Slum-Like African Resort Gives Rich Tourists a Taste of Hard Life

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A Shanty is a small hut made out of old corrugated iron sheets or other waterproof material. It is a place of dwelling for the poor, often lacking in basic amenities like electricity or running water. To be living in one, you’d have to be going through an extremely rough patch in life.

Except of course, when your shanty is located in Shanty Town, and you’re just playing ‘poor’. Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, there are people in this world who think playing poor is a fun sport. And resorts like Shanty Town exist to help them achieve the experience.

Shanty Town is a part of Emoya Estate, a South African five-star luxury game reserve and spa. It comes equipped with corrugated metal huts that can accommodate up to 52 guests. Over here, the rich get to live like the poor. But no, not entirely like the poor. The environment is safe and the shanties are equipped with conveniences like running water, electricity and Wi-Fi. The interiors aren’t too bad either – the beds look clean and comfortable, there are refrigerators, televisions, tables, chairs and cabinets. Oh, and did I mention under-floor heating? Yes, they have that too.

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They Say You Can’t Put a Price on Great Socks. How About $1,200?

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German hosiery specialist FALKE recently launched the most expensive socks in the world as a part of their fall/winter collection. These socks will set you back $1,200, but they might just be worth all that moolah. Not only are these socks part of a very limited series of 10 pars, but they are made from the rarest and most expensive wool in the world – Vicuna wool.

The Vicuna – the national animal of Peru – are distant cousins of the Llama and ancestors of the Alpaca. These unique creatures are endangered and live high up in the Andes, making it very difficult to obtain their wool. They cannot be domesticated, so all the wool is taken from wild animals that are caught and sheared once every two years. Each animal only produces about one pound of wool, making the fabric extremely rare.

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The Pacific Barreleye Fish and Its Weird See-Through Head

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The Pacific Barreleye fish gets its name from large eyes that are literally shaped like barrels, topped with beautiful green lenses. Also known as the Macropinna microstoma, its head is completely transparent, filled with fluid. This unique creature lives at depths of around 2000 to 2,600 ft. The Pacific Barreleye’s see-through head may seem weird, but it has a very clear purpose –  to help it see better in the dark waters that it inhabits.

The Barreleye’s eyes have been found to be incredibly sensitive, snapping up any stream of light available. Unlike most other fish, both the eyes are in the front of the head and point in the same direction, which gives it amazing binocular vision. So the Barreleye is able to spot faint objects that other fish cannot, making it a feared predator. It’s extremely fascinating, how it searches for prey. It starts off by staying still, eyes pointed upward in search of prey. Sometimes the eyes are rotated to face forwards, or the eyes are still and the body is rotated so that the mouth is pointing in the same direction as the eyes. When tiny silhouettes of prey are spotted, the Barreleye moves in exactly the same direction to catch them. Its flat, horizontal fins help it to swim very precisely. This method is so efficient that it is sometimes able to even snatch food away from the stinging tentacles of other deep sea creatures. Its mouth is really tiny so that’s of great help as well, and the transparent shield makes it immune to stings.

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Singaporean Man is Crazy About Dolls, Has 9,000 of Them

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Jian Yang, a 33-year-old man from Singapore, has enough dolls to open a museum or at least a super awesome girls’ playhouse. The “toy nerd”, as Yang describes himself, has no less than 9,ooo dolls: 6000 of them are Barbie dolls, and the 0ther 3,000 are other types of girly dolls, such as Bratz Girls and Monster High. His huge collection is valued at about $500,000.

Yang’s passion for dolls began in his childhood days, when he wanted a doll but wasn’t allowed to have one. As he recalls, “before I knew anything about social norms, I was a boy that watched this on TV, liked it and wasn’t allowed to have one. As I grew older, got my own allowance, that’s where I started getting the freedom to buy whatever I wanted”. Step by step, a simple wish became a “crazy obsession”. His friends support him, his family have understood and learned to accept his passion, but his love life is affected, since his girlfriends see the the doll collection as the competition. As Yang confesses, “I’ve also got the ex-girlfriends who get insecure about this kind of stuff … They look at dolls and go ‘OK, that’s the competition’, which is quite troubling but it’s a reality”.

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Living in the 18th Century – Woman Shuns Modern Technology for Victorian-era Lifestyle

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While some people want to make the most of technology by adding more and more fancy gadgets to their daily lives, others simply prefer going back to the basics. Meet Sarah Chrisman, a 33-year-old Seattle resident who decided to ditch almost every aspect of modern life, from cooking to clothing, and embrace a Victorian-era lifestyle.

