Yemeni Girl Cries Stone Tears, Baffles Scientists

We’ve seen people shedding tears of blood before, but this 12-year-old Yemeni girl’s problem is truly baffling. When Saadiya Saleh cries, her eyes release small, hard stones. They form under her eyelids and get pushed to the front of her eyes, emerging as tears.

Doctors are unable to explain the strange phenomenon because Saadiya isn’t suffering from any known disease. Yemen’s satellite TV channel, Azal, aired a video that shows stones forming in her eyes. She is surrounded by family members and doctors, while a helper wipes her eyes with a napkin. The footage also reveals a small box full of stones that collected from Saadiya’s eyes in a few hours.

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Li Hongbo’s Flexible Paper Sculptures Will Blow Your Mind

Chinese artist Li Hongbo’s sculptures look no different from the classic white Roman-style plaster busts that many sculptors create. But the real magic begins only when you get close and touch them. What appeared to be plaster, reveals itself to be multiple layers of very thin paper.

Li’s technique is stunning – He sketches his ideas before pasting glue in narrow strips across pieces of paper, and stacking them up to the desired height. He uses up to 8,000 layers for a single head. He then cuts, chisels and sands the block of paper using a band saw and angle grinder, just as though he were working with stone. So you could literally touch and play with the busts that Li creates. You could stretch the faces and distort features to reveal an accordion of paper layers, and then snap everything back together with ease.

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A Fascinating Story of Exploding Toads and Clever Crows

In April 2005, a small pond in Hamburg, Germany became the center of a great mystery, rather repulsive in nature. A documentary film made on the phenomenon reported:

“About 1,000 dead toads were discovered lying around the edges. Their bodies appeared to have exploded. Eye-witnesses said they swelled up to about three-and-a-half times their normal size and then simply burst. And they burst with such an explosive force that their entrails were blown over several square meters.”

For several weeks, the common European toads in question received international attention. Scientists were totally baffled, unable to provide an explanation for the unnatural deaths. Health officials panicked – they suspected a virus spread by South American race horses from a nearby track. The tabloid press had a field day with the story, labelling the area ‘The Pond of Death’. Things got worse when the epidemic spread across the border to a nearby Danish lake.

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Eiffel Tower Nose Jobs, the Latest Plastic Surgery Trend in China

In a bid to increase their job prospects after college, Chinese students are resorting to a bizarre practice – Eiffel Tower nose jobs. The latest trend in plastic surgery promises to create a nose that is classic, slender and sloping, similar to the sweeping curve of the Eiffel Tower.

Surgeon Wang Xuming, the brains behind the procedure, said: “We are influenced by the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, we are not content to just add something to the nose, we reconstruct it.” The surgery costs about US $10,000 and involves the enlarging of the nose using tissue from the forehead.

Hundreds of posters advertising the procedure are plastered all over Chongqing city, where surgeon Xuming runs his practice. It shows a Western-looking woman with an almost-too-perfect nose, against a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Interestingly, many young women in China are eager to achieve a western appearance, as they believe it will give them an edge in the highly competitive job market.

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The European Space Agency Has a Sound System So Powerful It Can Kill You

For those of you who like your music loud, here’s a fun fact: sound can kill! Only if it’s greater than 135 decibels, that is. You’re not likely to get such high-power sound waves on your iPod, but there does exist a sound system that could kill you – the European Space Agency’s monster sound horn.

The horn is the most powerful of its kind in Europe. When turned to maximum volume, there’s absolutely no chance of survival. It is a part of ESA’s Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF), a test chamber used to perform acoustic noise tests on spacecrafts to make sure no damage occurs during rocket launches.

The sound test chamber is 16.4 m tall, 11 m wide and 9 m deep; one of its walls houses the massive horn. When nitrogen is shot through the horn, it can produce incredibly powerful sound – over 154 decibels. The effect is something like standing close to multiple jets taking off at once – enough to permanently deafen a human.

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Pointing the Way: The Mysterious Giant Arrows Scattered Across America

So what if there were no high-tech GPS devices in the 1920s? Back then the US Postal Service invented its own navigation system – giant concrete arrows that pointed the way to Air Mail pilots.

When America’s first Transcontinental Air Mail route opened in 1920, pilots faced difficulties in navigating the coast-to-coast route over the American Midwest. This was a time when radar and other modern flight planning implements were yet to be invented.

