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San Antonio Prison – Venezuela’s Paradise for Incarcerated Criminals

The San Antonio prison on Venezuela’s Margarita Island is not your typical penal institution. Whilst in other penitentiaries the inmates are forced to obey strict regulations harshly imposed by armed guards, in this atypical slammer, it’s the prisoners who make the rules. From cooking their own food to watching TV, surfing the web on their laptops and managing illegal businesses on their cellphones, the San Antonio inmates are free to go about their day as they please. The only thing they can’t do is leave. Any attempt to escape can result in instant death courtesy of the sharpshooters up in the prison’s watchtowers. But thankfully, most of the prisoners are so happy here that a potential escape is the last thing on their minds.

At San Antonio, prisoners enjoy many privileges, have jobs and make real money. Some are barbers, some sell drugs while others manage the local cock fight club which generates a decent gambling revenue. There is even a guy who photoshops pictures of inmates leaning against a Hummer, using his own digital camera and laptop. Other lazy folk lie around in their air conditioned cells watching TV in the company of their wives or girlfriends who are free to come and go as they please. To the men’s satisfaction, a 54-unit women’s annex was built in 2009 which naturally caused the number of romantic liaisons between inmates to increase. The inmates’ children can also use the prison as a playground and spend the day swimming in one of the prison’s four pools. On weekends, the prison is even open for any visitors who want to have a good time of excess and depravity in its Reggaetón clubs. This really is a prison unlike any other.

San-Antonio-prison

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Incredibly Detailed Portraits Created Exclusively with Black Ink Dots

Armed with nerves of steels, artist Pablo Jurado Ruiz creates incredibly detailed portraits by adding thousands of tiny ink dots to a white canvas. Talking about his creative approach, he explains: “With a creative concept based primarily on human representation, I try to tell stories through a minimalist and subtle vision. My current work is focuses on a simple but realistic drawing and worked in an impressionist technique, complex and very accurate as pointillism or stippling art. “

Born in 1973, in Malaga, Spain, Pablo fell in love with graphics at a very early age, after discovering American and European comics. Later, while studying art history and artists like Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Georges Pierre Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, he became fascinated with painting. Today, Pablo Jurado Ruiz is known for his ultra-realistic portraits done with techniques like pointillism and stippling. The Spanish artist uses countless black dots on a white piece of paper to create amazing works of art inspired by his favorite themes: love, disappointment, nature and childhood.

Pablo-Jurado-Ruiz-art

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Being Homeless Ain’t Cheap: Guy Offers Three-Day Homeless Experience for $2,000

“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” One man took this saying literally when he decided to give the ultimate homeless experience to anyone curious to see what  it’s like to live on the streets of Seattle and willing to pay $2,000 for it.

Mike Momany was a freelance computer programmer conducting his business from an RV when he began to notice that living in Seattle was becoming a luxury. Inspired by the ever-rising costs of the big cities and the minimalist movement, he took two months off in the summer of 2013 to see what it was like not having  a roof over his head. After experiencing life as a homeless himself,  Mike decided to allow other privileged people who still had a home do the same by giving them a three-day “Course in Applied Homelessness”, as he calls it. Before the start of the actual homelessness course, Momany insists upon a preliminary interview to assess his and the participant’s compatibility and to make sure that the person knows exactly what they’re getting themselves into. If all goes well, the tour begins with different activities planned for each of the three days. On the first day, the participant will be given a new persona along with a disguise tat will give them that genuine homeless look. They will then cruise around town vising all the “favored homeless spots” before retiring for the night in a homeless shelter. The shelter Momany is currently working with does not allow ladies, making him unable to share the lifestyle with women (he plans on changing this soon). For the second day, he suggests trying “panhandling or sleeping on a park bench” to get a real feel of how people view the homeless. After some more sightseeing, it’s time for free meals and after trying the Fare Start chef program, the tour ends with a night stroll until 3 a.m. and cocktails in the morning to discuss and celebrate having gone through the homeless experience.

homelessness-experience

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Lethal Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Stone Statues

When photographer Nick Brandt first visited Lake Natron, in Northern Tanzania, he was shocked by the macabre animal statues he saw aligned across its shoreline. He later found out something even more shocking – those were real animals calcified by the lake’s alkaline water.

