Thai Family Uses Crocodiles as Watchdogs to Fend Off Burglars

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Who needs watchdogs and alarm systems when you have two full grown crocodiles protecting your house? Awirut Nathip says no burglars have dared come anywhere near his home in the 15 years since his two crocodile pets have been keeping guard.

Burglaries are reported regularly in the city of Phitsanulok, where Awirut Nathip and his family live, but thanks to a perfect security system, they haven’t had any problems for a good fifteen years. Just like everybody else, they used to worry about their safety, until they bought their t pet crocodiles, Thong and Ngen. After that, no one dared set foot on the property uninvited. And for good reason, as Awirut’s unusual guard dogs are very aggressive, especially during the hot summer days. In order to keep them under control and make sure they don’t become frustrated by the unbearable heat, he sprays them with cold water at least 10 times a day, and even lets them cool off in his air-conditioned office from time to time. Even so, Ngen is kept in a ditch next to the house, because he is so aggressive, while Thong does his rounds in the yard. ”If we’re upstairs he’ll come and lie in front of the door. We’re not worried at all. No one would dare to get in,” Mr Nathip says.

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The Ocellated Ice Fish – World’s Only Vertebrate with Transparent Blood

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Every animal with bones hemoglobin in its blood, which carries oxygen through its body and gives blood its red color. Every animal except one – the ocellated ice fish which has water-clear blood.

The ocean’s depth have revealed a series of odd life forms in recent years, from giant squid to translucent sea anemones, but scientists say the ocellated ice fish discovered in 2011 is among the most fascinating creatures the world over.  This unique fish lives in the ice-cold waters of Antarctica at depths of up to 3,300 feet (1 kilometer), and the only specimens in captivity can be found at Japan’s Tokyo Sea Life Park. Apart from the fact that it has transparent blood and no scales, the ocellated ice fish is not much different than most of the fish species living in Earth’s waters.  But its two special traits have researchers baffled. Because hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen through the body of vertebrates, it’s not yet clear how this species can survive without the metalloprotein which binds with oxygen. Several theories have been formulated on the subject, with some scientists speculating that the unusually large heart of the ocellated ice fish might help move oxygen using plasma instead of hemoglobin, and others saying that it may be able to absorb oxygen through its scale-free skin from the oxygen-rich waters of Antarctica. But the truth is very little is known about this fascinating creature and there are yet no facts to back up the claims.

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Man Self-Injects Snake Venom to Boost Up His Immunity

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Steve Ludwin, a 42-year-old snake obsessed rocker from California, is one of a just a handful of people who regularly inject venom from the world’s deadliest snakes into their bloodstream, in the belief that it will make them immune to it.

Around 100,000 people around the world die from snake bites every year, and another 250,000 are permanently disabled, but these statistics don’t seem to scare Steve Ludwin. Every week for the past 23 years he has been injecting a venom cocktail from the world’s most dangerous snakes, trying to train his antibodies to resist the poison. By gradually increasing the quantity and frequency of the injections, he believes one day he will become immune not only to snake poison, but other viruses as well. Steve currently has a collection of 28 potentially deadly reptiles in his home, but he is always on the lookout for new additions, scouring European countries for missing specimens and attending snake conventions. On injection days, he expertly milks his snakes for a few milligrams of venom and visits an immunologist to have his killer shot. Within minutes, the muscles in his arm quadruple in size for around 24 hours, as his white blood cells struggle to fight off the poison. The doses he can take these days would kill the average person, but Steve usually goes to a rock concert right after the injection…

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Dead Delicacies: The Man Who Eats Roadkill

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72-year-old Arthur Boyt from Bodmin Moor, England is an unusual man who eats unusual food. His preference in meat leans towards roadkill – the dead animals that lie on the side of highways after being hit by speeding vehicles. This has earned him a bad reputation, but he just considers it a waste to eat anything else.

