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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Heaven Is in Japan – Cafe Specializes in Mouthwatering Giant Ice-Cream Parfaits

Cafe Olympic, a small restaurant in Nagasaki, Japan, is better known as ‘Parfait Heaven’. And for good reason – they serve a variety of jumbo-size parfaits that range in height from 1.5 ft. to a whopping 4 ft. tall.

The tallest parfait, the Nagasaki Dream Tower (120 cm), is filled with all kinds of wonderful things – ice cream, ice cream cones, chocolate cake, sherbet, soft serve ice cream, fruit, chiffon cake, coffee jello, whipped cream, corn flakes and even a slice of cheesecake. All these ingredients and more are stuffed into an extremely large parfait glass and topped off with Olympic Rings, to match the name of the restaurant and also mark the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The sinful dessert is served with a giant spoon to reach all the sugary goodness down to the bottom of the glass.

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Amazing Ping Pong Player with No Arms Will Convince You That Nothing Is Impossible

Egyptian para-table tennis player Ibrahim Hamato has no arms, yet he can put almost any amateur ping-pong player to shame. How he is able to handle the paddle with his mouth and actually direct his shots is still a mystery to me, but watching him play is fascinating

“I had an accident when I was 10 years old but I loved table tennis,” Ibrahim says. “Three years after my accident, I wanted to play again holding the racket under my arm, but it didn’t work out. After trying different options, I found myself playing with my mouth.” The inspiring athlete was invited to be the guest of honor at the World Team Table Tennis Championships held in Tokyo this year. A short video clip shows him playing with some of the world’s best players – and they look like they’re struggling to keep up with him! His serve is incredible, and some of his shots are truly spectacular. “I feel very happy that I got this invitation from Mr. Sharara,” he said.  It is a big reward for me to watch the best players in the world in Tokyo and I hope this shows people that nothing is impossible as long as you work hard.”

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Man Tries to Find Love on Facebook Gets Rejected by 5,000 Women

Some people just can’t seem to catch a break. Predrag Jovanovic, a single man from Serbia trying to find love online, hasn’t gotten a single positive response after contacting 5,000 different women on Facebook.

Desperate for love, the 34-year-old Serbian had turned to Facebook to find his soulmate. He sent individual messages to 5,000 different women, asking if they would consider being his girlfriend. Unfortunately, none of the responses were favourable. “I got only 15 responses and they were all negative,” he said. “All 15 politely refused to be my girlfriend, while the rest of them simply ignored me. When someone ignores you, that’s the worst thing of all.”

But Jovanovic hasn’t lost hope yet; he vows to continue his mission to find his perfect woman online. Well, he actually doesn’t have any other options, as most of the women in his tiny village (near Belgrade) are either married or grandmothers. He also said that he finds speaking to women online easier, owing to his shy nature. He admitted that he doesn’t laugh much, and that his behavior towards strangers can be stiff at times.

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Students Across the Country Are Brokering Deals to Get Out of Exams if They Get Enough Retweets

I never thought I’d live to see the day when Tweets could replace a student’s academic performance. But it’s actually becoming a popular trend. Teachers all over the United States are promising to cancel final exams if their students manage to get a sufficient number of retweets. I’m not sure the teachers always mean it, but it appears that the students are their deals quite seriously.

It all started with one opportunistic student – Andrew Muennink of Round Rock High School in Texas – who struck a sweet deal with his art teacher. Andrew is quite popular on Twitter, with over 2,300 followers. “I try my best and the final is supposed to be so hard, so I was like, ‘I have lots of followers on Twitter’”.

So he decided to leverage his vast following to his benefit. He approached his art teacher on 7 May and succeeded in striking a deal – if he could get 15,000 retweets by 12 p.m. on May 23rd, his class would be excused from taking the art final. His post spread quickly all over the internet, and he achieved his goal long before the deadline.

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Forget Facelifts, Engagement Ring Selfies Spark New Hand-Lift Craze

It’s stories like these that make me truly worried for the future of the human race. First we heard of people getting plastic surgery for the picture perfect selfie, and now, in a bizarre new trend, engaged women are getting hand jobs (no pun intended), to achieve the perfect ‘engagement ring selfie’.

It’s the latest thing on social media – as soon as the man pops the question, women click pictures of the ring on their finger, posting it online for the world to see. But not all women are happy with shape of their hands, so they turn to image altering tools like Photoshop to make them look better. Only now they have a new solution – cosmetic hand-lifts.

