Only Allowed to Whistle When Walking: The Quirky Story of the Portland Whistler

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Believe it or not, whistling can get you arrested. Robert Smith, better known as The Whistler, in the city of Portland, was actually thrown in jail for disturbing people with his constant whistling and has now been ordered by a judge to only whistle when walking, so he doesn’t annoy businesses and passers-by in any one area.

“It came from God — that’s where it came from,” Robert Smith says about the origins of his passion for whistling. ”God is showing me what I’m doing is OK. He shows me every day with laughter.” He’s referring to the reactions of people who seem amused by his constant whistling. But, unfortunately for him, laughter is not the only reaction triggered by his almost daily habit. Businesses around Portland have been filing complaints about The Whistler’s behavior, and when they just kept piling up, the Police Department finally picked him up ant even took him to court for disorderly conduct for “loud whistling.” ”It just got to the point last summer where the complaints just mounted,” said Trish McAllister, the city’s neighborhood prosecutor. “He’s so loud!” Apparently, Smith’s steady monotone notes are so strong they can be heard a block away.

The-Whistler-of-Portland

 

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Meet Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic

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Being blind doesn’t stop Tommy Edison from doing the things he really wants to do. Like working as a traffic reporter for a Connecticut radio station, taking photographs, or critiquing movies – things that normally require a reasonably good eye sight. He also runs a great website where he puts up his reviews and talks about being blind.

It’s confusing at first as to how a blind person could review movies – a very visual experience. But Tommy has managed to find a way to do that, and in a way that’s both engaging and entertaining. His approach is unique. He says, “I watch movies and pay attention to them in a different way that sighted people do. I’m not distracted by all the beautiful shots and attractive people. I watch a movie for the writing and acting.” And so he’s able to deliver a review that hits the nail right on the head. I watched his review of The Dark Knight Rises. It was short, crisp and to-the-point. Several comments on YouTube reveal that people watch his reviews first, to figure out what’s a good movie to watch. Sometimes Tommy jokes around, like when he reviewed Water for Elephants he said, “I didn’t think Robert Pattison was all that much to look at. I gotta be honest with you. I don’t know what all the kids see in him. Ha ha!” His rating system is unique too. For Scream 4, he said, “Sighted people, I think you will really enjoy this movie. Blind people stay at home. I’m going to give this 2 out of 4 eyes open.”

blind-film critic

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Pink Lip Tattoos – The Latest in Nigerian Men’s Fashion

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One of the most bizarre beauty procedure I’ve recently come across is tattooing the lips pink, which is apparently very popular in the African county of Nigeria. The main reason for this practice seems to be that women find men with pink lips more attractive.

The other day, someone emailed me a link to a video of a Nigerian guy getting his lower lip tattooed pink, in what looks like a very unhygienic tattoo parlor. To be honest, I thought it was just an isolated case, a guy who just wanted to be different, like the girl who tattooed Drake’s name on her forehead. But it got me intrigued, and after doing some research online, it seems this really is a trend among Nigerian men. According to Battabox.com, who documented the procedure in the short video, young men pay around 7,000 Nigerian Naira ($45) to have their black lips cleaned of excess skin and tattooed with a pink paint to make them lighter. Although the guy in the video didn’t show any signs of pain, having a sensitive spot like the lips tattooed can’t be very pleasant.

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Indonesian Tribe Believes Chiseled Teeth Make Women Beautiful

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If tattooed black gums are considered a thing of beauty in West Africa, it’s chiseled, pointy-sharp teeth that’s the ‘in thing’ for some Indonesian tribes. I do wonder though, why it’s always the women who have to subject themselves to bizarre beauty rituals.

Well, we may not be able to answer that question any time soon, but we can tell you about Indonesian tooth-filing, a beauty regimen that involves the sawing of teeth until they achieve a sharp, narrow and pointed shape. Women in some Indonesian rural communities are considered extremely beautiful after they’ve undergone such a treatment. Mantawaian is one such village, where the wife of the village chief, Pilongi, had to go through with it a couple of years ago. She had managed to avoid the ritual when she was a young teenager, but as the wife of a powerful man in the village, she had to oblige him by becoming more beautiful.

