Meet the Jacobin Pigeons, Probably the Most Fashionable Birds in the World

Jacobins aren’t your average, everyday pigeons that flock on your terrace and mess it up with droppings. Take one look at them and you’ll know they are a cut above the rest. How can they not be, with a royal hood of feathers that covers them from the neck up, almost entirely hiding their pretty little heads. I like to think of them as pigeons-in-parkas, which is really high fashion as far as birds are concerned.

Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world – an excellent exhibition breed with relatively unknown origins. Some believe that that the original breed came from India, while others think they’re natives of Cyprus. They arrived in Europe around the 16th century, where they were put through four stages of development, by breeders, until they evolved into their current state.

Although they have been bred for centuries, Jacobin pigeons have undergone remarkable changes in the past 80 years. They started off rather small, which was popular back in the day. But the current breed of Jacobins are slender and of medium size, with long flight feathers, long legs and slim tails. The most remarkable feature, the ‘rosette’, makes up the hood that completely covers the top and sides of their tiny head. In fact, the bird’s face is only visible from the front. The bigger the hood, the higher the quality of the specimen. And they always maintain an upright posture, adding to their ‘royal airs’.

Jacobin-pigeons3

Read More »

Kung Fu Master’s Finger of Steel Can Puncture Coconuts, Imagine What It Could Do To Your Skull

Kung fu master Ho Eng Hui doesn’t need any fancy weapons, because nature has given him a pretty awesome one – his index finger. His incredibly powerful finger can pierce coconut shells, releasing a burst of sweet water from inside. He proudly declares: “This finger of mine actually helps me raise my family.”

Ho has been performing his amazing ‘finger feats’ twice a week at a special spot on Jonker Street, in the Malaysian State of Malacca. The government assigned him this spot in the year 2000, and he has been entertaining tourists and locals alike, ever since. Every Friday and Saturday, he travels to the spot from his home in Johor Baru city, to perform between 8 and 9 pm. Prior to his gig at Jonker Street, between the years 1991 and 1995, he performed at Bugis Street in Singapore.

Over the years Ho has been setting records and breaking them himself. On Feb 2, 2001, he made it to the Malaysia Book of Records, by piercing three coconuts in 1 minute and 10 seconds. In June 2009, he pierced four coconuts in 30.81 seconds – a feat that earned him a Guinness World Record. And in 2011, he broke his own record by piercing four coconuts in 12.15 seconds flat. Ho is mentioned as one of the highlights of the Jonker Walk Night Market, in the Lonely Planet guide.

Ho-Eng-Hui

Read More »

Kazakh Village Affected by Mysterious Condition That Causes People to Suddenly Fall Asleep for Up to Six Days

Residents of the almost abandoned Soviet town of Krasnogorsk and the areas around Kalachi village, in Kazakhstan, are prone to a mysterious ‘sleeping beauty’ syndrome. The bizarre condition has people suddenly dozing off for as long as six days at a time. It’s like a bad horror film – the illness has gripped these regions and no one knows the reason behind it. Scientists and experts are truly perplexed by the phenomenon.

The weird sleeping illness isn’t prevalent all the time. Instead, it comes in waves – the first one occurred in March 2013 and the second in May 2013. There have been three more since then – around New Year 2014, just after the winter holidays this year, and now again in May. A total of 40 to 60 people have suffered in the scarcely populated region. In most of the cases, the sleep is accompanied by temporary memory loss.

Kalachi-sleep-epidemic

Read More »

Belarusian Artist Specializes in Turning Mundane Appliances into Steampunk Masterpieces

Dmitry Tihonenko, from Belarus, is a household-appliance repairman with a passion for everything steampunk. Although he primarily uses his workshop to fix broken appliances, he has this amazing hobby going on on the side – creating steampunk masterpieces out of mundane, everyday objects.

You have to to admit that even though modern appliances make our lives a lot easier, design-wise they are not always as cool-looking as we’d like . They’re most often mass-produced, plastic replicas of each other. But that’s where Dmitry comes in – he takes boring appliances and converts them into something truly wonderful, as you can see in the pictures.

Dmitry-Tihorenko

Read More »

Party Like a Caveman at This Cave Nightclub in Cuba

Disco Ayala, in Trinidad, Cuba, is not your average party destination. It’s located on the outskirts of town, in a natural cave that was once the home of a notorious serial killer.

After walking down the dusty street leading up to the tiny cave mouth, revelers take the stairs leading down to the gated entrance to one of the most unique discos on earth. You pay CUC$3 for entry and a drink, and go down the stairs, and then down another flight through a tunnel. Up to this point, the place looks like a normal cave, apart from a large banner that reads ‘Disco Ayala’. But nothing can really prepare you for what lies within.

