Yes! Cool Dude!: Amazing

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Showing posts with label Amazing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amazing. Show all posts

Put It In A Jar

Rubik’s Cube In A Jar | As if Rubik’s cube wasn’t hard enough, someone had to come along and put it in a jar. The WHOLE, SOLID thing too – not in pieces (or so it would seem).

As a kid, meeting someone who could solve Rubik’s cube was like meeting a mythical god of some sort. It just wasn’t an easy thing to do. In the old days, before you could look up the algorithms on the internet, people who were dedicated enough to learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube had to actually figure it out, layer by layer. This task was extremely difficult for most normal people, but there were a few exceptional folks who could solve the Rubik’s cube in minutes, sometimes even seconds.

But now there’s some nut job with way too much free time who’s decided to not only solve the Rubik’s cube, but to also put it in a glass jar containing an opening smaller than the cube itself. Of course no one really knows how this person was able to pull this off, but we can guess that it involved taking apart the entire cube, cubic piece by cubic piece, then gluing it all back together one by one while within the jar.

Chances are that the person who did this probably didn’t need to bother with learning how to solve the Rubik’s cube. Why bother when you can just take it apart and blow everyone’s minds anyway?

Another theory for how someone was able to do this involves cutting glass. We are unable to see the bottom of the glass jar from the image, but if we did, we might be able to make out a “scar” from the incision in the glass. Someone could have cut the bottom of the glass and slid the solved Rubik’s cube right in, then closed the opening with glass sealant.

However, the challenge now is getting the Rubik’s cube out of the jar. Can you think of a way to remove the Rubik’s cube from the jar without ungluing the cube? Tell us what you come up with!

This Is What We Call Zero Percent Fat

THIS IS WHAT ZERO PERCENT FAT LOOKS LIKE | The whole world is obsessed with being skinny, but one man can’t help but be at zero percent fat for the rest of his life.

Meet Tom Staniford, a nice guy living with Myelodysplastic Preleukemic syndrome, also known as MDP syndrome, a condition in which his body is unable to store fat under his skin. MDP is an extremely rare metabolic disorder, which is currently known to affect only a total of eight people in the entire world.

People with MDP all share the same “no fat whatsoever” characteristics, which include the appearance of sunken eyes, cheeks, and withered lips.

Tom Staniford was born at a totally normal weight, but his condition has caused him to “shrink” in appearance throughout the years. Now at 23 years of age, Tom’s whole body is pretty much just skin and bone.

As a person living with such a rare condition, Tom is somewhat of a medical wonder. No doubt he has been a very interesting case for medical experts, and often undergoes tests specially designed to measure his entire body’s physiological state.

Looking at him straight on, you can see that Tom has more than just a skinny face. Where most people would usually have a good amount of flesh covering their eyes and cheeks, Tom’s face is so skinny that you can see his skull’s shape and structure.

None of this really matters to Tom, of course. In fact, Tom does not seem to be that deeply affected by his condition. His photos show him doing and being totally normal with the people in his life. In addition to this, Tom is super athletic. Considering himself a fitness junkie, he can be seen bicycling and going on all kinds of adventures.

Despite his unusual appearance and unique and seemingly fragile frame, Tom lives life to the fullest. To him, his condition is one that is literally only skin deep.

Corset For 3 Years In A Row

GIRL WEARS A CORSET FOR 3 YEARS IN A ROW | The worldwide struggle for a tiny waist is one of the woman-kind’s most nagging concerns. The ideal hourglass figure has been an attractive quality to both men and women for hundreds and thousands of years, and it is something for which women are willing to suffer.Michelle Kobke is one of those women who are willing to suffer greatly for beauty.

At 24 years of old, Michelle, who lives in Germany, is obsessed with achieving the smallest waist in the world. She is so keen on the idea that she has been wearing corsets every single day for three years in a row, determined to permanently alter her physical shape through long-term reconditioning/molding.

When you think about it, the idea of the corset is not new at all. In fact, for hundreds of years, it’s what all women wore every single day, for their entire lives. Just one hundred or so years ago, it was perfectly normal for a woman at any age to wear a corset that was designed to constrict her waist to look three times smaller than would be natural for any real human.

With this in mind, what Michelle is doing is not that strange at all – except for the fact that at this point in history we’ve already proven that wearing corsets for long periods of time can result in a myriad of health problems, including digestive problems and breathing problems.

So far, Michelle’s waist-altering project is a success. Since wearing her corset for three years, she has indeed been able to physically alter the shape of her waist. Her photos show that even when she is not wearing a corset, her torso and waist still maintain the small shape of the corset. Though her waist is still not as small as she would like, technically speaking, her strategy is working.

the Man Who Runs Full Marathons with a Fridge on His Back

The Inspiring Story of Tony the Fridge, the Man Who Runs Full Marathons with a Fridge on His Back | Tony ‘the fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison got his name from his unique way of running marathons – with a fridge strapped to his back. Yes, a real refrigerator. Why on earth would anyone want to do that, you ask? Well, for Tony, this is a way to gain people’s attention so he can raise money for charity.

“My friends knew I was an ultra-runner, so trying to raise money by just running the Great North Run wasn’t getting me anywhere,” said the 49-year-old marketing manager from South Tyneside, in the UK. “So I thought about something different. I wanted an extreme challenge, something that would push me to my limits. In 2011, I told everyone I was running with a fridge and the world went mad for it! I ended up on the news in 17 different countries over night.”

