Chinese Festival Organizers Create Human Zoo for Beggars

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Beggars at a religious festival in Nanchang, southern China, have been ordered to either stay in specially-built metal cages or risk being removed from the city, in an attempt to stop them from harassing visitors.

Living in a country where begging is a very lucrative business, I know what it’s like to constantly be disturbed by various characters asking for money (not food, money), but what these Chinese festival organizers did is a bit extreme. According to a Nanchang official, in recent years the number of beggars turning up for the local religious festival has increased to a point where they’re actually making temple visitors uncomfortable with their lamenting and pleading for some pocket change. So this year, to make sure everyone attending the festivities will be left alone, they decided to separate the hundreds of beggars in small metal cages around the festival grounds, where people can still give donations if they wish, but without being followed around and nagged while they’re on a day out with their family. Organizers did point out that the beggars in this pop-up human zoo entered their cages voluntarily and that no one is actually forcing them to beg for a living…

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China Hosts World’s First Ever Goldfish Beauty Pageant

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3,000 goldfish from 14 different countries around the world competed for the title of “World Goldfish Queen” in the first ever International Goldfish Championship, hosted in Fuzhou, China’s Fujian Province.

A warehouse full of thousands of big white bowls of water sure doesn’t sound like the beauty pageant events we’re normally used to, but that’s exactly what it was. Last Saturday, a panel of judges gathered in the city of Fuzhou to determine which of the slippery contestants should be crowned most beautiful goldfish in the world. In an interview with Reuters, judge Ye Qichang said: ”We judge goldfish mainly by five criteria: breed, body shape, swimming gesture, colour, which is very important, and overall impression.” And although color counts for much, the favorite of the fishy competition impressed the judges with its size – weighing 1.75 kilograms (3.9 pounds), the giant goldfish reportedly moved arund his tank very gracefully, which obviously won it extra points. ”Not all goldfish can grow this big. Many factors such as breed and breeding method may affect their size. A goldfish cannot grow into that size if it suffers any hardship or major illness during the breeding. So it is a very rare one,” Ye concluded.

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Mine Shaft Restaurant Takes Dining to a New Low

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Ina bid to turn the idea of pop-up restaurants on its head, an award-winning Finish chef has opened a unique eaterie in an old mine shaft, 80 meters underground. Obviously, it’s called a “pop-down” restaurant.

“‘Pop-down’ is such a unique idea that I just had to do it,” chef Timo Linnamaki said on Monday, before his first clients descended to the bottom of the mine shaft in the town of Lohja, Finland.  ”It’s great working down here because you are totally cut off from the world, so nothing distracts from the cooking.” The idea of preparing food so far below ground was all part of being close to the earth, but the talented cook admits this is by far the weirdest place he has ever prepared his dishes and that it would be very difficult to find something on par. The 115-year-old mine chosen as the location for this unique pop-down restaurant goes down to a depth of 380 meters where limestone is still mined, for the chemical industry. But that didn’t seem to scare off customers, as the 64-seat restaurant is already fully booked until September 29, when the crazy underground cooking experiment ends.

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Hot Tub Cinema – Probably the Most Relaxing Movie Experience Ever

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For the past year, young movie buffs in London have been flocking to one of the most unique film-watching venues in the world. The Hot Tub Cinema combines hot tubs with good movies and a London rooftop location to offer probably the most relaxing film-watching experience on Earth.

‘We wanted to watch a movie, we wanted to use the hot tub, and we just thought why don’t we project it out the kitchen window onto a bed sheet on the washing line and see what the results will be, and that was how it was born,’  Asher Charman, one of the brains behind the project, told Reuters. ‘About a year ago we thought you know what, it’s about time, we’ve over grown our garden here, we’ve got three or four tubs, it’s time to take the step up and here we are now.’ So they got a movie projector, a screen and the Hot Tub Cinema was born. Quite a simple idea but one that really appealed to young movie-goers looking for something different. Now every time a rooftop movie-watching session takes place, the 12 hot tubs are always occupied.

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Bolivian Movie Marathon Exceeds 200 Hours, Sets New Guinness Record

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I love watching movies, but doing it continuously for over 200 hours seems like an impossible feat. But not for two Bolivian movie aficionados who recently won a national movie marathon contest and split a prize of $10,000.

