unassisted, Jessica Watson captured the attention and admiration of the whole world, and become rich and famous, in consequence. While she was away at sea, her team managed to secure deals estimated at around $1 million, with several companies, including one of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers. She also has a nationwide book tour coming up, for her “True Spirit: The Aussie Girl Who Took on the World” book, due to come out in July, as well as other souvenir sales.

But saying Jessica Watson did it all for media attention and profit just wouldn’t be fair. She is clearly in love with the ocean, and she said that even after seven lonely months at sea, she was reluctant to leave the pink yacht that had become “more than a home”.

Photos via CourrierMail

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The Parade of the Lechon, in La Loma

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The La Loma district, of Quezon city, in the Philippines, is famous for having a pig roaster on every street corners, but on the third Sunday of May, roasted pigs take to the streets.

Lechon is the word Filipinos use for roasted pigs. It’s derived from the Spanish word “leche” which hints that the pig must be a suckling pig. For this monumental feast, pigs are stuffed with tamarind, pandan leaves and a concoction of spices, their skins bathed in soy sauce and vinegar. They are roasted over a charcoal pit, by an expert roaster, who knows just when to turn them, until they become crispy red.

Although everyone enjoys a nice helping of delicious Lechon, complemented with liver sauce, the highlight of this Asian fiesta is the Parade of the Lechon. Roasted pigs are dressed up in funny costumes and paraded through the city streets, on the shoulders of devotees. After 50 years of celebrating the Parade of the Lechon, Filipinos have turned dressing up roasted pigs into an art.

Photos via Daylife

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Japanese Couple Wed by a Robot

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Satoko Inoue and Tomohiro Shibata bothe looked amazing on their wedding day, but the spotlight was stolen by i-Fairy, the humanoid robot that replaced the priest.

Inoue, the bride, works for the company that produces the i-Fairy robot, and Shibata is a client, so it’s safe to say robots are the reason they began dating in the first place. At his beloved’s suggestion, the groom was more than happy to replace the priest with an adorable robot that rose to the challenge, thanks to some special programming.

The bride said she always felt like robots could play a big role in people’s lives, and she’s glad her experience showed the whole world just that. Representatives of the company that makes i-Fairy said they’re thrilled one of their products was the center of attention in the first wedding presided over by a robot.

Photos by REUTERS

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Russian Artist Travels the World Over, on a Bicycle

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Vladislav Ketov isn’t the only man on earth who embarked on a bike trip, but unlike other bikers, he only finished his after 20 years.

Ketov’s journey began in 1991, in Leningrad, and he kept pedaling along the coastline of continents like Africa, Europe, both Americas, and south and south-east Asia. He traveled alone, and only used other means of transportation, when he absolutely had to. During his 20 years of constant pedaling around the world, his bike was only stolen once…in Russia.

The main problem Vladislav Ketov had was that he embarked on this trip without money. Everywhere he went, the artist earned his keep by painting portraits. Thus he was able to save enough to keep him traveling for years. When he started his biking journey, Ketov left his wife and two sons behind, in Sankt Petersburg.

via zyalt

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Germany Hosts First Strip Poker Championship

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Germany’s first ever strip poker tournament took place on may 12, 2010, in the Blauer Salon of the Dresden Park Hotel. 40 contestants, 33 men and 7 women, tried to keep their clothes on, for the chance to win a trip to Las Vegas.

Organized by the Billy Boy condom company, the Dresden Strip Poker Tournament got hot from the start. As there was no admission fee, contestants only had to bring their clothes, as currency, and their best game. Ladies were asked to bet responsibly and keep their clothes on as long as possible, so their male counterparts could focus on poker.

Each player was given a stack of chips, and every time they lost it, they had to take off a clothing item, to receive more. Extra chips could be earned if the stripping was entertaining, so as you can imagine, things got really hot in the Blauer Salon. Ladies were also asked to cover their nipples, so the guys could play on, undistracted.