Over the years, Boyt has taken on the fancy title of ‘Roadkill Connoisseur’. “I am often asked how did this all begin,” he says in an interview. “After 1976, when I was living on my own, I didn’t have to bother with anybody else’s feelings in the matter. The food was there to be bought home and eaten. I would pick up roadkill in those days to bring home, I’m a taxidermist, I skin things and stuff them. And instead of throwing the body away, I decided to start eating them. I think that’s how it came about.” Boyt isn’t queasy about eating a lot of things, including Polecats, whose meat he says has a vile stink. But he’s figured out a way to get rid of the nasty smell – just place the meat under running water for four days, and it’s good to eat for him. He’s eaten badgers and once even a swan, which “tasted like mud.” One of his favorites is Labrador. “It has a pleasant taste and flavor that is a bit like lamb. It turns people off when I say that Labrador is my favorite thing to eat but the point is, I would never kill an animal.” True enough, Boyt is not a wasteful person by nature. “I don’t believe in waste,” he says. “I’m a freegan, I try to eat all my meals for free.”

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Chinese Student Staged Her Own Funeral So She Could Enjoy It

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Zeng Jia, a 22-year-old student from Wuhan, China, shocked family and friends when she invited them to a rehearsal of her own funeral so she could take part in the festivities while she is still alive.

The young student told members of the press that she got the idea for the morbid event after realizing that people spend a lot of time and effort on someone when they’re gone, and they never get the chance to appreciate and enjoy it. Determined not to let that happen to her, Zeng Jia used up all her saving to arrange an elaborate funeral service complete with a coffin, flowers and origami birds, as well as photographers and a crowd of mourners. She then invited her family and friends to take part in the unusual festivities. Believe it or not, some of them actually attended, and got the chance to look at the young girl as she lay in her coffin, with a Hello Kitty doll on her chest. To make the whole thing look and feel realistic, Zeng even hired makeup artists who specialize in working on dead bodies to give her that coveted past-away look. She spent an hour playing dead, as all her relatives and friends passed by her coffin to say their final goodbyes, after which she jumped out to attend the wake and even delivered a eulogy in her honor.

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Weeping for Strangers – The Professional Mourners of Taiwan

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In Taiwan, staging a dramatic funeral for relatives who have passed away is of the utmost importance. So, to create the proper atmosphere, wealthy families hire professional mourners who cry, sing and crawl on the ground to show their grief.

Taiwan’s “filial daughter” phenomenon emerged during the 1970s, when sons and daughters left their families to work in the city. Transport was limited, so if one of their parents died and they couldn’t make it back in time for the funeral, they would hire a filial daughter to take their place and lead the family in mourning. For some Taiwanese, showing grief in a dramatic fashion is the highest reverence for relatives who have passed away, because funerals are considered the most important times to honor one’s family. But not everyone has it in them to shed tears and show their pain in public, so to help create a grieving atmosphere, they hire professional mourning daughters. They chant, dance and wail, warming the hearts of the audience and helping them release their emotions. Crying on command isn’t easy, but professional mourners, like 30-year-old Liu Jun Lin, say it helps to really get involved in the event and consider the family that hired them their own. ”I just imagine that I am part of the family and I fuse myself into the occasion,” she says.

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Would You Pay $91,500 for a Crocodile Skin T-Shirt?

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French luxury goods manufacturer Hermes has recently made headlines after it’s been discovered that its flagship store on Madison Avenue is selling a crocodile skin shirt for the mind-blowing price of $91,500.

Yes, today is April 1st, but this story is no joke. The pricey men’s garment was actually presented last fall as part of Hermes’ spring 2013 “crocodile chiffon” collection, but was only recently spotted in the company’s New York store. Judging by the French brand’s reputation for outrageous prices and the fact that the t-shirt is apparently made of innovative lightweight crocodile skin, everyone expected it to cost a small fortune, but probably not as much as four decent cars. Most people wouldn’t pay more than $30 for at-shirt, but that didn’t stop Hermes from slapping a $91,500 price tag on its black crocodile tee. Pretty unbelievable right? That’s what bloggers from The Awl thought, so before breaking the story, they managed to snap a shot of the label as evidence, despite the store’s no-photo policy. While the technology behind making Hermes crocodile skin clothes lighter and less sticky during the hot summer months may be impressive, does it really justify the astronomical price?

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Australian Shop Charges Visitors $5 Just for Looking

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Tired of having people walk into her gluten free produce store looking around and asking questions only to leave empty-handed and buy similar products somewhere else, a business owner from Brisbane, Australia, put up a sign announcing would-be shoppers they will be charged a $5 fee for “just looking”.

