The Sacred Antogo Fishing Ritual, or How to Catch All the Fish in a Lake in 15 Minutes

Just beneath the village of Bamba, in the Northern part of Dogon country in Mali, lies a small, yet sacred lake, where fishing is permitted only once a year – during the unique ritual called Antogo.

In the past, Bamba is said to have been covered in lush green forests. The lake, which is considered to be sacred and populated with good spirits, used to offer tons of fish that contributed to local food requirements. But with changes in climate, desertification, and the passage of time, the region gradually became dry, infertile and inhospitable. The locals now face huge problems such as unavailability of water, but the lake still represents a precious resource to the local Dogons, but one which they exhaust every year during Antogo. The event is held on the 6th month of the dry season, generally in May, but the exact date is fixed each year by the council of wise men. Saturdays are market days in Bamba, and for the first three market days of the month wooden sticks are placed in the middle of the lake, acting as a signal, a warning that the ritual is getting closer. On the day that is finally designated as the day of Antogo, hundreds gather from all parts of Mali around Bamba’s lake. The 3 biggest groups are formed by the most respected and ancient families of various Dogon villages. The group from Bamba itself is usually the largest. These groups of people maintain a collective mystical silence, except for the wise who recite incantations and praise deities. When they are done speaking, the ritual itself – and all the magic associated with it – begins.

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Dad Agrees to Pay Daughter $200 if She Stops Using Facebook for Five Months

A Boston father and his 14-year-old daughter have recently made the headlines after the man posted a photo of a Facebook Deactivation Agreement that states the girl will receive 200$ if she doesn’t log into her Facebook account for the next five months.

Facebook addiction is one of the most talked-about issues of the moment, and when it comes to teens, the problem is even bigger. But one Boston parent may have found the perfect way to convince his daughter to take a nice long break from the popular social media platform – he’s paying her $200. The enterprising young girl has managed to strike a deal with her father, Paul Baier, that involves him paying her $50 in April and an extra $150 in June, if she respects her part of the agreement. “It was her idea, which I fully support,” Paul told the Daily Dot. “She wants to earn money and also finds Facebook a distraction and a waste of time sometimes.”

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Self-Taught Amateur Artist Paints with Ground Coffee and a Pinch of Sand

Alexander Wald works as a plumber in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, but in his spare time he likes to exercise his artistic talents by painting with unusual mediums like ground coffee and sand.

Painting with coffee is not exactly unheard of. Artists like Karen Eland and Steven Mikel have been doing it for years, and even coffee beans have been used as an artistic material in an impressive mosaic by Saimir Strati. But until I came across Alexander Wald’s works, I had never heard of anyone using ground coffee. The Ukrainian amateur artist makes a living working as a plumber at the Lviv Circus, but most of his free time is spent creating unique works of art from dried coffee residue and sand. He drinks 2-3 cups of coffee a day, and instead of throwing away the coffee grounds on the bottom of his cup, he dries them and uses them as an art medium. His colleagues pitch in as well, otherwise Alexander would actually have to buy fresh ground coffee. This way, he enjoys his morning cups of java and has plenty of free material to work with. The self-taught artist says any kind of coffee will do, except for instant coffee, which doesn’t produce any leftover grounds.

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Chinese Grandma Spends All Her Life Savings Taking Care of Stray Dogs and Cats

Grandma Bai, a 64-year-old animal lover from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 15 years taking care of stray dogs and cats, and has exhausted all her life savings in the process.

American humorists Josh Billings once said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”, and we’ve featured a few heartbreaking stories that prove this to be right. Remember Capitan, the German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave six years after he died, or Ciccio, the faithful dog who attends the daily Mass at the church where his master used to go? I’ve written a lot of impressive stories about dogs’ loyalty and love even beyond the grave, so it’s always nice to see some humans showing them some kindness in return. Case in point, Grandma Bai, a native of Leshan, China, who has spent all her savings and the last 15 years of her life taking care of over 100 stray dogs and 30 cats. Her love for these abandoned creatures and the sacrifices she has had to make have melted the hearts of millions, since the story broke out in China.

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Extreme Mountain Unicycling Is as Crazy as It Sounds

As if coming down the side of a mountain on two wheels wasn’t hard enough, thrill-seekers have come up with an even crazier sport – extreme mountain unicycling. Saying this sport is dangerous and difficult is probably a huge understatement.

If you though unicycling was just a goofy pastime, and out previous posts on Cycle Ball and other interesting unicycle sports haven’t changed your mind, this one definitely will. Extreme mountain Unicycling is all about climbing dangerous peaks and then sliding and bunny-hopping all the way down without falling into seemingly-bottomless chasms. Not really my idea of a fun time to be honest, but I have to admit watching the likes of Lutz Eichholz cycling their way down the Dolomite Mountains, in Italy, on one wheel is pretty cool. The young German and his friend Stephanie Dietze garnered the support of Adidas sportswear, who sponsored their trip and provided a professional cameraman to record their unbelievably dangerous feats.

