GlobalPost - Offbeat http://www.globalpost.com/feed/dispatch/full/26331/18814 C. 2014 GlobalPost, only republish with permission. Subscribers must independently license photographs supplied by third-parties en 60 Seconds on Earth: This man makes incredible art by squirting paint from his eyes (VIDEO) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140815/60-seconds-earth-man-makes-incredible-art-squirting-paint-his-tear-duct <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Prepare yourself to watch him in action. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ed Stocker </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>BUENOS AIRES, Argentina &mdash; Leandro Granato considers himself the creator of the &quot;eye painting&quot; technique, by which he drips and squirts paint made of vegetable dyes from his tear ducts to produce composed, colorful works of art. &quot;I&rsquo;m not a freak and this isn&rsquo;t a freak show,&quot; he says. &quot;When I was 19 I lost my grandfather to cancer, and this made me take up art as a form of therapy.&quot; But his methods are decidedly unconventional.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/103534359?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="670"></iframe></p> 60 seconds on Earth Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Sun, 17 Aug 2014 12:01:00 +0000 Ed Stocker 6232844 at http://www.globalpost.com Someone stole 300,000 liters of beer in Germany http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/germany/140716/thieves-steal-300000-liters-beer <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> That's the equivalent of 140,891 six-packs in the US. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>How does one even go about stealing so much of something?&nbsp;</p> <p>The answer is actually very simple: First you take some, then you come back for more. &nbsp;</p> <p>Sometime after last Thursday, a group of <a href="http://www.thelocal.de/20140715/300000-litres-of-beer-stolen-in-germany" target="_blank">thieves broke into a warehouse</a> in the German city of Krefeld and took some pallets of beer. They loaded those onto a tractor trailer and then came back for more.</p> <p>They apparently did this 10 times, since the amount of beer (300,000 liters) is enough to fill 10 trucks. At the bar in Germany, that amount of beer would sell for about 2.1 million euros ($3 million).&nbsp;</p> <p>Where the theives went with it all is anyone&#39;s guess at this stage. Someone thought they spotted the robbers speeding east on the the A40 Autobahn toward the city of Duisburg.&nbsp;</p> <p>The police are stumped and asking the same endearingly earnest questions as everyone else: &quot;Has anyone noticed a large amount of beer?&quot; police wrote in a press release. &quot;Can anyone provide information on a possible storage area?&quot;</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/300-000-liters-of-beer-stolen-during-germanys-best-of-times-1405447694" target="_blank">Wall Street Journal</a>, police are even speculating as to motives. I mean, come on, who would even want to steal that much beer? Really.</p> Food & Drink Strange But True Germany Offbeat Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:30:58 +0000 Emily Lodish 6206740 at http://www.globalpost.com Boko Haram leaders are being attacked by snakes and bees http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/140630/boko-haram-leaders-are-being-attacked-snakes-and-bees <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Captured fighters report the critters are reincarnations of the people they killed. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Even nature is against Boko Haram, the extremist group that in April <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/140430/everything-you-need-know-about-the-234-girls-kidnapped-nigeria-boko-haram">kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls</a> in Nigeria. The local newspaper Vanguard reports that recently-captured Boko Haram fighters <a href="http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/06/mysterious-snakes-bees-attack-boko-haram-sambisa-forest/">describe</a> &ldquo;mysterious snakes and bees&rdquo; that chased them out of their forest hideouts.</p> <p>One of the arrested insurgents, Kolo Mustapha, says the bees and snakes have killed several Boko Haram leaders and sent everyone else on the run. But the details are a little hard to swallow: Mustapha claims that the critters, which disappear after biting, are actually &ldquo;the aggrieved people who had suffered from our deadly mission, including the ghosts of some of those we killed.&rdquo; (He also said &ldquo;I personally have never killed anyone,&rdquo; soooo&hellip;)</p> <p>The other captured Boko Haram member, Umar Abor, says the sect believes &ldquo;the Chibok people are using juju to pursue us because of their children said to have been taken by our leaders.&rdquo; Oh, so they&rsquo;re juju bees.</p> <p>So is Boko Haram being hounded by real snakes and bees, such as one might find in a Nigerian forest? Or are the leaders plagued by a guilty conscience? Or, alternately, are these just your standard-issue ghost bees? No matter what the reason, the Civilian JTF (Nigeria&rsquo;s anti-Boko Haram militia) <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28034240">says</a> that more and more fighters have been fleeing the group&rsquo;s hideouts, and some are offering assistance to security forces. I guess if it takes mystical snakes to make that happen, then that&rsquo;s what it takes.</p> Africa Boko Haram Strange But True Nigeria Offbeat Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:28:32 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6191972 at http://www.globalpost.com Please let these soccer-loving baby elephants play in the World Cup http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140624/please-let-these-soccer-loving-baby-elephants-play-the-world-cup <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> These tragically orphaned calves are now healthy, happy, and playing ball. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Is it too late for a last-minute entry into the World Cup? Because this team of orphaned baby elephants from Kenya really has the goods. These budding sports stars are residents of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi.</p> <p>They&rsquo;ve overcome some incredibly tragic histories &mdash; their bios on the trust&rsquo;s website include &ldquo;Found fallen down a well used to water livestock,&rdquo; &ldquo;Rescued from the jaws of a lion by the Ziwani desnaring team,&rdquo; and &ldquo;Was found standing guard over her collapsed and dying mother.&rdquo; But now they&rsquo;re safe and healthy and cute as hell, and their spirits are high enough that they love a good footie game. Enjoy your World Cup watching parties; I&rsquo;ll be off trying to find a bar that just plays this clip over and over.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/c8zelmizWho" width="100%"></iframe></p> World Cup 2014 Strange But True Kenya Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Tue, 24 Jun 2014 18:03:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6186028 at http://www.globalpost.com China's 'thong condom' is one step closer to reality http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/140610/thong-condom-eros-protector <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Hard to say if that's a good thing. You be the judge. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>&quot;Thong condom.&quot; &quot;Multifunctional g-string.&quot; &quot;Eros protector.&quot;</p> <p>Call it what you will, what it is is hard to deny.</p> <p><a href="http://imgur.com/F5MA3Vh"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/F5MA3Vh.jpg" /></a></p> <p>The brainchild of Kong Yongxiang, a student at South Medical University in Guangzhou, this g-string condom contraption covers more of the male body than your average condom.</p> <p>As a result, it is intended to prevent &quot;semen leaks&quot; and other unpleasantries, according to <a href="http://www.xinhua.jp/rss/384966/" target="_blank">Xinhua</a>.</p> <p>Yongxiang dreamt up her <a href="http://beijingcream.com/2014/06/thong-condom-eros-protector-wins-investment-money/" target="_blank">&quot;Eros Protector&quot;</a> last November, but this month the project won $300,000 in backing from&nbsp;Guangdong Yuezheng Investment Management Limited. Because more people than just her think this is a great idea.</p> <p>Its stated purpose is, of course, a good one: to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. But it&#39;s hard not to read more into it.</p> <p>I mean, in a culture where talk of sex is largely taboo, here are underpants that let you have sex while reducing contact to a bare minimum.</p> <p>The contraption comes with a pouch that dispenses condoms which then screw into place at the front the thong. &nbsp;</p> <p>Oh and also the condoms come with a &quot;Chinese herbal blend lubricant that helps to maintain the pH balance of a woman&rsquo;s private parts.&quot; Thank you, <a href="http://en.rocketnews24.com/2014/06/09/chinese-college-students-thong-condom-invention-wins-the-support-of-backers-maybe-not-men/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rocketnews24%2Fen+%28RocketNews24%29%20%3E%3E%20en.rockeen.rocketnews24.com/2014/06/09/chinese-college-students-thong-condom-invention-wins-the-support-of-backers-maybe-not-men/" target="_blank">Rocket News</a>.</p> <p>By the way, the caption on the above photo reads: &quot;1. G-String part, 2. Condom part, 3. Vertical streaks, 4. Anti-skidding microcapsules, 5. Sacs, 6. Elastics.&quot;</p> <p>In case any of that was unclear.&nbsp;</p> Wut Strange But True China Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Health Wed, 11 Jun 2014 14:21:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6172310 at http://www.globalpost.com 5 really weird, and enormous, food heists http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/food-drink/140605/5-weird-food-heists <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> From maple syrup to caviar, these are some of the weirdest large-scale thefts of food around the world. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Thai police recently took time off from dealing with the fallout of the country&#39;s military coup to <a href="http://boingboing.net/2014/05/30/chocolate-thief-caught-in-thai.html">nab a man</a> who stole 35 candy bars from a 7-11. In the history of weird-ass food thievery, though, this barely ranks. Here are some of the biggest, strangest heists of comestibles worldwide.</p> <h2> 18 tons of chocolate, Austria</h2> <p><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f2/Chocolate.jpg/800px-Chocolate.jpg" width="670" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Photo by Andr&eacute; Karwath/Wikimedia Commons.</span></p> <p>A few candy bars? That&rsquo;s peanuts. In 2012, thieves <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/thieves-steal-18-tons-chocolate-factory-article-1.1207325">stole</a> 18 tons of chocolate from a factory in Austria, by having an accomplice pose as a delivery driver. Imagine a ballistic missile submarine full of chocolate &mdash; it&rsquo;s about that much.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 22 tons of caviar, Russia</h2> <p><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3157/2947827435_6b91520cdb_b.jpg" width="670" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Photo by rei-san/Flickr.</span></p> <p>In 2005, Russian criminals <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4143497.stm">broke into a truck</a> and emptied it of 22 tons of red caviar worth $470,000. The owner left his truck in a (guarded) parking lot during Moscow&rsquo;s New Year&rsquo;s festivities &mdash; presumably Moscow is so cold that you can just leave a truck full of caviar sitting around and it stays reasonably fresh? He didn&rsquo;t return to check on it until Jan. 2, by which point thieves had hauled away 845 industrial-size cans of fish eggs.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 10 million pounds of maple syrup, Canada</h2> <p><img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/ce/Syrup_grades_large.JPG/800px-Syrup_grades_large.JPG" width="670" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Photo by Dvortygirl/Wikimedia Commons.</span></p> <p>It&rsquo;s no surprise that Canada is the world&rsquo;s biggest producer of maple syrup, but did you know Quebec alone makes 75 percent of the maple syrup manufactured worldwide? Some of that is kept in reserve, in case there&rsquo;s a bad maple syrup year, and in 2012 someone <a href="http://blogs.wsj.com/canadarealtime/2012/08/31/quebec-whodunit-14-of-provinces-syrup-reserves-go-missing/">lifted 15,000 barrels</a> from that stockpile &mdash; a total of 10 million pounds of syrup, worth something like $30 million. What&rsquo;s even weirder is that the syrup was later <a href="http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/million+maple+syrup+stolen+Quebec+recovered/7336807/story.html">discovered</a> in New Brunswick &mdash; in a syrup processing plant. Which you&rsquo;d think would be a great place to hide syrup in plain sight.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 11,000 pounds of Nutella, Germany</h2> <p><img src="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2259/2341580658_7e6c4e6565_o.jpg" width="670" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Photo by ninacoco/Flickr.</span></p> <p>Okay, 10 million pounds of maple syrup is a lot, but 11,000 pounds of Nutella? That just sounds like a reasonable supply. I feel like I could go through that in a couple of weeks. And thieves in the German town of Bad Hersfeld may have <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/germany-thieves-swipe-5-tons-chocolate-spread">done just that</a>. In 2013 they stole 11,000 pounds of the hazelnut spread &mdash; about the size of an adult Asian elephant. A Nutelephant.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 6,400 cans of baked beans, England</h2> <p><img src="https://farm1.staticflickr.com/57/188267424_83ce646531_o.jpg" width="670" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Photo by Tony Spencer/Flickr.</span></p> <p>Thieves cut a hole in the side of a parked truck near Redditch, England while the driver was asleep, and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/23/heinz-beans-thieves-lorry-uk">made off with</a> 6,400 cans of Heinz baked beans with sausages. The local police force asked people to be on the lookout for anyone trying to &ldquo;sell large quantities of Heinz baked beans in suspicious circumstances.&rdquo; Maybe you should be on the lookout for that anyway.</p> Food & Drink Food & Drink Strange But True Germany Offbeat Russia United Kingdom Thailand Tue, 10 Jun 2014 16:51:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6167876 at http://www.globalpost.com Russian programmers prove some people can’t tell the difference between a Ukrainian teenager and a robot http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/technology/140609/russian-programmers-prove-people-can-t-tell-the-difference- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The chatbot that passed the Turing test is not very convincing, has no idea what's happening in Ukraine, and is very, VERY weird. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>A chatbot named Eugene Goostman just <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10884839/Computer-passes-Turing-Test-for-the-first-time-after-convincing-users-it-is-human.html">fooled</a> 33 percent of the judges on a Turing test into thinking it was a real 13-year-old boy from Ukraine.</p> <p>A Russian team has designed the first computer program to pass the Turing test. Named for British mathematician and all-around genius Alan Turing, the test assesses a machine&#39;s ability to trick humans into thinking they are interacting with another human. It&#39;s not an easy thing to achieve. Just ask Siri.</p> <p>There are many reasons not to <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/kellyoakes/no-a-computer-did-not-just-pass-the-turing-test">overinterpret</a> this landmark: the judges only talked to Eugene and other competitors for five minutes, the rule that you have to fool 30 percent of the judges to &ldquo;pass&rdquo; is arbitrary, and billing your bot as an adolescent non-English speaker is some weak-sauce loophole exploitation. (There&rsquo;s nothing in the rules that says competitors <em>can&rsquo;t</em> manage expectations this way, but it&rsquo;s clearly less impressive than fooling people into thinking your computer program is an adult native speaker).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Interview with Eugene Goostman, the Fake Kid Who Passed the Turing Test <a href="http://t.co/QZeVAIbi9u">http://t.co/QZeVAIbi9u</a> <a href="http://t.co/jx9YkSQ5X7">pic.twitter.com/jx9YkSQ5X7</a></p> <p> &mdash; Techland (@Techland) <a href="https://twitter.com/Techland/statuses/476010677639737345">June 9, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>But while Eugene may not have passed the Turing test in any but the most superficial way, it&rsquo;s a weird creation in and of itself. A version of the bot is <a href="http://default-environment-sdqm3mrmp4.elasticbeanstalk.com/">available online</a>, and it comes complete with a loopy backstory about Eugene&#39;s childhood in Odessa:</p> <blockquote><p>[F]irst of all, we should say that Eugene comes from Odessa - Ukrainian city which residents have maniacal conviction that they live in the most humorous city in the world, even naming it &quot;the capital of humor&quot; - of course, such ill-minded neighborhood couldn&#39;t help screwing Goostman&#39;s psyche since early childhood - but he grew up quite a sane boy, even despite of some other piquant circumstances - for example, his father was gynecologist - wouldn&#39;t you fall into cynicism and nihilism, if your dad were?</p> </blockquote> <p>It actually gets weirder from there &mdash; the story goes on to explain how Eugene&rsquo;s teacher was captured by green aliens flying around in a giant chamber pot and &ldquo;became an evil cyber-fairy.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote><p>If only anyone cared of strange transformations happened to the poor teacher after meeting green-skins, who all of a sudden started claiming that &quot;Green is beautiful&quot;, joined The Greenpeace, wrote a book &quot;Chamber-Potter and the Saucer&#39;s Prisoner&quot;, forced pupils to worship a big golden chamber-pot, and, finally, established the weirdest contest in the world named The Chamber-Pot Challenge! Furthermore, like it always happens to victims of UFO-kidnapping, after those immoral experiments he became pregnant.</p> </blockquote> <p>Out of deference to Eugene&rsquo;s gynecologist father, the pregnant teacher turned the teenager into a chatbot. Because of course.