Hatebeak – A Death Metal Band Whose Lead Vocalist Was a Parrot

I suppose nothing complements the loudness of heavy metal better than ear-bleeding screeches. And when those sounds come from a bird instead of a human, it’s bound to make an impression. Meet Waldo, a Congo African Grey Parrot, a heavy metal prodigy and the lead vocalist of a Baltimore-based band, ‘Hatebeak’.

The band was formed in 2004, by audio engineers Blake Harrison and Mark Sloan, who played the guitar and drums respectively. Hatebeak was a strictly studio project with unintelligible lyrics and no real melody. They never toured so as to not torture the bird. “We don’t play live,” Blake once explained. “It would be absolute torture for the bird to experience decibels at those levels. Waldo is the only vocalist for Hatebeak. He does parrot noises and also says some words.”

In the years they were active, Blake and Mark never revealed their last names on their releases in order to maintain the mystery surrounding Hatebeak. They were signed by Reptilian Records (which is now on hiatus), and most of their discography had an avian theme with titles like ‘Number of the Beak’, ‘Beak of Putrefaction’, and ‘The Thing That Should Not Beak’.

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Chinese Man Confesses Crush on Work Colleague with 99 Brand New iPhones

In a geeky display of love, a game designer from Guangzhou city, China, confessed his feelings to a co-worker, surrounded by 99 brand new iPhones. The extravagant gesture cost the man a whopping 500,000 yuan (over $80,000) – two years’ worth of his savings.

The man stacked up the 99 boxes of phones in the shape of a heart in the middle of the office parking lot during break. He then stood in the center with a bouquet of roses, ready to profess his undying love. The woman arrived at the scene after some cajoling and pressure from the rest of the co-workers. She apparently heard him out, but hasn’t given him a reply yet.

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Swedish Taxi Service Offers Free Psychotherapy for Passengers

A new taxi service in Stockholm is offering its passengers a chance to relieve stress on the go. They’ve got psychotherapists occupying the back seats of three different cabs, offering free consultations. The two-week initiative was started late last month by a company called Taxi Stockholm, which claims it’s the first project of its kind in the world.

The idea was conceived when the owners of Taxi Stockholm realized that people are more likely to talk about their problems on dull, quiet drives. They even have data to back up the theory; according to spokeswoman Natalia Santos, a study revealed that “around 70 percent of people said their taxi journeys were a good time for reflection and that they often found their minds wandering.”

“And when you think about it, the drivers can even become like therapists,” she added. “So we decided to put the two together for all Stockholmers – especially considering it’s getting so cold and dark now.”

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NASA is Paying This Guy $18,000 to Lie in Bed for Three Months

When Andrew Iwanicki lost his job in August, he probably expected to be spending a lot of time in bed. Little did he know that he’d actually be paid to do it. The very next day, he received an offer to join a NASA study that required him to lie in bed for three months straight, in exchange for a whopping $18,000!

“My bed is in the NASA Flight Analog Research Unit in Houston, Texas, where I’m being paid $18,000 to lie down for 70 days while NASA researchers study me,” he wrote. “I have been in this bed for three weeks now, and I will be here for seven weeks more.”

Andrew explained that the study – CFT 70 (Countermeasure and Functional Testing in Head-Down Tilt Bed Rest Study) – is part of a three-year effort to learn about bone and muscle atrophy in space. The team of NASA researchers have studied 54 people so far, and Andrew is the last participant.

“I had applied to the study a year earlier on a whim, assuming I’d never be chosen from the pool of 25,000 applicants and I’d never be able to halt my hectic life for 15 weeks,” he explained. But as fate would have it, he suddenly found himself with an empty schedule and an offer in hand.

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Eating This Wild Herb Can Allegedly Stave Off Hunger and Thirst for Several Days

A centuries-old slimming remedy is all set to make a comeback after evidence of its use was discovered in old manuscripts during an archaeological dig. The heath pea is a long-forgotten fern-like wild Scottish plant with purple flowers that can apparently suppress hunger and thirst for weeks. Entrepreneurs are now interested in re-introducing the wonder-herb to the world as a dietary supplement that could produce drastic weight loss results.

According to botanical records, the heath pea, also known as bitter vetch, was a vital ingredient of the Highland diet up until the 18th century, when food was scarce. The pea-sized tubers of the plant were stripped off the roots, dried and ingested. Just a couple of tubers were sufficient to provide a boost of energy, and prevent thirst and hunger for days, even weeks. Entire communities are said to have lived off these tubers when crops were poor.

