File Sharing Becomes Official Religion in Sweden

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Kopimism – a belief in the sacred right to share files – has been recognized as an official religion in Sweden, at the end of last year.

“Information is holy and copying is a sacrament. Information holds a value, in itself and in what it contains, and the value multiplies through copying. Therefore, copying is central for the organisation and its members.” This is how Kopimism is described on the official website of the Missionary Church of Kopimism. Apparently, ever since 2010, a groups of self-confessed file-sharing pirates have been trying to get file sharing recognized as an official religion. After having their claim denied several times, they’ve finally seen their dream fulfilled in late December 2011, when Kompimism was officially acknowledged as a legal religion. The Church hopes its new sacred status will remove the legal stigma  associated with file sharing.

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Researcher Proves You’re Washing Your Clothes More Often than You Should

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Would you dare to sniff a pair of jeans that haven’t been washed in three months? If the very thought of it seems disgusting, wait till you hear this. This March, there’s going to be an exhibition of thirty such pairs at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

The unusual collection of dirty jeans is the result of an experiment conducted by Tullia Jack, a researcher from Melbourne. In an effort to prove that people wash their clothes way too often, she recruited thirty volunteers to wear their jeans unwashed, five days a week, for three months. Ms. Jack is a student at the Melbourne University and a fashion lecturer at RMIT. “Not washing your jeans isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds,” she says. The experiment is a part of her Master of Philosophy thesis and she wants to use the findings to challenge our ‘extreme clean’ culture.

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Ferret Legging – A Truly Bizarre Animal Sport

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Most people couldn’t stand something as small as a cockroach up their trousers. And then there are the brave ferret leggers who endure not one, but two fully grown adult ferrets trapped in their pants. The weird sport, called Ferret Legging, is a test of endurance or just the ability to “have your tool bitten and not care”.

Also known as ferret-down-trousers and put ‘em down, the rules of the sport are pretty tight. Competitors have two ferrets placed inside their trousers, which are tied firmly at the ankles and belted up at the waist, thereby eliminating any point of escape for the furry creatures. The competitor then stands before judges, enduring the misery of the razor-sharp claws and teeth of the ferrets. Other rules state that competitors cannot be drunk and the ferrets must not be sedated. Also, the ferrets must have a full set of teeth that have not been blunted or filed. The man who stands the longest, wins.

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Man Spends $16,000 for Virtual Video Game Sword

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For those of us who aren’t online gaming enthusiasts, the actions of a Chinese gamer this holiday season may seem a tad bizarre. But for him, it’s perfectly normal to spend $16,000 on a sword that isn’t even real.

While it has become common practice for many people to spend small amounts of money on online games, this gamer from China has indeed outdone most others. He won a bid for a virtual sword to be used online. What’s even more surprising is that the game for which the sword was purchased hasn’t even been released yet. Age of Wulin is a martial arts MMO that is set to release its first Chinese beta version in the spring of 2012. The English version will follow soon after. Snail Games, the developers of Age of Wulin, organized an online auction of various exclusive virtual items that players could bid for. While the sword was by far the costliest one to be sold, several other items fetched good amounts of money. A sheath for a Lordly Spear went for $2,500, while the Hook of Departure sheath followed closely at $1,600. Pre-paid time cards and enhancement materials were sold for smaller amounts.

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Pink-Obsessed Woman Changes Her Name to Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice

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100,000 Brits changed their name this year, but the one that stands out from the crowd is a woman from Nottingham, who calls her self “Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice.” Yes, that’s her actual name now.

Born Charlotte Price, the mother-of-three has renamed herself according to her obsession with the color pink. She lives in a pink house decorated and furnished with pink, wears pink most of the time and even works in a pink salon. The color of the wax used in the salon? You guessed it, it’s pink. The shortened version of her name is Pink Nice, which is what she goes by these days. Quite understandably, her three kids aren’t very pleased. “Everyone is still calling me by my old name. My mum thinks I’m a bit mad really and so do my children. They stick to ‘Mum’,” said Pink Nice, who hopes her crazy name change will boost up her business.

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Tickets for Noah’s Ark 2012 Are Holiday Bestsellers on Chinese Shopping Site

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It’s been long said that the year 2012 will see the end of the world. The movie 2012 even makes an attempt to show us the catastrophic events leading up t0 the worldwide disaster, and a modern version of Noah’s Ark, a ship in Tibet where people will be safe. While tickets for the movie ship cost a billion Euros each, in real life they can be purchased  for less than $0.5.