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Caramelized Sugar Painting – A Tasty Chinese Tradition

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The sweet art of painting with caramelized sugar can be witnessed in China’s Sichuan province. Although not as popular as it once was, this ancient craft still manages to amaze tourists lucky enough to stumble upon a skilled street artist.

According to experts, this type of Chinese folk art originated from the Ming Dynasty when sugar animals and figures were created as part of sacrificial rituals. During the Qing Dynasty, it gained even more popularity and the techniques were upgraded, which resulted in an increased number of patterns, most of them inspired by nature, wildlife and religion . In the beginning, people used molds to shape the caramelized sugar, but they were gradually replaced with a small bronze spoon that had to be wielded by talented artists who were usually well versed in the art of normal painting as well. “Painting” artistic pieces from melted sugar is very different than regular painting. Because the hot sugar cools down very quickly, the painter has to work swiftly, making sure he follows the correct order of strokes to get every shape just right. In order to get familiar with the process and the technique, it’s recommended that artists practice normal painting first.

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Meet Jim Cripps, the Incredible Backwards Bowler

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You’ve probably never seen anything like this before, I sure haven’t. Tennessee native James Cripps earned the nickname Backwards Bowler for a very simple reason – he’s able to bowl perfectly well without even facing the lanes.

Believe it or not, it all started as a friendly bet. Jim Cripps loved bowling, but he admits he was pretty terrible at it, so at one point a friend challenged him to try and score 150 points backwards. It sounds impossible, but Jim says he managed to land a strike on his first try, and ended up with a final score of 163. After that he just couldn’t stop bowling backwards. “We never settled up on the bet, but I think I definitely came out the winner of the bet because it truly has been great,”Cripps said. As you can imagine, his skills improved dramatically over the next few years, and he now has an average of 204 points per game and holds a Guinness record of 278.

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The Pain of Growing Up – Being Stung by Hundreds of Bullet Ants in the Amazon Rain-Forest

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Among the most bizarre coming-of-age rites we’ve ever featured is the one followed by the Satere-Mawe Tribe, an indigenous tribe from the Amazon rain forest, Brazil. What a boy has to do to become a man in this tribal community is painful, to say the least – he has to withstand being stung by not one, but a swarm of Bullet Ants. In case you’e not familiar with this exotic insect, here’s an interesting fact: the Bullet Ant claims the number one spot on the SSPI (Schmidt Sting Pain Index), a scale created by Justin Schmidt that rates the pain caused by different Hymenopteran stings. Some say the ant’s sting is just as agonizing as being shot by a bullet.

In preparation for the initiation rite, the elders of the tribe collect the ants from the jungle. These ants are drugged and placed stinger- first into special gloves woven from leaves. As the drug wears off, the ants become increasingly agitated and are raring to sting. This is when the boy puts on the gloves and lets the bullet ants work their magic, for 10 whole minutes, no less. “It’s the same as having your hands on fire,” says one Satere man. But the real pain starts once the gloves come off, and the venom starts to take effect. As the pain continues to rise, the hands become paralyzed and look like stumps. But just one attempt is usually not enough to turn a Stare boy into a man. He must go through this ritual as many times as it takes for him not to cry during the process. The day he doesn’t shed a single tear, is when he becomes a real man. Sometimes, this can take up to 20 attempts.

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Male TV Hosts Go Through the Agony of Giving Birth

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Two male Dutch TV hosts known for performing outlandish stunts on their program, “Proefkonijnen” (Guinea Pigs), have recently experienced agonizing pain similar to that of labor, by strapping electrode emitting machines to their abdomens.

