Meet Baltazar, the Last Ice Merchant of Ecuador

While the rest of the world reaches into the freezer for ice, there’s someone on this planet who actually climbs mountains to chop it off. Meet Baltazar Ushca, Ecuador’s last hielero, or ‘iceman’.

Ushca is the last surviving practitioner of his family’s trade – passed on from father to son for centuries. At least once a week, the 68-year-old spends five hours hiking up Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak. He keeps going until he reaches the ice mine that has fed him and his family for generations.

Negotiating the steep 14,700-foot path is no joke, especially at Uscha’s age. But he continues the family tradition of cutting ice from the cave and shaping it into blocks. He then transports the blocks, by mule, down to the nearest city of Riobamba, where they are sold.

Despite his age and his short stature (4ft 11in) Ushca can carry two 66-lb blocks of ice on his shoulders. And he’s quite happy working on the mountain that he considers to be sacred. “This is a man’s work,” he said, proudly. “I am happy when I walk. Father Chimborazo looks after me.”

Baltazar-ice-merchant

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Advanced Artificial Leg Allows Amputees to Feel Sensations in Their Foot

Austrian scientists have invented a revolutionary product in the world of prosthetics – an artificial leg with lifelike sensations. The one-of-a-kind man-made limb has sensors fitted to the sole, which are able to stimulate nerves at the base of the amputee’s stump.

“It feels like I have a foot again,” said Wolfang Rangger, the very first recipient of the sensory-enhanced prosthesis. “I no longer slip on ice and I can tell whether I walk on gravel, concrete, sand, or grass. I can even feel small stones.”

prosthetic-sensor

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Man Chops in Half Everything He and His Girlfriend Owned after Breakup

We’ve seen people do strange things to cope with the pain of a breakup – like spending a week at KFC or inventing ridiculous uses for a wedding dress. But German eBay user ‘der.juli’ took post-breakup madness to the next level by literally cutting in half all the things he and his ex owned together.

It must have been a terrible breakup – what else could have prompted him to do destroy his TV, iPhone, laptop and even his car? We’re not kidding, he actually sliced his green Opel Corsa and his Macbook Pro neatly down the middle! He’s now selling the broken stuff on eBay, each priced at less than $2.

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The World’s Newest Human Ken Doll Actually Looks Plastic

Brazilian model Mauricio Galdi is the newest addition to the growing band of surgically-enhanced men branded ‘Human Ken Dolls’. After a total of eight procedures in the past decade, his face now looks like that of the popular plastic doll.

Mauricio, 27, claims that he wasn’t actually aiming for the ‘Ken’ look, but now that the media’s given him the title, he doesn’t mind cashing in on the publicity. “I never sought out to be the Brazilian human Ken,” he said. “It was something that came to me, television sought to give me that title.”

We find that kind of hard to believe though, given the fact that he’s been obsessed with dolls since childhood. Growing up in a middle class household in Sao Paulo, Mauricio confessed that he often felt jealous of little girls because it was socially acceptable for them to play with Barbie and Ken. “I saw them playing with dolls and I wanted to do the same,” he admitted, “but I never did for fear of prejudice.”

Mauricio-Galdi

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School Fire Drills in China Are Way More Intense Than What You’re Used To

Let’s face it: fire drills are boring and they do nothing to prepare you for a real disaster. Recognising the need for some serious training, a school in China recently collaborated with the local fire department to take traditional fire drills to the next level.

During the mandatory annual event hosted by Nanhu Vocational School, in Hongkou District, Shanghai, students had to evacuate the building at the sound of a bell. But they also had to run through a series of burning doorways with napkins over their mouths, to avoid smoke inhalation. After crossing the obstacles, the students used fire extinguishers to put off the flames. Over 1,000 students from different grades attended the course.

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Doctors Keep Teen Awake for a Week to Keep Parasite from Tunneling into Her Eye

Contact lenses seem harmless, but they can cause the eyes some serious damage, something that 18-year-old Jessica Greaney learned the hard way. She was nearly left blind last month, when a parasite burrowed into her eye and started feeding on her cornea, all because of a contaminated lens.