As you step out of the narrow tunnel, the sight that awaits you is nothing short of spectacular – a large marble dance floor is set up in the middle of a large cavern, the bright light from a rock-carved bar catches your eye and the colorful lights dancing on the stalagmites will leave you speechless.  Not to mention the loud latino music and the crazy performers. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Disco-Ayala

Read More »

For Some Strange Reason the Nurses at This Chinese Hospital Dress Like Flight Attendants

A hospital in eastern China has decided to do away with plain white nurse uniforms. Instead, they have their nurses dressing up like flight attendants. The new initiative began earlier this month at the Lianshui Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Huai’an city. Their idea is to glamorize the otherwise thankless profession of nursing, and also provide patients with superior customer service.

Bu Haijuan, head of the hospital’s nursing unit, came up with the idea as a way to remind her nurses to improve their bedside manner. “If you think of all the professions of the world, which one comes to mind when you think of good customer service?” she asked. “It’s airline stewardesses, isn’t it? Nurses learn all sorts of technical skills at college but customer service can be easily overlooked. But flight attendants are specifically trained to have a good attitude and manners.”

flight-attendant-nurses

Read More »

Husky Dog Raised around Cats Actually Acts Like One

Tally, a shy husky mix, is a dog with a difference. While most dogs chase cats, Tally prefers to behave like one. Well, she can’t be blamed for it – she was raised around cats so, you know how it goes, doggy see, doggy do.

Redditor Dong_of_justice, recently put up photographs of the insanely adorable dog. She can be seen sitting around the house with her legs tucked under her body, and hanging out under the dining table or in boxes. And she never barks – the poor thing probably doesn’t even know that she can.

Tally-the-dog

Read More »

Japanese Actor Who Specializes in Getting Killed by Samurai Has Died More Than 50,000 Times on Screen

If you’re a Japanese samurai movie buff, you know that there’s always at least one guy who dies in the most peculiar manner. He’s stabbed, or slashed, or sliced with a Samurai sword, and then he twists into weird shapes before he keels over and dies. Well, now you get to know the man himself – Seizo Fukumoto. He’s been dying in Japanese cinema for over 50 years now, and he’s one of the top ‘kirareyaku’ actors – stuntmen who specialize in being killed by the hero samurai.

Being the bad guy who always gets might not sound like much, but Fukumoto says that it’s a crucial part in the movie. “The way my characters die has a huge impact on the impression the lead character gives in a film.” The more ‘cringe-worthy’ the death, the better the hero looks. According to the 71-year-old thespian, a true kirareyaku is “the one who can make them ask, ‘Is he okay?’”

He deliberately adds an awkward grotesqueness to his movements while dying; this is called ‘buzama’ in Japanese. “Whenever we die, we have to do it in a way that is unsightly or clumsy, not graceful,” he explained. “In this buzama, we find beauty. To die in an uncool way is the coolest.”

Seizo-Fukumoto

Read More »

Nature’s Wonders – Amazonian Butterflies Drinking Turtle Tears

Deep in the western Amazon rainforest, live butterflies that drink turtle tears. That sounds like a line straight out of a fantasy novel, but it’s one hundred percent real life! It’s an unusual sight – swarms of butterflies flocking at the eyes of yellow-spotted river turtles, trying to get a sip. The poor turtles keep ducking or swatting, but the butterflies persist until they’ve had their fill.

According to Phil Torres, a scientist at the Tambopata Research Center in Peru, the butterflies are attracted to turtle tears because the drops of liquid contain sodium, a mineral that is scarce in the western Amazon region. While turtles get plenty of sodium through their carnivorous diet, the herbivore butterflies need an extra mineral source.

Torres explained that the western Amazon rainforest is over 1,000 miles away from the Atlantic Ocean – a prime source of salt. The region is also cut off from the mineral particles blown towards the west from the Andes Mountains. Most of these windblown minerals are removed from the air by the rain before they have a chance to reach the western Amazon. These factors contribute to the extremely low levels of sodium. So the butterflies have to turn to the best source available to them, and that include turtle tears, animal urine, muddy river banks, puddles, and sweaty clothes.

turtle-tears

Read More »

The Art of Crossing the Street in Vietnam

If you plan to visit Vietnam, prepare to forget everything you ever learned about crossing the street. Forget about waiting for the traffic to stop, forget about zebra crossings, and forget about traffic lights. Because in Vietnam, people cross the street by charging right ahead, weaving their way through moving traffic. It’s the only way to do it!

It sounds dangerous, I agree, but it also seems kind of fun, in an adrenalin-pumping kind of way. I’ve just spent the past hour reading about how it’s done. This is from a Vietnam Travel & Living Guide: “You want to get to the other end of the street but it does not look quite feasible. Unless you try it. Crossing over the jam is actually not that bad. You will just have to do it. The magic is that no one will ever run into you.”

I watched a few videos as well; it really does seem like magic. The streets are filled with moving scooters and cars, and the pedestrians just flit across effortlessly. They seem to maintain an intense focus on the oncoming vehicles, finding gaps and moving through them slowly but steadily. There’s just no other way, given the fact that traffic is a nightmare in major Vietnamese cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh.

