Dead Man Riding to Heaven

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What looks like a bike rider waiting for the green light, in a motorcycle race, is actually a dead man at a wake, in Puerto Rico.

22-year-old David Morales Colon was shot to death, last Thursday, and his family wanted people to remember him doing what he liked most. As the young man had received a brand new Honda CBR600 F4 motorcycle, which he loved, his family asked the funeral home to embalm David and set him in riding position.

The guys at the funeral home did a great job, and David looks like he’s about to drive away any second, but this gesture caused a media stir, at an international level. Apparently this paves the way for other funeral firms to come up with original ideas for this kind of events.

As a guy living in a country where dead people are kept on the living room table, for three days, before being buried, I see this as just a cool way of honoring a person.

Photos by Vanessa Cerra via PrimaHora

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Avatar’s Tree of Souls Appears in London

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Although London’t Hyde Park is famous for hosting a variety of tree species, Vitraya ramunong (better known as the Tree of Souls) was definitely not one of them. Until now, anyway.

Unlike the alien tree, indigenous to Pandora, this Earthly version is considerably smaller (only 5 meters tall), features a plastic-like bark, and its glowing tendrils look a lot like fiber-optic cables. Plus, it’s planted in gravel and asphalt, and it’s root is made up of just one cable that seemed to power the trunk withe electricity.

As you might have (hopefully) realized, we’re not talking about a real Tree of Souls, but about a man made avatar, if you will. It appeared in Hyde Park, last Saturday, for the launch of Avatar on DVD, and as a way of celebrating the 40th Earth Day. Unfortunately, this weird version of Vitraya ramunong was removed from the park, the next day. If you didn’t get the chance to see it live, these photos should compensate:

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Spain’s Electronically Animated Giant Baby

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Miguelin, is a 6.5 meters tall animated baby that Spain has created for its pavilion, at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

And if you thing this toddler’s just a big old doll, you’re sadly mistaken. Miguelin breaths, blinks and dreams of the cities we leave to our future generations, while smiling to visitors that walk by. The baby’s “mother” is Spanish film director, Isabel Coixet, who picked this theme both because of “the passion China and Spain share for children”, and as a way of showing that our actions have consequences on our children.

Miguelin, who was constructed in the US, dreams of the future,and his dreams will be animated, for all visitors to see. I’m sure this big baby will become a star when the Shanghai Expo opens, on May 1st.

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Man Pulls Car Using His Eyelids

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Li Dasheng, one of China’s greatest performers, attempted to pull a 1.5 ton car,using only his lower eyelids.

Known as the “Prince of Stunts” , 22-year-old Li Dasheng is famous for being able to perform over 30 kinds of Qigong, an ancient Chinese meditation art, as well as several other stunts. On April 16, he shocked the audience, outside the Boying Art Museum, in Xuzhou, China, when he pulled a vehicle, with his eyelids.

The Chinese performer put 2 curved hooks, onto his lower eyelids, and attached them to the frame of the 1.5-ton-heavy car. He managed to pull the vehicle nearly three meters.

Some of Li Dasheng’s previous include having a drilling machine drill into his temple and ripping apart a metal basin, with his bare hands.

Photos by QUIRKY CHINA via Telegraph.co.uk

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The Blood Fountains of Bucharest

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Hemophilia is a serious condition,and over 2,000 Romanians suffer from it. To draw some attention to the hardships the 2,000 Romanians suffering from this disease, have to go through every day, the Romanian Association for the Problems of Hemophilia colored the water fountains, in the center of Bucharest, bloody red.

Passers-by did in fact notice the red water flowing in the fountains, but it’s going to take a lot more than this to inspire them to help hemophilia victims.

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219,000 Cigarettes to Help Smokers Quit

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In an attempt to raise public awareness to the dangers of smoking, an Australian pharmaceutical company has set up an installation, featuring 219,000 cigarette imitations, in the middle of Sydney.

This unusual display, located in central Sydney, is supposed to convince smokers to seek professional help, and give up smoking. The cigarettes are covered by transparent panels, and in case you’re wondering why there are 219,000 of them, that’s how many a smoker goes through, in a period of 30 years, at a rate of 20 cigarettes per day.

Photos via ChinaDaily

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Onbashira – Japan’s Riskiest Celebration

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Held every six years, in the Nagano area of Japan, Onbashira Festival is believed to have continued uninterruptedly, for the last 1200 years.

