Russian Company Sells Apocalypse Survival Kits

December 21st is less than a month away, but don’t despair, there’s hope for you yet. A Siberian company has started selling end-of-the-world survival kits containing must-have items like a bottle of vodka and a notepad and a pencil.

Just in case you can’t make it to the French town or Bugarach, or buy an apocalypse-proof Atlantis pod, you can still take your shot at surviving the end of the world, by getting one of the survival kits offered by a very resourceful Russian company. It’s not likely to keep you alive for long, but at least you tried, right? For a mere 890 rubles ($28), you get a med kit (complete with heart medication), soap, some candles and matches, a can of fish, a pack of buckwheat, a bottle of vodka, a notepad and pencil, and a rope. Although I can think of a few uses for the rope, in case of a natural disaster, some might see it as a means to an end for those less optimistic of their survival chances. The kit also includes  a blank ID card, to be filled by the buyer, in case their original ID card gets demagnetized during the apocalypse, an instruction card with rules to various games to pass the time, in case you get stuck somewhere with friends and family, waiting for the end of the world to pass you by.

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Man Brings Virtual Girlfriend to His Real-Life Wedding, Bride Retaliates

Talk about pushing your luck, right? As if having his future wife put up with a virtual girlfriend wasn’t enough, a Japanese geek actually had the nerve to invite his video-game lady and two of her friends to their wedding and even reserved seats for them. But the bride had some plans of her own…

For obvious reasons, the real names of the protagonists in this story were not revealed, but photos from their wedding were posted online by guests surprised to see three Nintendo DS handheld video-game consoles seated as guests. Their screens showed three different anime-like girls, one of which was revealed to be the groom’s girlfriend. Nene Anegasaki, Manaka Takane and Rinko Kobayakawa are characters from the hugely popular Konami video game, Love Plus. The addictive open-ended dating simulator has reportedly sold in over 250,000 copies in Japan, and stories of men caught by their girlfriends and wives while tending to their virtual partner’s needs began surfacing online a while ago. In 2010, we posted photos of gamers celebrating Nene’s birthday with cakes and candles and presents, just to show how popular the Love Plus character was. But this is probably the first time Nene attended a real-life wedding, as a guest.

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Strange Wedding Customs – The Crying Ritual of the Tujia People

Throughout history, various cultures have had strange requirements of their women. But none perhaps as strange as the custom of crying before marriage, as followed in Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. According to the custom, it is mandatory for a bride to cry at her own wedding, whether she likes it or not.

The crying marriage ritual was at its peak during the early 17th century and remained so until the end of the Qing dynasty in 1911. It is said to have originated during the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC), when historical records reveal that the princess of the Zhao State was to be married into the Yan State. At the moment of the princess’ departure, her mother is said to have cried at her feet, asking her to return home as soon as possible. This is said to be the first crying marriage ever. Although the custom is not as popular now as it used to be, there are still a large number of families that practice it with gusto. In fact, it is a necessary procedure for marriage among the Tujia people, in China’s Sichuan Province. The ritual itself is pretty simple – the bride has got to shed tears. If she doesn’t or is unable to, her neighbors will look down upon her as one of poor breeding. Worse still, she could even become the laughing stock of her village. In one extreme case, the bride was beaten by her mother for not crying at the wedding. Perhaps the girl was too happy to be free from her mother?

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Fearing a 2012 Apocalypse, Man Tries to Build His Own Ark

No, God didn’t reveal himself to Lu Zhenghai in a vision. The man from Urumqi, China was simply afraid the rumors about the apocalypse happening in December of 2012 might be true, so he decided to follow Noah’s example and build an ark.

Scientists and researchers are going out of their way to assure people that December 21, 2012, the so-called Mayan end-date, will be just an ordinary date but many of them are simply not buying it. While some are travelling to the French village of Bugarach, said to be the only place that will survive the impending apocalypse, others are building their own survival equipment. Take Lu Zhenghai, from Urumqi, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who spent all his life savings of 1 million yuan ($160,500) on building his own ark, capable of keeping him safe in case of a disastrous flood. The vessel, designed by Lu himself, is 21.2 meters long, 15.5 meters wide, 5.6 meters high and displaces about 140 tons of water. It’s not much to look at, but Lu claims that once it’s finished, it will fulfill its purpose.

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The Gulabi Gang – India’s Pink-Wearing Female Vigilantes

The women of Bundelkhand, in Uttar Pradesh, India, do not need superheroes to come to their rescue. They depend on a group of their own clan – The Gulabi Gang – during times of distress. The gang members are vigilantes who go above and beyond the duties of a local neighborhood crime watch. Their chosen uniform – a strikingly pink sari. Their weapon of choice – the Lathi, a traditional Indian fighting stick. Gender – female only.

In fact, the Gulabi Gang (Gulabi: the color of pink rose), consists of over 10,000 women. And they are a blessing in disguise for many in the overpopulated Bundelkhand region, where people wage daily wars against a corrupt law-enforcement system, infertile lands and the oppressive system of caste hierarchy. But what Bundelkhand is most infamous for is banditry. Disputes are frequently settled by manner of bullets. The Bandit Queen of India, Phoolan Devi, once carried out her operations in the very same region. She would lead her bandits and robbers to seek a vicious retribution, violently attacking the upper-caste villagers. It is in this harsh atmosphere, where life is nothing short of brutal, that the Gulabi Gang has been carrying out its operations for the past two years.

