Surreal Animal Portraits Expertly Painted on Wild Turkey Feathers

If you thought painting bird feathers was difficult, wait till you check out this super-talented artist who paints on bird feathers. That’s right, Connecticut-based Brenda Lyons paints the most stunning animal portraits using moulted turkey feathers as a canvas, as a part of her ongoing series called ‘Painted Feathers’.

I seriously appreciate the kind of work Brenda does, because I can’t even hold something so delicate without eventually destroying it. And to actually apply acrylic paints directly on these feathers to create something so beautiful – it just blows my mind.

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Elderly People in China Are Committing Suicide to Make Sure They Get Buried in a Cemetery Instead of Cremated

Many cultures view old age as a time for peaceful reflection and a preparation for the final journey of life. However, a few elderly people in China are being forced to hasten the process of ‘passing on’. Dozens have been voluntarily taking their own lives for a chance to be buried in a cemetery, before a government ban on burials takes effect.

The authorities of China’s Anhui province plan to close all cemeteries after June 1, simply because there isn’t any space left. The public was informed of the new rule on April 1: “Before June 1 people can still consign their bodies for burial, but after that the only option offered will be cremation.” The announcement has caused quite a stir among the elderly residents, especially in rural areas.

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Chilean Finger Painter Creates Mind-Blowing Masterpieces in under Three Minutes

43-year-old Fabian Gaete is an artist who specializes in finger painting. He’s so good at his craft that he can actually create small finger oil paintings of breathtaking landscapes in under three minutes.

Fabian currently works his magic on the streets of Puerto Montt, Chile, where his ‘live creations’ are sold at six euros each (or 10 euros for three). He moves around with a large black suitcase filled with oil paints and glass panels. As soon as he receives a request for a painting, he quickly uses his fingers to fill the panels with mountains, trees, rivers, waterfalls and more. In no time at all, the painting is completed, sealed and handed over to its new owner.

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Korea’s Most Popular Fermented Fish Dish Smells Like a Public Toilet

Fermented foods aren’t exactly famous for their alluring smell and flavor, but South Korea’s popular ‘hongeo’ has just got to be the worst of the lot. It’s definitely classified as one of the grossest foods in the world, even for ‘foodie daredevils’ who like trying out weird dishes.

What makes hongeo so bad? Well, for starters, it’s made from a fish called skate, which just like sharks, has no bladder or kidneys. Its digestive waste simply oozes out of its skin in the form of uric acid. That’s why sharks and skates need to be eaten fresh. But the Koreans seem to enjoy defying the norm in this case.

What they do is leave dozens of fresh skates (a cartilage-rich fish that resembles a stingray) stacked up in a walk-in refrigerator. Then they wait, sometimes as long as a month, for the fish to acquire a distinct ‘aroma’, reminiscent of a public urinal. When the smell reaches its worst, the skates are ready to be taken out, sliced up and served raw.

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Brown Moor Frogs Turn Blue During Mating Season

The moor frog certainly cannot turn into a prince with true love’s kiss. But this seemingly uninteresting amphibian is capable of something quite spectacular – it changes color from a boring brown to an azure blue, just to be able to distinguish between genders during mating season. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures are really quite unbelievable – it looks they’re two different frogs.

A fully grown adult male moor frog is up to seven centimeters long and reddish-brown in color. But every year, between March and June, the frog exhibits chameleon-like tendencies. During this period, the frogs emerge from their winter hibernation and are naturally in the mood to procreate. They populate the ponds in the lowlands of Central and Southern Europe, completely filling the air with their mating calls. The sounds they create are similar to the noise of air released from a bottle under water.

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Izhikhothane – South Africa’s Bizarre Money-Burning Sub-Culture

Izikhothane, which loosely translates to ‘brag it’, is a South African subculture of youths who dress themselves in designer clothes they can barely afford. They arrive in minivans at public spots and participate in elaborate dance-offs against rival gangs. During these performances, they indulge in burning wads of cash, destroying their clothes and spilling expensive food and alcohol on the streets. Why, you ask? To show off, obviously.

“To be Izikhothane, you have to be like us. Buy expensive clothes, booze, fame, girls, driving, spending. And when you are dressed in Italian clothing it shows that you’re smart,” said one gang member. In a nation where almost 50 percent of youths are unemployed, this sort of blatantly extravagant act is rather surprising. Most of the Izikhothane are funded by their working class parents with modest incomes.

