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The Indian Village Where People Play with Live Scorpions

Most people wouldn’t dare touch a scorpion for all the money in the world, but in one small Indian village, people actually seek out the poisonous arachnids and put them on their faces, or eve in their mouths, as part of a worshiping ritual.

Every year, on Naga Panchami, when most of India worships the snake god, the people of Kandakoor, about 20 kilometers from Yadgir, in the state of Karnataka, worship their Scorpion Goddess, Kondammai. Men and women, children and the elderly, all queue to go up a nearby hill called Chellina Betta (Scorpion Hill) and reach an idol of Kondammai, to which they offer sarees, coconuts and oil, and pray for good health and prosperity. After this ritual is completed, everyone starts looking for scorpions to play with.

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Blind Man to Walk Across World’s Largest Salt Desert Guided Only by Audio GPS

Albar Tessier, a blind teacher from France, recently arrived in Bolivia to prepare for a grueling challenge – walking 140 kilometers across Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest sand desert, in just seven days.

Tessier, who teaches blind children in his home country, set this personal challenge for himself before losing his vision completely, and has reportedly been training for it for the past couple of years. He wants to show the world that people with disabilities are also capable of performing amazing feats, and to this end he will be travelling alone, guided only by audio GPS, and with an emergency team maintaining a safe distance.

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Deadliest Flight – Taiwan’s Grueling Sea Races Kill Over One Million Pigeons Each Year

Every year, more than a million pigeons die while competing in Taiwan’s controversial pigeon sea races, a series of grueling events in which young birds are shipped far out to sea, released in the middle of nowhere and forced to fly home. According to several reports from animal rights organizations, less than 1% of them make it back to land.

The small island of Taiwan hosts more pigeon racing events than any other country in the world. A reported 500,000 Taiwanese race pigeons every year, competing for billions of New Taiwan dollars in prize money. Pigeon racing is such a big business that the National Pingtung University of Science and Technology once introduced an optional course on it, which proved very popular with both young and old pigeon racers. However, important notions taught during this course, like injury prevention and the use of performance enhancing drugs fly out the window during Taiwan’s seasonal sea races.

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Japanese Channel Their Anger at Annual Tea Table Flipping Contest

The Japanese are no strangers to unusual competitions, so I guess it makes sense that they’ve found a way to turn a rage-induced reaction like flipping a table into an annual contest.

On June 16, a shopping mall in Japan’s Iwata Prefecture hosted the 12th annual World Chabudai-Gaeshi Tournament, an offbeat competition where participants try to flip a small tea table as far as possible. The premise is pretty simple: anyone can sign up for the competition, from young children to the elderly, and the goal is to flip the small wooden tea table as hard as possible to send the fake food on top of it flying as far as possible. In fact, the winner is judged not by how far they flip the table, but how far a plastic fish set on top of it travels.

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Artist Spends Three Days Buried Under Busy Road, with No Food

Mike Parr, a 73-year-old Australian performance artist, recently spent three days in a container buried under one of the busiest roads in Tasmania, with no food, as a “response to 20th-century totalitarian violence in all its forms”.

The unusual performance was apparently conceived a decade ago for an arts festival in Germany, but could not be pulled off due to health and safety concerns. However, the Hobart City Council, in Tasmania, approved it last month, as part of the Dark Mofo festival, as long as the organizers agreed to cover the roadwork bill. That included literally cutting a section of road and digging a large hole under it in order to lower a large metal container in it, and covering it up so that traffic could go on as usual for the three days Mike Parr spent buried inside.

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Sweden Opens Fist Klingon Tourist Center in Our Part of the Galaxy

Star Trek Fans looking to brush up on their Klingon lore need not travel to distant worlds or even watch countless hours of their favorite sci-fi series. All they need to do is head to Stockholm, Sweden, where the first Klingon tourist center in Alpha Quadrant recently opened its gates to visitors.

Called “Visit Qo’noS” and hosted by Turteatern, an avant-garde theatre based in the Swedish capital, the world’s first Klingon tourist center is a place where fans of the ruthless alien race can learn about its history, take a virtual tour of their capital, First City, sample staples of Klingon cuisine like Gagh and blood wine, train in the deadly martial art Mok’bara, learn their fascinating language and even interact with actual Klingons.

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The Longest Hole – Guy Takes 82 Days and 20,093 Shots to Complete The Longest Ever Golf Hole

Adam Rolston, a retired rugby player from Northern Ireland, recently completed the longest hole of golf in history, a feat that saw him hitting a golf ball a whopping 20,093 times over a distance of around 2,000 kilometers, across the deserts and mountain ranges of Mongolia.

