The Tower of David – Venezuela’s Skyscraper Slum

The Tower of David is a 45-storey skyscraper in Caracas, the capital city of Venezuela. From the outside, there’s nothing too special about the tower, but on the inside, it’s hardly what you’d expect. In the past seven years, the abandoned building has been become the tallest slum in the world and home to over 3,000 homeless people in the city. It is greatly feared to be a hotbed of crime, drugs and gangs.

When construction began in the early 1990s, the Tower of David (locally known as Torre de David) was intended to be one of the most prominent structures of the new financial district. But when the developer died in 1994, the project was abandoned. By the year 2007, squatters had completely taken over the incomplete concrete skeleton. This actually isn’t too surprising, given the fact that Caracas is a city in need of almost two million homes.

For now, the residents seem to have made themselves very comfortable inside the tower. They enter the structure through an attached parking garage, and motorcycles are used to transfer residents up the first 10 floors. The first 28 floors are inhabited by families, but there are no elevators in the tower, just a single flight of stairs that they have no choice but to climb.

Tower-of-David

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Chinese Farmer Builds Realistic Space Shuttle Replica on Top of His House

We’ve heard so many stories about the Chinese building temples, mountain villas and even entire farms on their rooftops that we’ve honestly lost count. And now we have a new one for you – a crazy man in Guangdong province who put a replica of a spacecraft on the roof of his home.

63-year-old Meng Ni had dreamed of becoming an astronaut ever since he was a little kid. But growing up in the remote village of Xiapu, Jiexi County, he realized early-on that there was little hope of his dream coming true. So he quickly decided to follow in his family’s footsteps and take up farming. Eventually, his farmlands grew in size and he sold them to the government for a small fortune.

But over the years, Meng never gave up on his dream. After considerable success as a businessman, he decided sell a part of his estate to build a life-size replica of a space shuttle on his roof. Although the structure does not have the NASA logo, it does carry an American flag on the side for an authentic appearance. And it’s possible to enter the craft as well; it offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside.

rooftop-space-shuttle-replica

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Best Job Ever: Lucky Guy Getting Paid $93,000 to Have as Much Fun as Possible in Six Months

Most people need to save up before they get to travel and have fun. But for this lucky Californian, things are the other way round – he gets paid to do all that and more. Andrew Smith has been appointed the ‘Chief Funster’ of the State of New South Wales, Australia, a six-month job that will earn him a whopping $93,000. And all he has to do in exchange for the money is travel around NSW and do exciting things every day.

Smith landed the dream job after winning a contest as a part of an event to promote NSW as the ideal travel destination for young people. His challenge is to show travelers how exciting the Australian State can be by collecting no less than 802,000 moments of fun in six months. That’s one for every square kilometer of the State. So on a typical day, Smith can be found skydiving, hanging out with famous skateboarders, abseiling the spectacular mountains, and other such stuff.

Funster-Experiment

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20-Year-Old Taiwanese Artist Creates the Most Amazing Cardboard Models

20-year-old Zhongkai Xiang, from Taiwan, is just like any other boy of his age – interested in animals, monsters, robots and dinosaurs. But Zhongkai is special – he has a rare artistic ability that allows him to recreate his favorite characters using the most mundane materials, like cardboard.

“I just drew them at first, then I started to love making paper sculptures in junior high school, and creating with cardboard has been my main focus from senior high school until now,” he said. Some of his most spectacular works include cardboard sculptures of horses, dragons, aliens and birds. He even has a cardboard alien doorknocker installed on his front door. Once in a while, he departs from his preferred medium – like this one alien sculpture made entirely out of drinking straws.

cardboard-art

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The Inspiring Story of Station 17, Germany’s Disabled Rock Group

Station 17 may be a little-known music band worldwide, but they have been a rocking sensation in Germany for the past 25 years. What makes the small group of improv musicians from Hamburg really special is the fact that almost all the members of the band are either physically or mentally disabled. But that doesn’t stop them from belting out some truly amazing tunes.