Contrary to expectations, Tony isn’t really trying to show off his strength by running with the 42 kg Smeg Fridge. “I hate the fridge,” he insisted. “It starts off tough, then gets impossible. I don’t put it on for show. I should never have ran with the fridge because I was injured when I began. I went running with kettle bells in a rucksack and it swung everywhere, damaging my lower back.” According to Tony, there is no other way to prepare for the physically grueling marathon than by being mentally strong.

The story of how Tony got into running in the first place is an emotional one. It all started when he was just 12 years old, and his dad had died. He used to hide under his bed at the time and escape into a secret world, but when his brother found him out, the secret was lost. The next time he felt like escaping the stresses of reality, he just ran. “I stood up from my chair in school and the teachers were begging, ‘don’t run Tony, please.’ They thought once I started I wouldn’t stop. I was like Forrest Gump. I was running away from my problems. It was an escape for me at the time, a medicine to my problems.”

On his Facebook page, Tony describes himself as an ‘Extreme Endurance Athlete and Ultra Runner’. He also wrote about his reason for his fridge challenge: “I am a charity fund raiser for the Bobby Robson Foundation. Using the extreme feats of physical endurance I want to raise awareness and raise money to aid in the battle against cancer.” Tony himself has lost loved ones to cancer, so he said that the cause is very close to his heart. If it could make a difference, he wouldn’t mind carrying the fridge to the four corners of the earth to promote this cause.

The concept of ‘Tony the Fridge’ started in September 2011, when he was the first man to complete the Great North Run in under three hours carrying a fridge on his back. During that first run, nothing really went in his favor. “By the 11th mile both of my calves had gone and I was in a bad state,” he said. “Just completing it was a great relief. I wanted to use the fridge to get people’s attention and think about what cancer is like, carrying this heavy load every day. I couldn’t give myself cancer for charity, but I could give myself a burden like this, experiencing pure toil and struggle.”

Then, in May 2012, he successfully completed the Marathon of the North, with the fridge to keep him company. One of his most epic challenges was the ’30 Great North Runs in 30 days’. It consisted of 29 days spent in the run up to the Great North Run and the 30th day was actual Great North Run. It was during this challenge that he raised a huge sum of money towards cancer research. In the past three years, Tony has completed about 10 marathon challenges with the fridge. He took part in his last challenge – the 24 hour marathon – running four 42 kilometer marathons in a single day. With the fridge, of course.

Unfortunately, Tony was forced to abandon his mission just after completing the second marathon. “I was hit by a sunstroke – it was a very hot day – but I’m trying to raise awareness for people who have been struck down with a sudden illness so maybe it was ironic,” he said. “I still have no feeling in six of my toes. The doctors said if I’d ran another five miles I would have broke both my feet because of the weight of the fridge.” He also said that this would probably be his last challenge with the fridge, since he did not want to take attention away from other fundraisers.

Disease-Carrying Ratzillas Are a Much More Real Threat

Forget Godzilla, Disease-Carrying Ratzillas Are a Much More Real Threat | As though they weren’t bad enough at their normal size, we now have rats that are bigger than cats. Oh, the horror! Several ‘ratzilla’ stories have been in the news recently, featuring shockingly massive rats. I wouldn’t blame you for wondering if these pictures are Photoshopped, but they’re not – the supersize rats look like they’ve been loading up on steroids or something. These ‘pumped’ rats have infested several countries around the world and are quickly becoming a huge menace to humans.

A series of ratzilla-sightings have been reported across the UK, the largest one being 2 ft. long. It was lurking about in the loft of a home, terrifying the residents with loud scratching sounds. “This was followed by the really loud sound of wood being chewed,” said homeowner Grace Walters. “Pest control put a camera in the attic to see what was going on – and sure enough the rat was there, hiding in a corner. They had to cut a hole in the ceiling to reach it and when they grabbed it, none of us could believe it was the size of a cat.”

The incident was nothing short of traumatic for Ms. Walters and her family. “It’s quite scary a rat can grow this big and strong, especially when you have kids in the house.” According to pest controller Marcus Giusti, who captured the monster rat, it’s a very dangerous animal to have in a house. “We’ve been shocked by the number and size of rats recently,” he said. “This could be down to household waste being dumped around estates and the climate warming. It hasn’t been cold enough to kill rats off this winter. There’s an endless amount of food in the sewers where they live and if they’re living longer and eating lots, they’ll be getting bigger.”

Just a week before the Walters incident, Erik Korsas and his family were shocked when a large rat, almost 16 inches long and 2.2 pounds in weight, entered the kitchen of their Stockholm apartment. Erik’s wife Signe and his two daughters Dana, 17, and Erica, 15, screamed in horror and fled from the kitchen. Even the family cat was terrified – it refused to go anywhere near the rat. It was up to Erik and his sons – 13-year-old Justus and 6-year-old Laurentius to hunt down the rodent. They set up a giant rat trap in the kitchen and went to investigate when the trap was sprung. The kids brought Erik a variety of tools to establish that the rat had really died.