Natron, which gives the lake its name, is a naturally occurring compound found in volcanic ash. It’s the same mineral the Egyptians used to preserve their mummies. The lake’s alkalinity is similar to that of ammonia, with a pH between 9 and 10.5, and the temperature of the water can reach 60 °C. No animal can withstand this caustic environment and venturing into the alkaline environment is usually fatal. As soon as birds and bats plunge into the waters of lake Natron, the minerals start turning their flesh into stone and preserving them exactly as they were in their final moments. Flamingos sometime use the predator-free salt islands that sometimes form on the lake for nesting, but it’s a risky gamble, as the photos below clearly show. Only invertebrates, a few algae invertebrates and some fish that live near the edges of the lake can survive this environment.

Lake-Natron

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These Fish Are So Delicious You’ll Soil Yourself, Literally

Buttery and succulent, the related oil fish (Ruvettus pretiosus)  and escolar (Lepidocybium flavobrunneum)) are considered to be two of the most palatable fish in the world. But before you run out to your local fish market in search of these delicacies, you’d better stock up on toilet paper because you’re going to spend a lot of time in the restroom after your scrumptious meal.

With such a large number of species in danger of  being over-fished and others posing health risks due to their high mercury content, the seafood industry needs alternatives that taste great, are cheap, sustainable and healthy to consume. The oilfish and escolar seem perfect choices, and although they’ve been popping up in restaurants and fish markets around the world, there is one dirty little secret that those who sell them sometimes forget to reveal – they cause explosive, oily, orange diarrhea. I know it sounds bad, but there is a way to avoid this embarrassing and highly uncomfortable side effect. The fish are safe to eat if they are consumed in portions smaller than six ounces, but most people are either unaware of the consequences or they just can’t help themselves because they are so damn delicious, so they go for full servings. People who actually went through this kind of ordeal have reported the oily discharges are almost impossible to control and often lead to embarrassing accidents.

oilfish

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Ghost Singles Is a “Real-Life” Dating Site for Ghosts

Are you one of those people who spent all their lives searching looking for their soulmates, but failed to find them? Don’t let death get in the way of finding that perfect someone. Sign up on Ghostsingles.com, a new and improved dating website where life and its troubles are issues of the past and death is only the beginning.

Believe it or not, now that you’re a ghost, you have a real shot at love. Instead of worrying about serious issues like lack of time for a real relationship and financial problems, all you need to think about these days are questions like “does my butt look too transparent” or “if a person died in the 1850s and I died in the 1920s, does that make them too old for me?” You can meet other single and lonely dead folks through GhostSingles.com, a fantastic website dedicated to all the ghosts out there, no matter what century they died in. If you’ve ever dreamed of dating someone like Marylin Monroe, Marie Antoinette or even Cleopatra, this is your chance.

Ghost-Singles

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Software Developer Teaches Homeless Man How to Code and Build an App

One day, Patrick McConlogue announced that he was going to teach a homeless man JavaScript and help him code his own app. Patrick, a 23-year-old software programmer, passed a certain homeless man every day while on his way to work and decided to run the idea by him to see if he was going to be the one.

“The idea is simple,” Patrick wrote on his website. Without disrespecting him, I will offer two options:

1. I will come back tomorrow and give you $100 in cash.

2. I will come back tomorrow and give you three JavaScript books, (beginner-advanced-expert) and a super cheap basic laptop. I will then come an hour early from work each day-when he feels prepared-and teach him to code.”

Sure enough, the ambitious homeless man, named Leo,  decided he wanted to learn how to code,  thinking that the money could be easily spent in a week while the knowledge would be a great asset to him in the future. “He told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more,” Leo said. “It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it.” Leo has been homeless for two years after he lost his job as a life insurance agent and came home only to find out that his rent went up as a consequence of luxury condominiums being built near his apartment. Despite his bad luck, Leo cared to mention that he was not unhappy or desperate when Patrick offered to teach him. Even though he believed “coding was something that went over like, a dessert” most likely thinking it meant “coating”, the man wanted to diversify his abilities so that he could once more be able to sustain himself financially.

homeless-programmer

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The Voynich Manuscript, Also Known as World’s Most Mysterious Book

Featuring rudimentary depictions of plants illustrated in aged colors and written in a language system that has yet to be deciphered, The Voynich Manuscript is the world’s most mysterious book.