When Jessica first noticed that her eyelid was drooping, she thought she just had a minor infection. The young girl visited the hospital, where doctors told her it was an ulcer, but in spite of using medication for a week, her symptoms didn’t go away. In fact, they steadily worsened.

“By the end of the week, my eye was bulging, and it looked like a huge red golf ball,” Jessica told student newspaper The Tab. “It was swollen, and extremely painful, and they admitted me into hospital.

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Russian Powerlifter Will Make You Reconsider Condescending Terms Like “Weaker Sex”

Natalia Trukhina is a professional powerlifter from Russia. At just 23-years of age, she has already accomplished more than other athletes do in their entire careers, setting multiple bench press and armlifting world records as well as earning several world champion titles.

Natalia discovered her passion for powerlifting when she was 14 years old. She had always liked power and combat sports and was a very active child. However, she weighed only 40 kilograms at the time and started hitting the gym in order to gain a few extra pounds. The rest, as they say, is history. Now 23, Natalia Trukhina has grown from a scrawny girl into one of the most muscular women in the world. Her impressive figure and strength put most men to shame.

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Rare Vietnamese Chicken Breed Has the Weirdest Legs You’ve Ever Seen

You might find its freakishly butch legs rather repulsive, but believe it or not, the Dong Tao chicken is incredibly popular in Vietnam. Once reserved for royalty and ritual offerings, the rare breed is now prized by chicken breeders and its meat is served in exclusive restaurants that cater to the wealthy.

An adult Dong Tao chicken can grow up to weigh three to six kilograms, with legs as thick as a human’s wrist. The hens are generally white, while the cocks have colorful feathers. Dong Tao meat is considered far more delicious than regular chickens, explaining its high demand and incredibly steep price tag.

Dong-Tao-chicken

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How the “Waterman of India” Revived Five Rivers and Brought Back Water to Over 1,000 Villages

Rajendra Singh is considered a hero in the state of Rajasthan, in India, for single handedly reviving five rivers that had been dried up for decades. His exceptional work and dedication have earned him the nickname ‘Waterman of India’.

Singh, who studied Ayurvedic medicine at college, had always dreamed of becoming a farmer. So when he moved to Rajasthan’s Alwar district after graduating in 1985, he was interested in healing not just his people, but also the semi-arid region’s ailing ecosystem.

Singh noticed that the district’s population was dwindling – most villagers had left their homes after the local Arvari River had dried up in the ’40s, and the only people who remained were either too old or too poor to move elsewhere. Singh, driven by a strong desire to help the villagers, took on the task of bringing water back to those lands.

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Former Millionaire Now in Heavy Debt after Adopting 72 Children in the Last 19 Years

Meet Li Li Juan, a former millionaire whose benevolent spirit led her to bankruptcy. The 47-year-old, from northern China’s Hebei Province, has adopted 72 abandoned children over the course of 19 years. She spent all her money caring for them, and is now facing a huge debt of over two million yuan.

Li became rich during the 1980s, earning huge profits from her garments business and her investments in iron ore mining. It was around this time that she started taking in sick and disabled children who were abandoned by their parents, and orphaned children whose parents had died in coal mine disasters. She used her two sources of income to provide for all her adopted children.

It was all smooth sailing for a few years, but as luck would have it, hard times fell upon Li in 2008. Her mine was shut down due to urban developments, cutting down a major source of her income. But she continued to care for the children by selling off all her properties and valuables, one at a time.

Li-Li-Juan

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Game of Drones – Australia’s Awesome Underground Drone Racing League

Drone racing is a mushrooming trend in Australia, catering to a growing band of enthusiasts looking to fulfill their need for speed. The races, organised by underground ‘leagues’, generally take place in rundown warehouses, farms, and go-kart tracks in the fringe suburbs of various cities.

