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Alligators Survive in Frozen Swamps by Sticking Their Snouts Through the Ice So They Can Keep Breathing

Alligators are infamously fierce creatures and have existed in the primary Crocodylia body form for over 180 million years, making them living dinosaurs. These massive reptiles have adapted in some unusual ways to ensure their long-term survival, and one such adaptation astounded visitors and staff at a North Carolina swamp park this week.

Shallotte River Swamp Park in Ocean Isle Beach, 200 miles east of the state’s largest city Charlotte, recently posted a video on Facebook documenting what appeared to be a pond full of dead alligators. A massive cyclone had blown through the state the week before, bringing record lows, and causing the pond to freeze over. Crocodiles aren’t exactly known for their love of icy waters, so seeing a bunch of snouts sticking out through the ice, you’d be inclined to think that the huge reptiles had died. But you’d be wrong.

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Australia’s “Firehawks” Deliberately Start Wildfires to Flush Out Prey

According to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology, several Australian birds of prey have the habit of starting wildfires for the soul purpose of flushing out prey from the blazing grasslands. Interestingly, aboriginals have known about this for over 40,000 years and even have a name for the fire-wielding birds – “firehawks”.

Australia’s dry climate makes it prone to wildfires. Lightnings and human activities are considered the main causes, but according to a recently-published research paper, birds may sometimes have a part to play as well. Raptors like the black kite (Milvus migrans), whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and the brown falcon (Falco berigora) can allegedly start fires in the continent’s 730,000 square miles of savanna by dropping burning sticks in the dry grass to flush out prey like insects, reptiles and small mammals. What’s even more remarkable is that they seem to be doing it on purpose.

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Turkmenistan’s President Allegedly Bans Black Cars Because He Prefers White

The new year got off to a rocky start for owners of black cars in Turkmenistan’s capital. Reports of black automobiles being impounded without warning or explanation have been coming out of Ashgabat since New Year’s Day. Police started returning the vehicles to their owners a few days ago, but only if they agree to sign a document that obligates them to repaint the cars white or another light color.

As of January 2018, black cars have been made illegal in the city of Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. According to several independent sources, police started towing black cars to government parking lots on January 1st, without even bothering to notify the owners. Most of them learned from parking lot guards or neighbors that their vehicles had been seized by the police, and the government has yet to offer an explanation for the mass impounding of black cars. Sick of waiting for an official announcement on the matter, some car owners contacted the police and were told that they were only allowed to retrieve their vehicles if they signed a document that obligates them to repaint the cars white or a light color.

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Turkish Academic Claims Noah Used Cellphone to Call His Son Before the Flood

On Jan. 6th, Turkish academic Dr. Yavuz Örnek, a lecturer at the Marine Sciences facility at Istanbul University, went on a TV programme at Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT 1 to make some pretty wild claims about the biblical story of Noah and the flood.

Örnek said technologies were much more advanced 10,000 years ago than most people realize, and that Noah built his ark using steel, using nuclear energy to power it. Örnek also claimed that Prophet Noah used a mobile phone to contact his son to convince his faraway son to board the ark with his family, and that instead of bringing live animals onto the ark, Noah stocked it with one male and one female egg from every living species. All life on Earth today supposedly derived from that ancient sperm and egg bank.

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Portuguese Town Encourages Children as Young as Five to Smoke on Epiphany

On January 6 the Portuguese village of Vale de Salgueiro celebrated the traditional Epiphany festival, also known as the Feast of The Three Kings. While the holiday involves such benign traditions as eating cake and singing carols, there is one tradition that causes an outcry every year – parents allow and even encourage their children to smoke cigarettes.

Locals defend the practice, claiming that is has been passed down for centuries as part of the Epiphany and winter solstice celebrations, but no one is sure exactly what it is meant to symbolize. In Portugal, the legal age to purchase tobacco is 18, but there is nothing to stop parents from giving their children cigarettes, and the authorities have yet to intervene and put an end to the tradition.

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Woman Plans to Marry Tetris Video Game After Failed Relationship with a Calculator

A 20-year-old mathematics student from Orlando, Florida has announced her intention to marry the vintage computer game Tetris, after losing her previous boyfriend in a fatal accident. The ex-flame was a calculator called Pierre, and he met his demise during a routine cleaning.

Noorul Mahjabeen Hassan, who prefers to go by Fractal Tetris Huracan, identifies as an objectum sexual. Also known as objectophilia, the expression of this form of sexuality is attraction, love, and commitment to inanimate objects. Noorul has previously had romantic relationships with an iPod and a monorail, but she has been committed to Tetris for over a year now, and plans to marry the game after she graduates from University.

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Japan Now Has a Cryptocurrency-Themed Idol Group

Cryptocurrency is still somewhat of a fringe phenomenon, and despite growing immensely in popularity over the past few years, it hasn’t taken off en masse yet. In Japan, a group of young women has set out to change that. Eight teenage girls have been chosen by the Japanese talent agency Cinderella Academy to join the new all-female idol group called “Virtual Currency Girls.” The company chose each member from an already established “zodiac constellation” idol group formed by the same agency.

Each member of the group represents a popular cryptocurrency in the Japanese market. 18-year-old Naruse Rara, the leader of the group, has the alter ego Bitcoin Cash (BCH). 16-year-old Hinano Shirahama represents Bitcoin (BTC), 22-year-old Suzuka Minami is neo (NEQ), 17-year-olds Kanako Matsuzawa and Koharu Kamikawa represent cardano (ADA) and nem (XEM) respectively, and 15-year-old Hinata Kozuki is ripple (XRP). Ami Amo and Momo Aisu, represent Ether (ETH) and monacoin (MONA) respectively.

