People Actually Pay to Travel to Hell on Earth

Trying to discover a “cool”, out-of-this-world spot for your next vacation? If you think you’ve seen it all, think again, because the Danakil Desert, in Ethiopia will blow you mind. Toxic gases, violent vulcanos, sulphurous lakes, fiery air temperatures make this place what many would call hell on Earth.

Although it’s among the most inhospitable places in the world, there are many “people happy to pay for a two-week tour,” as Tom Pfeiffer, German vulcanologist and founder of VulcanoDiscovery, said. It probably has something to do with man’s desire to travel to other planets, as this is exactly the feeling you get in this unearthly environment.

Judging by the “beauty” of the Danakil Desert, you’d think people would have to be paid in order to agree to come here, but in fact, daredevils pay over $4,600 for a three week tour that starts in Addis Ababa. There aren’t any four star hotels here, but tourists get to enjoy unique, incredible sights that can never compare to chilling by the pool. However, if you’re thinking about traveling to Danakil, you should know you’ll be facing harsh heats and some of the strangest smells imaginable.

 

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Christmas Tree Built Out of Mountain Dew Cans

If you’re looking for an original way of recycling your old soda and beer cans, a nice Christmas tree is probably your best bet. You can use this Mountain Dew can tree, as motivation.

Back in 2006,  a group of Mountain Dew drinkers decided to put their drinking to good use, for a change. It took three months to gather the 400 cans of soda needed for their monumental project, but it definitely paid off. After four days of drilling holes into a PVC pipe, sticking construction flags in it and attaching the Mountain Dew cans to them, the guys had built quite a Christmas tree, topped off by a big plastic bottle, instead of the usual star.

It’s been four years since the Mountain Dew Christmas tree was built and other unusual Christmas trees were created since then, but it remains very popular, and people seem to remember it, around the holidays.

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Border Collie Chaser Learns the Names of 1,022 Toys

This news probably wouldn’t be that impressive if it was about a parrot, although I’ve never heard of  one that knew the names of over 1,000 toys. And as smart as some people would like to think their dogs are, no one would expect a canine to know this much.

Chaser, a 6-year-old border collie, managed to learn the names of 1,022 different toys, which is more than any other animal has ever learned and around as much as a child around the age of three would be capable of learning.

Interested in how much of a vocabulary the dog would be able to develop, psychologists Allison Reid and John Pilley have worked intensively with Chaser for about three years. And their hard work certainly paid off, as they have proved that talking t your dog is not a waste of time.

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Mister Christmas Makes Plans to Marry His Christmas Tree

Andy Park, also known as “Mr. Christmas” recently stated he wants to marry his beloved Christmas tree and is currently looking for a priest wiling to perform the ceremony.

47-year-old Andy Park loves Christmas more than anyone else in the world, and has proven it every day for the last 17 years. Starting in 1993, he has has celebrated Christmas every day, and I’m not talking about putting on a Santa hat and singing Christmas carols. No, Andy pops champagne bottles, buys himself gifts that he, in turn, opens, decorates the entire house and enjoys a traditional Christmas dinner.

Now, the wacky divorcee says he’s determined to marry his Christmas tree.He’s only had the plastic tree for the last two years, but they’ve become pretty close in this short period of time, and Andy thinks of it as “his best friend”. He never gets tired of looking at it and since other people have married their pets, and even their pillows, marrying a Christmas tree doesn’t seem that strange to him, anymore.

Mr. Christmas has already bought a beautiful ring for his Christmas tree, but has yet to decide on which branch to place it on. An even more serious problem is finding a minister willing to join them in holy matrimony.

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Chinese Artist Creates Edible Model of Shanghai

Song Dong, one of China’s leading contemporary artist has almost completed a miniature replica of Shanghai City, made out of various sweets. Song apparently has a thing for recreating major cities out of food, as this is the seventh project in his “Eating the City” series, which includes sweet replicas of Barcelona or London. Working with a team of talented food artists, he uses wafers, biscuits, cookies and candy to create edible replicas of Shanghai’s major landmarks.

On Christmas Eve, Song Dong will show his masterpiece to the world, and invite the people to take a bite out of Shanghai, literally. Take a look at the photos below to see how the project is coming along.

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“Punch Me Panda” Is a Modern Day Solution To Stress

“I knew people were angry. I knew people want to punch things, because I want to punch things,” that is how Nate Hill, 33, explains his crazy idea of dressing up as a panda and encouraging passers-by to hit him.

Believe it or not, Hill actually thought of becoming a human punching bag as a community service. He’ll just visit busy thoroughfares, businesses expecting layoffs and he’ll even make house calls, and have people punch him to lighten their day. No matter how big your problem is, a few punches and a shoulder charge will make anybody feel a lot better.

