Sauna World Championship 2009

Yes, believe it or not, there is such a competition as Sauna World Championship.

Held in Heinola, Finland, the Sauna World Championship brings together around 200 competitors from all around the world. These hot heads can withstand sauna temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius.

Inaugurated in 1999, this crazy competition has both a men’s and women’s challenge. The Finish men have proven unbeatable every year since the 1999, while women from Belarus and Russia managed to steal the trophy on a number of occasions.

The rules of the Sauna World Championship are simple. Contestants, dressed in just their bathing suits, go inside a steaming sauna and have to stay there for as long as they can. As water is thrown over the stove, temperatures reach 110 degrees Celsius. The last contestant to leave the sauna, on his own two feet, is declared the winner.

This year the men’s title went to veteran Timo Kaukonen, and the women’s trophy was snatched by Russian Tatyana Arkhipenko.

sauna-championship

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Remember Our World Is Melting

Raising awareness on the issue of global warming is not easy this days, but artists come up with all sorts of original ways to make the news.

Take Brazilian artists Nele Azevedo,  who created 2,000 ice-sculptures and placed them on the steps of the Berlin Opera Hall, to melt. That’s a lot of work to watch melt away in one hot afternoon, but at least her message made the newspapers. And if one more person knows about the melting Arctic ice, than her effort was not in vain.

melting ice

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Spain Invents New Style of Bull Fight

Very different than traditional bullfighting, bull dallying is a lot more fun and doesn’t involve killing the bull at the end.

People in San Sebastian, a small town in central Spain, have come up with a way of having fun and keeping the bull as a part of their ancient tradition. Instead of torturing and finally killing the animal to show off their matador skills, the brave Spaniards simply taunts the bull and try to dodge its attacks.

That’s it, no swords, no blood, no animal cruelty, just pure guts and, they say, a lot of fun. I have to say I like bull dallying a lot better than old fashioned bullfighting and I just wish they had thought about this sooner.

Photos by Xinhua/Chen Haitiong

via Xinhua

bull dallying

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Black Parents with Three Albino Children

As a black mother, having three albino children out of five can’t seem normal.

But it can happen, and Rosmere Fernandes de Andrade and her partner Joao, two black Brazilian parents are proof. Esthefany Caroline, Ruth Caroline and Kauan are as white as snow while their two other siblings have dark skin, just like their parents.

Scientists say this is very unusual, especially since both the parents and some of the children are black. But it’s all just a game of luck, since if both the parents carry the albinism gene, there is a 1 in four chance their offspring will be an albino.

You can imagine it’s not easy for them to adjust in a society where they look completely different from everyone else and they say they constantly get taunted by kids, at school. Their parents are also faced with the task of buying expensive sunblock and extra clothes, to prevent them from getting skin cancer.

Photos by REUTERS

via Daily Mail

albino-children

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Let Vegetarianism Grow on You, Literally

PETA activists finds original way to promote vegetarianism in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ashley Fruno, an old PETA activist from Canada, who in the past even went nude to promote vegetarianism, now found an even more ingenious way to attract attention. On September 2, 2009, miss Fruno showed up in front of a mall in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, dressed in a beautiful green dress, made only out of vegetables leaves.

She was holding up a sign that said “Let Vegetarianism Grow on You“. Well, she did and it looks amazing on her.

Photos by Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung

via Xinhua

vegetarianism

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The Incredible Hanging Temple of Hengshan

Similar, in a way, to the Hanging Houses of Cuenca, the Hanging Temple of Hengshan is an amazing display of architecture.

The Hanging Temple of Hengshan literally hangs on the side of Hengshan Mountain, sustain by only a few wooden poles. You would think this kind of a building couldn’t for hundreds of years, but it is believed the temple was built during the late Northern Wei Dinasty (386-534AD), by a monk called Liao Ran. It was restored during the 1900s.

The gravity-defying Hanging Temple of Hengshan is comprised of 40 chambers, liked through a network of passageways, and hosts not one but three religions. Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are all worshiped here, in harmony.

via Atlas Obscura (one of my favorite sites!)

Hengshan-Temple

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Bald Pengiun Wears a Wetsuit

Ralph, a nine-year-old Humboldt penguin wears a custom-made wetsuit that might just save his life.

Ok, so it’s not designed by Armani or Versace but it’s good enough to protect Ralph from the harmful rays of the sun. Unfortunately for him, Ralph lost all of his feathers in just one day, instead of five weeks, as it usually happens, so the caretakers at Marwell Wildlife Center had to find a way to protect his sensitive pink skin from sunburns.

They came up with the original idea of converting the leg of a human wetsuit into a penguin wetsuit. It didn’t seem to bother Ralph and the other penguins, although curious at first, accepted Ralph into the group.

via People.com.cn

bald-penguin

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World’s Biggest Porcelain Jar

I can’t understand why someone would go through the trouble of creating the world’s biggest porcelain jar, but they did, so here it is.

Porcelain master Xu Sijin and a team of painters worked for more than a year to complete this giant black and white porcelain. The painting on the jar depicts the three gorges of the Yangtze River. The giant porcelain jar stands 1.36 meters tall, has a diameter of 6.8 meters and weighs over 1,500 kg.

The world’s biggest porcelain jar has been unveiled in Jingdezhen, east China and is waiting for recognition from the Guinness Book of Records.

Photos by Xinhua/Shi Weiming

porcelain-jar

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Destructotherapy in China

The Chinese Government knows how stressful work can be and decided to help the people release the pressure through Destructotherapy.