The band’s origins can be traced back to 1989, when Kai Boysen, lead singer of a punk rock group called The Painless Dirties, decided to quit and settle down as a social worker. He worked on therapy sessions for the disabled and during these sessions, he realized that music had a wonderful effect on the people he was helping. So he invited a group of them to his studio and formed a band. He then took some of the recordings to his manager, who was very impressed with the sound.

With a little guidance from Kai and a few other professional musicians, Station 17 recorded their debut album, Mercury. Their sound was very different from the techno that was popular in Germany at the time. “The audience was very happy, they were like, ‘Wow, what’s that?’ It’s like a new kind of sound on the stage,” said Kai. But despite the popularity of the album, the band was forgotten after a year.

station17-band

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9-Month-Baby Charged with Attempted Murder in Pakistan

9-month-old Mohammed Musa is perhaps the youngest person in the world to be charged with attempted murder. In one of the most absurd cases in recent times, the kid, along with his family, was accused of attacking government officials. The baby was ultimately presented in court, and get this – instead of dropping the charges, the judge ended up granting him bail.

The incident in question took place in February, when Musa’s family home in Lahore was raided by a group of police officers and energy officials. The family of 30 was accused of not paying their bills, to which they responded violently – by allegedly threatening the officials and attacking them with stones and wooden sticks until they were forced to run for their lives.

Sub-inspector Kashif Mohammed, who was in charge of the crime scene, later wrote a First Incident Report (FIR), calling it a case of attempted murder. He apparently believed that the entire family was responsible. So he chose not to leave any of them out of the report, not even the baby. Following the report, the child and his family were arrested.

Mohammed-Musa

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Combat Juggling Is a Real Sport and It’s Awesome

There is usually nothing competitive about juggling there is this one group of jugglers that has managed to transform a harmless performance art into an exciting contact sport – ‘combat juggling’. A combat juggling match consists of two teams competing against each other, with each player juggling three clubs at a time. The players move towards each other, trying to interfere with and knock out the other player’s clubs. The last player standing with all three clubs in the air is declared the winner.

I watched a video clip of the sport, and after I got a hang of what was going on, I found it quite fun to watch. Of course, the word ‘combat’ is quite misleading – there’s practically no risk of any kind of injury in this sport. According to one player, Scotty, “Combatting is a sport because it’s a game. You compete, you have winners and losers. Bunch of people, we’re all juggling three clubs, last person juggling wins.”

Combat-Juggling

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Dinner with a Bang at Tokyo’s Airsoft Restaurant

EA Bar is a new themed restaurant in Tokyo that caters exclusively to airsoft lovers. Pronounced ‘air’, the restaurant has its own airsoft shooting range and a very impressive collection of airsoft guns, fashioned after lethal weapons. That’s not all – the theme extends to the cocktail menu, with all the drinks named after guns. And, to top it all off, the food is decorated with tiny army action figures.

Airsoft guns, which are replica firearms with plastic or environmentally safe pellets, have become very popular in Japan. This explains the restaurant’s success – lovers of the sport don’t need to drive out all the way to rural fields to fire their guns. After a tiring day at work, they get to unwind at a shooting range in the heart of the city, and enjoy a nice hot meal at the same time.

EA is located in Kichijoji, a posh Tokyo neighborhood. Customers aren’t bound by a shooting-related dress code, given that the restaurant’s interiors are modern and chic. Among the various dishes served are pasta, risotto and a selection of curries. Some of the drinks on the cocktail menu include a chocolate liqueur called Glock 18c, a SPAS12 with absinthe, and a vodka-based Thomson.