In the picture, you can spot Erik holding the rat by its leg with a pair of large plastic tongs. Its head is still attached to the trap, but its eyes look scarily alive. The family took the picture as soon as they caught the rat and then contacted Sweden’s Home and Rent website. Soon, the story was lapped up by media all over the nation. Last month, the picture of the ‘mega rat’ was the most shared item from the popular Swedish daily Aftonbladet. Soon, it was being passed around on various social media websites as well.

Ever since the photograph went viral, Erik has been receiving lots of messages and suggestions. One reporter had said that Erik should have frozen the rat’s carcass instead of throwing it away. Others expressed doubt over the picture, wondering if the rat was digitally ‘enhanced’. “What surprised me is people say they cannot even read the articles and cannot go to sleep because of this story,” Erik said. The Korsas’ kitchen has been repaired now, but the family hasn’t recovered from the incident – they’re expecting their next furry visitor to appear at any moment now.

It turns out that scientists had predicted this abnormality in rats a long time ago. In fact, it is believed in many scientific circles that rats will slowly evolve to grow larger and larger – someday reaching the size of sheep. Rats are known to be great at survival and adapting to their surroundings. The rodents are actually immune to many poisons now. According to Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz, “Given enough time, rats could probably grow to be at least as large as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent that lives today, that can reach 80 kilograms.”

“There will be future thin rats, future fat rats, slow and heavy rats, fast and ferocious rats, probably future aquatic rats – the list goes on. Other animals will likely follow the same pattern, such as domestic cats, rabbits, goats and more.” But don’t bother losing sleep over the thought of supersized animals taking over the world, it’s probably going to take several centuries for anything like that to happen. In the meantime, perhaps it’s time for a new movie franchise – ‘Planet of the Rats’?

Tiny Fairies Flying In English Countryside

University Lecturer Claims to Have Photographed Tiny Fairies Flying in English Countryside | This could be one of the most significant discoveries in human history. Or one of biggest hoaxes. John Hyatt, a 53-year-old professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, claims to have taken photographs of tiny fairies in the English countryside. His pictures show tiny winged humanoid creatures floating flying in swarms. The professor is now on a mission to get more and more adults to believe that the fairies are real, and ‘bring a bit of a magic into their lives’.

Hyatt is the director of the Manchester Institute of Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) at the Metropolitan  University. He is believed to have snapped the pictures while he was out photographing the Lancashire landscape over the past two years. The photographs are now on display in a special exhibition called Rossendale Fairies at the Whitaker Museum in Whitaker Park, Rossendale. Hyatt insists that they are 100 percent real and not Photoshopped. The pictures have gone viral ever since he released them to the public. People all over the world are quite baffled over his claims, and some are beginning to believe him.

“It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take,” he said. “I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don’t look the same. People can decide for themselves what they are.” Hyatt, a former member of The Three Johns punk band in the ‘80s and ‘90s, said that the message to people is to approach these creatures with an open mind. “I think it’s one of those situations where you need to believe to see,” he admitted.

 Hyatt’s story reminds us of the famous Cottingley fairies that were photographed by two schoolgirls in Bradford, decades ago. 60 years later, they revealed that they had faked the pictures using cardboard cut-outs. But Hyatt says that the creatures he snapped are very different from the fairies depicted in children’s books. “Everything is stereotyped,” he said. “But there are stranger things in life than fairies, and life grows everywhere.”

“I don’t believe they are just smaller versions of us and go home and have a cup of tea at the end of the day,” Hyatt pointed out. “And no one is suggesting they have any special powers. From my experience, they were just enjoying themselves and there was a little dance in the sunlight going on. They are just beautiful pictures and beauty can make people believe.”

The Whispering Wall Of The Barossa Reservoir

The Whispering Wall of the Barossa Reservoir and Its Amazing Parabola Sound Effect | When the Whispering Wall was built over a 100 years ago, no one had a clue about its amazing acoustic properties. The concrete dam was constructed by about 400 workers over the South Parra River in Barossa Valley between 1899 and 1902. The dam holds back the 4,515-mega liter Barossa reservoir that supplies water to several areas in southern Australia. The Whispering Wall has always been famous – the 9 storey structure was the first arch dam to be constructed in the region and at one point, the highest in all of Australia. But little did the builders know about the hidden properties of the engineering marvel they had created.

Because the dam is a hard and curved surface, any sound made on one end travels completely unobstructed to the other end. So you could have a perfectly normal conversation with someone standing on the opposite end of the dam (about 450 ft. away), as though they were right next to you! The voices can be heard quite clearly due to a phenomenon known as the parabola effect. The wall is so perfectly curved that it forms one sector of a circle. And the sound waves just bounce in a series of straight jumps all the way to the other end.

 The dam’s whispering abilities were actually discovered by accident. According to locals, the story goes that during construction, a group of workers who were complaining about their boss were overheard on the other side of the dam. The Whispering Wall was revealed! Unfortunately, this wasn’t a cool enough discovery to save the workers’ jobs.

If you ever happen to travel to Australia, the Whispering Wall is one location you don’t want to miss. The place attracts a massive number of tourists each year, eager to test the wall for themselves. Some of them have even put up their ‘whispering’ videos on YouTube. The entire area is protected for native species, so the picturesque location is ideal for a picnic. The surrounding lands are covered in original scrub growth of pink gums and native pine trees. And thanks to all the trees, this is a great spot to do some serious bird watching.

