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Guy Spends 9 Years Digging His Basement with Remote-Controlled Earthmovers

Who could have thought that videos showing tiny amounts of dirt being pushed around by remote-controlled earthmovers would receive nearly 3 million hits on YouTube? Unbelievable, but true. The videos are those of Canadian Joe Murray digging a basement in his home. He’s been doing so for the past 9 years.

Okay, so 9 years seems absolutely unnecessary to do something as simple as excavate a basement. But not where Murray lives. In Saskatchewan, Canada, winters get as harsh as -15C for several weeks. So what he did was convert the seemingly small job into a long-term hobby, by using small tools. Murray works as a farmer of grains and cattle by day. Toying around with the basement is what he describes as his “escape from everyday realities.” Just take a look at the videos and you’ll realize how much fun he’s having with his little remote-controlled toys. The plus side is that his house gets a new basement. In a few more years, of course. After all, the excavators shift only about three cubic meters of soil every year.

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Creepy Geminoid-F Android Waits for a Friend

There are horror stories and films about mannequins in store windows that come alive supernaturally. Of course these aren’t true, but what if you accidentally waved at a mannequin and it waved right back? Man, that would be just too creepy. If you happen to be in Tokyo this time of the year, however, you might just witness this happening in the store window of the Takashimaya mall in Shinjuku. No, it’s not a ghost-mannequin on display, but the Geminoid-F, an android capable of displaying human expressions and actions.

The android sits casually in the window, as though waiting for a friend. Basic emotions and behavior have been programmed into it, which is the basis of all its expressions in response to whatever is happening around it. So you will be able to see it twitch its eyebrows, smile, frown and occasionally even wave at passersby. Not like a robot though, but like a real human being.

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Man Installs Wood Stove in His Volvo to Beat the Cold

Wouldn’t it be great to have a car-companion that simply radiates warmth on a cold, cold winter’s day? Well, Pascal Prokop has just that, except his companion isn’t human. While most people complain about the cold, this guy from Switzerland actually decided to do something about it by putting a stove in his car – a real, wood-burning stove, complete with a chimney and everything.

The sight of Prokop driving his 1990 Volvo 240 station wagon around the streets of Mettmenstetten, a town 25km south of Zurich, is a strange and funny one. With the chimney sticking up about 2m above the roof, the car looks like it’s smoking, and the effect produced is kind of cartoonish. To Prokop however, this doesn’t matter one bit, since he’s warm and happy. Temperatures across Europe have been declining steadily, especially in the past couple of weeks. So Prokop came up with the ultimate heating solution. He simply removed the passenger seat in the Volvo and replaced it with an oven, the perfect passenger. He feeds the oven occasionally with wood sticks and in turn it keeps him nice and warm all the time. Prokop likes it so much inside his car that he sometimes ends up spending the night too, mostly when he’s tired or has had too much to drink.

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Purga Nightclub – Where Every Night Is New Year’s Eve

The holiday season is a truly magical time around the world. New Year’s Eve, especially, is seen as a time of hope and new beginnings, a time to forget the old and embrace the new. Most people are in high spirits, celebrating the coming of the new year with much pomp and gusto. But what if you got to celebrate it every single night of the year? Would it still be as much fun? Apparently it would, going by the success of ‘Purga’ – a nightclub in St. Petersburg, Russia, where every night is New Year’s Eve.

Everything that’s needed for a typical Russian New Year’s Eve celebration is available at the club. The Russian national anthem, the new year’s speech of Vladimir Putin on TV, fun costumes, decorations, contests, dancing and singing. Professional actors work at the club as ‘bunnies’, who are basically there to entertain people and make sure they forget all their worries. Ever since Purga was started way back in 2002, it has been popular in town, with table reservations being made at least a week in advance.

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Meet the Man Who Lived on His Bicycle for 382 Days

It’s difficult to imagine someone living, eating, sleeping and even washing clothes on a bicycle for over a year. But that’s exactly what French artist and copyeditor Guillaume Blanchet from Montreal has done. He even cooked his own food and flirted with women, while perched on the narrow bicycle seat. And that’s not all.

A three-minute film depicting Blanchet’s life on the bicycle, starts off with a dedication to his 64-year-old father who rode his bike for over 120,000 km. Going by the film, Blanchet does everything on the go, and he never stops pedaling. As he rides hands-free, he is occupied with the various mundane activities of life. Numerous items make an appearance, such as frying pans, shaving kits, laptops, telephones, Rubik cubes, and even musical instruments. It’s pretty amazing how he’s able to handle all these things with ease, as though he were sitting on a couch.

