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World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia

Canadian Jean Guy Laquerre , a 74-year-old former geography teacher, is the proud owner of the World’s Largest Collection of Santa Claus Memorabilia.

Laquerre became addicted to Santa Claus memorabilia after his aunt gifted him with a beautiful 20th century papier-mache Santa Claus figure, over two decades ago. “It awakened the child in me” he says, but his fascination for Santa soon turned into an uncontrollable obsession. This “Santaphilia”, as he calls it, started back in 1988, and in the next 22 years he managed to put together an impressive collection numbering 25,139 items.

Laquerre confesses it is hard for him to restrain from buying more Santa stuff, “I can’t stop myself entirely, but I do restrain my urges. I surprise myself when I go into a store and I don’t buy any new ones…it’s because I just don’t have any more room for more figurines.” They are everywhere…and in every form imaginable, from jolly-dancing Santas to table-cloths, cushions, blankets, albums, and even a toilet-seat cover.

Although his name was listed in the Guinness Book of records in 2009, he broke the record in 2004 with this impressive collection.  “A Texas woman held the record for 30 years.  She had 1,039 items. It was time that I came along and broke the record.”

It is clear that he is very fond not only of his entire collection, but of every piece in particular as he is very meticulous in arranging and classifying them, every year. He is very hopeful that one day this will all be displayed in a museum, although his home on Christmas can already be perceived as a private Santa Claus museum.

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Rare Brain Disease Makes Woman Fearless

Haunted houses, cockroaches or any kind of bugs for that matter, snakes, you name it, there’s nothing in this world that will freak this woman out.

I can’t even imagine what it would be like to never experience fear, but there is someone out there who really is fearless, due to a rare disorder, called the Urbach-Wiethe disease, which destroyed a part of her brain called the amygdala, where researchers believe the feeling of fear is born. A 44-year-old woman, whose identity hasn’t been revealed for reasons of confidentiality, suffering from this rare disease, has become a case study for researchers at the University of Iowa.

Scientists have tried everything to provoke her fear – spiders, live snakes, tours of haunted houses – but nothing seems to work. As a matter of fact, she has been exposed to very dangerous and scary situations in her day to day life, for example being held at gun point or knife point, or even life threatening domestic violence, but none of it caused her to be afraid. While it may sound like some cool superpower, her lack of fear and response can also be very dangerous for her as it comes with a lack of preservation instinct.

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India Displays Most Impressive Cake Ever, in Bangalore

I’ve always been a big fan of cool cakes, but the one Indian chefs have just created, in Bangalore city, really takes the cake.

Showcased during the 36th Annual Cake Exhibition, the sweet replica of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is definitely this year’s star of the show. It’s made out of approximately five tons of sugar, and at 22 feet long and 14 feet wide, it’s about to enter the record books as the biggest cake ever made in India. A team of chefs and food artists have been working around the clock to get this perfect replica of the iconic Mumbai hotel ready in time for Christmas, as a tribute to the landmark attacked by terrorists, in 2008.

The impressive-looking cake can be admired between December 17 – 27, during the cake show, in Bangalore.

 

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Urine Injections Are The Latest In Weight Loss Diets

If you thought you knew everything there is to know about weight loss, think again. The latest news state that urine injections are bound to get you fit, in no time.

It’s a very controversial matter that has been around for years, frequently used by MD allergists, because of it’s allergenic content, even before before the pharmaceutical industry started preparing allergens. “Reinvented”, this urine treatment has come back to life. Sheryl Paloni started using this strange diet in June and already lost 43 pounds and around 30 inches. Paloni says “Physically I feel better. I feel light on my feet.”

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Dolls Compete in Miss Barbie Beauty Pageant

Do you remember how much you loved giving your dolls make-overs, when you were a little girl? Well, that wasn’t as childish an activity as you might have  thought – doll-obsessed grown-ups compete during Miss Barbie beauty pageants, every year.

This one’s no joke, folks, people actually go out of their way to come up with trendy outfits and makeup for their dolls, in the hope of winning a doll beauty pageant. And in order to qualify for the global contest – Miss Barbie Universe – first they have to win national events, like the one recently hosted in Venezuela. Before entering the stage and facing the judges, dolls go through the same preparations as real models: they have their hair brushed, get original hair-dos, try out their dresses and go through make-up sessions.

Contestants in the Miss Barbie beauty pageants have their own names, body measurements and even made-up professions that help impress the judges. I’m not sure what the actual prize is for winning this offbeat beauty contest, but I’m sure it doesn’t even begin to compare to the pride of the doll’s owner.

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Vladimir Putin Museum Opens in Russia

No, you didn’t misread the title, a museum centered on Russia’s controversial president prime minister has been set up in Strelna, near Sankt Petersburg.

