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Millions of Ladybugs Are Converging on a Remote Radio Tower in Australia and Nobody Knows Why

A remote radio tower near Mount Burr in South Australia has attracted millions of ladybugs for reasons no one seems to understand.

The unusual sight was recently reported by wildlife photographer Steve Chapple, who posted several photos and a video of it on his Facebook page. Contacted by ABC News Australia, Mr. Chapple said that he was told by a friend about this place where ladybugs would sometimes converge in the thousands, seven years ago, but their number has since increased manyfold. This year, there appear to be millions both on the ground and on the radio tower itself.

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Australian Teen Left Quadriplegic After Swallowing Garden Snail as a Dare

Sam Ballard, an aspiring rugby player from Sydney, Australia, never imagined that a silly thing like swallowing a garden snail at a party would end up ruining his life and leave him quadriplegic.

Sam’s life took a devastating turn in 2010. He was at a friend’s party drinking red wine, when someone brought out a seemingly harmless garden snail and dared him to eat it. “Eat it, I dare you,” his friend said, and never one to back off from a challenge, Sam just swallowed it whole and, after having a good laugh with his mates, went back to the party. The teen didn’t give this silly dare a second thought, but he soon fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital, where doctors discovered that he had become infected with rat lungworm.

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Australia’s “Firehawks” Deliberately Start Wildfires to Flush Out Prey

According to a research paper published recently in the Journal of Ethnobiology, several Australian birds of prey have the habit of starting wildfires for the soul purpose of flushing out prey from the blazing grasslands. Interestingly, aboriginals have known about this for over 40,000 years and even have a name for the fire-wielding birds – “firehawks”.

Australia’s dry climate makes it prone to wildfires. Lightnings and human activities are considered the main causes, but according to a recently-published research paper, birds may sometimes have a part to play as well. Raptors like the black kite (Milvus migrans), whistling kite (Haliastur sphenurus), and the brown falcon (Falco berigora) can allegedly start fires in the continent’s 730,000 square miles of savanna by dropping burning sticks in the dry grass to flush out prey like insects, reptiles and small mammals. What’s even more remarkable is that they seem to be doing it on purpose.

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Distiller Makes Booze Out of Wine Spat Out by Strangers at a Tasting Event

An Australian distiller has taken the concept of recycling to a whole new level by taking the spat-out wine at a wine tasting conference and turning it into a spirit aptly named Kissing a Stranger.

Peter Bignell, of Tasmanian Belgrove Distillery, was first struck by the idea at the Rootstock festival in Sydney, a gathering of winemakers from all over the world promoting sustainable practices in the winemaking industry. He was in a group tasting wines, and as per tradition in wine-tasting, the majority of it was spat out in a bucket. This practice enables tasters to experience a lot of different wines while avoiding drunkenness. Bignell, however, saw it as wasteful.

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Snow-White Beach in Australia Is Made Up of Billions of Cockle Shells

Australia’s Shark Bay World Heritage Area is home to Shell Beach, one of only two places around the world where beach sand is completely replaced by sea shells.

Imagine billions of white cockle shells stretching out as far as the eye can see, and you get a pretty good idea of how amazing Shell Beach looks. Located on the western edge of the Australian continent, this unique tourist attraction stretches for a whopping 70 km, which makes it look like an endless sea of shells meeting the ocean. And if you’re thinking that the shells only make up a superficial layer, we’ll have you know that in some places, they reach 10 meters deep.

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7-Year-old “Gentle Giant” Reportedly Weighs 100 Kg, Is Unstoppable on the Rugby Field

A 7-year-old Samoan rugby player who towers over most kids his age recently sparked controversy in the world of children’s sports, after a video showing him effortlessly tearing through the entire opposing rugby team during a league game went viral online.

Vaka Tuitupou may be only 7-years-old, but he already weighs around 100 kg and is one or two heads taller than most kids his age. He’s also a pretty good rugby player and considering his physical advantages, it’s no wonder that his team, the Sydney St John’s Eagles, only play him when they really need to. In a video that has been doing the rounds online for the last two weeks, the boy effortlessly goes through the entire opposing team to score a try, despite their efforts to stop him.