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Thousands of Iranian Women Training to Become Ninjas

Ninjutsu is considered to be one of the deadliest forms of martial arts in the world. But this doesn’t deter the 3,500 odd Iranian women who are currently receiving official training in the sport.

In fact, when I saw a video of these women in action, I was awestruck by their agility and the ease with which they performed gravity-defying stunts and back flips. I couldn’t even tell that the ninjas were female until they removed the masks from their faces.  Iran, like many other Islamic countries, has stringent rules regarding the freedom and conduct of women. The laws severely restrict them from participating freely in society; perhaps this is where they derive their quiet strength from. The Ninjustu school in Iran was started in 1989 by Sensei Akbar Faraji. This was the first time the martial art was introduced to the country. While the club now has over 24,000 members, the number of female participants is slowly on the rise. According to Faraji, in Ninjutsu, men are called ninjas, while women are addressed as kunoichi.

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Real-Life Photoshop – Model Has 20-Inch Waistline

30-year-old Ioana Spangenberg has something some skinny female models only dream of. A 20-inch waistline and a body that doesn’t accumulate fat, no matter what she eats. Now, isn’t that a dream come true? Not for Ioana, though. In a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side, the Romanian model says she wants to put on weight in order to be able to look normal.

Ioana seems to be blessed with the much-coveted ‘hourglass’ look, quite literally in fact. She says that she was of normal weight when she was a kid, and the transformation started to occur when she was a teenager. At age 13, her waist was only 15 inches and her friends could actually put their hands completely around it. In an attempt to put on weight, she would eat Mars bars and other sweets, but nothing ever worked. Ioana blames this on the small size of her stomach, which makes her feel sick if she eats too much. Perhaps her body’s constitution is too much of a good thing, because she was never happy with herself until she married. It was her husband who encouraged her to become a model, and she is now finally comfortable in her own skin.

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Artist Paints Portrait of Yao Ming Using a Basketball

I can think of a few things one can do with a basketball, but painting is definitily not one of them. But I guess that’s exactly what makes Shanghai-based artist’s, Yi Hong, so special.

Yi, who goes by the name of “Red”, and describes herself as an artist who “loves to paint, but not with a paintbrush”, recently posted a video of herself painting a detailed portrait of retired NBA superstar Yao Ming, using nothing but red paint and a basketball. In the time-lapse she dips the ball in paint and carefully bounces it on the canvas, and slowly by surely, the portrait starts to take shape. All the help she got was in the shape of a print of the famous Chinese basketball player, which she checked a few times, for accuracy. The amazing video got 400,000 views in just a few days, and the artist posted about how flattered she is, on her Facebook page. Yi Hong was born and raised on the island of Borneo, and also spent some time in Australia and the Netherlands, but she ultimately settled in Shanghai.

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Chinese Army Plays Lethal Pass-the-Bomb Game

A video showing Chinese soldiers in a circle passing an explosive satchel from one man to another, until one of them decides to throw it in a hole just before it explodes, has been making the rounds online, leaving everyone flabbergasted.

Photos of South Korea’s special forces troops training in all kinds of extreme conditions have been showing up on the Internet for a few years now, but nothing those guys go through compares to the shocking drill the Chinese devised. During an exhibition drill in Hong Kong, last month, an elite garrison of 6,000 PLA troops staged a series of impressive exercises for the visit of the island’s chief executive, Sir Donald Tsang. Snipers shot tiny glasses, soldiers carried heavy logs and jumped through rings of fire, but nothing as incredible as a group of men playing a game of pass-the-bomb.

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Faecal Transplant – A Stomach-Turning Medical Procedure

Here’s something I never thought I’d hear, let alone write an article about – faecal transplants. Yes, it’s exactly what you think  it is. Taking the poop out of one person and putting it into another. It’s a lot, more disgusting that it sounds, but this medical procedure actually has the potential to save lives. And would you believe, it’s been around since the late 1990s?

Dr. Alisdair MacConnachie is perhaps the only doctor in the UK to have ever performed the transplant. Calling it a proven treatment, this is how he says it’s done. A patient is put on antibiotics up until the night before, after which pills are given to control the stomach acids. The next morning a donor will come in and provide a stool sample. The donor is usually a close relative who tends to eat the same kind of food and lives in the same environment as the patient. Next, 1oz of the sample is taken and churned with salt water in a blender. Eww, right? No wait, it gets worse. The fluid is then poured through a coffee filter to produce a very watery liquid. And now, for the worst part – a tube is inserted up the patient’s nose that goes all the way down to the stomach. 1fl oz of the liquid is poured right in. I will now give you a moment to recover.