12 of the 40 poker players advanced to the Strip Poker Championship Final, in Hamburg, where they will compete for a trip to Las Vegas, which includes 4 nights at the MGM Grand Hotel, a stretch limo and a helicopter ride over Sin City.

via Bild.de

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Houston Art Car Parade 2010

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One of the city’s most anticipated events, the Houston Art Car Parade is considered the largest of its kind in the world.

Around 250,000 spectators gathered in Houston, to see over 300 wacky and crazy vehicles drive by, on May 8th. Dan Akroyd, star of “Ghost Busters” movies, as well as other famous comedies, was the one who kickstarted the flamboyant event, in the cheers of the crowd.

The Houston Art Car Parade brings together car enthusiasts and artists alike, featuring a selection of extremely modified cars that, despite all the adornments, still run beautifully. Scroll down for the most interesting cars at the 2010 Houston Art Car Parade:

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German Dude Marries His Cat

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A German postal worker, from Possendorf, has unofficially married his beloved cat, Cecilia.

39-year-old Uwe Mitzscherlich has shared precious moments with Cecilia, for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the purring fur-ball is now obese and asthmatic, and the vets don’t think she has much more to live. Because they’ve had such a unique relationship, for many years, Mr. Mitzscherlich decided to make it official, and asked Cecilia’s…paw, in marriage.

Sadly, human-animal weddings aren’t recognized in Germany, so Uwe Mitzscherlich had to pay a female actor to officiate the ceremony. At first she thought it was a joke, but quickly realized this was a dream come true, for the German postal worker.

The couple dressed for the occasion, with Uwe wearing a wedding suit and top hat, and Cecilia boasting a lovely white dress. It was a beautiful ceremony, and 15-year-old Cecilia even meowed loudly, through the exchanging of the vows.

Check out a video of this unusual wedding, at the bottom.

via Bild

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Nigeria’s Fighting Rams

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The city of Lagos, in Nigeria, has hosted the 13th All-Nigerian Ram Fighting Championships. This increasingly popular sport drew an impressive crowd, eager to see the animal compete.

Ram fighting is a popular sport in countries like Algeria, Indonesia and China, but in Nigeria it even has its own Ram Lovers Association, which organizes ram fighting events. believe it or not, this sport isn’t as bloody as you might think. During the history of the championships, only one ram has lost its life, and there has rarely ever been any blood shed. According to Bashir Augusto, founder of the Ram Lovers Association, rams naturally love to fight, the only difference is here they do it for the entertainment of the crowd.

The animals, of the same weight class, are placed together in a dirt ring, with a judge and several referees closely watching them. Usually they naturally run towards each other and but heads. The fight ends when one of the rams runs away from the fight. One match normally lasts for less than 10 blows, but the longest match, this year, lasted for 98.

Just like human boxers, fighting rams go through rigorous physical training (especially running), have special diets, rich in beans and bananas, and even have their very own music, as they step into the ring. This year, in the main event, Gobe, last year’s champion, retained his title and won his master a brand new refrigerator. In Africa, I bet that’s a prize worth fighting for.

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Chinese Stuntman Walks on a Sharp Giant Knife

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Ji Jingyu, a 48-year-old stuntman, from China, is walking barefoot on a giant knife, during a performance, in a park in Nanjing. I knew China hosts some really weird events.but I don’t see how it can get any more bad ass then a dude walking on the sharp edge of a custom made giant knife. This epic event took place on May 2.

Photos via ImagineChina

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Avatar’s Tree of Souls Appears in London

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Although London’t Hyde Park is famous for hosting a variety of tree species, Vitraya ramunong (better known as the Tree of Souls) was definitely not one of them. Until now, anyway.

Unlike the alien tree, indigenous to Pandora, this Earthly version is considerably smaller (only 5 meters tall), features a plastic-like bark, and its glowing tendrils look a lot like fiber-optic cables. Plus, it’s planted in gravel and asphalt, and it’s root is made up of just one cable that seemed to power the trunk withe electricity.

As you might have (hopefully) realized, we’re not talking about a real Tree of Souls, but about a man made avatar, if you will. It appeared in Hyde Park, last Saturday, for the launch of Avatar on DVD, and as a way of celebrating the 40th Earth Day. Unfortunately, this weird version of Vitraya ramunong was removed from the park, the next day. If you didn’t get the chance to see it live, these photos should compensate:

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Baby Crying Festival Held in Japan

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No mother likes it when her toddler starts crying, but at the Naki Sumo baby crying contest wailing is actually encouraged.