Chinese online shopping portal, Taobao, has several online stores selling these counterfeit tickets at 3 RMB a piece. The tickets have been popular as a new year’s gift, a comical way of ensuring one’s safety in the face of the 2012 Armageddon. Thousands of tickets have been sold so far. Physical stores are printing up and selling these tickets, too. One store in Jingsau has sold 2,500 train and ark tickets at 3 RMB each. Another one sold 1,700 Chinese Noah’s Ark passes in a month, at 2 RMB each.

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Father Videotapes Children Coming Down Stairs on Christmas Morning, for 25 years

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Every family has its own traditions for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Writer Nick Confalone recently shared on YouTube, a particularly endearing tradition followed by his dad during Christmas.

Starting in 1985, Nick’s father made home videos of his kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. He continued this practice for 25 years, chronicling the growth of his children over a quarter of a century. Nick recently edited the footage filmed by his father and posted it on YouTube. Apart from Nick and his sister, other members of the family are also seen in the video. Pets come and go, as do boyfriends, and you can clearly see how the kids evolve from little toddlers to teenagers and then young adults. Initially the kids are seen to be excited to find out what Santa Claus has left them under the tree. Nick is a cute kid making silly faces at the camera. As years go by, their reluctance to be a part of the videos is quite evident. Of course, Nick now considers the videos to be nothing short of magical.

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Human Spit Could Cause Indian Bridge to Collapse

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Howrah Bridge, located in Kolkata,  India, is a cantilever bridge that spans over Hooghly River. Built during the British rule, in 1943, it is one of the most famous symbols of Kolkata.

The nearly 70-year-old bridge however, is in danger of collapsing, not from age, but from human saliva. It is common to find many locals chewing paan (a mild intoxicant containing betel nuts and leaves), and then spitting out red-tinged saliva on the steel hangers of the bridge. This is not only unsightly, but the corrosion caused by the accumulation of several years worth of saliva, is a cause of serious concern. Bird droppings are also a major cause for the corrosion of the bridge, and regular cleaning was undertaken ever since this threat was identified. The cleaning is apparently not good enough to work its way through the layers of spit and local authorities say the corrosion has caused so much damage that the thickness of the hangers has reduced to half of the original, from 6mm to 3mm.

Photo: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP

Efforts are being made to salvage this old Indian monument from disgrace. Engineers have come up with an idea to cover the steel with sheets of fiberglass. There are other factors that are a cause for concern in the maintenance of the bridge, such as damage from vehicles due to rash driving. Over 100,000 vehicles are known to cross the bridge every day, along with around 150,000 pedestrians on the walkways.

Groin Ball – Fun to Watch, Painful to Play

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Groin Ball is a crazy game that supposedly originated in Japan, is played by men, and obviously involves the hitting of testicles.

Curious to know how the game is played? Well, we’ll tell you. Two teams involved in a game of Groin Ball each consist of two players – a ball thrower and a target player. The target players of each team face each other, holding on to the other’s shoulders. Their feet need to be shoulder-width apart, all through the game. A supply of tennis balls is provided to each of the throwers, who have to hurl them between the legs of the target players, aiming of course, at the groin. The balls hit the ground and then bounce up to smash into the groin of the opposing target player.

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15,000 Czechs Put Down “Jedi” as Their Faith, in Census

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A shocking discovery about the religious beliefs of Czechs was made in a census held in March this year. Over 15,000 people, the size of a small town, registered themselves as Jedi Knights, a faith from the Star Wars movies. This is certainly not being dismissed as nominal by the Statistical Office.

Of the rest of the Czech population, it is interesting to note that while 1,083,899 said they were Roman Catholics,  707,649 said they didn’t believe in God. Also, 5 million people just didn’t have anything to say. They left the column empty. In Prague, the capital  city, 3,977 Jedi Knights were registered, which is 0.31% of the city’s population. It is perplexing as to why this option was included in the census for in the first place. Stanislav Drapal, deputy head of the statistical office, says that they included it despite a fierce debate over whether it’s serious or not. It’s not up to the statisticians to decide whether or not it’s a real religion, is what he feels.