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Muslim Man Marries Three Women at Once Because He Couldn’t Afford Three Separate Weddings

Mohammed Ssemanda, a 50-year-old Muslim man from Uganda, made news headlines all over Africa last month, when he married three women in a single ceremony, because he couldn’t afford to marry them separately.

Ssemanda, a food vendor from the town of Katabi, in Uganda’s Wakiso district, caused quite a shock when he showed up at the local parish with three women, all wearing white wedding gowns. He told reporters on the scene that his wives all know that he isn’t doing very well financially, but they all agreed to marry him out of love. The 50-year-old added that the women aren’t jealous of each other and know that he will work very hard to support them.

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The “Raw Water” Craze – Untreated, Unfiltered Water Sold at Ludicrous Prices

Despite being a hub for technological advancement, California’s bay area is also notorious for absurd anti-science health trends such as the movement opposing vaccinations which, in 2014, lead to the most significant measles outbreak the state had seen in decades. Joining the absurdity of the “anti-vaxxers” is a new and equally ridiculous trend – “raw water”. That’s actually unfiltered, untreated, raw spring water, which, even when from the seemingly cleanest of sources, can spread diseases like cholera, E. coli, Hepatitis A or Giardia.

To add insult to potential injury, this unsterilized water, bottled and marketed by startups like Live Water, is priced at $36.99 per 2.5-gallon containers and $14.99 per refill at the co-op Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco. The water is often out of stock and typically sees a price hike with every restock.

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Illinois Man Ordered to Stop Offering the Homeless Shelter from the Cold

An Illinois man who has been offering shelter to homeless people in his Chicago neighborhood has been ordered by city officials to cease and desist or risk having his home condemned.

Greg Schiller, of Elgin, Illinois, began opening his home to a group of homeless people last month when the temperatures dropped dangerously low. He filled his unfinished basement with cots and blankets and started organizing “slumber parties” for homeless people with no place to go. He would offer them food and warm beverages and even put on movies for them to watch until the morning. Unfortunately, his kindhearted effort didn’t sit well with local authorities who are now threatening to condemn his home if he doesn’t stop his so-called parties.

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Thai Men Are Undergoing Genitalia Whitening Treatments, for Some Reason

Thailand’s fascination with skin whitening treatments is well known, but while most people opt to have the most visible parts of their bodies whitened, an increasing number of men are undergoing special laser procedures on the dark parts of their groin region.

News of the “penis whitening” craze in Thailand reached the Western world a couple of days ago, after photos of men undergoing the unusual procedure at the Lelux aesthetic hospital outside of Bangkok went viral on social media. They showed a number of men lying down on a medical chair while hospital staff operated the “Pikachu laser” on their groin region. If that name sounds a bit strange, you should know that the popular Pokemon is slang for “penis” in Thailand.

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This Man Has Managed to Remain Anonymous on the Internet for the Past 25 Years

Jonathan Hirshon, a public relations professional, has managed the rather astonishing feat of staying completely anonymous online for the past 25 years. Although he is a pro at building publicity for his clients, he is dead-set against images of himself appearing online.

This is no small feat in a world of social media where major tech companies are pushing facial recognition technologies, and people are always photographing the world around them on their phones. It is easy to pop up in the background of a photo taken in a public place, but Hirshon is vigilant. He has been successful in his efforts as a google search of his name doesn’t turn up a single picture of his face. So far, he has been successful in his quest to remain anonymous, as a google search of his name doesn’t turn up a single picture of his face.

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Distiller Makes Booze Out of Wine Spat Out by Strangers at a Tasting Event

An Australian distiller has taken the concept of recycling to a whole new level by taking the spat-out wine at a wine tasting conference and turning it into a spirit aptly named Kissing a Stranger.

Peter Bignell, of Tasmanian Belgrove Distillery, was first struck by the idea at the Rootstock festival in Sydney, a gathering of winemakers from all over the world promoting sustainable practices in the winemaking industry. He was in a group tasting wines, and as per tradition in wine-tasting, the majority of it was spat out in a bucket. This practice enables tasters to experience a lot of different wines while avoiding drunkenness. Bignell, however, saw it as wasteful.

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Court Orders Dentist Son to Pay Mother $1 Million for Upbringing and Education

A Taiwanese dentist was recently ordered to pay $1 million to his mother in order to honor a contract that he had signed growing up, in which he agrees to pay 60 percent of his net profits until he can cover the cost of his upbringing and education.

The mother, known only as “Luo”, had to raise her two boys by herself, after divorcing her husband. At one point she became worried that despite all her sacrifices, her children would fail to look after her in her old age, so she decided to get some insurance. In 1997, when her sons were studying to become dentists, she asked them to sign a contract which clearly stipulated that they agreed to pay her part of their earnings until they covered the sum of roughly $1.7 million, as compensation for the money she had spent on their studies and upbringing. They both did, but one of them failed to honor the deal, so the mother took him to court.

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New Zealanders Build Tiny Island to Circumvent Public Drinking Ban on New Year’s Eve

In order to avoid a liquor ban that was in effect during New Year’s celebrations, a group of resourceful New-Zealanders built their own tiny island  in an estuary on the Coromandel peninsula. This allowed them to enjoy a few drinks in peace as they were technically in “international waters”, and not subject to the public drinking ban.

Public drinking was banned on the entire Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand during New Year’s Eve celebrations, in order to deter violence, and would-be offenders faced fines of up to $250. Police reportedly patrolled on Saturday and Sunday to enforce the ban and make sure everyone got the message, but they couldn’t really do anything about a group of young revelers casually enjoying a drink or two on a small island that they had built themselves just a few feet from shore, in the town of Whangamata.

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