Cyclist Rides Bicycle Backwards for 24 Hours, Covers 337 Kilometers

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Australian Andrew Hellinga recently set a new Guinness Record after riding his bicycle for 337km backwards in a 24 hour challenge to raise money for the poverty-stricken children of Zambia.

Hellinga started the marathon on October 7th at 6 a.m. and made just one brief stop to mark the 182 km milestone that made him the new Guinness world record holder for the longest distance traveled while cycling backwards. “I had to stop for a quick rest and to share the excitement with my support crew,” he said. After a quick celebration, he continued this difficult challenge hoping to make it to 300km within the 24-hour limit. Not only did he pull through and reached the 300km milestone, but he cycled for another few dozen kilometers, covering a staggering distance of 337km.  After withstanding the ever-changing weather, he ended the lengthy ride with a smile on his face.

Andrew-Hellinga

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Martha Mason – The Woman Who Spent 61 Years Immobilized in an Iron Lung

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Martha Mason was an extraordinary human being who spent over 60 years of her life in immobilized in an Iron Lung after becoming paralyzed in her childhood years as a result of polio. Despite her seemingly desperate situation, Martha lived a fulfilling life, graduating from high-school and college with the highest honors, hosting many dinner parties and even writing a book called  “Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung”, in which she portrayed the challenges and joys of her life.

Martha was born on May 31, 1937, in Lattimore, a small town about 50 miles from Charlotte. Her story took a tragic urn when she was only 11 years old, after the death of her brother Gaston who had suffered from a terrible condition which left him paralyzed before eventually killing him. After his burial, young Martha realized she had also contracted the dangerous viral illness but kept it to herself as not to distress her parents even more. “I knew that I had polio. I didn’t want anyone else to know,” she wrote in her book. “The day before I had heard Mother talking to a friend about the iron lung Gaston had been in. . . . I knew I wouldn’t have that difficulty because I had excellent lungs.” But soon she  too found herself  immobilized in the iron lung, dependent on it to do the breathing for her. “Iron lung” is only a colloquial term used to describe a pressure ventilator, a type of medical device which helps paralyzed people breathe by decreasing and increasing air pressure inside of a large iron tank. Ms. Mason has lived almost her entire life in such a tank with the pressure contracting and expanding her lungs when her weak muscles couldn’t. Doctors told Martha’s parents to take her home and make her happy for a year, as that was how long she had left to live. She outlived them both thanks to an avid curiosity and a desire to learn about the world.

Martha-Mason

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Man Claims Diluted Venom Injections Have Made Him Immune to Snake Bites

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Tim Friede, an unemployed factory worker and snake enthusiast, is a strong believer in the saying “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.  In an attempt to build immunity to venoms and poisons, he has been injecting himself with diluted venom proteins from some of the deadliest snakes on Earth. He claims that as much as 100 snakes have sank their poisonous fangs into his flesh, including a black mamba which can kill a person in under 20 minutes.

His experiments aim to prove that humans can become immune to poisonous substances by gradually exposing the body to snake venom. Each time he injects the venom, his body produces more and more antibodies to eliminate the harmful substance. By doing this, he hopes to generate the necessary research needed to create a stronger and more efficient antivenin. “I hope through developing my own resistance to poison some solid groundwork can be laid to build a vaccine for the 125,000 people that die from snakebite every year,” Tim explains. So far he’s proven that his body can indeed withstand toxic quantities of snake venom. Numerous pictures and videos show him being bitten by the lethal serpents with him surviving every time. His trials do have some side effects including life-threatening allergic reactions that cause the bitten hand to swell up and deep puncture marks left by the sharp fangs.

Tim-Friede-snakes

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Being Homeless Ain’t Cheap: Guy Offers Three-Day Homeless Experience for $2,000

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“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” One man took this saying literally when he decided to give the ultimate homeless experience to anyone curious to see what  it’s like to live on the streets of Seattle and willing to pay $2,000 for it.

