Fishing with Otters in Bangladesh – A Dying Tradition

Otter Fishing has been a long-standing tradition in Bangladesh. For centuries, fishermen have been using trained otters to lure fish into their nets – a unique technique passed on from father to son that has long died out in other parts of Asia. Bangladeshi fishermen have managed to keep it alive so far, but the future of otter fishing seems uncertain due to the dwindling  population of fish in the country’s rivers.

As a part of the tradition, fishermen lower their nets into the water close to the banks of the river. As they do this, their pet otters also dive tails up into the water with a splash. The animals do not catch the fish themselves, but chase them towards the fishing nets for the fishermen to haul in. Otter fishing is generally practiced during the night, with some fisherman throwing their nets until dawn trying to catch enough fish to support their families. Their hard work yields anywhere between 4 and 12 kilos of fish and shrimp every night.

A fishing family makes about $250 a month with the modest catch. “Our job depends on the otters,” said Shashudhar Biswas, a fisherman from Narail district in southern Bangladesh. “The otters manage to spot fish among the plants, then the fish swim away and we stay close with our nets. If we did it without them, we wouldn’t be able to catch as many fish,” his son Vipul added.

Otter-Fishing

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Controversial Device Lets Users Inhale Alcohol, Become Intoxicated Much Faster

The ‘Vaportini’ is a controversial new device that promises a ‘revolutionary way of consuming alcohol’. People can to use it to speed up the effects of alcohol consumption, without the calories, carbs or impurities that usually come with drinking. The device heats up alcohol to 140 degrees F and allows users to breathe in the vapor through a straw. The crazy contraption can be purchased for just $45 from an American website.

Needless to say, inhaling alcohol is just as bad as it sounds. Professor Chris Day of Newcastle University and advisor to Drinkaware (a charity that promotes responsible drinking), said: “Inhaling alcohol is a very new trend so there isn’t yet any scientific data of the effects but it has the potential to be a very dangerous phenomenon and as such, we would advise people to be cautious if indeed they do decide to try it.” The professor also pointed out that the vapor bypasses the body’s natural defence mechanisms, so it has to be unsafe.

Professor Jonathan Chick, a psychiatrist from Edinburgh, was in agreement. “There is a greater ‘hit’ on the brain than when alcohol is taken by mouth, because some of it has not already been broken down on its way through the liver and this will increase the risk of damage to brain cells. So the method cannot be called safer to the body organs,” he said. He pointed out that there is an added risk of inhalation which is due to the direct impact on the brain – that is, risk of unsteadiness, falling or impulsive behavior. The vapor also bypasses the stomach (which limits alcohol intake through vomiting), making it dangerous and unsafe.

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Flight of the Living Dead – The Tiny Fly That Turns Bees into Zombies

Human zombies might be a figment of the imagination, but ‘zombie bees’ actually exist. They are ‘created’ when regular honeybees get infested with a particular type of parasite. The bees begin to display highly erratic and bizarre behavior that’s very zombie-like. These infested bees were first discovered in 2008 in California by John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University.

Ever since the initial discovery, zombie bee-sightings have been reported in Oregon, Washington State, California and South Dakota. According to Professor Hafernik, “They fly around in a disoriented way, get attracted to light, and then fall down and wander around in a way that’s sort of reminiscent of zombies in the movies. Sometimes we’ve taken to calling it, when they leave their hives, ‘the flight of the living dead.’”

The culprit here is the Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic fly that is known to implant its eggs in ants. The fly larvae live off the ants’ brains, dissolve their connective tissues and eventually finish off the ants. Researchers now have reason to believe that the flies have found a new home for their eggs – European honeybees that are common in the United States. The flies lay their eggs in the bees that eventually hatch, wreaking havoc in their hosts’ bodies.

zombie-bees

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Chinese Grandmother Carries Handicapped Granddaughter on Her Back Every Day So She Can Attend School

There’s nothing quite like a grandparent’s love, and this sweet story from Yibin City in China’s Szechuan province proves it. Even though 14-year-old Fang Mei Qiu is handicapped, she doesn’t miss a day of school. And she’s always on time! All thanks to her 66-year-old grandmother who actually gives the girl a piggy back ride every morning. Together, they cover four kilometers of mountain roads on foot each day to and from school.

Fang Mei was born with abnormal kneecaps that aren’t able to support her weight. So she can’t stand for more than a few minutes without excruciating pain, let alone walk to school. She is constantly in need of help to move around. Sadly, her father left when she was just a baby and her mother remarried soon, leaving Fang Mei in the care of her grandparents. And what loving grandparents they’ve turned out to be! While the grandfather is too old and sick to do much, the grandmother takes care of the small family’s needs.