Although she has liked the stories from the Victorian age ever since she was a little girl, the big change took place just 4 years ago, when Sarah received a unique birthday present from her husband. “I have always loved the Victorian era, ever since I was a little girl. My first corset was given to me by my husband on my 29th birthday, and unexpectedly, I really thoroughly enjoyed it.” The feeling she had when wearing the corset determined her to change her lifestyle entirely: Sarah now wears custom-made Victorian clothes, tries not to use any appliances that didn’t exist in the Victorian age (such as the now mundane washing machine), gave up her car for a 100-years-old bike, she uses old fashioned cleaning methods instead of modern detergents and cooks using the recipes found in 19th century women’s magazines. That’s right, this modern-day Victorian woman enjoys the 1889 edition of Cosmopolitan, and because she considers her lifestyle very exciting, she even wrote a book, “Victorian Secrets. What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present and Myself”.  She also studied the Victorian age etiquette.

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Meet Martin Strel, the Extraordinary Man Who Swims the Entire Length of Rivers

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“Daredevil”, “human fish”, “the hero in a speedo” or “the craziest man in the world” – however you’d like to call him, he is the greatest endurance swimmer in the world! Meet the man who swims entire rivers, Martin Strel.

The now 58-year-old Slovenian Martin Strel has broken the Guinness World Record for long distance swimming multiple times. The first was in 2000, when he swam the length of the Danube river, 3004 kilometers (1867 miles), in 58 days. A year later, in 2001, he broke another record by swimming 504 kilometers (313 miles) non-stop, in 84 hours, also on the Danube. In 2002, Strel changed continents and went to North America, where he became the first person to swim the entire length of the Mississippi river (3797 kilometers/ 2360 miles) in 68 days, thus breaking another Guinness World Record. In 2003, he swam the length of the Parana River (1930 kilometers/1200 miles) in South America, in just 24 days. In 2004, Strel became the first person to swim the length of the Yangtze river (4003 kilometers/ 2488 miles), in 51 days. It took him almost 3 years to prepare for the longest and most dangerous river in the world, but in 2007 he succeeded in breaking the record again: he swam the 5268 kilometers (3274 miles) of the Amazon river, in South America, in 66 days. Strel dedicated his most important and most difficult swim to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and to the preservation of the rainforest.

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Alina Kovaleskaya – Ukraine’s Newest Real-Life Doll

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It’s official, Ukraine is the land of real-life Barbie dolls. After the now-famous Valeria Lukyanova and Anastasiya Shpagina, it’s now time for another Ukrainian real-life doll to take center stage – meet 20-year-old Alina Kovaleskaya.

Hailing from Odessa, the same city as the above mentioned internet stars, Alina Kovaleskaya  has managed to attract a decent online following after uploading a series of photos of herself in doll form. That means laying on several layers of makeup, especially around the eyes, to make them look abnormally large and posing as a lifeless toy. It’s now a well-known recipe used by all of the seven (yes, seven) human barbie dolls in Odessa who all use the same tricks, hold photo-shoots at the same locations around the city and sometimes even appear in each other’s photos. Although accused of being yet another clone of the internationally-famous Valeria Lukyanova, Alina, however, claims to be different from all other Barbie imitators. She says she resembles the popular doll naturally, with her big eyes, small nose and small plump her lips. And yet it’s obvious she uses tons of makeup to enhance her features, just like every other human doll we’ve ever features, from KotaKoti to Vanilla Chamu. Although no self-respecting barbie wannabe would ever admit to it, there are some who accuse her of also using photo manipulation software like Photoshop.

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Michael Volpicelli’s Incredible Word Art

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Young American artist Michael Volpicelli specializes in creating detailed portraits of people and animals exclusively out of written words related to them. After serving in Iraq and suffering a serious back injury, Volpicelli says art helped him recover and now he wants to share his talent with the world.