28-year-old Rolston came up with the idea for this unique challenge while talking to former rugby colleague, Ron Rutland, in Kenya. Rutland had completed an epic 26,000-kilometer cycling adventure through every country in Africa, before arriving in South Africa to see his national rugby team compete against Japan in the 2015 World Cup. The incredible story got Adam thinking about a similar adventure, only golf-related. He started talking to his friends about it, but they all said that it couldn’t be done, which only made him want to try it even more.

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“Future World’s Richest Man” Throws Free Banquet for People with Gold Hair

Zhang Jian, the controversial owner of a multi-level marketing company and self-proclaimed “future richest man in the world” recently made headlines in Asia for throwing a lavish banquet in Malaysia. The entrance fee was 200 ringgit per person, but Jian offered to let those sporting “the right look” eat for free. Over 1,000 people showed up with their hair dyed gold.

On Sunday, June 4th, Chai Leng Park in Butterworth, Penang, looked like the scene of a blondies convention. Over 1,000 people, both men and women, dyed their hair gold just to be able to attend Zhang Jian’s epic banquet for free. The Chinese businessman had also announced that a lucky few who sported the right look for the event stood to win a 1,000 ringgit  cash prize. The temptation was apparently too hard to resist for a lot of people who didn’t let a thing like looking silly stand between them and a free meal. Some even sported tattoos of Zhang, to show their support.

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Man Wins 23-Kilometer Race He Ran in His Socks

Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira, a 27-year-old marathon runner from Kenya, became an overnight sensation in the small Baltic country of Estonia, after winning the 35th annual Tartu Half-Marathon, a 23-kilometer race he ran in his socks.

Just last week, we wrote about the monumental achievement of María Lorena Ramírez, a native Rarámuri woman from Mexico, who won a 50-kilometer ultramarathon in rubber sandals made from used car tires and wearing a long traditional skirt. Today, we cover the amazing story of a man who not only won a 23-kilometer marathon in Estonia, but also set a new speed record, after running with no shoes on. It’s definitely an incredible time for sports, and running in particular.

 

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Frenchman Cycles from Paris to Moscow Without Moving an Inch to Set New World Record

53-year-old Pascal Pich, a legendary ultra-athlete with several endurance records to his name, is set to complete the longest, and at the same time shortest, race of his career – over 3,000 kilometers (the distance between Paris and Moscow) pedaled on a stationary bicycle.

“You have to be a little crazy to say ‘I will pedal for 6 days without moving'”, Pascal Pich says about his unusual challenge. But being a little crazy is exactly how he managed to become one of the world’s most acclaimed extreme athletes and set 10 endurance world records. So yes, cycling around 600 kilometers a day on a stationary bike with only 2-3 hours of sleep may sound crazy for anyone else, but not for him.

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The Annual Cow Dung Cake Battle of Kairuppala

Every year, the people of Kairuppala, a village in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, engage in an epic cow dung cake battle that often leaves dozens injured. They believe the tradition brings them good health and prosperity.

Legend has it that Lord Veerabhadra Swamy, a fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva, and the Goddess Bhadrakhali fell in love and decided to marry. In order to tease his beloved, Veerabhadra Swamy declared that he did not want to marry anymore, which enraged Bhadrakhali and her clansmen, who decided to teach the deceitful groom a lesson by beating him with cow dung cakes. The other side retaliated, but the goofy battle ended in compromise and the much awaited celestial wedding. Today, the devotees of Kairuppala village celebrate their union by reenacting their mythical battle using the same unconventional weapons.

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Looking for an Exciting Night Out? How Does Dinner and Dissection Sound?

Going out to the same restaurants and bars every week can get pretty boring after a while, but if you like in a large UK city, you now have the chance to spice up your nights on the town in one of the most macabre ways imaginable, thanks to Anatomy Lab Live. The unique experience involves a fancy dinner followed by a live dissection of what looks to be a real human body.

There’s nothing like watching a pathologist sink his hands into a corpse and pulling out bloody organs to help the digestion after a hearty meal. At least that’s what Sam Piri, the man behind the Anatomy Lab Live experience seems to think. Sam, who works as a school teacher, claims to have been inspired by the excitement of his students while studying biology, and becoming familiar with pig organs. He decided adults might get a kick out of seeing a live dissection and learning more about the wonders of the human body, but why he thought it would be a good idea to feed his guests beforehand is a mystery.