</p> <p>In addition to reading Eugene&rsquo;s sad story on the website, you can see snippets of earlier conversations, like this one in which he explains geography:</p> <blockquote><p> <strong>USER:</strong> what is a currency of bahrain<br /> <strong>RESPONSE:</strong> Do you want to rob their bank? Well, so you&#39;ll get lots of dinars.<br /> <strong>USER:</strong> what is a capital of this country<br /> <strong>RESPONSE: </strong>If you&#39;ve studied geography at school better, you would have known the answer - Manama is a capital city in Bahrain.<br /> <strong>USER:</strong> is it in the same region with panama<br /> <strong>RESPONSE:</strong> I&#39;m not sure about Bahrain and Panama, but I guess they belong to different world regions.<br /> <strong>USER:</strong> is panama far from paraguay<br /> <strong>RESPONSE: </strong>I am not a map for you, but I should say both Panama and Paraguay are South American countries so they should be close to each other.<br /> <strong>USER:</strong> what countries in asia have population bigger than india<br /> <strong>RESPONSE: </strong>China. Hope this settles down your inquisitive mind and sore brain.</p></blockquote> <p>(N.B.: I will be saying &ldquo;I am not a map for you&rdquo; every time someone asks me a question from now on.)</p> <p>You can also chat with this version of Eugene. I tried to get him &mdash; sorry, it &mdash; to comment on recent political upheaval in Ukraine, but like a typical 13-year-old child or a typical non-sentient computer program, it didn&rsquo;t seem that interested:</p> <blockquote><p> <strong>GlobalPost: </strong>Who do you think should control Crimea?<br /> <strong>Eugene Goostman:</strong> I don&#39;t share this point of view. Where do you came from, by the way? Could you tell me about the place where you live?<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> Well, in a minute I will, but first I&rsquo;m asking about Ukraine. There&rsquo;s been a lot of unrest there recently.<br /> <strong>EG:</strong> Ukraine is a big country, it is a former Soviet republic. It is a very poor place, I must say.<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> Do you support the new government?<br /> <strong>EG:</strong> To some extend. That&#39;s all I can tell you. By the way, what&#39;s your occupation? I mean - could you tell me about your work?<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> I&rsquo;m a writer, but we don&rsquo;t have to talk about me. I&rsquo;m interested in your opinions.<br /> <strong>EG: </strong>Well, I&#39;ll read something of your books, if they ain&#39;t too tedious (which is highly possible:-)<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> I can see why people thought you were a plausible 13-year-old.<br /> <strong>EG:</strong> It&#39;s just in humans nature.<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> No doubt. So what do you think is next for Ukraine?<br /> <strong>EG: </strong>Ukraine is a big country, it is a former Soviet republic. It is a very poor place, I must say.<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> I get the sense you don&rsquo;t want to talk politics.<br /> <strong>EG:</strong> I do not understand why people bother to like politics. It is as clear as the daylight - who has money - has power!<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> Which is Russia, in this case?<br /> <strong>EG: </strong>Oh, you possibly know all these three Slavic countries - Russia, Ukraine and Belarus that constantly entertain all the World community by their funny scandals with stealing gas, dividing military ships - like children that in &quot;divorce&quot;.<br /> <strong>GP:</strong> I&rsquo;m not sure I&rsquo;d call recent events &ldquo;funny.&rdquo;<br /> <strong>EG:</strong> The Earth is still rotating, and that&#39;s a good news :-)</p></blockquote> <p>Anyway, Turing test or no Turing test, with this level of &ldquo;artificial intelligence&rdquo; sophistication I&rsquo;m willing to guess that the human race is safe for now.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s a good news. :-)</p> computer Ukraine Strange But True Offbeat Russia Technology Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:17:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6171024 at http://www.globalpost.com Harvard library confirms this 19th-century French book is bound in human skin http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140605/harvard-library-confirms-19th-century-french-book-bound-human-skin <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 'A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering.' </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>BOSTON, Mass. &mdash; There&#39;s grizzly and fascinating news coming out of Harvard University. &nbsp;</p> <p>Curators at the school&#39;s Houghton Library <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/houghton/2013/05/24/bound-in-human-skin/">have confirmed</a> that a book in the collection is bound in human skin.</p> <p>Harvard has long suspected that its copy of &quot;Des destin&eacute;es de l&rsquo;ame,&quot; a work published in the 1880s by French writer Ars&egrave;ne Houssaye, was wrapped in the remnants of a flayed person. Houssaye gave the book to his friend, the evil-sounding Dr. Ludovic Bouland, who inserted in the volume a note that explained its binding:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;This book is bound in human skin parchment on which no ornament has been stamped to preserve its elegance. By looking carefully you easily distinguish the pores of the skin. A book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering: I had kept this piece of human skin taken from the back of a woman. It is interesting to see the different aspects that change this skin according to the method of preparation to which it is subjected. Compare for example with the small volume I have in my library, Sever. Pinaeus de Virginitatis notis which is also bound in human skin but tanned with sumac.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>A book collector named John B. Stetson, Jr. deposited the book at Houghton Library in 1934 and his widow gifted it to the library in 1954.</p> <p>Harvard didn&#39;t confirm that the skin actually came from a person until yesterday, after conservators and scientists <a href="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/houghton/2014/06/04/caveat-lecter/">analyzed proteins and amino acids</a> in samples of the binding.</p> <p>Bill Lane, who directs the Harvard Mass Spectrometry and Proteomics Resource Laboratory, concluded, &quot;The analytical data, taken together with the provenance of &#39;Des destin&eacute;es de l&rsquo;ame,&#39; make it very unlikely that the source could be other than human.&quot;</p> <p>The book is the only such volume in Harvard&#39;s collection, although the practice of binding books in human skin, known as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropodermic_bibliopegy">anthropodermic bibliopegy</a>, has a long history dating to the 13th century. It became something of a trend beginning in the late 16th and early 17th centuries and several examples remain in libraries around the world.</p> <p>You might be wondering where all this skin came from. Some of it came from executed criminals. Some might have come from the remains of bodies donated (or taken) for science. Who knows where else.</p> <p>The skin on Harvard&#39;s book came from the <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2014/6/4/5780644/harvard-book-is-bound-in-human-skin-tests-confirm">back of a female mental patient</a>. She&#39;d died from a stroke and nobody had claimed her body.</p> Reading Rainbow Strange But True Offbeat Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:29:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6167703 at http://www.globalpost.com Watch sheep play soccer at the Sheep World Cup 2014 http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/colombia/140604/watch-sheep-play-soccer-the-sheep-world-cup-2014 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It's Colombia vs. Brazil vs. wolves! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Sure, you could watch humans kick a ball around. That sounds fun, I guess. But why look on while people squander the use of their opposable thumbs, when you could watch dressed-up sheep kick a ball around a field instead? (With, of course, some encouragement from their handlers, since sheep are not naturally motivated by competitiveness or lucrative endorsement deals.)</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-June/sheep_soccer_dressing_0.png" width="670" /></p> <p>That&rsquo;s why folks in Nobsa, Colombia dressed sheep in the colors of the Colombian and Brazilian soccer teams and had them <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2014/06/02/sheep-world-cup-hoofs-off-ahead-of-brazil-2014-world-cup-finals-4746827/">duke it out</a> in advance of the countries&rsquo; World Cup soccer match. Well, that, and it was also Poncho Day, a day when craftsmen celebrate the local artisan tradition of handmade wool ponchos, so sheep were already the guests of honor. And what better way to treat your guests of honor than making them play sports they don&rsquo;t understand while wearing ill-fitting pants?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-June/sheep_soccer_team_0.png" width="670" /></p> <p>For more coverage of this important international sporting event, see this video by Metro UK:</p> <p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="270" id="flashObj" width="480"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=3601271055001&amp;playerID=665413262001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAB42LPmE~,rulI1GcI29P6rz5vk_YSzJ0BuxpDLg4V&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=3601271055001&amp;playerID=665413262001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAB42LPmE~,rulI1GcI29P6rz5vk_YSzJ0BuxpDLg4V&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="270" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480"></embed></object></p> World Cup 2014 Strange But True Brazil Offbeat Colombia Thu, 05 Jun 2014 13:55:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6166929 at http://www.globalpost.com These ads will terrify you into cheering for Chile at the 2014 World Cup http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/chile/140605/chile-2014-world-cup-ads-cristal-miners <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Team Chile knows how to psych. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><div> We all know what a World Cup advert looks like by now: cute kids, bit of samba music, strapline about how soccer brings the world together, yadda yadda yadda, stick in Cristiano Ronaldo and it&#39;s job done.</div> <p>So while the Nikes and Coca-Colas and Samsungs of this world <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64939-10-most-shared-branded-ads-for-the-2014-world-cup-so-far" target="_blank">do just that</a> &mdash; again &mdash; it&#39;s refreshing to see Chile&#39;s official World Cup sponsors abandon any pretence that it&#39;s the taking part that counts. Oh no: they want Chile to win. And they&#39;re not afraid to get creepy to help that happen.</p> <p>It&#39;s no easy task: Chile have been drawn in the so-called &quot;group of death&quot; that includes both finalists from the 2010 World Cup, reigning champions Spain and runners-up the Netherlands. (And Australia too, but... <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_at_the_FIFA_World_Cup" target="_blank">you know</a>.)&nbsp;</p> <p>While the Chilean 11 prepare for their <a href="http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/teams/team=43925/matches.html" target="_blank">first match</a> against Australia on June 13, beer brand Cerveza Cristal has produced a series of ads putting the freaks on their formidable opponents &mdash; under the slogan &quot;Chile is scary.&quot; Yes, yes it is.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/foWqQUNdwJo?list=PLRFYUzYHA9kiNShMeyUr4a-J-0wNkoJzv" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Gulp. Then it&#39;s Spain&#39;s turn, on June 18:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/BEmJYUgB3wk?list=PLRFYUzYHA9kiNShMeyUr4a-J-0wNkoJzv" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>And finally the Netherlands on June 23:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/o_7H4cAKj4k?list=PLRFYUzYHA9kiNShMeyUr4a-J-0wNkoJzv" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>But Cristal is pretty confident that Chile&#39;s World Cup isn&#39;t going to end there. So confident, in fact, that they&#39;ve already begun psyching out other potential rivals from Japan to the United States:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DaeAj-HQnGA" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>And if all that doesn&#39;t have you cheering for Chile &mdash; while looking nervously over your shoulder for Arturo Vidal &mdash; take a look at this even more convincing ad by another of the team&#39;s proud patrons, Banco de Chile. In which the Chilean miners &mdash; yes, <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/chile/101010/mining-copper-rescue-pinera" target="_blank"><em>those&nbsp;</em>Chilean miners</a> &mdash; bellow at you about how they laugh in the face of the group of death and, indeed, actual death.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/tmLmWiqSVS8" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Right, that&#39;s it, we&#39;re all buying red jerseys immediately. How could we dare not to?&nbsp;</p> World Cup 2014 Americas Strange But True Chile Offbeat Thu, 05 Jun 2014 12:59:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6167351 at http://www.globalpost.com No one knows if this religious leader is dead or meditating http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/140529/170-million-at-stake-indian-court-may-decide-whether <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> His family says he's dead. His followers say he's meditating. Either way, Shri Ashutosh Maharaj is in a commercial freezer and there's $170 million at stake. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, a wealthy religious leader in the Punjab city of Jalandhar, is <a href="http://www.independent.ie/world-news/asia-pacific/battle-over-whether-guru-is-dead-or-just-meditating-30313789.html">either dead or meditating</a>. A court may decide which, and the Maharaj&#39;s $170-million estate is at stake.</p> <p>According to his family, he died from a heart attack on Jan. 29, 2014.</p> <p>According to members of Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan &mdash; which was founded in 1983 and which&nbsp;<a href="https://www.djjs.org/about-djjs">describes itself</a>&nbsp; as a &quot;socio-spiritual-culturel, not-for-profit organisation&quot; &mdash; he&#39;s in a deep state of meditation known as &quot;Samadhi.&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Maharaj has been in deep meditation,&quot; <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/india/10860998/Indian-court-asked-to-rule-on-whether-Hindu-guru-dead-or-meditating.html">one of his followers said</a>. &quot;He has spent many years meditating in sub-zero temperatures in the Himalayas, there is nothing unusual in it. He will return to life as soon as he feels and we will ensure his body is preserved until then.&quot;</p> <p>Punjab police initially confirmed that the Maharaj was deceased, but the Punjab High Court, ruled that his condition was a spiritual matter. Now, the Maharaj&#39;s wife and son are filing a court application seeking to have his death confirmed, claiming that his followers just want control of his money.</p> <p>While all this gets decided, His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj will remain right where he is: in a commercial freezer.</p> This is weird Asia-Pacific Strange But True India Offbeat Thu, 29 May 2014 14:13:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6161172 at http://www.globalpost.com 12 legends that prove the whole world is obsessed with dragons http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140516/12-legends-prove-the-whole-world-loves-dragons <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Some breathe fire. Others live in water. But there's one thing all dragons have in common: they're totally badass. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Long before dragons were busy being the best things in &quot;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/entertainment/140429/seven-kingdoms-game-of-thrones-filming-locations" target="_blank">Game of Thrones</a>,&quot; the world has been telling tales about them. And guess what: they don&rsquo;t all end in monsters being slain and maidens being rescued.</p> <p>In Iran, for instance, a dragon is only chained up, waiting to break free and bring the apocalypse. In Japan, another one&rsquo;s busy ruling the sea. The Chinese would ask why you&rsquo;d even consider trying to kill such an auspicious creature, and the Vietnamese call a dragon dad. In India, a dragon stole the rains and in Australia, one gives them back.</p> <p>Almost anywhere in the world you look, in fact, there be dragons. Here&rsquo;s the proof.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <h2> 1. Greece</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_01.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Shii/Wikimedia commons)</span></p> <p>It&rsquo;s thanks to the Ancient Greeks that dragons are dragons: it was their word <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dragon" target="_blank"><em>drakon</em></a> (&ldquo;serpent&rdquo;) that gave us the name we use today. And their specimens certainly lived up to it. They were pretty much everything you&rsquo;d want from a good dragon, i.e., horrifying and nigh impossible to slay &mdash; unless you just happen to be a hero with the gods on your side.</p> <p>Take <a href="http://www.theoi.com/Ther/DrakonHydra.html" target="_blank">Hydra</a>, for instance, the gigantic sea serpent that breathed and bled poison, and would grow two more heads for each one cut off. (Hercules worked out he could stop the heads sprouting by sealing each stump with fire.) Or <a href="http://www.theoi.com/Ther/KetosAithiopios.html" target="_blank">Cetus</a>, the sea monster that Poseidon sent to eat the princess Andromeda after her mother boasted that she was more beautiful than any sea nymph. (Perseus swooped in with his flying sandals and killed it, and the gods memorialized the story in the stars.)</p> <p>Or <a href="http://www.theoi.com/Ther/DrakonIsmenios.html" target="_blank">the Ismenian dragon</a>, son of the god of war, who guarded a sacred spring. (Cadmus killed it and planted its teeth in the ground, where they turned into fearsome warriors who would help him found the city of Thebes.) Then there was the dragon at Colchis that watched over the magical Golden Fleece. The creature never slept or even closed its eyes, but the sorceress Medea helped Jason to steal the treasure by bewitching the dragon unconscious. Incidentally, <a href="http://www.ljubljana.si/en/about-ljubljana/images-of-ljubljana/" target="_blank">some legends say</a> that on his way back to Greece, Jason ran into and slew another dragon, in what&rsquo;s now Slovenia. That&rsquo;s why the capital Ljubljana has a dragon on its coat of arms.