Tough Mudder – Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet

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“The Tough Mudder is not a race, it’s a challenge,” say the organizers. And it most certainly is, given the grueling nature of what is perhaps the toughest event in the world. Consisting of 10 to 12 mile ‘hardcore’ obstacle courses, the event designed by British Special Forces is meant to test stamina, strength, grit, and camaraderie. Tough Mudder is the brainchild of former counter-terrorism agent Will Dean. During his MBA course at Harvard, he was frustrated with the monotony of marathons, triathlons and mud runs. Wanting to participate in an event that truly challenged the core of his personality, he came up with the idea of Tough Mudder.

According to their official website, Tough Mudder is much more than just a race because it gives participants the opportunity to a personal challenge. Simply completing the course is an achievement in itself. The participants are not timed, and there are no winners as this is no contest. In fact, one of the rules of the event is to help your fellow mudders whenever they seem to be struggling with themselves. Men and women are strongly encouraged to participate, but the event is open only to those above 18 years of age. So far, over half a million people have participated worldwide. And 25% of them have been women. The events are currently being held in USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

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Lunch Beat – Sweden’s Unusual Lunch Break Dance Parties

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The time just after lunch hour is perhaps the sleepiest in a typical workday. Over the years, people have come up with very creative solutions to keep themselves awake and in a working mood, but nothing can beat Sweden’s Lunch Beat, a truly original way to spend lunch hour.

Dancing in a club, at noon probably doesn’t seem like the perfect way to spend your lunch break, but it’s exactly what more and more Swedes are doing to re-energize themselves. They just groove to the music for about an hour and then get back to work. The first Lunch Beat was organized in an underground parking lot in Stockholm, in June 2010. Only 14 people attended that first event, but it was so much fun that the word spread pretty quickly. Today, hundreds attend the monthly Lunch Beats organized in the Swedish capital. The phenomenon is slowly spreading to other Swedish and European cities as well.

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At The Generous Store Chocolates Cost Good Deeds Instead of Money

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If Charlie Bucket could win Willy Wonka’s entire chocolate factory for a good deed, why can’t we be awarded with at least a box of chocolates, right? Turns out we can! At The Anthon Berg Generous Store money is of no use, because all it takes to get some delicious chocolate is the promise of a good deed.

The pop-up chocolate store, located in the center of Copenhagen, opened its doors to the public last month. Inside, the boxes of candy are marked with unique price tags: ‘Don’t comment on your girlfriend’s driving for a week’, ‘Serve breakfast in bed to your loved one’ and ‘No talking behind your girlfriend’s back for a month’. The most popular of them all is ‘Help clean a friend’s house’. Hardly anyone touches the box that says ‘A week where you don’t lie to your father’.

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Zombie Shopping Mall – A Real-Life “Dawn of the Dead” Experience

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If you’ve always wondered it must be like to actually experience a zombie apocalypse, then Zombie Shopping Mall is just the thing for you. You’ll be briefed and armed by a special police unit and pitted against a horde of zombies in a creepy condemned mall. Sounds awesome, yes?

Remember the Zombie Boot Camp we featured a while ago? It was a very popular event organized by the guys at Wish.co.uk, an English website offering people the chance to fulfill their wildest dreams. The unusual training course allowed zombie fans to acquire all the necessary skills to survive a living-dead epidemic and test them in a specially designed environment, located in Droitwich, Britain. Following the success of the Zombie Boot Camp, the people at Wish have taken things one step further and created the Zombie Shopping Mall, a bone-chilling experience that takes place in a condemned mall filled with brain-eating zombies.

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Chinese Artist Lives on a Scale to Lose Weight in Public

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Chinese artist Wang Jun is going to be spending a whole month at the Yitel and Yi Hotel in Beijing. Not in any of the luxury rooms, but as a display piece in an art project called “Keep Fit Deal – 15”.  He’s going to be spending the whole time on an electronic weighing scale, not even leaving to eat, drink or use the restroom. A live video stream will be tracking his every move, broadcasting it online. Wondering why in the world he would do such a thing? Well, I found it kind of confusing myself, but it appears that he’s trying to accomplish several things at once. The most important, of course, being weight loss.

