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Man flies over 200 miles with party ballons

Very popular in childhood cartoons, flying with party balloons never really seemed possible in real life.

Kent Couch, a petrol-station owner from Bend, Oregon fulfilled his childhood dream of lifting up to the sky with a little help from a hand-full of balloons. Fine, so they were like 150 party balloons tied to a garden chair, but the fact that he managed to fly for more than235 miles in about nine hours is quite the accomplishment.

His party-balloon flight won him a place in the Guinness Book of Records and helped him become a sort of local celebrity. Couch first tried to reach Idaho last year, but he only covered 193 miles before running dangerously low on helium and having to land his unusual flying machine, but this time he made the proper modifications and succeeded.

Kent Couch left Bend on July 5th carrying a BB-gun and a blowgun to pop balloons if he went to high-up and a few 15-gallon barrels of cherry-flavored Kool-Aid as ballast, to release if he got too low. That’s how he managed to land his balloon carried garden chair, he popped balloons until he touched the ground.

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Modern-day Argonauts

One of the world’s most fascinating legends is Jason and the Argonaut’s journey for the Golden Fleece. Now there are those who want to retake the unbelievable journey in an identical wooden ship.

A replica of the Argo has been built according to the known designs for warships in the Mycenaean era, equipped with a ram used to break the hull of enemy ships. The ship will carry 50 oarsmen with another 22 standing by on a ship sailing behind the Argo. The modern argonauts will spend 2 months at sea, sailing 2000 nautical miles (3700 km), but unfortunately won’t be able to follow the journey of the original Greek heroes. Turkey has refused to guarantee safe passage for the 28.5 meters long ship through the Bosporus Strait, so the adventurers won’t be able to reach the city of Colchis, in modern Georgia. It will however retrace part of the argonauts return voyage.

Argo and the 50 argonauts left on June 13 and will reach their destination on August 11.

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Destruction Therapy

Is wacking away violently at used cars and broken home appliances a therapy against stress? Well it is in Spain.

Three Spanish entrepreneurs came up with the idea back in 2003 and it has evolved into a profitable business. Basically people pay to smash cars, washing machines, refrigerators, television-sets with jackhammers, thus relieving stress. It’s called Destruction Therapy or Destructotherapy and the latest session took place this Saturday in Castejon, northern Spain. Participants got to pick from different tools and use their rage to pulverize different objects.

One more interesting fact about this Destruction Therapy is that 40% of the participants are women. It’s not certain that Destruction Therapy (Destructotherapy) really has a therapeutic effect, but it’s definitely fun.

The photos are taken at the event that tok place this year in Castijon and the video was shot back in 2005.

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World’s ugliest dog competition 2008

One of the wackiest competitions on Earth and also one of the funniest.

This year’s World’s Ugliest Dog competition was held at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma. Twelve dogs battled for the title of world’s ugliest dog, and in the end only Gus came out on top. Winers are selected from two classes, the Pedigree class and the Mutt class. Gus won the Pedigrees class and went on to beat Reggie who had won the Mutt class. After winning the competition Gus had to meet the Ring of Champions which included winners from the previous year.

Gus is a Chinese Crested, suffering from skin cancer, he only has three legs (one was amputated due to the skin tumor) and one eye (he lost the other in a battle with a tomcat) and no hair. He was adopted by a Jeanenne Teed and her daughter Janey after they had heard he was being kept in a crate in somebody’s garage.

For winning the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, Gus got $1,600 ,which the owners say will go to his radiation treatment.

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Blue-green algae outbreak in China’s lakes

China’s water supplies threatened by blue-green algae outbreak.

Chaohu Lake is China‘s fifth fresh water source, providing fresh water to over 300,000 people and is now being invaded by blue-green algae. Scientists say that, in order to thrive, these algae need a constant temperatures of over 25 degrees Celsius, at least 3 days of direct of sunshine and a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus. And, once again, man is to blame for this natural disaster, because it supplied the lake with the chemicals the algae needed to multiply at an increasing rate. The local area became increasingly polluted after cities became industrialized. The heavy snowfalls that eventually melted and carried the nitrogen and phosphorus into the lake, didn’t help very much either.

So, for the last 4 months the Chinese authorities have been trying to keep the situation under control while locals get involved and try to fish the blue-green algae as they know best. After all their drinking water source is at stake.

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Visual proof of global warming

The melting of Briksdal Glacier in photos shot over the years.

Briksdal Glacier used to be the largest glacier on the European mainland, in Norway. But due to global warming it has been reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. Once a great tourist attraction of the Scandinavian peninsula, Briksdal Glacier is now no longer available for glacier tours. As you can see from the photos the effects of global warming are undeniable and they say you can here the ice melting because of the caverns formed between the glacier and the rocks. It’s a tragedy, but, as always, nobody gives a damn and no one with some real power does anything about it.

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The black balls of Ivanhoe

Thousands of black plastic balls cover the Ivanhoe reservoir in Los Angeles.

It might not look like serious business, but The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power dropped 400,000 black plastic balls into one of the city’s reservoirs for a reason. The sunlight mixes with the chlorine and bromide in the water creating a deadly mix which some scientist believe may be causing cancer. The balls are meant to shade the water from the dangerous sunlight.

Sure a tart or some kind of lid would have seemed more normal, but the authorities say a tart would have cost to much too manufacture and a metal lid would have taken too long. So, although it looks like an oil spill, this was the best measure and it’s only temporary, the Ivanhoe and Elysian reservoirs will be covered by 3,000,000 black plastic balls for the next four years.