At first, everyone thought he was just part of some advertising campaign, others just didn’t understand why he was asking them to hit him, but as soon as one person starts to hit him, all of them become intrigued and want to show off their own boxing skills. Whether their dealing with relationship issues, work-related stress or just boredom, hitting a panda makes all their faces glow.

When he’s not wearing his funny panda suit, Nate Hill works in a laboratory,m where he cares for fruit flies used in experiments. You might not guess by looking at him, but this man is a veteran when it comes to helping Americans deal with their anger. So far he also has dressed up as Death Bear, and Mr Dropout, two fictional characters imagined by Nate himself, as a way of relieving some of the pain on the street.

Although he uses a breastplate and cushion to protect himself against the flurry of blows he receives every day, the man behind Punch Me Panda admits people sometimes cross the line and him in the face. The panda head offers little protection, so he just takes it off, so the person hitting him knows they have to stop. Most of them offer apologies, and Nate always accepts them.

So if you feel the need to hit someone, remember to call Punch Me Panda Nate Hill. You can probably find him wondering the streets of New York, but you can contact him on his official website, as well.

 

 

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Meet the Real Life Tom and Jerry

If you are a big fan of Tom and Jerry, like me, you will most certainly fall in love with this real life version of the famous duo.

It might look like it, but 51-year-old Carolyne Brading didn’t use a cat and mouse as decorations for the Christmas tree. Bumble, her 14-month-old cat, got tangled in the lights and tinsel of the Christmas tree, while chasing a mouse. And while the clever little mouse managed to get to the top, Bumble didn’t make it more than half way up.

The owners, Mrs. Brading and her husband Stan, are very proud to have had the chance to capture this unusual but hilarious moment on camera:

“When we walked into the room we found him perched in the branches about half way up, and the mouse was peering down on him. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. We grabbed the camera straight away because it’s certainly not something we think we’ll witness again. Despite the awkward position, Bumble looked quite comfortable. We lifted him out and the mouse scurried away.

‘The tree was a mess. The angel that had previously been on top of the tree was on the floor and there were baubles everywhere. It took me an hour to put everything back together again. Everybody who sees the pictures thinks it’s hysterical – just like a scene out of Tom and Jerry,” said Mrs Brading.

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Bugarach – The French Village That Will Survive 2012 Armageddon

Armageddon, the end of the world predicted by the ancient Maya for December 2012, is  a very popular subject these days. In fact, it’s so popular that places considered sacred and safe have become the target of many esoteric outsiders.

This is also the case of Bugarach, a peaceful French farming village, located on one of the “sacred mountains” and, believed to be an “alien garage” where aliens await, underground, for the world to end. Many believe that by coming here, they have a chance to be rescued by the aliens, while the rest of the world goes down in flames.

It might sound funny to you, but for mayor Jean-Pierre Delord, this isn’t a joke, as he said in an interview “If tomorrow 10,000 people turn up, as a village of 200 people we will not be able to cope. I have informed the regional authorities of our concerns and want the army to be at hand if necessary come December 2012.” And with all the sites and articles on the internet talking about the UFOs and advising people to go to Bugarach to seek shelter, the army may have their hands full when the time comes.

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Japanese Researchers Create Tweeting Mouse

In a genetically engineered experiment, Japanese scientists at the University of Osaka have created a mouse that tweets like a bird. After crossbreeding genetically altered mice for some time, to see what would happen, they apparently got their first interesting result, by mistake. Researcher Arikuni Uchimura said they were expecting physical mutations, but definitely not a tweeting mouse.

The “mistake” happened at the University of Osaka called “Evolved Mouse Project”, where scientists have the sole purpose of breeding mice ‘pron to miscopying DNA and thus to mutation”, without knowing for sure what will the end results may be.

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Christmas Excitement Causes Girl’s Heart To Stop

Christmas is a time for parents to be happy for their children’s excitement. But this doesn’t apply to Ray and Tina Cleveland, as their daughter Holly is suffering from a rare disease that causes her heart to stop and leaves her breathless for about 30 seconds, when she gets over excited.

This is two-year-old Holly’s first Christmas since she was diagnosed with the disease and both her parents are very worried, even though they were assured the toddler’s heart will always start beating again. In fact they put up the Christmas tree and started “celebrating” early so that little Holly could get used to all the excitement gradually.

“We even put our tree up early to try and get her used to the twinkly lights before they started appearing everywhere. It’s heartbreaking to see her little face light up and then have to immediately calm her down again. I’ve even avoided asking her what present she wants because I don’t want her to get too excited when she sees it,” Holly’s mother, Tina, explains.

