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  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Strange ice balls that washed up on the coast may have been caused by oil pollution, an ecological expert has said.

      A video shows the strangely uniformly sized ice balls washing up in the Gulf of Finland in north-western Russia.

      Ecologist Ilya Leukhin told local media that oil spills in the water could have created the ice balls but she was not the only one with a possible explanation for the phenomenon.

      Yuryi Shahov, who videoed and shared the sight online, said: 'Seems that someone has thrown snowballs into the Gulf.'

      Some believe that snow was rolled together by the waves, or that what look like ice balls could in fact be stones covered with ice.

      The balls were up to 17 cm (7 inches) in diameter and no definitive explanation for their existence has been accepted.

      Others, though, had less plausible explanations as to why the ice balls had formed.

      One comment on the video read: 'This is whale caviar. Do not listen to anyone and look for a dead whale nearby. Those usually die right after sweeping away the eggs.'

      In 2014, hundreds of beach ball-sized ice boulders that washed up on the shores of Lake Michigan.

      The balls, weighing up to 75 pounds, form when chunks of ice break off the large sheets of ice on the lake.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • The oldest restaurant in Europe is still going in the basement of a Polish town hall more than 700 years after first opening

      These cavernous underground dining areas are part of the 10-room Piwnica Swidnicka, Europe's oldest restaurant.

      Located in the Main Square of Wroclaw, Poland, the 900-square metre eatery has been operational since 1273, when the country's stodgy diet was characterised by spice, beef and beer.

      Counting the composer Frédéric Chopin and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe among its distinguished diners, it was the city's only beer brewery for several hundred years. 

      From the day it opened the restaurant's layout was evolving, until in the 15th century the basement took on the form familiar to tourists today.

      The cellar's vestibule was linked by tunnel to an underground brewery in 1519, when beer barrels would be rolled into the restaurant.

      Since then, changes have been merely cosmetic - including in 1904, when the decor was switched to an Art Nouveau style. 

      Though the city was bombed in 1945, the cellars remained mainly intact.  

      Sitting under the basement of Wroclaw Town Hall, the restaurant offers space for up to 380 guests and still prides itself on offering traditional Polish dishes.  

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Equihen Plage, on the coast of northern France by the English Channel, is a small seaside village with a population of about 3,000. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, Equihen Plage was a fishing village with a dry harbor—the kind where fishing boats were launched into the sea by sliding them on logs. Today, the village is famous for its many inverted boat houses—locally known as “quilles en l'air”—that serve as unique holiday accommodation for travellers

      In the old days, it wasn’t uncommon to find old boats— both upright and inverted—along the coast where they were dragged high and dry upon the shore to be used for habitation. In Charles Dickens' classic novel David Copperfield, Peggotty’s brother lived in such an old boathouse in Yarmouth

      In Equihen Plage too, old boats unworthy for the sea were dragged up to high ground and turned upside down. The hull, which now became the roof, was covered in tar to ensure that it was watertight. A door cut out on the sides provided entry, while windows let in air and light. Even then, the interior was dark and stuffy.

      The entire length of the boat served as a single room. Space for cooking and sleeping were shared.

      During the Second World War, nearly all the boathouses got destroyed, but their legacy lingered on.

      In the 1990s, about sixty years after their disappearance, the village decided to revive the ancient heritage and erected a couple of upturned boat houses and fitted them with modern facilities to entice tourists. They can be now rented with prices starting from about three hundred Euros.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Earlier this week, the Guggenheim Museum installed a toilet made completely with Louis Vuitton bags. The toilet bowl was made by artist Illma Gore for the luxury resale platform Tradesy. The toilet is made up of $15,000 worth of monogram leather taken from the famous bags of Louis Vuitton. The lining of the toilet is made out of leather, while the inside of the bowl is made out of gold.

      Even when seen from afar, people can recognize the trademark brown leather of Louis Vuitton bags. These designer bags are expensive and usually purchased for the brand and status symbol. The toilet is fully functioning and anyone can use it if they wanted to. The toilet is an art piece that includes a large pink neon sign behind it that says “No Fake S**t”.  It is for sale for the whopping price of $100,000. While the leather is taken from used bags, the toilet itself has never been used.

