A Truly Dirty Job: Guy Predicts the Future by Analyzing Poop

Harry and Ron hated their divination lessons. Hermione stormed out of one, never to return again. Professor Trelawney was a real nut-job. I could feel the pain of these characters as I read the Harry Potter books; divination always seemed like such a farce. But now I think that maybe they didn’t have it so bad after all. I mean, all they had to do was make up a bunch of dreams and detect patterns in tea-leaves. It’s not like they had to do what S.S. Singh does in real life to predict the future – analyze human poop.

Believe it or not, poop-analysis is a real branch of divination study. It even has a name – Scatomancy. Singh is one of the few practitioners of this long-lost art and he is being featured in a documentary called ‘Journey to Planet Sanity’, releasing Dec 6th. I just watched a video clip of Singh analyzing some poop and… oh well, what can I say? It’s as disgusting as it sounds.

“It’s a lost art,” says Singh. “You’d be surprised how accurate it actually is.” What really surprise me are the events in the video clip. This is what happens: In the film, skeptic Blake Freeman is travelling around the United States with his friend, Leroy Tessina. Leroy is paranoid about aliens and paranormal activity, and has spent his life savings on protecting himself from such things. Freeman needs to convince Leroy to go on this trip with him, and so he takes Leroy to see Singh.

Scatomancer

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Slum-Like African Resort Gives Rich Tourists a Taste of Hard Life

A Shanty is a small hut made out of old corrugated iron sheets or other waterproof material. It is a place of dwelling for the poor, often lacking in basic amenities like electricity or running water. To be living in one, you’d have to be going through an extremely rough patch in life.

Except of course, when your shanty is located in Shanty Town, and you’re just playing ‘poor’. Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, there are people in this world who think playing poor is a fun sport. And resorts like Shanty Town exist to help them achieve the experience.

Shanty Town is a part of Emoya Estate, a South African five-star luxury game reserve and spa. It comes equipped with corrugated metal huts that can accommodate up to 52 guests. Over here, the rich get to live like the poor. But no, not entirely like the poor. The environment is safe and the shanties are equipped with conveniences like running water, electricity and Wi-Fi. The interiors aren’t too bad either – the beds look clean and comfortable, there are refrigerators, televisions, tables, chairs and cabinets. Oh, and did I mention under-floor heating? Yes, they have that too.

ShantyTown

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They Say You Can’t Put a Price on Great Socks. How About $1,200?

German hosiery specialist FALKE recently launched the most expensive socks in the world as a part of their fall/winter collection. These socks will set you back $1,200, but they might just be worth all that moolah. Not only are these socks part of a very limited series of 10 pars, but they are made from the rarest and most expensive wool in the world – Vicuna wool.

The Vicuna – the national animal of Peru – are distant cousins of the Llama and ancestors of the Alpaca. These unique creatures are endangered and live high up in the Andes, making it very difficult to obtain their wool. They cannot be domesticated, so all the wool is taken from wild animals that are caught and sheared once every two years. Each animal only produces about one pound of wool, making the fabric extremely rare.

most-expensive-socks

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Rooftop Agriculture – Chinese Farmer Turns House Roof into Fertile Farmland

The curious case of the Chinese Rooftop strikes again!

First, there was the eccentric businessman who built a mountain-villa on the roof of a Beijing apartment building. Then there was that mysterious temple built on a Chinese skyscraper. Now we have the story of farmer Peng Quigen and his one-of-a-kind ‘sky-farm’. For several years, he has been growing rice, fruits and vegetables on the roof of his four-storey home in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, 40 feet above the ground.

Peng’s sky-farm is no hobby. What he has done with just 120-square-meters of rooftop is pretty remarkable. He’s actually managing to yield large quantities of produce from this small, yet fertile, patch. Just last year, Peng harvested nearly 400 kilograms of watermelon, which is a whopping 30 percent higher than ground-level yield. This year he’s trying out rice – he says that in spite of the negative impact of typhoon ‘Fitow’, he’s expecting to harvest enough rice to feed one adult for one whole year.

rooftop-agriculture

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Woman Marries Ferris Wheel She Has Loved for Decades

Love knows no limits for, a woman from Florida who married Bruce the Skydiver, an amusement park ride similar to a Ferris-wheel. Although the state of Florida doesn’t even allow same-sex marriages between humans, Linda married the steel ride last year. At the beginning of this year, the two renewed their vows during a ceremony conducted by a non-denominational preacher, who tied them “flesh to steel”. As expected, Bruce had nothing to object.