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Catalan Artist Folds Table Napkins into Awe-Inspiring Masterpieces

You might have seen napkins folded into impressive shapes at some fancy dinner, but they probably look like child’s play compared to the masterpieces created by Catalan artist Joan Sallas.

48-year-old Joan Sallas is considered the world’s best virtuoso napkin folder, and is credited with almost singlehandedly reviving the Baroque-style art that appeared in Renaissance Italy and reached its peak during the 17th century, in German speaking countries. Believe it or not, the Catalan master has managed to take the classic art to new heights with only old engravings and documents describing royal banquets as his inspiration. He learned the secrets to folding paper from his grandfather, when he was only a child, but the passion stayed with him through adulthood, when he discovered the lost art of folding linen. After spending years researching old documents and trying to copy napkin works of art created for the opulent events of 17th century Europe. He has mastered eight folding techniques, including fans, rolls and lilies, that allow him to recreate some truly awe-inspiring decorations.

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Living with Wolves – The Amazing Story of Werner Freund

79-year-old Werner Freund has a unique gift. The ex-paratrooper and now wolf-researcher from Germany can get along with wolves so well, it’s almost like he’s a member of their pack. In fact, it’s been 40 long years since he started living among wolves and rearing them from pups at his ‘Wolfspark’ sanctuary , located in Merzig,  in the German province of Saarland. The close relationship between Werner and his wolves is quite obvious from pictures of him leaning back on his haunches and howling, and of the wild beasts eating meat straight from his mouth.

Wolves are generally a feared species; come into close quarters and your chances of making it out alive are quite slim. But things are different in the case of Werner. It’s like they’ve accepted him as one of their own. When Werner is around, his wolves are actually playful, docile and submissive towards him. Perhaps it’s because he’s successfully asserted his dominance as the alpha male in the pack. The park is inhabited by wolves from six different packs around the world, including Siberian, Arctic, Canadian, European and Mongolian ones. They were mostly acquired as cubs from animal parks or zoos and hand-reared by Werner.

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This Is How They Harden Kindergarten Children in Siberia

The kids at the No. 317 kindergarten in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia are making themselves immune to flu viruses and winter colds by walking outside naked at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius and pouring buckets of freezing cold water over their bodies.

Ever since photos and videos of the extreme hardening process were exposed in the media, the Siberian kindergarten has come under fire from parents worried about the children’s well-being. But caretakers like Margarita Filimonova insist the practice is totally safe, as the children are only allowed to go outside in the freezing weather after three years of slow training and medical testing. It might seem extreme, but the staff insist the practice makes the children fitter and improves their health significantly. Kindergarten No. 317 has been hardening its children for the last 13 years, and some of the kids who went here went on to become Olympic champions in various sports. It’s the only institution of its kind in the region which uses this kind of extreme exercises.

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Pink Lip Tattoos – The Latest in Nigerian Men’s Fashion

One of the most bizarre beauty procedure I’ve recently come across is tattooing the lips pink, which is apparently very popular in the African county of Nigeria. The main reason for this practice seems to be that women find men with pink lips more attractive.

The other day, someone emailed me a link to a video of a Nigerian guy getting his lower lip tattooed pink, in what looks like a very unhygienic tattoo parlor. To be honest, I thought it was just an isolated case, a guy who just wanted to be different, like the girl who tattooed Drake’s name on her forehead. But it got me intrigued, and after doing some research online, it seems this really is a trend among Nigerian men. According to Battabox.com, who documented the procedure in the short video, young men pay around 7,000 Nigerian Naira ($45) to have their black lips cleaned of excess skin and tattooed with a pink paint to make them lighter. Although the guy in the video didn’t show any signs of pain, having a sensitive spot like the lips tattooed can’t be very pleasant.

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Japanese Company Offers Valentine’s Day Insurance for the Lonely

Valentine’s Day, the most romantic celebration of the year, is fast approaching, and while some people can’t wait to declare their love and shower their partners with gifts, flowers and chocolate, for others it’s just a day of painful loneliness. However, Japanese bachelors no longer have to worry about being the only ones at the office who never gets anything on Valentine’s, thanks to a new service called Valentine’s Day Insurance.

So how does this service work, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple, actually. All a person has to do is visit the Valentine’s Day Insurance website, purchase the ¥500 ($5.50) policy and provide an address where their Valentine’s gift should be delivered. Once they’ve done this, they’re guaranteed to receive a package on February 14, containing chocolates and a personal message from a self-professed beautiful woman called Rieko. I know what you’re thinking, having to buy your own Valentine’s Day present is pretty lame, but for some Japanese men it’s a lot better than having to cope with the uneasiness of being the only ones who didn’t get anything. Well, them and every woman in the Land of the Rising Sun, because here only men receive presents from women, usually in the form of chocolate. In fact, so much chocolate is purchased for the occasion that some Japanese chocolate companies record half of their annual sales in the few weeks before Valentine’s Day.