Onbashira, literally translated as “the sacred pillars”, is a Japanese tradition that symbolizes the renewal of Suwa Grand Shrine. It consists of two phases: Yamadashi and Satobiki, the first held in April, and the second in May. Before Onbashira begins, 16 tree trunks, cut form 200-year-old Japanese fir trees are cut down. Each tree can be up to 1 meter across, 16 meters tall and weigh up to 12 tons.

Yamadashi is translated as “coming out of the mountains” and is the most popular part of the festival. Teams of men have to drag the logs down the mountain, to Suwa Shrine. At some points they encounter steep slopes where they must slide the tree trunks. In a ceremony called Ki-otoshi, brave young men risk their lives by climbing on the trunks and riding the all the way down the muddy slopes. It takes 3 days to move the sacred tree trunks, over 10 kilometers, to the shrine.

Satobiki involves placing the logs at the four corners of the four buildings that make up Suwa Grand Shrine. Using ropes, teams have to pull up the giant tree trunks in a vertical position, with young men sitting on them. Those still on the logs after they are positioned, perform all sort of feats.

On Sunday, during the 2010 edition of Onbashira Festival, a man was crushed to death by a tree trunk, during Satobiki. One of the ropes came loose and hit the 38-year-old man in the head. Several others were injured in the accident.

Photos via Daylife

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Bolivia’s Day of the Skulls

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Dia de los Natitas (Day of the Skulls) is an ancient Bolivian ritual where skulls are decorated with flowers and pampered with cigarettes, coca leaves and other treats.

Every November 9, the central cemetery, in La Paz, Bolivia, becomes the scene of a bizarre pre-Columbian tradition, known as Dia de los Natitas.  Women carrying skulls, in decorated wooden or cardboard boxes, fancy glass cases and even in plastic bags, gather outside the cemetery to show off their skulls. They are usually decorated with flower petals (hydrangeas and roses) and covered with knitted colorful caps.

Some Bolivians believe a person has seven souls, and one of them remains in the skeleton, after they’ve been buried. Once the other souls have left for heaven, the remains are dug up and the skull taken home and cared for. If they’re not respected, skulls can bring bad luck to a household, ruin the harvest and even break up a family. But if they’re properly taken care of, you can ask the skull for favors.

A big part of caring for the skull is represented by the Dia de Las Natitas celebration. Skulls are offered cigarettes, coca leaves, alcohol and are even serenaded by street musicians.

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Orangutan Boxing Matches Held in Thailand

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A Thai theme-park, outside Bangkok has become a popular tourist attraction by organizing orangutan boxing matches.

Huge crowds of tourists and “sport” enthusiasts gather at Safari World to watch orangutans duke it out in 30 minute-boxing matches. Forced to wear boxing gloves and shorts, the two primates have been trained to hit each other for the entertainment of man. Although organizers claim the orangutans have been trained to simulate being knocked-down, animal activists say it’s a clear case of animal cruelty.

It’s sad to see thousands of tourists cheer as two 250-pound primates pummel each other, or hear them whistling when a female orangutan, wearing a bikini, displays the round number, but it’s the world we’re living in. These peaceful creatures don’t fight because they like to, but because they’ve been trained to do so, an because they would be beaten if they didn’t.

The Thai government shut down the monkey boxing matches, in 2004, and it’s yet unclear how this bizarre and cruel show is still allowed.

Photos by Barcroft India

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Indian Students Write World’s Longest Letter to God

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A group of students from an Indian university celebrated their silver jubilee year, by setting a new world record for the longest letter.

The Brahmakumaris youth wing of Gujarat University found an original way to celebrate their silver jubilee year, the university’s diamond jubilee year and 600 years since the establishment of Ahmedabad city. They decided to organize an event where people could write their own letter to God.

In just 3 hours time, 2,800 people wrote down their feelings of gratitude for their happy lives and also asked the removal of poverty and protection from terrorism, corruption and other evils. The letter ended up being 2,841 feet long.

Participants were grateful for such an occasion to thank God for everything He helped them achieve in life, and organizers say this kind of event is perfect for people who want to learn how to write letters to God.

The previous record for the World’s Longest Letter was established by 2,000 of my Romanian countrymen who wrote a 1,358 feet-long letter for Santa Claus.

via WorldAmazingRecords

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Wet Monday in the Ukraine

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Known as an ancient tradition, in central-European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, Wet Monday appears to be very popular in Ukraine, as well. It takes place on the second day of Easter

Wet Monday started out, in Poland,as a pagan custom that symbolize cleansing, with the coming of Spring. When Christianity became the main religion, Wet Monday was adopted as a Christian ritual, related to cleansing souls of sins. The truth is people loved this tradition so much, they found a way to keep it, by associating it with religion.

