Bavarian Villagers Build Church Entirely Out of Snow

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A church built entirely out of snow and ice – sounds magical, and looks pretty too. It was built this year in the Bavarian forest by the villagers of Mitterfirmiansreut, Germany. Located close to the Czech border, the church is bathed in a beautiful blue light. It was opened to public on Wednesday evening, blessed by Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser. Although the villagers had hoped to have it open before Christmas, the lack of sufficient snow caused a delay in their project.

The snow church was constructed in commemoration of a similar church built in 1911, exactly 100 years ago. The older one was actually a sign of protest. In those days, the nearest church was in Mauth, a 90-minute hike away, which wasn’t always easy to complete. The residents of the secluded Mitterfirmiansreut village then came up with the idea to build the snow church, in the hope that it would draw attention to their plight. The winter of 1910/1911 was rich in snow, and the construction of the church began in Feb, 1911. Both men and women worked hard to place blocks of solid snow bricks, building a strong and sturdy church. The final structure was 14m long , 7m wide and 4m high. The first worship was held on the 28th of March, 1911.

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Snorting Crushed Candy, a Growing Trend Among Sugar-Loving Teens

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It’s amazing, the new things that kids these days keep coming up with. It’s also quite disturbing. The latest trend among students in the US is “Smoking Smarties”. The term refers to the crushing and inhalation of certain types of candy. This has become a cause of concern among drug educators.

The students, who are often in middle school, crush candy such as Smarties or make use of powered candy such as Pixy Stix. Powder drink packets such as Kool Aid are also widely used. They snort the powder into their noses. Some of them even inhale the powder from a packet directly through their mouths, blowing out fine granules that look just like smoke through their nostrils. It’s their own way of imitating smokers.

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Colombian City Inaugurates Giant Outdoor Escalator

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The last time we spoke about the Colombian city of Medellin here on OC, it was about the tours based on the life of deceased drug-lord Pablo Escobar. Now the city is in the news again, for an entirely different reason. The residents of Medellin who have long been victims of war and urban violence have a reason to cheer – a giant outdoor escalator worth $6.7 million, installed by the Colombian Government. It was unveiled on Monday.

Comuna 13 is a relatively poor hillside neighborhood in Medellin, whose residents have to make a 35-minute hike uphill every single day to get home from the center of the city. This is roughly equivalent to climbing 28 flights of stairs. Now, thanks to the initiative of the Colombian officials, they do not have to make the exhausting journey any longer. The new escalator will allow residents to complete the trip home in just 6 minutes. What’s more, it’s completely free of cost.

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Olive – The First Cinema Film Shot with a Cell Phone

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It had to happen sooner or later. Olive is the world’s first feature film of cinematic-quality to be shot using a smartphone. The film was released in Santa Monica’s Nuart Theatre this week.

Olive is the first film of director Hooman Khalili. He shot the entire film with the Nokia N8 smartphone, which has a high-resolution camera. The camera was adapted with a 35-mm lens to give the film additional depth. The project was quite low on budget, costing just $500,000. It was partly funded by Chris Kelly, a Silicon Valley attorney and former Facebook executive. According to Kelly, films that are shot using smartphones are important because they give everyone access to creating high-quality content. In this context, Olive may just have marked the beginning of a change in the way the film industry functions. Kelly points out that with this kind of film-making, big studios wouldn’t control the industry anymore, and the very pricing and economics of making a film could change.

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Man Spends a Year Living as a Turkey to Prove They’re Not Dumb

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We’ve all heard the popular myth about turkeys being so stupid that they will look up at the rain and drown. Well, naturalist Joe Hutto’s year-long experiment living as a turkey proved it wrong, along with any other myths that suggest the stupidity of the bird. On the contrary, he says that turkeys are born with an “innate understanding of ecology” and have a complex vocabulary to communicate with each other.

Hutto, an ethologist who lives in Florida, has always been interested in the phenomenon of imprinting – in which young birds and animals identify the first moving object they encounter as a mother or a caregiver. So when a local farmer left a bowl-full of wild turkey eggs at Hutto’s doorstep, it was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. He began his scientific experiment by choosing to imprint himself as the mother turkey. Hutto placed the eggs in an incubator and waited for them to hatch. When the cracks began to appear, he had to act fast, since imprinting occurs only in the first few moments after hatching. He placed his face close to the eggs and when the first poult came out, there was immediate eye-contact and the establishment of a bond. “Something very unambiguous happened in that moment,” he said

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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.

Man Wins Lamborghini Murcielago, Crashes It in a Matter of Hours

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David Dopp was in the news last month, for winning a Lamborghini. Then again last weekend, for wrecking it.