      This isn’t the first time that a toilet has been used as an art exhibit. Just last year, the Guggenheim Museum featured a piece that had a one of a kind toilet made out of solid gold. Just like the Louis Vuitton toilet, this golden john was fully functional. It was created by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan exclusively for the museum. This piece was very expensive and was only put on display and was not for sale. The Louis Vuitton Company, also known as LV, has been in the fashion and luxury retail business since 1854

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • In the relatively flat Harman Valley, located between Wallacedale and Byaduk, south of Mount Napier in Victoria, Australia, are peculiar rocky mounds, like blisters on land. Some of them are up to 10 meters high and 20 meters in diameter. These mounds are known as tumuli or lava blisters.

      Tumuli are formed in slow-moving lava fields. When lava flows, the surface often cools to form a thin crust, but underneath the lava is still viscous and molten. If the advancing lava underneath becomes restricted it may push up on the hardened crust, causing soft spots in the crust to rise up like a bubble. Generally, these structures grade into elongate forms called pressure ridges, but occasionally, they creates smaller, steep-sided domes called a tumulus. Usually, the dome is completely solid, but occasionally, part of the liquid core drains out and the top of the dome subsides to leave a central hollow or doughnut-shaped mound.

      While tumuli aren’t a rare geological formation, the ones in Harman Valley are particularly notable for the exceptionally vesicular nature of the lava in the tumulus, suggesting that they developed in response to local gas pressure points. These tumuli formed about 32,000 years ago when Mount Napier, one of Australia’s youngest volcanoes, erupted and the lava flowed over a water-saturated swamp causing the ground water to vaporize and produce pockets of gas and high pressure.

      In the Harman Valley today, there are dozens of tumuli consisting of bare rocks. The best examples are located on Old Crusher Road, in the town of Byaduk.

      Other places where you can see tumuli are Iceland, Hawaii and Argentina.

      A volcanic blister (tumulus) just off Old Crusher Road, near Byaduk, Victoria, Australia

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • We’ve all got that awkward friend that never comes up well in photos. They are always captured mid-blink, lurking creepily in the background or just gurning drunkenly in your otherwise perfectly curated party shots.

      Guess what? Animals can be those guys too. No matter how hard they try to be photogenic, they just can’t quite pull it off .If there were an animal Facebook (Snoutbook?) these clumsy creatures would be bugging their buddies to untag them NOW!


  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Fall is a season of harvesting, and festivals to celebrate it are currently taking place all over the world. In Northern Japan, the Wara Art Festival recently rang in the September-October rice season, and it’s a wildly inventive and fun way to repurpose rice straw left over from the harvest.

      Wara Art Festival has been taking place in Niigata City since 2008, where it began as a creative collaboration between the city’s tourism division and the Musashino Art University. Rice straw was once widely used in Japan to produce various goods, such as tatami mats, but has now been replaced by wood and plastic in most instances. The students of Musashino worked together to fill the fields of Niigata with giant animal sculptures made of bound rice straw, and they’ve been doing it every year since then.

      Check out the best displays from the 2017 festival below, and definitely put a trip to Japan on your fall to-do list for next year.


  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05

      Enjoy the moonlight.

      Indulge your mooncake in delight! icon_biggrin.gif




      Edited by NeverSayGoodBye 04 Oct `17, 8:10PM
  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Moss is a common plant in Iceland. It grows abundantly in the mountainous region and is a special characteristic of Iceland’s lava fields. One of the most spectacular moss blanket is located on the southern coast of Iceland, over the Eldraun Lava Field.

      The Eldraun Lava Field was created in one of the most devastating eruptions in recorded history. Over a course of eight months, between 1783 and 1784, the Laki fissure and the adjoining Grímsvötn volcano poured out an estimated 14 cubic kilometers of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous gases that contaminated the soil, killing half of Iceland's cattle and horses, and more than three-quarter of sheep. That year, nothing grew on the fields and no more fish could be found in the sea. The resulting famine killed approximately a quarter of the island’s human population.

