Russian Powerlifter Climbs Mount Elbrus with 75 Kilogram Barbell on His Back

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Lots of mountain climbers have scaled Mount Elbrus – Europe’s highest peak (5642 m) – but no one has quite managed to do it like Russian powerlifter Andrey Rodichev. He recently became the first person in the world the climb the mountain while carrying a 75-kg barbell on his back!

That’s a decent load for most people to lift even at the gym, but Rodichev managed it in the most grueling of conditions. What he’s essentially done is combine two very different sports – trekking, which requires amazing endurance, and powerlifting, which requires short bursts of pure muscle power. While the former requires lighter body weight, the latter demands that athletes bulk up. By fusing the two, Rodichev managed to set a new athletic standard.  

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Meet Baddie Winkle, the Internet’s Coolest-Dressing Octogenarian

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Lots of people believe in dressing for their age, but Tennessee-based Helen Van Winkle does not subscribe to such hogwash. The 87-year-old sports outrageously loud outfits with peculiar prints and posts photographs of herself on her Instagram account – ‘Baddie Winkle’. With over 1.5 million Instagram followers, she has become the internet’s most popular grandma. Her account is followed by celebs like Miley Cyrus, Nicole Richie, Beyoncé, Drake, and Rihanna. She was even photographed with Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards a few weeks ago.

“I don’t feel old,” she told online magazine Refinery29. “I have never felt old. I think you can dress any way you want to.” At age 87, it looks like she’s got more spunk in her than most kids one quarter her age!

But believe it or not, the spirited Winkle was a mess a few years ago, after the deaths of her husband and her son. “You don’t know what’s going to happen to you,” she said of her loss. “I blamed God forever. I cried all the time because I couldn’t come to terms with it.”

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Guy Quits Job to Train for Breaking World Record for Most Selfies in an Hour

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When 24-year-old Bhanu Prakash, from Hyderabad, India, realised that his job was eating into his precious selfie-time, he decided to quit working altogether. He now spends all his time taking pictures of himself, and training to break the world record for most selfies in an hour. The record currently belongs to American football player Patrick Peterson, who managed to click himself 1,449 times!

Bhanu, who studied pharmacy in college, was working as a research assistant at a hospital in Hyderabad. He was already into the selfie trend big time, ever since his brother got him a smartphone with a front-facing camera, three years ago. “Almost the first thing I did when I got the phone in my hands was click a picture,” he recalled.

But his obsession reached new heights in May this year, when he overheard a conversation between a few kids on a bus – they were talking about Dwayne Johnson’s feat of clicking 105 selfies in three minutes. “It immediately struck me that it was a guy who did this,” Bhanu said. “I mean, people keep saying selfie is a very girly thing, but here Dwayne Johnson was doing it. And I knew I was up for it now.”

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Believe It or Not, the Last Audio Cassette Factory in the US Is Doing Better Than Ever

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I haven’t seen audio cassettes in use in over a decade, so it’s pretty shocking that a company is still making a profit manufacturing them. In fact, National Audio Company (NAC) – the last audio cassette maker in America – has had its best year since it opened in 1969!

The tapes are apparently high on nostalgic value, and that’s why they’re still flying off the shelves. And NAC’s stubbornness in not quitting when the other manufacturers did has finally payed off. “You can characterise our operating business model as stubbornness and stupidity,” NAC president Steve Stepp said. “We were too stubborn to quit.”

“Probably the thing that really enlarged our business at a faster pace than anything is the retro movement,” he added. “There’s the nostalgia of holding the audio cassette in your hand.”

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Chiara Vigo – The World’s Last “Sea Silk” Seamstress

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The ancient Italian art of spinning ‘sea silk’ is all but lost, save for one woman who still knows how to produce the incredibly rare, almost magical fabric. While modern silk is spun from silkworms, Chiara Vigo can harvest the saliva of a rare variety of clam and spin it into a shiny, gold-like material called byssus.

Legend has it that byssus was the cloth that God instructed Moses to lay on the first altar. It is believed to be the finest fabric known to Egypt, Greece, and Rome. If treated properly with lemon juice and spices, the remarkable material shines when exposed to the sun. It is also incredibly light, so much so that the wearer cannot even feel it touching the skin. It is said to be as thin as a spider web, resistant to water, acids, and alcohols.