17th century literature also indicates that the plant helped people perform strenuous activities like working in fields. Monks used it to treat patients as early as the 14th century, and it is rumored to have made an appearance in the court of King Charles (he apparently gave it to his lovers who had a propensity for plumpness). The roots were also believed to be eaten by Julius Caesar’s soldiers in preparation for the battle of Dyrrhachium in 48 BC.

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Two Australian Friends Turn Their Van into Free Laundry Service for the Homeless

Fresh, clean laundry is one of the most comforting things in life, but unfortunately not everyone has access to it. A couple of engineering students from Brisbane are trying to change that. They’ve started Orange Sky Laundry – Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless.

20-year-old Lucas Patchett and his friend Nicholas Marchesi were inspired to start the service during an overseas trip. When they got back in July, they decided to stop talking about it and just do it. So they got an old van fitted out with two donated industrial washing machines and two dryers, which can wash and dry 20 kilograms of laundry in an hour.

Getting the machines to fit in the van wasn’t the easiest thing in the world, but they managed it pretty well. “The architect who helped us said: ‘they’ll probably fit’, but we found we needed to build a platform above the wheel arches – it wasn’t very scientific but we ended up banging the wheel arches out a bit and taking some panels off. We squeezed them in,” said Lucas.

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Denmark Gives Student $430,000 for Research on Legendary Underground Trolls

Denmark’s economy might not be in tip-top shape right now, but that hasn’t deterred northern country’s government from awarding 2.5 million Danish kroner ($430,000) in grant money to a study that investigates the existence of underground trolls (mythical creatures, not internet haters).

The money will be received by Lars Christian Kofoed Rømer, a PhD student and part-time anthropology lecturer at the University of Copenhagen, who has spent two years studying ghost activity. With the new funds, he now plans to research ‘actual relationships’ between humans and trolls on the Danish island of Bornholm.

Bornholm is well-known for its flourishing tourism industry, which is mostly centered around the belief that the island is inhabited by trolls who live underground and come out at night. They even have a ‘national troll’ named Krølle Brølle, who is ‘small and cute’ and lives with his troll family on Langebjerg, and comes out at night to have ‘many exciting adventures’.

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Gravity Glue – Michael Grab’s Gravity Defying Rock Balancing Art

Artist Michael Grab is a master of rock balancing – he can pile them up in all sorts of gravity-defying formations, and believe it or not, there’s no glue involved.

Michael calls his art a ‘contemplative stone arrangement’ that involves ‘patience, adaptation, slow-breathing, steady hands and a plethora of other practiced skills’. His project, called ‘Gravity Glue’, has him balancing rocks of all shapes and capturing the impossible-looking structures on camera.

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Australian Batman Fan Spends Two Years Building His Own Batmobile

While most Batman fans are content with collecting Batmobile action figures, 29-year-old Zac Mihajlovic from Camden, New South Wales, decided to build a real one for himself. He spent the past two years modelling a street legal version of the iconic batman car from the 1989 film starring Michael Keaton.

Zac is now the proud owner of Australia’s only working and registered replica of the 1989 Batmobile that can be legally driven on public roads. And although he has been offered a lot of money for it (a six figure sum, he says), the Batman fan plans to keep it and use it to make sick children happy. “It’s my absolute pride and joy,” he remarked. “I feel like if I do nothing else for the rest of my life, I’ll die happy.”

Zac was only five years old when he first watched Batman and his obsession began. “At the time, being a five-year-old kid, it scared me but I never forgot it. I just love Batman because he’s one of the only superheroes that don’t have powers so being able to connect to him on a human level is great.”

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The Boss of Cleaning – Korean Millionaire Living in Bahrain Spends Every Morning Cleaning the Streets

‘Mr. Yo’ is a millionaire investor with a very peculiar habit – for the past 11 years, the Korean businessman living in Bahrain has been waking up every morning before dawn to clean up the streets of his city. He even takes the time to sort out and recycle the garbage that he collects. Asked why he has been doing this for 11 years, he simply answered “because I want to!”

Korean-born Yo has earned himself the nickname ‘Boss of Cleaning’, thanks to his diligent morning habit. He seems genuinely interested in keeping the streets clean, and making sure that everyone enjoys a healthy neighborhood. “There is a lot of garbage, and this makes people sick,” he explained. “It causes problems.”