The relatively unknown sport is called FPV (first person racing). Participants spend countless hours custom building their quadcopters, fitting them with onboard cameras and ‘blinging’ them up with LED lights. During the actual events, racers don special goggles – sometimes held together with gaffer tape – to give them a drone’s-eye view as they steer their machines around the course. So it’s a lot like video gaming, except players get to control a real device instead of a virtual one.

“It’s addictive. It’s like playing a video game,” says drone racer Darren French, who has clocked over 60 kmph. “It’s fast. The more you do it, the more you want to fly.”

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Guy Living Near Milwaukee Airport Paints “Welcome to Cleveland” on His Roof to Confuse Airplane Passengers

For nearly four decades, Mark Gubin has been playing an epic prank on people flying into his hometown. As aircrafts descend into Milwaukee’s Mitchell International airport, passengers are greeted with a warm, welcoming sign: ‘Welcome to Cleveland’!

Gubin says that the sign – painted on the roof of his apartment in six-foot letters – has always succeeded at giving flyers a good scare. “There’s no real purpose for having this here except madness,” he told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2005. “Which I tend to be pretty good at.”

The retired photographer revealed that he first got the idea for the sign from his assistant, when he was having lunch with her up on his roof in 1978. She had noticed all the low-flying planes in the area, and told him it would be nice to make a sign to welcome people to Milwaukee. But then Gubin came up with an even better idea – a sign welcoming them to the wrong city.

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‘Black’ African-American Organization Leader Is Actually White, Her Parents Say

The parents of an African American civil rights leader in Eastern Washington state have shocked the nation by declaring that their daughter isn’t black, as she has claimed to be for the last 10 years. In several recent interviews with the media, Larry and Ruthanne Dolezal revealed that their daughter Rachel is actually caucasian.

“She’s our birth daughter and we’re both of European descent,” Larry told news reporters. “We’re very puzzled and it’s very sad.”

Since January, Rachel has been the president of the Spokane County chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). She is also chair of the city’s police oversight commission, and an adjunct professor of African studies at Eastern Washington University. Rachel is currently estranged from her parents – they claim that they only found out about her disguise when they read about her in a newspaper a few years ago.

Rachel-Dolezal

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Rare Condition Gives Cat Creepy Alien Eyes

Matilda the cat is well on her way to becoming an internet sensation, thanks to her large, glassy, ‘alien’ eyes. Her mysterious appearance has earned her over 33,000 followers on Instagram and that number is about to skyrocket now that her photos have gone viral.

Sadly, Matilda’s story isn’t as amusing as it seems. The two-year-old tabby suffers from a rare condition that’s only getting worse as she grows older. Matilda’s anonymous owners, who refer to themselves as her ‘servants’, have revealed that she used to be pretty normal as a kitten, with the exception of having a ‘squinty eye’ from time to time.

“Matilda lives with her loving servants who include The Bearded Man, The Lady and Dog,” the servants write on Matilda’s official site. “She was born on Valentine’s Day in 2013 in a hoarder house in a small town, and was quickly picked up by a rescue society. When she found her forever home she was only 12 weeks old and the cutest, teensiest thing that anyone had ever seen.”

Matilda-alien-eyes

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This Guy Makes a Living Impersonating Britney Spears

You’re going to have a hard time convincing yourself that the woman in these photos isn’t Britney Spears. In fact, it isn’t a woman at all! It’s actually a man named Derrick Barry, who’s making a living out of impersonating the world-famous celebrity.

It all started a few years ago, when Derrick dressed up as Britney for Halloween. The resemblance was so striking that his friends and family were stupefied. They later told him that he should consider a career as her professional lookalike. And that’s exactly what he did..

The 31-year-old says that he finds it “amazing” to pay tribute to someone he’s idolized since the beginning of her career. “I think even if I wasn’t impersonating her I would still be such a huge fan,” he told Las Vegas Weekly. “I really have the most amazing job in the world. To be a fan of hers and then get to impersonate her around the world is such an honor.”

Derrick-Barry

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