EA-airsoft-restaurant2

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8-Year-Old Brazilian Miracle Worker Allegedly Cures People of Cancer and HIV

8-year-old Alani Santos is a special little girl – she claims that she can channel the power of Jesus Christ to cure people of various illnesses. Hundreds gather at the San Gonzalo church just to get a glimpse of the miracle child and be healed by her touch. Incidentally, Alani’s father is a pastor at the same church. Pastor Aduato Santos, a reformed car thief, has fondly given his daughter the name ‘missionarinha’ or ‘little missionary’.

Some of Alani’s healing sessions have been taped and uploaded on YouTube. One of the videos shows her healing a man who had been suffering from HIV for seven years. As the man stands with his head bowed, the pastor tells him: “You’re next. When the little missionary touches you, something will happen. You will be cured. You will feel the warmth.” As soon Alani puts her hand on the man’s head, he collapses on to the floor. The healing is then complete.

Alani-Santos

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I Dare You to Find the Real-Life Female Model Hidden in This Mind-Blowing Body-Painting

Paul Roustan, an award-winning body painter from Chicago, has created an absolutely mind-blowing painting of a moth. When you first look at the black-and-white picture, all you can see is a moth with its wings spread out. Nothing looks amiss, not even when you look closely. But after you watch the making-of video, you’re left in a state of mild shock – there is actually a real-life female model hiding in the artwork. Scroll down for the revealing photos and video, but try to find it on your own first.

It was nice of the artist to create the helpful video. Without it, I don’t suppose anyone could have guessed the perfectly camouflaged secret of the painting. The entire image consists of a painted woman standing with her arms folded, against a similarly painted background. Audrey Biernacki, the model, blends into the surroundings so well that it’s impossible to tell her apart. The whole project took Paul seven hours to complete – five to paint the background and two for the model.

“On average, it takes me three hours to paint the entire body,” he said. “This one was a bit more meticulous lining things up, which is why it took so long just for a portion of the body.” Paul predominantly uses airbrushes on his human canvasses. He has been painting people since 2005 ‘out of curiosity’. He used to be an editorial illustrator for and adult magazine, and one day he came up with the idea of painting one of the models for a photo spread. The magazine agreed, and he has been hooked ever since.

moth-body-painting

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University Lecturer Claims to Have Photographed Tiny Fairies Flying in English Countryside

This could be one of the most significant discoveries in human history. Or one of biggest hoaxes. John Hyatt, a 53-year-old professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, claims to have taken photographs of tiny fairies in the English countryside. His pictures show tiny winged humanoid creatures floating flying in swarms. The professor is now on a mission to get more and more adults to believe that the fairies are real, and ‘bring a bit of a magic into their lives’.

Hyatt is the director of the Manchester Institute of Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) at the Metropolitan  University. He is believed to have snapped the pictures while he was out photographing the Lancashire landscape over the past two years. The photographs are now on display in a special exhibition called Rossendale Fairies at the Whitaker Museum in Whitaker Park, Rossendale. Hyatt insists that they are 100 percent real and not Photoshopped. The pictures have gone viral ever since he released them to the public. People all over the world are quite baffled over his claims, and some are beginning to believe him.

“It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take,” he said. “I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don’t look the same. People can decide for themselves what they are.” Hyatt, a former member of The Three Johns punk band in the ‘80s and ‘90s, said that the message to people is to approach these creatures with an open mind. “I think it’s one of those situations where you need to believe to see,” he admitted.

real-life-fairies

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Man Shuns Solid Food to Live on Beer for 40 Days

For many Christians, Lent is a time to abstain from the things they love. But for people like Chris Schryer, it’s just the opposite. He’s giving up everything else except what he loves most – beer. The 33-year-old web designer from Toronto has shunned all solid food  and has been living on beer since March 5. In fact, he believes that what he’s doing is a real test of spiritual discipline.

“Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun,” said Chris. “It’s challenging. Every meal time there’s a challenge. I look pretty healthy now, but by the end of the 40 days my wife figures I’ll look like a castaway on account of my bushy beard.”