      But Laki’s eruption had even more widespread effects. In the years following the eruption, the climate across the Northern Hemisphere deteriorated. In North America, the winter of 1784 became the longest and one of the coldest on record. A huge snowstorm hit the South, the Mississippi River froze at New Orleans and there were reports of ice floes in the Gulf of Mexico.

      Haze from the eruption floated east as far away as India weakening monsoon circulations and leading to drought and crop failures. The famine that hit Egypt in 1784, as a result of the eruption, killed roughly one-sixth of its population.

      The worst consequences were felt in Europe. The summer of 1783 was the hottest on record and a rare high-pressure zone over Iceland caused the winds to blow to the south-east. The poisonous cloud drifted across Europe, and its inhalation killed tens of thousands. In Great Britain alone, it caused some 23,000 deaths.

      As the weather became hot, thunderstorms became more severe and large hailstones rained down from the sky causing injury and death to cattle. The following winter was extremely cold and caused 8,000 additional deaths in the UK. During the spring thaw, Germany and Central Europe reported severe flood damage. In France, a series of crop failures and the resulting poverty and famine eventually triggered the French Revolution of 1789-1799.

      Today, the Eldraun Lava Field looks very peaceful and serene. The thick green moss has helped softened the rugged landscape, almost disguising Eldhraun’s violent past.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • (Germany) A tax inspector has smashed the world record for the number of beer tankards carried at once after he managed to carry 29 brimming vessels over 40 metres.

      Oliver Strumpfel, a tax inspector, clinched the title at a festival in Bavaria on Sunday after carting dozens of the litre sized glasses which weighed almost 70 kg (154lbs) in total.

      The 45-year-old almost carried 31 glasses but unfortunately one glass dropped at the very last moment and another ended up losing more than 10 per cent of its beer. 

      He was cheered on and then applauded by 1,500 onlookers yelling “Oli, oli” at the Gillamoos Fair in Abensberg where he carried out the Maßkrugtragen – otherwise known as beer tankard challenging - challenge.

      "I first did 27, because I wanted to be sure and then at the end I said, 'Let's add another one and get over 30'," Struempfel said. 


      "Unfortunately it didn't quite work, but having managed to put 29 down ... I think it's amazing."

      But preparing for the festival in the southeastern Germany city, which is also home to the infamous Oktoberfest which is the world’s biggest beer festival, was no mean feat. Mr Struempfel said he had been training at the gym three to four times a week since February.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Two-headed tortoise celebrates 20th birthday

      A two headed tortoise adopted by the Geneva Natural History Museum is celebrating his 20th birthday.

      In the wild it’s unlikely the animal would have survived for long.

      But with care, Janus is living a carefree life.

      While tortoises can live for 80 years – Janus’s keepers don’t believe he’ll live for that long – but they’re doing their best to keep him going.

      He gets regular food, making sure both heads get an opportunity to eat and occasional extra vitamins.

      A woman brought an unhatched Janus to the museum in 1997 – wanting them to put the egg in an incubator. When Janus appeared, the museum kept him – making him the institution’s mascot.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • Belgian hotel lets lonely guests rent goldfish for company for €3.50 a night

      Like most brilliant ideas, this one came about over beers: a goldfish rental service for lonely hotel guests.

      Incredibly the booze-infused concept quickly became a reality and has since turned Hotel Charleroi Airport – an otherwise ordinary inn near Charleroi, Belgium – into an unlikely internet sensation.

      Social media posts of the goldfish, which can be rented for €3.50 (£3.20) per night, now occupy one of the weirder corners of the web and have proven particularly popular with business travellers.

      “They like to go back to the office with an expenses claim for goldfish rental,” said David Dillen, the hotel manager, who decided to buy the fish while he was propping up the bar at the family-run hotel.

      “I was having a beer with my cousin and we saw some people waiting to check in,” he told Telegraph Travel. “The queue was quite long so I decided to go out and buy some fish [as entertainment].”

      The fish were initially intended to keep guests entertained while they waited to check in, but the critters became so popular that the hotel started renting them to lonely lodgers.