Ever since he was just a child, Michael Volpicelli loved to draw. While still in junior high-school, he enrolled in college courses to improve his drawing skills, and even though it was nerve-racking being the youngest person in the classroom, he says the experience really helped him flourish as an artist. During college, Michael started attending a fine arts school and an artistic career as an artist seemed like the only logical next step in his life. But then September 11 happened, and instead of pursuing his dream of becoming an artist, he ended up in war-torn Iraq. But even in this hostile environment, the talented young man couldn’t stay away from art. He started designing certificates of appreciation, and creating works of art for his Sergeant Major’s, drill sergeants, and even fellow soldiers. He was the “combat artist” of his infantry division. After leaving the Army and suffering a major back injury, Michael Volpicelli used art to help him recover. He enrolled into Oklahoma State University and studied fine arts. Today he uses his talent for drawing to create all kinds of beautiful artworks, but his forté is definitely word art.

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Meet Moffy, the Cross-eyed Model Challenging Fashion Beauty Standards

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Moffy is not like every other female supermodel. Sure, she is young, beautiful, talented and has the right body measurements, but there’s also something that tells her apart from all the other professional models. Moffy is cross-eyed.

Most girls are denied a career in the modelling industry because of their physical “flaws”, but in young Moffy’s case, her strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other, was exactly what helped her succeed in the fashion world. Before her now-famous photo-shoot for POP Magazine, Moffy had never been photographed for a fashion mag, but her pure, unconventional beauty seduced everyone, even the people at Storm, the model agency that discovered Kate Moss, who recently signed Moffy. Tyrone LeBon, the photographer who worked with her for POP, said: “Moffy is a girl who my girlfriend Adwoa suggested to Max [Pearmain] and I. We chose to shoot her because we had recently shot with models and wanted a change. Moffy had never been photographed for a magazine and it’s always exciting to work with someone where there is uncertainty about how it might work out.” I for one think it turned out pretty awesome.

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Chinese Man Walks in Iron Shoes Weighing 405 Kilograms

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Heavy footwear is usually considered uncomfortable, but for Zhang Fuxing weight is definitely not a problem. The 51-year-old from Tangshan, China, spends every morning walking in a pair of iron shoes weighing 405 kilograms.

For over seven years, Zhang Fuxing has spent his morning exercising on a pair of impossible shoes made of heavy iron blocks. The factory worker designed and created the bizarre footwear himself by welding pieces of iron 30-cm-long and 20-cm-wide. At first, the shoes weighed only 70 kilograms, but as his workout intensified he kept adding more weight. Now his shoes are 40-cm-high and weigh a whopping 405 kg, about seven times his own body weight. It seems impossible that a person could even lift their feet off the ground wearing such weights, but Zhang says he usually manages to walk around a dozen meters in 20 minutes, every morning. He keeps the unusual shoes in his courtyard and says they are so heavy he isn’t even worried they might be stolen.

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Morbid Companion – Woman Travels around the World with Life-Size Plastic Skeleton

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Being a medical skeleton is pretty boring. You sit in a room all day, dust piling up in your orbital cavities, waiting for some know-it-all students to come and examine you and sometimes even tease you about your bones not being real. If only you could go out and explore the world outside the University walls. One happy anatomical correct model called Sam, got the chance of a (after)lifetime thanks to Susan Weese, who took her (yes, Sam is a “she”) on a yearlong trip around the world, immortalizing their visits with a photographic camera. Together, the odd pair have visited Venice, Pairs, Rome, New York and many other exciting tourist destinations.

The world tour began on November 1 – also known as Day of the Dead, last year and was entitled “Sam 365.” Susan’s idea came to her on Halloween, after driving around with a skeleton – other than Sam –  in the passenger’s seat. Fellow fright lovers on the motorway honked their horns, showing Weese their appreciation for the unusual idea. Susan, who worked on medical illustrations 30 years ago, carried the 42lbs skeleton everywhere she went on the trip but it was not an easy task. “Sam is 42lbs and if I carry her in my arms I get bruises everywhere,” the woman explains. Traveling with a skeleton can be problematic in airports, as well. “She flies over sized, which is hard getting through airports. She got held up by the Department of Agriculture in Newark because they had to make she was not real bone.” Nonetheless, the ambitious woman is determined to take the model everywhere. “The only day I could take pictures when we were in New York was a cold, rainy and windy one. Carrying her across Brooklyn Bridge was no easy task,” Susan says.

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Japanese Company Creates Garlic-Flavored Dark Beer

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Here’s some interesting news: a Japanese company has combined its popular dark beer with the pungent, intense flavor of black garlic, thus creating the unique and rather bizarre Aomori Garlic Black Beer.