Apparently, this small museum dedicated to Vladimir Putin is set up on one of the upper floors of Lindstrom Villa, an iconic structure that hosted the 2006 G-8 summit. The villa was leased to Konstaninovsky Co., owned by Oleg Rudnov, the boss of most of Sankt Petersburg’s media outlets, and a close friend of Putin. In return, Rudnov decided to turn one of the villa floors into a museum honoring Russia’s former president and current prime minister.

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Parker Brothers Choppers Creates Real Life Functional Tron Lightcycle

The designers of Parker Brothers Choppers have managed to turn the iconic CGI Tron Lightcycle into a real, rideable motorcycle.

While it may look impossible to ride in real life, Parker Brothers Choppers managed to create a real life replica able to reach speeds of up to 120 miles per hour. The 8-feet-long, 23-inches-wide and 215-kilograms-heavy masterpiece looks exactly like the space-age bike featured in Tron, it’s powered by a present day TL1000R motor that powers the chain driven friction drive system.

At first, the guys just wanted to see if they could build it, but as the videos of the build process they posted on YouTube went viral, it turned into a serious project. 800,000 people viewed the test drive of the Tron Lighcycle, and all the media coverage attracted the attention of Disney, who now wants to use the bike at promotional event for their new motion picture.

The real life Lightcycle is just a prototype, but Parker Brothers Choppers is currently working on another four lightcycles. Sadly, if you were thinking of buying one of these babies, you should know four of them are already spoken for, so that just leaves a single one for Tron fanboys to fight over. According to the Florida-based motorcycle manufacturer, a real life lightcycle sells for $55,000.

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Great Walker Completes Journey Across the Great Wall

Robert Loken, a 42-year-old Norwegian engaged in the journey of a life time, following his 21-year-old dream of walking across China’s Great Wall, has finally achieved his goal.

Robert Loken sold his house, quit his job and embarked on his trip with nothing else but the courage and ambition of conquering the Great Wall. It did not matter whether he would be the first to do it or the fastest, so he took his time and just started walking. His incredible journey began last April from Gansu province’s Jiayuguan, the Wall’s western most point, and ended 601 days and 6,000 km later, on Dec. 2nd, in the eastern most point, in Liaoning province’s Dandong.

All this time he had to face temperatures raging from -22C to 40C, scorpions or snakes, but as Robert himself admits, it was all as he imagined it would be. There were definitely some difficult moments, to say the least, one of them being when Robert blacked out for two hours due to high fever, while crossing the snowdrifts in rural Shanxi province. Luckily he had managed to put up his tent beforehand. “If I had lost consciousness, I would have frozen to death in the snow.” He also had to cope with dehydration, scorpions under his tent, snakes, wild dogs chasing him, but he never once thought about giving up. You would think isolation was a big issue as well, but Robert says that although he was physically alone, he always considered the Wall as being his companion “When I went in a town to stock up on food or relax, I would always greet the Great Wall as a friend when I come back.” Keeping a blog was also very helpful and “inspirational”.

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Fan Builds M.A.S.H. Set in His Own Backyard

M.A.S.H. was one of the best TV series ever, and everybody loved it, but Kraw27 took his passion for M.A.S.H. to a whole other level when he decided to build a replica of the show in his backyard.

Trying to create replicas of the Swamp or Hawkeye’s tent is commendable enough, but he managed to create an almost perfect replica of the 70s series set, complete with an old Jeep and a military ambulance just like the original one. Hawkeye’s tent is exact in every detail, but Kraw27 managed to hide some modern conveniences in the decor, like a TV, mini fridge and CD player, and says it’s the best place to play poker on Thursday nights.

This is simply awesome, and if this guy isn’t already working as a set designer, someone should make him an offer, fast.

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World’s Most Expensive Christmas Tree Is Worth $11 Million

An $11 million Christmas tree may seem incredible, but the simple fact  that it was put up in the lobby of a 7 star hotel  in United Arab Emirates makes it a little more believable. According to Hans Olbertz, general manager of the Emirates Palace Hotel, this is the world’s most expensive Christmas tree.

But what makes a Christmas tree worth $11 million. Well, it appears its immense value is given by the fact that instead of traditional ornaments, the tree is decorated with very expensive jewelry draping around it’s branches, along with a few gold and silver bows and some lights.

The artificial Christmas tree standing at over 13ft tall had an initial value of only $10,000, but the sum kept rising as gold, pearls, diamonds, sapphires and other precious stones provided by Style Gallery, were being added. There are now 181 jewels decorating the world’s most expensive Christmas tree.

Maybe the idea of an $ 11million Christmas tree wouldn’t seam that out of the ordinary if you knew that the Emirates Palace Hotel is offering a seven days package at the price of “just” $ 1million, which includes a luxurious car and a private plane at the disposal of the guest.