      The fish spend most of their time swimming around in a bowl at reception, but when guests need some companionship they are sent to receptacles in their appointed room.

      The hotel has taken some flak from critics, who have questioned the size of the goldfish bowl and the ethics of renting the creatures to guests, but Dillen claims they are regularly transferred to a big fish tank in the housekeeping department where they have access to shelter and plants.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • With its narrow rooms, metal bars and bunk beds, Bangkok's first prison-themed hostel promises the look and feel of a real jail in the bustling Thai capital.

      The Sook Station hostel in Bangkok's Udom Suk neighbourhood offers guests striped pyjamas for 700 baht (S$29) and a wall with a height chart where they can have their mugshots taken.

      The nine-room hostel is the first foray into the hospitality industry for Mr Sittichai Chaivoraprug, 55, and his wife, 49-year-old Piyanat Teekavanich, after careers in the technology sector.

      They were inspired by a shared love of travel and the 1994 prison escape film, The Shawshank Redemption, starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins

      The hostel's design includes black-out doors and windows in two rooms to create the feeling of being in solitary confinement. Showers are located on a caged-in rooftop.

      For guests who may feel a sense of claustrophobia, seven rooms have a small balcony.

      Thailand expects to welcome almost 35 million foreign tourists - nearly half the country's population - this year. Many of them visit or transit through Bangkok, a regional travel hub.

      Sook Station charges between 790 and 1,630 baht a night for the prison-themed experience. "People love it or hate it," Mr Sittichai told Reuters, adding that most bookings have come by word of mouth.

      Some guests like Ms Yui, a 42-year-old hotel worker, are repeat customers. "I feel it's a real prison because when I arrived it was dark," Ms Yui said. Now on her third stay, she said the hostel's style and friendly staff "feels like home".


  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • BANG KHUN THIAN, Thailand: Revving up his engine as the monsoon clouds begin to open, Nopadol Choihirun steers his weathered boat under a two-lane bridge to keep his pile of envelopes and parcels dry.

      Dodging the downpour is a regular challenge for the 55-year-old, one of Bangkok's last remaining postmen to deliver mail by boat to waterfront homes in low-lying parts of the capital.

      "I have to be really careful to watch the clouds," he said from beneath the shelter of the bridge, munching on a banana as the droplets began to fall.

      The genial postman criss-crosses the swampy canal in Bang Khun Thian district twice a week. Residents know their mail has arrived by the sound of his rusty engine - and the barking it provokes from the suburb's dogs.

      Drift wood and trash that often get stuck in the boat propeller make the job a daily adventure.

      But Nopadal says the work is about more than just handing out goods.

      "This is better than sitting at the office or riding the bikes. I meet with the people and interact with them more," he told AFP as he called out to waterfront residents while steering his boat.

      A veteran mailman who switched to the boat service five years ago, Nopadol is taken with the languorous charm of Thailand's canal life.

      "Some villagers invite me in for lunch or try to offer me a glass or a bottle of water. This is the charm of my job and it makes me happy," he said.

      Yet the profession is increasingly threatened by booming development in Bangkok's sprawling metropolis, with canals paved over and waterfront homes torn down.


      With an extensive network of moats and man-made canals, Bangkok is often dubbed the "Venice of the East".

      The riverine landscape that snakes through the city and connects to the mighty Chaophraya River was once home to thriving communities and trade hubs, where boats played a vital role for transport and commuting.

      But rapid urbanisation has seen the capital's population explode and move into ever-higher skyscrapers and condos.

      "Former residents in Bang Khun Tian have either moved out of the canal side or left the elders at home" said Kijja Phaukmoungsri, assistant director of the local post office that runs the service.

      The need for floating postmen has steadily diminished, with only seven post offices in Bangkok still carrying the service today.

      Costly fuel is another downside of boat deliveries, which are 10 times more expensive than distributing mail by road.

      But for those still living along the canals, the service is indispensable, even if most of the snail mail consists of little more than water and electricity bills.

      "We live along the canal and there's no road access. For sure, a mail service like this one is much needed," said Pacharee Kladpipoon, a waterfront villager.