Last year, Bolivia set a new world record for the longest movie marathon. Felipe Gonzalo Ticona managed to stay awake for 131 hours watching all kinds of different films, but because a Guinness representative wasn’t present on scene, his record wasn’t certified so the title remained in the possession of a certain Indian gentleman. But this year, Bolivian movie theater chain “Cine Center” was determined to snatch the title of longest ever movie marathon for their home country, so they announced another monumental film-watching event that would take place simultaneously in three of Bolivia’s largest cities: La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz. The person who managed to beat all other participants and surpass the current record of 128 hours was guaranteed a prize of $10,000 and his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. In total, over 1,400 film fans signed up for the chance to see dozens of films and win the attractive cash prize. At first, organizers decided to allow only people over 18 to enter the competition, but after receiving a considerable number of requests from younger movie buffs, they decided to allow teens as well, as long as they presented a signed authorization from their parents. Everyone had to pay a $14 entrance fee.

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Unique Spanish Festival Celebrates Near Death Experiences

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Did you manage to survive a near death experience during the past year? Well then, congratulation, you’ve earned the privilege of being placed in a coffin and paraded through the streets of Las Nieves, as part of a festival called La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme.

The small town of Las Nieves is located in the isolated northwest part of Spain called Galicia, where pagan rites have been a part of local culture since anyone can remember. Although it has tried very hard over the centuries, the Catholic Church has never been able to fully integrate their teachings here, and witches or evil spirits still exist in people’s spiritual beliefs. La Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme is one of the Church’s attempts to adapt its dogma to the region’s more primitive beliefs, a sort of “Catholicism meets Paganism” type of event which has often been labeled as one of the most outrageous religious pilgrimages in the world. The unique event that takes place every year on July 29 celebrates those who have managed to cheat death in the previous 12 months by placing them in coffins and parading them through the town, and honors Saint Marta de Ribarteme, the patron of resurrection.

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A Feast for Zombies: Gory Gourmet Food Truck Serves Fresh Brain Burgers

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London Chef Mark Jankel shocked everyone when he launched the Gory Gourmet, a special food truck that serves very literal brain food, including calf brain burgers, brain salad wrap or crispy chunks of brain.

Animal brain is a pretty common ingredient in the cuisine of many Asian countries, but in the Western world it has become somewhat of an oddity, with many referring to it as zombie food. Mark Jankel of Street Kitchen decided to use this fact as an opportunity to shock Londoners and create a very original publicity stunt. On August 22nd he launched his Gory Gourmet food truck, which treats Londoners to dishes made from calf brain, pig feet or cow thyroid. Although created to celebrate the DVD and BluRay release of zombie thriller series The Walking Dead Season 2, the Gory Gourmet was actually a culinary success, with dozens of curious clients lining up to taste the bizarre treats. I think it’s fair to say this particular food truck caters to the the taste of customers both alive and undead.

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Teenager Sets New World Record at Mobile-Phone Throwing Contest

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Every year, the Finnish town of Savonlinna hosts a fun and relaxing phone-throwing contest where participants are invited to take out all their frustration on their handhelds by throwing them as far as possible. This year, a Finnish teenager managed to set a new world record, with a throw of over 101 meters.

Ever since 2000, when it was first organized, the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship has become an international event drawing in participants from all over the world. According to reports of Finnish insurance companies, there are lots of phones laying on the bottom of Finland’s lakes, causing a serious environmental problem due to the toxicity of their batteries. In an attempt to convince people there are better ways of getting rid of their faulty mobile devices, a Savonlinna-based translation and interpretation company called Fennolingua organized a mobile-throwing contest that immediately drew the attention of media all around the world. In the following years, the event became even more popular gathering throwers from every continent eager to show their hurling skills.

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Gotmar Mela – India’s Centuries-Old Stone Pelting War

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For over three hundred years, the residents of Pandhurna and Sawargaon, two Indian villages located on the banks of the river Jaam, have been engaging in a bizarre stone-pelting ritual called Gotmar Mela that leaves hundreds critically injured and even dead.

The stone war of Gotmar Mela, as its sometimes referred to, takes place every year, on the second day to “Bhadrapad’ (the new moon day). A tree trunk is fixed in the middle of Jaam River, and a flag tied on top of it. On the day of the bloody event, people from Pandhurna and Sawargaon gather on each of the river banks and arm themselves with stones. The bravest of them run towards the tree and try to climb high enough to grab the flag, while the mob on the other side tries to prevent them from doing so by showering them with large stones. The village who manages to snag the flag is declared winner. The rules of Gotmar Mela are pretty simple, but who ever takes part in it knows full well it might be the last thing they do, as hundreds are critically injured and even killed, each year.

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Children Work Together to Build 1.8 Million LEGO Map of Future Japan

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of LEGO blocks being introduced in Japan, the Danish company organized a cross-country workshop called “Build Up Japan” in which over 5,000 children created their visions of future Japanese buildings. The assembled pieces were all brought to Tokyo and assembled as a giant white map.

