New York Church Plans to Give Away Semi-Automatic Rifle as Raffle Prize

It’s the perfect irony: an upstate New York church is giving new meaning to the biblical passage ‘My peace I give unto you’, by giving away a piece. The Grace Baptist Church in Troy, a few hours north of Manhattan, will be gifting an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle later this month during an event honoring hunters and gun owners. ‘Win a Free AR-15’ is the actual slogan being displayed on the church website, followed by the line from the New Testament.

A raffle will be conducted on the church premises on March 23, and the winning ticket will receive the AR-15 modified for sale in New York State. The special service on that day will be dedicated to ‘hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years’. New York Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is scheduled to speak at the service. He confirmed to the media that the event did comply with the state’s gun laws. He even said that many New York pastors upstate carry guns, but they are law-abiding, church-going citizens.

The church pastor, John Koletas, defended the event in a letter to his congregation: “Our country was built with the King James Bible and the gun,” he wrote. “Does the Bible need to defend my right to keep and bear arms?” Pastor Michael Collins of Brunswick Baptist Church in Troy also defended the event. “It is not something that we would do, but we have plenty of gun owners in the church, and it is our constitutional right to do so,” he said. “It is not uncommon for churches to host outdoorsman events and give away guns.”

gun-raffle

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How Hot Is the World’s Hottest Chili Burger? Well, It Put Five People in the Hospital

Would you be willing to put your body at risk for just one bite of the world’s hottest chili burger? I know I wouldn’t. That’s why I’m surprised that the XXX Hot Chili Burger is selling like crazy. You have to be over 18 to buy it from Burger Off, a British takeaway shop in Sussex. The burger measures a whopping 9.2 million on the Scoville heat scale. Just to give you an idea of how hot that is – a jalapeno measures 2,500 and the average chili is a meager 500 heat units. Even law enforcement spray scores just 5 million. The superhot burger is made with a special spicy sauce based on a Piri Piri chili concentrate. 3,000 people have attempted eating it so far, but only 59 were able to successfully finish it.

The XXX could cause so much damage to the human body that Burger Off owner Nick Gambardella is now asking customers to sign a waiver before consuming it. Five people were actually rushed to the hospital after taking a few bites of the infamous burger. One of them suffered a perforated bowel and the other four had anaphylactic shock. The local hospital even had a two-hour staff meeting about treating the chili burger’s victims. The first course of action is to put them on an adrenalin drip.

The legal disclaimer reads: ‘I, the undersigned, accept all responsibility for any effects incurred due to the consumption of the above mentioned XXX Hot Chili Burger and release Burger Off, its owner and staff from any liability’. I suppose you’ve got to be a real daredevil to eat something that requires you to sign a document like this! In fact, 55-year-old Gambardella himself is very surprised that people keep coming back to eat his burger.

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Mexico’s Teenage Angels Risk Their Lives in the Name of Peace

Sometimes, all you need is a message from an angel to turn your life around. And it doesn’t really matter if that angel actually happens to be a human being; it’s the timing that really counts. Perhaps no one realizes this fact better than a group of 15 to 22-year-olds in Mexico, who are risking their lives by going out into the streets as angels, in an attempt to change their society. The ‘Messenger Angels’, as they call themselves, are young evangelical Christians who take a message of peace to public places in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most violent city.

The messenger angels are all dressed the same – hair combed back, white make up, white robes and white wings. They stand at busy intersections and places where crimes usually take place, holding up signs that display messages of peace – like ‘Looking for God’s Forgiveness’. “We get people’s attention because instead of doing bad things, like other young people, we are doing this because we want Juarez to change,” said Cynthia Gutierrez, one of the angels. The city has a population of 1.3 million and over 9,000 murders in the past three and a half years. One of the boy angels said: “In society, they’ve separated us a lot. As well as in our families. That’s why we try to share a message to drug dealers, hitmen, raiders.”

“Well, some people think we are right, others think we are wrong. I think this is right, to create more consciousness in every person that’s going down the wrong path,” added another angel. He was holding up a sign that read: ‘Chapo Guzman, Time is Short, Repent’. Some of the other signs say: ‘Police-killer: Stop it! From: Jesus Christ’, ‘Corrupt Police Officer: Seek God’ and ‘Authorities: nothing can be done without Christ’. I suppose messages from God don’t really get more direct than this.

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The Hauntingly Beautiful Blue Pond of Hokkaido

If you happen to have a Mac that runs on OSX Mountain Lion, then these images are probably familiar to you. The aptly named ‘Blue Pond’ reflects such a pristine blue color off its waters, that you just can’t take your eyes off it. The pond, located on the left bank of River Bieigawa near the town of Biei in Hokkaido Island, Japan, wasn’t very well known until recently, when the computer giant decided to make it a part of their latest operating system.