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • A perfectly preserved cake taken to Antarctica by a party in Captain Robert Falcon Scott's expedition over a hundred years ago has been found near the South Pole. 

      The fruitcake, made by former Reading-based biscuit makers Huntley & Palmers, was found in a remote hut in Antarctica wrapped in paper and encased in a tin.

      Remarkably, researchers from New Zealand charity the Antarctic Heritage Trust said the cake looked - and even smelled - like it was still edible. 

      Lizzie Meek, a manager from the charity, said the cake would have been an 'ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions' and is still a favourite on modern trips to the far south. 

      She added: 'With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise.'

      It is believed the cake belonged to the Northern Party - a group that split off from Captain Scott's main party - because documents show they took the popular brand with him on the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition between 1910 and 1913.

      The cake was found on a shelf in a hut based at Cape Adare used by the Northern Party in 1911, which is the year the researchers believe it was left there.

      Scott and his team - who had left the Northern Party at Cape Adare - reached the South Pole in 1912, 34 days after their Norwegian rivals, but the entire party died on their return journey.

      But the Northern Party suffered its own troubles - it was moved from Cape Adare 250 miles south to Cape Evans in 1912, where they suffered from frostbite and hunger and were forced to eat seal meat.  

      Conservators have been working on Antarctic artefacts from Cape Adare since May last year and have accrued almost 1,500.        

      The huts at Cape Adare were built by the Norwegian Carten Borchgrevink's expidition of 1899 but later used by the Northern Party.

      They are the first buildings constructed in Antarctica and are set to undergo conservation work by Antarctic Heritage Trust workers. 

      But all objects taken from them - including the cake - must be returned after being spruced up, in accordance with rules governing the Antarctic Specially Protected Area.  

  • NeverSayGoodBye's Avatar
    8,205 posts since May '05
    • GEORGE TOWN  - A Chinese temple in Penang has been drawing visitors from as far as Singapore for the past six months - thanks to four huge fishes.

      People have been queueing up for a chance to touch the fishes after many claimed that it has changed their luck and allowed them to even strike a small fortune in 4D after doing so.

      The Hean Leng Kong temple in Jalan Aziz Ibrahim, Sungai Nibong, is especially packed if the weekends coincide with the first or 15th day of the lunar month, considered as "good days".

      The fish is of the Arapaima gigas species - which can grow up to 2m and 200kg - and is known locally as the dragonfish.

      Considered one of the largest freshwater fish in the world, the species is not indigenous to the country and is from the Amazon basin in South America.

      Waitress Alice Tan, 60, said that after touching the fish, she struck third prize with the number 4093.

      The number 093 is for the goldfish in the Cheng Jee Tor (Thousand-Number Guide in Hokkien), a booklet of numbers from 000 to 999 representing an item or an action.

      Tan said one must first offer prayers to the God of Prosperity at the temple before touching the fish.

      "After coming into contact with the fish, you must use the water in the pond to wash your face, hands and legs.

      "Don't bathe or wash yourself until the lottery results are out. If you bathe, this means that you will wash away your ong (luck)," said Tan, who scooped a bottle of water from the pond to "clean" the number plate of her motorcycle in the hope of striking another number.

      Stall helper Kee Bock Cheng, 55, said she struck a small fortune after a friend recommended her the temple.

      "You must touch the fish from head to tail. If you only manage to touch the tail, this means you can only strike the bear sai (consolation prize in Hokkien)," she said. "If the fish doesn't come to you, this means that you are luckless."

      Kee said from her observation, only those who were lucky could come into contact with the fish.

      Landscape worker B. Muniandy, 36, said he joined in the fun only after seeing so many people trying to touch the fish.

      "Hopefully, I can strike it rich after this," he said.

      Temple vice-chairman Low Ah Lek, 70, said there used to be five dragonfish before one of them died after jumping out of the pond.

      The fishes, he said, were put in the pond by the temple's former chairman last year.

      "Word of mouth spread rapidly after some claimed that the dragonfish brought them luck. Even Singaporeans would come here to check out the fish. We've applied for a licence to keep the fish and it's still pending," he said.