Being Stung by the Gympie Gympie Tree Is the Worst Kind of Pain You Can Imagine

‘Gympie-Gympie’ is hardly the name you’d expect for a stinging-tree. It looks quite harmless too, but in reality, the Gympie-Gympie is one of the most venomous plants in the world. Commonly found in the rainforest areas of north-eastern Australia, the Moluccas and Indonesia, it is known to grow up to one to two meters in height.

In fact, the Gympie-Gympie sting is so dangerous that it has been known to kill dogs, horses and humans alike. If you’re lucky enough to survive, you  only feel excruciating pain that can last several months and reoccur for years. Even a dry specimen can inflict pain, almost a hundred years after being picked!

With the exception of its roots, every single part of the deadly tree – its heart shaped leaves, its stem and its pink/purple fruit – is covered with tiny stinging hairs shaped like hypodermic needles. You only need to lightly touch the plant to get stung, after which the hair penetrates the body and releases a painful toxin called moroidin. Sometimes, merely being in the presence of the plant and breathing the hair that it sheds into the air can cause itching, rashes, sneezing and terrible nosebleeds.

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Only in Japan – The LED-Illuminated Upskirt Skirt

Japanese designer Kiyoyuki Amano has combined fashion and technology to create futuristic short skirts that illuminate the wearer’s thighs. Aptly named ‘Hikaru Skirt’, which means ‘Shining Skirt’, the garment comes equipped with LED lights and the miniature gyro sensors on the inside. So the skirt lights up, and the color and pattern of the light changes every time the wearer moves.

Amano said that he first placed light bulbs inside a skirt on a whim, and that’s when he noticed that it created a pleasant illumination of the thighs. So he worked on the design some more and soon created a whole line of LED-illuminated minis. The Hikaru skirts, he said, are meant to bridge the gap between everyday fashion and cosplay.

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No Girls Allowed – The Greek State That Forbids Both Human and Animal Females

Mount Athos, formally known as Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, is located on the Greek peninsula of Halkidiki. The monastic traditions of the mountain date back to 800 A.D. and the Byzantine era. Today, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries, and 2,000 monks from Greece and other eastern orthodox countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia and Russia. These monks live an ascetic life, isolated from the rest of the world.

Although technically part of the European Union, the Holy Mountain is largely self-governed. This prohibits the free movement of people and goods in its territory, unless formal permission has been granted. As a result, a number of traditions at Mount Athos might seem odd to people outside. The keeping of Byzantine time, for instance, means that their day begins at sunset. But perhaps their most bizarre practice is the centuries-old ban on women entering the sacred peninsula.

For over 1,000 years, women have been forbidden from setting foot on the mountain. In fact, females of other species such as cows, dogs and goats aren’t permitted either. Only birds and insects are exempted from the rule – scanning the skies and grounds for female body parts would surely be too absurd, even by Mount Athos standards.

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Swiss Company Will Find a Truly Unique Name for Your Baby for Just $32,000

It’s hard to find an original, one-of-a-kind name for a baby in this day and age – a fact that a Swiss company is cashing in on. For a hefty fee of $32,000, they promise to have their team of experts come up with a name that your baby wouldn’t share with anyone else in the world.

The company, called Erflogswelle, is actually in the business of creating names for brands and products, but director Marc Hauser came up with the idea for this new service after he helped a friend name her child. “The choice was causing tension between the couple, so I thought I could help,” he explained.

His friend loved the name that he picked out and that’s when he realized the potential of extending the service to parents all over the world. So he put together a special team of his best people, who employ their tried and tested techniques to find unique names for babies.
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Warsaw’s Keret House – World’s Narrowest Home Is Just 1.2 Meters Wide

Wedged into the narrow space between two buildings in Warsaw, Poland, the Keret House is considered the narrowest home in the world. At just 36 inches across at its narrowest point and 48 inches at its widest, the house is barely large enough for one person to move around.