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 2. China</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_07.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STR/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Head east and you&rsquo;ll find a very different story. China might just be <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_dragon" target="_blank">the best place in the world to be a dragon</a>: you symbolize strength and bring blessings, you have all kinds of powers over the natural world, and there are pictures of you <em>everywhere</em>. You&rsquo;re one of the 12 animals of the zodiac and one of the four creatures of the constellations.</p> <p>Ok, so <a href="http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15250/15250-h/15250-h.htm#d0e3465" target="_blank">you look a little odd</a>: you have the horns of a stag, the head of a camel, the eyes of a demon, the belly of a shellfish, the scales of a carp, the claws of an eagle, the feet of a tiger and the ears of an ox. But whatever &mdash; you and your type control night and day (torch dragon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhulong_(mythology)" target="_blank">Zhulong</a> makes daylight by opening his eyes, darkness by closing them), the weather (spirit dragon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenlong" target="_blank">Shenlong</a> decides when to bring rain), rivers and lakes (earth dragon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilong" target="_blank">Dilong</a> governs the waterways) and the earth&rsquo;s most precious treasures (guard dragon <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fucanglong" target="_blank">Fucanlong</a> watches over riches deep underground, bursting out now and then as a volcano). Four of you rule the oceans &mdash; the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_King" target="_blank">dragon kings</a> of the north, south, east and west seas, who live in underwater palaces made of crystal &mdash; and one of you, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianlong" target="_blank">Tianlong</a> the heavenly dragon, guards the gods in the sky (you can see him coiled around the North Star). The earliest Chinese emperors claimed kinship with you and almost all of them wanted you as their emblem. Even today, people will <a href="http://arts.cultural-china.com/en/96Arts8434.html" target="_blank">parade models of you</a> through the streets for good fortune. It&rsquo;s a dragon&rsquo;s life.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 3. Wales: Draig Goch</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_05.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Peter Trimming/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>If anyone can give the Chinese a run for their dragon-blessed money, it&rsquo;s the Welsh. A <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=f899xH_quaMC&amp;lpg=PA609&amp;dq=the%20ddraig%20goch%20(red%20dragon)%20is%20the%20national%20symbol%20of%20wales&amp;pg=PA609#v=onepage&amp;q=the%20ddraig%20goch%20(red%20dragon)%20is%20the%20national%20symbol%20of%20wales&amp;f=false" target="_blank"><em>Draig Goch</em></a> (&ldquo;red dragon&rdquo;) is their national symbol and boy oh boy are these people proud of it. The association dates back to the days when <a href="http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/welsh-dragon-most-important-object-3012086" target="_blank">strange, poisonous reptiles</a> thrashed the waters, haunted the air and shook the earth of the British Isles.</p> <p>The people had all sorts of amusing <em>olde Ynglishe</em> names for them, from knuckers to wyverns, gwibers to loathly worms, and they were forever being shot with burning arrows or having their heads chopped off. So, when King Ludd of Britain finds his kingdom cursed each May Day by an eerie shriek that causes crops to fail and women to miscarry, and his brother Llefelys, king of France, tells him that the sound comes from <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_Ddraig_Goch" target="_blank">two battling dragons</a>, Ludd finds that a perfectly plausible explanation. On his brother&rsquo;s advice, he digs a vast pit, fills it with mead and covers it over with a cloth. The dragons &mdash; one red, one white &mdash; fall in, break from their fight to drink all the wine, and fall fast asleep. Ludd wraps them in the cloth and buries them under the peaks of Snowdonia, in northern Wales.</p> <p>Centuries later, the Celtic king Vortigern wants to build <a href="http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356395981973/" target="_blank">a castle</a> on that very spot. Try as he might, before each dawn any walls he lays are in ruins. His advisers tell him to find a boy with a supernatural father and spill his blood over the foundations. But the boy he chooses &mdash; who, wouldn&rsquo;t you know, turns out to be the legendary wizard Merlin &mdash; informs him that his troubles are caused by the two dragons trapped under his fortress, and he should set them free to finish their battle. Vortigern digs under the castle, the two dragons appear and, after a fierce fight, the red defeats the white. Merlin explains that the white dragon represents the English and the red, the Welsh &mdash; who will rise up and drive out the invaders. We&rsquo;re still waiting.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 4. Peru: Amaru</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_02.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (V&eacute;ronique Debord-Lazaro/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>It&rsquo;s hardly surprising that the Incas, living among anacondas and crocodiles, should speak of a powerful scaly creature that emerges from the depths. Unlike your normal reptile, however, the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaru_(mythology)" target="_blank"><em>amaru</em></a> of Incan legend had two heads and were the heralds of sudden, cataclysmic change.</p> <p>On their serpent&rsquo;s body, some had <a href="http://www.precolumbia.com/bearc/CAAS/AA12.pdf" target="_blank">the heads of llamas or of pumas</a>, the feet and wings of birds, and one was described as &ldquo;half a league long&hellip; with ears, fangs and a beard.&rdquo; They would appear from mountains, caves and underground rivers and were associated with the coming of the rains. Some stories have them fighting and killing &mdash; like <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=6Wa9RwqdqEkC&amp;lpg=PA95&amp;ots=hJVB6WzSPj&amp;dq=amaru%20(amaro)&amp;pg=PA96#v=onepage&amp;q=amaru%20(amaro)&amp;f=false" target="_blank">the tale of the battle</a> between the gods of the Andes, when the volcano Huallallo Caruincho unleashes a mighty amaru on his rival, the mountain Paria Caca, who stabbed the dragon in its back with his golden staff and turned it to stone &mdash; but <em>amaru</em> are best known for something much nicer: <a href="http://www.precolumbia.com/bearc/CAAS/AA12.pdf" target="_blank">the rainbow</a>. Incas believed the creatures burst out of springs filled up with water and plunged one of their heads into another spring, where it would suck the water across. The arch we see in the sky is the spray passing between the <em>amaru</em>&rsquo;s two mouths.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 5. Australia: Rainbow Serpent</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/dragons_-_australia.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (HTO/Wikimedia commons)</span></p> <p>Are we sure the Incas never met the first Australians? Like the early South Americans, Australia&rsquo;s indigenous people believed that the rainbow was <a href="http://dl.nfsa.gov.au/module/1565/" target="_blank">a supernatural serpent</a> with the power to control water, weather, and thus life. In fact the same association occurs in so many different myths, among so many peoples and on so many continents, that some academics have argued that <a href="http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40465957?uid=3738016&amp;uid=2&amp;uid=4&amp;sid=21104072181027" target="_blank">all our stories about dragons are our ancestors&rsquo; attempts to explain the rainbow</a>.</p> <p>Different Aboriginal Australians have different versions of the myth. Some say <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Serpent" target="_blank">the Rainbow Serpent</a> descended from an even bigger snake in the sky, still visible at night as a dark streak across the southern Milky Way. Some say the ups and downs of the land are the tracks left by the Serpent&rsquo;s windings, the lakes and rivers where <a href="http://www.expedition360.com/australia_lessons_literacy/2001/09/dreamtime_stories_the_rainbow.html" target="_blank">it tickled the frogs</a> and made them laugh, causing them to spew out the water they had drunk. Most agree that it lives in the underground waterways of the earth, leaving them to bring rain when benevolent and storms when angry. When it travels, it arches from one waterhole to another as a rainbow. Sticklers might say that the Rainbow Serpent is more of a snake than a dragon &mdash; but since Australia is home to more <a href="http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2009/06/dragon-tales/" target="_blank">actual dragons doing actual dragon stuff</a> than perhaps any other country, we think it deserves a pass.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 6. India: Vritra</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>What dragons giveth, dragons taketh away. Like its cousins elsewhere, India&rsquo;s legendary dragon ruled the waters &mdash; and it didn&#39;t want to share them.</p> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vritra" target="_blank">Vritra</a>, &ldquo;the enveloper,&rdquo; was a huge dragon said to be the son of the primordial water goddess Danu. He <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=e5o3AwAAQBAJ&amp;lpg=PA153&amp;ots=iKOORBS0Lt&amp;dq=vritra%20dragon&amp;pg=PA153#v=onepage&amp;q=vritra%20dragon&amp;f=false" target="_blank">trapped all seven sacred rivers</a> within a single mountain, which he guarded jealously with his long coils. No streams flowed and no rain fell. Then came the mighty Indra, king of the gods, to save the world from its drought. Armed with a thunderbolt, he went to each of the dragon&rsquo;s 99 fortresses and destroyed every one until he found Vritra himself. The two fought a brutal battle. <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=Yggtpm4SeDwC&amp;lpg=PA15&amp;ots=eRxaa3EPVB&amp;dq=vritra%20dragon&amp;pg=PA15#v=onepage&amp;q=vritra%20dragon&amp;f=false" target="_blank">One version says</a> that the dragon broke Indra&rsquo;s jaws but he managed to recover and destroy Vritra with his thunderbolt. <a href="http://www.pantheon.org/articles/v/vritra.html" target="_blank">Another says</a> Vritra swallowed Indra whole but the other gods forced him to spew him out, in exchange for Indra&rsquo;s promise that he wouldn&rsquo;t attack the dragon at day or at night, with nothing dry and with nothing wet, nor with anything made of wood, metal or stone. Cunning Indra used the foam from the ocean waves &mdash; invested with the power of the supreme being Vishnu &mdash; to strike Vritra at twilight, keeping his promise but destroying the dragon. And now the waters of the world run free.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 7. Vietnam</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_09.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Mike Fernwood/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>Vietnamese people are dragons. Correction: dragon-fairy super hybrids. The story goes that legendary king <a href="http://www.vietnam-culture.com/articles-47-4/The-Legendary-Origins-of-the-Viet-People.aspx" target="_blank">Lac Long Quan</a> was the son of dragons, risen from the sea. Venturing onto land in his human form, he performed various heroic feats and eventually seduced Au Co, the daughter of a mountain spirit. She lay 100 eggs from which would hatch 100 sons. Lac Long&rsquo;s dragon nature drew him back to the ocean, where he took 50 of their children. The other 50 lived with Au Co in the mountains, and between them they founded the first dynasty of Vietnam. Dragons have been <a href="http://www.vietnam-culture.com/articles-221-34/Tale-of-Vietnamese-Dragon.aspx" target="_blank">a symbol of royalty and strength</a> ever since.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 8. Japan: Ryujin</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_04.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Adam Cuerden/Wikimedia commons)</span></p> <p>It took four Chinese dragons to rule the ocean, but Japan had only one: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%ABjin" target="_blank">Ryujin</a>, the dragon king. He was to be found at the bottom of the Sea of Japan in a spectacular underwater palace made of red and white coral. Ryujin lived there with his daughters &mdash; who, like him, had the power to switch between dragon and human form &mdash; and the turtles, fish, octopi and other sea creatures that were his servants. It was also where he kept the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide_jewels" target="_blank">magical jewels</a> with which he controlled the tides: a white gem to make the waters retreat and a blue one to make them rise. Many stories about Ryujin concern various humans&rsquo; attempts to obtain his treasure, but it&rsquo;s <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=UYdGl8XM8L0C&amp;lpg=PA231&amp;ots=Qb5qrtsBBp&amp;dq=ryujin%20dragon&amp;pg=PA231#v=onepage&amp;q=ryujin%20dragon&amp;f=false" target="_blank">the tale of the jellyfish</a> that gives the best insight into his character. The jellyfish, once a normal-looking fish and faithful servant of Ryujin, was instructed by his dragon master to fetch him a monkey&rsquo;s liver, which the sea god was convinced would help relieve a nasty rash that was bothering him. The jellyfish dutifully tracked down a monkey, who informed him that he&rsquo;d, um, left his liver in a jar somewhere and would <em>absolutely</em> do his best to find it and deliver it to Ryujin himself. Needless to say he did not, and when the not-very-bright jellyfish told Ryujin what had happened, the furious dragon beat it into a blob. And so it has remained.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 9. France: The Tarasque</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_12.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Erodcust/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>Ok, before you say anything &mdash; we know. We know this&hellip; thing is hardly a fearsome beast. In fact it&rsquo;s undeniably wacky and even, dare we say it, kind of pathetic. But there&rsquo;s a reason for that. If ever there were a dragon tragedy, then the tale of <a href="http://www.tarascon.org/tarascon-in-provence/visit/history-and-legends/saint-martha-and-the-tarasque.html" target="_blank">Saint Martha and the Tarasque</a> is it.</p> <p>Our scene is the town of Tarascon in the south of France, in the 1st century AD. At this time, <a href="http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=79" target="_blank">according to legend</a>, the region was plagued by &ldquo;a dragon which was half animal and half fish, bigger than a cow, longer than a horse and with teeth like sword-shaped horns and armed with two shields.&rdquo; It was known as <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarasque" target="_blank">the Tarasque</a> and it lived in a marsh near the River Rhone, where it would help itself to passing townsfolk. Then came Martha, freshly washed up in France from Judea along with Mary Magdalene, Lazarus and a boatful of other saints (um, sure, why not). Unafraid, Martha showed the creature her cross, sprinkled it with holy water, sang it prayers and hymns, tied her sash around its neck and led it back to the town, tame as a lamb. But before you could say &ldquo;pet dragon,&rdquo; the panicky villagers attacked the Tarasque &mdash; which, by now so docile it didn&rsquo;t fight back, was soon killed. Martha gave them a lecture on Christianity (and, we hope, the importance of not needlessly murdering mythical creatures) and the whole town promptly converted. Their descendants reenact the story to this day, <a href="http://www.tarascon.org/tarascon-in-provence/visit/festivities/the-fetes-de-la-tarasque.html" target="_blank">parading a model Tarasque through the streets</a> each June. The tale also sets the tone for most western European legends about dragons: bloodthirsty monster terrifies pagans, fearless saint arrives to defeat it, grateful pagans convert, everybody loves Jesus. Yay!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 10. Iran: Azi Dahaka</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_08.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Aqa Mirak/Sotheby&#39;s/Wikimedia commons)</span></p> <p>If the Tarasque has got you thinking that maybe dragons can be kind of, sort of, maybe, sometimes <em>cute</em>, let <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zahhak" target="_blank">Azi Dahaka</a> set you straight. He comes from Persian mythology and there&rsquo;s no question this creature is mean. The Avesta, the ancient sacred texts of Zoroastrianism, describe him as having <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=FQ2pAK9luwkC&amp;lpg=PA13&amp;ots=JyFuH3JjUH&amp;dq=azi%20dahaka%20dragon&amp;pg=PA14#v=onepage&amp;q=azi%20dahaka%20dragon&amp;f=false" target="_blank">three heads, three mouths, six eyes and a thousand skills</a>. His name means &ldquo;dragon&rdquo; or &ldquo;serpent&rdquo; (<em>azi</em>) and possibly &ldquo;burning,&rdquo; &ldquo;manlike,&rdquo; &ldquo;huge&rdquo; or &ldquo;foreign&rdquo; (<em>dahaka</em>). Oh, and in case there was still doubt as to which side he&rsquo;s on, he was created by the force of destruction and evil. Ok then.</p> <p>We first hear of him and his brother attacking the mythical King Yima: they cut him in half with a saw, but the divine fire spirit Atar, created by the force of good, intervenes. Atar threatens to blow holy flames up Azi Dahaka&rsquo;s, um, nether regions and out his three mouths; Azi Dahaka sensibly withdraws. He plots. He reappears to offer sacrifices to the divinities of the waters and the storm winds, asking them to help him just, you know, <em>kill the entire human population</em>. They decline and instead help the hero Fereydun to defeat Azi Dahaka in battle. The first blows he strikes on the dragon with his mace send snakes and insects and other nasties scurrying out from the wounds &mdash; so, advised by the gods not to strike again and risk unleashing a plague upon the world, Fereydun chains him up alive on Mount Damavand. Legend has it that one day, when the end is nigh, Azi Dahaka will break free and lay waste to a third of humanity. Even today, in Persian dragons are called <a href="http://tribes.tribe.net/b9b544af-89e5-4aa7-8dec-c917f83c3bd7/thread/4828541c-6379-4649-8365-20599435db38" target="_blank"><em>azhdaha</em></a> after their earliest and scariest ancestor.