Featuring a sleek black label with elegant golden writing, the black garlic-flavored beer bottle – which costs 630 yen ($6.5) – looks very appealing to any avid dark beer lover. The first sip of Aomori Garlic Black Beer doesn’t taste very different from any other quality black beer, but as the dark goes down your throat and into the stomach, the potent black garlic flavor starts to take over your mouth. Incredibly, those brave enough to actually try the Aomori Garlic Black Beer say the spicy, potent aftertaste is very addictive, making you want to drink more and more of the strange beverage.

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Miley Cyrus Tattoo Guy Keeps Adding New Ink to Honor His Idol

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Newsflash! Carl McCoid– the guy who transformed his body into a shrine for Miley Cyrus, has added 6 more tattoos of the controversial singer to his collection, totaling an impressive 21 inked inscriptions and portraits. Last time we saw him, he “only” had 15.

Back in august, after the VMAs, Miley was harshly criticized for her borderline-obscene performance and revealing outfit, but super-fan Carl was very supportive and understanding, saying that “I don’t like the criticism she is getting. She doesn’t deserve it. It is all part of her comeback,” and adding that Miley is all grown up and that she is just “being true to herself now.” Carl, whose obsession with Miley tattoos started after his divorce, was also very flattered to hear that the singer mentioned him in an interview, stating that “She gave me a couple of seconds of her mind.” In the interview, she said that she didn’t like his tattoos and that he should “start another sleeve with my new look.” As the obedient, obsessed fan that he is, Carl went on and got himself inked with portraits illustrating her new rebellious look and lewd attitude as well as with lyrics from her songs, adding a total of 6 tattoos to his collection.

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Julia Hill, the Remarkable Woman Who Saved a Tree by Living in It for Two Years

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In the face of greedy men with chainsaws in their hands, not even the enduring giant Redwoods stand a chance. But Julia Hill, a young American environmentalist showed the entire world the battle for the preservation of Mother Nature’s wonders is not yet lost, after she spent an astounding 738 days high up in a 60 meter Redwood she named Luna, in a desperate attempt to save the ancient tree and the forest around it.

When she was 22, Julia Hill was involved in a freak car accident which left her with a fractured skull and unable to speak for a year. Once a career and money driven woman, she rethought her entire life and set out to explore the world. In 1997, one year after her accident, she finally found what she was looking for – a group of activists protesting against the destruction of a redwood forest in Northern California, which stretched for hundreds of kilometers. She was enchanted by the ancient trees and decided to join their cause. Courageous and determined, Julia volunteered to climb one of the tallest trees in the forest – a 1,500 year old redwood, hoping to stop the Maxxam Corporation, the operator of Pacific Lumber, from chopping it down. Inexperienced, she managed to stay in the tree only for a few days at a time, which didn’t really impress the loggers or the media. Julia wanted to draw the atention of international media to the horrible deforestation that was taking place – a process called “clearcutting” which implied cutting trees of all ages and sizes and then burning the entire area in preparation for replanting new ones. She knew the only way to get people’s attention was to break the record for tree sitting which was 42 days. And that’s exactly what she did – after 100 days, Julia was all over the news giving interviews and educating people on the importance of saving these trees that have been here long before us.

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Blonde Bombshell Chops Off Her Hair and Finds Success as a Male Model

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It’s tough being a professional model in such a competitive industry, especially when you are passed your prime, but it’s always good to remember that when a door closes, a window opens. Take Elliott Sailors, for example. She used to grace Bacardi billboards around the world with her beautiful blond locks, but at 31, she struggled to find any decent giggs. So she chopped off her hair, wrapped her breasts tightly and reinvented herself as a sexy androgynous male model.

Inspired by Casey Legler, a fellow colleague at the prestigious Ford modelling agency and the first woman to exclusively model menswear, Sailors cut her hair into a modern masculine style, hid her curves as best she could and started posing in front of the camera as a man, in an attempt to save her career. She says she didn’t want her modelling career to end so abruptly at only 31, as it often happens with female models who are replaced by younger newcomers. “Men don’t need to look as young as possible, so I have a lot of time,” the woman explains. Her decision to become a male model was not as extreme as it might seem. Back in the day, when she was a beauty pageant contestant, she was insecure with her masculine features. “Earlier on in my career, I would get frustrated because I thought I looked too masculine,” Elliot explains. “I have a strong jaw, wide forehead, huge eyebrows. I thought I looked like a man wearing makeup.” Nowadays, she likes her jawline and other manly features and tries to accentuate them with makeup.

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