The very first pilots had to traverse the route relying on landmarks, which weren’t always visible during bad weather. So in 1923, Congress approved the construction of a network of beacons to make the route navigable in the rain or the dark.

These beacons consisted of massive concrete arrows, painted bright yellow, set into the land about 10 miles apart. The arrows were illuminated by 50-foot-towers with powerful rotating gas lights. Visible from a height of 10,000 meters, the arrows helped pilots find their way during the worst weather and at night. They were also located close to emergency airfields just in case airplanes needed to make an emergency landing.

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Narayanan Krishnan – The Selfless Hero Helping India’s Helpless

Hero is a very strong word, but it fits 34-year-old Narayanan Krishnan perfectly. During the last 12 years, he has served over 1.5 million meals to India’s homeless, mostly people abandoned by their families, either suffering from mental conditions or too old to care for themselves.

Back in 2002, young  Narayanan Krishnan was already an award-winning chef working in a high-class restaurant for the prestigious Taj Hotels, and close to securing a job with another 5-star hotel, in Switzerland. Just before heading off to Europe, he traveled to his home town of Madurai, to visit his parents, where witnessed a scene that changed the course of his life forever. ”I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food,” Krishnan told CNN. “It really hurt me so much. I was literally shocked for a second. After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime.”

Although he was a Brahmin – an upper class Hindu – destined for a successful career as a chef, Narayanan decided to give it all up and dedicate his life to helping those who couldn’t help themselves. Shaken by the scene he has witnessed in Madurai, he quit his job within a week, convinced his destiny wasn’t to cook elaborate dishes for the rich and famous, but provide sustenance to those who needed it most. “That night I thought, what am I doing? I am selling a plate of fried rice for ten dollars in my hotel where people come and have food for fantasy, fun, joy and recreation. Not for hunger. They eat only half portion of it and leave half of in the plate. It was a spark, a very powerful spark that I had,” the young chef said about the event that made him what he is today.

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Artist Creates Amazing Monochrome Paintings Using Smoke

Michael Fennel is an exceptional artist who uses a very strange medium to create art – smoke. For the last 16 years he has developed a special technique of manipulating smoke on wooden panels to create mesmerizing paintings.

Although Fennell’s smoke painting techniques remain a well-kept secret, the artist does reveal that “Smoke as a drawing medium is of course fundamentally flawed – it is tremendously volatile and a line cannot be drawn with it, but perhaps more importantly you can easily ignite your paper and burn down your studio! Smoke is a unique medium that is not drawn, painted, printed, rubbed, flicked, blown or sprayed on – so what could we say – air borne? It can create the most beautiful blacks, that are ‘luminous’ and have depth to the extent that charcoal is flat and pale next to it. It an also create melting, nebulous edges and a great range of tones to rival those of photography.”

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Goanna Pulling – Playing Tug of War with Your Neck

If you’re as ignorant as I am, you’re probably scratching your head and asking yourself “what the heck is a goanna?” It’s a lizard species, but don’t worry, no animals are hurt in the unusual sport known as goanna pulling.

Goanna Pulling is basically tug of war with a bizarre twist – instead of their hands, competitors must use their heads to pull each other over the line and win the game. The rules are pretty simple: two people go (literally) head to head on the goanna pulling pad. They get down on all four, with their bellies touching the board and their heads held high. This position makes participants look a lot like goanna lizards, hence the name of the game, in case you were wondering. The two opponents each place their palms behind  a white line traced on the board, and a referee puts a large leather belt around their heads. As soon as he give the signal, the two contestants must use their upper body strength -their neck muscles especially – to pull the other guy past the line and win the game.

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World’s Most Amazing Home Railroad System Can Be Yours for Only $3.5 Million

The suburb of Sherwood, just outside of Portland, Oregon, is home to one of the most spectacular properties in the world. Not only does it have all the regular stuff – a 5,000 Square Feet house, professional landscaping, a garden, a barn and a shop – it also has a fabulous world-class personal railway system with real steam-engine trains.

So if you lived at 18055 SW Seiffert Road, you’d be able to go on train rides every single day. You don’t need a ticket, you don’t have to deal with crowds and the best part – you can never miss a train! All that costs a measly $3.5 million.