For the past few weeks, Chris has been having a bottle of strong beer for breakfast. At lunch, he guzzles another beer and dinner consists of a large 650 ml bottle. He also has a mid-afternoon ‘work beer’. To avoid getting dehydrated, he keeps up a steady intake of watered down juice and other clear liquids. His rules are simple: ‘No dairy, no ‘nectars’, no protein shakes or smoothies.” He takes a multivitamin and his health is constantly being monitored by his family doctor.

beer-diet2

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Share a Coffee with Snakes and Scorpions at Vietnam’s Popular Pet Cafe

If you love dogs, cats and cute, cuddly bunnies, then Vietnam’s Pet Café is certainly not the place for you. It exists to serve a totally different kind of animal lover. Located in the capital city of Hanoi, the café has an awesome collection of snakes, rats, lizards, tarantulas and even a few hedgehogs, stored in glass cages of various sizes. As you sit at your table and share a coffee with a friend, you can gaze upon these slow-moving reptiles in replicas of their natural habitats. And if you’re feeling a little brave, you could even ask to touch or play with them.

28-year-old Nguyen Minh Nghia, the owner of Pet Café, has a degree in mining and geology, but is now a stockbroker. He has been obsessed with animals since childhood, and that’s what prompted him to start the café. “I loved animals since I was a little boy. I began raising reptiles 5 years ago, when a friend asked me to feed his salamanders as he was too preoccupied with his own business,” Nguyen said.

He fell in love with the creatures and ended up traveling to Thailand, Singapore, Australia and China, amassing a huge collection of snakes, salamanders and other reptiles that are now his best friends. “These pets are easy to feed, but for beginners, it is not a walk in the park,” he said. “You have to read a lot of materials to learn how to raise reptiles. I’ve chosen reptiles that are suited for the environment and climate in Vietnam. To keep them alive here, I’ve got to study a lot about their living environment. My café is always dark because many reptiles do not like the light.”

Pet-Cafe-Hanoi

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You Know China’s Smog Issue Is Serious When People Line Up to Sample Free Bags of Fresh Air

It’s no secret that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. But things have gotten so bad that a few cities actually have free ‘fresh air stations’, stocked with individual bags of fresh air that users can breathe out of. These stations have become so popular that they are crowded with visitors lining up for just a whiff of fresh, clean air.

One of the stations is located in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province. According to sources, Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 158. In comparison, Bakersfield (the most polluted city of America) has an AQI of just 45. The air at Zhengzhou’s station is sourced from Laojun Mountain, a scenic spot in Luanchuan County consisting of 80 percent green land. Photographs show large crowds of locals waiting patiently at the station. When it’s their turn, a uniformed air hostess hooks them up to oxygen masks.

Feng Lin, a 75-year-old user, said: “The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.”

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” said one pregnant woman. “I would love to walk in the mountain’s forests after my child is born.”

bags-of-fresh-air

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Chinese Woman Has Been Wearing Her Wedding Dress Every Day for the Last Ten Years

A 47-year-old Chinese woman is so happy to have found true love that she hasn’t taken off her wedding dress for the past ten years. You might think that’s crazy, but wait till you hear everything she’s been through. At age 18, Xiang Junfeng was kidnapped from her hometown and sold to an elderly man. She was forced to marry him and lived for 15 years in captivity before she found the courage to run away.

A native of Jimo, in China’s Shandong Province, Xiang was sold to a man in the neighboring city of Linyi. He ended up using her as a slave, putting her to work in the fields. After several years of living in captivity, she managed to escape by running to Liujiazhuang village where a local woman helped her. Eventually, the woman turned out to be Xiang’s savior in more than one way. She introduced Xiang to her own brother, Zhu Zhengliang, and the couple tied the knot in 2004. This event made poor Xiang so happy that she’s refused to wear anything but her wedding attire ever since.

Although she got married with just the one dress, Xiang later had three more made – one for each season. “I bought one and made the other three,” she said. “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell and treated me so differently. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”

Xiang-Junfeng

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