Dopp, a resident of Santaquin, Utah, won a lime green Murcielago Roadster worth $380,000 at a giveaway contest held by Maverick store. Sometime last month, the official announcement was made by the contest organizers at a college football game. On learning that he had won the car, Dopp was jumping up and down excitedly, a spectacle that was videotaped and broadcast on the local news. He received the car last Saturday, and 6 hours later, had crashed it. ”Yeah, I got it on Saturday and I wrecked it on Saturday,” he said to local TV stations.

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Eat Like a Caveman at Berlin’s Sauvage Restaurant

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A new restaurant in Berlin insists upon feeding its customers with the food that cavemen devoured. So basically, no bread, sugar, or cheese on the menu.

The Sauvage Restaurant proudly announces their ’Real Food Revolution - Paleolithic cuisine!’ Guests are served dishes that contain ingredients most-likely used by hunter-gatherers. The owners of this place unsurprisingly adhere to the Paleolithic movement, which prescribes a lifestyle of a Paleo diet, lots of exercise, high contact with nature and sunlight, minimal clothing, plenty of sleep and spending a lot of time barefoot. Diners are served their meals at candle-lit tables. The food served consists of organic, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and herbs. Some of the exercises of the caveman-era are also mimicked by the owners such as  lifting boulders and running barefoot. To emulate the loss of blood that cavemen endured in their hunt for food, they regularly donate blood. These practices are recommended to guests as well, but they could just stick to the Paleo food if they wish.

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Beer Makes Its Way onto the Candy Market for the Holidays

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Chocolate has traditionally been seen as a gift appropriate for women. But here’s something that gives it a manly twist – beer flavored candy.

Beer has been used as a candy flavoring for quite some time now and is something that many chocolatiers are experimenting with. The earliest known beer candy was introduced around three years ago, by Nicole Green. Ms. Green is the proprietor of Truffle Truffle, an online confectioner. Their top-selling product is the “Beer and Pretzel Collection.” The collection consists of goodies such as the beer-and-pretzel truffles and caramels, beer brittle and beer marshmallows.

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Scottish Bar Serves Heart-Stopping Deep-Fried Butter

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We’ve heard of deep-fried Mars bars, ice-cream and butter that originated in the US. A Scottish Bar has now invented a new twist to deep-fried butter, something they say is quite popular with a few customers. Dubbed by some critics as a coronary on a plate and even a heart attack in the plate, this dish is being served at the Fiddler’s Elbow, perhaps for the first time ever in Scotland. The Scottish twist, being an Irn Bru batter.

The entire dish put together consists of the deep-fried butter balls, with an accompaniment of Irn Bru ice cream and coulis. The dish has been named quite aptly, as the “Braveheart Butter Bombs”. The folks at the Fiddler’s Elbow also plan to introduce a variation, using deep-fried whisky instead of Irn Bru. The head chef of the Scottish bar,  Simon Robertson, has been credited with the invention of this dish, along with the help of Paul Fitchie, a former chef at Harvey Nichols. The dessert is created by freezing balls of butter and then dipping them in an Irn Bru batter. These balls are then fried in hot oil, till the golden brown delicacies emerge.

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Couple Turn Their Home into Christmas Extravaganza

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With the holiday season in full swing, we’re hearing stories from everywhere about the crazy Christmas decorations that people put up. The latest addition to the news is a couple from Greenwood, Indiana, who have taken their home decorations to new heights, covering every single room in their home.

Nine years ago, Brandon Smith and Dennis Guyette started off by decorating a few trees each year, as a hobby. Now, they’ve transformed their hobby into a full-fledged tourist attraction. They say that the people who loved their work encouraged them to keep adding more, and open their home for public view. Overall, there are 68 Christmas trees in their house, each one decorated with a different theme. The decorations extend into each and every room, even the kitchen and the bathroom. They look for and purchase Christmas decorations from all over the country, and when they’re finished, visitors are allowed every December from 6 to 10 pm. They do not charge an entry fee. The neighbors love them, and their holiday hobby. They’re used to seeing a long line of cars parked outside every year, but they don’t mind it in the least.

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English Vicar Raps Nativity Story

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Now here’s an extremely interesting and catchy version of the Nativity Story. For those of you who feel that the traditional ways of telling the story have become rather monotonous, an English Vicar from Devon has made a rap song out of it. The video put up online has already been watched thousands of times.

40-year old Reverend Gavin Tyte gets it just right, as he raps the story of Jesus’s birth to a beatbox backing. The song is called ‘The Beatbox Nativity.’ The video clip is three-and-a-half minutes long. For the video, Reverend Tyte dresses up in three different costumes – a shepherd, an angel, and himself, as the narrator. The song goes on to describe the entire story of the birth of Jesus, in perfect rap. He says he has been beatboxing since the age of 8 and was even a professional performer before be was ordained. The Reverend has been in the company of rappers for a long time, but he admits it was a little tricky to create a rhyme out of each and every verse. ”You are constrained by what is written and what sounds good, so it does not flow as well as if you were rapping from scratch.”

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