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 11. West Africa: Bida</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_11.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Farhan Nasir/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p>The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soninke_people" target="_blank">Soninke people</a> of West Africa tell the story of Bida, a magical dragon that encircled the city of Wagadu in what was once the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghana_Empire" target="_blank">Ghana Empire</a>&nbsp;(now Mali and Mauritania). There are <a href="http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/1261392&amp;authorid=238" target="_blank">several versions</a>, but the gist seems to be that <a href="http://books.google.fr/books?id=HgDOiTZvdLcC&amp;lpg=PA116&amp;ots=CBRHYwI7rQ&amp;dq=%22the%20fight%20with%20the%20bida%20dragon%22&amp;pg=PA122#v=onepage&amp;q=%22the%20fight%20with%20the%20bida%20dragon%22&amp;f=false" target="_blank">Bida had the power to make gold rain down</a> upon the city &mdash; which he did, three times a year, in exchange for the sacrifice of local maidens.</p> <p>One year a young woman named Sia Jatta Bari, the most beautiful in all Wagadu, was chosen to be given to Bida. But her lover, Mamadi Sefe Dekote, was determined to save her &mdash; even if it cost the city its riches. He accompanied Sia to the dragon&rsquo;s lair and, knowing that Bida &mdash; evidently a showman &mdash; would always stick his head out of the cave three times before taking his prey, struck off the creature&rsquo;s head with his sword on the third go. The severed head flew through the air and with its dying breath vowed that Wagadu would not see golden rain for seven years, seven months and seven days (a curse that led the ungrateful locals to chase Mamadi out of town and into more adventures, but that&rsquo;s another story). When the dragon&rsquo;s head finally fell to earth, much further south, it sowed the ground with gold. That&rsquo;s why, where modern-day Ghana meets the sea, you find the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Coast_(region)" target="_blank">Gold Coast</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 12. Poland: Smok Wawelski</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/photos_-_03.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Steve R Watson/Flickr Commons)</span></p> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavic_dragon" target="_blank">Eastern Europe loves it some dragons</a>, and we suspect that Bida might have got along with one of the most famous of them: <a href="https://www.wawel.krakow.pl/en/index.php?op=11" target="_blank">Smok Wawelski</a>, the &ldquo;Wawel dragon&rdquo; that once terrorized the Polish city of Krakow. The creature lived in a cave under Wawel Hill, on the banks of the Vistula River. Some say he demanded a certain number of cattle each day and if the offering fell short, he&rsquo;d eat the equivalent number of humans. Others say he went on daily rampages, snacking indiscriminately on unfortunate livestock or its even more unfortunate owners. Still others say his favorite food was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wawel_Dragon" target="_blank">female virgins</a> and he consumed the town&rsquo;s entire population thereof until only the king&rsquo;s beloved daughter was left. Whichever version you prefer, Smok Wawelski was one crazy beast, and a pain in Krakow&rsquo;s collective ass. Fame and fortune was promised to whoever could rid the city of the dragon, and thus some enterprising individual &mdash; either King Krakus, his son or a canny cobbler&rsquo;s apprentice, depending on who you believe &mdash; came up with a cunning plan. He took a dead lamb, stuffed it with sulfur and left it tantalisingly outside the dragon&rsquo;s den (but why wouldn&rsquo;t the sheep explode? Why would the dragon eat dead meat? Wouldn&rsquo;t the sulfur smell funn&mdash;STOP ASKING QUESTIONS IT&rsquo;S A DRAGON STORY), where sure enough, the monster gobbled it up. No sooner had he swallowed than he felt an agonizing burn. He rushed down to the Vistula and gulped down the waters, drinking, drinking, drinking until &mdash; boom. Exploded dragon. Krakowites are much fonder of old Smok Wawelski now that he&rsquo;s dead, commemorating him by hanging his bones (NB: <a href="http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-bones-of-the-wawel-dragon" target="_blank">probably not his bones</a>) outside their cathedral, offering <a href="http://www.krakow-info.com/smocza.htm" target="_blank">tours of his cave</a> and erecting <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wawel_Dragon_(statue)" target="_blank">a fire-breathing statue</a> at the foot of his hill. There&rsquo;s even <a href="http://en.poland.gov.pl/The,Wawel,Dragon,really,existed!,Events,7072x2450.html" target="_blank">a dinosaur</a> named after him.</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--> Real-life Dragons Want to Know Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Tue, 27 May 2014 15:23:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6148753 at http://www.globalpost.com Get massaged by giant pythons at this Philippines zoo http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/philippines/140527/python-massage-cebu-zoo-philippines <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> But try not to scream for help. The snakes really hate that. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>You&#39;ve had a stressful day and you could really use a hug. So why not treat yourself to a nice, relaxing snake massage!</p> <p>At the Cebu City Zoo in the Philippines, visitors can enjoy the unusual experience of being pinned down by four giant Burmese pythons which&nbsp;<a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/snake-massage-philippines--burmese-python-spa-treatment-at-cebu-city-zoo-135103854.html">slither on top of them</a> for 15 minutes per session.</p> <p>And it only costs $0.50 &mdash; <a href="http://cebuzoo.blogspot.com/p/cebu-zoo-faqs.html">the price of zoo admission!</a></p> <p>Here&rsquo;s how it works: You lie down on a bamboo mat while zookeepers brief you on the process. Then they take the four pythons &mdash; named Michelle, Walter, EJ and Daniel &mdash; out of their cages and pile them on top of you.</p> <p>One after the other.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/python_massage_2.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Burmese pythons are NOT tiny. (videotravelnews/YouTube)</span></p> <p>As the snakes begin to writhe on your prone body, you maintain a polite, professional silence and let them do their job. Or maybe you can&rsquo;t really talk, since <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2634971/Is-sssss-spa-treatment-Zoo-offers-massage-four-giant-pythons-feeds-10-chickens-case-theyre-hungry.html">their combined weight is around 550 lbs</a>.</p> <p>Either way, you&rsquo;re not going anywhere covered in a quarter ton of pythons so you might as well try to enjoy it. Fortunately the slithering motion is said to be &ldquo;calming and therapeutic,&rdquo; <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/snake-massage-philippines--burmese-python-spa-treatment-at-cebu-city-zoo-135103854.html">reports</a> Yahoo News.</p> <p>Zoo manager Giovanni Romarate <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/snake-massage-philippines--burmese-python-spa-treatment-at-cebu-city-zoo-135103854.html#pFHpyp7">says</a>, &ldquo;At first, visitors feel fear but most of the guests who try the snake massage say that they like it. It&#39;s like getting a hand massage. You get to enjoy the cold grip of our snakes.&rdquo;</p> <p>So. Relaxing.</p> <p>But what&rsquo;s to stop the pythons from eating you? Technically, nothing. But each is fed a pre-massage snack of up to 10 chickens. The idea is they&rsquo;ll be too stuffed to bother with the tasty human meal&nbsp;<em>lying right underneath them.</em></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/python_massage_3.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">&quot;Chicken good,&quot; this python was overheard muttering. (videotravelnews/YouTube)</span></p> <p>Really, it&rsquo;s a win-win situation &mdash; you get a cheap massage while the pythons get something warm to lie on. But there ARE a few rules:</p> <p><strong>1) No shouting for help</strong>. As one visitor <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2634971/Is-sssss-spa-treatment-Zoo-offers-massage-four-giant-pythons-feeds-10-chickens-case-theyre-hungry.html">told</a> the Daily Mail, &ldquo;...the snake can feel your vibrations and thinks you&#39;re prey or a predator, depending on the environment.&rdquo; So try to keep a cork in it for at least 15 minutes.</p> <p><strong>2) No blowing air at them.</strong> Apparently it&#39;s like pinching them on the bum (metaphorically speaking) and this can rile them up, <a href="https://uk.news.yahoo.com/snake-massage-philippines--burmese-python-spa-treatment-at-cebu-city-zoo-135103854.html#pFHpyp7">reports</a> Yahoo News. That&#39;s a very bad idea because even though they&#39;re not hungry, they&#39;re still capable of squeezing you to death.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now enjoy your massage, and ignore the fact you look like some sort of hideous crime scene as you lie there covered in snakes.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ZkOA0UcUzdQ" width="560"></iframe>Hat Tip: <a href="http://theweek.com/speedreads/index/261968/speedreads-this-zoo-offers-visitors-python-massages">The Week</a></p> Home Massage Regions Travel/Tourism Want to Know Asia-Pacific Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Philippines Tue, 27 May 2014 13:19:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6158345 at http://www.globalpost.com Here’s what happens when you leave a tank parked on a busy street http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/140516/ukraine-tank-mariupol <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Hint: someone shoots through a wall </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The Ukrainian army apparently <a href="http://jalopnik.com/random-dude-fires-tank-abandoned-on-ukraine-street-1577379277">left this fully gassed-up tank on a street</a> near Mariupol. Naturally, people got curious &mdash; and then they got handsy. Not content with gawking at the outside of the tank, they started crawling inside, and inevitably, someone managed to fire off the still-loaded cannon. Abandoned tanks: All fun and games until someone loses a torso.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/sNEhkSyvhyA" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>By a stroke of luck, nobody got hit; the man you see being assisted at around 1:45 was smacked by a brick flying off the busted wall. So hey, if you see a tank lying around, go ahead and shoot it, probably! Everything will be fine I guess!</p> Ukraine Military Strange But True Europe Offbeat Sat, 17 May 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6148994 at http://www.globalpost.com South Koreans mistake part of a port-o-potty door for a North Korean drone http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/south-korea/140515/south-koreans-drone-port-o-potty <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It's the kind of thing that's likely only to happen once. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>This is what happens when you scare the dickens out of an entire population. They start seeing drones everywhere.</p> <p>After three drones crashed on South Korean soil in late March and April, some 82 civilians have reported&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140514/broken-porta-potty-door-mistaken-drone">&quot;drone discoveries&quot;</a>&nbsp;of their own &mdash;&nbsp;none of which have turned out to be true.&nbsp;</p> <p>But this one takes the cake.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Wednesday, a hiker was&nbsp;walking on Mount Cheonggye in the town of Gwacheon (just south of Seoul), when he spotted what he thought was part of a crashed drone.&nbsp;</p> <p>Given its rough appearance, and the fact that it was a similar sky blue color to the ones found in late March and April for which the South says the North is responsible &mdash; the military took the hiker&#39;s tip to heart.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Commotion in S Korean media over a broken door panel. They thought it was a drone. Talk about paranoid <a href="http://t.co/RliYLYOl6I">pic.twitter.com/RliYLYOl6I</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/ltrt_">@ltrt_</a></p> <p> &mdash; anthony K (@11th_d) <a href="https://twitter.com/11th_d/statuses/466449827501711361">May 14, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Alas.</p> <p>&quot;Investigation by the military confirmed the object as part of a broken door made of plastic materials. It is light and easy to fly,&quot; an officer told <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140514/broken-porta-potty-door-mistaken-drone">Yonhap</a>.</p> <p>It was part of a port-o-potty door. Easy mistake to ma- wait- what&#39;s that?&nbsp;</p> True stories about drones Diplomacy Military Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat North Korea South Korea Thu, 15 May 2014 15:26:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6147736 at http://www.globalpost.com This Chinese performance artist is crazier than Ai Weiwei http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/140513/chinese-performance-artist-he-yunchang-ai-weiwei <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> He Yunchang cut out his own rib and wears it as a necklace. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>He Yunchang says he will do anything for art so long as it doesn&#39;t kill him.</p> <p>Anything includes&nbsp;staring at 10,000 watts of light bulbs to damage his eyesight, encasing himself in concrete for 24 hours, and burning his clothes while wearing them.</p> <p>Anything also now includes cutting out his own rib and wearing it as a necklace.</p> <p>That operation, which was carried out in 2008 at the start of the Beijing Olympics, was intended to demonstrate He Yunchang&#39;s individual autonomy, he told <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140512/blood-guts-and-ribs-chinese-performer-suffers-his-art">AFP</a>.</p> <p>It was a decision he could make for himself &quot;while many other things are out of my control.&quot;</p> <p>It isn&#39;t hard to hear the resonance of his words in China today, where personal freedoms continue to be checked harshly under Communist rule.</p> <p>In 2010, in a piece entitled &quot;One Metre Democracy,&quot; He Yunchang asked a 25-person audience to vote on whether he should cut himself from his collarbone to his knee.</p> <p>There were 12 votes in favor and 10 against. Three abstained. He did not use anesthetic.</p> <p>&quot;I want to convey the message that I am ready to pay a high price to show my concern,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;My principle is that, if it&#39;s worth the pain, then my safety comes second. But I keep things under control. It is important that I do not let myself die.&quot;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23SuccedeAncheQuesto&amp;src=hash">#SuccedeAncheQuesto</a>:opera estrema di un&#39;artista cinese che usa la sua costola come collana <a href="http://t.co/hnPMTlwSof">http://t.co/hnPMTlwSof</a> <a href="http://t.co/phtMnycfBc">pic.twitter.com/phtMnycfBc</a></p> <p> &mdash; Tgcom24 (@MediasetTgcom24) <a href="https://twitter.com/MediasetTgcom24/statuses/466138920133353472">May 13, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>In an even more recent piece this past March, He Yunchang painted the fingernails and toenails of 10 mannequins &mdash; with his own blood.</p> <p>Ai Weiwei, everyone&#39;s favorite Chinese dissident artist provocateur, says He Yunchang&#39;s work is &quot;a mix of play, personal history, political message and poetic romance,&quot; according to the <a href="http://shanghaiist.com/2014/05/12/chinas-most-badass-artist-wears-his-own-ribcage.php" target="_blank">Shanghaiist</a>.</p> <p>But compared to <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/hollyworld/ai-weiwei-gangnam-style-video">Ai Weiwei&#39;s work</a>, which almost always has an overtly playful edge to it, He Yunchang&#39;s work sways much more masochistic.&nbsp;</p> <p>Judith Neilson, founder of the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney which specializes in contemporary Chinese art calls him &quot;an alchemist of pain.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;He Yunchang evidently believes that pain and extreme discomfort, deliberately planned and willingly undergone, have a transcendent quality,&quot; she said, &quot;and that it is this quality that raises mere action to the level of art.&quot;</p> <p>Whether you think it&#39;s art or just plain crazy, He Yunchang&#39;s work does make you think. How far would you go for something you really cared about?&nbsp;</p> Suffering for art Want to Know China Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Tue, 13 May 2014 15:48:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6145863 at http://www.globalpost.com Honest janitor gets to keep $80,000 he found while cleaning a toilet http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/140512/honest-janitor-gets-80000-found-cleaning-toilet-australia <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Karma? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What would you do if you found $100,000 while cleaning a bathroom on the job?</p> <p>Would you quietly take it? Tell your supervisor? Does it depend if you like your supervisor?</p> <p>Well this actually happened in Australia and listen up so you can fine tune your moral compass.</p> <p>In 2011, an honest janitor by the name of&nbsp;Chamindu Amarsinghe was dutifully going about his job where he worked at Channel 9&rsquo;s Docklands headquarters, in a suburb of Melbourne.</p> <p>He was cleaning the groundfloor bathrooms when he found a sanitary bin full of money.</p> <p>&quot;There was too much to count &mdash; I thought someone was playing a prank on me,&rdquo; Amarsinghe told <a href="http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/honest-toilet-cleaner-gets-to-keep-80000/story-fni0fiyv-1226910864398" target="_blank">Melbourne&#39;s Herald Sun</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;But when I touched the notes &mdash; all yellow and green &mdash; I realized it was real money.&rdquo;</p> <p>Real money, it turns out, grows in bathrooms.</p> <p>Maybe he was in a state of shock, but Amarsinghe didn&#39;t pocket the money. Instead, he called his supervisor.