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Japanese Self-Confessed Geeks Attend Masked Matchmaking Event

Japanese geeks, commonly known as “otaku”, too shy to go out and meet a potential date face to face attended a special matchmaking event where everyone wore anime character masks to conceal their identities.

The event called “Ota-konkatsu” took place in Kuki City, north of Tokyo, a “holy place” among anime fans. The city is home to the Washinomiya Shrine, which was a location in the 2007 television adaptation of Kagami Yoshimizu’s manga Lucky Star, a very popular anime series, and since then Kuki City has become a sort-of otaku pilgrimage site. Data shows the direct economic effect of Lucky star on the city is estimated to be about 100 million yen (US$1.22 million) over the past five years. So it’s no wonder why this location was selected for an otaku-oriented matchmaking event. Ever since 2009, Japanese geeks have attended matchmaking events in Kuki City, hoping to find like-minded partners, but organizers thought they’d be more successful if participants could get over their excessive shyness. So at this latest even, everyone wore anime masks to conceal their identity.

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Local Council in Serbia Issues Warning That Vampire Is on the Loose

Locals in the Bajina Basta municipality, western Serbia, are freaking out after the local council has issued a warning about the famous vampire Sava Savanovic being on the loose and thirsty for blood.

Sava Savanovic is a popular figure of Serbian folklore, known as the first vampire in Serbia. According to legend, he lived in an old watermill on the nearby Rogačica river, where he killed and drank the blood of peasants who came to mill their grains. Scary stories like this are not uncommon, but the people of Zarozje village, where the mill is located, actually believe their local vampire is real. They had no problem living near it, as Savanovic hasn’t hurt any of them for centuries, but now that his home has collapsed, they fear he may take revenge on them. “People are worried, everybody knows the legend of this vampire and the thought that he is now homeless and looking for somewhere else and possibly other victims is terrifying people. We are all frightened,” mayor Miodrag Vujetic told the press.

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Japanese School for Mascots Teaches Tricks of the Trade

You know those over-sized furry creatures that entertain kids at theme parks and special events? They’re called character mascots and being a good one is apparently about more than putting on a costume and acting silly. For professional training, there’s the Choko Group mascot school in Tokyo, Japan.

Probably the only school for mascots in the world, Choko Group was founded in 1985, by veteran mascot Choko Ohira. Students that go here are taught everything from traditional dance, which helps with goofy mascot dancing, to various walking styles that help illustrate different ages when wearing the funny costume. Wannabe mascots also learn how to interact with children, project a friendly or scary aura and using gestures to communicate when users are unable to see the wearer’s face. Right now,there are around 25 students at the Tokyo mascot school. Their ages range from early 20s to mid 50s, and while some are attending Ohira’s courses for pure fun, some are interested in pursuing mascot careers, and are hoping to some day work at a big theme park.

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Celebrity Portraits Made from 5,000 Sweets Taste as Good as They Look

Florida-based artist Cristiam Ramos creates portraits of celebrities like Marylin Monroe, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj out of thousands of sweets, giving the expression “eye candy” a whole new meaning.

The 32-year-old Mexican artist uses Gummy Bears, liquorice, M&M’s, bubble gum and after dinner mints to craft colorful portraits of various celebrities. Each of his tasty artworks contains over 5,000 individual sweets, and his largest creation so far, a life-size candy motorcycle is made up of over 20,000 sweets. Ramos says he got the idea to use sweets as a medium for his art four years ago, while he was in a park. He saw a dad give his son a piece of candy to sooth his pain, and after seeing the boy smile, he realized sweets make human beings happy. He kept thinking “what if they saw one of their favorite artists enshrined in their favorite sweets?”. That thought turned into a reality soon enough, and now Cristiam Ramos’ celebrity portraits sell for up to $18,000, depending on the size of the picture and amount of sweets used. Celebrities immortalized in candy by Ramos also include Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Believe it or not, there’s no paint used in any of them.

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Chinese Motorway Built Around House Because Residents Refuse to Move

A half-demolished building stands in the middle of a new motorway in in the city of Wenling, China’s Zhejiang province, after its elderly residents refused to move.

Talk about an accident waiting to happen… Cars travelling at high speeds in the Chinese city of Wenling have to go around a building located right in the middle of a newly-built motorway. Luo Baogen and his wife refused to relocate, because they believed the compensation offered for relocating was not enough to cover the costs of rebuilding. So even though all their neighbors took the government’s deal, they stayed behind in the empty building. To ensure the structural integrity of the building, adjacent rooms in the building have been left intact. During most of the Communist era, private ownership of property was abolished, so it was easy to relocate people, but nowadays the new laws make it illegal to demolish a building until an agreement is reached with all its owners. Although the five-storey structure was affected by all the heavy machinery operating in the area during the construction of the motorway, the old Chinese couple have no intention of moving away. Luckily for them, traffic is pretty light, because the new road has not yet been officially opened, but once that happens, the noise alone will probably be too hard to bare, not to mention the danger of crossing the street.

