Manipur’s All-Women Market – Over 4000 Shopkeepers and Not One Man Among Them

Literally translating to ‘Mother’s Market’, Ima Keithel is Asia’s largest all-women market, where all the stalls are run exclusively by women. Located in the heart of Imphal, in the Indian state of Manipur, the 500-year-old vibrant bazaar has 4,000-odd local women trading with thousands of customers each day. The market also serves as a meeting ground for discussions on important social and political issues of the state.

The market’s origin dates back centuries, to a time when Manipur was ruled by kings. During this time, a tradition called ‘Lallup’ was followed, requiring male members of the local Meitei community to serve the king whenever summoned. So the women of the household would take the responsibility of farming and commerce. This instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in them, which has been passed all the way down to the present generation of female traders. Interestingly, to this day, only married women are permitted to trade at the market.

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Indonesian Singer Performs for 45 Minutes after King Cobra Bite, Dies on Stage

In a bizarre turn of events, Indonesian singer Irma Bule was bitten by a king cobra while performing on stage last Sunday. She chose to go on with the show, ignoring the enormous risk she was exposing herself to, and ultimately died within the hour.

Bule, 29, was a performer of Dangdut – a traditional folk music genre in Indonesia, very popular for its melodious vocals and instrumentation. It is precisely because of this popularity that the Dangdut scene is oversaturated and highly competitive in the island nation, forcing artists to employ all sorts of gimmicks to stand out and attract crowds. Bule was well known for performing with snakes on stage, and on this occasion, she was performing in the company of a king cobra – still venomous and not even defanged.

Video footage of her past performances indicate that Bule was very comfortable in the company of snakes, but something went terribly wrong on Sunday. According to eyewitnesses, she accidentally stepped on the snake’s tail early on during the concert, and it turned and bit her in the thigh. But instead of cancelling the performance, as most people bitten by a king cobra surely would have, the dedicated artist chose to continue with the show, and even refused an antidote that the snake handler offered her.

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Feline Hachiko Has Been Waiting for Its Owners in the Same Spot for Over a Year

Cats are generally perceived as independent, but they’re also capable of displaying undying loyalty, a quality that is usually characteristic of dogs. Proving the point is this poor Russian cat that has been waiting for its owners for over a year at the exact spot where they abandoned him.

The cat was first photographed sitting on a manhole cover in Belgorod city, in the summer of 2015, by a man named Ostap Zadunayski. He then noticed the cat sitting at the same spot day after day, and curious to know more about this unusual behavior, he asked local residents for more information.

That’s when he discovered that the cat’s owners used to live nearby, but they sold their apartment last year and moved away, leaving the poor creature behind . Eyewitnesses told Ostap that they actually saw the cat run after the car as the owners drove away. Since then, it has been patiently waiting at the same spot for their return, living off the food offered to him by kind locals.

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Krishna’s Butter Ball – A Precariously Perched 250-Ton Boulder Defying the Laws of Physics

For over 1,300 years, this large rock has been confounding the locals of Mahabalipuram, a beach town near Chennai, in Southern India. The mysterious landmark is perched on hill at a 45-degree angle, balancing off an extremely small surface area without slipping or even budging an inch. Men and even elephants have tried moving it from its precarious position , but every attempt so far has failed.

The locals call it ‘Vaanirai Kal’ (Stone of the Sky God), but the rock is more popularly known as ‘Krishna’s Butter Ball’, referencing Lord Krishna’s favorite food, butter, fallen from the heavens. The gravity-defying rock, measuring 20 ft high and five meters in diameter, is estimated to weigh over 250 tons, which makes it heavier than the monolithic stones of Machu Picchu, or Ollantaytambo. Despite its massive size and weight, Krishna’s Butter Ball is firmly anchored on a four-foot base along the slope of a small hill located on the outskirts of Mahabalipuram. It looks like it might slip any moment and come crashing down the hill, but it has stayed that way for several centuries now.

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White Ink Tattoos – A Visually Stunning Yet Controversial Type of Body Art

While solid black tattoos are gaining popularity in some circles, others seem to prefer getting their skin etched with white ink. The new trend involves the use of only white ink, without any black outlines or additional color. So a white ink tattoo is pretty much just an outline – it could look amazing if done well, but there’s a high chance of it turning into a disaster as well.