On Wet Monday. boys and men armed with bottles and buckets of water, chase after girls and splash them from head to toe. According to the original custom, the most beautiful girl in a village would be the wettest, but nowadays, boys just splash any girl they see. At one point, the tradition got so out of hand that boys threw buckets of water, at girls, threw their car windows.

With the current water shortage the world is facing right now, some would say this is a terrible waste, but the boys with water bottles wouldn’t dream of abandoning this ancient tradition. just look at those happy faces.

The photos below were taken on Wet Monday, in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. They are copyright of  Yurko Dyachyshyn.

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British Lovebirds Say Yabba-Dab-I-Do

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Inspired by the rocky beach front of Combe Martin, a British couple decided to get married in a Flintstones-themed wedding.

Ed Martin and Gayla Robinson moved to Combe Martin in September of last year, and inspired by their rocky surroundings, decided to opt for something more original than a white wedding. They plastered the stage of the Landmark Theater to look like a cave, had their 100 guests dress like cavemen, and even built a replica of the Flintstones car.

As you can imagine, the best man and maid of honor were dressed like Barney and Betty Rubble, and the page girl and boy, as Pebbles and Bam Bam. Just like the Star-Wars wedding, the Peter-Pan wedding, or pretty much any themed wedding, it was a fun event that everyone enjoyed.

Photos by GUY HARROP

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11-Year-Old Girl Wins Stinky Sneakers Contest

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In an event organized by Odor-Eaters, 11-year-old Trinette Robinson proved she had the stinkiest sneakers, and took home the $2,500 prize.

The 35th edition of the Annual National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest had nine kids, aged six to sixteen, battle it out for the title of “wearer of the stinkiest sneakers”. It was a hard contest to judge, considering all participants had already proven their stinky valor, at regional level. To make sure the winner was decided fairly, organizers brought in members of the jury with some serious sniffing abilities. Among them were George Aldrich, chemical specialist for NASA space missions, and Rachel Herz, author of the Scent of Desire, and professor at Brown University.

Pungent sneakers were judged on the condition of the sole, tongue, heel, toe, laces, overall condition, but especially odor. This year’s winner of the Rotten Sneaker Contest was Trinette Robinson, an 11-year-old girl from Bristol, Connecticut. She confessed she played hard in Girl Scout Camp, did a lot of community walks for charity, and took part in the “no-child left inside” program, in order to get her sneakers to smell as bad as they do.

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Italians Make World’s Longest Chocolate Bar

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The small town of Rivarolo, near Turin, Italy, hosted a Guinness World Records attempt for the longest chocolate bar in the world.

The record to beat was 6.98 meters, but A. Giordano, a local chocolatier, and his team outdid themselves and made an 11.57 meter-long chocolate bar. The event was sponsored by a Rivarolo shopping mall, who also brought in the Guinness representative to acknowledge the attempt.

As you can imagine, the crowd gathered during the event was treated to a delicious piece of chocolate delight.

via Guinness World Records

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Gunther von Hagen’s Plastinated Animal Menagerie

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Doctor Gunther von Hagen , the anatomist who invented plastination, presents his newest exhibition – a collection of the most revered animals in the world.

At the “Body Worlds of Animals” exhibition, held at Neunkirchen Zoo, Germany, people can discover the intricate anatomy of some of the most remarkable creatures in the animal kingdom. Samba and Chiana, two elephants donated by the zoo to the Institute of Plastination, four years ago, return home in plastinated form. The whole process of plastinating an elephant took 64,000 hours, 4 tons of silicone and 40,000 liters of acetone. By comparison, platinating a human body takes only 3,000 hours of work.

But the difficult and time-consuming process is well worth it, if it can reveal amazing mechanisms, like an elephant’s trunk, manipulated by 40,000 muscles, or the incredible cardiovascular system of the giraffe, which prevents it from being in permanent cardiac arrest.

The Body Worlds of Animals features other popular animals, like the bear, gorilla, or ostrich, stripped of their skin and ready for inspection. Dr. Gunther von Hagen, a self-declared animal lover, hopes his exhibition ” will increase appreciation for animals, especially endangered species, and remind us all of our obligation to animal wellfare.”

Photos by REUTERS via Daylife

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