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The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments

This group not only plays music, but builds the instruments from scrap. That’s right, they make their ‘recycled’ instruments out of things like kitchen spatulas and cookie cutters. Their music, nonetheless, is wonderful to listen to.

The Orchestra of Recycled Instruments is from Paraguay, a majority of them so poor that they had to resort to creating their own instruments. However, their love for music was never hindered by their economic condition. The members of the orchestra are students at the “Sonidos De La Tierra,” which is an organization dedicated to running music workshops and schools in the lesser privileged areas of Paraguay. This is where these talented musicians learned the skill of recycled-instrument-music making. Some of them were so passionate about the art that they even quit their jobs as recyclers at a major dump site, in order to pursue their music full time.

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The Berezka Ensemble – Russia’s Floating Dance Group

Trade secrets are common in many areas of life, but dancing? I wondered how it could be possible for a dancer to have a secret step, when their art is plain for all to see. Turns out there is a particular dancing group from Russia that has a secret technique – the floating step – that no one can really see.

The Berezka Ensemble was set up in 1948, by choreographer Nadezhda Nadezhdina. Since then, it has become a symbol of sorts, something that Russia has been identified with. Having traveled to over 80 countries for performances, the troupe has recently made the news for something other than their famous floating step. The dancers have covered over 47,000 dancing kilometers, through their signature step. That’s longer than the diameter of the Earth!

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Amazing Indian Girl Is Friends with Six King Cobras

India has long been known as the land of the snake charmers. But here’s something very unusual. An 8-year-old Indian girl who plays all day  not with other girls, but with her pet King Cobras.

Kajol Khan lives in the village of Ghatampur in Uttar Pradesh, with her parents, six sisters, two brothers and six pet Cobras, her best friends. She comes from a family of snake catchers and hopes to carry on in her father’s footsteps someday. Her father, 55-year-old Taj Mohammad has been working as a snake catcher in Ghatampur for the past 45 years. While he has already passed on his skills to his son, he’s unexpectedly found himself a mentor to his daughter Kajol. The little girl has been used to snakes crawling around her since she was a baby, and hence feels nothing out of the ordinary in their presence. In fact, she prefers hanging out with her slithering buddies rather than go to school. She has been bitten – on her stomach, cheeks and hands – but this is hardly of any concern to her. Kajol has always been able to make a full recovery, thanks to her father’s herbal medicine, which has been a family secret for generations. “I have a lot of fun with the cobras. It hurts when they bite me but sometimes it’s my own fault because I tease them. It’s quite funny.”

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Blind Tennis – Yet Another Amazing Sport from Japan

The Japanese really do seem to invent a lot of sports, especially for the disabled. Not long ago, we told you about Doglegs, a wrestling sport for the handicapped. Now, we’re going to introduce you to Blind Tennis, which is of course, tennis played by the blind.

The creation of the sport is largely credited to Miyoshi Takei, who in spite of his blindness, started to play tennis as a kid with the encouragement of his high school teacher. His only aim at the time was to hit a ball that was flying through the air as hard as he could, even though he couldn’t see it. After several trials, he finally invented a special kind of tennis ball that is spongy and light in weight. The ball rattles, so that blind players can track its movement with their ears. Miyoshi’s endeavors met with success and the first national blind tennis championships were held in Japan in the year 1990. Today, hundreds of Japanese players take part every year and a few from other countries too, such as China, Korea, Taiwan, Britain and the United States.

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Ferret Legging – A Truly Bizarre Animal Sport

Most people couldn’t stand something as small as a cockroach up their trousers. And then there are the brave ferret leggers who endure not one, but two fully grown adult ferrets trapped in their pants. The weird sport, called Ferret Legging, is a test of endurance or just the ability to “have your tool bitten and not care”.

Also known as ferret-down-trousers and put ‘em down, the rules of the sport are pretty tight. Competitors have two ferrets placed inside their trousers, which are tied firmly at the ankles and belted up at the waist, thereby eliminating any point of escape for the furry creatures. The competitor then stands before judges, enduring the misery of the razor-sharp claws and teeth of the ferrets. Other rules state that competitors cannot be drunk and the ferrets must not be sedated. Also, the ferrets must have a full set of teeth that have not been blunted or filed. The man who stands the longest, wins.

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