Mike Momany was a freelance computer programmer conducting his business from an RV when he began to notice that living in Seattle was becoming a luxury. Inspired by the ever-rising costs of the big cities and the minimalist movement, he took two months off in the summer of 2013 to see what it was like not having  a roof over his head. After experiencing life as a homeless himself,  Mike decided to allow other privileged people who still had a home do the same by giving them a three-day “Course in Applied Homelessness”, as he calls it. Before the start of the actual homelessness course, Momany insists upon a preliminary interview to assess his and the participant’s compatibility and to make sure that the person knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into. If all goes well, the tour begins with different activities planned for each of the three days. On the first day, the participant will be given a new persona along with a disguise tat will give them that genuine homeless look. They will then cruise around town vising all the “favored homeless spots” before retiring for the night in a homeless shelter. The shelter Momany is currently working with does not allow ladies, making him unable to share the lifestyle with women (he plans on changing this soon). For the second day, he suggests trying “panhandling or sleeping on a park bench” to get a real feel of how people view the homeless. After some more sightseeing, it’s time for free meals and after trying the Fare Start chef program, the tour ends with a night stroll until 3 a.m. and cocktails in the morning to discuss and celebrate having gone through the homeless experience.

homelessness-experience

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The Voynich Manuscript, Also Known as World’s Most Mysterious Book

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Featuring rudimentary depictions of plants illustrated in aged colors and written in a language system that has yet to be deciphered, The Voynich Manuscript is the world’s most mysterious book.

In order to pay for the restoration of their college, the Italian Jesuits of Villa Mondragone gave Wilfrid Voynich, an antique book dealer, an old manuscript written in an odd language that no one was able to identify or understand. With this valuable acquisition, Voynich also received a list of its ownership history dating back to the 17th century, which made the book even more impressive. Its description read: “The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (1576-1612) who purchased it for 600 gold ducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon. It is very likely that Emperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee (1527-1608). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of other Roger Bacon manuscripts”. The book remained in Voynich’s possession from 1912 to 1969, before being added to the collection at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Apart from the undecipherable text, Voynich’s manuscript contains colorful botanical illustrations which are very similar to what we know from modern science, but which do not entirely resemble any distinguishable plant. There are also other cosmological and astrological depictions, as well as some drawings of naked women bathing together in small receptacles. This has led some scientists to believe that the book is sectioned into several chapters including: botanical, astrological, medical, biological, cosmological and pharmaceutical.  Despite several attempts to decipher the manuscript, the meaning of the text itself or the the lovely naked ladies remain a mystery to this day.

Voynich-manuscript

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Cheating Husband Asks for 10,000 Facebook Likes to Win Wife’s Forgiveness

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A thousand roses, boxes of chocolates, diamond necklaces, expensive shoes and cars. These are just some of the many ways men have tried to earn their spouses’ forgiveness after having cheated on them. Meet Ivan Lewis, the cheater, and Sonya Gore, the mastermind behind her husband’s unique and very public display of affection.

Lewis and Gore got married in 2010 but split after only 10 months because of Lewis’ constant cheating. After some time apart, during which Lewis reflected on what he had done, the guy decided to put an end to his unfaithful ways and do everything in his power to get Gore to forgive him. On September 22, he proposed to her publicly on his Facebook wall. Although many people were touched by his gesture, Gore wasn’t too impressed. He then posted a picture of himself holding a piece of paper which read “I cheated on my wife!!! (and she was ugly!!!)”, stating that he needed 10,000 likes in order for Gore to take him back. His plea was generally well received but there was a good amount of criticism as well: “My man wouldn’t have to show and prove it on fb! So, I’m probably one on the number who wouldn’t care for that!!”, Facebook user Latoya Holiday wrote. “Well if she was ugly why’d you do it? Men always think the grass is greener on the other side, this is a lesson learned if she takes you back and if she does this should never come up again because once you forgive someone you can’t keep back tracking, move forward and keep God first, I hope yall make it work !” another user posted.

cheating-husband

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Meet the Guy Who Makes a Living by Cuddling with Strangers

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We are living in an era of technology when direct human interaction is becoming more and more infrequent. If it weren’t for their jobs, many people wouldn’t even interact with others every day, relying solely on social networks, email, and text messaging services. But human interaction is not only about communicating messages; it is also about exploring our emotional nature, the importance of which is often forgotten.

According to numerous studies, physical contact is crucial to promote attachment between mother and infant but also to ensure the baby’s healthy physical, emotional and intellectual development. Adults also need physical contact to maintain their mental and emotional health which contribute to their overall happiness. It comes as no surprise that people like Jacqueline Samuel have found a way to service those in need of a cuddle or snuggle and make a living out of it. Travis Sigley is the father of professional cuddling. He studied psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and believes that through physical touch, people can learn to overcome the anxiety and fear that often accompanies social situations.  Through cuddling, Sigley hopes to teach people to relax and gain trust in themselves as well as in others.