Interestingly, the Blue Pond is not a natural formation. The artificial pond was created when a dam was built to protect the area from mud flows due to its proximity to a volcano on Mt. Tokachi. When the volcano erupted in December 1988, local officials decided to construct the dam upstream along the river. All the water blocked by this dam gets collected in a depression in the forest, creating the pond.

It’s not just the striking blue that sets the pond apart, but also the barren tree stumps that protrude from the surface of the water. Also, the color of the pond hardly remains constant. It keeps varying based on the season, and the viewing angle. In a certain light and angle, the electric blue pond appears to be a lovely green instead. This unusual phenomenon has no real scientific explanation. Some theories attribute it to a high concentration of aluminum hydroxide in the water. The naturally occurring mineral is known to reflect the shorter wavelength blue light, just like the earth’s atmosphere does. Of course, the water itself is colorless.

Blue-Pond-in-Hokkaido

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No Grownups Allowed at Japan’s Children-Only Magical Sweets Shop

Most teenagers can’t wait until they’re 21 so they can have a legal ID, but here’s one shop in Japan that will make them want to stay young forever – an ID proving that they’re a sixth grader or younger. Because that’s how young you’ve got to be to enter Japan’s Future Sweets Factory – a magical place filled with all things sweet and delicious. Kids get to enter the factory alone, leaving their parents behind in the lobby area.

Future Sweets Factory is located on the premises of the hugely popular Patisserie es Koyama (famous for its special roll cake), in Sanda City, Hyogo Prefecture. The entrance to the factory is through a large, colorful egg-shaped dome. Beyond the dome lies a waiting hall where children bid goodbye to their parents for a few hours. The kids proceed through a special kid-sized door to where all the magic happens, just like in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory!

Inside the factory, away from their parents’ watchful eyes, kids are treated to samples of freshly made sweets. True to its name, at the Future Sweets Factory kids get to sample all kinds of sweets that are yet to hit the market. They also get to watch the chefs bake three special surprise sweets that cost only 150 yen each. The factory is decorated to suit the kids’ tastes – with cartoon characters and robots.

Japanese-sweets-shop

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Australian Identical Twins Share Everything from Boyfriend to Plastic Surgeries

Australian-born Anna and Lucy DeCinque might just be the most ‘identical’ identical twins in the world. The sisters, who were born just one minute apart, share everything – a Facebook account, a job, a house, a car, and even a boyfriend. They have always been inseparable, going to the same nursery, primary and secondary schools. They also enrolled in the same beauty course in college. And as if being naturally identical wasn’t enough, they’ve actually spent over $200,000 on plastic surgery just to look even more like each other.

Anna and Lucy live with their mother in Perth, Western Australia. The two sisters look so similar that even their dad had trouble telling them apart, even though Lucy has a small mole on her cheek and Anna has a scar on her forehead. Our mum has always been able to tell us apart,” said Lucy. “But, our dad, not so much. He would say, ‘Which one are you?’” Their ex-boyfriends struggled to identify them as well, a fact that that the sisters had a lot of fun with. “We’ve had fun, especially when we were younger. We would swap boyfriends if we were bored,” said Lucy.

“Like, even on the telephone, if I didn’t want to talk to my boyfriend, Anna would take the phone and pretend to be me. We would play games like that, and the other person never realized. We’ve settled down a bit now.”

Anna-and-Lucy-DeCinque

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Jailed Artist Creates Awe-Inspiring Mural with Prison Bedsheets and Hair Gel

When Jesse Krimes was growing up, he probably never realized what a cruel pun his last name would turn out to be. In 2009, he was sentenced to 70 months in prison for possession of cocaine, after a long-drawn legal battle of unfair charges and accusations. While the judge recommended that he be sent to a minimum security prison close to his family in New Jersey, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) chose to send him to a medium security facility far away from home.

According to Jesse, that was just the first of a series of measures taken by a system that is designed to dehumanize. The experience must have been extremely frustrating for him, to say the very least, but he did find a unique way of fighting back – through art. “The system is designed to make you into a criminal and make you conform. I beat the system,” he said with pride.

The extraordinary artist didn’t have fancy art supplies to work with. At his disposal were mundane objects like old New York Times (NYT) newspapers, prison bedsheets and hair gel. But these were more than enough for him to create something so striking that the world just had to stand up and take notice. He created an enormous mural by burnishing high quality visuals from NYT on to the bedsheets, using only a plastic spoon. He used the hair gel as a transfer agent.

amazing-mural

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You Can Win $1 Million Playing on the World’s Most Extreme Golf Course, But You’ll Need a Helicopter

The Legend Golf and Safari Resort is truly, well, legendary. The one-of-a-kind golf course is located in South Africa’s north-eastern Limpopo Province, nestled within the 22,000 hectare Entabeni Game Reserve. It is the longest par 72 golf course in the world, and of course safe from all the wildlife. It is also the only one with all 19 holes individually designed by golf legends like Trevor Immelman, Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia, among others. There’s a tribute course too, made up of perfect replicas of nine of the best par 3’s in the world.