Wearing Wedding Dress For Ten Years

Chinese Woman Has Been Wearing Her Wedding Dress Every Day for the Last Ten Years | A 47-year-old Chinese woman is so happy to have found true love that she hasn’t taken off her wedding dress for the past ten years. You might think that’s crazy, but wait till you hear everything she’s been through. At age 18, Xiang Junfeng was kidnapped from her hometown and sold to an elderly man. She was forced to marry him and lived for 15 years in captivity before she found the courage to run away.

A native of Jimo, in China’s Shandong Province, Xiang was sold to a man in the neighboring city of Linyi. He ended up using her as a slave, putting her to work in the fields. After several years of living in captivity, she managed to escape by running to Liujiazhuang village where a local woman helped her. Eventually, the woman turned out to be Xiang’s savior in more than one way. She introduced Xiang to her own brother, Zhu Zhengliang, and the couple tied the knot in 2004. This event made poor Xiang so happy that she’s refused to wear anything but her wedding attire ever since.

Although she got married with just the one dress, Xiang later had three more made – one for each season. “I bought one and made the other three,” she said. “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell and treated me so differently. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”

“My wedding day was the happiest day of my life and I never wanted it to end, and that was when I decided I wanted to not only keep wearing my wedding dress, but actually got four other wedding dresses as well.” Ever since the wedding, Xiang’s husband has been helping to rehabilitate her to everyday life. “We felt comfortable with each other, so we have been together since then. I am very happy now, as my husband is very good for me.”

The locals have regarded Xiang’s behavior to be strange, especially when she comes to work in the fields wearing a large, white gown. They even have a name for her – ‘sister wedding gowns’. But she isn’t the least bit bothered about what the locals think. “I don’t even have any other clothes,” she said. “I don’t care what people say about me. My wedding dresses are part of my life and I will continue to wear them regardless.” Xiang also said that it doesn’t disturb her husband because he knows how happy it makes her.

It has been a while since I came across a tale as heartwarming as Xiang’s. She seems so sincerely happy that it just fills your heart with joy. Her only regret is that she isn’t able to officially register the marriage because she doesn’t have the paperwork from her previous marriage. But the local police station is considering making an exception in this case and helping the lovely couple get registered. That’s what I call a modern-day fairy tale!

Lucky Guy Getting Paid $93,000 to Have as Much Fun as Possible

Best Job Ever: Lucky Guy Getting Paid $93,000 to Have as Much Fun as Possible in Six Months | Most people need to save up before they get to travel and have fun. But for this lucky Californian, things are the other way round – he gets paid to do all that and more. Andrew Smith has been appointed the ‘Chief Funster’ of the State of New South Wales, Australia, a six-month job that will earn him a whopping $93,000. And all he has to do in exchange for the money is travel around NSW and do exciting things every day.

Smith landed the dream job after winning a contest as a part of an event to promote NSW as the ideal travel destination for young people. His challenge is to show travelers how exciting the Australian State can be by collecting no less than 802,000 moments of fun in six months. That’s one for every square kilometer of the State. So on a typical day, Smith can be found skydiving, hanging out with famous skateboarders, abseiling the spectacular mountains, and other such stuff.

‘The Funster Experiment’ began in mid-December last year, and Smith has worked his way through over half the required number of fun moments so far. That’s 480,000 to be precise, including 187 high fives on the Sydney Harbor, sliding down a 91-meter typhoon waterslide, and mingling with 18,000 Elvii (Elvis impersonators) at the Parkes Elvis Festival.

“My schedule through to the end of June is jam-packed with great events and travel experiences,” said Smith. “I’m going to be climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge, swimming with dolphins in Port Stevens, attending the world premiere of Strictly Ballroom: The Musical, and being part of the much anticipated Vivid Sydney Festival.” During his stint as Chief Funster, Smith also gets to drive around with The Stig, a popular character from the British motoring television show, Top Gear.

According to Smith, “There’s so much to do and see in NSW, the challenge isn’t finding the fun, it’s fitting all the fun into just six months.”

But Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase isn’t surprised at all the fun that Smith is having. “To reach the halfway point well ahead of schedule on his challenge to find 802,000 moments of fun in NSW is a great achievement,” she said. “But it’s no surprise given the huge volume and variety of amazing experiences on offer across the State.”

“People from across the globe have engaged with the NSW Chief Funster via social media and as a result of seeing how much fun Andrew’s been having in Sydney and NSW so far, have shared their plans to follow his footsteps,” she added.

The photographs of Smith’s journey are a true testament to how much fun he’s really smiling. The young man is all smiles as he tries his hand at winemaking, gets a traditional shave and explores the Blue Mountains, among other activities. It sure does sound like the best job in the world!

The Origin of Blonde Afros in Melanesia

Black and Blond – The Origin of Blonde Afros in Melanesia | About a quarter of the Melanesian population in the Solomon Islands archipelago has an extremely unusual trait – dark skin with blond hair. The archipelago, located east of Papa New Guinea in Oceania, consists of a thousand islands inhabited by over half a million Melanesian people. They have the darkest skin in the world outside of Africa, but strangely, about one-fourth of the inhabitants sport blond afros.

