The Flying Men of Bolivia’s Yungas Valley

It truly amazes me how people are able to find great shortcuts in any kind of situation. A while ago, we wrote about Bamboo Drifting , which was a means to cross rivers in China by balancing on a thin bamboo pole. Deep valleys exist in the jungles of Bolivia too, but the locals have chosen flying over rowing, and it’s much faster. On foot, the journey would take a good 1 hour, as they’d have to walk down to the bottom, cross the river and climb up the other side. But 30 seconds is all it takes for the people of Yungas Valley to fly across.

No, they haven’t mysteriously sprouted wings, nor do they use any fancy machines. Their flying equipment is simple – 20 ropes strung across the valley with old rusting pulleys, 200 meters above the river and stretching as long as 400 meters. Several of the local cocoa harvesters, the Cocaleros, use the ropes every day to travel to and fro along with their goods. They tie themselves to the pulleys using strips of fabric, and glide across effortlessly. Branches and leaves are used as brakes to stop themselves so they don’t end up crashing into the other side.

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Rules Are Simple at Atherstone Ball Game – Just Don’t Kill Anyone

Festival games are really fun to watch, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in one like the Atherstone Ball Game. I’ve always followed the Spanish La Tomatina with interest, so when I heard about the Atherstone Ball Game, I had to find out more. Considered to be one of the oldest traditions of England, it is played in Atherstone, Warwickshire, as a part of Mardi Gras celebrations each year. For over 800 years, hundreds of men have gathered on the streets of the town to fight for a giant ball. The man who emerges in possession of the ball at the end of two hours of pushing, shoving and punching, is the winner.

The various traditions followed as a part of the festive day are quite interesting. The preparations for the game start early in the morning, with shop owners boarding up windows for protection. At 2.30pm, children start gathering under Barclays Bank. Pennies and sweets are showered on them from the balcony. Later, at around 3pm, the men start to assemble in anticipation of the ball game. A selected dignitary finally throws the ball into the crowd from a window above, and then all hell breaks loose.

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Woman Desperate to Find a Job Sells Herself on eBay

“For sale – a willing and able permanent or temporary employee’ – reads the eBay ad. It’s quite unusual for the e-commerce website where merchants are more interested in selling goods. But 38-year-old Deborah Bowen had no other choice but to try and sell herself on eBay, having had no proper employment for over 2 years. She went from a £33,000 per year role in sales, to looking for jobs where she’s willing to do almost ‘anything’ for a living.

In the last couple of years, Bowen has been sending out her resume to hundreds of recruiters and prospective employers. She didn’t even leave out local plumber’s merchants in the hope of receiving some sort of permanent employment. But all she could find was part-time work, sometimes paying as low as £6.6 per hour. Bowen and her partner have been struggling to make mortgage repayments and are facing eviction from their home in Gloucester. With the next payment due in March, she is desperate to try anything and hence decided to try out eBay.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #29

17 Spectacular Pictures of Siberia’s Altai Mountains (Environmental Graffiti)

Couple Makes Lovely Art Out of Beach’s Plastic Trash (Laughing Squid)

Write a Bike – Conceptual Bikes Made Incorporate Names (Behance Network)

Wold’s Shortest Man Measures 55cm (Metro.co.uk)

Slovaks to Name Bridge After Chuck Norris, making It Indestructible (AFP)

Supermanning Is the New Planking (YouTube)

White English Teacher Quits School to Become a Rapper (Orange)

Pregnant Woman Has a Taste for Her Local Newspaper (The Sun)

BASE Jumping from the Top of Shanghai’s Jin Mao Tower (Environmental Graffiti)

Chinese Make iPhone Branded Tabletop Stoves (Geekologie)

16-Year-Old Girl Is a Real-Life Barbie

Everyone meet Dakota (at least I think that’s her real name),  she’s a 16-year-old girl who goes by KotaKoti and looks a lot like a Barbie doll. Recently, photos of her have gone viral on several Asia and Arabic social sites because of her incredible resemblance to Barbie.

I stumbled upon some photos of KotaKoti while browsing a popular Vietnamese site for weird stories (yes, I do actually visit a lot Vietnamese sites, where else do you think I find all this crazy stuff) and was stunned by the resemblance between this girl and the popular Barbie doll. I mean, in some photos Iwas having trouble figuring out if she is actually a real person or just a life-size toy. I wasn’t able to find a lot of info on her, as she doesn’t seem to be as popular on western websites, and although she has her very own blog, it doesn’t have an “About” page or anything like that.