But the thing that makes Legend Golf and Safari Resort really special is the hole that everyone comes to play – the Xtreme 19th. It is believed to be the longest, highest and most dramatic par 3 in the world. The hole itself is 587 meters away from the tee-off box and if you manage to hit a hole-in-one, you are guaranteed a special price of US $1 million. But, truth be told, you’d probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.

To get a shot at the prize money, you first need to take a helicopter ride to the tee box, which is high up a cliff on Hanlip Mountain. Standing up there could make you feel like you really are at the edge of South Africa. The tee box is 430 meters above the green (shaped like the African continent), providing a breathtaking panoramic background and plenty of leverage as well. As soon as you reach the high ground, you are handed six balls equipped with tracking devices and then you are welcome to try your luck.

extreme-golf-course

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African Pop Star Becomes Ghostly White after Using Controversial Pigment-Altering Cosmetics

It’s a little sad to see that in this day and age, people are still trying to change their skin color. The transformation of Nigerian and Cameroonian pop star Dencia is particularly disturbing. If the photographs are to be believed, she has gone from a healthy brown to a sickly pale white by using her own brand of skin whitening cream called Whitenicious. The controversial cosmetic product has brought her much criticism because of what it stands for, but Dencia has just one reply to silence her critics: “I don’t even care because they are bringing me business.”

Whitenicious is said to remove dark spots and effectively lighten skin in just seven days. The cream has become quite popular in West Africa, where some women are believed to be obsessed with the color of their skin. And according to Dencia, she doesn’t think she’s encouraging people to change, she’s just giving the girls what they want. “These girls are not trying to bleach their skin. They’re just trying to get rid of these little things that is making them feel uncomfortable, you know?” she said, referring to dark spots.

Dencia also tried to justify herself by explaining that many of her customers were African-American, not African. “Because the white man doesn’t even like light Africans. They like Black Africans,” she said. “Look at all the Africans that are successful in the world. They are as black as Alek Wek. And if I was as Black as Alek Wek, I would never use anything on my skin.” I’m not sure what she’s saying makes much sense.

Denicia-Whitenicious

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Jesus-Inspired Miracle Machine Turns Water into Wine

Up until a few days ago, Jesus was the only one who could turn water into wine. Now it seems anyone can do it. All they need is one of these $499 miracle bottles, water and some special ingredients. The aptly named Miracle Machine is pretty straightforward – water goes in, wine comes out. And there’s a sachet of flavors for various types of wines, of course, as with all instant foods. Created by the founders of a California company called Customvine, Miracle Machine is currently up on Kickstarter for much needed funding.

To use Miracle Machine, all you need to do is add the ingredients sachet to the bottle, choose the type and style of wine from a menu, add water and start the machine. Then, all you need to do is wait. Thankfully, the waiting period isn’t a pain – you don’t have to keep opening the bottle to check if the wine’s ready. Instead, you can connect the bottle to your smartphone, and an app will monitor the progress for you. It will alert you when the fermentation is complete (a process that takes about three days), and the wine is ready to consume.

Kevin Boyer, CEO of Customvine, is a sommelier who also founded the Boyanci winery in Napa Valley. Miracle Machine is his brainchild, in collaboration with Philip James, a British entrepreneur and founder of the wine site Lot18. “Just like a Bible miracle, it literally turns water into wine, with just the addition of a few ingredients in a fraction of the time and cost it would normally take,” said Boyer.

Miracle-Machine-wine

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Guy Quits His Job to Upload Minecraft Videos on YouTube, Makes a Fortune

Now this is what you call a modern-day fairy tale. The internet can do wonderful things for you, if you can wield the magic of  making content go viral. Like university graduate Joseph Garrett, who has earned a small fortune by simply filming himself playing video games and uploading the clips on YouTube. His clips have become an internet sensation and Joseph is well on his way to becoming a millionaire.

Joseph’s YouTube channel ‘Stampylonghead’ has received more hits than One Direction and Justin Bieber. It is one of the top 10 most viewed channels in the world, raking in a whopping 10,000 subscribers and 170 million views a month. “I’m essentially just playing and commentating while I play,” he said. “It ended up snowballing and that’s how I got to where I am now.” Joseph has a degree in TV and video production, and used to work as a barman. He quit his job last year to play games like Minecraft and share tips with fellow players, full time. “I decided to leave when I was earning the same amount as I was there.”