There’s a lot of mixed information about white ink tattoos on the internet – while some sources think they’re brilliant, others believe that no professional tattoo artist would ever recommend them, mainly because they’re too faint and can end up looking like scars, or worse still, a skin disease. To make matters worse, the white ink have a tendency to fade much faster than regular ones, taking on a yellowish tinge that looks absolutely horrible, especially when low quality paints are used.

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Vietnam’s Bikini Airline Proves Unsurprisingly Profitable

VietJet Air, Vietnam’s only privately-owned airlines, has worked up quite a stir in the aviation industry with its young, attractive, bikini-clad flight attendants. Female VietJet employees don colorful bikinis and even put up an inflight performance for their customers, mostly during inaugural flights to beach locations. The marketing gimmick has earned the company huge profits, and plenty of criticism to boot.

These ‘bikini performances’ are not a standard practice on all flights – they’re more like a featured bonus on certain routes. One of the earliest shows was staged on a 2012 flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal city of Nha Trang. As reported by ABC News, “Clad in vaporous string bikini tops and sarongs that flaunted the company colors of red and yellow, young, beautiful women filed down the plane’s aisles for a bikini show.”

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Hong Kong Designer Creates Functional Scarlett Johansson Robot

Graphic designer Ricky Ma is making headlines for creating an incredibly realistic life-sized robot that resembles the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. The homemade cyborg can mimic a limited set of human movements using it’s head and limbs, and even respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone. He’s even taught it to wink and say “thank you” when complimented on its looks.

Having grown up watching animated films featuring robots, Ricky had always dreamed of building one of his own. And now, at age 42, he’s managed to do just that, working from the balcony of his Hong Kong home. He had to teach himself everything about robotics from scratch, and spent over $50,000 building his first female prototype.

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The Concrete Cowboys of Philadelphia

In a bid to help young men stay out of trouble, southwest Philly resident Malik Divers has come up with his own brand of therapy – horse riding. He allows the kids of a run-down neighborhood to hang around and even ride horses from his own stable, and has them offer $5 rides to local residents in exchange.

By teaching kids to ride and care for horses, Malik has introduced them to empathy, compassion, and responsibility. His teenage horsemen are now part of a unique group called ‘Concrete Cowboys’ – an unlikely yet familiar sight on the neighborhood’s concrete pathways, trotting leisurely alongside cars, buses, and bikes.

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Researchers Create Transparent Wood That Could One Day Replace Glass in Windows

It may seem inconceivable, but believe it or not, there really is such a thing as transparent wood. After decades of work, scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have finally managed to create a viable material that, if mass produced, holds the potential to revolutionize architecture and solar technology.

According to researchers, transparent wood is a low-cost, renewable resource, which can help reduce the cost of indoor lighting and can even be used to make solar-cell windows. It can also be used to make ‘privacy windows’ that let the light in while maintaining semi-transparency.

“Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells, since it’s a low-cost, readily available and renewable resource,” said Lars Berglund, a professor at KTH’s Wallenberg Wood Science Center. “This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells.”

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Costa Rica’s “Land of the Mixed Breeds – A Natural Paradise for Dogs and Dog Lovers Alike

‘Territorio de Zaguates’ (Land of the Mixed Breeds) is probably as close as it gets to a real-life doggy heaven. Located in a beautiful part of Costa Rica where the sun shines all year round and the average temperature is a pleasant 22 degrees C, this unique canine haven is home to 900-odd stray dogs with bizarre breed names like ‘Chubby-Tailed German Dobernauzer’ and ‘Fire-Tailed Border Cocker’.

The privately funded, volunteer-run organisation takes in strays from across the country, and and gives dog lovers a chance to spend time with them and hopefully give one of them a forever home. The dogs get to run around all day in a green, grassy, well-maintained outdoor space, but they also have access to a modern indoor facility with cozy bedding and designated feeding and bathing stations. To keep the dogs hydrated, troughs of fresh flowing water are installed at various points on the property.  

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Artist Specializes in Free-Hand Artistic Haircuts for Horses

British artist Melody May has a very interesting job – she gives horses free-hand artistic haircuts at JMC Equestrian Driving & Custom Clipping in Bury, Greater Manchester. For the past three years, she has been using her unique talent to clip their body hair into beautiful works of art.

At first, Melody started by carving simple patterns – like stars, hearts, and bees – into her clients’ shiny coats. But as the popularity of her designs grew, she started doing more elaborate, full-coat designs, all freehand, without the use of stencils. The unusual haircuts not only help the horses stand out of, but the frequent clipping is supposedly also good for them because it helps prevent the fur from matting.