Anatomy Lab Live, which debuted recently at the Village Hotel in Solihull, outside Birmingham, starts off with a fancy dinner of salmon, served with roast potatoes, green beans and roasted butternut squash and carrots. Dessert includes apple pie and custard or Eton mess, and for drinks, guests get to choose between wine and beer. As they feast on the generous spread, the only sign that something unnerving is about to happen is a center table full of syringes, medical waste bags and petri dishes. Read More »

World’s Most Expensive Trip Around the World Will Cost You Almost $14 Million

If you’ve always dreamed about an epic trip around the world, and have more money that you know what to do with, you might be interested in this offer from experiential travel boutique DreamMaker – a 20-day luxury tour of 20 cities across the globe for you and 49 of your closest friends, at the modest price of $13,875,000.

As you can probably imagine, this isn’t just another trip around the world, but an ultra-luxurious experience designed for a splurging  billionaire and his entourage. So what can you expect from a $14 million trip. Well, first of all the ultra rich client will be flying between the 20 cities on the itinerary in a private Boeing 767 jet, while his 49 family and friends follow in their very own Boeing Business Jet. That makes a lot of sense, we don’t want these guys feeling crowded on what’s supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, right? Anyway, DreamMaker claims that the lucky group will only be spending 12% of the time in the air and 88% on the ground, but they want to make every moment as pleasant as possible. So they’ve prepared a variety of in-flight surprises.

Dubbed ‘Experiental Aviation’, the time spent on board the two luxury jets is described as “the pinnacle of private aviation.” To ensure that everyone’s needs are catered to in a timely and professional fashion, the guest to staff ratio will be one on one, with a host of 50 other professionals – all experts in their respective fields – eager to make your flight as pleasant as possible. A master sommelier will treat guests to the world’s finest wines, a yoga instructor will conduct in-flight yoga sessions to help everyone relax, and renowned hypnotherapist April Norris has apparently been commissioned to develop “a holistic program that integrates cutting-edge wearable sleep technology with alternative wellness techniques such as hypnotherapy, Reiki healing, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture.”

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Thousands Attend Mexican Girl’s Birthday Party After Online Invitation Accidentally Went Viral

Rubi Ibarra García, a 15-year-old girl from the small Mexican village of La Joya had arguably the highest attended quinceañera party in history, after thousands of people from all over Mexico, and even the U.S. turned up for the big event on December 26.

It all started earlier this month, when Rubi’s father, Crescencio, posted a video on Facebook inviting everyone to the girl’s birthday party. “We invite you on December 26 to our daughter Rubi Ibarra Garcia’s quinceañera in La Joya, everyone is cordially invited,” he wrote. Only he didn’t really mean “everyone”, just everyone in the village, but after setting the video to ‘public’ instead of ‘private’, people from all over Mexico started sharing it and Rubi eventually ended up with with over 1.2 million RSVPs from people she had never met before.

Crescencio later revealed that the invitation was meant for neighbors and friends only, but acknowledged his mistake, adding that he would not tun anyone away. In the weeks that followed, Rubi’s quinceañera became one of the most popular topic in Mexico, with the #XVdeRuby trending on social media and getting millions of shares, and TV stations scrambling to cover the story and get interviews with the García family. Actor Gael Garcia Bernal made a parody of the invitation video, while singer Luis Antonio Lopez “El Mimoso” composed a song especially for the birthday girl. Mexican airline Intejet even offered a 30% discount on flights to her home state for people wanting to attend. 

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Putting Faith in a Piece of Rope at Brazil’s Largest Religious Festival

Every year, in the second week of October, millions of Roman-Catholic devotees from all over Brazil descend on the city of Belem to attend Cirio de Nazaré, the country’s largest religious festival, and to touch a 400-meter-long piece of rope believed to have the power to heal the sick.

Cirio de Nazaré has been celebrated intermittently in Brazil since 1793. The event revolves around a small statue of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré (Our Lady of Nazareth), an artifact supposedly sculpted in Nazareth that is believed to have performed miracles in medieval Portugal, before being lost in Brazil. Legend has it that a cattleman found it in a canal during the 1700’s, but every time he took it out of the water, it would disappear, only to be found again in the original place it was discovered. The people of Belem believed that it was Our Lady’s wish to remain there, so they built a church there, which would later become today’s Nazaré Basilica.

The celebration lasts two weeks, but the climax of the event is on the first Sunday, when the small statue is taken from the city’s Catedral da Sé to the Nazaré Basilica, on a flower-bedecked carriage pulled by thousands of devotees. The night before the procession about 15.000 devotees queue in front of the cathedral to secure a place near the 400-meter-long piece of rope used to pull the carriage through the city. Men and women align on two separate lines, and by 10 a.m. on Sunday, the human density around the rope reaches an incredible 10 people per meter.

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