Todd Miller, the owner of 18055, spent a large part of his life building the trains and tracks that spread across the 20-acre property. Miller has built handmade steam locomotives, 11,000ft of track, a 30ft railroad trestle and a 400ft-long tunnel. “My passion for railroads started when I was about five years old,” he says. “I got an American Flyer train set for Christmas and it kind of got out of hand from there.”

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You Think Tractors Can’t Dance? Check Out Tractor Square Dancing

It’s strange, but true – tractor square dancing is a real thing. It involves daisy chains and do-si-dos too.  But instead of people dancing on their feet, four seated couples maneuver vintage tractors to complete the moves.

Laurie Mason-Schmidt, the caller for Farmall Promenade (the most popular tractor square dancing group), said: “We are all from Nemaha, Iowa. We have real jobs, believe it or not.” Since it isn’t an organized sport, there are no real statistics available on how many other such groups exist. Most people only come together to perform at one-time events.

The origins of tractor square dancing can be traced back to the fifties. An ad campaign in 1953 by tractor manufacturer International Harvester is believed to have started it all. The ad aimed to show off the fast hitching abilities of their Farmall Super-C tractor. It came with the latest technology (back then) that allowed farmers to switch implements as easily as changing dance partners.

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The Old Eat-Bananas-through-Pantyhose Challenge Is Making a Comeback

I don’t know what the real challenge is – people eating bananas through pantyhose, or having to watch them do it. The disgusting trend is back and the internet is flooded with videos of men and women shoving bananas into their pantyhose covered mouths.

‘The banana challenge’, according to BuzzFeed, has been around for about five years. Videos of people taking part in the challenge have always been there to watch, but nobody really paid them much attention before. We’re not sure why, but these old videos are going viral now.

I tried watching a few and honestly, it gives me a sinking feeling that there is no hope for humanity. There’s more banana going out than in, thanks to the pantyhose barrier. I suppose the fabric acts as some kind of mesh to strain the fruit through. But it obviously doesn’t do a very good job of letting the bananas in, which is the whole point, I suppose.

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Arizona Reverend Performs Exorcisms via Skype

Bob Larson, a reverend at the Spiritual Freedom Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, has developed a high-tech exorcism ritual involving Skype video calls. The reverend, who claims to have performed over 20,000 exorcisms in 40 years, is now giving possessed people the option of banishing their demons from the comfort of their living rooms.

“In simple terms, an exorcism is the process of expelling an evil spirit from an individual who has become somehow invaded and demonized by that being, and sending it back to hell and freeing the person,” he said in an interview with ABC news.

Larson is the self-proclaimed ‘world’s foremost expert on cults, the occult and supernatural phenomena’. In the past, he has appeared on shows like Oprah and Larry King Live. There are numerous video clips on YouTube of his exorcisms. A particular video where he came face-to-face with a gay demon went viral a couple of years ago.

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TRON-Like Reflective Supercars Are the Newest Thing in China

It looks like the Chinese aren’t happy with their plain old boring supercars. So they’ve decided to cover them up in the latest trendy accessory – TRON-like reflective trimmings. Several websites have reported sightings of such cars on China’s streets, despite numerous police warnings.

According to Zeng Chaoyi, a car decorator, the trend is very popular among young drivers because of its futuristic and modern appeal. The decoration is believed to be made of 3M reflective vinyl tape. The accents are applied all over the car, including the wheels.

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World’s Most Expensive Honey Costs as Much as a Small Car

At 5,000 euros (US $6,800) per kilogram, ‘Elvish’ honey from Turkey is the most expensive in the world. The special honey is extracted from a 1,800-meter deep cave in the Saricayir valley of Artvin city, northeastern Turkey.

According to Gunay Gunduz, a local beekeeper, elvish honey is so expensive because it is naturally produced. The mineral-rich cave enhances the honey’s quality, adding to its value. Gunduz, whose family has been into beekeeping for three generations, first noticed some bees entering the cave back in 2009. That’s when he realized that it might contain honey.

“With the help of professional climbers, we entered the deep bowels of the cave and found 18 kilograms of honey plastered on its spherical walls,” he said. It was later analyzed at a French lab, confirming it to be seven-year-old, high-quality, mineral-rich honey.

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