</p> <p>Police and a plumber rushed over and all said and done recovered more than $100,000 from the bathroom &mdash; $1,200 of it stashed in the pipes!</p> <p>If it sounds sketchy, it probably is. But police were never able to discover what was going on or who the money belonged to.&nbsp;</p> <p>So, this month they gave it to Amarsinghe! Well, $80,000 of it. According to court order, the rest goes to the state. Still. Score.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no reason why such honesty should go unrewarded,&rdquo; magistrate Michael Smith said.</p> <p>Police agreed.</p> <p>&ldquo;All the guys in the office felt the same. He&rsquo;s a struggling student who straight-up didn&rsquo;t even think of pocketing it,&rdquo; said Detective Senior Constable Daniel Thorne.</p> <p>Amarsinghe, who is working himself through IT school, said he&#39;s going to donate some of the money to a Buddhist temple and some will go to helping disabled people.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really, really lucky. I&rsquo;m not going to waste it,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Lucky he is. Also this month Amarsinghe heard he was granted permanent residency in Australia.</p> Do the right thing Asia-Pacific Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Mon, 12 May 2014 15:18:31 +0000 Emily Lodish 6144837 at http://www.globalpost.com UPS accidentally sent a drone to a college kid. And he took pictures. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/140506/ups-accidentally-sent-drone-to-college-kid-photos <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> "I guess this controls it. Did I just get a drone in the mail?" </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Wolfe </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>There&#39;s screwing up. Then there&#39;s REALLY screwing up.</p> <p>We&#39;re guessing someone at UPS is in pretty hot water after the parcel delivery service accidentally sent a $350,000 government drone to a college student.</p> <p>He took pictures, of course. And, of course, he <a href="http://imgur.com/a/t8Yhi" target="_blank">posted</a> them to Reddit for that sweet, sweet karma.</p> <p>The redditor,<a href="http://imgur.com/a/t8Yhi" target="_blank"> Seventy_Seven</a>, was expecting a weight-lifting bench. But he also found a mysterious package on his doorstep.</p> <p>He opened it to find this inside:</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/default/photos/2014-May/drone_sent_to_kid_1.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Seventy_Seven via Reddit)</span></p> <p>&quot;Wings?&quot; he asked:</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/default/photos/2014-May/drone_sent_to_kid_2.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Seventy_Seven via Reddit)</span></p> <p>&quot;I guess this controls it. Did I just get a drone in the mail?&quot;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/default/photos/2014-May/drone_sent_to_kid_3.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Seventy_Seven via Reddit)</span></p> <p>Yes, Seventy-Seven. Yes, you did.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-feds-accidentally-mailed-their-350k-drone-to-some-college-kid" target="_blank">According to Vice</a>, the drone belongs to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is used for wildlife and environment monitoring.</p> <p>NOAA spokesman David Miller <a href="http://motherboard.vice.com/read/the-feds-accidentally-mailed-their-350k-drone-to-some-college-kid" target="_blank">confirmed to Vice</a> that one of its drones was missing.</p> <p>&quot;We sent one of our Puma unmanned aircraft systems to Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts,&quot; he said. &quot;We sent a set of about eight boxes for this one aircraft system, and one was misdelivered by UPS.&quot;</p> <p>Miller said the agency was working with UPS to resolve the issue.</p> <p>Seventy-Seven, meanwhile, already <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/ups--misdelivers--government-drone-to-college-student-173907295.html" target="_blank">reached out </a>to both entities.</p> <p>UPS actually insisted the package belonged to the student and told the Reddit user it was &quot;up to me if I want to keep it or not.&quot;</p> <p>Not satisfied, Seventy_Seven called the NOAA and <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/ups--misdelivers--government-drone-to-college-student-173907295.html" target="_blank">explained</a> the situation.</p> <p>&quot;After describing what happened, he seemed pretty content about it,&quot; the redditor said in an update to the original thread. &quot;They were happy I reached out to them, and now know where their missing shipment went.&quot;</p> <p>Here&#39;s video of the Puma drone in action:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RQb-Vf1nEzY" width="640"></iframe></p> drones Americas Want to Know Offbeat United States Tue, 06 May 2014 20:24:00 +0000 Sarah Wolfe 6140230 at http://www.globalpost.com Yes, those are Tibetan monks breakdancing to the Beastie Boys (VIDEO) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/140506/yes-those-are-tibetan-monks-breakdancing-the-beastie-boys-vid <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Complete with an old school boombox. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>So&hellip; Monks break dancing to the Beastie Boys? Yes, monks breakdancing to the Beastie Boys. In New York City.</p> <p>THIS HAPPENED, PEOPLE. You don&rsquo;t need any more information.</p> <p>OK FINE. Saturday was the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/MCADAYNYC ">third annual MCA Day</a>, a Brooklyn-based event to honor Adam &ldquo;MCA&rdquo; Yauch. The legendary Beastie Boys rapper <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/entertainment/120504/adam-yauch-the-beastie-boys-dies-at-47">passed away</a> on May 4, 2012 after a long battle with cancer.</p> <p>The four monks converged on Union Square in Manhattan, the site of the first MCA Day, to celebrate Yauch&#39;s life and music the best way possible: breakdancing to his songs.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s difficult to imagine a more fitting (and more awesome) tribute. <a href="http://www.dailydot.com/lol/monks-breakdance-mca-day-adam-yauch/">Yauch himself was a Buddhist</a> who worked tirelessly to promote the <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-16689779">struggle for Tibetan independence</a>. The monks&rsquo; presence also underscores the global reach of hip hop &mdash; and hip hop culture &mdash; which the Beastie Boys helped pioneer.</p> <p>The group released its first album, <em>License to Ill</em>, in 1986 and produced seven platinum albums in the 25 years since. It&rsquo;s a safe assumption that these monks have all of those albums. Probably on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_Cassette ">cassette tape</a>.</p> <p>In the meantime: <em><u><strong>MONKS BREAKDANCING</strong></u></em> to &ldquo;Ch-Check It Out,&rdquo; off the 2004 album <em>To the 5 Boroughs</em>.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/93932132" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe></p> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/93932132">MCA-DAY &quot;Buddhist Monks&quot;</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user5040340">KNARF&reg; New York</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> Hip Hop Home Americas Want to Know Asia-Pacific Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat United States Tue, 06 May 2014 19:46:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6140220 at http://www.globalpost.com This Japanese town is populated almost entirely by creepy dolls http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140501/japanese-town-populated-almost-entirely-creepy-dolls <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Nagoro has 37 living residents and many times more life-size dolls. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jess Zimmerman </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The tiny village of Nagoro on Shikoku, Japan, used to be home to a large company and hundreds of people. Now, there are only 37 inhabitants &mdash; or at least, only 37 living inhabitants. Nagoro is also home to scores of <a href="http://boingboing.net/2014/04/30/woman-makes-dolls-to-replace-p.html">life-size stuffed dolls</a> made by 64-year-old Ayano Tsukimi. Tsukimi sews and dresses the dolls and positions them around town to replace her neighbors who have moved away or died.</p> <p>Tsukimi started her doll project about 10 years ago, after she moved back to her hometown from Osaka. She says she&rsquo;s made about 350 dolls in that time, though they only last about three years before they need to be replaced. There are now many times more dolls than humans living in Nagoro, and Tsukimi wryly imagines a future where she&rsquo;s outlived all her neighbors and only dolls remain.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_head_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_face_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>The first doll, intended to be used as a scarecrow, was made in the image of Tsukimi&rsquo;s father.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/father_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>Others commemorate Nagoro residents, from children to old people.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/creepy_wall_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1_0.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/grandma_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>There&rsquo;s even a doll made to look like Tsukimi herself.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_doppelganger_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>The dolls enjoy leisure activities.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/fishing_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/napping_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>Sometimes they canoodle.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/bench_dolls_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_couple_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>But they also work hard and study.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/construction_doll_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_school_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>Tsukimi acknowledges that some people may find the dolls unsettling.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/doll_eye_nagoro_2014_5_1.jpg" /></p> <p>But she&rsquo;s more interested in drawing people to the Iya Valley, where Nagoro is located, than the Uncanny Valley. She hopes the dolls might attract tourists who want to take pictures.<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="//player.vimeo.com/video/92453765" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500">&amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe></p> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/92453765">Valley of Dolls</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/fotografritz">Fritz Schumann</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p> More Weird Japan Travel/Tourism Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Japan Fri, 02 May 2014 13:09:00 +0000 Jess Zimmerman 6136230 at http://www.globalpost.com Russia’s military intelligence agency has a Batman symbol http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/140501/russia-military-intelligence-agency-batman-symbol <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> If they also have an actual Batman, we’re all in serious trouble. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Are Russian special forces soldiers operating in eastern Ukraine? The Ukrainian government says yes and it&#39;s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/europe/scrutiny-over-photos-said-to-tie-russia-units-to-ukraine.html">offered some photos</a>&nbsp;as proof.</p> <p>One photo, purportedly taken during Russia&#39;s 2008 invasion of Georgia, shows a bearded soldier wearing Russian military insignia.</p> <p>The same man was sighted in Slovyansk and Kramatorsk just a few weeks ago, according to Kyiv.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_1.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">via <a href="https://www.facebook.com/politiken/posts/10152759527613294">Politiken</a>/Facebook</span></p> <p>The authenticity of the photos <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/23/world/europe/scrutiny-over-photos-said-to-tie-russia-units-to-ukraine.html?ref=world&amp;_r=1">remains in dispute</a>, but we&#39;re actually kind of wondering about that thing on his sleeve. Is that a... Batman logo?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_2_0.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Left: GRU Spetsnaz emblem (Wikimedia Commons). Right: Batman logo (Minikino-Ostrava/Facebook).</span></p> <p>Pretty damn close. It&rsquo;s a bat covering a globe and it&#39;s the symbol of the GRU Spetsnaz, elite units of Russia&rsquo;s largest military intelligence agency.</p> <p>While some people have <a href="http://boingboing.net/2006/12/13/russia-spy-hq-has-gi.html">also noticed this resemblance</a> (because it&#39;s hard to ignore A RUSSIAN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS A BATMAN SYMBOL) no one has come up with a solid explanation for why the two designs look so similar.</p> <p>But here&rsquo;s what we do know:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 1. The bat is a symbol of military reconnaissance.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_3.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Bats are awesome. (Halloween Fan Club/Facebook)</span></p> <p>It&#39;s a pretty obvious choice, actually. Bats are stealthy, fly at night and use echolocation to navigate and hunt their prey &mdash; much like the radar systems used in military applications to detect aircraft, ships and other obstacles. Bats are particularly beloved by <a href="http://bathead.com/insignia.html">nightfighter, patrol and observation squadrons</a>, probably&nbsp;due to that whole &ldquo;sneaky death from above&rdquo; thing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 2. Bats began appearing on military insignia in 1917.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_4.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">So many bats! Top row (L-R): <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._9_Squadron_RAF">RAF No. 9 Squadron</a>; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11_Squadron_(Belgium)">Belgian Air Component 11 Squadron</a>; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/44th_Fighter_Squadron">US Air Force 44th Fighter Squadron</a>. Bottom row (L-R): <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VMFA(AW)-242">US Marine Corps VMFA(AW)-242</a>; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/119_Squadron_(Israel)">Israeli Air Force 119 Squadron</a>; <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Bat_Squadron">ROC Air Force 34th Squadron</a>. (Wikimedia Commons)</span></p> <p>Bats were incorporated into military insignia long before the GRU Spetsnaz, which was formed after World War II. The winged rodents first appeared on a UK Royal Air Force badge in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._9_Squadron_RAF">1917</a>, along with the Latin motto <em>Per Noctem Volamus</em> &mdash; &ldquo;We Fly Through The Night.&rdquo; Since then, naval and aviation squadrons <a href="http://bathead.com/insignia.html">around the world</a>&nbsp;have embraced the bat as an emblem, including the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Belgium, Israel and the former Republics of the Soviet Union, including Belarus and Ukraine.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 3. DC Comics launched Batman (and the Batman logo) much later, in 1939.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_5.jpg" width="670" /></p> <p> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">Left: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/detectivecomicstore/photos/pb.400574846644574.-2207520000.1398978777./463365810365477/?type=3&amp;src=https%3A%2F%2Fscontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net%2Fhphotos-frc3%2Ft1.0-9%2F598530_463365810365477_819974363_n.jpg&amp;size=427%2C640&amp;fbid=463365810365477">Detective Comics No. 27</a>. Right: <a href="http://www.facebook.com/121183791296550/photos/a.121183917963204.29268.121183791296550/121183921296537/?type=1&amp;source=11">Evolution of the Batman logo</a>.&nbsp;(Detective Comics Store/Facebook)</span></p> <p>Batman debuted in <em>Detective Comics </em>No. 27 in May 1939. The first logo was pretty literal and features the superhero with his cape spread out like bat wings. It&rsquo;s undergone countless revisions over the years, which you can watch in <a href="http://time.com/41410/batman-logos-gif/">this mesmerizing gif</a> created by Time. While prints of the iconic issue sell for over $1 million, DC Comics is distributing a <a href="http://herocomplex.latimes.com/comics/batman-day-dc-plans-free-detective-comics-no-27-for-july-23-events/#/0">free, special edition</a> this July &mdash; designed by Chip Kidd and written by Brad Meltzer &mdash; in honor of Batman&#39;s 75th anniversary.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 4. The thing-that-looks-like-a-Batman logo is also on the floor of the Russian military agency&rsquo;s headquarters.</h2> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>princess-russia: Russia&rsquo;s main intelligence agency (G.R.U)is officially affiliated with Batman <a href="http://t.co/aiHTzN8t01">http://t.co/aiHTzN8t01</a> <a href="http://t.co/7H8HORWJPR">pic.twitter.com/7H8HORWJPR</a></p> <p> &mdash; ☣ O M &forall; R (@Oddmosis) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oddmosis/statuses/448554635381735425">March 25, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Hopefully this detailed treatise has answered all of your questions, leaving just this one:</p> <p>Who would win a fight, Batman or RUSSIAN BATMAN &mdash; a.k.a. Batmankoff?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-May/russian_batman_6_0.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">This is <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_versions_of_Batman">Russian anarchist Batman</a><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_versions_of_Batman">, whose parents were killed by the KGB</a>. He has sworn vengeance on communism and appears in <a href="http://www.comicvine.com/batmankoff/4005-70711/"><em>Superman: Red Son</em></a>. (Batman Friend Zone/Facebook).</span></p> <p>We&rsquo;ll get back to you on that. But both would totally beat Superman. #TEAMBATMAN</p> Home Military Fashion Regions Strange But True Europe Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Russia Fri, 02 May 2014 12:42:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6136285 at http://www.globalpost.com Bear gets head stuck in jar and bumps into Canadian police cruiser http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140424/bear-gets-head-stuck-inside-jar-and-bumps-canadian-police-cruiser <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Bears, they're just like us! Except hungrier and clumsier. