Elderly People in China Are Committing Suicide to Make Sure They Get Buried in a Cemetery Instead of Cremated

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Many cultures view old age as a time for peaceful reflection and a preparation for the final journey of life. However, a few elderly people in China are being forced to hasten the process of ‘passing on’. Dozens have been voluntarily taking their own lives for a chance to be buried in a cemetery, before a government ban on burials takes effect.

The authorities of China’s Anhui province plan to close all cemeteries after June 1, simply because there isn’t any space left. The public was informed of the new rule on April 1: “Before June 1 people can still consign their bodies for burial, but after that the only option offered will be cremation.” The announcement has caused quite a stir among the elderly residents, especially in rural areas.

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Izhikhothane – South Africa’s Bizarre Money-Burning Sub-Culture

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Izikhothane, which loosely translates to ‘brag it’, is a South African subculture of youths who dress themselves in designer clothes they can barely afford. They arrive in minivans at public spots and participate in elaborate dance-offs against rival gangs. During these performances, they indulge in burning wads of cash, destroying their clothes and spilling expensive food and alcohol on the streets. Why, you ask? To show off, obviously.

“To be Izikhothane, you have to be like us. Buy expensive clothes, booze, fame, girls, driving, spending. And when you are dressed in Italian clothing it shows that you’re smart,” said one gang member. In a nation where almost 50 percent of youths are unemployed, this sort of blatantly extravagant act is rather surprising. Most of the Izikhothane are funded by their working class parents with modest incomes.

There’s also a huge generation gap between these youths and their parents. Most of the Izikhothane belong to a generation that grew up after the end of white minority rule, unlike their parents. According to one kid, “Being born free means we can shop where we want and the country is no longer under oppression. We can express our views without being imprisoned.” Some use the extravagance as a means to escape their poverty, and for others it is just a culture of bling.

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Chinese Monk Who Has Been Praying for Up to 1,000 Times a Day for 20 years Leaves His Footprints Ingrained in Wooden Floor

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HuaChi, a simple monk from China, has achieved something that only few are able to – he has left a mark in this world, quite literally. The pious man has knelt to pray in the exact same spot for nearly 20 years now. He’s performed the ritual so many times that his footprints are deeply ingrained in the wooden floor of his temple, in the monastery town of Tongren, in Qinghai Province.

The highly disciplined monk follows a never-changing routine – he arrives at the temple steps every day before sunrise, places his feet on the footprints and prostrates a few thousand times in prayer. Having done this for two decades, the wood beneath his feet has softened considerably, transforming into perfect footprints that are 1.2 inches deep.

When Hua Chi was younger, he would prostrate 2,000 to 3,000 times a day. “But I have grown older, so in recent years I have only done around 1,000 each day,” he said. Sometimes, during winter he can only manage 500. But even that is seriously impressive; I couldn’t imagine doing a handful of prostrations without exhausting myself. After completing his prayers, he walks around the temple as well.

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Philippines Zoo Offers Adrenaline Junkies Snake Massage from Four Giant Pythons

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Everybody loves a good massage, but this snake massage at the Cebu City Zoo in Philippines is really something else. It involves 15 minutes of hardcore action, with four enormous Burmese pythons slithering all over brave participants.

According to zoo manager Giovanni Romarate, the free massages are a part of a new theme that encourages visitors to interact more with the animals. “We are going to change the zoo into an interactive one,” said Giovanni. “Everybody could have an experience and have a chance to hold and pet some of the animals here, including the snake massage that we newly introduced.”

The four snakes – Walter, EJ, Daniel and Michelle – are fed about 10 chickens each before the massage to avoid last minute hunger pangs. Obviously, the zoo authorities don’t want the reptiles snacking on their clients. The participants are given a set of safety instructions as well. According to tourist Ian Maclean, “They tell you not to blow air on the snake, because this is like being pinched on the bum. You can’t shout for help as the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you’re a prey or a predator, depending on the environment.”

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The ‘Avatar Fare’ – Russian Taxi Drivers Are Punishing Clients Who Refuse to Pay by Painting Them Blue

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Taxi drivers in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod have taken it upon themselves to punish misbehaving clients. These drivers simply pour blue paint all over passengers who complain about the taxi fare or flat out refuse to pay. Their idea is to make the customers resemble Avatar characters, with a sign on the back that says: “Avatar Fare”.

Cabbies all over Nizhny have been struggling for quite some time now with non-paying customers. “We have repeatedly brought them to the police station, they were released there,” one driver said. So the drivers decided to dole out some ‘harmless’ punishment themselves. They force bad customers to strip, douse them with blue paint, stick a sign on their backs, and release them on to the street.