The procedure involves an anti-aging treatment called Juvederm, which is an injectable form of hyaluronic acid. Doctors use it to convert aging hands with visible tendons and veins into youthful, plump hands worthy of showing off a stunning diamond ring. Usually used on the face to fill in lines and wrinkles, Juvederm works wonders on the hands too, if the ‘before’ and ‘after shots are to be believed.

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Artist Isolates Herself in a Room Surviving Only on Water for Seven Days to Focus Solely on Art

Millie Brown, a British Performance artist previously known for her superior regurgitating skills, is now making headlines for a new artistic endeavor – surviving on nothing but water for a week. We had covered Millie’s story in 2011, back in her regurgitating days, when she used to swallow gallons of colored milk and puke it all onto a canvas. At one point, she was widely popular as the girl who threw up all over Lady Gaga in a music video, but she’s apparently setting her sights on starvation as an art form these days.

Millie has placed herself on display, enclosed in the Hatbox, a gallery space at the Refinery Hotel in New York. She’s surrounded by a carpet of freshly-cut flowers, and she plans to remain completely removed from the outside world for 168 hours straight. During this time, the 27-year-old will sustain herself solely on water.

Millie joins the ranks of several performance artists across the world who’ve done weird things to themselves in the name of art. Like this guy who lived inside a bear carcass for 13 days, and these two artists who lived in a hamster wheel for 10 days. Millie’s challenge began on Friday, as a part of NYC’s Frieze Art Week. “I wanted to create a performance that embodied the transience of life,” she said.

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Expensive Japanese Walking Bicycle Replaces Pedaling with Stepping

Some inventions are absolute genius, like the Segway, while others are utterly absurd, like this expensive Japanese walking bicycle. It’s a lot like an elliptical cross-trainer that moves. It’s called the Walking Bicycle Club (WBC), and it moves when you pump your legs straight up and down, kind of like walking. It has three wheels and it’s also fitted with an electric motor that assists the user while travelling uphill.

The WBC is available in a range of attractive colors – Brilliant Red, Moegi Green, Champagne Gold and Sakura Pink. It is 1.2 meters long and weighs about 36 kg. The makers – automotive parts manufacturer Katayama Kogyo – said their goal was to create an experience that combines the joy of walking with the speed of riding a bike. The WBC, they claim, can go up to 15mph (24 km/h) and the built-in power assist motor can travel up to 12 miles (20 km) on a single charge.

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Mother’s Day Event in China Lets Men Experience Pain of Childbirth

Of all the Mother’s Day events this year, I think this one was the most befitting – putting men through the pain of childbirth. A local TV station in Nanchang City, in south China’s Jiangxi province, had about 20 men volunteering to put themselves through the excruciating pain of labor . They were hooked up to a special machine that simulated the pain using electric shocks. Needless to say, the men couldn’t even last 30 seconds.

The theme of the TV show was to have men submit to the pains that women endure during childbirth. The challenge consisted of 10 levels of pain, with an agony scale ranging from 50 to 500. Electric shocks were sent into the abdomens of the male volunteers in order to achieve the desired effect. Predictably, the men were writhing in pain within seconds, begging to stop the experiment.

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Iowa Distillery Wants to Raise Pigs That Taste Like Rye Whisky

The Templeton Rye Distillery, in Templeton, Iowa, is trying to create a revolutionary pork flavor. The founders of the distillery realized that since alcohol is used in meat marinades all the time, why not have meat that comes ‘pre-cured’? So they’re raising 25 pigs that will, hopefully, end up tasting like rye whisky. This is the first experiment of its kind, so there’s really no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out.

Now, if you’re imagining 25 pigs in a pen getting drunk on whisky all day, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. The pigs actually aren’t being fed any whisky at all. Their diet consists of a distinct feed that is mixed with the dry distillery grain from the whiskey-making process. That’s how they plan to infuse the flavor into the pigs’ meat. The swine are currently being cared for by Nick Berry, who has a Ph.D. in Animal Studies.

According to Berry, the pigs are purebred Duroc, which have a superior meat quality and are prefect for this project. He also said that the project is a natural combination for Templeton Rye and their home state’s animal agriculture industry. “I think it really falls in line with what their roots surround – whiskey making and rural Iowa and the Midwest,” he said. “This project really fits right in line with a lot of their history and heritage.”

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