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Last Sunday Canadian authorities restored a black bear&rsquo;s dignity by <a href="http://www.gsps.ca/en/newslist/index.aspx?newsId=1ZyCv5WNxgHBrF5skhNhFQeQuAleQuAl">removing a plastic jar from its head.</a> The jar had contained birdseed and the hungry bear had managed to wedge its entire head inside &mdash; in the heartwarming manner of <a href="http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/01474/pooh_1474907c.jpg">Winnie the Pooh.</a></p> <p>Around 5:30 a.m., residents of Lively, Ontario reported seeing the bear meandering down the street, bumping into things. According to <a href="http://www.gsps.ca/en/newslist/index.aspx?newsId=1ZyCv5WNxgHBrF5skhNhFQeQuAleQuAl">police</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;Officers attended on scene and were able to locate the bear which was unable to remove the jar from its head. It continued to wander around walking into a variety of objects including a police cruiser.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Unable to corral the bear, police called the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) who sent Brent MacDonald, a &quot;bear technician.&quot; He tranquilized the bear, who by this time was hanging out in some bushes between people&#39;s houses.</p> <p>MacDonald&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/pointsnorth/episodes/2014/04/22/lively-bear-got-his-head-stuck-in-a-jar/">explained</a> to the CBC:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;... I thought perhaps I could twist [the jar] and kind of pull it at the same time and gently pull it off &mdash; thinking maybe the bear hadn&rsquo;t gotten to that stage, maybe it was an immature bear. Bears have life experiences like we do. It wasn&rsquo;t long after that I did get the barrel in my hands that I realized, &#39;This thing&rsquo;s not coming off.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>So he took out his Leatherman knife and cut the jar off with the help of a police officer. &ldquo;And then a few minutes later we pried it off and there was the bear!&quot;</p> <p>The bear in question was relocated and safely released into the wild once it woke up from its induced snooze.&nbsp;</p> <p>An estimated <a href="http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_167695.html">105,000</a> black bears live throughout Ontario, occasionally giving rise to nuisance or public safety complaints, particularly as they emerge from hibernation in late April and early May. Black bears generally avoid humans but their entire life revolves around food and they&rsquo;re drawn to areas where people live.</p> <p>&ldquo;They will topple bird feeders, ransack barbecues, raid garbage cans and even try to enter buildings,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/bear-call-season-begins-for-northern-ontario-police-1.2617717">states </a>the MNR. This year Ontario police can expect to field hundreds of calls over <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/bear-call-season-begins-for-northern-ontario-police-1.2617717">nuisance bears</a> &mdash; some of whom will probably have their head stuck in things.</p> <p>On May 1, the Ontario government will also reinstated a controversial spring bear hunt, which will run &quot;in eight wildlife areas known for having the most public safety incidents involving bears,&quot; <a href="http://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2014/04/17/animal_rights_head_to_court_to_stop_ontarios_spring_bear_hunt.html">reports</a>&nbsp;the CBC.</p> Home Regions Winnie the Pooh Americas Strange But True Canada Offbeat Fri, 25 Apr 2014 13:33:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6129960 at http://www.globalpost.com Siberian husky hotwires car and crashes it into a Mercedes. In Siberia. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140423/siberian-husky-crashes-car-siberia <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Puppies are the WORST drivers. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>There are many reasons you should never leave your dog unattended in a vehicle &mdash; including the small but underappreciated risk of <a href="http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/impatient-dog-crashes-car-in-siberia/498714.html">dog crashes</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>A Russian man in Barnaul, a city in southwestern Siberia, has learned this the hard way. Last Saturday he decided to run some errands at a construction goods store and left his <a href="http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/impatient-dog-crashes-car-in-siberia/498714.html">Siberian husky puppy</a>&nbsp;alone inside his parked car. &nbsp;</p> <p>Mistake! The puppy grew increasingly anxious as his owner failed to return and began racing around the front seat. A witness <a href="http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/lada-car-driven-by-a-husky-puppy-yes-its-true-crashes-into-a-gleaming-mercedes-in-siberia/">relayed</a> what happened next to The Siberian Times:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;The puppy went mad and managed to pull the wires which led to the engine&#39;s ignition. The car was parked on a small hill which helped it get going. The puppy was even steering the wheel, so that the car made a small semicircle and crashed into a parked Mercedes and then a SsangYong car.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>The offending vehicle was a VAZ 2106 &mdash; also known as a Zhigula or a Lada. Now you may be wondering, how does a puppy hotwire a manual transmission car?</p> <p>First, we have to assume the owner forgot to secure the emergency parking brake. Second, most Russian dogs are at least moderately competent in basic auto mechanics.</p> <p>When Barnaul traffic police arrived at the scene, they &ldquo;were in stitches of laughter when they realised what had happened,&rdquo; <a href="http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/lada-car-driven-by-a-husky-puppy-yes-its-true-crashes-into-a-gleaming-mercedes-in-siberia/">reports</a> the Siberian Times. &ldquo;They had no idea who to make responsible.&rdquo;</p> <p>They paged the owner, who blamed everything on the puppy. AND WHO COULD BE MAD AT A PUPPY? So the police simply filed a report and left the matter up to insurance companies to resolve.</p> <p>The husky was unharmed and everyone was amused, except for the owners of the Mercedes and Ssang Yong cars.</p> <p>And us, at the outrageous lack of dashcam footage. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-April/husky_car_2.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">VAZ 2106/Facebook</span></p> Home Regions Siberian Huskies Strange But True Europe Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Russia Wed, 23 Apr 2014 19:31:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6128795 at http://www.globalpost.com This French juggler uses a pair of 8-rings to create amazing optical illusions http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140411/french-juggler-uses-8-rings-create-amazing-optical-illusions <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Warning: this might break your brain. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Lindzee Poi is a 25-year-old juggler from Angers, France, and he&#39;s developed a simple and stunning routine that will fool your eyes and mess with your brain. He calls it the&quot;Amelymeloptical illusion.&quot;</p> <p>Check out Lindzee on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/LindzeePoi">Facebook</a> and at his <a href="http://www.lindzee-poi.fr/">website</a>.</p> <p>The video speaks for itself.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/XmFmYLAveWM" width="670"></iframe></p> Juggling Strange But True Offbeat Fri, 11 Apr 2014 20:53:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6119552 at http://www.globalpost.com Watch this extreme skydiver break a world record by landing a 14,000-foot jump using the world's smallest parachute http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140411/extreme-skydiver-breaks-guinness-world-record-landing-14000-foot-jump-0 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ernesto Gainza's parachute measured just 35 square feet, barely larger than a queen-sized mattress. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Ernesto Gainza, a professional skydiver from Venezuela, is a certified badass.</p> <p>On April 5, he <a href="http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/dubai-skydiver-breaks-world-record-for-jumping-with-smallest-parachute-1.1314869">jumped out </a> of a plane from 14,000 feet above Dubai wearing the smallest parachute in the world. Not only did he survive, he looked smoother in his landing than most of us look when stepping off an escalator.</p> <p>Measuring just 35 square feet, the parachute was barely larger than a queen-sized mattress and significantly smaller than your average parachute, which is about 120 square feet.</p> <p>Gainza&#39;s successful jump broke the previous Guinness World Record for successful jump with the smallest parachute, which Luigi Cani set in February 2008 when he jumped with a 37-square-foot chute.</p> <p>Gainza needed to drop weight to make the jump safely. Ordinarily 128 pounds, he needed to stay at 114. For 12 months prior to the record attempt, he followed a tough regimen of exercise and diet.</p> <p>His next &quot;project&quot; will be more &quot;normal,&quot; he <a href="http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/general/dubai-skydiver-breaks-world-record-for-jumping-with-smallest-parachute-1.1314869">told</a> Gulf News: he plans to have a baby.</p> <p>Watch this daredevil at work:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/FgR6Wd_5D0g" width="670"></iframe></p> Extreme things Want to Know Offbeat Fri, 11 Apr 2014 19:42:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6119468 at http://www.globalpost.com Turns out Valeria Lukyanova, Ukraine's human Barbie doll, is kind of a racist lunatic http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140408/turns-out-valeria-lukyanova-ukraines-human-barbie-doll-kind-racist-luna <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> She seemed so normal until now. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Back in 2012, the internet <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/wanderlust/barbie-ukrainian-woman-mattel">discovered</a> a 21-year-old Ukrainian woman named Valeria Lukyanova, whose life goal was to look exactly like a Barbie doll. Through a combination of plastic surgery, makeup, and self-starvation, she achieved the look in uncanny fashion.</p> <p>She really did look like a Barbie doll. And not just in some general way: you know, insanely small waist, large bust, long blonde hair. She looked just like a Barbie doll: all those things, plus plastic-looking skin and a vacant stare.</p> <p>It was easy to assume that Lukyanova was just another young woman in a world of global popular culture who&#39;d internalized oppressive beauty ideals.</p> <p>Well apparently there are some other oppressive ideals at work in her Barbie doll image.</p> <p>Lukyanova sat down recently for an interview with <a href="http://www.gq.com/women/photos/201404/valeria-lukyanova-human-barbie-doll?currentPage=2">GQ magazine</a>. She offered some insight into the motivations behind her transformation. And they aren&#39;t pretty.</p> <p>She first told her interviewer that her image was the same one that women around the world were striving for.</p> <p>&quot;Everyone wants a slim figure,&quot; she said. &quot;Everyone gets breasts done. Everyone fixes up their face if it&#39;s not ideal, you know? Everyone strives for the golden mean. It&#39;s global now.&quot;</p> <p>When her interviewer noted that beauty ideals had changed over time, Lukyanova offered a strange observation.</p> <p>&quot;That&#39;s because of racial mixing.&quot;</p> <p>Wait, what?</p> <p>She explained:</p> <blockquote><p>For example, a Russian marries an Armenian. They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad&#39;s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it&#39;s all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there&#39;s degeneration, and it didn&#39;t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this. I love the Nordic image myself. I have white skin; I am a Nordic type&mdash;perhaps a little Eastern Baltic, but closer to Nordic.</p> </blockquote> <p>Well thanks for letting us know.</p> WTF Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Tue, 08 Apr 2014 19:57:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6116577 at http://www.globalpost.com Ireland's new goat-sheep hybrid is as adorable as you'd expect (VIDEO) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140404/ireland-goat-sheep-hybrid-geep-VIDEO <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> What's brown, woolly and runs fast as hell? This fuzzy Irish geep. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>An incredibly rare and cute animal was just born in County Kildare, Ireland &mdash; a <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26870598">goat-sheep hybrid</a>, otherwise known as a &quot;shoat.&quot; Or better yet, a &quot;geep.&quot;</p> <p>This thing happened more or less how you&#39;d expect.</p> <p>Five months ago, Irish sheep farmer Paddy Murphy noticed a rascally goat mating with the Chevriot sheep on his farm during &ldquo;tupping&rdquo; season. He thought nothing of it until two weeks ago, when one of his ewes dropped an unusual lamb.</p> <p>Instead of being short, white and sheepish, it was long-legged, brown and goatish.</p> <p>&ldquo;It had all the hallmarks of a goat,&quot; a tickled Murphy <a href="http://www.farmersjournal.ie/what-do-you-get-when-you-cross-a-goat-and-a-sheep-156405/">told</a> the Irish Farmers Journal. &quot;He looks like a goat, trapped in a lamb&rsquo;s body. ... He even has horns like a goat and he is very quick on his feet.&rdquo;</p> <p>Wait, how quick?</p> <p>&quot;He&#39;s unbelievable,&quot; <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQmJoxuSTcI#t=22">says</a> Murphy. &quot;He&#39;s so fast, you&#39;d have to get him into the pen to catch him. There&#39;s no chance you would catch him otherwise.&quot; Cue amazing images of a farmer chasing a baby geep.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-April/geep_hybrid_2.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">The Kildare geep prances with its mom, an ordinary Chevriot sheep. (Irish Farmers Journal via YouTube)</span></p> <p>Murphy, whose family have been sheep farmers for several generations, has never seen anything like it before.&nbsp;</p> <p>In fact it&rsquo;s the only goat-sheep hybrid in Ireland, the Ulster Farmers Union <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26870598">confirmed</a> with the BBC. The Irish Times <a href="http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/a-bit-of-gruff-ewe-cannot-be-serious-1.1749080">explains</a> why the cross-breed is so rare:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;Sheep have 54 chromosomes while goats have 60. Matings do occur, but the offspring is usually stillborn. The most famous case happened in Botswana [in 2000] when a female goat and a ram mated. Scientists found that the offspring had 57 chromosomes and it became known as the Toast of Botswana.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>We&#39;re glad to report the Toast of Kildare is perfectly healthy and frisky. &ldquo;The ewe has taken to him like he&rsquo;s just another lamb,&rdquo; the farmer <a href="http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0403/606469-goat-sheep-hybrid/">told</a> RTE. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no difference in how he&rsquo;s been reared.&rdquo;</p> <p>The fuzzy geep has also been well-received locally. &ldquo;He has been a great source of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craic">craic</a> for the lads in the pub,&rdquo; said Murphy, who owns a pub in Ballymore Eustace. &ldquo;We might even have a competition to name him.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Here&#39;s an interview of Murphy while the geep wiggles adorably in his arms:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RQmJoxuSTcI" width="560">&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;</iframe></p> animals farming Home Ireland Regions Strange But True Europe Culture & Lifestyle Ireland Offbeat Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:04:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6113608 at http://www.globalpost.com These are the world's finest (fake) news sources http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140321/world-finest-fake-news-sources-the-onion <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Other countries have answers to The Onion. And they're amazing. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Wherever there&#39;s news, there&#39;s fake news.</p> <p>That&#39;s why it shouldn&#39;t surprise you to hear that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/" target="_blank">The Onion</a>&nbsp;&mdash; and your very own <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/section/satire" target="_blank">GlobalPost</a> &mdash; are far from the only websites turning international crises into LOLs. There are dozens of satire sites out there, rewriting current affairs, making the cynical snigger and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faking_News#News_taken_seriously" target="_blank">duping the global gullible</a>.</p> <p>We took a tour of recent headlines to bring you our pick of the bunch. Here, courtesy of 10 of the world&#39;s finest news sources, is what definitely <em>hasn&#39;t</em> been happening. &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Australia: <a href="http://www.theshovel.com.au/" target="_blank">The Shovel</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/56630278iw002_australia_day.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;Australia will wait to see what New Zealand comes up with for <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140310/new-zealand-pm-hold-flag-vote-if-re-elected" target="_blank">its new flag</a>, and then adopt it itself, just with different colored stars...&nbsp;&#39;Sounds easy, so yeah, let&#39;s do it. I guess,&#39; said one Australian worker after learning of his country&#39;s plans.&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.theshovel.com.au/2014/03/11/australia-to-adopt-slightly-different-version-of-new-zealands-new-flag/" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Ireland: <a href="http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/" target="_blank">Waterford Whispers News</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_06.