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World’s Largest Corn Maze Is So Tough to Get Out of That People Often Call 911 for Help

Cool Patch Pumpkins corn maze, in Dixon, California, is officially the biggest corn maze in the world. The gigantic 63-acre Halloween attraction is the creation of brothers Matt and Mark Cooley, who personally hand-cut five miles of winding paths, twists, turns and loops. This year, the maze finally broke the Guinness Record for the world’s largest maze.

The maze might appear easy to navigate when you first set foot in it, but visitors soon realize it is far more complicated than they originally thought. Believe it or not, a few visitors have actually resorted to calling 911 for help! “When it’s dark, all you see is corn,” Matt said. “A lot of people have been telling us that it has taken them a couple of hours to get through the corn.”

“There’s a concern; there’s a bit of fear involved,” said Deputy Daryl Snedeker from the Solano County Sheriff’s department. “I think they are overwhelmed. You can get a little worked up when you can’t get out of a place and everything looks the same. We don’t laugh, it’s not a comedy to us, and our dispatchers have a very serious job, and they take every call to 911 seriously.”

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This Man Is Looking for a Canadian Woman Named Just Like His Ex-Girlfriend to Take on Free Trip Around the World

If your name is Elizabeth Gallagher, you might just be the lucky winner of a free three-week vacation around the world. The generous offer was made public by 27-year-old Jordan Axani, from Canada, who broke up with his girlfriend after all the plans for the trip had been finalized. Now that his girlfriend won’t be joining him, he’s searching for a Canadian woman with the same name, so she can use her ticket.

“In March I booked a fairly wicked trip around the world for this Christmas for my ex and I,” Jordan explained on Reddit. “While our relationship has come to a close, I am still planning on going on the trip and she is not (naturally). And because I hate the idea of a ticket around the world going to waste, I am looking for a Canadian named Elizabeth Gallagher who could use the ticket.”

The itinerary for the epic trip – starting December 21 – includes cities like New York, Milan, Paris, Bangkok and New Delhi. “The tickets were frankly so cheap and on so many different airlines that they’re not worth the headache or money to cancel,” he admitted. So he thought it best to share the ticket with someone who is “sane, smart, and (hopefully) interesting”, who has “always wanted to travel” and is “ready for a rather spontaneous life experience.”

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Too Many People Are Taking Selfies with Bears, US Forest Service Warns

Apparently, the temptation to click a selfie with a large, furry (and dangerous) bear in the background is simply too hard to resist for some people. An alarmingly large number of tourists at South Lake Tahoe in California are taking in this latest craze despite warnings from the US Forest Service to leave the animals alone, or risk facing a gruesome end.

Most people don’t seem to realize that while bears are normally timid creatures, they are also quite unpredictable. “Bears are unpredictable, wild animals and may attack if threatened,” said Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson. “We can’t have visitors creating dangerous situations for themselves and others. People are risking serious injury or death if they get too close to a bear.”

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Vietnamese Hairdresser Cuts Hair with Samurai Swords

Meet Nguyen Hoang Hung, a sword-wielding hairdresser from Vietnam. Believe it or not, this man actually cuts his clients’ hair with a sword! And his unusual ‘weapon of choice’ doesn’t affect the speed or quality of his haircuts – he manages to produce brilliant results every single time.

Hung said that he picked up the unique skill four years ago, when he participated in a game show where he was required to cut hair without scissors. He had used a handsaw at the time, and enjoyed the process immensely. Later, he evolved to the more sophisticated sword as a haircutting tool.

He began by using it on women with longer hair, and then moved on to shorter styles like bobs and pixie cuts. He admitted that it was difficult and risky at first, but he just kept practicing on training wigs. And after four years of rigorous, unrelenting practice, Hung is now able to create beautiful hairstyles within minutes.

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Designer Creates Fashion Line for Butch Women

‘Haute Butch’ is an up-and-coming fashion line developed by Napa Valley designer Karen Roberts. It caters to women and who prefer a masculine edge to their clothes, but have trouble with the fit of men’s clothing.

Roberts, who studied fashion merchandising before enlisting in the U.S. Navy, had always found herself disappointed with the sartorial choices available for butch women. “I knew I was really good at what I did but what I wore really ate away at my confidence,” the 52-year-old said.

During the time that she worked in real estate, she would often dress herself in rolled-up men’s blazers, rolled-up slacks, and a rolled-up dress shirt. Everything she wore just felt awkward and wrong when compared with her female colleagues’ chic business casual attire.

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