The unique living space is the brainchild of Israeli writer and film maker Etgar Keret. The gap between the two buildings was discovered almost six years ago, by Polish architect Jakub Szczęsny. He realized that it was just enough room to fit a house, so he decided to go ahead and build one. Coming up with a design for the tiny available space was tough, but the real challenges were ownership issues, building regulations and financing. Luckily, he managed to raise 70,000 euros (over $80,000) for the project and began the construction in collaboration with the Polish Art Foundation.

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Badass Ukrainian Grandmother Nicknamed “The Punisher” Trains Alongside Army Cadets

68-year-old Ekaterina Bilyik is fondly known as ‘The Punisher’ in her home town of Zhidaev, Ukraine. Contrary to her appearance, the frail-looking grandmother is a total badass – she recently completed a gruelling military training alongside army cadets four decades younger than her.

The amount of energy and enthusiasm that she displayed during training is quite awe-inspiring. Footage from the training camp shows her rolling over snow-covered fields, leaping high, and firing assault rifles along with all the young men in her troop. And believe it or not, she is now training to take part in the raging battle in eastern Ukraine.

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Female Face Shaving – A Growing Trend among Japanese Women Looking for Perfectly Smooth Skin

Japanese women are blessed with beautiful skin, which is mainly attributed to their fresh diet and great genes. While those might be legit reasons, it turns out they also have a little known beauty secret – shaving their faces! The trend was pioneered by beauty salons in Japan, and many women now believe that it is the real reason for younger-looking skin.

While men generally shave the areas of the face with the thickest hair growth, Japanese women get rid of their facial fuzz all over. This supposedly creates a silky smooth, porcelain texture that’s highly desirable among the Japanese. The beauty treatment has become so popular that almost all salons offer a shave as a part of their regular services. Some women do it once every season along with a common facial, others once a month, and there are even those who shave at home every day with their own blades. Some prefer to shave their entire bodies, and some go as far as shaving off their eyebrows because they feel that real hair is an unrefined feature of the face.

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Student Turns Her Exam Notes into a Unique Recreation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night

Anthropology sophomore Van Truong recently combined art and biology in an effort to ace her final exam in December. While most of her college mates used lists and flashcards to memorize stuff, Van used a whiteboard to write out all her notes in the form of ‘Starry Night’, Van Gogh’s famous masterpiece.

“I knew I had to study for this exam, and I knew I’d be writing on this whiteboard for hours,” she said. “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if I did it in a form where people didn’t know how to feel about it?’”

So when she got to Smathers Library on the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, she started to write down all her notes with the words forming a replica of Van Gogh’s iconic painting. Three hours later, the masterpiece was complete.

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Chinese Woman Who Has Adopted 39 Handicapped Children Gets Punished by Government

Kindness is not always rewarded, as proven by Chinese officials who are punishing a 65-year-old woman for taking in abandoned children with physical and mental disabilities.

Kong Zhenian, from the rural village of Jiu Jiu in northern China’s Shanxi Province, has been caring for physically and mentally-challenged children for the past 40 years. “I found the first one on the side of the road,” she said. “She had just been left there and I felt so sorry for her I just had to do something.” So she took the child into her care and hasn’t stopped helping children since then.

“I have now raised 39 children,” she added. “All of them are regarded as having problems, either physically or mentally. But in fact, many of them were simply suffering from neglect. It costs a lot of money to care for them but we have managed.”

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Artist Will Tattoo Anyone’s Name on Her Body for $10

A Los Angeles artist is on a mission to cover her entire body with tattoos. She’s offering herself up as a human billboard by tattooing people’s names and designs all over her body, for as low as $10.

Illma Gore, 22, said that the initiative is a part of her ‘absurd and beautiful’ project called A Hundred Tiny Stories. She was actually trying to raise $6,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, in order to cover the cost of 60 hours worth of tattooing. She actually managed to raise a whopping $11,000, until the campaign got suspended.

“It’s art,” she explained. “It will annoy people or make them happy or make them smile. Either way, that’s what art’s supposed to do.”

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Meet the Moranbong Band – North Korea’s Version of Spice Girls

Believe it or not, North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, is actually a big fan of K-pop music. In fact, he’s so passionate about it that he hand-picked every member of the girl group ‘Moranbong Band’ – his country’s answer to the Spice Girls.