The woman has a condition called “objectum sexuality”, meaning that she considers certain objects as potential lovers. In fact, before Bruce, Linda was romantically involved with a train and a helicopter, which determined her to choose jobs that allowed her to be closer to her beloved objects. Consequently, she was both a pilot and a train conductor. Unfortunately, her affection for the locomotive wasn’t appreciated, so she lost her job. As she says, “I was seen in a romantic embrace with a train and subsequently, I was fired”. The first encounter with the park ride, back in 1982, was very special for Linda. As she remembers, “I got this weird feeling I can’t explain. My heart was pounding as we went up the platform and got on the ride. I felt like I was being taken by this ride.” Just like in any great love story, the mother didn’t agree with her daughter’s relationship. “My mother’s reaction was completely off the wall; she was a very religious person. To her, I was an abomination to God and she wanted to change that … she really thought I was demon possessed.” Linda cared more about Bruce than about her mother’s opinion, so she ran away and joined the carnival, where she would cuddle the ride at night. Unfortunately, 3 years later, a storm damaged Bruce, who was taken for repairs in Wichita, Kansas.

Linda-Ducharme

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The Pacific Barreleye Fish and Its Weird See-Through Head

The Pacific Barreleye fish gets its name from large eyes that are literally shaped like barrels, topped with beautiful green lenses. Also known as the Macropinna microstoma, its head is completely transparent, filled with fluid. This unique creature lives at depths of around 2000 to 2,600 ft. The Pacific Barreleye’s see-through head may seem weird, but it has a very clear purpose –  to help it see better in the dark waters that it inhabits.

The Barreleye’s eyes have been found to be incredibly sensitive, snapping up any stream of light available. Unlike most other fish, both the eyes are in the front of the head and point in the same direction, which gives it amazing binocular vision. So the Barreleye is able to spot faint objects that other fish cannot, making it a feared predator. It’s extremely fascinating, how it searches for prey. It starts off by staying still, eyes pointed upward in search of prey. Sometimes the eyes are rotated to face forwards, or the eyes are still and the body is rotated so that the mouth is pointing in the same direction as the eyes. When tiny silhouettes of prey are spotted, the Barreleye moves in exactly the same direction to catch them. Its flat, horizontal fins help it to swim very precisely. This method is so efficient that it is sometimes able to even snatch food away from the stinging tentacles of other deep sea creatures. Its mouth is really tiny so that’s of great help as well, and the transparent shield makes it immune to stings.

Pacific-Barreleye-fish

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Singaporean Man is Crazy About Dolls, Has 9,000 of Them

Jian Yang, a 33-year-old man from Singapore, has enough dolls to open a museum or at least a super awesome girls’ playhouse. The “toy nerd”, as Yang describes himself, has no less than 9,ooo dolls: 6000 of them are Barbie dolls, and the 0ther 3,000 are other types of girly dolls, such as Bratz Girls and Monster High. His huge collection is valued at about $500,000.

Yang’s passion for dolls began in his childhood days, when he wanted a doll but wasn’t allowed to have one. As he recalls, “before I knew anything about social norms, I was a boy that watched this on TV, liked it and wasn’t allowed to have one. As I grew older, got my own allowance, that’s where I started getting the freedom to buy whatever I wanted”. Step by step, a simple wish became a “crazy obsession”. His friends support him, his family have understood and learned to accept his passion, but his love life is affected, since his girlfriends see the the doll collection as the competition. As Yang confesses, “I’ve also got the ex-girlfriends who get insecure about this kind of stuff … They look at dolls and go ‘OK, that’s the competition’, which is quite troubling but it’s a reality”.

Jian-Yang-Barbie2

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How Do You Stop a 400-lb Running Back? You Don’t!

At 6’4”, (190 centimeters) and 400 lb (181 kilograms), Tony Picard, a senior at the White Swan High School in Yakima, Washington, is not only the biggest running back in high-school football, but probably the biggest in the history of pro football, as well.

Just like the famous William “Refrigerator” Perry, who played for the Chicago Bears during the 80′s and 90′s and is known as one of the biggest players to ever play pro football (6’2” and 335 lbs.), Tony “The Tone” Picard started out as an offensive lineman, but after his coach noticed his unusual speed, he was reinvented as an unlikely running back. His qualities for the position became evident at a football camp a couple of years ago, during a game of basketball. “He was so agile and making shots from way out there,” White Swans coach, Andrew Bush, recalls. “I said ‘I’ve got to use this somehow.’” He gave Picard just two instructions: average 4 yards per carry and don’t fumble. In the first 10 games of this season, the Tone has averaged 5 yards per carry. “Most teams will sacrifice five guys to stop him: four linemen and a middle linebacker. That leaves three guys on each side to stop the rest of our team,” the coach says. “Everything else opens up: our outside running, our play action, and our entire passing game. We average about 450 yards as a team offensively.”