This rare Melanesian characteristic has baffled scientists and genetic experts for years. Up until now, they have attributed the trait to inheritance – from the Europeans, especially the British, German and Australians, who have been associated with the island for hundreds of years. Several of the islands were under German jurisdiction in the 19th century. In 1893, the UK took southern Solomon Islands under their wing, declaring the region a protectorate. The rest of the islands were added to the protectorate at a later stage. And in the early 20th century, Australian and British companies set up coconut plantations on many of the islands.

So it isn’t entirely unbelievable that the dark-skinned Melanesians got their blond hair from the growing influx of ‘outsiders’. The locals, however, prefer not to go by that theory. They have been insisting for years that their blond hair is a result of a diet rich in fish and constant exposure to the sun. As it turns out, both theories are quite far from the truth. According to a recent investigation, random mutation might actually be the answer to the mystery of the Melanesian blonds.

Sean Myles, the author of the study and geneticist at Nova Scotia Agricultural College, pointed out that there is almost no variation in the shades of blond hair. This suggests that the hair color is governed by genes. “It looked pretty obvious to me that it was a real binary trait,” he said. “You either had blond hair or you didn’t.” To locate this underlying blueprint in the Melanesian genetic pool, Myles and his colleagues collected saliva and hair samples from over 1,200 Solomon Islanders. From these samples, they compared the genetic makeup of 42 dark-haired and 43 blond islanders.

What the scientists discovered was pretty phenomenal – the two groups possessed very different versions of a crucial gene, TYRP1, which coded for a protein involved in pigmentation. Just switching one letter of the genetic code (a ‘T’ instead of a ‘C’), marked the difference between dark hair and blond hair. Only one amino acid in the protein is different (arginine replaced by cysteine). So 25 percent of the Solomon islanders carry two copies of the mutant recessive gene. That means the blonds could have inherited their hair color from both parents. “It’s a great example of convergent evolution, where the same outcome is brought about by completely different means,” said Myles.

American Family Goes Sugar-Free for a Whole Year

Year of No Sugar – American Family Goes Sugar-Free for a Whole Year | When Eve Schaub came across some disturbing information about the effects of sugar, she felt that she had to do something about it, for her family. She had read that sugar is the number one ingredient making Americans fat and sick. It’s because of sugar that one in seven Americans has metabolic syndrome, one in three is obese and the rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease are skyrocketing. With this newfound knowledge, Eve decided to formulate a special plan for herself, her husband and her two daughters, aged 6 and 11.

Eve wanted to see how hard it would be to have her family go through an entire year avoiding foods that contain sugar of any kind. “Call me crazy, but avoiding added sugar for a year struck me as a grand adventure,” Eve said. I was curious as to what would happen. I wanted to know how hard it would be, what interesting things could happen, how my cooking and shopping would change. After continuing my research, I was convinced removing sugar would make us all healthier.”

So the Schaubs went on a complete sugar-free diet for a year. “We cut out anything with an added sweetener, be it table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or fruit juice,” Eve said. “We also excluded anything made with fake sugar or sugar alcohols. Unless the sweetness was attached to its original source (e.g., a piece of fruit), we didn’t eat it.” And once they started looking, they found sugar in the most amazing places: tortillas, sausages, chicken, broth, salad dressing, cold cuts, crackers, mayonnaise, bacon, bread and even baby food. “Why all of this added sugar? To make these items more palatable, add shelf life, and make packaged food production even cheaper.”

It must have been very tough for Eve to convince her husband and especially her two young children to follow the regime. While her husband was supportive, the kids were a totally different ballgame. “Immediately, they started bawling,” said Eve. “They knew this meant birthdays and Halloween and play dates and Christmas would all be different. As a mother, the last thing you want to do is make your kids cry!” The first day was the worst, but as time went by the girls adjusted pretty well.

Surprisingly, the Schaubs didn’t lose any weight in their year-of-no-sugar. But they weren’t really looking to do that in the first place. “The last thing I wanted to do was focus on losing weight,” said Eve. “We did notice other changes. Our palates changed over time. Things that were sweet began to taste different to us and really repellent by the fall. Things that normally looked very appealing looked obscene and disgusting. We felt healthier, it seemed like we got less sick, like we got better faster or got milder colds. My kids missed significantly less school.”

“During our year of no sugar, one of the rules was that, as a family, we could have one actual sugar-containing dessert per month; if it was your birthday, you got to choose the dessert. By the time September rolled around, we noticed our palates starting to change and slowly, we began enjoying our monthly treat less.” Eve recalled the time when her husband requested a decadent multi-layered banana cream pie for his birthday. She was surprised to find that she couldn’t enjoy her slice at all. “I couldn’t even finish it,” she said. “It tasted sickly sweet to my now sensitive palate. It actually made my teeth hurt. My head began to hurt and my heart began to race; I felt awful.”

After the year was up, the Schaubs started to indulge occasionally. For example, on New Year’s Eve, they all chose to have a little something to break the year-long fast. But as time went on, Eve found it difficult to cope with the fact that there were no rules anymore. The first time they went to the supermarket, it was hard to know what to buy and what to avoid. But now that a long time has passed, Eve said that they’ve sorted it all out.

Their sugar intake has reduced drastically, and they avoid it in everyday foods. They save the desserts for special occasions. “My body seems to be thanking me for it,” said Eve. “I don’t worry about running out of energy. And when flu season comes around, I no longer feel the urge to go and hide with my children under the bed. We get sick less and get well faster. Much to my surprise, after our no-sugar life, we all feel healthier and stronger. And that is nothing to sneeze at.”