Grandma wakes up at 5 am each morning and prepares for the day ahead. At 7 am, they begin their journey to school with Fang Mei on grandma’s back, stopping to rest at least five times during the trek. It takes them one-and-a-half hours to cover the two-kilometer journey on foot. And they are never late – grandma makes sure they reach school by 8.30 am every single day. They’ve been doing this for five years now, covering over 4,000 kilometers so far.

amazing-grandma

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The Harmless Far East Eses – Thai Men Dressing Up Like Mexican Gang Members

In an interesting new trend in Thailand, young men are choosing to dress themselves as Mexican gangsters. Their clothes (or lack thereof), hairstyles, and tattoos are all inspired by criminal gangs in Mexico and the US. They have even formed their own gangs – Balcony Pain, Fratez, and D Sixty, to name a few. But of course, copying dressing style won’t really make criminals out of decent men. None of these young copycats actually appreciate the brutal violence associated with real-life Latino gangs, they are just really big fans of the gangs’ fashion style and brotherhood mentality.

More than anything else, these men appreciate the ‘clean and simple’ gangster aesthetic because it suits the Thai weather very well. You’d actually be surprised to know that most of them hold nine to five jobs as teachers, policemen and bureaucrats. Some are family men who ask their wives’ permission before getting inked. Needless to say, they don’t fight, shoot each other or deal in drugs. They’re more like this large brotherhood of style-conscious men who bond well over their passion for gangster lifestyle and clothes.

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Luxury Services Company Is Offering James Bond Fans the Ultimate 007 Holiday for a Whopping $800,000

If you’re a James Bond fan and you have $800,000 to spare, this is the perfect vacation for you. The 007-themed 21-day, seven-country luxury tour could have you living a life straight out of a Bond movie. The package includes luxury hotels, private jets, sports cars, casino stops, speedboats and three-star gourmet meals. The tour was announced last Thursday by luxury goods and services website VeryFirstTo.com.

The premium action-packed vacation for two starts off in London. Subsequent destinations include Monte Carlo, Venice, Istanbul and special attractions in India and Thailand – locations that have all been featured in previous Bond movies. “The privileged purchasers will be staying at the finest hotels seen in the Bond films, often staying in the same hotel rooms,” said Leija Graf from Select Collection, one of the organizers of the trip.

In London, the tour will begin at the Dorchester Hotel, which is where the opening scene of the new James Bond book, Solo, is set. Guests will be served a Martini masterclass, before being whisked away on a London ‘Bond’ tour in a Rolls-Royce. A private jet will then transport them to Nice, and from there a helicopter will transfer them to Monaco. A short limousine ride later, they will spend the night at Mertopole Hotel, one of the finest in the principality.

James-Bond-vacation

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Chinese Scrapyard Becomes Tourist Attraction after Staff Builds Transformers from Metal Junk

One day, the workers at a scrapyard in China recently decided to get creative with all the metal junk lying around by building a giant Transformer statue. And when the life-size replica of the popular Autobot  started attracting the attention of visitors and passers-by, they decided to keep going. The team built over 40 Transformers in four months, which have now become tourist attractions in their own right.

The scrapyard where the Transformers are on display is located on a remote farmhouse on top of a hill, in Jinan City, Eastern China’s Shangdong Province. As you travel closer to the hill, the sight of these giant action figures in the middle of nowhere is arresting. And once you get there, it’s quite amusing to see the pigs at the farm live happily among the inanimate Transformers.

21-year-old Li Hung, a part-time worker at the yard, built the very first Transformer. The PR and marketing student said he wanted to make something ‘eye-catching’ using discarded parts. “I thought if people could see something spectacular made from junk, it would highlight what we do here and we could get more customers,” he said. Li was right. The robot became immensely popular, winning a lot of praise from locals.

Scrap-metal-Transformers

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Experiencing Life on Mars in the Rocky Red Desert of Utah

Who says you need to go to Mars to know what life could be like over there? Some places on Earth are apparently good enough to simulate the experience. And that’s exactly what a team of experts from Mars Society have done – recreated life on the red planet by dressing in space suits and living in isolation in a rocky Utah desert. The group of researchers lives there on a space research base, surviving on food rations, conducting research experiments and showering just once in three days.

The area surrounding the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is quite similar to the atmosphere on Mars – hot, windy, red, and rocky. Just like in the science fiction movies, every time the team needs to leave the station, they have to pass through an air lock. The team consists of four men and two women, living in a cramped, two-storey hut 40 miles from the nearest town of Hanksville. The crew sleep in small pod-like beds, have very limited contact with the outside world and a very slow internet connection to send only a few e-mails a day.