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Australian Pet Groomer Creates Fake Nails for Cats

Cally Loridas, the owner of a pet grooming salon in Victoria, Australia, may have just sparked the latest trend in feline fashion – colored acrylic claw sheaths that keep your beloved pet from scratching the furniture.

Cat owners from all over Victoria have been pouring in at Cally’s Scratch & Sniffs Pet Grooming Salon, in Cheltenham, after word got out that she was applying stylish silicone nails that not only look good but have a very practical purpose. They keep the cats from scratching at the furniture, or your leg, whatever the case may be, without impeding their movement in any way. The fake nails come in 40 different colors and are guaranteed to give cat owners 6 to 8 weeks of scratch-free time with their pet.

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Activated Charcoal Fish and Chips Looks Like a Burnt Stick on a Plate

If anyone ever puts together a list of the world’s most unappetizing dishes that actually taste great, they should definitely consider this version of the popular fish and chips cooked in an activated charcoal batter. It looks like a scorched stick, but reportedly tastes amazing.

Activated charcoal is commonly used in cosmetic products and toothpaste, for its ability to trap toxins in its micro-pores and clean the body, but people have also been using it as an eye-catching food ingredient for a few years now. Back in 2014, we wrote about a jet black Cheddar cheese that got its unique coloring from activated charcoal, and last year, black ice-cream almost broke the internet after photos of it went viral on Instagram and Twitter. Now, a cafe in Melbourne, Australia is getting its five minutes of internet fame for combining the classic fish and chips with activated charcoal to create one of the least appealing dishes in history.

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Australian Ice-Cream Shop Serves Beautiful Gelato Flowers

i-Creamy Artisan Gelato offers some of the most delicious ice-cream in Sydney, but it’s not their award-winning creations or the predominantly Asian flavors that set them apart from the competition. It’s the way they serve their ice-cream that has everyone talking about i-Creamy and their beautiful gelato flowers.

Who wants gelato scoops pressed onto a crunchy cone when you can feast on a delicious ice-cream flower instead? Judging by the crowd lining up outside the i-Creamy Artisan Gelato, in Sydney’s Central Business District, even on cold winter nights, and the popularity of i-Creamy’s Instagram page, nobody! Sure, turning an ice-cream into a work of art takes a bit more time than serving a regular gelato, but it makes people happy and they always come back for more.

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Pay as You Flush – Landlord Allegedly Installs Coin-Operated Toilet in Rented Apartment

An apartment tenant in Melbourne, Australia, has recently taken to Reddit to complain about his landlord installing a system that allegedly requires him to insert one dollar every time he wants to flush the toilet.

“Is it legal for my landlord to have installed a coin-operated flusher on my toilet?” the title of the tenants Reddit post reads. He goes on to explain that he understands having to pay for the communal washing machine when doing the laundry, but since he pays the water bill for the rented apartment, having to pay extra every time he needs to flush the toilet seems a bit much.

“He said it was a government incentive to save water. But then why does he get to collect the money?” the Redditor asks. “I see nothing on google about this so I can’t work out if I’m being duped?”

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Introducing the Hamdog – The Crazy Hamburger-Hotdog Hybrid You Never Knew You Craved

From now on, when you get the munchies for a delicious street food snack, you’ll no longer have to choose between a hamburger and a hotdog, because you can have both in the same bun. Introducing the Hamdog, probably the craziest fast food hybrid ever.

Mark Murray, of Perth, Australia, came up with the idea for the Hamdog in 2004, and by 2009, he had already obtained a patent for the uniquely-shaped bun of the treat. Last year, he appeared on Channel 10’s Shark Tank show to pitch his idea to potential investors and secure enough funding to get his fast food business off the ground. The judges were not impressed, and even laughed when he described eating the Hamdog as “a party in your mouth”. But Murray didn’t let the experience bring him down, and one year later, he’s selling Hamdogs in his home city and wants to expand nationally.

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Australian Teens Are Taking Up Smoking So They Can Have Small Babies

In what is likely the most disturbing teen trend we’ve ever reported about – and there have been quite a few – pregnant young girls in Australia are turning to smoking tobacco cigarettes to keep their babies’ weight low and make childbirth less painful.