Eve has written a book based on her family’s experiences, called: Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. She recommends that people should be more aware about foods that contain hidden sugar. “Everybody gets to make their own dietary decisions, but what I think is not right is that this substance, which is not innocuous, is so pervasive in our food supply and we don’t know it’s there.” To raise awareness about sugar, she held a ‘Day of No Sugar’ challenge on April 9 this year. But Eve is quick to point out that she’s not handing out a prescription for anybody. “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nutritionist. I’m a mom who decided to go on an adventure.”

Extend Neck By Encasing It In Copper Rings

‘Giraffe Woman’ Wants to Extend Her Neck by Encasing It in Copper Rings | 28-year-old Sydney V. Smith’s goal in life is to become a ‘giraffe woman’. For the past three years, the Los Angeles resident has been trying to extend her neck by wearing no less than 11 copper rings around it. The idea stemmed from her lifelong fascination with body modification, especially the tribal women of Thailand and Burma who encase their necks in rings at an early age.

“I’ve always had a long neck,” said Sydney. “In middle school, they called me ‘giraffe girl’. Then I saw pictures of the long-necked tribes in Thailand and Burma in National Geographic and I became fascinated with them.” That’s when she began to cut up coat hangers and wrap them around her neck at bed time. Naturally, her parents thought the idea was ridiculous. But she persisted, and she believes that her night-time ritual actually helped elongate her neck.

“After a few years, it became obvious that my neck was longer than the other girls, but not freakishly,” said Sydney. “So I stopped for a while to consider if being a long-necked woman was what I really wanted.” But soon, it became clear to her that she was quite attached to the rings. “I had missed the comfort from the pressure on the top of my neck and shoulders and had been thinking about doing it again for a while. The comfort and exhilaration of this process was really what I was after.”

So in 2011, Sydney started wearing a tight-fitting copper necklace made specifically to her requirements. She took it slow and added an extra ring when she needed it. But she’s always been rather shy about displaying her neck rings. When she lived in Maryland, she used to wear thick turtleneck sweaters to hide them. She also chose restaurant jobs behind the scenes to avoid unwanted attention.

Soon, Sydney’s neck muscles couldn’t support the weight of her head without the rings. At this point, she needed to make a decision – to wear the rings forever or get rid of them. “I asked myself, ‘Should I stop or should I go for it?’ knowing that I would be enslaved to a ringed necklace for the rest of my life,” she said. But after attending a Lady Gaga concert, Sydney was finally able to decide. “Her freak empowerment message made a special kind of sense for me. I figure if she can wear meat dresses, I can be a giraffe woman.”

The rings that Sydney wears were customized by a friend. They are soldered around her neck, but feature a special screw so they can be detached in case of medical emergencies. But as far as she’s concerned, they are permanently attached. “He managed to do it safely, though I did get burned a little,” she said. She estimates that her neck might be 10 to 11 inches long, thanks to the elongating effect of the rings.

As much as Sydney loves her neck rings, they do come with their own inconveniences. “I don’t have the normal range of motion I once did. It makes driving a little hard, but my peripheral vision improved,” she said. “It took a while to learn to sleep with them, but now if I take them off, my neck feels limp.” And neck sweat is another major issue. “If it’s summer and the air conditioner isn’t working, my neck starts to sweat and I start to smell,” Sydney revealed.

And then there are the medical issues and health risks associated with the rings. Dr. Jonathan Nissanoff, an orthopedic surgeon from Southern California, said that he doesn’t recommend anyone doing this because it could injure the nerves in the neck. “If she’s finished growing, then all she’s doing is stretching her skin or putting the bones into traction by pulling them apart. The rings aren’t going to make her bones longer. Once she removes them, her neck will come back to size.”

But nothing’s stopping Sydney – she’s actually contemplating adding a 12th ring. She also hopes to make some money out of her unique physique. “I’d like to work as a specialty model, but my original intent was not to exploit myself,” she said. “However, it seems to be my calling.” Well, we’re not sure if she’ll make it as a model, but she’s quite deserving of a place on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Thailand’s Kayan tribe has been a regular feature on the show. They even filmed one of the tribal women taking her rings off. It didn’t kill her, but she sure had a severely scarred neck with smelly mold growing all over it.

Sydney does realize that she’s risking her health, but she’s tempted with the possibility of becoming a fashion icon. “You’d be surprised at how many women see me and ask where they can get it done,” she said.

World’s Largest Balloon Sculpture

Man Single-Handedly Builds World’s Largest Balloon Sculpture | John Reid, a balloon artist from New York, built the world’s largest balloon sculpture (made by a single person) last Friday. He got to work on Thursday morning at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience event and spent the next several hours inflating thousands of colored balloons at his booth.

42 hours later he had put together a 50-foot tall Transformers robot, ‘Poptimus’ Prime, using 4,302 purple, green, white, black and gray balloons. It was so tall that it actually couldn’t fit upright in the convention center. Reid and 10 other volunteers had to struggle a bit to bring it into a kneeling position. The robot is said to be invincible, except for one weakness – needles!