Dennis Storm and Valerio Zeno first caused international controversy in 2011, when they consumed cooked pieces of each other’s flesh, on live television. Now, they’re back with another crazy experiment. Not satisfied with just sympathizing with women who go through labor, the two crazy hosts wanted to go through the same experience, to see what it feels like. And since actually giving birth was out of the question, they went for the next best thing – strapping a number of electrodes to their bellies, which sent electrical charges meant to simulate cramps and contractions. The controlled experiment lasted two hours and had the two crazy men screaming, groaning and curling into the fetal position from the pain.

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Self-Taught Ninja Slices Soda Cans with Plastic Playing Cards

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A man from China’s Hubei Province has recently become an internet celebrity of sorts, after a video of him throwing plastic playing cards at soda cans and actually putting holes in them, went viral.

Who says there’s no such thing as comic-book-like superpowers? And I’m not talking about the funny ones you can buy at the Superhero Store, but real superpowers that actually capture people’s imagination. Take 23-year-old Feng Yangxu, from Xishui county, Hubei Province, China, who can throw plain playing cards with such speed and accuracy that they slice even full aluminum cans. In a video that recently went viral on the Chinese internet, Feng wows his young audience by launching cards at hanging cucumbers and slicing them to pieces, as a warm-up for his most impressive trick – puncturing soda cans from three feet away. Now that may not seem like a big distance, but keep in mind this guy is putting wholes in metal containers with flimsy plastic cards. His fellow countrymen were so impressed with his feat that they’ve given him a cool nickname – Awesome Flying Cutter. And you thought “Batman” was a cool superhero name…

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Robot Band Compressorhead Puts the “Metal” in Heavy Metal

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Compressorhead is not your usual heavy-metal rock group. The band’s three members are all robots, but they’ve proven they can cover hits by rock legends like Motorhead or AC/DC honorably. They’re even scheduled to play alongside The Chili Peppers and The Killers, at the Big Day Out Festival, in Australia, this summer.

Assembling, cooking, waiting tables, even horse riding; robots have proven capable of doing all of these jobs, but until now, musicians seemed like they had nothing to fear. Well, not anymore – introducing Compressorhead, a rock band made up of three real metal heads: Fingers, Bones and Stickboy. They are robots that can be programmed to cover hits by pretty much any rock group that ever existed, but so far they seem to prefer heavyweights like Black Sabbath, Pantera or Led Zeppelin. They’re a bit lacking in the creative department, but I’m sure they’ll improve on that as they go along. The robot group hail from Germany and hope to conquer human kind with their music, instead of Terminator-like force. Let’s meet the boys:

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Modern-Day Samurai Can Slice a Speeding Bullet with His Blade

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There are some things you would only expect from superheroes or action heroes; like slicing a bullet in half with a blade. So when a real-life, modern-day samurai does it, it’s certainly worth ooh-ing and aah-ing over. Isao Machii, who has been honing his sword skills since the age of five, is able to slice a pea-sized bullet traveling at 200 miles per hour, fired at him from a BB gun from about 70 feet away, in mid-air.

Isao Machii is now the headmaster of a samurai school, and what a fine example he is for his students. His hand-eye coordination is so precise that it earned him a Guinness World Record. His sword skills are so accurate that he is rumored to be unmatched by any other swordsman on Earth. He recently accepted a challenge from filmmakers, because what he does is impossible to view by the naked human eye. Shot at a firing range outside the hills of LA, Machii’s feat was recorded at a speed 250 times slower than normal with one of the world’s most sophisticated cameras . The witnesses were a filmmaker and Dr. Ramani Durvasula from California State University. Both were stunned to silence the moment Machii’s blade hit the bullet.

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Finally! Brazilian Burger Chain Introduces Edible Paper Wrappers

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Have you ever been so hungry that you actually munched on your burger’s paper wrapper without even noticing? It happens to me all the time, and while I don’t think it’s a big deal, some people are actually disgusted when that happens. But thanks to Brazilian fast-food chain Bob’s, they don’t have to worry about it anymore.

