North Korea’s Amazingly Choreographed Human Mosaics

Take tens of thousands of children, place them in the largest stadium in the world, arm them with giant colored flip-books containing hundreds of colored panels, train them to move in perfect unison and you get the awe-inspiring human mosaics of the Arirang Mass Games, in North Korea.

The Arirang Festival Mass Games held in Pyongyang, are the largest and most impressive exercise of state propaganda in the world. The event runs from August to October, and offers an incredible spectacle of perfectly choreographed gymnastics, dancing, singing, and of course, praising the achievements of the communist nations’s eternal leader Kim Il-Sung.  The games aren’t held every year. They are suspended in case of national emergencies, like when flooding ravages the country and the Government decides the hundreds of thousands of performers are better put to use repairing the destroyed infrastructure. But when the trained human pixels get the chance to perform on Rungrado May Day Stadium, in front of a crowd of 150,000 people, they make the performers of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony look like a group of children staging a simple school play. Every 20 seconds for a period of two hours they switch the panels of their flip-books to create stunning mosaics honoring Korea’s cultural heritage and its political regime.

Arirang-Mass-Games

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Looking for Time Twins – Man Travels the World to Meet People Born on the Same Day as Him

Curious to know what other people who have spent the same number of days on Earth as him have achieved, English writer Richard Avis is traveling around the world looking for individuals who share his birthday.

Were you born on December 1st, 1974? Than you just might be on Richard Avis’ to-visit list. The oddball English writer has embarked on a journey to meet 40 of his “time twins” in different locations around the world and put his experiences down on paper for his new book. “I was not alone in being born on that day.  Families across the world celebrated their new additions on that day 38 years ago,” Richard writes on his website. “But what kinds of lives have these people lived?  With the same length of time on this planet as me, what have they achieved?  What have been their greatest achievements; and what are their burning ambitions?  Do they see themselves as young, middle aged or old?  Have they achieved their defining moment, or is that still to come? Are they married with children, or single, backpacking round the world?  Are they successful – and how is this judged?  How have their lives been affected by the accident of geography that led them to be born where they were?  Is our age a defining similarity, or does the concept of age change from country to country?” These are the questions he’s trying to find answers to through his unique Time Twins project.

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Man Designs and Builds Unique Star Trek-Themed Home

Steve Nighteagle likes being different, he hates having possessions that every person can have. So to make sure his home was completely unique he has spent the last four years turning his front room into a Star Trek-themed Federation room.

“I disliked my life in the past, the now is OK!  Star Trek gives me the way to escape from those areas,” Steve explains his decision to use the Star Trek theme as design inspiration for his house. An experienced builder from Colorado, Nighteagle has always been a fan of science-fiction and of the epic saga of the original Star Trek series. Before turning his house into every Trekkie’s  dream home, he changed its theme from a homestead to southwestern, but ultimately decided a futuristic look worked better. Steve says he spends seven and a half month out of a year on his Star Trek abode, and although it took him four years to finally finish his amazing Federation Room, he won’t stop until he gives the other four rooms the same kind of makeover. “I still have 4 rooms that I can create this 23rd Century look,” he said in an interview. “I believe that if you have a theme for living quarters, you loose the effect if you dont completely do the entire house!  It would be incomplete for me!”

Star-Trek-house

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Fan Builds Awesome DIY Iron Man Suit

A passionate Iron Man fan from the United Kingdom spent hundreds of hours creating a realistic-looking suit of the Marvel superhero from Eva foam, wood and other recycled items. Did I mention he’s only 17?

Reddit user Mafferick was so impressed with his 17-year-old friend’s home-made Iron Man costume that he decided to share it with the community. DIY fans obviously had a lot of questions about the materials he used and the time he spent working on it, so he gave the young creator the chance to reply via his account. It turns out the guy is a big fan or Iron Man, and he also likes making stuff, so this awesome wearable suit is a combination of two of his greatest passions. He used “lots and lots of foam, wood and various recycled bits and bobs (the boots are some old shoes with the cushions from some old roller blades to make them wearable)”, and spent ”a few weeks if you add the hours together” sculpting all the various parts and making them look as realistic as possible. The rudimentary tools used to make this impressive piece of equipment include an industrial knife, a dremel, sandpaper and over 100 extra sharp blades for cutting the Eva foam. He painted the whole thing with automotive spray paint and now plans to give it a “damaged” effect. The price tag – around $540 worth of materials and a great deal of time.

