The Cinema at the End of the World

The world’s eeriest cinema hall is located in the Sinai Peninsula, in the Egyptian desert. Well, it isn’t exactly a hall. It’s more like an arrangement of wooden seats out in the open. It has been dubbed the ‘End of the World’ Cinema, and I think it couldn’t have had a better name. The neat arrangement of wooden seats in the middle of nowhere looks as apocalyptic as you can imagine – like a cinema used by a mysterious ancient civilization. The 150 seats are completely worn out, the screen’s foundations are broken and the building that once housed the generator and projector is in ruins. Surprisingly, the cinema is only a decade old.

I’m really not sure who would want to watch a movie sitting out in the open in the middle of a desert, but apparently a crazy Frenchman thought it was a brilliant idea. The project was his brainchild – he bought everything he needed for the cinema from an old theater in Cairo. According to Kaupo Kikkas, an Estonian photographer who recently took pictures of the site, the cinema was doomed ever since its conception.

“On a sunny day at the very beginning of this millennium, a crazy Frenchman found himself in the desert of Sinai,” he wrote. “After some puffs of a magic smoke he wondered – how come there are no cinemas in the middle of the desert? He flew back to Paris and arranged some money. After that he went to Cairo to buy original seats and projection equipment from an old cinema theater. Then came back to Sinai, arranged a generator for electricity, and a monstrous tractor to pull up the screen that was like a gigantic sail. And now more or less everything was ready for the premier.”

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This Why You Should Never, Ever Try to Kiss a Snapping Turtle

Here’s a way to save thousands on Botox treatments and still achieve a perfectly natural swollen pout – just kiss a snapping turtle! A man from China’s Fujian Province tried it recently; I don’t know what he was thinking kissing a turtle that is known to have a vicious bite that can actually break a human finger. This guy locked lips with his pet and what happened next was pretty much expected – it latched on and refused to let go.

Pictures of the not-so-sweet kiss were doing the rounds of China’s social networking website, Weibo. Apparently, the man’s friends clicked pictures and found them too hilarious not to share with the world. They even updated ‘after’ shots of the injuries – the man is seen nursing a huge lip that can put the most bizarre plastic surgeries to shame. Ouch, that must have hurt real bad!

According to news reports, the ‘Alligator snapping turtle’ was a pet about to be released. It was not native to China, hence damaging to its ecosystem. These exotic pets require expert handling, which is obviously not this man’s forte. Just before letting the turtle go, he decided on the impromptu peck. As you can see, it wasn’t the brightest idea. I just think he’s incredibly lucky that the amphibian did not decide to keep a piece of his lip as a parting souvenir!

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Fibonacci-Shaped Romanesco Broccoli Is the World’s Most Visually Stunning Vegetable

Put mathematics and broccoli together and you have the two most hated things of my childhood. And that’s exactly what the Romanesco Broccoli is all about. But now that I’m an adult, I find that I’m actually able to appreciate the intricacy of this rare vegetable. The broccoli takes the form of a fractal – a complex geometrical shape that looks almost the same at every scale factor. So each broccoli is made up of smaller florets that mimic the fractal shape to perfection, which in turn are made of even smaller florets of similar shape… and this goes on and on to the tiniest florets.

If you break off a floret from the main head, it looks like a mini-version of the broccoli with its own mini florets. No matter which part of the fractal you zoom into, it will look like an identical version of the bigger picture. It’s fascinating to think that something like this naturally occurs in nature, let alone on a vegetable. A detailed pattern that goes on repeating itself is rare and certainly a thing of beauty.

The Romanesco Broccoli is nothing short of a mathematical marvel, reminiscent of the Fibonacci series – a sequence of consecutive numbers that add up to the next number. Like: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and so on. So how can a broccoli imitate a series of numbers? Simple. On closer inspection, the Romanesco is revealed to have a spiral starting from the center point. All the smaller florets are arranged around this spiral. In essence, this is the Fibonacci spiral – a series of arcs with radii that follow the Fibonacci sequence. If you count the number of spirals in each direction, they will always be consecutive Fibonacci numbers. A math lesson on a vegetable – isn’t that amazing?

Romanesco-broccoli

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Siberia’s Real-Life Swan Lake Teeming with Life in the Dead of Winter

Svetloe Lake, located near Urozhainoe village in Siberia, is better known to locals as the Swan Lake. Come February, the lake is usually teeming with activity – beautiful swans arrive in hundreds and make this place their winter home, which is surprising because swans generally prefer to fly further south where the climate isn’t so harsh.

What makes Svetloe Lake so special that swans willingly flock at it in the dead of winter? Well, for starters, it is fed by many warm springs so the temperature of the water is always above zero – even when the surrounding air drops to minus 40C. The lake’s waters are warm in comparison, at 5C to 6C, making it the perfect hang-out place for the beautiful birds. The swans began to appear at the lake way back in 1967. Only about 15 birds would make an appearance then, but the numbers have steadily increased to over 350 today and still continue to rise.

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Head-Strong Pakistani Sets New World Record for Smashing Walnuts with His Head

The Punjab Youth Festival that took place last month in Lahore, Pakistan, featured a lot of bizarre events, including one that had human nut cracker Mohammad Rashid break a whopping 155 walnuts in just one minute. He didn’t even use any special tools, only his forehead.

The walnuts were placed on a long table in two neat rows. At the word ‘go’, Rashid went off like a raging bull, banging his head repeatedly against the table and breaking as many nuts as he could. Bits of shattered walnut were flying everywhere, but the young man didn’t lose focus until he was asked to stop. He emerged from the table with a small cut on his forehead and a victorious smile – he broke the previous record of 44 walnuts in a minute.

According to festival organizers, over 100 world records were challenged by Pakistani youth this year. They did manage to break one other record – a group of 30,000 attendees made the world’s largest human national flag at the National Hockey Stadium. Guinness World Record officials are currently collecting and analyzing the evidence before they declare that both records have indeed been broken.

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Brazilian Popeye Pumps His Biceps Full of Oil and Alcohol

I always thought Popeye was adorable, but I find this Brazilian real-life version to be kind of grotesque. Arlindo de Souza, a.k.a. Arlindo Anomalia, has bulked up his arms by following a dangerous trend among body builders in Brazil – injecting themselves with a potentially lethal combination of oil and alcohol. He has 29-inch biceps, which are currently the biggest in the country. The most odd thing about his muscles is that they are bulged even when he isn’t flexing them, like great, big lumps of flesh hanging off his arms and shoulders.

Arlindo says that he’s stopped using the injections, now that a friend’s death made him realize how dangerous they are. “My friend Paulinho, he passed away from doing these things,” he said. “I felt his death a lot. He took it, I took it, but he went beyond the limit. I advise no-one to take this oil. I’ve stopped taking it, and other things as well, but there is always that will to start again. But I’m managing to control myself, to this day.”

Older pictures reveal that 43-year-old Arlindo was once a handsome man with his ‘natural’ muscles. But the Arnold Schwarzenegger fan became so obsessed with body building that he took steroids, hormones and horse vitamins to bulk up. And then, two years ago, a gym buddy offered him a ‘site enhancement oil’ to help things along. “The guy gave it to me,” said Arlindo. “He said, ‘Take this, it will make you grow in days.’ I loaded the syringe, put it in my arm, injected it and it swelled me up right there and then.”

Arlindo-Anomalia

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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