Most of their communication is with ‘mission control’, who monitor and record data about the crew’s lives every two weeks. This includes details like psychological status, food intake and exercise. According to 27-year-old Mission Commander Lara Vimercati, who is also a NASA biologist, “Everything we do each day must be as though we are on another planet. We have to go through an air lock procedure and suit up before we have any contact with the outside.” Visitors are sometimes allowed; they need to travel to MDRS on a slow buggy (only 5 mph), down an unmarked path filled with rocks.

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Mies Container Restaurant – South Korea’s Hooters for Women

‘Mies Container’ is a strange name for a restaurant. But its theme is unique and refreshing – factory-style décor and extremely good-looking male waitstaff. The restaurant, located in Gangnam District – one of Seoul’s most hip locations – has been dubbed ‘Hooters for Women’. In a city where people are not exactly known for their patience, Koreans are actually waiting in endless lines outside Mies Container – that’s how popular it has become. And about nine out of ten customers are always women!

The atmosphere inside Mies pretty much screams one word – Macho. The open loft structure is constructed like a factory, with the slogan ‘Wipe and Tighten and Oil!’ written on the wall in Korean. They even have numbered construction helmets to identify orders. All the waiters are young and hot (and male), and overly friendly towards customers, especially women.

One waiter was overheard telling a customer: ‘You have excellent taste in picking from the menu.’ Handsome men who are attentive and appreciative? No wonder this place is a hit with the ladies. And the customers aren’t exactly bashful while returning the compliments. There’s a wall right next to the cashier filled with little notes like: ‘Dear hot waiter, please marry me!’ – that’s just one of the decent ones.

Mies-Container-restaurant

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Self-Taught Artist Builds Macabre Life-Size Motorcycles Out of Animal Bones

Would you spend $55,000 on a motorcycle that doesn’t run? Before you make a decision on that, here’s what you need to know – the motorcycle in question is actually made of animal bones. A Florida man created the beast using a lot of pieces from other dead beasts – three to four cow skulls, two to three alligator skulls, bones of goats, wolves, raccoons, turtles and pigs, and a cow spine for each of the wheels. The bike is rather cheekily named: ‘Cowasaki’.

Reese Moore, the bike’s creator, said it takes him about a year to collect all the bones from dead animals on the side of the road, or carcasses from hunters and farmers. It then takes him a week to sand the bones down and but the bike together. It’s not just bikes – the 65-year-old also makes a host of other things with the bones, including dinosaurs and choppers. And when he isn’t doing that, he trains whales and sea lions, builds museum exhibits and performs in Timucuan Indian re-enactments. He was also a snake wrangler at one point.

“I don’t do anything normal,” Moore observed. “I just go around and show off and make weird stuff.” He got into the bones business after using them to make Halloween decorations for his kids sometime in the early 1990s. That year, he made a dinosaur out of an assortment of bones for his sons. When the owner of Froggy’s Saloon asked him if he could take the model, Moore had a better idea. “I was kidding, and I said, ‘I’ll build you a motorcycle for Bike Week.’” The bar-owner said it couldn’t be done and Moore accepted the challenge. “In about three or four days I called him up and told him he could pick up his motorcycle.”

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The Rumbling Train Track Street of Hanoi

I thought that Thailand’s Railway Food Market was the only one of its kind in the world. Turns out I was wrong. A similar railway track exists in Vietnam as well – this one doesn’t pass through a busy market place like its Thai counterpart, but a narrow residential neighborhood. The video footage of the train shows it passing mere inches from the front doors of people living in the capital city of Hanoi.

Hanoi is pretty much iconic for its narrow buildings and streets. And since the main train station is right in the heart of the city, it’s no surprise that the train tracks pass by busy streets. The section of tracks that leads to Long Bien Bridge passes through Old Quarter, which is a densely populated residential area. The houses here are so close to the tracks that people could easily get smacked if they don’t watch their step, or decide to stick their hands out the window at the wrong time. Luckily, the trains go by only twice a day.

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Pastor Jokingly Offers to Sponsor Congregation’s Cross Tattoos, Now Has to Pay Up

When Pastor Zack Zehnder flippantly offered free tattoos to his congregation, little did he expect people to actually take him up on it. During a recent sermon about acceptance at the Cross Mount Dora church in Mount Dora, Florida, the pastor had said: “If anybody would like to go out and get a tattoo of the logo of the cross that we have for this church we will find money and pay for that.” I suppose he didn’t realize exactly how popular tattoos are – at least a dozen church members have already inked themselves with the church cross logo.

