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

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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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The Unlikely Story of How a Small Barbershop Became One of the Coolest Live Music Venues in Dublin

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Abner Browns barbershop, on Rathgar Road, Dublin, is considered one of the most interesting places to visit in all of Ireland. The old-school barbershop charm plays a role in its insane popularity, but what really sets it apart from any other barbershop in the world is the fact that it doubles as a live music bar.

Abner Browns has been in business for 17 years, but its incredible transformation occurred three years ago, when owner Dave Judge decided to work in the barbershop full-time, after losing a lot of money he had invested in property during the financial crash of 2007-2008. While redecorating the place, he bought an old leather couch for about €30, and after setting it next to some guitars and music posters that served as decorations, he told his wife that it would be cool to get someone to play on it. A few days later, Canadian singer/songwriter Blair Packhem walked into Abner Browns for a haircut and Judge asked him if he would play a few songs on his new couch. Patrons loved the idea, and as news of the spontaneous gig spread around the city, Tim Fernley, a friend of Judge’s and member in a number of local bands, asked if he could play in the barbershop. And it just snowballed from there.

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You Can Now Do Yoga with Goats on a Farm in Oregon

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The name “Goat Yoga” can be a bit misleading, but no, it’s not yoga for goats, but yoga for humans on a picturesque farm in Oregon where practitioners can relax in the presence of adorable friendly goats.

Lainey Morse, who owns the No Regrets Farm, in Willamette Valley, Oregon, had worked as a photographer for 10 years, but last year, after dealing with some health problems, she decided to quit shooting portraiture and focus on starting a business around her farm. She has been hosting various outdoor events, and at a recent children’s birthday party, one of the parents, who happened to be a yoga instructor, asked if she could hold a class there. Morse agreed, and the class turned out to be a huge hit, with some people driving over 100 miles from Portland just so they could take part.

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The Hide-and-Seek World Championship is an Actual Event

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The game of hide-and-seek may not yet be an Olympic sport – although efforts are being made in that regard – but it’s apparently popular enough to have its own world championship.

What started out as a fun one-time event thought up by small Italian publication CTRL Magazine, in 2010, eventually turned into an annual event that grew with every edition. This year, the 6th Nascodino World Championship – “nascondino” is Italian for hide-and-seek – will take place on the the 3rd and 4th of September, in the beautiful village of Consonno, once a bustling tourist attraction complete with its own zoo, sightseeing train and several eclectic buildings. It has since become a ghost town, but event organizers consider the settlement perfect for a grand hide-and-seek competition.

The rules of the tournament are a bit more complex than the childhood game we all used to play growing up, but then again, this is a contest for grownups (18-year-olds and above). Participants may register to take part in the World Nascondino Championship in teams of five, after paying a €125 fee per team. The teams are then divided into four groups and one person per group hides while a “neutral searching team” counts 60 seconds. The hidden player then has 10 minutes to come out of their hiding spot and reach a soft mattress (for diving purposes) placed in the middle of a field without being found or at least before a member of the searching team. If they fail to reach their target within the time limit, players are not awarded any points. The game goes on for two days until the ultimate winner is declared.

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Introducing Dødsing – The Craziest Sport to Ever Come Out of Norway

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When jumping off a diving board, a belly flop is not the outcome most people are looking for, but for those competing in the crazy Norwegian sport of Dødsing, hitting the water belly first is a risk that comes with the territory.

Dødsing, or “Death Diving”, is a Norwegian extreme sport that has daredevils jumping from a 10-meter-high board with their arms and legs spread out in an x-formation. The goal is to keep the pose for as long as possible and curl your body slightly right before hitting the water to prevent injuries. At the World Dødsing Championship, a wacky competition held every summer since 2008, the diver who manages to remain flat the longest during their jump is pronounced the winner.

But there are plenty of fearless dødsing divers at the world championship, so in order to determine the winner, judges also take into account other factors, such as the speed, height and power of the jump, the originality of the jumping style and the spray produced when hitting the water.

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Beer Mile Race Proves Running and Beer Go Well Together

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Well, not always, as having to chug beers between multiple 400-meter laps can upset the stomach, but that’s all part of the charm of the Beer Mile, a unique race that has participants competing in running and drinking.