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Kazakh Village Affected by Mysterious Condition That Causes People to Suddenly Fall Asleep for Up to Six Days

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Residents of the almost abandoned Soviet town of Krasnogorsk and the areas around Kalachi village, in Kazakhstan, are prone to a mysterious ‘sleeping beauty’ syndrome. The bizarre condition has people suddenly dozing off for as long as six days at a time. It’s like a bad horror film – the illness has gripped these regions and no one knows the reason behind it. Scientists and experts are truly perplexed by the phenomenon.

The weird sleeping illness isn’t prevalent all the time. Instead, it comes in waves – the first one occurred in March 2013 and the second in May 2013. There have been three more since then – around New Year 2014, just after the winter holidays this year, and now again in May. A total of 40 to 60 people have suffered in the scarcely populated region. In most of the cases, the sleep is accompanied by temporary memory loss.

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For Some Strange Reason the Nurses at This Chinese Hospital Dress Like Flight Attendants

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A hospital in eastern China has decided to do away with plain white nurse uniforms. Instead, they have their nurses dressing up like flight attendants. The new initiative began earlier this month at the Lianshui Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Huai’an city. Their idea is to glamorize the otherwise thankless profession of nursing, and also provide patients with superior customer service.

Bu Haijuan, head of the hospital’s nursing unit, came up with the idea as a way to remind her nurses to improve their bedside manner. “If you think of all the professions of the world, which one comes to mind when you think of good customer service?” she asked. “It’s airline stewardesses, isn’t it? Nurses learn all sorts of technical skills at college but customer service can be easily overlooked. But flight attendants are specifically trained to have a good attitude and manners.”

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Chinese City Tries to Create Artificial Lake Ends Up with Sahara-Like Desert Instead

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Zhengzhou, the capital city of north-central China’s Henan Province, is currently a sandy mess. Officials wanting to create an artificial lake on the outskirts of the city have botched things up so bad that it’s turned into a sprawling desert instead. The sand is everywhere – about 10 meters high and covering an area as large as four football fields. Naturally, Zhengzhou’s residents aren’t pleased.

The idea was nice to begin with – the officials planned to make a beautiful lake on the outskirts of the city by tapping a natural water source called Dragon Lake and removing hundreds of thousands of tons of sand around it. Unfortunately, nature did not play along with the plan. The underground water source dried up and all the dug-up sand began to spread. It has now resulted in a large wasteland of parched earth in the area.

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Meet the Human Punching Bag Who Makes a Living by Getting Punched in the Stomach

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Thankfully, I’ve never been beat up, but I imagine it must be a horrible thing to go through. Which is why I find this 48-year-old Chinese man’s choice of career strange, to say the least. Xie Shuiping actually volunteers to take punches from random strangers, for a fee. Surprisingly, taking a beating is a rather decent source of income, earning him about $3,500 a month.

Xie, who is also known as the ‘human punching bag’, hangs around streets, bars and nightclubs, just waiting to get punched. Each person who comes forward is allowed to punch him three times in the stomach, as hard as possible. The ‘performance’ lasts about 20 minutes, and those who beat him or shake him can receive free drinks at the bar. Financial rewards aside, the human punching bag also likes to think he helps people let off some team as well. “If you are upset by your boss or your wife, don’t blame them. Vent your anger on me. Let society be harmonious,” he said.

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Man Tries to Find Love on Facebook Gets Rejected by 5,000 Women

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Some people just can’t seem to catch a break. Predrag Jovanovic, a single man from Serbia trying to find love online, hasn’t gotten a single positive response after contacting 5,000 different women on Facebook.

Desperate for love, the 34-year-old Serbian had turned to Facebook to find his soulmate. He sent individual messages to 5,000 different women, asking if they would consider being his girlfriend. Unfortunately, none of the responses were favourable. “I got only 15 responses and they were all negative,” he said. “All 15 politely refused to be my girlfriend, while the rest of them simply ignored me. When someone ignores you, that’s the worst thing of all.”

But Jovanovic hasn’t lost hope yet; he vows to continue his mission to find his perfect woman online. Well, he actually doesn’t have any other options, as most of the women in his tiny village (near Belgrade) are either married or grandmothers. He also said that he finds speaking to women online easier, owing to his shy nature. He admitted that he doesn’t laugh much, and that his behavior towards strangers can be stiff at times.

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Students Across the Country Are Brokering Deals to Get Out of Exams if They Get Enough Retweets

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I never thought I’d live to see the day when Tweets could replace a student’s academic performance. But it’s actually becoming a popular trend. Teachers all over the United States are promising to cancel final exams if their students manage to get a sufficient number of retweets. I’m not sure the teachers always mean it, but it appears that the students are their deals quite seriously.