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Chinese Boy Has Been Living and Sleeping with a Python for 13 Years

A family from Dongguan, China, has recently made headlines after it became known that their 13-year-old son’s best friend is a 15-foot Burmese python. The predator even looks after the boy when his parents are away.

Most grownups would turn away and run for their lives at the sight of a 220lb python, but 13-year-old Azhe Liu can’t get enough of his slithering friend. Ever since he was just a few months old, the two have been sharing the same bed, and today they are simply inseparable. Six years before Azhe was born, his father, Chen Liu, found a snake egg, brought it home and hatched it out. When the boy came, the python already weighed 20 kilograms, but having a snake around the house didn’t seem to bother the family. ”I’d always thought them the most beautiful creatures and I was interested to see what would happen when my son came along,” Chen says. ”After a while we were certain the snake wouldn’t hurt him and we began to leave them together alone. They really are inseparable.” Azhe and his Burmese python started sharing the same bed, and when he was just 9 months old, he was left alone with it, as the parents left to work. They would play and cuddle all day long, and during the hot summer months, the snake’s cold body acted as a natural air-conditioner.

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Fearless Artist Photographs Herself in the Most Precarious Positions

It’s hard to believe the photos bellow are real, but South-Korean artist Ahn Jun insists she does not photoshop any of her works. Although she will sometimes use measures of protection like a harness, the young daredevil really is dangling on the side of buildings or leaning out skyscraper windows, all in the nae of art.

Remember Natsumi Hayashi, Tokyo’s levitating girl, who used to post photos of herself jumping at just the right time to make it seem like she was floating through the city? I loved her work, and today I get to write about an equally talented and creative Asian photo artist, Ahn Jun. Her project titled Self-Portrait, for which she photographs herself in precarious positions on high-rise buildings around the world, has taken the art world by storm. Many have claimed that the photos are digitally altered to create the death-defying portraits, but the young South-Korean photographer insists it’s all real. She just sets the timer on her camera to take as many pictures as possible until the memory card is full, and then gets into position, either leaning dangerously over the edge of a skyscraper, climbing out the window or just staring at her feet into the abyss below. She then goes through the thousands of photos, picking just one or two in which her body looks “peaceful or aggressive, rather than fearful”.

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Grown Men Have Been Playing a Game of Tag for 23 Years

23 years ago, nine boys were playing a fun game of tag around the campus of Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington. Fast forward to present day, they’re sill playing the very same game, but with a few exciting twists.

Playing tag is fun when you’re a child, but men in their 40s can’t really chase each other on the playground, screaming “you’re it!” So Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis, Mike Konesky and their other five childhood friends devised a plan to keep playing their game without making people around them nervous. The last time they played the tag in their home town was on the last day of high-school. Joe Tombari remembers that day in 1982 when he plotted to tag a friend that had left school early. Little did he know that his buddy had been tipped off and was waiting for him in his parents’ car with the doors locked. There was no time to tag someone else, so Joe was “it” for life. ”The whole thing was quite devastating,” Tombari told the Wall Street Journal. But that wasn’t going to be the last tag session of their lives, not by a long shot…

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Indonesian Tribe Believes Chiseled Teeth Make Women Beautiful

If tattooed black gums are considered a thing of beauty in West Africa, it’s chiseled, pointy-sharp teeth that’s the ‘in thing’ for some Indonesian tribes. I do wonder though, why it’s always the women who have to subject themselves to bizarre beauty rituals.

Well, we may not be able to answer that question any time soon, but we can tell you about Indonesian tooth-filing, a beauty regimen that involves the sawing of teeth until they achieve a sharp, narrow and pointed shape. Women in some Indonesian rural communities are considered extremely beautiful after they’ve undergone such a treatment. Mantawaian is one such village, where the wife of the village chief, Pilongi, had to go through with it a couple of years ago. She had managed to avoid the ritual when she was a young teenager, but as the wife of a powerful man in the village, she had to oblige him by becoming more beautiful.

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Truly Curious Eats – The Annual Gala of the Explorers Club

Members of New York’s exclusive Explorers Club get together once a year at the Waldorf Astoria hotel to enjoy some of the most unusual dishes ever conceived. From live tarantulas to juicy cow eyeballs, the menu of the Annual Gala of the Explorers Club features everything you’ve never wanted to put in your mouth. A fair warning – make sure you’re reading this and especially watching the video, on an empty stomach.

The annual gala dinner of the Explorers Club is no dainty affair.It’s a black tie event, but that’s about it as far as niceties are concerned. As you’re about to see for yourself, guests of this bizarre dinner gleefully sink their teeth into live tarantulas, tear the heads off exotic roaches, nib on succulent cow’s eyeballs and snack on battered monkey’s hands. Not really the kind of things ordinary people usually get dressed up for, but then again, Explorers aren’t exactly ordinary. These are people who have traversed the Earth in various expeditions of exploration, who love to discover new and fascinating things, even when it comes to food. This annual gala gives most of them a chance to try obscure dishes, even if they aren’t the most appetizing in the world.

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