The beer mile started off as a frat tradition in 1990, when a group of Canadian thought it would be fun to race each other while chugging a few beers. But it has come a long way since then, as the Beer Mile Race is now a major sporting event with around 100,000 official entries, brand name sponsorships, and extensive media coverage. In 2015, the first Beer Mile World Classic was held in San Francisco, where all of the record holders from Canada and the United States came together for an epic showdown, but this year, the event was organized in London, in an effort to raise awareness about the sport outside North America.

The rules of the race are pretty straightforward – runners have to consume four beers before each of the four 400-meter laps making up the famous Beer Mile. The beers can come in bottles or cans but should not be less than 355ml in volume and must be at least 5% alcohol by volume. Ciders or radlers (beer and lemonade) will not do, the beverage of choice must be a hard beer brewed from malted cereal grains and flavored with hops. Runners must chug the beers within a “transition area” – a 10 meter zone before the start/finish line on a 400m track – and are advised to tip the bottle/can over their heads to confirm it’s empty.

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Russian Gas Station Offers Free Tank of Gas to People in Swimsuits and High Heels

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A gas station in Russia’s Oblast region has been making headlines this week for organizing an unusual promotion – a free tank of gas to anyone who showed up dressed only in women’s swimsuit and high heels.

The ingenious publicity stunt took place on July 21st, in the south-western city of Samara, and only lasted three hours. Anyone looking to get a free tank of gas was invited to show up at the gas station wearing skimpy underwear and high heels. The rules were pretty simple – wear the appropriate attire, fill up the tank yourself, and go to the front desk to tell the station attendant the pump number and fuel type. Abide by this terms and you get a full tank absolutely free.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dining Experience Will Cost You $2 Million

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Russian diamond company World of Diamonds has teamed up with Singapore restaurant Ce’ La Vi to offer a lucky couple the world’s most expensive dining experience, for the decadent price of $2 million. It probably doesn’t seem that way, but it’s actually a bargain!

World of Diamonds recently unveiled a 2.08 carat blue diamond ring with a rose-gold plated platinum band that they named after actress Jane Seymour. It has received interest from a number of parties, including a royal family, but instead of simply auctioning it off to the highest bidder, the Russian company decided to make acquiring the stunning piece of jewelry a truly special event. A rich couple will get to take part in an 8-hour dining experience described as the most expensive in the world, at the end of which they will be handed the Jane Seymour diamond ring.

“This is the most expensive dining experience in the world, and the most lavish one possible,” Karan Tilani, Director of World of Diamonds Group, said. “As a diamond mining group, we recognize that Ce’ La Vi is a diamond in the sky. [We expect] the response will be beyond overwhelming, but it’s only two diners who will eventually have the privilege.”

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Donald Trump Fans in India Hold Bizarre Birthday Party for Their Idol

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On Tuesday, members of an Indian right-wing group in New Delhi held a bizarre party in honor of US Republican party candidate Donald Trump’s birthday.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is really popular among members of the Hindu Sena group, in India. So much so that on Tuesday, June 14th, many of them got together at one of Delhi’s most famous landmarks to celebrate his birthday. There was cake, balloons, birthday hats and even a life-size cardboard cutout of the American businessman. Everyone cheered, laughed and even tried giving cardboard Trump a slice of the colorful cake. The Indian press called the birthday bash one of the most hilarious events in recent history.

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Hungarian Gravediggers Compete in National Grave Digging Competition

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In an attempt to increase respect for grave digging and attract more people to the job, three dozens of the best gravediggers in Hungary competed in a unique grave digging competition, last Friday.

The bizarre competition took place at a graveyard in the city of Debrecen. 18 two-man teams were assigned their plots arbitrarily by pulling numbers out of a hat, and supplied with regulation-size shovels, rakes, axes and pickaxes to use in digging the best grave in the shortest amount of time. Contestants were judged on speed, grave neatness and whether they complied with the regulation size: 200 cm long, 80 cm wide and 160 cm deep (7 feet by 2 feet 7 inches by 5 feet). Enjoying the home advantage, the local team came out victorious, digging their grave in less than half an hour. That’s pretty impressive considering some of the other teams took almost an hour to complete theirs.

Each team had their own technique. Some preferred to dig simultaneously and clean up after the hole was finished, while others had one man digging and the other arranging the dirt into neat piles around the grave site. They all agreed that the conditions were just right on the big day, with the earth being “quite soft and humid.”