Iron-Man-suit

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Wolf-Dog Appears to Be Sobbing at Grave of Owner’s Grandmother

A heartbreaking video that recently went viral on YouTube shows a heartbroken wolf-dog laying over the gravestone of his owner’s grandmother,shaking and making what appear to be sobbing noises.

Over the years I’ve posted some truly heartbreaking stories about dogs displaying their feelings over the loss of their masters, pets waiting by their owner’s graves for years, or visiting familiar places and awaiting their return, but I had yet to see an animal actually crying over their deceased human companions…Until today. In a short clip posted on YouTube by user Sarahvarley13, Wiley, a wolf-dog from Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC), in Ventura County, California, appears to be sobbing over the loss of his owner’s grandmother. He is shown laying on her gravestone shaking and making heartbreaking noises that a lot of people believe express his pain over the terrible loss. The video has sparked a debate between YouTube users who believe Wiley is sobbing over his friend Gladys, and those who are convinced dogs cannot cry and that the wolf-dog is actually suffering from allergies or breathing problems.

Wiley-wolf-dog

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On the Wings of a Prayer – India’s Unique Airplane Temple Fuels Devotees’ Traveling Dreams

It’s not unusual at Indian temples for devotees to make huge offerings of money and food, in exchange for their prayers to answered. But the case of this particular Sikh temple in Punjab is quite strange, even for Indian standards. The narrow, dusty alleyway leading up to the Sant Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara in Punjab’s Doaba region, near the city of Jalandhar, is lined with a host of shops selling toy aircrafts of various sizes and colors. Although they sell like hot cakes, they are not meant to be travel souvenirs, but offerings to the temple. At the Sant Baba Nihal Singh Gurudwara, devotees make toy plane offerings in the hopes that their dreams of traveling abroad and starting a new life will come true.

It’s hard to say how the trend started. But the offering of the toy plane is quite befitting, since the thing most people pray for at this temple is to settle down in another country. According to one local shopkeeper, “Surely it must have been someone’s wish to go abroad coming true that must have started it all. It’s now become a tradition. For us it’s business.” So the sight of scores of devotees flocking at the century-old gurudwara gates, holding colorful toy planes might be a strange one to you but quite normal to the locals. They line up patiently, waiting for their turn to access the inner sanctum on the first floor, where several decorative model planes are placed in neat rows. The devotees place their rainbow-colored offerings in the demarcated enclosure, paying their obeisance to the Gurus of the Sikh tradition and to Baba Nihal Singh, a simple farmer of the nearby Doaba region after whom the gurudwara was named. After the offering is made, they then proceed to ask for their wish to be granted – to be sent abroad as soon as possible.

Airplane-temple

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FootGolf – Fun New Sport Combines Football and Golf

FootGolf is an addictively fun sport that combines golf and football (soccer). It’s usually played on golf courses and players have to putt a football in 21-inch holes using as few kicks as possible.

The origins of footgolf are unclear, but its conversion into an official sport can be attributed to the Netherlands, where the ruleset was standardized in 2009. Its popularity has expanded around the world ever since, and every day more and more football and golf fans choose to replace the club stroke with a good healthy kick. In this new precision sport, players are required to kick a football into a cup in as few shots as possible. Most of the rules correspond to those of golf, and there is even a dress code. The first shot has to be played from the tee, and obstacles like bunkers, trees, water and hills have to be avoided for an easier game. In some countries, the game also features man-made obstacles that the players are not allowed to touch or move in order to get the ball in the hole. Players have to combine powerful kicks with strategic plays in order to complete the 9 or 18 hole course as fast as they can.

FootGolf

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The Mysterious Shell Grotto of Kent

The Shell Grotto is a unique 70-foot underground winding passageway in Margate, Kent, painstakingly decorated with around 4,6 million seashells. This English tourist attraction is as beautiful as it is mysterious, as no one seems to know who created it and why.