310329883_f73290a9bd_b

Read More »

The Santa Cruz Mystery Spot That Seems to Defy Physics

The Mystery Spot, located in Santa Cruz, California, is sort of like a house of illusions. Here, water flows upwards, cars and balls roll uphill, short people appear to be the same height as taller ones, and people can lean forward up to 45 degrees without falling flat on their faces. It seems as though the normal laws of gravity just don’t work here.

The Spot is actually a large barn located on a 150 square-foot patch of  hillside land. Visitors are permitted to enter the shack after paying the owners an entry fee. They are shown a variety of unbelievable sights, like plumb bobs hanging almost parallel to the floors, billiards balls rolling uphill and people standing at impossible angles. The shack itself appears to be falling over, pulled down by strange forces. Adding to the mystery is the fact that people sometimes lose their balance, become disoriented and even feel ill within its four walls.

Discovered in 1939, the area around the Mystery Spot was originally supposed be the building ground for a summer cabin, but rumor has it that when surveyors tried to chart the plot, they found that their instruments acted crazy over one particular patch of land. The people who stood on this spot claimed that a mysterious force seemed to be trying to push them off balance, making them feel light-headed. The owners eventually abandoned their plan to develop the site and a year later, they opened the Mystery Spot as a tourist attraction.

739389487_5fe1ea36ec_o

Read More »

Chinese City Tries to Create Artificial Lake Ends Up with Sahara-Like Desert Instead

Zhengzhou, the capital city of north-central China’s Henan Province, is currently a sandy mess. Officials wanting to create an artificial lake on the outskirts of the city have botched things up so bad that it’s turned into a sprawling desert instead. The sand is everywhere – about 10 meters high and covering an area as large as four football fields. Naturally, Zhengzhou’s residents aren’t pleased.

The idea was nice to begin with – the officials planned to make a beautiful lake on the outskirts of the city by tapping a natural water source called Dragon Lake and removing hundreds of thousands of tons of sand around it. Unfortunately, nature did not play along with the plan. The underground water source dried up and all the dug-up sand began to spread. It has now resulted in a large wasteland of parched earth in the area.

Zhengzhou-desert

Read More »

In South Korea People Check into Prison to Reduce Stress

Prison would probably be the last place I’d think of checking into to relieve stress, but that’s exactly what hundreds of South Koreans are doing these days.‘Prison Inside Me’ is a stress-reduction center with a penal theme, located on the outskirts of Hongcheon, about 58 miles northeast of Seoul.

Prison Inside Me is the brainchild of 47-year-old Kwon Yong-seok, who was previously a lawyer. “I didn’t know how to stop working back then,” he said. “I felt like I was being swept away against my will, and it seemed I couldn’t control my own life.” That’s when he decided to spend time behind bars. He asked his old acquaintance – a prison governor – if he could spend a week locked up in jail. Although he said it was for ‘therapeutic reasons’, his bizarre request was rejected.

So Kwon decided to take matters into his own hands, and began to make plans for his  prison-like spiritual center. It was ready in June last year, after a year of construction that cost about 2 billion won ($19 million). Kwon managed to cover the cost through loans and donations from friends and relatives. The facility, he said, was not built for profit.

Prison-Inside-Me

Read More »

Costa Rican ‘Mole Man’ Spends 10 Years Digging Large Underground Home by Hand

Manuel Barrantes, fondly known as ‘El Hombre Topo’ or ‘The Mole Man’, has spent the last 10 years building himself a unique underground home. The 62-year-old Costa Rican did it all by hand, using only picks and shovels for tools. He now uses the large tunnel as a residence and a museum, welcoming tourists and teaching children about archeology and geography.

The underground dwelling is located in Perez Zeledon, a canton of San José Province in Costa Rica. Popularly known as ‘Topolandia’, the unique dwelling features over 400 square meters of tunnels. The walls and corridors of the caves are adorned with a variety of hand-carved sculptures of turtles, dinosaurs and even TV characters like the Flintstones. The largest tunnel inside the house is at least 16 meters deep, with a comfortable lounge to welcome visitors.

Topolandia

Read More »

Meet the Human Punching Bag Who Makes a Living by Getting Punched in the Stomach

Thankfully, I’ve never been beat up, but I imagine it must be a horrible thing to go through. Which is why I find this 48-year-old Chinese man’s choice of career strange, to say the least. Xie Shuiping actually volunteers to take punches from random strangers, for a fee. Surprisingly, taking a beating is a rather decent source of income, earning him about $3,500 a month.

Xie, who is also known as the ‘human punching bag’, hangs around streets, bars and nightclubs, just waiting to get punched. Each person who comes forward is allowed to punch him three times in the stomach, as hard as possible. The ‘performance’ lasts about 20 minutes, and those who beat him or shake him can receive free drinks at the bar. Financial rewards aside, the human punching bag also likes to think he helps people let off some team as well. “If you are upset by your boss or your wife, don’t blame them. Vent your anger on me. Let society be harmonious,” he said.

human-punching-bag

Read More »

Page 10 of 320« First...89101112...203040...Last »