The owners of the luxurious Abu Dhabi hotel are planning to contact the Guinness Book of Records about their creation.

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Cyber Granny – World’s Oldest Facebooker

She’s two months away from her 104th birthday but age isn’t an impediment for Lillian Lowe, the world’s oldest Facebook user.

Lillian Lowe, from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, south Wales, may be a grandmother and great-grandmother at 103, but she is still young-at-heart and her online adventure on Facebook is proof of that. After 104-year-old Ivy Bean died in June, Lillian has become the oldest of over 500 million users of the popular social network.

Her grandson Steve is the one responsible with wetting her up with a Facebook account and he’s also the one who lent her his iPad, but she is planning to replace it with a newer version, seeing that she’s also up to date in terms of  gadgets, as she admits herself “At the moment I use my grandson’s iPad but I am very hopeful to get one of my own, there are some great new models out at the moment.”

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Dog Cinema Lets You Take Your Pooch to the Movies

Vienna’s Admiral Cinema has opened its doors to man’s best friend, through a once-a-month “Doggy Day Promotion” that lets dog owners take their pets with them, to the movies.

In order to lure people away from the Lugner City Kino multiplex that opened nearby, the 90-year-old Admiral Cinema decided to become more appealing to dog owners, by allowing them to bring their pets inside the cinema. That may seem a little extreme, but it might just pay off, considering many dog lovers don’t go anywhere without their pampered pooches.

Once a month, dogs get free admission inside the cinema, as well as soft seat blankets, fresh water and tasty treats, including popcorn and mince pies. As far as the actual movie presentation is concerned, the only real difference from a normal movie is that the volume is turned down a bit, as not to hurt animals’ ears. While all the dogs seem interested in the movie, it just takes one of them to bark and they all join in. That’s when the real show starts.

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant to Become Official Tourist Attraction

The Ukrainian government has announced the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site will be included in a full scale tourist program.

I know it sounds weird, but tourists have been visiting Chernobyl through unofficial tourism programs, for several years. Authorities are just trying to make things official, so they can actually cash out on the interest people have in the famous contaminated zone. Oddly enough, the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency will be in charge of operating tours, and although they guarantee every measure will be taken to insure tourists’ safety, Chernobyl isn’t really as safe as they’ll have you think.

On April 26, 1986, reactor number 4 of the local nuclear power station exploded, causing the greatest nuclear disaster in the history of mankind (not counting the ones caused by US nuclear bombs in Japan). A perimeter of 30 miles around the epicenter was closed up to the public, to prevent radioactive contamination, maintained by thousands of technicians, to reduce exposure to radiation. While the catastrophe happened almost a quarter of a century ago, the area around the power station is still very dangerous, especially since the remaining three nuclear reactors have not been shut down, and the shield placed over reactor 4 has been steadily deteriorating, under pressure from within. A new, improved “sarcophagus”, big enough to cover the Statue of Liberty and weighing 20,000 tons, will be ready in 2012.

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Christmas Tree Lights Powered by a Bunch of Electric Eels

People are definitely becoming more and more concerned about the environment, also more inventive. Looking for ways to save up energy, the staff of the Helsinki Sea Life Center aquarium in Finland, discovered they had a  totally free energy source living right in their fish tanks – electric eels.

“Our electrician built a device that uses four plastic-encased steel probes to capture the eel’s electrical discharge and feed it to the lights. At feeding time though, it really powers up. You can hear the voltage increasing and the lights shine bright and steady.” explains Markus Dernjatin – from the Helsinki Sea Life Center in Finland.

These deadly deep sea creatures can produce an amount of electrical energy sufficient to light up more than one Christmas tree – around 650 volts. At the same time, the high voltage is enough to kill a grown man…

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Giant Frosty the Snowman Built in Poland

It has been snowing for quite some time in Poland and with all that “raw material” at hand ,three inhabitants of  Trzebnica city, Poland started building a snowman. The problem is they didn’t know when to stop.

The 31ft giant, named Milocinek, was finished after 6 days of work and is now the pride and joy of the city, which is pretty normal, if you believe the rumors that this is not just the largest snowman in Poland, but  also the largest in the world. I hate to break it to them, but this doesn’t even come close to beating the record for the world’s largest snowman.  Milocinek is so large they had to use a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone for his nose, instead of the usual carrot.

Although the three men who built Milocinek started of out of pure boredom, they became more and more enthusiastic as their work progressed., and didn’t stop until they realized their snowman was taller than pretty much all the surrounding houses. In fact, Milocinek is so large they had to use a barrel for a hat and a traffic cone for his nose, instead of the usual carrot.

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