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Seo Young Deok’s Bicycle Chain Sculptures Are Off the Chain

You’ve probably sculptures made from bicycle chains, but I bet they’re nothing like the ones created by South Korean artist, Seo Young Deok.

The incredible ‘works of Seo Young Deok are clearly inspired by the shapes of the human body, but artists have been sculpting masterpieces based on our natural curves for hundreds of years. What makes this Korean designer special is the material he uses for his unique creations – bicycle chains. Miles of metal chains, to be exact, welded in such a way that they recreate the human body to the finest details. Deok says he finds inspiration for his art in crowded markets, and metro or bus stations, but also in Buddhist sculptures and paintings, which he has alway admired. “I like Asia Beauty” he says, “so most features of my work seem to take an Asiatic pose”.

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Real-Life 50 First Dates: Teen Loses Memory Every 24 Hours

Drew Barrymore’s character has a weird memory condition that makes her relieve the same day every time she wakes up. This pretty much the basis of the romantic comedy 50 First Dates. It’s a pretty interesting concept for a film, but in real life it would be considered a nightmare. Unfortunately, 19-year-old Jess Lydon has to go through something similar to this every day.

Instead of returning to the past, Jess is actually trapped in the present. She has been affected by a rare condition known as Susac Syndrome that only allows her to remember what happened in the past 24 hours. Needless to say, this is highly upsetting to Jess and her family. It gets so bad sometimes that she cannot remember what she had for dinner the previous night, or what she did on Christmas and for her birthday. Looking at family pictures confuses her, as she can’t recollect any of the events that took place. The worst part is that although she split up with her boyfriend almost 2 years ago, she wakes up thinking they’re together every morning. Imagine having to relive a heartbreak every single day of your life.

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Silbo Gomero – Tweeting Is an Actual Language on La Gomera Island

The Silbo Gomero language sounds as sweet as the tweeting of Nightingales. Listening to this beautiful means of communication makes me wonder if birds are actually able to talk to each other in the same manner. Because the people of La Gomera island in the Canaries certainly do one heck of a job of talking through chirp-like whistles.

Silbo Gomero is the name given to the language of whistles spoken on the small island of La Gomera, off the coast of Morocco. It is structured in such a way that the islanders are able to mimic the spoken language of the region – Castilian Spanish – through whistles. While there have been reports of other whistling languages in the world, Silbo Gomero is the only one that is fully developed and practiced by an entire community. It is so organized and thorough that every vowel and consonant can be replaced with a whistle. Depending on the pitch and the number of interruptions, the sounds can be distinguished from each other.

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New York Woman Makes a Living Catching Other People’s Cats

If you’ve ever dreamed of living in New York, here’s one more reason for you to move there – Jordana Serebrenik. The name of her business explains it all. She is the founder, owner and sole worker of Catch Your Cat, which pretty much sums up what she does. This 45-year-old resident of Murray Hill will come to your home, catch your cat and will do with it anything you want her to.

Let’s face it. Although cats are very adorable creatures, they are fierce when it comes to personal space. Even a hint of threat to their independence and some of them they will even snarl at their own masters. So imagine trying to get a pet cat into a carrier to go to the vet. It could be quite a daunting task. More so, for the elderly or the physically impaired. That’s where Jordana and Catch Your Cat step in. For about $80, she will make sure the cat is in the box in no time at all.

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Renowned Artist Creates Jesus Portrait from 24,790 Push Pins

World renowned artist Rob Surette has recently completed a mind-blowing portrait of Jesus Christ made out of 24,790 colored push pins. The amazing work of art measures  5.5 feet x 4 feet, and took the artist six months to finish.

Rob Surette has been fascinated by pointillism ever since he discovered the art of Georges Seurat, who invented the dot painting technique during the late 1800s. He became a master of it himself and now creates incredible works of art that always has viewers asking how he achieves such elaborate visual illusions. “They stand close to the image and say, ‘All I see is push pins!’ and then they walk backwards, away from the artwork and say, ‘It looks so real!  How is that possible?'” Rob says is the reaction of most people. Before starting work on this portrait, Surette set a record for the world’s largest Lite Brite creation (513,000 pieces), and wondering what other objects he could use to create a portrait out of dots, he settled on push pins.