Vigo gathers the raw material required to weave the cloth every spring – she goes out diving early in the morning to cut the solidified saliva of a large clam, the Pinna Nobilis, an endangered fan-shaped species of mollusc that is native to the Mediterranean Sea bed. Vigo has mastered a special cutting technique that allows her to take the secreted material without killing the rare creature. 300 to 400 dives later, she is able to gather about 200 grams of material. 

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No Man’s Land – Kenya’s Women-Only Village

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Umoja is literally a no man’s land in Kenya – a matriarchal refuge where men are not allowed. The village, founded 25 years ago by Rebecca Lolosoli, is meant to be a safe haven for women and girls who want to escape abuse in the otherwise patriarchal society of the Samburu people, in northern Kenya.

Rebecca, a member of the Samburu tribe, now serves as the chief matriarch of ‘Umoja Usau Women’s Village’. Having witnessed occasional violence as a child, she slowly came to the conclusion that some of the traditional Samburu practices were inherently abusive towards women. So she began to speak out against these practices, in favour of widows, orphans, and victims of rape, female genital cutting, and forced marriage.

Rebecca’s outspoken attitude was met with a lot of resistance. Things got out of hand when she spoke up for a few women who were raped by British soldiers training nearby. Men in her village beat her up, and her husband did not protest on her behalf. So in 1990, she led a female exodus and started her own village.

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Chinese Primary School Replaces Nap Time With Meditation Session

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Most people will agree that nap time is one of the best things about kindergarten – which is why a Chinese primary school was severely criticized for trying to replace afternoon naps with meditation. The pilot meditation program at Shishan Shuben Primary School, in China’s Guangdong Province, ran for only two days before it was scrapped following a backlash. Parents apparently hated the idea, and the media reacted negatively to it as well.

According to news reports, notices were sent to parents before the new semester, informing them that the school was going to do away with mid-day naps and introduce guided meditation instead. When school started, the students were each given a piece of newspaper to sit on. They were then made to watch tutorial videos on how to meditate, featuring the school’s headmaster, Mr. Wu. Unfortunately, Wu’s directions did not have the intended effect – most of the students slept anyway. “He just keeps talking all the time and some of them have been falling asleep,” one little kid said.

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Scientist Hasn’t Bathed in 12 Years, Uses Bacteria Spray to Keep Clean

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In a bid to prove that showering is overrated, an American scientist hasn’t had a bath in 12 years. Instead, he sprays his skin with a mist containing live bacteria, which he claims has kept him clean all these years!

Dave Whitlock, a chemical engineer and MIT graduate, says that there is no basis for assuming that bathing is a healthy practice. “No one did clinical trials on people taking showers every day,” he said. “I have not taken a shower in 12 years.” In fact, he says that the chemicals in our soaps and shampoos have destroyed all the friendly bacteria that once inhabited our skin and kept us clean.

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Strange Condition Causes 30-Year-Old Man to Look Decades Older

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Although he’s only 30, Yuan Taiping from Chongqing in southwest China, looks like an 80-year-old man. He suffers from a bizarre medical condition that’s caused his skin to age prematurely. He’s visited numerous doctors, but no one has been able to find him a cure so far.

Yuan, who works as a manager at a construction company, looked normal until the age of 20. But then he noticed changes on his face and body – he developed oedemas on his arms and legs and deep lines on his face. At first he thought it was due to stress, but when wrinkles appeared on his forehead, he realised that something wasn’t right. So he decided to get medical help, but in spite of visiting countless hospitals and taking lots of medication in the past decade, nothing has worked.

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Pregnant Woman to Have Dolphin-Assisted Birth in the Ocean So the Baby Can Speak ‘Dolphin’

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UPDATE: The whole story below is nothing but a Big Media fabrication. Unfortunately, we fell for it being true without doing proper research, and for this we apologize to both Dorina Rosin and you, the readers. In a post on her blog, Dorina clarifies everything in great detail, but long story short, she never intended to have a dolphin-assisted birth, and actually had the baby on dry ground, assisted by a human midwife. The only support provided by the dolphins was a spiritual one. Dorina says she has always been aware of the dangers posed by a dolphin assisted birth, especially in the ocean, and has been upset by all the negative feedback she has gotten as a result of this FALSE story spreading on the internet. It’s truly unfortunate and unfair, as she seems like a decent, down-to-earth person who really didn’t deserve this. Again, you have our sincerest apologies!