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Casey Legler – The Woman Who Works as a Male Model

Casey Legler, 35, is a woman who exclusively models menswear. With her razor-sharp cheekbones and 6ft 2in height, it’s easy to see why she’s recently been signed to the men’s division at the prestigious Ford modelling agency

There’s something weird going on in the fashion industry these days. After we posted about guys like Andrej Pejic and Stanyslas Fedyanin, who have found success modeling women’s clothing, now it’s time we met the only woman in the world who models only men’s garments. French-born Casey Legler says her unlikely carer as a male model started after posing as a guy in photo shoot, as a favor for a friend. ‘I am, in fact, buddies with a photographer, who had this story, who knows, in some ways my body of work, but also just knows what I look like and said, “You’re perfect for this. Are you in?” And I wasn’t doing anything on that particular Friday, and so I said yes!’ she said in an interview with TIME Magazine. After her friend showed the resulting photos to a booker at Ford, she was soon signed to the men’s division by the prestigious agency.

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Patients Lie in Coffins to “Die” as Part of Chinese Psychological Treatment

Most people would consider lying in a coffin and having the lid shut over them to be a traumatic experience, a special psychotherapy service in Shenyang, China is using it as therapy to treat psychological problems and heavy stress.

The Shenyang Evening News reports over 1,000 patients have so far been”reborn” by simulating death with the help of psychologists. Tang Yulong, a consultant at this unique psychotherapy clinic in Shenyang, says people who suffer from psychological problems can be helped by simulating death. People go in a 5-square-meter “death experience room”, write down their last words, lie down into a coffin in the floor and are covered with a white cloth. To make this “dying” experience even more realistic, the “deceased” can even hear a dirge being played in the room. After five minutes of “serene time”, the sound of a baby crying breaks the silence, and a consultant opens the coffin with a cheery tune playing in the background. This rebirth apparently helps people get a new outlook on life.

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Woman Allergic to Modern Technology Is Forced to Live in Faraday Cage

51-year-old Velma, from London, England, spends up to 18 hours a day in her homemade Faraday cage, because she is allergic to electromagnetic fields. When she goes out she has to wear a special scarf that shield her from electromagnetic waves.

The Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) sufferer says her problems began in her teenage years, after she suffered a shock when she touched the switch of an electric fire in her bathroom.At first the symptoms were barely noticeable, and at one point she even worked as a secretary for a number of companies, where she had to use a computer. “Even back then I could feel a huge agitation when using the computer, but I thought it was just because I didn’t have the technological skills,” Velma remembers. Although it is believed previous shocks make people more susceptible, the rare condition really started to affect her after the introduction of 3G technology. Nowadays she has unbearable head and nerve pain, memory loss, tinnitus, heart palpitations, vertigo and aching joints every time she’s close the technology, so she spends most of her days in a Faraday cage she built herself, reading, writing and sleeping.

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Pokertox – Using Botox and Facial Fillers for That Perfect Poker Face

A doctor of aesthetic medicine in New York has recently introduced a program of Botox and facial fillers designed to help poker players  hide any sign of facial emotion that might tip off other card players.

Dr. Jack Berdy thinks poker might be the next big client base for Botox, so he’s designed a program called “Pokertox” to help him get an early foothold in the market. It’s a way to combine his job with a passion for gambling, but Dr. Berdy really wants to turn this idea into a profitable business. Pokertox starts off with the good doctor meeting the players and consulting with them about what they think their poker tells are. “Some people might get a card they like or don’t like and raise their eyebrows,” Berdy told The Huffington Post. “If that’s the common reaction, we can put Botox in certain areas to minimize them.” Berdy says there are a variety of unconscious signals his program can help with, but it can also help poker players bluff better by “putting Botox in areas to make it look like the player has a ‘tell’ they really don’t have.” The Pokertox program has only been available for a week, and so far no one has siged up for it, but Jack Berdy is confident his idea will be a winner in the long run.

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Amateur Artist Turns Apartment Building into Urban Art Gallery

Dmitry Bochkarev, an amateur artist, from Moscow, Russia, has turned an ugly communist-era apartment building into a colorful art gallery, by covering the walls, staircases and doors with various painted artworks.

While most graffiti artists sneak around to find places where they can exercise their artistic talents, amateur artist Dmitry Bochkarev asked people’s permission before he began painting on their walls and doors. It all began 17 years ago, after Dmitry experienced clinical death. He had a vivid dream that helped him discover his talent for painting, and from then on he started painting the inside of his apartment building, in Moscow’s  Biryulyovo district. Until then, the place was just a grey reminder of the Soviet era, and a victim of littering and ugly graffiti. But once colorful cartoon scenes and nature-inspired landscapes started appearing on the walls, it all stopped. Not even vandals have had the heart to ruin Bochkarev’s artworks, and neighbors say it’s the best thing that ever happened to their community. Residents started smiling to each other again, and they became so proud of their art-covered building that they even organize viewing tours for friends and family.

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