In order to pay for the restoration of their college, the Italian Jesuits of Villa Mondragone gave Wilfrid Voynich, an antique book dealer, an old manuscript written in an odd language that no one was able to identify or understand. With this valuable acquisition, Voynich also received a list of its ownership history dating back to the 17th century, which made the book even more impressive. Its description read: “The codex belonged to Emperor Rudolph II of Germany (1576-1612) who purchased it for 600 gold ducats and believed that it was the work of Roger Bacon. It is very likely that Emperor Rudolph acquired the manuscript from the English astrologer John Dee (1527-1608). Dee apparently owned the manuscript along with a number of other Roger Bacon manuscripts”. The book remained in Voynich’s possession from 1912 to 1969, before being added to the collection at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Apart from the undecipherable text, Voynich’s manuscript contains colorful botanical illustrations which are very similar to what we know from modern science, but which do not entirely resemble any distinguishable plant. There are also other cosmological and astrological depictions, as well as some drawings of naked women bathing together in small receptacles. This has led some scientists to believe that the book is sectioned into several chapters including: botanical, astrological, medical, biological, cosmological and pharmaceutical.  Despite several attempts to decipher the manuscript, the meaning of the text itself or the the lovely naked ladies remain a mystery to this day.

Voynich-manuscript

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The Blooming of the Tisza – A Stunning Natural Phenomenon

Named after the river on which it takes place every year from late spring to early summer, the Blooming of the Tisza is an incredible natural phenomenon that attracts tourists from all around the world to Hungary. As millions of long-tailed mayflies reach sexual maturity, they shed their larvae skin and burst from the river in search of a mate before dying just a few hours later.

There are around 2,000 species of mayfly worldwide. Measuring up to five inches from their head to the end of their appendages, Tisza’s Palingenia longicauda, also known as the long-tailed mayfly, is Europe’s largest. Mayflies live most of their lives as larvae in large colonies on the bottom of rivers. After three years, they shed their larvae skins and emerge from the water as sexual mature adults. Because they have a limited amount of time to reproduce -about three hours – as soon as they are able to fly, they prowl for potential mates. Males try to pass on their genes to the next generation at any cost, often forcing themselves on the females, and even clinging to them when they are still in larvae form. This mating frenzy lasts for three or four days, during which time the whole area around the Tizsa river becomes engulfed in a seemingly impenetrable humming fog.

Tisza-mayflowers

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A Feast for the Eyes – The Beautiful Glass Gem Corn

Few cereals can be described as stunningly beautiful, but the multi-colored Glass Gem Corn is definitely one of these rare exceptions. Also known as Rainbow Corn, these unique strain of corn features kernels of many different colors that sparkle like tiny pieces of blown glass.

The story of Glass Gem corn began with Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer from Oklahoma who noticed that every once in a while some of his corn cobs had strangely-colored kernels, and dedicated his life to creating the agricultural wonder you see below. Nobody knows exactly how many years Barnes spent worked on the unique cereal, how many successive seasons he carefully chose, saved, and replanted these special seeds, but one thing is for sure – his painstaking efforts had a truly mind-blowing result, a new breed of corn that most people consider a work of art rather than a cereal.

Glass-Gem-Corn

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Stairway to Heaven: The Amazing Haiku Stairs of Hawaii

Wars always leave behind empty monuments that serve as reminders of hard times. Although haunted by the memories of conflict and often death, these abandoned structures sometimes blend with their natural surroundings, revealing breathtaking landscapes of poetic proportions. One such place is the Haʻikū Stairs popularly known as  the“Stairway to Heaven”, in Hawaii, a 3,922-step ascent into one of the most vivid and stunning natural sceneries on Earth.

The first steps begin in the Valley of Haiku near Kaneohe, on the island of O’ahu and climb up to 2,800 feet at a 30-degree angle. The first ladder was built during World War II, out of wood, to help string antenna cables from one side of the valley to the other. Thus, the personnel at Haiku Valley Naval Radio Station, located at about 2,800 feet above sea level, was able to communicate with the US Navy submarines as far away as Tokyo Bay. In the 1950s the ladder was rebuilt out of galvanized steel and expanded in order to accommodate the activity of the Omega Navigation System station of the United States Coast Guard. A total of 3,922 18-inch wide steps were built from ship ladders, bolted together in sections of seven and secured into the rugged hills.

Haiku-stairs

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Guy Has Eaten Nothing but Raw Meat for the Last Five Years

Until five years ago Derek Nance couldn’t stomach any foods and was very sick. Doctors told Derek he must have an allergy of some sorts and advised him to try various diets in order to determine the cause of his illness. He tried every kind of diet out there and was even a vegan for a while until he discovered the only thing that cured him – raw meat.