Travis-Siegley

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Chinese Car-Accident Victim Has New Nose Grown on His Forehead

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Meet 22-year-old Xiaolian. He is not wearing some bizarre special effects makeup, that is actually a real nose growing on his forehead. As strange as it looks, this is apparently a pretty common nose reconstruction technique.

No too long ago, Xiaolian was involved in a car accident that damaged his nose. After he refused medical treatment, the wound became infected and in a few months time the bacteria had corroded the cartilage of the nose, making it impossible for doctors to save. But since we’re living in an age where medical miracles are possible, they decided to remove the infected tissue and grow the young man a new nose. This was done by by placing a skin tissue expander onto Xiaolian’s forehead, cutting it into the shape of a nose and planting a cartilage taken from his ribs. It’s taken Chinese doctors in Fuzhou, Fujian province, nine months to grow the nose, but it was worth it, because the organ developed perfectly and it’s almost ready to be shifted in it the place of Xiaolian’s original nose.

nose-on-forehead

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This Young Journalist Is Earning Her Engagement Ring by Making 300 Sandwiches for Her Boyfriend

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New York Post journalist, Stephanie Smith, truly believes the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. After her boyfriend told her she is 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring, Stephanie got cooking and started a blog to document her progress. She is currently at sandwich #176.

Stephanie says her relationship to her boyfriend, “Alexander Skarsgård look-alike” Eric, has always been centered on food. They met at a restaurant, he cooked her dinner on their second date, and they’ve hosted numerous dinner-parties together, so she knew how important food was to him. And there was nothing he liked more than sandwiches. “To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs. Or sex,” the young journalist says. The two New-Yorkers had been going steady for about a year and even moved into a cozy apartment together, but Stephanie was wondering what it would take for Eric to finally pop the big question. She found the answer one day, after she made him her her first a turkey on whole wheat bread, with mustard, lettuce and swiss cheese. “Honey,  this is the best sandwich ever!” Eric told her in between bites. When he was done, he dropped the bomb on her: “You’re, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.” That was it, the secret to the marriage proposal she had been dreaming of. Stephanie didn’t really know hot to cook, but she was willing to learn and she wasn’t one to back down from a challenge.

At Home with Stephanie Smith author of Blog 300 Sandwiches and

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Man Spends $65,000 on Macabre World Tour of Celebrity Graves

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For most people, an ideal holiday involves gorgeous natural surroundings, famous landmarks and fun activities, but for 38-year-old Mark Dabbs the perfect vacation is all about visiting celebrity graves. So far he has spent around £40,000 ($65,000) traveling across six continents and visiting the final resting places of over 200 famous people.

From the grave of kung-fu legend, Bruce Lee, in Seattle, to the glass coffin of communist leader Mao Tze-Tung, in Beijing, Mark Dabbs, a male nurse from England, has trekked every continent, except Antarctica, in search of famous tombs. He say it all began 20 years ago, when he visited the final resting place of American president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in Virginia, USA. He just found it fascinating and since then he has traveled the world in search of more celebrity graves, dragging his siblings and sometimes even his girlfriends along with him. Mark admits most people don’t share his passion for tracking down and visiting the macabre attractions, but says he can’t think of a better way to spend his summer vacations. He considers each tomb a museum that tells the story of a person’s life and he doesn’t mind spending around £2,000 ($3,200) every year on at least 2 or 3 trips to satisfy his curiosity. Mark estimates he has spent at least £40,000 ($65,000) on his macabre hobby since he first started visiting graveyards.

Mark-Dabbs

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Woman Cancels Wedding, Her Parents Decide to Hold It Anyway to Feed the Homeless

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After their daughter cancelled her nuptials just 40 days before the big event, Carol and Willie Fowler decided not to let the upscale meal they had planned for her wedding go to waste, so they went ahead with it, albeit with a new list of guests. On September 15, two hundred of Atlanta’s homeless were invited to enjoy a four-course meal at one of the city’s upscale restaurants.

When the people at the Hosea Feed the Hungry charity in Atlanta got a call from someone offering to donate a lavish meal at the upmarket Villa Christina restaurant to the needy, they thought it was a prank. But Carol and Willie Fowler were dead serious. Their daughter Tamara had just cancelled her big weeding, but they weren’t about to let all the food they had ordered for the big event go to waste. “It was my husband’s idea,” Mrs. Fowler told WBUR. “We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, he said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.” They set the whole thing up with the help Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry, and on September 15, 200 of Atlanta’s less fortunate were treated to fine dishes and drinks in an event dubbed “The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love”. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade, right?