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Dutch Television Hosts to Eat Each Other’s Flesh on Live TV

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It’s crazy what people will do on TV for ratings. Now , TV hosts on a Dutch channel are going to eat each other. Literally. Just to see what human flesh tastes like. This might just be the first time cannibalism is broadcast on Live TV.

Guinea Pigs is a show on the Dutch TV channel, BNN. Valerio Zeno and Dennis Storm, the hosts, are going to have their flesh extracted surgically from their sides and buttocks. And then the meat will be served to each of them. Gross! According to Valerio, ever since he saw a movie in which the survivors of a plane crash eat each other to stay alive, he’s always wondered how that would taste. Now he’s finally getting the opportunity to find out. Storm, however, says that he never wondered about this before, but now that he has his chance, he’s taking it. And he’ll always be able to tell people, in response to being asked about the scar on his butt cheek, that Valerio ate him.

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Spanish Shopping Center Displays World’s Largest El Caganer

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The huge statue of a defecating giant was put up at the Maremagnum Shopping Center in Barcelona, Spain in December 2010. It recently snagged the Guinness Record for the largest caganer in the world.

In case you’re wondering, this isn’t unusual in Barcelona at all. In fact, the caganer is a common sight around Catalonia. It is generally in the form of figurines that appear in nativity scenes. They are often placed to the side of these traditional scenes. While the origins of this tradition are unknown, the practice has been in place since at least the 1700s. Traditional Catalonian Christmas decorations consist of  large models of the entire city of Bethlehem, instead of just they typical manger scene of the English-speaking world. The central setting consists of a farmhouse with the child in a manger, surrounded by washerwomen by a river, women spinning, along with the shepherds and the three wise men. The caganer is invariably found in a corner of the scene.

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Cholombians – Mexican Kids with Crazy Hair-Styles

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Picture this hairstyle – the back of the head shaved, with a rat tail left at the bottom. The hair at the top of the head cut short and spiky, always trimmed. Long emo bangs covering the forehead. The highlight of it all, long sideburns that start at the top of the head going all the way down to the chin. The side burns are literally glued to the cheeks with copious amounts of hair gel. And the finishing touch – a small cap perched neatly on top of the head.

Quite a sight, isn’t it? What I’ve just described to you is the Estilo Colombiano, the hairstyle adopted by the Cholombians of Monterrey in northern Mexico. They are quite well known for their meticulous style of dressing, and the pride they take in their cultural heritage. The cumbia, music brought over from Colombia, is something they are equally famous for. The people of Monterrey have been in love with this music ever since the 1960s. Several Cholombian street vendors sell trinkets that are imported from Colombia – paintings, key chains, flags, hats, t-shirts and bumper stickers, but the most popular of the items are mixed tapes of cumbia. The cumbia of Monterrey has developed a style of it’s own.

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Lensless Glasses – Asia’s Crazy Fashion Trend

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The grass is always greener on the other side, to quote the cliche. Those who have glasses don’t want them, and those who don’t, will wear them with no lenses!

This is the latest fad in Hong Kong and several other Asian countries. It’s common to find people sporting empty plastic frames, in a variety of bright colors that match their outfit or their hair. It might confuse you as to why anyone who didn’t have to wear glasses would want to. But they seem to have reasons of their own. According to popular radio host Chu Fun, the empty glasses are great because they match her outfits, but they are also practical. When she doesn’t have time to put on makeup, the lensless glasses are great to cover up dark circles, she says. They also don’t blind her by fogging, or get stuck to false eyelashes or mascara. Chu has four pairs already, in black, pink, red and purple.

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Designer Creates Shirt That’s More Expensive Than a Car

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The Royals of ancient times wore clothes that were studded with precious stones and metals. Now you can too, if you are ready to pay an arm and a leg, that is. Or just five million rupees ($97,500).

This pricey shirt was created by an Indian designer, Amitabh Chandel. A descendant of a royal family himself, he says he wanted to create a shirt suitable for today’s royalty. What makes the shirt so expensive is the fine silk it’s made of, and the diamond buttons, set in gold. The shirt is in fact part of an entire collection, the price range starting at around 50,000 Rupees ($950). He says that modern royal men, as well as commoners are welcome to place orders for the shirts. Mr. Chandel says claims these shirts are a perfect blend of the practical and the royal. Since traditional royal attire cannot be worn every day, these shirts allow a sense of richness to pervade regular clothing.

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