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The Inspirational Story of a 545-Pound Man Running 5K Races Like There’s No Tomorrow

Meet Derek Mitchell, an inspiring 35-year-old race runner who weighs a whopping 545 pounds. Despite his heavy frame, he’s spent the past year walking and running a total of 21 5k races and two 10k events. He even made it halfway through a muddy, 10-mile obstacle course!

Mitchell, a Kansas City native, was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor on his pituitary gland five years ago, a condition that slows down his metabolism and is the primary cause for his obesity. Although he was put on medication to shrink the tumor, Mitchell felt that “at one point, I was using that condition as a crutch, telling myself, ‘I’ll wait for the pills to start working before I start working out or change my eating habits.’”

But he realised that wasn’t a very good plan in November 2014, when his body weight reached an all-time high of 625 pounds. “That’s when I knew I needed to make a change, and decided to start with a new year’s resolution.” So in the beginning of 2015, he cut soda from his diet, switched to more nutritious food options, and tried switching to a healthier lifestyle.

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Restaurant Owner Installs Outdoor Fridge for the Homeless to Pick Up Free Food From

Minu Pauline, a restaurant owner from Kochi, in southern India, recently made news headlines not for her culinary expertise but her awe-inspiring generosity. She maintains a fully stocked, unlocked refrigerator outside her restaurant, filled with free fresh meals for the homeless.

Minu, whose popular food joint Pappadavada has been operating since 2013, was struck by the sight of homeless people digging for food from the garbage bins behind her kitchen. “I have often seen the homeless and the hungry, especially the aged, rummage through garbage scouring for food,” she told The Hindu. “They are looking for some leftovers or stale food to quell their hunger, and it disturbs me.”

So when she opened a second branch in another part of the city last week, she also installed a fridge outside and named it ‘Nanma Maram’ (the tree of goodness). The fridge is always stocked with about 50 packets of freshly cooked food from the restaurant, for people to reach for when they are hungry. “I was asked, ‘What if someone, not necessarily needy, took the food?’” she said. “My answer was, ‘I’ll just put my faith in the goodness of the folks.’”

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This Tiny Frog Is the World’s Most Poisonous Animal

The golden poison dart frog is a very deceptive creature – despite its tiny two-inch frame, it happens to be the most poisonous creature on Earth. A single amphibian packs enough venom in it to kill over 10 adult men in about 3 minutes. In fact, the species gets its name from the native Emberá hunters of Colombia, who once used the frogs to make lethal blowgun darts.

The bright yellow frogs can only be found in small rainforest on the Pacific coast of Colombia, and their coloring can sometimes vary between yellow, orange, or pale green. The glamour of their appearance is a deliberate ploy, a tactic called aposematic or ‘warning’ coloration, to ward off potential predators. As proven by a 2001 study by Kyle Summers of East Carolina University in Greenville, the brightest frogs are always the most toxic.

Simply coming in contact with a golden poison dart frog doesn’t necessarily put you in mortal dangers, as the amphibians only produce and excrete the potent toxin through their skin only when they feel threatened. But picking up one of these tiny creatures and holding it in your hand for more than a few seconds without gloves is suicide. The frog’s skin quickly becomes covered in alkaloid poison (batrachotoxin) that has the ability to ‘freeze’ nerves, stopping them from transmitting impulses. Within minutes, the victim experiences uncontrollable muscle contractions and eventually heart failure.

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Airbnb Is Giving You the Chance to Sleep Surrounded by 35 Full-Grown Sharks

A contest organised by Airbnb is offering three lucky winners the chance to spend a night in the company of full-grown sharks. The winners and their guests will get access to a transparent glass bedroom submerged in the 33-foot deep Paris Aquarium inhabited by 35 sharks.

Interested applicants, who must be 18 years or older and in good health, can apply for the contest through the Airbnb website. “On the 11, 12, and 13 of April, the Paris Aquarium opens its doors for a night of total immersion in a room full of sharks,” the website states. “And not just any room: you will sleep in a circular bed, with a breathtaking view of the world of sharks.” If it’s any reassurance, the unique bedroom was apparently tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean.

The unusual event will be hosted by free diver, photographer, and shark enthusiast Fred Buyle, and a marine biologist will provide the winners with an exclusive course on sharks – their mysterious lives and their role in the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.

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