The story goes that the Shell Grotto was discovered in 1835, when local James Newlove lowered his son Joshua into a hole in the ground that appeared while they were digging a duck pond. When the boy came back out, he told his father about this wondrous underground tunnel covered entirely in seashell mosaics. As soon as he laid eyes on the accidental discovery, Newlove immediately saw its commercial potential. He installed gas lamps to illuminate the ornate passageway and three years later he opened the grotto to the public. The opening came as a big surprise to the inhabitants of Margate, as the place had never bee marked on any maps, and nobody knew about its existence. As soon as the first paying visitors walked into the shell–covered underground tunnel, the debate regarding its origins began. For every person who believed it was an ancient temple, there seemed to be another one convinced it was actually the secret meeting place of a secret sect. Everyone saw something different in the mosaic patterns, from altars to gods and goddesses or trees of life. But despite the multiple theories going around, no one has been able to solve the mystery of the Shell Grotto.

Margate-Shell-Grotto

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What 10 Days Underwater Can Do to Your Hands

You know how the skin on your hands gets wrinkly every time you spend a little too much time in the bathtub? Imagine what your hands must look like after ten full days of being submerged underwater. Tim Yarrow doesn’t have to imagine it; he is the current record holder for the longest time spent underwater and he has the hands to prove it.

Back in 2002, South-African Aquaman Tim Yarrow spent 240 hours submerged in a small water tank in a Johannesburg shopping mall. He beat a record that dated back to 1986, but it was much tougher than you think. Breathing issues aside, the man had to eat, sleep and do his “business” underwater for 10 days, while groups of shoppers gathered around the tank and watched. He used a low fiber diet delivered through a tube, and a catheter to eliminate waste from his body. Scary stuff if you ask me, but not nearly as scary as how his hands looked when he finally came out of the water. Even though he wore scuba gloves the whole time, the guy had the hands of a 200-year-old. The Science Channel’s “Outrageous Acts of Science” TV show explains why Tim’s hands became so freakishly wrinkled.

Tim-Yarrow-hands

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Art Students Swallow Pieces of Film to Become Human Cameras

The next time you look in the mirror and ask yourself “what am I?”, a correct answer could be: a living, breathing camera. Last year, two art students, Luke Evans and Joshua Lake, conducted an unusual experiment in which they swallowed several pieces of film to capture the digestive system at work. Their art project was aptly named ”I Turn Myself Inside Out”.

At first glance, the artworks of Kingston University students Luke Evans and Joshua Lake look like a collection of specimens captured under a microscope, when in fact they are stills of their digestive systems doing what they do best, process stuff. The two young artists said “we wanted to bring our insides out” so they swallowed several piece of 35mm photographic film and let their bodies do the rest. They’re no doctors, so they didn’t know for sure if this would affect their health in any way, but as a precaution they put the film inside brightly colored capsules to avoid damage to their colons (those things have sharp edges). After eating the film, the two Graphic Design & Photography students waited for nature to take its course and hoped for the best. When the time came, they did their “business” in a bag, took it to a dark room and started looking for the capsules. Luckily, their bright color made them easy to spot. After retrieving the film strips, they scanned them with an electron microscope which revealed some interesting images of their insides.

inside-out-photography5

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India’s Dangerous Human-Powered Ferris Wheels

How do you keep the fun going at fairs in a country affected by frequent power cuts and blackouts? Simple, just hire a bunch of workers to dangle from the bars of manual ferris wheels to keep it in motion.

India’s human-powered ferris wheels recently made headlines in Western media after a video of one such contraption at a fun fair in New Delhi went viral on YouTube and various news sharing sites, but the truth is the phenomenon is very common in Asian countries where electricity is unreliable. Some fairs use generators or even car batteries to power ferris wheels, but the simplest and most cost-effective way to keep people entertained is to hire a couple of daredevils to climb a manual ferris wheel and dangle from its metal bars to keep it spinning. The simple installations are made up of a simple metal frame and a few open-air cages, and without a power source they look like non-functional decorations when not in use. But as soon as people climb in the cages and the fearless wallahs start working their magic, you get pretty much the same feeling as you would from a modern ferris wheel.

human-powered-ferris-wheel

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Jinichi Kawakami – Japan’s Last Real Ninja

As the 21st head of the Ban clan, a line of ninja that can be traced back 500 years and the only living person who learned all the skills that were directly handed down from ninja masters, Jinichi Kawakami is considered by many the last real ninja in all of Japan.