After the project was complete, Reid said that he was ‘super overwhelmed’. “I’m really proud and really happy that my friends pushed me harder than I thought I could do,” he said. He created a time lapse video of the making of the robot that he will submit to Guinness World Records so they can verify his work. It will take up to three months before his record is confirmed. But in the meantime, representatives from Record Holders Republic did confirm that the structure was the largest of its kind to be created by a single person.

Reid has been working with balloons for the past 20 years, ever since he was 16 years old. When he started out, he knew how to make ‘142 animals that looked like a dog’. But he’s come a long way since then, moving on to bigger and better accomplishments. And the nice thing about him is that he hopes another artist will come along and outdo his work. “I want to hold the record for like three or four months,” he said. I hope that somebody else decides to try to take this art a little further and crush me. Trounce me. Wipe the floor with me.”

Chinese Man Has Horn Growing Out of His Neck

Chinese Man Has Horn Growing Out of His Neck | For over 30 years, a man in China has been living with a horn growing out of his neck. 62-year-old Li Zhibing, from Shiyan in Hubei Province, said that the unusual growth first appeared on his neck in 1980. Since then, the horn has been growing at an alarming pace so Li’s friends actually help him saw it off twice a year.

Li’s greatest wish is to find out more about the mysterious horn and what caused it. Earlier, he used to visit a local doctor who treated it with herbs from the nearby mountains. But Li now suspects that this treatment actually made the horn grow faster. At its longest, the horn has grown up to 15 centimeters perpendicularly from the nape of his neck. And when it gets too long, his neck gets swollen and he runs a fever. So he needs to saw it off from time to time.

According to Li, the horn isn’t much of an inconvenience, except when he’s washing his hair or getting dressed. Of course, the shocking appearance is a major pain as well. It looks quite similar to a block of wood, which is a strange thing to be growing out of a human body. Some people suspect that Li’s anomaly might be a cutaneous horn. These horns are known to sometimes resemble wood or coral. They are generally made of concentrated keratin protein deposits, and are either malignant or benign

The cause of cutaneous horns is largely unknown, but exposure to radiation is one of the suspected triggers. We’re not sure what Li’s condition is, but here’s some good news – cutaneous horns can be removed surgically. Hopefully, the poor man will receive some real medical attention, now that his story has hit mainstream media and photos of his unusual growth went viral on both Chinese and Western internet.

This Guy Went a Year without Taking a Single Shower

This Guy Went a Year without Taking a Single Shower, Still Managed to Stay Squeaky Clean | 27-year-old environment activist Rob Greenfield went a whole year without taking a shower. A man-made shower, that is. Instead, he spent the year bathing in natural water resources – lakes, rivers, rain and waterfalls. And when natural water wasn’t accessible, he used a bucket filled with water from leaky faucets and fire hydrants.

Here’s the surprising bit – while the average American consumes about 100 gallons of water a day, Rob used less than 2 gallons a day that whole year. That’s eight Nalgene water bottles. Now, that’s quite a difference. It really makes you wonder about how much water we actually need to survive. Rob said that he got the idea to live with less water during a long bike ride across America to promote sustainability and eco-friendly living.

“I set a bunch of rules for myself to follow to lead by example. The rule for water was that I could only harvest it from natural sources or from wasted sources. And I kept track of exactly how much I used, with an aim of showing just how little we need to get by.” After the 100-day bike ride without showering was over, Rob decided to continue his streak. He went ‘showerless’ for the next 6 months and then decided to extended to a year. And it turned out to be a whole lot easier than he thought.

“You think I’m really stinky right? You think I smell like some sort of Swamp Monster,” Rob wrote in a Huffington Post article. “Actually, nope. When I say that I haven’t showered that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t bathing. I swam almost every day, and showered in waterfalls, and I used eco-friendly biodegradable soap when I needed to.”

“I realized that water doesn’t have to come from a shower head to get me clean. You can wash yourself in lakes. Rivers. Or just by sitting in the rain,” he wrote. “But when natural water wasn’t available, I found other places to clean myself without having an impact. Like a leaky fire hydrant in Brooklyn. Or this blasting fire hydrant in the Bronx.” Rob also learned that he could air dry instead of using a towel, which reduced his laundry.

About his love life, Rob was quite bashful while revealing that there was not exactly a shortage of women who were happy to be with him when he wasn’t showering. “The times that I miss the shower the most is when I’m with a woman and she wants to get in the shower with me and I can’t,” he admitted.

For those of us who would like to save water but can’t do without a daily shower, Rob does have a few other ideas on water conservation. He tells us to: flush the toilet less often, take shorter showers, turn off the water while soaping up or scrubbing down, wash clothes in less and in full loads, use water efficient showerheads and toilets, get your leaks fixed, harvest rain.

The Volcano That Spews Blue Flames

Kawah Ijen, The Volcano That Spews Blue Flames | Kawah Ijen is one of several volcanoes located within the 20 km wide Ijen Caldera in East Java, Indonesia. The caldera of Kawah Ijen harbors a kilometer-wide, turquoise colored, acidic crater lake that leaks sulphurous gases constantly.

At night the hot gases burn to emit an eerie blue glow that is unique to Kawah Ijen. The gases emerge from the cracks in the volcano at high pressure and temperature, up to 600°C, and when they come in contact with the air, they ignite, sending flames up to 16 feet high. Some of the gases condense into liquid sulfur, and continues to burn as it flows down the slopes giving the feeling of blue lava flowing.