The shocking finding that young Australian pregnant women are more terrified of childbirth pain than the serious adverse affects smoking during pregnancy can have on the fetus – including higher stillbirth rates and increased risk of childhood asthma and allergies – was revealed by a recently published 10-year national anthropological study led by Associate Professor Simone Dennis from the Australian National University. She found that girls as young as 16 are either taking up smoking or increasing their daily cigarette intake in an effort to have smaller babies, due to fears that their young bodies will not be able to handle childbirth.

Even more disturbing is the fact that the teen mothers-to-be were inspired to take on this practice by the health warnings on Australian cigarette packs, some of which state that ‘smoking while pregnant can reduce the weight of your baby’. Rather than being deterred by this, they decided to embrace smoking as a way of keeping their unborn babies’ weight low in hopes of a less painful childbirth. Studies show that smoking mothers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to have lower weight babies, about 200g lighter, on average.

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Bar Themed After Seinfeld’s George Constanza Opens in Melbourne

A new bar in Melbourne is dedicated entirely to the balding and temperamental Seinfeld character George Costanza. ‘George’s Bar’, located in the north-east suburb of Fitzroy, features Costanza-inspired decor, including posters and quotes. A sign outside the bar even encourages patrons to ‘Be more like George’.

The owners came up with the idea because they like Seinfeld and couldn’t get over how perfect George was as a bar theme. “I think he is probably the most suited of any of the characters,” explained co-owner Dave Barrett. “His humour is fairly dark and dry and fits in with a bar, it probably works more than any of the other characters would.”

“Also, when we were developing this new venue, one of the names we came up with was George’s, and we to some extent worked backwards on ways to market that and so to some extent that is where George Costanza came into it as well,” he added. Their marketing strategy has apparently worked – barely two weeks after opening, stories about the quirky theme have gone viral online.

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The Australian Canine Heroes Protecting a Colony of the World’s Smallest Penguins

Middle Island, a picturesque outcrop located off the coast of southern Victoria in Australia, is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins. Originally known as fairy penguins, these adorable little birds are no taller than a foot and weigh only about 1kg. There used to be hundreds of them at one point, but their population dwindled as they were hunted by foxes. That is, until a chicken farmer came up with an ingenious solution to use dogs as bodyguards for the penguins.  

The problem was first noticed in the year 2000, when the sea’s natural current led to increased sand-build up, encouraging a growth in the fox population. The island is uninhabited by humans, and separated from the mainland by a 30-meter stretch of water. So at low tide, it’s easy for the foxes to cross from the mainland and reach the island, and hunt the adorable penguins.

Soon, the fairy penguin population started dwindling to the point where they were in danger of being completely wiped out “We went from a point where we had about 800 penguins down to where we could only find four,” said Peter Abbott from the Penguin Preservation Project. “In our biggest bird kill, we found 360 birds killed over about two nights. Foxes are thrill killers. They’ll kill anything they can find. The colony really was on its last legs and just one more fox attack would’ve finished it off.”

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Controversial Hangover Clinic Opens in Australia

Sydney’s new ‘Hangover Clinic’ promises to instantly take care of terrible hangovers through a “revolutionary treatment” that involves an IV drip. Depending on how bad their night was, customers are hooked to the drip for 30 to 45 minutes and are given saline infused with headache and anti-nausea medication, along with vitamins B and C. Antioxidants and oxygen are also included in treatment, priced between $140 and $200.

“Sometimes we just overdo it. Might be a BBQ at a mate’s place, or a drink with the girls, but since time began we’ve all been known to overindulge on the drinks, or our hectic schedules just run us down,” the clinic’s website states. “In as little as 30 minutes, we’ll have you off the couch feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day ahead, so you can feel like the best version of yourself.”

The clinic offers three types of ‘Hangover Remedies’.  ‘Jump Start’, the basic package, costs $140 and includes one liter of IV hydration, Vitamins B and C, and your choice of headache or anti-nausea medication. ‘Energise’ provides an extra jolt at $165, with the addition of oxygen treatment. And ‘Resurrection’ is for the truly hopeless cases – at $200 it includes an antioxidant boost along with the rest of the basic medication.

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