It all started with one opportunistic student – Andrew Muennink of Round Rock High School in Texas – who struck a sweet deal with his art teacher. Andrew is quite popular on Twitter, with over 2,300 followers. “I try my best and the final is supposed to be so hard, so I was like, ‘I have lots of followers on Twitter’”.

So he decided to leverage his vast following to his benefit. He approached his art teacher on 7 May and succeeded in striking a deal – if he could get 15,000 retweets by 12 p.m. on May 23rd, his class would be excused from taking the art final. His post spread quickly all over the internet, and he achieved his goal long before the deadline.

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Forget Facelifts, Engagement Ring Selfies Spark New Hand-Lift Craze

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It’s stories like these that make me truly worried for the future of the human race. First we heard of people getting plastic surgery for the picture perfect selfie, and now, in a bizarre new trend, engaged women are getting hand jobs (no pun intended), to achieve the perfect ‘engagement ring selfie’.

It’s the latest thing on social media – as soon as the man pops the question, women click pictures of the ring on their finger, posting it online for the world to see. But not all women are happy with shape of their hands, so they turn to image altering tools like Photoshop to make them look better. Only now they have a new solution – cosmetic hand-lifts.

The procedure involves an anti-aging treatment called Juvederm, which is an injectable form of hyaluronic acid. Doctors use it to convert aging hands with visible tendons and veins into youthful, plump hands worthy of showing off a stunning diamond ring. Usually used on the face to fill in lines and wrinkles, Juvederm works wonders on the hands too, if the ‘before’ and ‘after shots are to be believed.

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Artist Isolates Herself in a Room Surviving Only on Water for Seven Days to Focus Solely on Art

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Millie Brown, a British Performance artist previously known for her superior regurgitating skills, is now making headlines for a new artistic endeavor – surviving on nothing but water for a week. We had covered Millie’s story in 2011, back in her regurgitating days, when she used to swallow gallons of colored milk and puke it all onto a canvas. At one point, she was widely popular as the girl who threw up all over Lady Gaga in a music video, but she’s apparently setting her sights on starvation as an art form these days.

Millie has placed herself on display, enclosed in the Hatbox, a gallery space at the Refinery Hotel in New York. She’s surrounded by a carpet of freshly-cut flowers, and she plans to remain completely removed from the outside world for 168 hours straight. During this time, the 27-year-old will sustain herself solely on water.

Millie joins the ranks of several performance artists across the world who’ve done weird things to themselves in the name of art. Like this guy who lived inside a bear carcass for 13 days, and these two artists who lived in a hamster wheel for 10 days. Millie’s challenge began on Friday, as a part of NYC’s Frieze Art Week. “I wanted to create a performance that embodied the transience of life,” she said.

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Mother’s Day Event in China Lets Men Experience Pain of Childbirth

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Of all the Mother’s Day events this year, I think this one was the most befitting – putting men through the pain of childbirth. A local TV station in Nanchang City, in south China’s Jiangxi province, had about 20 men volunteering to put themselves through the excruciating pain of labor . They were hooked up to a special machine that simulated the pain using electric shocks. Needless to say, the men couldn’t even last 30 seconds.

The theme of the TV show was to have men submit to the pains that women endure during childbirth. The challenge consisted of 10 levels of pain, with an agony scale ranging from 50 to 500. Electric shocks were sent into the abdomens of the male volunteers in order to achieve the desired effect. Predictably, the men were writhing in pain within seconds, begging to stop the experiment.

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Iowa Distillery Wants to Raise Pigs That Taste Like Rye Whisky

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The Templeton Rye Distillery, in Templeton, Iowa, is trying to create a revolutionary pork flavor. The founders of the distillery realized that since alcohol is used in meat marinades all the time, why not have meat that comes ‘pre-cured’? So they’re raising 25 pigs that will, hopefully, end up tasting like rye whisky. This is the first experiment of its kind, so there’s really no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out.

Now, if you’re imagining 25 pigs in a pen getting drunk on whisky all day, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. The pigs actually aren’t being fed any whisky at all. Their diet consists of a distinct feed that is mixed with the dry distillery grain from the whiskey-making process. That’s how they plan to infuse the flavor into the pigs’ meat. The swine are currently being cared for by Nick Berry, who has a Ph.D. in Animal Studies.

According to Berry, the pigs are purebred Duroc, which have a superior meat quality and are prefect for this project. He also said that the project is a natural combination for Templeton Rye and their home state’s animal agriculture industry. “I think it really falls in line with what their roots surround – whiskey making and rural Iowa and the Midwest,” he said. “This project really fits right in line with a lot of their history and heritage.”

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