A photo of the notice in the window of Celiac Supplies went viral on popular social news site Reddit, this week. A lot of people thought it was a joke, but reporters from the Australian Associated Press tracked down the owner of “Brisbane’s only glutenfree and wheatfree store” who confirmed the measure was for real. Apparently Georgina felt forced to take radical action after spending several hours each week giving advice to people only to see them walk out empty handed and buying the same kind of products from local supermarkets or online shops. ”I’ve had a gut full of working and not getting paid,” she told AAP. ”I’m not here to dispense a charity service for Coles and Woolworths to make more money.” Her frustration is also fueled by the fact that in most cases her prices match those of larger supermarkets, but people still prefer to shop elsewhere thinking they’d find them cheaper. As you can imagine, her $5 “just looking” tax has turned some potential customers away, but Georgina says a few have actually paid up.

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Tom Sukanen – The Man Who Built a Ship in the Middle of the Canadian Prairie

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Driving down the No. 2 highway south of Moose Jaw, bang in the middle of the Saskatchewan prairie, one can see a large ship flying Finnish and Canadian flags. Confused about a ship so far away from the sea? Well, we were too. But it turns out the ship was built there for good reason by a Finn named Tom Sukanen during the Great Depression. His plan was to use the vessel to sail back to his homeland of Finland.

Tom’s story is the stuff that several Finnish and Canadian documentaries and plays are made of. Born in 1878 in the Finnish archipelago, he learned to sail and navigate with a compass and sextant, and also became proficient in steel working and shipbuilding – the only trades available on the coast where he grew up. At the age of 20, he sailed to America and ended up in Minnesota, like many other Norwegians, Finns and Swedes. He married a young Finnish girl and managed to make a small living on the farm his father-in-law had left them, raising a family of three daughters and a son. It wasn’t the life he had dreamed of when he left Finland, so 1911, out of desperation, he abandoned his family and went across the Canadian border in search of his brother. He completed the 600-mile journey on foot, finally reuniting with his brother in the Macrorie-Birsay area in Saskatchewan.

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Chinese Gaming Addict Has Spent the Last 6 Years in an Internet Cafe

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China’s growing problem with internet and video game addiction is probably best described by the case of Li Meng, a young man who has virtually been living in an Internet cafe for the last six years, leaving only to buy food and take the occasional shower.

According to Chinese media, Li Meng graduated from university six years ago, but unlike most of his peers, who went on to look for jobs, make a name for themselves and start a family, he opted for a life in the fantasy world of online gaming. Ever since he finished school, Li has spent most of his time in one of the many internet cafes in China’s Northeast city of Changchun. The owner of the place says he’s been there for such a long time that he’s basically part of the furniture, and doesn’t even notice his presence anymore. He spends every day and night tucked away in a corner, with an open bag of food by his side, staring at the monitor and mashing the keyboard and mouse buttons, leaving for brief periods of time to catch a bite to eat and take a bath. Reporters who visited the young Chinese gamer at his “workplace” described him as a pale “bespectacled youth that clearly hadn’t been to a hairdresser for a long time”.

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Indian City Introduces Cardboard Traffic Policemen

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They work seven days a week regardless of weather condition, never go on breaks, don’t take bribes and best of all, they require no pay. They are – wait for it – Bangalore’s new lifelike cardboard traffic policemen, and they’re watching you!

India’s tech-city of Bangalore has been facing serious difficulties dealing with traffic violations. Despite low car ownership, the rate of row fatalities has risen sharply in this city of 8.5 million people to at least two road-related deaths per day, in 2012. Some sources say Bangalore needs at least 6,000 traffic policemen to keep things under control, but it currently has a personnel of 3,000. Instead of supplementing their ranks, local authorities have come up with an ingenious idea to make drivers behave at the wheel that doesn’t require significant expenditures - life-size cardboard cutouts of traffic policemen strategically placed on the city’s busiest roads. Only three of them have been deployed so far, but results have been so encouraging that 10 more khaki-wearing fake cops will soon be rolled out to improve Bangalore’s chaotic traffic.