Tony-Picard

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Tree Shaping – The Art of Turning Young Trees into Living Works of Art

Who said you need to chop the wood off trees to make sculptures? Tree shaping is an art form that makes use of living trees to make wonderful creations. Also known as Biotecture, Grown Furniture or simply tree sculpting, the technique involves growing and shaping the trunks of trees and other woody plants by grafting or pruning. The trunks or branches are grown into ornamental or useful shapes.

Tree branches and trunks have the unique ability to unite together by grafting. The new shapes are retained when fresh layers of wood grow over the older ones. So a tree sculptor winds two or more parts of a tree together by cutting off the bark and then binds the wounded parts together so that the contact is secure. This promotes the tree parts to grow together. These stems and branches need to be wound together for at least a year depending on the amount of resistance they need to overcome. Additional layers of wood grow during this time, acting as a natural cast and retaining the new desired shape. Once the shape is able to hold itself, the bracing is removed. The techniques used by artists vary between Instant Tree Shaping, also known as Arborsculpture (mature trees bent into the desired shape and held until cast), Aeroponic Culture (the use of living, air-suspended roots to make bridges) and Gradual Tree Shaping (trees are grown from saplings for the specific purpose of creating a design).

Arborsculpture

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Over One Million Starlings Leave Rome Covered in Bird Droppings

With nothing to scare them away, starlings are definitely leaving their mark on Rome, this year. The chirping black birds flock from northern Europe to Italy’s capital, which they prefer because of its warm Mediterranean climate. They’ve been spending their winters here for a long time, but until now, authorities have been able to keep them from covering the ancient capital in a disgusting layer of droppings. This year, financial cuts have left locals at the mercy of these tiny but numerous guano bombers.

The first documented time when starlings overwintered in Rome was in 1926. If at first they settled on the outskirts of the city, little by little they moved further into it, drawn by the heat radiating from the buildings. More than 1,5 million starlings are now nesting in Italy’s capital city and doing their business pretty much everywhere. The birds, which arrive in Rome in two waves, one in October and the other in January, have the habit of leaving the city at daybreak to fly over to the olive groves in the city suburbs. After spending the entire day eating olives, they fly back to the city, where they leave their greasy, stinky business on cars, buildings, statues and streets. Because of the heavy bird droppings, the Lungotevere, one of Rome’s greenest boulevards, had to be closed because of the high risk of accidents not only for pedestrians, but also for vehicles.

Starlings-in-Rome

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Sport Scientist Loses 24 Pounds in 24 Hours, Proves Rapid Weight Loss Is Possible

Ross Edgeley may become everyone’s new best friend after he recently demonstrated that gaining weight doesn’t have everything to do with fat. The 28-year-old sport scientist and writer did an experiment to prove that “your nutrition and self esteem shouldn’t be governed by the weighing scales if you’re on a diet. So many people are slaves to the scales and have their self-esteem and nutrition governed by them. I hope this experiment will create a healthier relationship between people and the weighing scales and people will realize weight can fluctuate based on many factors, not just fat”.

The scientist’s extreme experiment had him trying to lose 14 kilograms in no more than 24 hours. Keep in mind that this was a dangerous experiment that was done under the doctors’ strict supervision, so DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Edgeley’s main goal was that of losing as much water as possible. “As much as 50 per cent to 70 per cent of our body weight is made up of water. So weighing 95kg that means in theory 47.5kg of my body is water weight. Cutting too much water could be fatal since it’s needed for your vital organs to function and even maintain a healthy blood volume, but cutting a lot of water from the body through sweat suits, diuretics and not drinking any that day would dramatically reduce my weight”, he explains. To force the water out of his system, he began his 24-hour experiment by taking a very hot bath with Epsom salt baths. He drank a bit of water spiced with diuretics (vitamin C, dandelion root, caffeine), he didn’t include carbs nor salt in his diet (salt is known to retain water), he took saunas and went to the gym. By doing that, he managed to lose the 12 kilograms and feel a little light-headed as a result. Since the lost weight was just water, he put it back in just a couple of hours after he had reached his target.

Ross-Edgeley

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Feast Your Eyes on the Most Amazing Wood Carving Ever Created

China has a long-standing tradition in wood carving. For centuries, its chisel-wielding masters have been turning bland pieces of wood into awe-inspiring masterpieces, but none as impressive as the mind-blowing creation Zheng Chunhui. This talented Chinese artist spent the last four years painstakingly carving a detailed replica of Along the River during the Qingming Festival, a famous traditional Chinese painting, into a 12-meter-long tree trunk. The breathtaking beauty of his work simply cannot be expressed into words, you just have to see it for yourself.