There’s also a huge generation gap between these youths and their parents. Most of the Izikhothane belong to a generation that grew up after the end of white minority rule, unlike their parents. According to one kid, “Being born free means we can shop where we want and the country is no longer under oppression. We can express our views without being imprisoned.” Some use the extravagance as a means to escape their poverty, and for others it is just a culture of bling.

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Chinese Monk Who Has Been Praying for Up to 1,000 Times a Day for 20 years Leaves His Footprints Ingrained in Wooden Floor

HuaChi, a simple monk from China, has achieved something that only few are able to – he has left a mark in this world, quite literally. The pious man has knelt to pray in the exact same spot for nearly 20 years now. He’s performed the ritual so many times that his footprints are deeply ingrained in the wooden floor of his temple, in the monastery town of Tongren, in Qinghai Province.

The highly disciplined monk follows a never-changing routine – he arrives at the temple steps every day before sunrise, places his feet on the footprints and prostrates a few thousand times in prayer. Having done this for two decades, the wood beneath his feet has softened considerably, transforming into perfect footprints that are 1.2 inches deep.

When Hua Chi was younger, he would prostrate 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. “But I have grown older, so in recent years I have only done around 1,000 each day,” he said. Sometimes, during winter he can only manage 500. But even that is seriously impressive; I couldn’t imagine doing a handful of prostrations without exhausting myself. After completing his prayers, he walks around the temple as well.

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Philippines Zoo Offers Adrenaline Junkies Snake Massage from Four Giant Pythons

Everybody loves a good massage, but this snake massage at the Cebu City Zoo in Philippines is really something else. It involves 15 minutes of hardcore action, with four enormous Burmese pythons slithering all over brave participants.

According to zoo manager Giovanni Romarate, the free massages are a part of a new theme that encourages visitors to interact more with the animals. “We are going to change the zoo into an interactive one,” said Giovanni. “Everybody could have an experience and have a chance to hold and pet some of the animals here, including the snake massage that we newly introduced.”

The four snakes – Walter, EJ, Daniel and Michelle – are fed about 10 chickens each before the massage to avoid last minute hunger pangs. Obviously, the zoo authorities don’t want the reptiles snacking on their clients. The participants are given a set of safety instructions as well. According to tourist Ian Maclean, “They tell you not to blow air on the snake, because this is like being pinched on the bum. You can’t shout for help as the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you’re a prey or a predator, depending on the environment.”

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The ‘Avatar Fare’ – Russian Taxi Drivers Are Punishing Clients Who Refuse to Pay by Painting Them Blue

Taxi drivers in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod have taken it upon themselves to punish misbehaving clients. These drivers simply pour blue paint all over passengers who complain about the taxi fare or flat out refuse to pay. Their idea is to make the customers resemble Avatar characters, with a sign on the back that says: “Avatar Fare”.

Cabbies all over Nizhny have been struggling for quite some time now with non-paying customers. “We have repeatedly brought them to the police station, they were released there,” one driver said. So the drivers decided to dole out some ‘harmless’ punishment themselves. They force bad customers to strip, douse them with blue paint, stick a sign on their backs, and release them on to the street.

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Meet the Jacobin Pigeons, Probably the Most Fashionable Birds in the World

Jacobins aren’t your average, everyday pigeons that flock on your terrace and mess it up with droppings. Take one look at them and you’ll know they are a cut above the rest. How can they not be, with a royal hood of feathers that covers them from the neck up, almost entirely hiding their pretty little heads. I like to think of them as pigeons-in-parkas, which is really high fashion as far as birds are concerned.

Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world – an excellent exhibition breed with relatively unknown origins. Some believe that that the original breed came from India, while others think they’re natives of Cyprus. They arrived in Europe around the 16th century, where they were put through four stages of development, by breeders, until they evolved into their current state.

Although they have been bred for centuries, Jacobin pigeons have undergone remarkable changes in the past 80 years. They started off rather small, which was popular back in the day. But the current breed of Jacobins are slender and of medium size, with long flight feathers, long legs and slim tails. The most remarkable feature, the ‘rosette’, makes up the hood that completely covers the top and sides of their tiny head. In fact, the bird’s face is only visible from the front. The bigger the hood, the higher the quality of the specimen. And they always maintain an upright posture, adding to their ‘royal airs’.