Kawah Ijen’s sulphuric gases are also mined for sulphur. The volcanic gases are trapped by the local miners and channeled through a network of ceramic pipes, resulting in condensation of molten sulfur. The sulfur, which is deep red in color when molten, pours slowly from the ends of these pipes and pools on the ground, turning bright yellow as it cools. The miners break the cooled material into large pieces and carry it away in baskets to a nearby refinery. A worker can earn up to $13 dollars a day in this way.

The workers work in extremely hazardous condition with insufficient protection. Most of them suffers from numerous respiratory problems due to breathing toxic fumes day in and out. At times they work at night under to escape the heat of the sun, and to earn extra income.

These pictures were captured by photographer Olivier Grunewald, who lost two lenses and a camera to sulphuric corrosion while trying to capture the mysterious pictures.

Fence Mirror That Changes With The Seasons

A Mirror Fence that Literally Changes With The Seasons | This stunning fence looks like a proper picket fence that every respectable American girl dreamed of in the 1950s, except that it’s not: it’s an art installation and unfortunately cannot be purchased at your local hardware store.

Alyson Shotz created her ‘Mirror Fence’ out of a 138 ft x 36 x 4 inches (42.06 m x 91.44 x 10.16 cm) fence made from acrylic, wood, aluminum and ‘hardware’. She covered it with a mirrored finish that makes it look quite surreal, especially when placed in a natural setting.

The fence, which was permanently exhibited at the Storm King Art Center, a sculpture park located in the Lower Hudson Valley in the state of New York, was meant to reflect the surrounding landscape and changes with the seasons.

Alyson has had a very fruitful career and is known for her sculptures made from a range of synthetic materials such as mirror, glass beads, plastic lenses, thread and steel wire, through which she investigates issues of perception and space.

Bottle Garden Hasn’t Been Watered in Over 40 Years

Thriving Bottle Garden Hasn’t Been Watered in Over 40 Years | David Latimer is one of the world’s few proud owners of an entirely self-sustaining bottled garden. Looking at pictures of the lush green bottle, you’d think that growing it involved a lot of hard work. But the truth is that David hasn’t even watered it in over 40 years. It’s just been sitting under the hallway stairs in his home and it’s doing extremely well on its own.

The story of his this amazing experiment began in 1960, on Easter Sunday, when David decided that it would be fun to start a bottle garden. Since they were a bit of a craze back then, he wanted to see for himself what the fuss was all about. So out of idle curiosity, he got himself a 10-gallon globular bottle, poured some compost at the bottom and used a piece of wire to carefully lower a seedling in. Then he put in just about a quarter of a pint of water, and believe it or not, he only watered the plant once more in 1972. Never again after that. It has been alive and kicking for the past 54 years.

The plant that David placed in the bottle is an indoor variety of perennial spiderworts that also go by the Latin name of Tradescantia. The bottle itself is tightly sealed; David only needs to rotate it around often so it grows evenly towards the light. “Otherwise, it’s the definition of low-maintenance,” he said. “I’ve never pruned it, it just seems to have grown to the limits of the bottle.”

So what makes the spiderwort so special that it can grow with almost no outside help? The secret is really pretty simple – the plant has been extremely successful at creating its own mini ecosystem. Using the little water that David gave the plant 42 years ago, it has managed to get a water cycle going inside the bottle. The water is taken up by the roots, released into the air through transpiration, condenses down into the potting mixture and the cycle repeats itself.

Through the glass, the leaves are able absorb as much light as they need to photosynthesize into energy that helps the plant grow. The oxygen created during photosynthesis also puts enough moisture in the air for it to ‘rain’ back down on the plant. As the leaves age, they drop to the bottom and rot, helping to create carbon dioxide (also needed for photosynthesis) and nutrients that are absorbed by the roots. At night, when there is no sunlight, the plant breaks down nutrients and uses cellular respiration to stay alive.

Tree In Solid Rock

Tree in the Rock, in Wyoming |  The tree is a limber pine, which is common to the area, but this one seems to be growing out of a solid granite boulder. Upon closer inspection, you will notice that it’s actually growing out of a crack in the rock, owing to which the tree is stunted and twisted but is still going strong.

This small tree has fascinated travelers since the first train rolled past on the Union Pacific Railroad. It is said that the builders of the original railroad diverted the tracks slightly to pass by the tree as they laid rails across the Sherman Mountains in 1867-69. The train used to stop here while the locomotive firemen "gave the tree a drink" from their water buckets. The railroad moved several miles to the South in 1901 and the abandoned grade became a wagon road. Then in 1913, the old Lincoln Highway came by the Tree Rock, and by the 1920′s, the Lincoln Highway gave way to U.S. Highway 30. Finally, in the 1960′s, Interstate 80 was built, and Tree Rock was guaranteed a large audience for years to come.

Amazing 3D illusion In Car Park

Amazing 3D illusion In Car Park | Car Parks in LA evoke a certain nightmarish quality only matched by rush our traffic. You would think with all of the design prowess concentrated here we might be able to lend some to the parking structure community. We were thrilled to see that the folks charged with designing the way finding for the Eureka Car Park in Melbourne Australia brought in designer Axel Peemoeller, who has created a common sense system driven by the use of prominent typography.