Wang Jun says he’s 15 jin (that’s about 7.5kg) overweight and he’d like to lose it all in the public eye. So people can always see on the scale how much he’s lost (or gained). Well, the lack of movement alone will make it hard for him to lose weight, but maybe he’s also planning to do some exercise right on the scale. Apart from shedding the extra pounds, he is also interested in using his body as a media outlet. He wants to experience the physical and psychological limits of connecting with a public space. Jun calls his experiment ‘artistic’. Now, that just makes me laugh, how people can call sitting put for a whole month, art. But according to Jun, his project is of an ascetic nature, intended to highlight the social realities of greed and pleasure-seeking, while criticizing the craze in society for the ‘so called-popular’ things.

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Interviews Before Execution – China’s Successful Death Row Show

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A creepy show capturing the last moments of criminals on death row – that might sound like the worst kind of reality TV, but “Interviews Before Execution” has been hugely popular in China, where it was first aired on Henan Legal Channel on 18th November, 2006. After over 5 years, the show ended last Friday.

As a part of the reality show, journalist Ding Yu would interview a person on death row every week in almost cruel detail. So yes, every person featured on the show was a hardened criminal, whose fate had already been sealed – in death. Sometimes, the criminals were recorded speaking just minutes before their execution, many describing the details of their crimes, displaying remorse and even begging for forgiveness at times. It sure does sound like an unnecessary exploitation of people who are about to die, but the creators of the show have a different perspective. Lu Pejin, the director of the Legal Channel says that the purpose of the show was to warn audiences. “If they are warned, tragedies might be averted. That is good for society.”

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Mysterious Real-Life Robin Hood Leaves Envelopes of Cash to the Needy

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It’s nothing short of a modern-day miracle,when envelopes stuffed with cash just keep appearing all over town. And not just small cash, we’re talking large amounts. Since late last year, envelopes containing sums up to 10,000 euros are being mysteriously ‘given’ to those who are in need of money, in the German town of Braunschweig. The donated money that’s been accounted for so far amounts to a whopping 200,000 euros.

While the benefactor is unknown, the beneficiaries have so far “suspected” a hospice, a robbery victim, various charities, and also the family of a handicapped boy. The cash-stuffed envelopes have been left in prayer books in churches, beneath doormats and also in letterboxes. There are several theories as to who is behind this sudden ‘shower’ of cash in the settlement. Some say that it could be a lottery winner and others feel it’s probably someone who’s received a large inheritance. Whoever it may be, the person is being hailed as a present-day reincarnation of Robin Hood, who we’re not yet sure if  is stealing from the rich, but is certainly giving to the needy.

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Dwarf Bullfighters – Human Exploitation Meets Animal Cruelty

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It sounds cruel when I write about it, but watching a bunch of dwarfs running around with calves that match their size could invoke quite a bit of laughter. There’s nothing cute about this however, the fighting is quite real and dangerous. Thankfully, the calves and the men are usually unharmed.

Wondering what I’m talking about? Meet the bullfighting dwarfs of Mexico, a group of short entertainers who are by no means ashamed of what they do. The sport, for obvious reasons, has earned the title of being one of the most controversial in the world. Animal lovers say it’s cruel. Human rights activists agree. Critics worry about stereotyping. But there’s no denying the fact that it provides a steady means of income for those who otherwise would find it very difficult to get a job. Since employment discrimination is pretty widespread in Mexico, the dwarf community has actually benefited from the bullfighting shows. More often than not, the bullfighters are laughed at, and although this is the main purpose of their act, they would also like to be respected for what they do.

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Ultimate Tazer Ball – The Sport That Lets You Taze Your Opponents

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If you’ve read or watched the Harry Potter series, you’d know that Quidditch has Bludgers that are hurled at opponents to make them lose control of the ball. While this could be fatal in real life, no one’s ever thought much of it since it’s only make-believe. But what if there really was a sport where players were armed with weapons to cause serious injuries to their opponents? That, my friends, is exactly what Ultimate Tazer Ball is all about. The weird sport actually allows players to use stun guns on members of the opposing team.

I watched a few short videos of the sport being played, and in my opinion, there’s nothing fascinating about it beyond the use of the stun guns. The ball used by the players is actually pretty huge, like a beachball, which makes it look like grown men running behind a kid’s toy and trying to stun each other in the process. Menacing expressions are adopted, which I’m guessing is to provide the audience with some entertainment while in reality, nothing much is going on. But again, that’s just my opinion, so let me tell you the rules of the game, and then I’ll let you be the judge.

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Man Proposes to Girlfriend with Dress Made from 9,999 Red Roses

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This is just the stuff that fairytales are made of. The beautiful princess walks off into the sunset with her prince charming, dressed in a gown made from thousands of roses. You’d never think it could happen in real life, but it has. In an incredibly romantic gesture, this guy in China had a dress out of 9,999 deep red roses made for his girlfriend. After she put on the dress, he proposed.