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Kung Fu Master’s Finger of Steel Can Puncture Coconuts, Imagine What It Could Do To Your Skull

Kung fu master Ho Eng Hui doesn’t need any fancy weapons, because nature has given him a pretty awesome one – his index finger. His incredibly powerful finger can pierce coconut shells, releasing a burst of sweet water from inside. He proudly declares: “This finger of mine actually helps me raise my family.”

Ho has been performing his amazing ‘finger feats’ twice a week at a special spot on Jonker Street, in the Malaysian State of Malacca. The government assigned him this spot in the year 2000, and he has been entertaining tourists and locals alike, ever since. Every Friday and Saturday, he travels to the spot from his home in Johor Baru city, to perform between 8 and 9 pm. Prior to his gig at Jonker Street, between the years 1991 and 1995, he performed at Bugis Street in Singapore.

Over the years Ho has been setting records and breaking them himself. On Feb 2, 2001, he made it to the Malaysia Book of Records, by piercing three coconuts in 1 minute and 10 seconds. In June 2009, he pierced four coconuts in 30.81 seconds – a feat that earned him a Guinness World Record. And in 2011, he broke his own record by piercing four coconuts in 12.15 seconds flat. Ho is mentioned as one of the highlights of the Jonker Walk Night Market, in the Lonely Planet guide.

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Kazakh Village Affected by Mysterious Condition That Causes People to Suddenly Fall Asleep for Up to Six Days

Residents of the almost abandoned Soviet town of Krasnogorsk and the areas around Kalachi village, in Kazakhstan, are prone to a mysterious ‘sleeping beauty’ syndrome. The bizarre condition has people suddenly dozing off for as long as six days at a time. It’s like a bad horror film – the illness has gripped these regions and no one knows the reason behind it. Scientists and experts are truly perplexed by the phenomenon.

The weird sleeping illness isn’t prevalent all the time. Instead, it comes in waves – the first one occurred in March 2013 and the second in May 2013. There have been three more since then – around New Year 2014, just after the winter holidays this year, and now again in May. A total of 40 to 60 people have suffered in the scarcely populated region. In most of the cases, the sleep is accompanied by temporary memory loss.

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Belarusian Artist Specializes in Turning Mundane Appliances into Steampunk Masterpieces

Dmitry Tihonenko, from Belarus, is a household-appliance repairman with a passion for everything steampunk. Although he primarily uses his workshop to fix broken appliances, he has this amazing hobby going on on the side – creating steampunk masterpieces out of mundane, everyday objects.

You have to to admit that even though modern appliances make our lives a lot easier, design-wise they are not always as cool-looking as we’d like . They’re most often mass-produced, plastic replicas of each other. But that’s where Dmitry comes in – he takes boring appliances and converts them into something truly wonderful, as you can see in the pictures.

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Party Like a Caveman at This Cave Nightclub in Cuba

Disco Ayala, in Trinidad, Cuba, is not your average party destination. It’s located on the outskirts of town, in a natural cave that was once the home of a notorious serial killer.

After walking down the dusty street leading up to the tiny cave mouth, revelers take the stairs leading down to the gated entrance to one of the most unique discos on earth. You pay CUC$3 for entry and a drink, and go down the stairs, and then down another flight through a tunnel. Up to this point, the place looks like a normal cave, apart from a large banner that reads ‘Disco Ayala’. But nothing can really prepare you for what lies within.

As you step out of the narrow tunnel, the sight that awaits you is nothing short of spectacular – a large marble dance floor is set up in the middle of a large cavern, the bright light from a rock-carved bar catches your eye and the colorful lights dancing on the stalagmites will leave you speechless.  Not to mention the loud latino music and the crazy performers. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

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For Some Strange Reason the Nurses at This Chinese Hospital Dress Like Flight Attendants

A hospital in eastern China has decided to do away with plain white nurse uniforms. Instead, they have their nurses dressing up like flight attendants. The new initiative began earlier this month at the Lianshui Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Huai’an city. Their idea is to glamorize the otherwise thankless profession of nursing, and also provide patients with superior customer service.

Bu Haijuan, head of the hospital’s nursing unit, came up with the idea as a way to remind her nurses to improve their bedside manner. “If you think of all the professions of the world, which one comes to mind when you think of good customer service?” she asked. “It’s airline stewardesses, isn’t it? Nurses learn all sorts of technical skills at college but customer service can be easily overlooked. But flight attendants are specifically trained to have a good attitude and manners.”

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