As you can imagine, Zheng Chunhui needed mountains of patience to complete his wooden masterpiece, but it was all worth it. Apart from the praise of everyone who got to see the artwork up close at its recent unveiling, the Chinese artist was also honored by the Guinness Book of Records with the new world record for the longest wood carving. It measures 12.286 meters long, 3.075 meters high and 2.401 meters wide.

longest-wood-carving

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Living in the 18th Century – Woman Shuns Modern Technology for Victorian-era Lifestyle

While some people want to make the most of technology by adding more and more fancy gadgets to their daily lives, others simply prefer going back to the basics. Meet Sarah Chrisman, a 33-year-old Seattle resident who decided to ditch almost every aspect of modern life, from cooking to clothing, and embrace a Victorian-era lifestyle.

Although she has liked the stories from the Victorian age ever since she was a little girl, the big change took place just 4 years ago, when Sarah received a unique birthday present from her husband. “I have always loved the Victorian era, ever since I was a little girl. My first corset was given to me by my husband on my 29th birthday, and unexpectedly, I really thoroughly enjoyed it.” The feeling she had when wearing the corset determined her to change her lifestyle entirely: Sarah now wears custom-made Victorian clothes, tries not to use any appliances that didn’t exist in the Victorian age (such as the now mundane washing machine), gave up her car for a 100-years-old bike, she uses old fashioned cleaning methods instead of modern detergents and cooks using the recipes found in 19th century women’s magazines. That’s right, this modern-day Victorian woman enjoys the 1889 edition of Cosmopolitan, and because she considers her lifestyle very exciting, she even wrote a book, “Victorian Secrets. What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present and Myself”.  She also studied the Victorian age etiquette.

Sarah-Chrisman3

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Real-Life Legolas Uses Ancient Techniques to Shoot Arrows Even Faster than Tolkien’s Elven Archer

The bow was once a feared weapon used with deadly accuracy by master marksmen, but after the invention of gun powder and firearms, most ancient archery techniques were forgotten, and the lethal art became nothing more than a sport. Few people know this, but despite technological advancements, all of today’s archers are actually slower and less accurate than those of old  All except one – Lars Andersen, a Danish artist who, thanks to his intense study of ancient archery and unique skills, could challenge even the mighty Elven archer Legolas to a test of speed and accuracy and probably best him. This guy is so incredibly good with the bow and arrow he doesn’t even compete in archery tournaments. They’re just not challenging enough for him.

Lars can shoot 10 arrows in just 4.9 seconds, which makes him the fastest archer in the world today, but that’s probably the least impressive feat he’s capable of. The man has studied countless books on ancient archery and learned that the Saracens who fought against the Crusaders in the Middle Ages were tested to see if they could shoot 3 arrows in 1.5 seconds. Today’s experts were convinced such a thing was simply impossible, but Lars believed that if the books were indeed correct, then there must be something wrong with modern archery techniques. After 3 years of training, he was able to master the ancient techniques described in the books and proved that firing 3 arrows in less than 1.5 seconds was very much possible. As the legend himself explains, “I discovered historical texts that [described] Saracens who fought with the Crusaders had a series of tests which had been preserved. For example, one test required, at a 60-bow distance, to shoot three arrows so quickly that the last shall be in the air before the first has hit. That is three arrows in one-and-a-half seconds. That motivated me to accomplish it”.

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Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Cold Hard Cash – Chinese Man Offers Baskets Full of Money as Engagement Gift

A wealthy Chinese suitor has attracted accusations that he is buying a wife rather than marrying one, after he gave his future bride 18 baskets full of money, as an engagement present. According to Chinese media, the baskets were stacked with 8.88 million Chinese yuan ($1.45 million) and weighed over 102 kilograms.

When it comes to romance, nothing says “I love you” like stacks of beautifully-decorated money. At least that’s what Meng Huang, the son of a rich construction magnate in China, seems to think. The 27-year-old filled 18 traditional gift baskets with cash and employed 18 people to deliver them to his bride-to-be’s home, as a token of his love for her. “This is how we do things here,” Huang said. “She is worth the whole world to me and I wanted to prove that with a world gift of cash”. The eccentric gift arrived at its destination in a fleet of luxury vehicles lead by a Maserati sports car, where it was gladly accepted by the bride’s family. The stacks of red 100 yuan bills depicting Communist founding father, Mao Zedong, were decorated with red ribbons and neatly arranged in the gift baskets for everyone to see. The sum, 8.88 million yuan was obviously not accidental, but carefully chosen, as the word for “eight” is linked with the meaning “wealth” in Chinese.

baskets-of-money

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