Held every year, at the Sensoji Temple, in Tokyo, the baby crying festival is a 400-year-old tradition, believed to keep rug-rats in good health. Amateur sumo wrestlers hold the babies high in the air, and try to scare them into crying, while a sumo referee judges the match. The toddler who cries longest and loudest is considered the winner.

Japanese parents bring the babies to the contest, of their own free will, and truly believe the sumo induced crying keeps their children in good health, and wards off evil spirits. This year, 80 babies, all under one year old, participated in Naki Sumo. As you might have guessed, the whiniest contender won.

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Man Pulls Car Using His Eyelids

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Li Dasheng, one of China’s greatest performers, attempted to pull a 1.5 ton car,using only his lower eyelids.

Known as the “Prince of Stunts” , 22-year-old Li Dasheng is famous for being able to perform over 30 kinds of Qigong, an ancient Chinese meditation art, as well as several other stunts. On April 16, he shocked the audience, outside the Boying Art Museum, in Xuzhou, China, when he pulled a vehicle, with his eyelids.

The Chinese performer put 2 curved hooks, onto his lower eyelids, and attached them to the frame of the 1.5-ton-heavy car. He managed to pull the vehicle nearly three meters.

Some of Li Dasheng’s previous include having a drilling machine drill into his temple and ripping apart a metal basin, with his bare hands.

Photos by QUIRKY CHINA via Telegraph.co.uk

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The Blood Fountains of Bucharest

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Hemophilia is a serious condition,and over 2,000 Romanians suffer from it. To draw some attention to the hardships the 2,000 Romanians suffering from this disease, have to go through every day, the Romanian Association for the Problems of Hemophilia colored the water fountains, in the center of Bucharest, bloody red.

Passers-by did in fact notice the red water flowing in the fountains, but it’s going to take a lot more than this to inspire them to help hemophilia victims.

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219,000 Cigarettes to Help Smokers Quit

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In an attempt to raise public awareness to the dangers of smoking, an Australian pharmaceutical company has set up an installation, featuring 219,000 cigarette imitations, in the middle of Sydney.

This unusual display, located in central Sydney, is supposed to convince smokers to seek professional help, and give up smoking. The cigarettes are covered by transparent panels, and in case you’re wondering why there are 219,000 of them, that’s how many a smoker goes through, in a period of 30 years, at a rate of 20 cigarettes per day.

Photos via ChinaDaily

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Onbashira – Japan’s Riskiest Celebration

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Held every six years, in the Nagano area of Japan, Onbashira Festival is believed to have continued uninterruptedly, for the last 1200 years.

Onbashira, literally translated as “the sacred pillars”, is a Japanese tradition that symbolizes the renewal of Suwa Grand Shrine. It consists of two phases: Yamadashi and Satobiki, the first held in April, and the second in May. Before Onbashira begins, 16 tree trunks, cut form 200-year-old Japanese fir trees are cut down. Each tree can be up to 1 meter across, 16 meters tall and weigh up to 12 tons.

Yamadashi is translated as “coming out of the mountains” and is the most popular part of the festival. Teams of men have to drag the logs down the mountain, to Suwa Shrine. At some points they encounter steep slopes where they must slide the tree trunks. In a ceremony called Ki-otoshi, brave young men risk their lives by climbing on the trunks and riding the all the way down the muddy slopes. It takes 3 days to move the sacred tree trunks, over 10 kilometers, to the shrine.

Satobiki involves placing the logs at the four corners of the four buildings that make up Suwa Grand Shrine. Using ropes, teams have to pull up the giant tree trunks in a vertical position, with young men sitting on them. Those still on the logs after they are positioned, perform all sort of feats.

On Sunday, during the 2010 edition of Onbashira Festival, a man was crushed to death by a tree trunk, during Satobiki. One of the ropes came loose and hit the 38-year-old man in the head. Several others were injured in the accident.

Photos via Daylife

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