Mallakhamb – Extreme Indian Pole Dancing

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Modern pole-dancing may be attractive to look-at, but in terms of difficulty, it’s nothing to the old Indian sport of Mallakhamb.

Mallakhamb originated in Maharastra, India, during the 12th century, as a form of training for wrestlers. The word “Malla” means wrestler, while “khamb” translates as pole. This old art had almost been lost throughout the centuries, but it’s become increasingly popular, in recent years, mainly due to the efforts of coaches like Uday Deshpande.

The sport of Mallkhamb has athletes climb up a wooden pole, 55 cm in diameter,at the base, and 35, at the top, and perform various poses and feats. The pole is most often made of teak, because of its sturdiness, and before exercises begin, it’s rubbed with castor oil, to prevent friction.

Even though Mallakhamb is yet to be recognized as an official sport, in India, it has been embraced by visually-impaired boys. This art is about feeling and understanding the strength and balance of one’s body, and that’s why blind Mallakhamb athletes are just as good as those with perfect eyesight.

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100-Year-Old Chinese Woman Grows Horn in Her Forehead

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Zhang Ruifang, a 100-year old woman, from China’s Henan Province, has a strange horn coming out of the left side of her forehead.

This reminds me so much of the horned lady, but Zhang’s horn is much more…horn-like. The 1-century-old woman says her bizarre horn started growing last year, and now measures between 5 and 6 cm in length. Although the horn causes her no pain, I can only imagine how unhappy this poor woman is with her situation.

Photos via ImagineChina

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Pig Beauty Contest Held in China

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The Pig Contest of Guanshan Village, Guangdong Province, China, is a centuries old tradition dating back to the Qing Dinasty.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists, from all over China, travel to Guanshan, every year, to take a look at the hundreds of pigs on display at the Pig Contest. This year, around 500 oinkers were sacrificed, cleaned up and set on display to be admired by passers-by.

After the most handsome pig is allected, the festivities end in a gargantuan feast, when the tasty participants are sliced up and served to the public.

Photos via Xinhua

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Bamboo Keyboards and Mice Are the New Rage in China

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Apparently, one of the globe’s biggest polluters has found an environment friendly alternative to plastic keyboards and mice.

Bamboo keyboards and mice are not exactly new on the market, and I’m sure you’ve come across all sorts of wooden peripheral concepts online. Jiangxi Bamboo Technology Development Co. Ltd., the only bamboo peripherals manufacturer in China, says their products have become increasingly popular at a national level, after they’ve been successfully exported to markets in Europe and America.

Production of bamboo keyboards and mice began in 2008, but until early 2009, they’ve only been shipped to foreign countries. But ever since franchised stores opened in Shanghai and Ningbo, China can’t get enough of its environment-friendly peripherals.

Judging from the photos, the Chinese aren’t stopping at just bamboo keyboards and mice, they’re taking it a step further, with bamboo encased LCD displays.

via Gadgetonian (photos by ImagineChina)

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Make Your Own Edible Insects with GUMMIX

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Produced by Japanese company Megahouse, the GUMMIX kit allows kids and grown-ups to make their own jelly insects, as pranks or food decorations.

GUMMIX is part of the Megahouse 2010 Shokking lineup, and consists of special gelatin powder and insect molds. It’s as simple as it is fun. Just mix the gelatin with fruit syrup, ketchup or soy sauce, depending on what you’re trying to achieve, and pour the mixture into the molds.  When the jelly starts to harden, attach the limbs with the included tweezers, and there you have it, an edible bug.

The GUMMIX insect kit comes with a mixing cup, recipe cards, and 4 moulds of a beetle, a crawfish, a stag beetle and a sow bug. It costs 3675 yen ($40) and you can purchase 3 extra moulds, for 1570 yen each ($17).

via Gigazine

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Two Indian Workers Weave the World’s Longest Doormat

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Two workers of Travancore Cocotuft Ltd. have spent months creating the world’s longest doormat hand-woven from coconut coir.

The giant mat is just 1.2 meters wide and 30 mm thick, but has a length of 101.6 meters and weighs 999 kg. Impressive numbers, but the most impressive thing about this mat is that it was handmade by just two workers. They spent 111 man days, over a period of 4 months, inserting 4,70,000 coir tufts between alternate wefts of coir yarn.

Although Guinness Book of Records is already considering declaring it the world’s longest hand-woven doormat, it serves a higher purpose. Cocotuft Chief Executive Officer P. Mahadevan says it was created to emphasize the miserable conditions of workers in the coir industry, who are paid much less than the minimum wage fixed by the Indian Government.

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Chinese Use Fire as Medicinal Treatment

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Oddly enough, setting a man on fire isn’t necessarily a bad thing, on the contrary, it’s actually considered curative.

Although I wasn’t able to learn much about this strange medical procedure, fire treatment is apparently very popular during the winter months, in Chinese traditional hospitals. People believe this will keep them safe from illnesses like the flu and common cold.

The piece of cloth is sprinkled with flammable substance, probably alcohol,then set on fire and put-out with another cloth. It isn’t painful at all, and according to a video I found on Youtube, fire treatment is also a great way to lose weight.

Photos via ImagineChina

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Japanese Invent Bionic Potato-Chip Grabber

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Yup, leave it to the Japanese to invent something completely useless, yet totally cool. This time it’s a grabbing device for potato chips.

Potato chips may be delicious, but you can’t really enjoy them without getting grease all over your fingers and then the keyboard. Well the Japanese have finally come up with a solution to this pressing problem. Potechi ( a Japanese neologism derived from the English “potato chip”) is an ingenious device manufactured by Takara Tomi, that grabs potato chips, so you don’t have to.