This is not the first time we’ve posted a piece on Destructotherapy, but it is the first time I’ve heard of it in China. Authorities in Changsha have set up a destruction therapy course in a park, where people could smash the hell out of used cars and all sorts of broken home appliances like TVs, refrigerators or washing machines.

I think more and more people should embrace Destructotherapy, after all, there’s nothing more relaxing than smashing stuff to bits.

Photos by Xinhua/Li Ga

via Xinhua

destructotherapy

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Chouchou the Dog Walks Like a Man

It’s hard to believe a dog can walk on his back paws without losing its balance, but Chouchou proves it’s not impossible.

Chouchou may look like just a small dog, but he’s one of the biggest stars in Chongqing, Southwest China. People stop and stare every time he goes out for a walk with his master, and it’s not because of his looks. Unlike most dogs, he enjoys walking like a man, on his back paws, and can do it for long periods of time.

He has been practicing his human walk with his master and he’s gotten quite good at it. The only other dog I know can walk on two paws only is Faith the Wonder Dog, who has no choice, since she has no front paws.

Photos by icpress

walking-dog

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A Beautiful, Bug-Infested Ceiling

Looking at it, Heaven of Delight looks like a beautiful painting, but in reality, it’s made out of one million six hundred thousand jewel-scarab wing cases.

In the 19th century, it was customary for the king of Belgium to give a space in the Royal Palace to contemporary artists. This tradition died with King Leopold II, in 1909. Fortunately, Queen Paola is an art enthusiast and decided to revive the custom by commissioning an artwork by artist Jan Fabre.

With the help of 29 young artists, Fabre created Heaven of Delight,  a fresco in the Hall of Mirrors, completely out of the glowing shells of jewel-scarabs. It contains various shapes that glow in a greenish-blue light, depending on the angle from which they are viewed.

Jewel-beetles are not a protected species so it was easy for Jan Favreau to gather them from countries like Thailand, where they are eaten as a delicacy, and use them for his Heaven of Delight. This masterpiece can be admired in the Royal Palace of Brussels

via Angelos

Heaven-of-delight

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Jesus Has Returned and Lives in Siberia

At least that’s what over 5,000 followers of Viassarion the Teacher would have you believe.

Sergei Torop is a 48-year-old spiritual leader who believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus. A former traffic policeman, Torop was laid-off in 1991 and suddenly realized he was the Second Coming of Jesus, 2,000 years after he was crucified. That’s when he became Viassarion.

Of course, he’s not the only man on Earth claiming to be the Son of God, but unlike most of them, Viassarion the Teacher actually managed to gain a significant following, including artists and intellectuals who actually moved to and around the small Siberian town of Petropavlovka, just to be close to their Messiah.

Sergei Torop has been traveling to other countries to convert followers and, although he has been accused he’s been doing it for personal gain, Viassarion says his church makes no money whatsoever.

via Daily Mail

Viassarion

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El Ingles – The 67-Year-Old Matador

67-year-old Frank Evans, Britain’s oldest and only bullfighter, returns to the bullfighting arena and slays 2 unlucky horned beasts.

After a knee replacement and a quadruple bypass, ageless matador Frank Evans performed once again in the Plaza de Toros, in Benalmadena, on the Costa del Sol. A grandfather of five, Evans looked cool as ice, though he had to best two big bulls that could have ended his career in just one second.

El Ingles admits it’s not the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon, but, although he got a cut on his face, a few bruises and grazes, he only remembers the good bits of the fight.

Now one of the most popular bullfighters in Spain, Frank Evans started at the bottom, taking bullfighting lessons in his spare time. He got his first bullfighting contract in France, by pure luck, when he was mistaken for another bullfighter. He later gave up, because of lack of gigs, but decided to return to follow his dream when his fathered died. He decided life was too short not to do what you really love.

Now, El Ingles has dozens of scheduled bullfights and the crowds love him.

El-Ingles-bullfighter

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The Hanging Houses of Cuenca

Also known as “Casas Colgadas“, The Hanging Houses are the most popular attractions of Cuenca, Spain.

The history and exact origin of The Hanging Houses is unclear. Some believe they are of Muslim origin, while others say they are Medieval. Centuries ago, this kind of building was frequently seen throughout Cuenca, but nowadays only three “Casas Colgadas” remain, built in a cliff, above Huecar Gorge.

La Casa de la Sirena (House of the Mermaid) and the two Casas de Rey (Houses of Kings) were built somewhere between the 13th and 15th centuries and have been renovated in the 20th century. Now the houses host the Museum of Abstract Arts and a restaurant, but they remain the most photographed landmarks in Cuenca.

hanging house in Cuenca

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Britain Looks Good Enough to Eat

British artist Paul Baker spent two months creating an edible map of Britain, made completely out of sweets.

Prior to the creation of the Sweet Map of Britain, a survey was conducted and 1,500 Brits from all around the British Isles named their favorite sweets. That’s when 49-year-old Paul Baker’s job began. He started working on a two square meters map of Britain with the representative sweets for each area.

For example, people in the South East prefer liquorice so the area was created mainly from liquorice, while Middlanders named jelly beans as their favorite sweets and the South-West and North-West opted for wine gums. In the end, the artist used 4,000 sweets for his delicious map.

It took 2 months to complete, twice as long as scheduled, because some of the boiled sweets started melting under the surprisingly hot sun. But now that the model is finished, Baker says it should keep for a few months, as long as it’s not kept in a hot room.

The sweet map of Britain comes complete with popular landmarks, such as The Angel of the North, Tower Bridge, Mount Snowdon, the Silverstone Race Track and even a representation of the Loch Ness Monster.

The artist hopes to donate his sweet map of Britain to a children’s hospital while it’s still edible.

via Daily Mail

sweet Britain

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