Initially Xiao Fan considered proposing with only the roses, but realizing his girlfriend’s love for fashion, he decided to go a step further and get them sewn onto a dress. So the flowers were stitched together carefully to make a sweeping floral gown, fit for a bride. Several dressmakers worked round the clock on the project to get it completed on time. I think it’s pretty amazing how they managed it, keeping the flowers so fresh and lovely.

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Spikeball – Volleyball’s Brilliant Distant Cousin

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Intense, competitive, trash talk – are the three terms used by the founders of Spikeball to describe the game. After watching a short video of how the sport is played on their website, I’m finding it very hard to disagree. It’s really quite exciting just to watch, so playing it should guarantee an absolute whale of a time.

Spikeball is probably best described as volleyball’s distant cousin, but there’s a lot more to it than just that. The net used for Spikeball is small and circular – probably the size of a Hula Hoop, and it sits on the ground at ankle level. The ball is pretty small too, just about palm-size. Two teams play against each other with only two players on each team. The objective of the game is to smack the ball across to your opponents, just like in volleyball. However, with spikeball, you need to bounce the ball on the net first, so it ricochets upwards at an opposing player. They in turn have to be able to bounce it back to your team, within three hits, or you score. You score points every time they miss, and a score of 21 is needed to win the game.

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Calcio Fiorentino – The Ultimate Manly Sport

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Imagine a sport that’s a mix between soccer and rugby, with absolutely no rules whatsoever. Man, that’s got to be brutal! And that’s exactly what Calcio Fiorentino is. It’s the ultimate sport to prove your strength, power and courage.

The game originated in Italy during the 16th century in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence. The words Calcio Fiorentino can be loosely translated as the Florence Kick. True to its name, the game was devised by four of Florence’s most prominent noble families. Their intention was simple, to be able to show off their physical prowess to their enemies. In those days, spectators of the game were limited only to the ruling class.

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Maramadi – The Famous Bull Race of Kerala

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The most famous traditional game involving bulls is Spanish bullfighting, but the people of Kerala, India, have come up with a way celebration that doesn’t involve torturing and killing poor animals. It’s called Maramadi, and it’s held every year, in the post-harvest season.

Maramadi is essentially a bull racing event, only instead of a track, it takes place in flooded rice fields, which makes it infinitely more entertaining for the crowds watching from the sidelines. In preparation for the event, the freshly ploughed fields are filled with water, thus ensuring that every competing team makes a big splash for the audience. Although bulls are the main competitors in Maramadi, their human masters have the important role of guiding them during the race, making sure they don’t stray off the course before reaching the finish line. Each team consists of two bull and three guides, who have to keep up with the animals if they want a shot at wining. That of course takes good speed perfect balance.

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A Cathedral Made from 55,000 LED Lights at Ghent Light Festival

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Created by Cagna Illumiations, the light cathedral made from 55,000 LEDs, for the 2012 Ghent Light Festival is one of the most beautiful light displays you’ll ever see.

Designed as a symbolic entrance to the Ghent Light Festival, the colorful cathedral imagined by Italian company Luminarie De Cagna stole the show at this year’s event. The gigantic colonnade was adorned with around 55,000 colorful LED bulbs that shine so bright you’d think they consume enough electricity to power a small town, but in reality, the entire installation consumes only 20 Kwatt/h. Inspired by Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, the LED cathedral towered 28 meters high.

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Woman Marries 107-Year-Old Warehouse to Save It from Demolition

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Babylonia Aivaz, from Seattle, fell in love with an old warehouse where she and other activists protested inside the building, during an Occupy Seattle event. Now, the 107-year-old facility has been scheduled for demolition, so Aivaz decided to marry it to show her love, and hopefully save it.

It sounds like a pretty bizarre situation, especially after you read all the jokes and comments by various media outlets, regarding Babylonia Aivaz’s decision to marry a warehouse. Some joke about the awkward wedding night, others about the solid foundation of their relationship, but the fact is she’s doing it as a form of protest against gentrification. ’I'm doing this to show the building how much I love it, how much I love community space and how much I love this neighborhood. And I want to stop it from gentrification,’ Aivaz said in an interview. ’If corporations can have the rights as people, so can buildings,’ she added, referencing a Supreme Court decision on political advertising.

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