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Bridezilla – the ultimate contest?

Yeah, this convinced me to stay a bachelor for life.

We TV hosted the Bridezilla contest to celebrate the fifth season of their Bridezillas television show, on June 3rd, in Time Square, New York. The brides participating in the contest had to race to the top of a multi-layered artificial cake where they had to participate in a cake-eating contest, for the grand prize of $25,000. The winner managed to eat 9 mini-cakes in just 2 minutes and said she’ll use the money for an extravagant wedding.

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How to move a 700-year-old church

Yeah, I thought so too, but apparently it’s possible.

It’s actually been done too, in October 2007, a German cathedral, first mentioned in documents in 1297, was moved using a huge trailer platform from its original emplacement by a mining company. The village it was built in 710 years ago was evacuated and was going to become a coal mining site, so, forced by German legislation, the contracting company had to spend 3 million euro to move the church to another location.

At 19,6 meters high, 14,5 meters long and weighing 750 tons, you can imagine it wasn’t an easy task for those involved. Thankfully, the church reached its new home in Martin Luther Square, in Borna, after a few days of traveling.

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The Baby Jumping Festival of Castillo

Would you let someone jump over your infant like this?

Known as El Colacho in Spain, the Baby-Jumping Festival is a popular event that takes place in Castillo de Murcia near Burgos, every year since 1620. It’s basically all about infants laying on a blanket and adults dressed as devils jumping over them i a procession that’s supposed to cleanse the little ones of all evil doings. Doesn’t sound like it works, but hey who am I to contradict tradition? I just wonder if in history any of the devils tripped and fell over the poor babies…

I for one wouldn’t have my kid jumped over by a grown-up like this, even if they’d allow me to keep my hand over him as protection. If that guy falls my hand isn’t going to break his fall, the baby might though…

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Whale massacre in Europe

Don’t look at the photos and video if you’re a big animal lover, it’s “a little” hard to take in…

This “bay of blood” set somewhere in the Faroe Islands is where hundreds, sometimes thousands of pilot whales are literally butchered alive by hungry locals. The hunt known as Grindadrap is centuries old and it hasn’t changed much since then, except for the power-boats, radios and echo-sounders which make life a lot easier for the butchers. They round the poor whales into the shore with the power-boats and when they get really close, the locals plunge into the waves and start hooking them to death in a horrific manner. Then they drag the carcasses to shore and start skinning them and splitting the meat and blubber between all the islands’ inhabitants.

The Faroes economy relies only on economic fishing, but that doesn’t give them the right to slaughter 544 Atlantic white sided dolphins in a single day, like they did in 1988.

recently, studies have shown that the meat and blubber of pilot whales contain high amounts of mercury, PCBs, DDT and dieldrin. For what they do every year these animals deserve to get much more than mercury poisoning. Read More »

Pizza-tossing championship

That’s right folks there’s such a thing as a World Pizza Championship.

It’s hosted in Salsomaggiore Terme, Italy and it gathers tens of professional pizza makers from allover the world. The most impressive challenge of the entire contest is the pizza tossing, an acrobatic event involving the pizza dough. As you can see from the pics, these guys are true masters tossing giant pies into the air or spinning them on their fingers like basketballs and there are even synchronized-dancers performing with pizza dough. Must really cool to watch these guys go all out to take the title of best pizza maker in the world. So, if you’re ever in Italy…

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Biggest Mentos fountain ever

You know what happens if you drop a sweet mint into a bottle of coke right? What if 1500 people did it at the same time?

That’s what 1500 students from a University in Belgium tried to find out and also set a new world record for the world’s biggest Mentos fountain. It wasn’t the most important experiment in the lives of the young chemistry students, but I can bet it was the funniest one.

You can see the result of the experiment in the photos below, too bad I couldn’t find any more.

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Dembe – Traditional Nigerian Boxing

I never knew traditional Nigerian Boxing is one of the deadliest sports in the world.

Practiced by traveling young African men, Dembe is one of the few ways they can become famous in a country like Nigeria. The winner of a Dembe tournament gets around $100, a TV-set and the honor of being a champion, not much for what he has to go through.

All a fighter has to do to win a fight is knock down his opponent only once in three rounds, but if the two are evenly matched, a fight can go on for hours. As you can see in the photos, fighters wear a flax cord rapped around one of their fists. They wet the string and sprinkle sand on it to make his punches more painful. The other hand is used to taunt and trick the opponent into letting his guard down. Many have been seriously injured and even died practicing this blood sport, but as many fighters complain, there isn’t much an unemployed Nigerian can do to find fame.

Fighters smoke large quantities of cannabis before a fight, saying it calms them down and makes them stronger. I can believe it makes them calm, but stronger?

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BASE jumping – incredible photos

Building Antena Span Earth

That’s what the acronym B.A.S.E stands for. This incredible sport is derived out of sky-diving and it looks a lot harder too. BASE jumpers have to make use of their wingsuits and be very careful at their body-attitude so they don’t start tumbling. The parachute is only opened at the last second which makes the adrenalin rush even more powerful.

Valeri Rozov, one of the world’s most talented BASE jumpers made a jump from the Alps “Grandes Jorasses“, a place experts had deemed impossible for a free-fall, but he proved anything is possible.

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