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German Fashion Designer Makes Shoes from Real Hooves and Dead Animals

These are some of the freakiest shoes I’ve ever set eyes on. Made by German designer Iris Shieferstein, the footwear is actually created from body parts of dead animals. She uses horse hooves and skin, snake skin and even whole dead birds as decorations.

I really doubt there are a lot of people out there willing to walk around with a pair of stuffed birds on their feet, but that isn’t stopping 45-year-old Iris Shieferstein from using all sorts of dead animal parts to make unique shoes. She agrees her creations aren’t exactly as comfortable as trainers, but she still wears them around the house. The designer says that her footwear is mainly meant for ‘aesthetic pleasure’. The animal shoes have been displayed at exhibitions around the world and Dolce & Gabanna have even created a range based on her designs. But so far, no company has had the courage to produce them for the general public.

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iPhoneography – Colleges to Offer Courses in iPhone Photography

If a filmmaker could shoot an entire movie on a smartphone, a course on iPhone Photography doesn’t really seem like a bad idea. It’s actually pretty neat that two colleges in London are planning to offer a course that’s dedicated to the ever-popular iPhone. According to course tutor Richard Gray, all you need to attend the course is a passion for photography, a creative mind and, of course, an iPhone. The course fee is £115 (that’s about $178) with an additional £20 ($30) for the purchase of required apps.

The iPhoneography course starts in a few weeks, so it’s still unclear as to who will be interested in taking it. Of course, the iPhone doesn’t compare to high-end DSLR cameras, but for photography-enthusiasts who don’t really have big bucks to spend on this kind of equipment, the course might just be pretty useful. Also, according to Gray, the iPhone camera is not to be underestimated. “With the right apps and skills, it can be a powerful creative tool,” he says, adding that “No longer do you need expensive equipment to produce great images.”

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Dwarf Bullfighters – Human Exploitation Meets Animal Cruelty

It sounds cruel when I write about it, but watching a bunch of dwarfs running around with calves that match their size could invoke quite a bit of laughter. There’s nothing cute about this however, the fighting is quite real and dangerous. Thankfully, the calves and the men are usually unharmed.

Wondering what I’m talking about? Meet the bullfighting dwarfs of Mexico, a group of short entertainers who are by no means ashamed of what they do. The sport, for obvious reasons, has earned the title of being one of the most controversial in the world. Animal lovers say it’s cruel. Human rights activists agree. Critics worry about stereotyping. But there’s no denying the fact that it provides a steady means of income for those who otherwise would find it very difficult to get a job. Since employment discrimination is pretty widespread in Mexico, the dwarf community has actually benefited from the bullfighting shows. More often than not, the bullfighters are laughed at, and although this is the main purpose of their act, they would also like to be respected for what they do.

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Mind-Blowing Portrait Created from Thousands of Coffee Stains

Just weeks after she took the Internet by storm with her incredible portrait of Yao Ming, created only with a basketball and red paint, Malaysian artist Hong Yi strikes again, this time with a realistic rendition of Taiwanese singer Jay Chou made with coffee stains.

The young artist begins her unusual creative process by taking a sip of coffee. Like most of us, she spills some of it in the small saucer and that apparently inspires her to use the dirty bottom of the cup to start a sepia tone masterpiece. At first the coffee cup stains look just like the ones you can spot on table cloths in cheap restaurants, but as she progresses, her work starts to take shape. First you can make out the outline of the head, then the nose and mouth, the eyes, and before you know it you’re staring at a realistic portrait of Jay Chou made with coffee stains, and struggling to lift your jaw off the floor.

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Ultimate Tazer Ball – The Sport That Lets You Taze Your Opponents

If you’ve read or watched the Harry Potter series, you’d know that Quidditch has Bludgers that are hurled at opponents to make them lose control of the ball. While this could be fatal in real life, no one’s ever thought much of it since it’s only make-believe. But what if there really was a sport where players were armed with weapons to cause serious injuries to their opponents? That, my friends, is exactly what Ultimate Tazer Ball is all about. The weird sport actually allows players to use stun guns on members of the opposing team.

I watched a few short videos of the sport being played, and in my opinion, there’s nothing fascinating about it beyond the use of the stun guns. The ball used by the players is actually pretty huge, like a beachball, which makes it look like grown men running behind a kid’s toy and trying to stun each other in the process. Menacing expressions are adopted, which I’m guessing is to provide the audience with some entertainment while in reality, nothing much is going on. But again, that’s just my opinion, so let me tell you the rules of the game, and then I’ll let you be the judge.

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