Jeremie Turner, one of the congregation members who got inked, said: “We definitely took him up on his offer because if he’s going to hand out free tattoos, he’s got a crowd of people that’s going to accept them.” When pastor Zack realized what was happening, he graciously stuck to his word and personally paid for the tattoos at Bill Gold’s Tattoo Shop. “If I wasn’t so dang sarcastic in my sermons, I don’t know that we would be here,” he said, while overseeing a church member getting inked at the shop. “But we got some crazy people that have said they wanted to do it so I kinda gotta, I made the promise. I kinda gotta back it up.”

It’s nice to see  pastor Zack standing by his promise, instead of making excuses to try and get out of the deal. He even hopes that the new tattoos will serve as conversation starters and get more people interested in the church. “People’s perception of church has probably never been as negative as it is today and so if we can do something to kind of flip that script and interact with them and do something in a unique and creative way, we’re going to do that,” he said.

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Chinese Contestants Stand on One Leg for Hours on End to Win Brand New BMW

Wu Deqi is the proud owner of a brand new swanky BMW. Nothing special so far, I know, but that’s because you don’t yet know how he got it. Instead of money, he had to pay for it with a lot of pain. In a promotional contest held last Sunday in the Shapingba District of Southwest China, Wu stood on one leg with one hand touching the coveted car alongside 20 other participants. After a grueling 7 hours and 26 minutes, Wu was the last man standing – automatically winning possession of the 300,000 yuan BMW X1.

Of course, Wu’s feat is nowhere near the Guinness World Record for standing on one leg. That distinction belongs to Suresh Joachim, who balanced himself on one foot for a whopping 76 hours and 40 minutes. But you have to hand it to Wu for his extraordinary effort. I mean, I couldn’t do it for over 5 minutes even if they offered me two BMWs.

The actual event began on 1 March and attracted hundreds of participants. About 140 people entered into three elimination rounds, and 20 shortlisted candidates made it to the final competition on Sunday. This last round was the toughest; some of the contestants actually dropped to the ground in agony. The competition began at 9:30 am and by 1:30 pm, the going got really tough. That’s when the organizers asked participants to stand on tip of their support foot. Flour was spread under each person’s foot to make sure they didn’t cheat and rest their heels.

BMW-contest

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Young Ukrainian Builds Awe-Inspiring Miniature Frigate with 17,000 Coins

This is what I call expensive art! While most artists spend money on art supplies, this Ukrainian man actually used money itself. 29-year-old chef Sergei Nikolayev Knurov fashioned a detailed miniature ship out of a variety of Ukrainian coins. The final piece contains a whopping 17,000 coins, with bank notes for sails.

Sergei, a resident of Mykolaiv city in southern Ukraine, first started the project with coins from his piggy bank. But he soon ran out of material – his personal stash only covered the keel. So he began to exchange paper money for coins whenever possible at drug stores and markets, and sometimes with friends. When people found out what the coins were meant for, they were glad to part with their loose change. The coins Sergei used are mainly 2 and 10 kopecks, and the sails are made of 25 five-hryvnia notes.

At first, it wasn’t easy for Sergei to actually create the 3 dimensional model of the ship using just his sketches and notes. But lucky for him, his wife Alena is an amateur numismatist (a person who studies and collects currency). She helped him fuse the coins together using silicate glue, which worked pretty well. Sergei said that using regular super glue could have resulted in oxidization, but this way the metal structure will last longer.

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Thrill-Seeker Travels All Around the World to Perform Death-Defying Hand-Stands

Scott Young is a thrill seeker unlike any other. Most adventurers are content with just traveling the world, but this young daredevil takes the phrase ‘living on the edge’ to a whole new level. He actually performs handstands on top of skyscrapers and other tall buildings in every city that he visits. Scott climbs to the very edge of buildings up to 40 storeys high (that’s nearly 500 foot) and hangs up-side-down. And get this – he doesn’t use any safety ropes or nets. He only carries a small camera strapped to his foot, to record the vertigo-inducing view below.

25-year-old Scott is a native of Basingstoke, a large town in northeast Hampshire in England. He has been a professional freerunner since the age of 15, which means that he performs stunts like climbing tall urban buildings and jumping between rooftops. Scott has starred in films like The Amazing Spiderman and is now a part of the 3RUN team of acrobats. But he’s currently working on his pet project called ‘Handstands in High Places’. So far, he has filmed himself performing handstands in three countries – England, China and India. His latest pictures are from the edge of an old, derelict 20-storey building in New Delhi. This was by far the most dangerous stunt he’s performed – purely because of the bad condition of the building. But Scott was pretty nonchalant about the whole affair.

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