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Meet Denis Hope, the Man Who Sells the Moon

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If someone tried to sell me the moon, I would dismiss them as con artists. So I was pretty surprised to learn about Denis Hope, a 65-year-old man from Gardnerville, Nevada, who runs a legit business selling land plots on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Io and Mercury. Of course, there’s no legal backing to all this, but there’s nobody stopping him either. As long as he’s able to make people smile, he says he can do anything he wants. He’s been in business since 1980.

Hope is a former-ventriloquist, now in the business of space real-estate. Some people view his work as the selling of ‘novelty items’ such as pet rocks and certificates. Others argue that he’s taking forth the age-old American tradition of land speculators selling plots of useless land. Hope admits that there are several others selling property in outer space, but the difference is that those people are criminal in their intent. He considers himself the legit owner of the Moon, so what he’s doing is all right. How come he is so confident, you ask? Well, he says this is as real as any other property you can buy on Earth, and that’s because he filed a declaration with the United Nations. Otherwise, Hope says he wouldn’t be selling at all.

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Russian Jack Sparrow Builds His Own Black Pearl Pirate Ship

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After seeing the blockbuster movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean”, Alexander Marchenko, a 38-year-old entrepreneur from the small Russian village of Cheryomushki decided to build his very own replica of the Black Pearl pirate ship.

Alexander Marchenko has traveled all over Russia, and is now convinced there is no land more beautiful than his native land of Krasnoyarsk and no people more friendly and welcoming than his fellow locals. Upon returning from his travels a few years ago, he decided to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and build a hotel. He had noticed the other resorts and lodgings in the area all looked the same way, so he tried to come up with something special that would attract visitors. As luck would have it, the movie Pirates of the Caribbean was running at local cinemas, and as soon as Alexander saw Captain Jack Sparrow’s beautiful pirate ship, the Black Pearl, he instantly knew that’s what he wanted his unique hotel to look like. Although he didn’t have any ship building experience, he went online and downloaded photos and schematics of the famous ship to use as guides, and started working on it immediately. It’s been two years, and now, his own Black Pearl is starting to take shape on the Yenisei River.

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Guy Turns His Mohawk Hairdo into an Artistic Advertising Billboard

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By design, the “Mohawk” hairdo is really hard to miss, but someone found a way to actually make it even more of an attention grabber. Florida native Mohawk Gaz uses spray paint to turn his head into a truly unmissable advertising billboards for friends and businesses.

31-year-old Mohawk Gaz – real name Gasmy Joseph – from Pompano Beach, Florida, has been a fan of the Mohawk for many years, but it was only a year ago that he discovered the true potential of his outrageous hairdo. A buddy had asked Gaz to spread the word about his birthday party, and suddenly a light bulb went off in his head – why not advertise the event on his hairdo for everyone to see? The idea was a huge success, and he has been spray-painting his Mohawk with all kinds of designs ever since. He has been offering his head as advertising space to friends who needed promotion, and has even been contacted by small businesses. A health-food catering company called Deliver Lean send Mohawk Gaz to Miami Heat and Florida Panthers games with its logo painted on his hair and was very pleased with the results. ”It’s been tremendous marketing,” the company’s founder said. “It’s great exposure, and it’s never been done before.”

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Controversial Priest Wears Rocker Clothes, Rides a Chopper and References Rock Songs During Sermons

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Adolfo Huerta Aleman, known to his parishioners as Father Gofo, is not your usual priest. He looks and dresses like a rocker, likes going to bars, loves pictures of naked women,smokes, swears, and tells jokes during his sermons. He’s probably not the only Catholic priest with odd hobbies, but unlike most, he’s open about them.

At one point in his life, Gofo wanted to enroll in the military. Then he thought about becoming a policeman, a firefighter or a teacher, but he ended up as a priest in the Mexican city of Satillo. He says his ultimate career choice was probably influenced by the values passed on to him by his religious family. But for him, entering the Church didn’t mean leaving everything he loved up to that point at the door. That included his love for rock culture, his passion for motorcycles or any of his vices. On the contrary, he decided to let his unique personality play a big role in his profession, as a way to reach those for whom conventional religion held no appeal. He continued dyeing the end of his black locks red, wore skull rings and bracelets in church, rode his chopper around town, and even referenced rock songs during Mass. Obviously, all that didn’t sit well with many of his conservative parishioners, but it got him closer to members of the community that would otherwise be inaccessible to the Catholic Church.

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