Fowler Family Celebration of Love

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Real-Life Escape-the-Room Games Gaining Popularity in China

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Have you ever fantasized about starring in a real-life Saw-like scenario where you’re forced to look for clues in order to escape a locked windowless room before time runs out? Apparently many Chinese have, as more and more of them flock to various real-life room-escape game locations across the country.

Inspired by a computer game called “Takagism”, in which players had to find a way out of virtual locked room by searching their surroundings and manipulate objects in search for clues, real-life escape-the-room games have rally taken off in China during the last few months. A team of players is locked in a maze of dark, eerie rooms and have to work together in order to find clues to help them escape before the allotted times runs out. They are not allowed to use smartphones or any kind of gadgets or books to solve the rooms’ puzzles and must rely solely on their knowledge and skills to beat all challenges. Real Takagism club operators say teamwork, a good leader and the ability to keep calm and focused under pressure are key to escaping the locked rooms within the time limit, but the puzzles can be really tough and only the best succeed. For example, at Freeing Hong Kong, an escape game location in Hong Kong, only one in five teams make it out of the rooms before their time runs out.

escape-the-room

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Man Swims over 2 Kilometers All Tied Up in a Bag

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Jane Petkov, a 59-year-old Bulgarian man, tried to set a new Guinness record by swimming across a lake while wrapped in a bag with his arms and legs tied up. Known as “amphibian man” in his native country, Petkov says he relies on concentration and a special breathing technique to pull off the amazing feat.

The record-breaking attempt took place on September 10, on Lake Orhid, in Macedonia, and had Jane Petkov jumping out of a boat in the middle of the water trying to somehow make his way to shore. His arms and legs were tied once before putting on the thick bag, and again over the bag, to make sure he couldn’t use them during his death-defying feat. What’s even more astonishing is doctors who examined him before the challenge found he was severely anemic, which, given his age, made the task even more dangerous. Nevertheless, on the morning of September 10, the amphibian man jumped in the cold water of Lake Orhid and began to swim on his back like a dolphin.

Jane-Petkov

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Photo of Heavily Pregnant Woman Weightlifting Sparks Online Controversy

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35-year-old Lea-Ann Ellison, from Los Angeles, has managed to start an online storm after a photo showing the eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman lifting what seem like heavy weights was posted on Facebook.

Heavily pregnant Lea-Ann Ellison doesn’t believe in taking it easy ahead of the big day. Instead she is following an intense fitness regime designed for professional athletes and members of the police and military. “I have been CrossFitting for 2½ years,” the woman posted on Facebook. “and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.” The photo of her preparing to lift a weight bar this far into her pregnancy prompted a series of comments, both positive and negative. Some Facebook users accused Lea-Ann of risking her baby’s well-being just to stay in shape and described the photo as “shocking”, while others showed their admiration for the weightlifter’s decision, calling her “amazing” and “an inspiration”. One person wrote: “I think that we should all be more concerned about a mom who eats McDonalds everyday of her pregnancy, and doesn’t exercise one bit. This woman is not just concerned about herself, she is concerned about her child future and the example she sets for her other children about overcoming adversity.”

Lea-Ann-Ellison

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Robinson Crusoe 2.0: French Entrepreneur to Run Business from Uninhabited Island for 40 Days

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French businessman Gauthier Toulemonde plans to isolate himself on an uninhabited island in Indonesia for 40 days and run his company via solar and wind-powered computers and satellite phones.

Fascinated by the novels of Jules Verne and the expeditions of famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, during his childhood days, Gauthier Toulemonde always dreamed of going on his own little adventure in an exotic paradise. He’s definitely not the only person in the world to have such a dream, but while others would consider the experience a break from their everyday lives and, more importantly, their jobs, Toulemonde plans to work a full 8 hours a day, managing his company 10,000 km away. On October 8, the 54-year-old French entrepreneur, who runs Paris-based philatelic publication services company Timbopress, will be transported to a 700 meters long, 500 meters wide island somewhere in Indonesia, where he will spend the following 40 days alone, keeping in touch with the world via the internet and a satellite phone. For safety purposes, the modern-day Robinson Crusoe has decided not to reveal the exact location of his temporary home.

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