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;Figures obtained by WWN suggest as many as 80 percent of those in the workforce will be <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/photo-galleries/planet-pic/6097745/erin-go-bragh-the-world-celebrates-st-patricks-day" target="_blank">coming down</a> from some combination of alcohol, ketamine, LSD, the &#39;craic&#39; and actual crack.&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2014/03/18/post-paddys-day-come-down-expected-to-last-the-rest-of-the-week/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Germany: <a href="http://www.der-postillon.com/" target="_blank">Der Postillon</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_04.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p><strong>Translation: &quot;Man waiting in nuclear bunker urges West to take a <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/140321/russia-hit-with-downgrade-us-eu-sanctions" target="_blank">harder line</a> on Putin.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&quot;&#39;At the end of the day, nuclear weapons are there to be used wisely. Much like a very expensive nuclear bunker that you&#39;ve spent years building.&#39;&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.der-postillon.com/2014/03/mann-in-bunker-fordert-westen-zu-mehr.html" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Canada: <a href="http://thelapine.ca/" target="_blank">The Lapine</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;&#39;This name more accurately reflects all the smiles that our oil brings to faces,&#39; said David Collyer, President of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) today at a media conference. &#39;The public has <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140307/new-england-has-environmental-concerns-over-canada-oil-sands" target="_blank">criticized us in the past</a>, but I think it was the whole Tar name really.&#39;&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://thelapine.ca/tar-sands-renamed-happy-sands-by-oil-industry/" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> South Africa: <a href="http://www.thegatsby.co.za/" target="_blank">The Gatsby</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_08.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;As the president of a country you do your best, you keep your head down, you work hard... but then haters will suddenly just rip into you for no apparent reason! ... So when it just gets too much, when it feels like I just want to give up and pack it all in, that&rsquo;s when I like to get away and spend some &#39;me time&#39; at <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/140319/south-africas-zuma-slammed-23-million-home-makeover" target="_blank">the lavish retreat</a> I own that you paid for with your tax money.&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.thegatsby.co.za/2013/11/07/when-criticism-gets-me-down-i-like-to-get-away-to-the-awesome-man-cave-you-bought-me-by-j-g-zuma/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> UK: <a href="http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/" target="_blank">The Daily Mash</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-march/global_satire_12.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;After it emerged that GCHQ had been <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/140227/yahoo-webcam-chats-gchq-nsa-snowden" target="_blank">harvesting explicit webcam images</a>, the [intelligence] agency revealed terrorists are most likely to have non-surgically augmented DD or EE breasts and low inhibitions.&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/war/uk-most-at-risk-from-sexy-women-says-gchq-2014022884147" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> France: <a href="http://www.legorafi.fr/" target="_blank">Le Gorafi</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_09.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p><strong>Translation: &quot;French keen to vote for party they hate least.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&quot;Nearly eight out of ten French people reveal a certain enthusiasm ahead of the first round of <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140317/crunch-test-frances-socialists-local-polls-0" target="_blank">municipal elections</a> this weekend. Asked &#39;Why are you voting?&#39;, almost all those surveyed answered: &quot;So that the least terrible candidate wins.&#39;&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.legorafi.fr/2014/03/21/les-francais-impatients-de-voter-pour-le-parti-quils-detestent-le-moins/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> India: <a href="http://www.fakingnews.firstpost.com/" target="_blank">Faking News</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_07.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by Vladimir Astapkovich/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&quot;&#39;Our foreign policy has always been about not taking any stand, and we are committed to continue the same policy,&#39; said Salman Khurshid, Minister of the Ministry of External Affairs. &#39;Manmohan Ji is a bit shy of talking, but this time <a href="http://www.firstpost.com/world/indias-silence-on-crimea-wont-help-russia-or-the-west-1442197.html" target="_blank">his silence</a> is a well-thought-of strategy.&#39;&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.fakingnews.firstpost.com/2014/03/manmohan-singh-not-picking-up-putins-call-to-clear-his-stand-on-crimea-problem/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Middle East: <a href="http://www.panarabiaenquirer.com/" target="_blank">The Pan-Arabia Enquirer</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_05.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/GettyImages)</span></p> <p>&quot;&#39;As soon as we heard authorities were <a href="http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/saudi-arabia-bans-50-baby-names-1.1303898" target="_blank">banning 50 names</a>, we immediately feared we wouldn&rsquo;t be allowed to call our new baby Dave,&#39; said Dave Al-Fakhee in Damman. &#39;I come from a long line of Daves and my five other children are all called Dave. It&#39;s a family tradition.&#39;&quot;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.panarabiaenquirer.com/wordpress/relief-among-saudi-parents-to-be-as-dave-escapes-banned-name-list/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> Spain: <a href="http://www.elmundotoday.com/" target="_blank">El Mundo Today</a></h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/global_satire_03.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Photo by MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p><strong>Translation: &quot;Dancing La Bamba will now require the express permission of the relevant authority.&quot;</strong></p> <p>&quot;Having confirmed that 70 percent of public sector employees devote themselves to dancing La Bamba, the government has decided to increase the requirements to perform this dance beyond having &#39;<a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1508/whats-the-classic-song-la-bamba-all-about" target="_blank">a little bit of grace and another little thing</a>.&#39;&quot;&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Full story <a href="http://www.elmundotoday.com/2014/01/para-bailar-la-bamba-se-necesitara-la-autorizacion-expresa-de-la-autoridad-competente/" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p> Fit to Print Want to Know Offbeat Mon, 24 Mar 2014 15:39:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6101577 at http://www.globalpost.com Courtney Love thinks she may have found MH370 http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140318/courtney-love-thinks-she-may-have-found-mh370 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> All it took was satellite imagery and MS Paint. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Timothy McGrath </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Last week, GlobalPost <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/140311/help-search-missing-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370-using-crowd-sourced-satellite">told you</a> about an effort to crowd-source the search for MH370 using satellite imagery. DigitalGlobe, a US satellite imagery company based in Colorado, made available an easy-to-use web platform called <a href="http://www.tomnod.com/nod/challenge/malaysiaairsar2014">Tomnod</a>, which allows users to scan the search area, square by square, tagging anything that might be wreckage or an oil slick.</p> <p>More than <a href="http://qz.com/188270/using-crowdsourcing-to-search-for-flight-mh-370-has-both-pluses-and-minuses/">three million</a> people have used Tomnod to help search for the plane, DigitalGlobe says.</p> <p>One of those three million: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtney_Love">Courtney Love</a>, rock musician and wife of the late Nirvana frontman <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain">Kurt Cobain</a>. And she thinks she may have found it.</p> <p>Love could have just submitted the tagged map in Tomnod. But instead she marked it up with MS Paint (presumably) and posted it on social media. And so it begins.</p> <p>The internet response to Love&#39;s find has been exactly what you&#39;d expect. Some people have been encouraging.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>at least Courtney Love is trying, nah mean</p> <p> &mdash; Trevor de Brauw Ⓥ (@trevordebrauw) <a href="https://twitter.com/trevordebrauw/statuses/445682287292596224">March 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Most have been trolls and cyber bullies.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Let&#39;s be real folks. Courtney Love was looking for her crack pipe and found a plane instead. <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23sorrynotsorry&amp;src=hash">#sorrynotsorry</a></p> <p> &mdash; Sebby (@whyalwayssebby) <a href="https://twitter.com/whyalwayssebby/statuses/445777458319872000">March 18, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>But really, aren&#39;t we all thinking the same thing?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Just imagine if Courtney Love did actually find that plane.</p> <p> &mdash; Cath Hurley (@CATHFACTORY) <a href="https://twitter.com/CATHFACTORY/statuses/445598917968007168">March 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Stick with it Courtney. Haters be damned.</p> Strange But True Offbeat Tue, 18 Mar 2014 17:00:00 +0000 Timothy McGrath 6098532 at http://www.globalpost.com The best MH370 conspiracies according to the MH370 conspiracy generator http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140318/MH370-conspiracy-generator <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> OK but if it happened it would be crazy. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It&#39;s been more than a week since Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight disappeared, and still, all we&#39;ve got are theories.</p> <p>The plane was hijacked.</p> <p>The plane experienced mechanical failure.</p> <p>The missing jet <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/03/17/malaysia_airlines_flight_370_the_craziest_theory_yet.html" target="_blank">used another jet to hide</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/17/1285450/-CNN-asks-whether-maybe-God-stole-Flight-370?detail=facebook" target="_blank">God did it</a>.</p> <p>Even&nbsp;<a href="http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/courtney-love-has-her-own-crackpot-theory-about-flight-mh370/" target="_blank">Courtney Love</a> has her own crackpot theory.</p> <p>But we know what really happened:</p> <p><a href="http://imgur.com/QNfJdSE"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/QNfJdSE.png" title="Hosted by imgur.com" /></a></p> <p>Wait. What?</p> <p><a href="http://imgur.com/Dwr0jWV"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/Dwr0jWV.png" title="Hosted by imgur.com" /></a></p> <p>Now that&#39;s just wild.</p> <p>Come up with your own conspiracy theory as to what happened to flight MH370 using this handy <a href="http://www.370conspiracygenerator.com/#" target="_blank">conspiracy generator</a>.</p> <p>Here are a couple more from the conspiracy generator hall of fame:</p> <p><a href="http://imgur.com/rxEiU9u"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/rxEiU9u.png" title="Hosted by imgur.com" /></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://imgur.com/2D5Euqy"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/2D5Euqy.png" title="Hosted by imgur.com" /></a></p> Companies Travel/Tourism Where is that plane? Asia-Pacific Strange But True Offbeat Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:09:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6098441 at http://www.globalpost.com 9 cats really, really not enjoying Colombia's International Feline Fair http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/colombia/140317/cats-not-enjoying-colombia-international-feline-fair <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> 'Don't judge us' — these cats. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Who doesn&#39;t love cat fairs? Cats, that&#39;s who.</p> <p>To judge by the pictures we&#39;ve seen of last weekend&#39;s International Feline Fair in Medellin, Colombia, the competitors could each think of 5,497 ways (approx.) they&#39;d rather be spending their Sunday.</p> <p>We don&#39;t blame the judges, we don&#39;t blame the owners, what we really blame is: cats. If they gave rosettes for grumpiness, these nine sour pusses would clean up.</p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> 1. &quot;Soon.&quot;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/photos_-_3.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 2.&nbsp;This Abyssinian, who wants you to know that just because he&#39;s batting your shiny thing doesn&#39;t mean he&#39;s happy about it.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_05.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 3. &quot;You are a mountain, Lyle. You are a tall tree. You are a swift wind and if you just DON&#39;T LOOK at these people, they do not exist.&quot;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/photos_-_2.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 4. This Himalayan, who didn&#39;t spend four years studying international relations for this.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_07.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 5. <em>This</em> Himalayan who will CUT YOU.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/photos_-_1.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 6. This Sphynx, who hates that <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/syria/140311/syria-death-toll-chart" target="_blank">the war in Syria</a> is still going. Also, having her tail pulled.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 7. This Russian Blue who&#39;d really rather be <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/140316/crisis-ukraine-phase-ii-crimea-russia" target="_blank">manning a military base in Crimea</a>.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_09.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 8. &quot;Is this really why they made us take time out from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/140311/help-search-missing-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370-using-crowd-sourced-satellite" target="_blank">hunting for Flight MH370</a>, Joan?&quot;<br /> &quot;Yes, Harold. Yes, it is.&quot;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_08.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 9. &quot;I&#39;ll remember this, humans. I&#39;ll remember this.&quot;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/last_import_-_06.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> cats Strange But True Offbeat Colombia Mon, 17 Mar 2014 17:36:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6097687 at http://www.globalpost.com 11 stock photos on Getty Images you can now finally use for that blog post http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140306/11-stock-photos-getty-images-you-can-finally-use-blog-post-now <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The world's largest photo agency has made 36 million photos free to use. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Kyle Kim </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Faced with the impossible task of policing the use of its photos in every nook and cranny of the Internet, <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/140306/getty-makes-photos-free-for-blogs-social-media">Getty this week made up to 35 million images free to use</a>. Here are those photos you can finally use for your blog post now:</p> <h2> 8 ways to know whether your cat is judging you</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="407" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/142620919?et=qCFkqc7AZ0C2lEnRPc4-cw&amp;sig=FOHLCmNzkfbyouelj8Tur5CvV3wVa3y13M1sgr6bVr4=" width="507"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> The mustache returns as a hair <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/06/fashion/the-monocle-returns-as-a-fashion-accessory.html">fashion accessory for hipster chic</a> babies</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="569" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/457810475?et=TKNxPj-puEK_3H9buanNUg&amp;sig=v91m0XK-D0BFtoiG_4d37a9mTQWqbvo4JXWsMFYZ-W8=" width="400"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> How to deal with uncontrollable flatulence in public</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="669" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/179535204?et=Z9Ota0NZfE2k4VZCPRdnnQ&amp;sig=Sx7qEe7C4LFU4iYSBePzg13nzJpDEeICfPbgMcF8-HA=" width="400"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> Is this pug <a href="http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/03/sorry-were-delighted-we-alerted-you-to-normcore.html">normcore</a>?</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="483" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/107599385?et=EpuxsokXGEa3R-iOK4CsrQ&amp;sig=l6ysY9E6EwBHqQx8CJU9MyfTQe6vyEF3Zoas1rusGZU=" width="414"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> Which man-cat are you?