While researching the mysterious affliction that no one knew how to cure, Derek Nance stumbled upon a guy with a similar condition who told him  that the only way he could stay healthy was by following a very strict diet consisting only of raw meats. This regime was created by a dentist called Weston Price who was very interested in raw food. According to him, primitive humans who lived on a diet based on raw foods were much healthier, so it’s logical to assume that eating raw was more natural and thus healthier. Although skeptical, Nance had tried so many diets and was so desperate that he thought he’d give this one a try as well. The first raw meat he ate was that of his goats, which he had become tired of milking, and soon enough, he was only eating raw muscles, tendons, organs and fat. At first he suffered from diarrhea and had a strange irony taste in the back of his throat as a result of blood consumption. He calls this his body’s adaptation period to him becoming a carnivore, but he soon got used to the bizarre eating habit, and now he actually loves the irony taste and is healthier than he’s ever been.

Derek-Nance-raw-meat

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Made in France: French Patriot Uses 100% French Things for Nine Months

When the economy is in the toilet and employment rates are going down, some patriots concerned about their country’s welfare adopt various strategies to tackle the undesirable situation. One French documentary-maker named Benjamin Carle is currently staging a nine-month “economic patriotism” experiment by eating only French food and using French-made products exclusively.

Carle says he was inspired to start his experiment after seeing France’s minister for industrial renewal, Arnaud Montebour, in a Breton shirt on the cover of Le Parisien magazine as a sign of supporting the French industry by purchasing items made in France. Although not particularly patriotic, the young documentary-maker agreed to participate in the “Monsieur Made-in-France” television program in an attempt to inspire others and together raise employment rates in their country. As a journalist, he was intrigued but what seemed to be a great idea at first proved to be a hassle considering that most of his furniture and other household items such as the fridge, washing machine and furniture were all foreign and had to be discarded. He also had to give up some of his favorite clothes because they had been ordered from English or American websites. Moreover, he indulged in eating various kinds of exotic fruits and vegetables, regardless of the season, and enjoyed drinking his morning cup of coffee, pleasures he had to renounce for the whole nine months. Even his favorite music, by artists like David Bowie, Radiohead and The Smiths was replaced with French hits, and instead of Hollywood blockbusters Benjamin began watching French movies.  After eliminating all things not French, his small but expensive Parisian apartment contained only a chair, a table and Loon the cat, thankfully born in France but named after The Who’s British drummer Keith Moon “the Loon”.

MADE IN FRANCE

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The Turkish Bird Village Where People Communicate Using 400-year-Old Whistled Language

Do you know about the ingenious Panamanian golden frog which lives near loud waterfalls and communicates by waving? The people of Kuşköy, a small Turkey village, have proven that they can be just as creative and resourceful as the little poisonous frog. Long before they even had electricity, they invented a brilliantly simple way of communicating over long distances, by whistling.

They call it the “bird language” or “kuș dili” as it originated in Kuşköy, which itself means “bird village”. This fascinating means of communication was created over 400 years ago as a consequence of working in the fields of the Pontic Mountains. The terrain is irregular making travelling very difficult even on short distances, and because of this, the villagers felt the need for an alternative to speaking and shouting , one that made long distance communication easier. Inspired by the songs of birds, they started whistling the syllables of Turkish words which proved to be much more effective and less energy-consuming than yelling or walking all the way to the person they needed to speak with. Villagers notify each other about visitors, ask for help and make invitations for tea. They can even have complex, long conversations just by whistling. The songs of the bird people resonate over distances as long as 1km. If the distance is longer, the neighbors are kind enough to pass on the message to each other until it reaches its destination.

Kuskoy-bird-language

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Chinese Zoo Visitors Play Tug of War with Tigers Using Live Chickens

Who would win in a fight between a man and a tiger? What about a man, a tiger and a chicken? The elusive question has now been answered thanks to some curious visitors of the Changsha Ecological Zoo who played tug of war with caged tigers using live chickens.

According to the zoo staff, when lying around with nothing to do and having food served to them, zoo animals often become lazy, overweight and even lose interest in any kind of physical or intellectual stimulation. They came up with a very interesting but controversial way of keeping the animals in shape through tug of war games. The game is as simple as it gets: the visitors pull at one end of a rope and at the other, the tiger bites and pulls at a hessian bag with a live chicken inside. The chicken is an added bonus meant to engage the tiger’s interest and keep him on his toes. Apart from training the animals, the game was designed as a mean of entertainment for the upcoming National Day Holiday. For 45 yuan ($7), anyone can play and it seems there are many courageous folks willing to measure their strength against the powerful beasts. So far, the tigers are in the lead, winning most of the tug of war games, with one 4 year old Siberian tiger demonstrating his muscle superiority by tackling 7 men at the same time.

tiger-tug-of-war

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