63-year-old Kawakami, a retired engineer, says he started practicing the art of Ninjutsu at the age of six. He was just a young boy when he began training under master Masazo Ishida, a man who dressed as a Buddhist monk, and didn’t even realize what he was learning until years later. He was required to endure extreme heat and cold, as well as pain and hunger. To improve his concentration, he would have to look at the wick of a candle until he got the feeling he was inside it, and practice hearing the sound of a needle falling on a wooden floor. He climbed walls, jumped from great heights, learned chemicals and making explosives and even studied weather and psychology. “The training was all tough and painful. It wasn’t fun but I didn’t think much why I was doing it. Training was made to be part of my life,” Jinichi told AFP. Just before turning 19, he inherited his master’s title, along with his old scrolls and tools. Although he doesn’t claim the title of “last ninja” for himself in order to avoid disputes with other claimants and doubters, he is recognized as Japan’s last real ninja master.

Jinichi-Kawakami

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An Old Story Revisited – Whatever Happened to the Star Trek Apartment?

I first wrote about Tony Alleyne’s amazing Star Trek apartment back in 2009, but after seeing some photos of his ultimate Trekkie crib I decided it was worth another look. It’s yet unclear if the dedicated fan still owns the place, or if it even exists anymore.

It was 1994 when Tony Alleyne started redecorating the apartment he was living in with cream and metallic colors inspired by the interior of the USS Enterprise from 1979′s Star Trek: The Motion Picture. His friend had just given him a Star Trek magazine and he became obsessed with having his own ship. But soon he realized the old Enterprise was a bit boring so he decided to start over and this time recreate the set of the starship Voyager from the 1990s series. Soon his conventional apartment featured a computerized flight deck, a voice-activated computer system, bleeping panels and fluorescent lights inspired by his beloved TV show. Even the windows had been replaced with layers of wood and perspex so they would appear to look out on outer space, and the doorbell played a sample of Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It was a dream home for any real Trekkie  and Tony had spent just £4,000 ($6,000) sourcing the materials and building it himself. His only mistake was doing it in an apartment he didn’t own. And that apparently cost him everything…

Star-Trek-apartment

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14-Year-Old McDonald’s Burger Looks Good Enough to Eat

In 1999 a man from Utah bought a McDonald’s hamburger and kept it around for a month just to show his friends how it would look exactly the same because it was full of preservatives. Fast forward 14 years, the burger is almost unchanged .

David Whipple originally intended to hang on to his burger for 30 days, but somehow forgot it in the pocket of one of his coats and only found it two years later. Seeing the fast food looked almost the same as the day it was first flipped, he decided to continue his experiment just to see how long it would take until the burger disintegrated. It’s been 14 years now and the burger simply refuses to age. “It wasn’t on purpose,” Whipple said about his decision to keep the hamburger for so long. “I was showing some people how enzymes work and I thought a hamburger would be a good idea. And I used it for a month and then I forgot about it. “My wife didn’t discover it until at least a year or two after that. And we pulled it out and said ‘oh my gosh. I can’t believe it looks the same way.’” His “edible” keepsake has been recently showcased on the popular TV show “The Doctors”, and while the pickle had disintegrated, you could clearly see there was no sign of mold on the buns or the meat.

oldest-burger

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Dutch Company Recruiting Mars Colonists for Original Reality Show

Would you sign up for a one-way trip to Mars? So far over 10,000 people from all over the world have answered the call of Dutch company Mars One who plans to send volunteer colonists to Mars for a unique new reality TV show.

No human has walked the Moon since 1972, and no one has ever traveled as far as Mars. But Dutch company Mars One plans to change all that in just 10 years time, by sending groups of colonists to the Red Planet and leaving them there for the rest of their lives. The first group of four astronauts will leave Earth in 2022 and theoretically arrive on Mars the following year, when they will start growing their permanent colony. Every two years after that new groups will be making the seven-month journey never to return again. The project has been received with a lot of skepticism from the science world, with many experts expressing doubts about its success due to a series of major drawbacks, including the inability to return to Earth, the lack of food on the barren planet, the atmosphere that consists mainly of carbon dioxide, a temperature of -55 degrees Celsius, the radiation endured during the trip and the risky landing. But Mars One has the backing of renowned physicist and Nobel Prize winner Gerard’t Hooft, as well as the support of major aerospace companies around the world, who have agreed to supply all the equipment necessary for the mission.

Mars-One-project

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