As a result of Kim Jong-un’s endorsement, the band has been playing sell-out gigs across the country. Their first concert was so popular that the streets of Pyongyang were apparently deserted during the broadcast. Often dressed in conservatively sexy attire – with skirts cut well above the knee and hair clipped short – the Moranbong girls have received good reviews from local critics as well.

Although the band has been around for a few years, they appeared to have fallen out of favor in late 2013. But after a six-month hiatus, they were back to performing in April 2014 to rave reviews from Korean media, thus reclaiming their status as queens of North Korea’s pop scene, and the darlings of primetime TV. Their comeback concert featured ‘colorful numbers’ such as ‘O My Motherland Full of Hope’, ‘Our Father’, and ‘We Think of the Marshall Day and Night’.

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Professional Beggar Takes Credit Card Donations, Makes a Killing

Damien Preston-Booth is probably the smartest, most resourceful beggar in the world. Every week, the 37-year-old from Lancashire travels all the way to London’s Mayfair to accept donations from wealthy tourists – via credit card! He actually carries around a card reader to make sure he doesn’t miss out on contributions from rich people who don’t have cash on them.

Every Wednesday for the past five years, Booth has journeyed from his £300 a month rented apartment in Preston to London, where he pretends to be homeless, spending three days and nights sleeping rough and begging. He walks up to potential donors and tries appealing to their generosity. If they’re ready to contribute, he quickly whips out his mobile card reader that transfers all payments to his PayPal account. The reader is linked via Bluetooth to his smartphone, and the donor receives a receipt for his donation.

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Shani Shingnapur – India’s Village without Doors

Believe it or not, there’s a village in India where none of the 300-odd buildings – homes, educational institutions, and even banks – have doors. Cash is stored in unlocked containers, as are valuable pieces of gold jewellery.

Even most of the public toilets in Shani Shingnapur village square have no doors. “For reasons of privacy and following requests by women, we recently agreed to put a thin curtain near the entrance, but not doors because that would go against our belief,” said village shopkeeper Parmeshwar Mane.

Some villagers do put up loose door panels against their door frames, but this is done only at night, to keep out wild animals and stray dogs. The only problem with the lack of doors is that there’s nothing to knock on to announce your arrival. But the villagers have a solution for this, too. “Just shout out and somebody will come to the door,’’ one of the villagers, Rani, explained.

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The Shockingly Realistic Sculptures of Kazuhiro Tsuji

We’ve featured a lot of hyper-realistic paintings on OC in the past, but here’s something we haven’t seen very often – unbelievably realistic human busts. These 3D sculptures are so life-like that they could give Madam Tussauds a run for their money. They’re the work of Japanese artist Kazuhiro Tsuji, who employs a variety of mold making and sculpting techniques to create his wonderful art.

Born in Kyoto, Japan, Tsuji began to display an affinity towards art, painting, photography, nature, science and technology since childhood. Growing up, he experimented with various media, and finally discovered that ‘portraiture’ was his real passion. But with no money to attend college, Tsuji began to educate himself in the art of special effects makeup.

It all started when he came across a magazine that detailed the makeup techniques used in the 1976 TV mini series Lincoln. Inspired by the intricate craftsmanship, Tsuji gathered his meagre savings and used it to buy makeup supplies. “I took a life cast of myself and attempted to transform myself into Lincoln, which was all the more difficult considering I’m Japanese” he recalled.

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Meet Skellie, the Popular Skeleton Taking Instagram by Storm

With over 150,000 followers, Skellie the skeleton is a true Instagram celebrity. Her account, aptly titled ‘@omgliterallydead’, chronicles her daily activities like hanging out at Starbucks, brunches with her BFFs, makeup-free selfies, visits to the dentist, chilling in the bath, or just staying home to enjoy a Netflix binge.

The whole concept apparently started as a joke between a few co-workers at a Toronto-based social media marketing company. “In early October, a pose-able, plastic skeleton arrived at our office,” said social media manager Dana Herlihy. “My coworkers took to it; someone taped a Starbucks cup to the skeleton’s hand and I took a photo for my personal Instagram.” When that photograph went viral, Dana decided to take a few more, and before she knew it Skellie had her own account.

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