Slate.com reports U.S. consumers alone threw away over 75 million tons of packaging waste, in 20101, and only half of that was recovered through recycling. Food packaging is a real environmental issue and scientists have been working on edible wrappers for years. At the start of 2012, Harvard scientist reported they have developed a WikiCells, “novel edible forms” that could be used to wrap, bottle and package food, and take the flavor of whatever they contained. Now, almost a year since their announcement, a Brazilian burger chain has launched an intriguing ad showcasing edible wrappers. It’s unclear whether they are based on WikiCells technology, but judging by the clients reactions, they don’t taste bad at all. These novel burger wrappers look like traditional paper ones, which kind of confused Bob’s customers, but the restaurant reports their campaign was so successful than nobody threw out the edible wrappers.

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Is This the Most Easily Scared Guy in the World?

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Basse Andersen has become somewhat of a national celebrity in his home country of Norway after his coworkers started uploading videos of him freaking out over various pranks. He’s even been given the title of “most easily scared guy in the world”.

Basse was just an average Norwegian working at a company called Oestereng & Benestad, in the town of Arendal, until his colleagues figured out he was incredibly easy to scare, and had the funniest of reactions. They started pulling pranks on him constantly, and at one point even started filming his reactions and uploading the videos to YouTube. Before long, he was famous, and one his most famous video even won a Best Startling Video Award. But, believe it or not, Andersen actually enjoys being the but of the joke, and laughs just as hard as his coworkers whenever they manage to scare him. “I like humorous things and people who can think up some pranks,” he says Recently, a news crew from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation paid Basse a visit at his workplace to confirm his reputation of “most easily scared guy in the world”. They made a short YouTube documentary framed like a funny news report:

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Sharp Music at New York’s Annual Musical Saw Festival

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Who would have thought that an ordinary carpenter’s handsaw could be used to produce music? But apparently it can, and has been for the past 300 hundred years. And in order to commemorate this bizarre yet unique tradition, the NYC Musical Saw Festival is held in July of every year, in Astoria (Queens), New York City. Ever since the festival was established by founder and director Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz in 2003, musical saw players from all over New York and the world have come together to preserve and honor this rare form of music. In fact, for saw players in far-flung countries like Germany, Sweden, India, China and Japan, Astoria has become a pilgrimage place of sorts. Every year, the sawist who travels the greatest distance in order to attend is awarded the title of ‘guest of honor’.

At the Musical Saw Festival, the players socialize and hear each other play. There are solo performances and jam sessions as well. They even take the opportunity to educate each other about the different types of saws and various techniques of playing. Overall, the atmosphere is said to be rather friendly and encouraging. But the festival is not limited to saw players. The event is open to the public, so people are welcome to come in and learn about the musical saw, or just enjoy a concert or two. An art exhibit and a workshop are also part of the festival.

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World’s Longest Word Has 189,819 Letters, Takes 3.5 Hours to Pronounce

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The full chemical name of the world’s largest known protein has 189,819 letters and is considered the longest word in any language. If you’re one of those people who loves to watch paint dry, you can even watch a 3.5-hour video of a guy pronouncing the whole name.

Titin, also known as connectin, is a giant protein composed of 244 individually folded protein domains connected by unstructured peptide sequences. Also, the gene for titin contains the largest number of exons (363) discovered in any single gene. Titin is important in the contraction of striated muscle tissues, but it’s mostly known for its technical name, which is sometimes referred to as the longest known word in any language. The name “titin” is derived from the Greek “titan” (a giant deity, anything of great size), but it’s the full chemical name that really does it justice. I could just paste it in this post, but it would take you forever just to scroll through it, so I’m just going to say it starts with  methionyl and ends …isoleucine. You can fill in the middle part yourself. But if you’re really curious to hear someone pronounce the world’s longest word, there’s a boring cool video of some Russian-sounding guy who takes around 3.5 hours to go through all the letters, and even grows a beard in the process. After a while, it all starts to sound like mumbling, but you have to admire the poor guy for his effort.

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