Joseph currently lives with his parents near Portsmouth, Hampshire, in the UK. “My parents were happy to let me stay rent free so I could develop this into a full-time living,” he said. “My family and friends think it’s great,” said Joseph. “They don’t fully understand what I do but my parents and sister are over the moon for me.” I must say, his parents sound incredibly supportive. At 23 if I’d have told my parents I was quitting my job to play games all day, they certainly would not have taken it very well. Of course, I don’t think I could have made any money out of gaming back then. At least, not the kind of money that Joseph’s making.

Joseph-Garrett

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Two New York Artists Living in Human Hamster Wheel for 10 Days

Performance artists Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder are currently roommates – not in an apartment, but in a large hamster wheel. Alex, who is afraid of heights, lives on the inside of the wheel, at the bottom. Ward, who has no such reservations, stays put at the very top, on the outside (180 degrees from Alex). They came into this unique living arrangement last Friday and plan to continue until March 9th.

Ward and Alex are actually in the middle of an art project that they like to call ‘In Orbit’. They are on display at The Boiler, a performance space at a New York’s Pierogi gallery. It took them four weeks to construct the 30-foot tall, 60-foot in circumference hamster wheel themselves, with a little help from engineer friends. The gigantic structure is suspended from the ceiling and has furniture fastened to it on the inside and the outside. Ward and Alex each have a bed, a desk, a kitchen-bathroom combo, a chair, lamps and a dresser to use.

Every piece of furniture is aligned to its counterpart, so both inhabitants of the wheel have to use the bathroom at the same time, work at the same time and go to sleep at the same time. To change the furniture setting, they simply walk on the wheel in opposite directions, moving it until the next station arrives. For safety reasons, they walk very, very slowly.

life-size-hamster-wheel

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The Baikal Ice Marathon – The Ultimate Winter Endurance Race

The Baikal Ice Marathon is one of the world’s toughest endurance challenges. Over the years, the one-of-a-kind event has seen participants from over 50 countries. These are athletes with a heart of steel – they race across a 42 kilometer course across the completely frozen surface of Baikal, the oldest and deepest freshwater lake on Earth. Every year, the Baikal Ice Marathon is held for a noble cause – the Preservation of Clean Water. This year its 10th edition took place on March 1.

Although the terrain for the marathon is predominantly flat, it is still considered to be one of the world’s 10 most challenging competitions because of the freezing Siberian weather. The cold northern winds and harsh, unpredictable climate is, in fact, the biggest challenge faced by runners. In past marathons conditions have varied in severity – from high winds and biting cold, to a sunny sky with almost no chills. The lake’s surface is another problem; at times it can be hard and uneven, covered in small hills of ice rubble. Geometric springs and seismic activity beneath the ice may weaken it to form holes.

Baikal-Ice-Marathon

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Toddlers Drop the Beats at Brooklyn’s Baby DJ School

In another bizarre case of super parenting, some toddlers are being put through classes at the Baby DJ School in Brooklyn. The program was designed by composer and performance artist Natalie Weiss. She started off last September with six students aged between 9 and 20 months.

31-year-old Weiss said she got the idea when she took her DJ equipment to a friend’s house. “I was babysitting a little boy named Rider. He’s one-and-a-half. And I had my laptop and my midi trigger with me because I had a gig after. I asked him, ‘Do you want to see how it works?’ And he loved it! Seeing him have that enthusiasm and innocence and joy talking about pieces of electrical equipment, that’s when I said like, it’s time to educate kids about this stuff.”

So Weiss began to write songs that teach kids about disc jockeying and electronic music. One of the songs goes: ‘The midi-trigger’s connected to the laptop, the laptop’s connected to the PA’ set to the tune of ‘Dem Bones’ – a baby song about dancing skeletons. There’s one like a little baby rap: “I always, always pre cue, before I play in front of you!”

Baby-DJ-school

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Woman Spends 14 Years with Mannequin Family, Proves Single People Can Be Happy Too

You would think that a woman living with a mannequin family has got to be some sort of weirdo. Contrary to that expectation, Suzanne Heintz comes across as fairly normal. As normal as an artist can be, that is.

Suzanne is an art director at Starz Entertainment Group in Englewood, Colorado. Every day for the past 14 years, she has been coming home from work to her unique family – her synthetic husband Chauncey and never-growing adolescent daughter Mary Margaret. Over the years, she has traveled 16,000 kilometers across America and all over the world, taking happy portraits with her plastic loved ones as a part of an art project called ‘Life Once Removed’.

Before the mannequins became a part of her life, Suzanne said she was routinely badgered with questions like, “When are you getting married?”, specially by her mother. “Nobody’s perfect,” her mother said to her about 15 years ago, “If you are going to get married, you’ll just have to pick somebody.” To which Suzanne replied, “Mom, it’s not like I can go out and buy a family and make it happen.” Or could she?

Life-once-removed6

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