A Hawaii couple might be taking their quest for a natural childbirth too far – they’ve decided to deliver the baby in the ocean, surrounded by dolphins! Dorina Rosin and her husband Maika Suneagle claim to be “dolphin people” and believe that their baby will be able to “speak dolphin” after the birth.

It sounds bizarre, but as it turns out, dolphin-assisted births are really a thing. The trend has been around for a few years now, and it appears to be gaining popularity. The idea apparently sprung from immersion or water births that are quite popular the world over. But couples aren’t satisfied with just water any more – they want to be surrounded by friendly dolphins as well.

According to the Sirius Institute in Hawaii, which runs a dedicated dolphin-attended birth centre, the idea is quite “reasonable”. Their website states: “Since birthing in water is beneficial, and dolphins are able to heal or improve a wide range of medical conditions, it is reasonable to suppose that their presence at water births could be beneficial.”

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You Can Rest in Peace on the Moon for $12,000

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You might not make it to heaven in the afterlife, but you sure can go as far as the moon. Celestial funerals are now a possibility, thanks to San Francisco startup Elysium Space. For a ginormous fee of about $12,000, the company will privately transport your cremated remains to the moon!

Founded by former NASA engineer Thomas Civeit, Elysium boasts of bringing space and funeral experts together to provide the unique service. “Families now have the historic opportunity to commemorate their departed loved ones every night through the everlasting splendour and soft illumination of the Earth’s closest companion: the moon,” they stated in a press release.

Although the company was founded in 2013, the service only offered in August of this year, after Elysium managed to seal a deal with space logistics company Astrobotic Technology. They’re currently taking orders, and the first batch of ashes will travel to the moon on Griffin Lander spacecraft – Astrobotic’s inaugural lunar mission – in 2017.

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How Big Busted Mannequins in Venezuela Are Changing the Country’s Perception of Beauty

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With one in three Venezuelan women opting for breast enlargement procedures, it actually isn’t surprising that store mannequins in the nation now feature augmented busts as well.

According to a New York Times report, plastic surgery is so common in Venezuela that women freely talk about their operations. Even low income women save up to get operated and become what is now considered normal. Mannequin manufacturers claim that they simply had to catch up with these women, or risk bankruptcy. Many factories were in fact struggling to make ends meet until they decided to redesign their mannequins to reflect the nation’s changing beauty standards.

Mannequin factory owner Eliezer Alvarez did just that a few years back – he created a new kind of mannequin with a “bulging bosom and cantilevered buttocks, a wasp waist and long legs,” and experienced an immediate boost in sales. “The mannequins were natural just like the women were natural, (but now) the transformation has been both of the women and of the mannequin,” said Nereida Corro, Alvarez’s wife and business partner.

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Japan’s New Girl Band Has an Average Age of 84

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KBG84 is a one-of-a-kind girl band in Japan consisting of 33 singing and dancing grannies, with an average age of 84. The oldest member, Haru Yamashiro, is 97 years old!

The new band, based in the remote island of Kohama in Okinawa, is a huge hit in the country – so much so that the members are rather taken aback by their success. Their first single – titled Come on and Dance, Kohama Island – has made it to the top of the  charts, and they’ve just completed a sellout tour of Japan.

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World’s First ‘Blood Rave’ To Spray Party-Goers with Gallons of Real Blood on Halloween

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A nightclub in Amsterdam is getting ready to host the world’s first ‘blood rave’ this Halloween, with real blood! According to media reports, Dutch partygoers will be sprayed with gallons of blood from an overhead sprinkler system, based on the opening scene of the 1998 vampire film Blade.

The event’s official Facebook page states: “Blood Rave is a night-life community for likeminded individuals, on a discrete location in Amsterdam.” It also lists a link to an intro video (the scene from Blade), and another link to purchase tickets.

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Women in Hong Kong Are Trying to Lose Weight by Staring at the Sun

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Sun gazing is a bizarre new weight-loss trend in China – it has women staring directly at the sun, hoping to magically melt away the excess pounds!

The therapy, believed to be of European origin, suggests that looking at the sun will provide you with enough solar energy to substitute for calories from real food. So dieters are hoping that if they stare at the sun long enough, they could skip eating entirely.

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