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Every Year This Man Organizes a Very Popular Conference about Boring Things

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Most conferences tend to be boring, although not intentionally so. But there is one event that is deliberately dedicated to all things dull and tedious – the ‘Boring Conference’ hosted every year at London. Believe it or not, it’s a sell-out event where attendees are treated to talks on all sorts of boring things like paper bags, toilet roll quality control, lamp posts, and bricks.

How did such a thing as a Boring Conference come to exist, you ask? Well, it all started in 2010, when the man in charge of organizing an even called the Interesting Conference canceled the whole thing, saying that he was too busy. James Ward, an English book author and marketer, replied to the announcement, saying that he liked boring things and that they should be celebrated too. His social media post got a lot of people interested in a possible event about boring things and he started getting questions about where to buy tickets for it. That year, Ward organized the world’s first Boring Conference.

This year’s Boring Conference, held at London’s Conway Hall on 7 May, was the sixth consecutive event in the last six years and all 425 tickets were sold out in just a few days. Ward always opens up the event himself, because he likes to “set the bar low”. If people start with poor expectations, then the show can only improve, he says. Last year, he spoke about postcard photos of the old Post Office Tower.

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South-Korean Technology Addicts Participate in Bizarre Space-Out Competition

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A strange ‘space-out competition’ recently saw 60 South Koreans in the country’s capital of Seoul put aside their smartphones and tablets and simply sit on the ground in a public park, thinking and doing nothing for 90 minutes. The person measured as having the most stable heart rate at the end of that period was judged the winner.

With more than 80% of its 50 million-strong population owning a smartphone, South Korea is considered one of the world’s ‘most wired’ countries. National statistics show that users spend an average of four hours a day tweeting, texting or playing video games on their handhelds, and about 15% show symptoms of addiction. This growing fixation with technology and the internet is seen as a serious problem, so to give people a chance to disconnect, if only for a short time, and promote a life free of information overload, a group of artists came up with the Space Out Competition.

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Airbnb Is Giving You the Chance to Sleep Surrounded by 35 Full-Grown Sharks

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A contest organised by Airbnb is offering three lucky winners the chance to spend a night in the company of full-grown sharks. The winners and their guests will get access to a transparent glass bedroom submerged in the 33-foot deep Paris Aquarium inhabited by 35 sharks.

Interested applicants, who must be 18 years or older and in good health, can apply for the contest through the Airbnb website. “On the 11, 12, and 13 of April, the Paris Aquarium opens its doors for a night of total immersion in a room full of sharks,” the website states. “And not just any room: you will sleep in a circular bed, with a breathtaking view of the world of sharks.” If it’s any reassurance, the unique bedroom was apparently tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean.

The unusual event will be hosted by free diver, photographer, and shark enthusiast Fred Buyle, and a marine biologist will provide the winners with an exclusive course on sharks – their mysterious lives and their role in the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.

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Tough 9-Year-Old Girl Completes 24-Hour Obstacle Course Designed by US Navy SEALs

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She’s probably not done shedding her baby teeth, but 9-year-old Milla Bizzotto is tougher than most adults. The four-foot-tall, 53-pound third grader from South Florida recently shocked the world with her incredible physical fitness, becoming the youngest person in the world to complete the 24-hour Battlefrog Xtreme race, an outdoor fitness event designed by Navy SEALs.  

“I don’t want to play video games,” she explained in an interview with The Miami Herald. “I don’t want to hoverboard. I don’t want to do things to make life easier. I want to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have one body and it’s all I want and all I love.”

“I’m fearless,” she added. “And knowing I’m inspiring people makes me more fearless. It is hard, but that doesn’t stop me.”

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This Man Wants to Launch Himself over ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’ in a Steam-Powered Rocket

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‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, a stunt-lover from Los Angeles, is planning to attempt the longest and possibly the most dangerous rocket jump in history. He’s going to launch himself in a rocket across the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, hopefully breaking his own previous record of jumping 1,374 feet.

Hughes, who calls himself the ‘Current King of the Daredevils’, will perform the stunt on April 2 at The Palo Duro Zipline Adventure Park, located 25 miles from Amarillo. He’ll be using the steam-powered X-2 Steam Rocket, powered by pressure rather than rocket fuel. The tank is expected to build up sufficient pressure to launch him off a steel ramp and set him sailing across the Park area and over the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Texas. Hughes will finish the stunt by deploying a parachute to land safely on the ground. Tickets to view the highly dangerous stunt will be sold at the Park on the day of the event itself.

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