Featuring groundbreaking technologies like NBCS (No Broken Clutch System), NTTS (No Touch Table System) and FECS (Finger Easy Cleaning System) allows you to gently pick up potato chips without breaking them. Simply press the button and let Potechi do the rest of the job for you.

The ingenious Potechi chip grabbing tool is available in japan, for just $7. Come on, a clean keyboard is worth at least that much.

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Chinese Sculptores Create Avatar Mud Figures

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Avatar fever is infecting everyone these days and a big country like China wasn’t going to be spared.

15 talented sculptors spent 10 days working on two 3-meters-tall sculptures from James Cameron’s blockbuster movie. One of them is of Corporal Jake Sully and the other of his main Na’Vi squeeze, Princess Neytiri. The Avatar mud sculptures were carved in a studio in Wuhan City and are meant to keep the Avatar craziness going even longer

Photos via ImagineChina

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China Opens Chocolate Theme-Park in Beijing

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Located inside the Olympic Stadium, in Beijing, the World Chocolate Dream Park is an Asian version of Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, in real life.

Announced last year, as a way of pleasing the increasing number of Chinese chocoholics, the World Chocolate Dream Park is finally open to the public. As promised, the chocolate theme-park features a number of China’s historical and cultural symbols, including a 12-meter-long  chocolate replica of the Great Wall, an army of 560 terracotta soldiers of Emperor Qingshihuang made of chocolate, and a traditional Chinese painting of Panorama Along the Upper River During the Qingming Festival, in original size.

The chocolate terracotta army was announced as life-size, back in 2009, but the miniatures aren’t too shabby. According to a Chinese official, many European chocolate makers wanted in on the project, considering it’s a great way to advertise chocolate to a huge market that’s just discovering it.

Photos via Xinhua

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South Korean Balloons to Free North Korea

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In an attempt to undermine Kim Jong Il’s authority in North Korea, members of  South Korean nongovernmental organizations constantly send balloons filled with leaflets into North Korea.

On January 10, 2010 activists for the freedom of North Korea and the unification of the peninsula, from Paju, 51 km north of Seoul, sent two helium-inflated balloons into North Korea. They attached bags of leaflets and sweets to them, hoping to convince their northern neighbors to rise against Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship.

This practice has been going on for the last two years and North Korea has repeatedly asked Southern authorities to punish organizations who send the balloons and undermine the country’s regime. In spite of nuclear-war hints from its northern neighbor, South Korea hasn’t taken any measures against the activists.

The constant nuclear threat, reports of serious human rights violations and the existence of political prisoner camps in North Korea, make the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries virtually impossible.

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Tibetan Sky Burials Are Super-Creepy

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All funerals are sad and creepy, but they’re way better than feeding the corpse to a bunch of hungry eagles.

Sky burials are often practiced in the mountains of Tibet, both for religious and practical reasons. Basically, the corpse is placed on a mountain top and sliced open in various places, to attract the birds of prey circling above. They’d probably feast on it anyway, but an invitation like that doesn’t hurt.

Most Tibetans are Buddhists and believe in rebirth. Once a person dies, their body is considered nothing more than an empty vessels that needs to disposed of. Since the ground is often as hard as rock and wood and fire are precious resources, feeding nature’s creatures is a practical choice. I know it looks grotesque, but to Buddhists this is a last sign of generosity by the deceased, offering his body as nourishment for other living creatures.

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South-Korean Special Forces Winter Training

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Every year, South Korean special-forces undergo serious winter training to strengthen their minds and bodies and to make sure the cold doesn’t affect them on live missions.

More than 200 rangers take part in the grueling winter training session, in Pyeonghang, 180 km east of Seoul. They do gymnastics, swim in icy water, hurl snow at their bare chests, build snow shelters and sprint, all at temperatures of under -30 degrees Celsius. The extreme training lasts for nine days.

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Mass Ice-Fishing at Hwacheon Ice Festival

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Each winter, Hwacheon county, in South-Korea, draws-in over one million people to the Hwacheon Sancheoneo ice festival, held on a frozen river.

Hwacheon Festival hosts sledding, ice-soccer and snowman-building events, but the highlight of the event is the ice-fishing for fresh mountain trout. Under the thick ice, abundant quantities of fish are waiting for skilled fishermen. Anyone can try their luck at catching trout, at one of the nine thousand holes drilled in the icy surface of the river.

You might want to change your seat regularly, as the fish tend to move from one place to another, quite frequently. Once you catch a fish, you can take it to one of the mane cooking centers scattered on the festival grounds. There you can have it prepare raw or grilled. Any way you choose to prepare it, the Sancheoneo fish will melt in your mouth.

Another fun event at the Hwacheon Festival is catching the trout with your bare hands. Just slip in a pool of ice-cold water and try to grab the slippery critters.

Photos by Reuters via Drugoi

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Korean Winter Camp Turns Kids into Men

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That’s right, at Ansan military camp for children it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl, they’ll make a manly man out of you.

Located about 25 miles from the capital of Seoul, the Ansan military camp gives civilians the chance to strengthen their minds and bodies, by training in extreme conditions. The camp is ran by retired Korean marines who don’t care if you’re in primary school or in college, they’ll have you carrying logs and exercising half naked in the snow.

You can choose to withstand the torture training at Ansan camp for periods ranging between three and fourteen days, depending on how tough you think you are. Check out some more photos of children training at Ansan, we posted a while back.

Photos by REUTERS via Telegraph.co.uk

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