As Johnny from Spoon&Tamago noticed, the Internet is full of all kinds of massive LEGO works. We ourselves featured an impressive LEGO map of Middle-Earth, a LEGO football stadium model and even a full-size LEGO Ford Explorer. But the “Build Up Japan” event was special in more ways than one and definitely worth covering. While most large-scale works of art are usually created by experienced LEGO masters who spend years working on their pieces, this giant map was created piece by piece by around 5,000 Japanese children from six different regions of the island country. And, instead of having the kids just reproduce some of their country’s iconic buildings, organizers encouraged them to set free their imaginations and create imaginary structures of a futuristic Japan. The future of the country was literally in their hands and they made sure it was a bright one. When the assembled LEGO structures were completed, they were sent to Tokyo to be a part of a massive 1.8 million LEGO map that left the audience speechless.

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Germany’s Trendiest People Converge on Berlin for the Hipster Olympics

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With the real Olympic Games about to start in London, Berlin’s self-proclaimed hipsters though they’d organize their own competition to find the most athletic hipster in Germany – the 2012 Hipster Olympics.

The tongue-in-cheek event took place last Saturday, and drew a crowd of over 6,000 hipsters to a club in east Berlin, for a series of nine ironic sporting events. Ironically, there were a lot of applicants who wanted to join the game, but a panel of hipster judges had the difficult task of choosing only 60.  ”We had to select the coolest ones,” said 24 year-old Alexander Bernikas, head of the Original Hipster Olympics Committee. The skinny-jeans-wearing, jute-bag-carrying contestants were split into twelve teams of five, and pitted against each other in ironic events like a horn-rimmed-glasses-throwing contest,  a vinyl-spinning marathon or a skinny jeans tug of war.

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Leg Humping Competition Celebrates Dogs’ Love for Our Legs

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Usually, when a dog starts humping your leg, you’re quick to make him stop, but at the Humpy Awards, owners actually encourage their pooches to get it on with their legs.

There’s the Grammys, the Emmys, the Webbies, and now we have the Humpys, which celebrate dogs’ natural behavior to hump your legs. This first ever annual humping competition for dogs was actually a viral marketing stunt for a new AMC reality show called Small Town Security, but that doesn’t in any way diminish the dogs’ admirable performances. Almost all of the canines brought forth into the humping arena did just what they were supposed to, impressing the judges with their techniques. I don’t know if they got any training prior to the competition, but it all seemed pretty natural to me.

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Bovine Boarding at Pakistan’s Traditional Bull Races

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If you think surfing and snowboarding are extreme sports, then you’ve probably never seen what happens in Pakistan, during traditional bovine races. It involves bulls, a board and dirt.

Tens of thousands of people gather whenever there is a bull race held in Pakistan. They are usually the highlight of festivals organized in rural areas of the Asian country, and attract lots of spectators due to their thrilling nature. Watching a bunch of oxen running alongside each other might not be your idea of a fun time, but add a man on riding a board on a dirty track trying to guide the animals, and things become pretty exciting. The traditional competition  attracts landlords and farmers from all around the province where the race is held, and they all bring their fastest and strongest bulls in hopes of gaining a reputation.

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Star Wars Fans Travel to Tatooine to Restore Luke Skywalker’s Home

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A group of dedicated Star Wars Fans took it upon themselves to travel to Tatooine and restore the Lars Homstead, the iconic igloo-shaped home Luke Skywalker grew up in.

It might sound like an impossible feat, but if you’re a true Star Wars fan, you know the scenes on the desert planet of Tatooine were actually filmed in the African country of Tunisia. Still, gathering the necessary resources and manpower necessary for such a journey is nothing short of impressive, and shows the kind of commitment some fans of the legendary franchise are capable of. The man behind this interesting restoration project is Belgian Star Wars enthusiast Mark Dermul. Back in 2001, Mark traveled to Tunisia to see for himself where his favorite movie was shot. Over the years, he went back there multiple times guiding over 50 other fans to the locations where the famous sci-fi saga was shot, but by 2010 he noticed the Lars Homstead was in a terrible state, so he decided to kick-start a restoration project.

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It’s About Time! New York Hosts First World Burping Championship

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Most civilized countries have long considered burping one of the most embarrassing things a person can do in public. Now, the World Burping Federation, in Geneva, is trying to change people’s opinion, and their first attempt was the first edition of the Burping Championship.

Held in New York City, this first annual World Burping Championship had competitors guzzling down gallons of soda in order to produce the longest burp possible. The five contestants chosen to take part in this unusual event weren’t just regular beer-guzzlers who like to let loose a few burps every once in a while. They were all competitive eaters with Major League Eating which meant the whole contest a lot more interesting. Unlike regular burpers, these guys could fill their bellies with gallons of carbonated drinks, making them more qualified to produce a burp worthy of the record books.

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