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Italian City Drives Its Tourists Up the Wall

Climbing buildings has become a tradition for the Italian city of Sondrio. For several years now, passionate climbers have been gathering here to take part in the now famous  Sondrio Street Climbing festival.

This year, the event has managed to bring together around 200 professional climbers from all over the world, all eager to start climbing some of the oldest, most important buildings in the city. “It is the new sport of the future and we are pioneering it – street bouldering. And with the Sondrio Street Festival we have established ourselves as the world center for street bouldering,” a spokesman of the council explained.

Last year, 75 climbers showed up for this offbeat event, but the numbers of people interested in street bouldering is definitely on the rise. On December 18, over 200 climbers took part in the various events that included scaling granite columns, stone walls and even a 40 meter tall bell tower. Just like last year, winners were rewarded with a delicious pizza and pints of beer.

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World’s Most Expensive Christmas Ornament

I don’t know if the guys at the Emirates palace Hotel are still looking for stuff to hang in the world’s most expensive Christmas tree, but just in case they are, here is the world’s most expensive Christmas ornament .

This particular Christmas decoration features 1,578 diamonds encrusted in 18 carat gold and has two rings encrusted with 188 rubies. And, as if it wasn’t blinged-out enough, this one of a kind ornament also has 3 1-carat Roman  diamonds encrusted into the sphere.

The world’s most expensive Christmas bauble was hand crafted by Embee Jewels London, in partnership with Hallmark Jewelers , and is scheduled to be sold in an auction. 15% of proceedings will go to the National Autism Society, the UK’s leading autism charity.

 

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Christmas Tree Made Out Of 80,000 Plastic Spoons

A team of young Taiwanese students as created an impressive Christmas tree out of 80,000 plastic spoons, in Taichung city.

In their quest to deliver a message about the environment, this Christmas, a team of six students from Taiwan’s Transworld University have created a unique Christmas tree out of 80,000 plastic spoons. The young environmentalists entered a competition for the best Christmas tree made of recyclable materials, and their original idea came up on top.

The 80,000 plastic spoons used in the making of the tree were provided by the Taiwanese branch of KFC, who was probably looking for a way of improving its overall image. After the holiday season, the spoons will be taken to a recycling facility and used to create something useful. Impressed by the feat of these young students, mayor Jason Hu felt the need to send an environmental message of his own: “”Christmas must be celebrated in an eco-friendly way, and it is the same when we choose clothing or when we take a shower.”

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Dog Gives Birth to Seventeen Puppies

A dog in Germany gained it’s celebrity after giving birth to 17 puppies. Both the owners and the vet were thrilled and amazed by this “numerous” surprise, especially since all the puppies were born naturally, without a cesarean being necessary, and although the birth took almost 26 hours, all puppies have survived and are in good health.

Ramona Wegemann, Etana’s owner is very proud of her dog, a purebred Rhodesian Ridgeback, but non the less exhausted after having to cope with feeding and taking care of all the 17 puppies for the first 4 weeks, as their mother wouldn’t have been able to deal with all of them.

This was Etana’s second pregnancy, but the first time she gave birth to 8 puppies, a number very common for her breed, so nobody really saw this coming. As this has turned into a full time job, both Ramona and her husband have had to dedicate most of their time, and space, to these little ones. Their living room was turned upside down as it is now occupied by a giant box housing the puppies. It’s really a full time job,

Etana has given birth to 9 male and 8 female puppies, and as you can imagine, their owners are having a difficult time telling them apart: the male puppies are called Baakir, Banjoku, Belay, Bruk, Bundu, Bayo, Bukekayo, Biton and Bulus and the female ones are Bahati, Binta, Bahya, Bashima, Batouuli, Binki, Bora, Bisa. These are all African names, because the Rhodesian Ridgeback is an African breed, but…do all African names start with a “B” or is this a real weird coincidence?

The 17 puppies were born on September 26, and since then four of them have been sold, two more are already paid for, and Ramona hopes she will be able to find good homes for all of them. But she says they are only considering families with children, not breeders.

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Mind-Blowing Embroidered Portraits by Daniel Kornrumpf

We’ve featured some truly magnificent pieces of embroidery on Oddity Central, but Daniel Kornrumpf’s intricate portrait are simply breathtaking.

A true master with the needle, Philadelphia-based artist Daniel Kornrumpf creates extraordinary embroidered portraits that look a lot like real paintings. Even more surprising is the size of these amazing artworks. While they may look like giant paintings, in the close-up photos, in reality they are smallish creations, set against a large white background.

Just like the brown tape paintings of Mark Khaisman or the collage paintings of Megan Coyle, Daniel Kornrumpf’s embroidered artworks are incredibly realistic.

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