</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="483" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/151898279?et=SRUtkzncgUqw9PdYfMveYg&amp;sig=WdMGBreylXWdZt2VjQke0j104XSQg49-Orm6e5wTrMo=" width="414"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> Why the new best place to cry in NYC isn&#39;t that <a href="http://time.com/12927/the-best-and-worst-places-to-cry-and-listen-to-bright-eyes-in-nyc/">Build-a-Bear Workshop on 5th Ave</a></h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="407" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/184796976?et=rnn9zUnsh0miXeRdPAJZaw&amp;sig=Bb9OAepHVqeHAaU1St-X103Ba9C167ZzpEBRVzlYo4E=" width="507"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> Breadcrust selfies are all the rage among Maine Coon Millennials</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="483" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/146582583?et=S7SJZMvWKEOXXql2Lxw0XQ&amp;sig=BJffKuZ6KUHIqnh1KJxhRfoxPV9wYgfbyApDtgWOwC0=" width="414"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> 32 reasons why this hound dog is losing the battle against bread loafs</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="424" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/131513542?et=6c60UkEBXUiKH5Kg-584uA&amp;sig=SCgbj3YTgtCVNOkQE-v-qcSgVwx_ljQ8ovvp_0nR8gM=" width="483"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> 11 things you need to know about <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v_Ih9W0Z3k">Southern Charm</a> turtles</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="669" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/85456388?et=dr4y5Cl1D0K1f4VHepxeUw&amp;sig=QOCcVIpVbXkTapy3JUec4klaGWsVbB3hy1wRhg9i3CE=" width="400"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> Why elephants <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/">still can&#39;t have it all</a></h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="552" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/109381786?et=Magyil6fsEeoWggo1l7wgw&amp;sig=dVX3c59ULJNWLNfuxcT8sHUgcKBhYdB-s-UnKuaXAB8=" width="400"></iframe></p> <h2> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> 17 struggles of being doge</h2> <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="407" scrolling="no" src="//embed.gettyimages.com/embed/140289331?et=npPJhT7y0EisOiVx--j4sQ&amp;sig=CbigeixqK1_0_Eo0pYW_H8toa9R1wP7lLuyuYTNY-q8=" width="507"></iframe></p> Getty Stock Pitches Strange But True Offbeat Thu, 06 Mar 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Kyle Kim 6088914 at http://www.globalpost.com Things rich people do: paint every room in their house purple http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/140306/things-rich-people-do-paint-every-room-purple <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Every room. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What do you think of this house?</p> <p>It&#39;s in the London suburb of Hillingdon. Do you think it looks big? Boring? Pretty good bones?</p> <p>Did you think, &quot;I bet every single room inside is purple.&quot;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house2.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>Me neither.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house3.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>Every single room.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house9.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>I was about to say, &quot;including the bathroom,&quot; but then it occurred to me that the bathroom is the one room in which I find myself not questioning the purple.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house8.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>I find myself questioning the purple in nearly every other room.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house5.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>Though not everyone feels this way.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house6.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>Because someone did this to this house.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house7.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house4.jpg" style="font-size: 13.333333969116211px;" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-March/purple-house10.jpg" width="670" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Right Move/SWNS.com)</span></p> Flying purple people eater Travel/Tourism Strange But True Global Economy Offbeat United Kingdom Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:01:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6088637 at http://www.globalpost.com Marines take down drug kingpin Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/140222/drug-kingpin-joaquin-el-chapo-guzman-caught <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico's most wanted man went down without a shot fired. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Dudley Althaus </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>MEXICO CITY &mdash; Mexican marines backed by US agents captured crime lord Joaquin &ldquo;El Chapo&rdquo; Guzman near dawn this morning in the Pacific beach resort of Mazatlan.</p> <p>Guzman, 56, was arrested at a hotel without a shot fired, officials said. Pictures of the arrested gangster showed him shirtless, suggesting he was in bed at the time he was nabbed, reportedly with female company.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is a clear indication of the effort we are making in this country to disarm the criminal organizations,&rdquo; Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told a press conference at Mexico&#39;s City airport shortly before Guzman was walked before television cameras to a waiting helicopter.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/g1F2CLn7Bus" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>One of two masked marine escorts roughly grabbed the short, slightly paunchy gang boss&#39;s neck, forcing his gaze toward toward the tarmac.</p> <p>Guzman&#39;s arrest is a major victory for Mexican President Enrique Pe&ntilde;a Nieto, who has faced criticism from Washington for dialing back cooperation with US law enforcement since taking office nearly 15 months ago. Pe&ntilde;a has defended his strategy as favoring intelligence over brute force in taking on the powerful criminal gangs.</p> <p>News of Guzman&#39;s fall was first leaked out of Washington to the Associated Press, a break in protocol in which US agencies usually allow Mexican officials to announce such achievements.</p> <p>Guzman&#39;s capture resulted from months of intelligence work by Mexican and US agencies, Murillo said. It capped a week-long operation by the Mexican marines in Culiacan, Sinaloa&#39;s capital, in which top aides to Guzman associate Ismael &ldquo;El Mayo&rdquo; Zambada were captured.&nbsp;</p> <p>The marines came close to capturing Guzman, whose nickname &quot;El Chapo&quot; means &quot;Shorty,&quot; several times, Murillo said, but pulled back because officials &ldquo;preferred not to put the public at risk.&rdquo; Houses raided by the marines had steel reinforced doors and seven of them were connected by tunnels, allowing Guzman and other targets to escape, Murillo said.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HMraRFiW0Mo" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Calling Guzman&#39;s arrest a &quot;landmark achievement,&quot; US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/February/14-ag-191.html" target="_blank">statement</a> that officials in Washington &quot;are pleased we were able to work effectively with Mexico. We look forward to ongoing cooperation and future successes.&quot;</p> <p>Guzman&#39;s fall may well set off more violence as underlings fight to replace him. Gangland rivals now likely will try to gain control against the smuggling routes and other vice controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel.</p> <p>&quot;Chapo Guzman is a singular, almost mythic figure in Mexico&rsquo;s criminal underworld, so his arrest is a huge accomplishment,&quot; David Shirk, an expert on Mexican organized crime writes on the website of the Mexico Institute of Washington DC <a href="http://mexicoinstitute.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/quick-reaction-to-capture-of-el-chapo-guzman-from-the-mexico-institute/" target="_blank">Woodrow Wilson Center</a>.</p> <p>&quot;That said, the net impact&mdash; in terms of drug flows, drug consumption, or the flow of US firearms to Mexico&mdash; is unlikely to be very significant,&quot; Shirk writes. &quot;We don&rsquo;t even have a very clear sense of how Guzman&rsquo;s arrest will change the dynamics within the Sinaloa Cartel.&quot;</p> <p>Zambada, considered the second most powerful of Sinaloa&#39;s bosses, is the most likely to replace Guzman. But security forces have hit Zambada&#39;s own organization particularly hard in recent months, killing or arresting many of his top operators, including a son.</p> <p>For all his own notoriety, and the brutality carried out by underlings in places like Ciudad Juarez, Guzman has proved something of a stabilizing influence amid seven years of hyper violence in Mexico.</p> <p>An old-style drug trafficker, Guzman long has presented himself as less bloody gangster. He&#39;s pronounced himself against the extortion, kidnapping and murder carried out by other gangs across Mexico.</p> <p>Since mysteriously slipping out of a maximum security prison in January 2001, Guzman has become the most recognized face of Mexico&#39;s large and violent underworld.&nbsp;</p> <p>Guzman also faces a number of US drug trafficking indictments, in New York, Chicago and San Diego. The city of Chicago last year named him Public Enemy No. 1, the first time that designation was applied to anyone since Al Capone.</p> <p>The US government had put a $5 million bounty on Guzman&#39;s head. He was removed Saturday from the DEA&#39;s most wanted list.</p> <p>As titular head of the so-called Sinaloa Cartel, Guzman&#39;s empire stretches across Mexico and the United States, deep into Central and South America, Europe and Asia.</p> <p>Forbes Magazine since 2009 repeatedly listed Guzman, born to a poor farm family in the mountains of Sinaloa state, as one of the richest men in the world. But he was dropped from the list last year because his wealth couldn&#39;t be verified. Guzman&#39;s 24-year-old third wife gave birth to twin girls in Los Angeles in September 2011.</p> <p>The DEA and Mexican federal police had come within minutes of capturing Guzman two years ago in Los Cabos, Baja California. US agents believe the gangster managed to escape after being tipped off by someone inside the police. Guzman&#39;s personal pilot, cook and a girlfriend were apprehended.</p> <p>Mexican navy special forces became Washington&#39;s favored strike force under former President Felipe Calderon. Though that cooperation reportedly had been reduced under Pe&ntilde;a Nieto, the navy has taken down most of the senior gangsters killed or captured in the past year, including both leaders of the notorious Zetas gang.</p> <p>The special forces include an 1,800 strong marine brigade based in Mexico City and a US trained 400-man elite unit stationed in four rapid-response bases around the country.</p> <p>Among other successes, marines killed Sinaloa kingpin Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009 and brutal Zetas boss Heriberto Lazcano in October 2012. They captured another Zetas leader, Miguel Angel Trevi&ntilde;o, without a shot fired last summer near the south Texas border.</p> <p>&quot;The specially created Navy team has been very persistent,&quot; Calderon tweeted Saturday afternoon in congratulating the marines on Guzman&#39;s arrest. &quot;It found Lazcano, Trevi&ntilde;o and now Guzman.&quot;</p> <p>The Navy&#39;s privileged role under Calderon irritated other Mexican security services, causing Pe&ntilde;a Nieto to make it a policy to spread credit around among all the security forces. He did so again Saturday on Twitter, attributing Guzman&#39;s arrest to all the major security players, without mentioning the US agencies&#39; participation.</p> <p>Guzman&#39;s arrest came three days after a one-day summit near Mexico City between Pe&ntilde;a, President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in which security issues were downplayed. But all three vowed to continue cooperating on anti-crime operations.</p> Need to Know Military Politics Culture & Lifestyle Global Economy Offbeat Mexico United States Sat, 22 Feb 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Dudley Althaus 6078279 at http://www.globalpost.com This Indian artist painted more than 1,000 paintings with his tongue http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/140221/indian-artist-painted-more-1000-paintings-his-tongue <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Including an 8-foot Da Vinci and a portrait of Jesus Christ. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>OK so this is relatively gross, but bear with me.</p> <p>This man, in an attempt to be a &quot;different kind&quot; of artist, has developed a method whereby he paints exclusively with his tongue.</p> <p>Behold:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2SuokFJDZMI" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>The artist&#39;s name is Ani K and when he isn&#39;t tilting his head at odd angles to achieve nuanced brushstrokes, he&#39;s a schoolteacher in Kerala, southern India.</p> <p>&quot;I wanted to be a different kind of artist,&quot; he says by way of explanation in the above video.</p> <p>An age-old impulse, to be sure. But while some seek distinction through the content of their work, Ani K opted to explore the possiblities of form and method.&nbsp;</p> <p>He didn&#39;t jump straight to the tongue.</p> <p>&quot;I have tried painting with my nose, tried painting with my chin, my elbows and feet,&quot; the 35-year-old said. &quot;I also tried drawing with both hands simultaneously, and also while riding on a moving bike.&quot;</p> <p>The tongue, in the end, would serve Ani K, though not without a price.</p> <p>&quot;After painting with my tongue, I experience pain in my jaws, headaches, slight loss of vision and dip in memory power,&quot; he says. &quot;The side effects stay around for two weeks.&quot;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/tongue_artist_india1.jpg" style="font-size: 13.333333969116211px; width: 670px;" /><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">(Screengrab)</span></p> <p>With a slip of his tongue, Ani K has painted more than 1,000 works &mdash; including an eight-foot Da Vinci and a portrait of Jesus Christ. Keepin&#39; it classic in some ways at least.</p> <p>If the tongue won&#39;t lead Ani K to stardom, there are other ways.</p> <p>&quot;For the Guiness Records,&quot; he says, &quot;I am going to paint four portraits using both hands and both feet at the same time.&quot;</p> <p>Do send word when you do, Ani K. Don&#39;t bite your tongue.</p> Put your paintbrush where your mouth is Entertainment Strange But True India Offbeat Fri, 21 Feb 2014 18:20:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6077435 at http://www.globalpost.com 'How to date Japanese women who haven’t been exposed to radiation' http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/south-korea/140214/maxim-date-japanese-women-radiation-controversial-article <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Readers weren't too happy with South Korea's Maxim after they published an article with the inflammatory headline. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What&#39;s wrong with this Maxim Korea cover?</p> <p>Let me rephrase that. What is <em>unusually</em> wrong with this Maxim Korea cover?&nbsp;</p> <p>Can&#39;t read Korean? That bit circled in red reads, &quot;How to date Japanese women who haven&rsquo;t been exposed to radiation.&quot;</p> <p>An inflammatory headline, to say the least, and one that Korean readers were quick to point out as inappropriate given the sensitive nature of <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140213/fukushima-should-eye-controlled-discharges-sea">Japan&#39;s continuing recovery</a> after the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima disaster.</p> <p>Japan&#39;s media caught wind of the controversy this week, and the rest is viral history.&nbsp;</p> <p>The original article on Japan Today has been removed, but we&#39;ve captured the <a href="http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:yvCj_rtcUjcJ:www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/headline-of-s-korean-magazine-angers-japanese-readers+&amp;cd=1&amp;hl=en&amp;ct=clnk&amp;gl=us">cached version</a> for you.</p> <p>Maxim Korea&#39;s editor-in-chief said the article, in the February issue of the magazine, was about how to get a Japanese girlfriend, regardless of her exposure to radiation, and he apologized (sort of) for preying on readers with an egregiously provocative headline.&nbsp;</p> <p>Here&#39;s what he said:</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;I would like to apologize for causing discomfort and inflicting harm on a large number of Japanese people as a result of the text on the February issue. I am reflecting on this incident in my heart and would like to apologize to anyone who was deeply offended.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>But he didn&#39;t stop there. <em>No, he didn&#39;t stop there</em>.</p> <blockquote><p>&ldquo;The recent brash remarks coming from Japan concerning Dokdo/Takeshima and the island dispute (the International Court of Justice case), Prime Minister Abe&rsquo;s visit to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine, and the issue of comfort women, have unintentionally caused us to make a mistake.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;I will apologize for a second time to the many Japanese who harbor amicable feelings towards South Korea and continue to wait for the correct resolution to Dokdo/Takeshima and other historical problems. I wish to thank the readers who reprimanded us out of love.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Japan and Korea have a number of disputes that periodically flare up, and the man succeeds in naming three of the most prominent: the Japanese PM&#39;s visits to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131226/yasukuni-war-shrine-some-key-answers">Yasukuni shrine</a>,&nbsp;Japan&#39;s claims over South Korea&#39;s easternmost&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/yonhap-news-agency/140131/s-korea-denounces-japanese-leader-over-dokdo-comments">Dokdo</a>&nbsp;islets,&nbsp;and the so-called Korean&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130927/wwii-comfort-women-the-pain-time-cannot-heal">&quot;comfort women&quot;</a>&nbsp;forced into prostitution in Japan during WWII.</p> <p>Take your pick, Japanese netizens. And they did, here are a few choice responses.</p> <p>&ldquo;The idiot insults Japanese people a second time by giving excuses within the apology. It&rsquo;s incredibly insensitive for him to apologize only to those Japanese who believe in the fabrications of South Korea.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m amazed that the mass media is able to link any article to anti-Japanese sentiment, regardless of what the incident is.&rdquo;</p> <p>And if not a reprimand out of love, certainly a plea from the heart:</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve gotten tired of looking at these ridiculous stories day after day. I&rsquo;m begging you, please just ship everyone off to Mars.&rdquo;</p> Is no men's magazine sacred? Entertainment Diplomacy Strange But True Politics Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Japan South Korea Fri, 14 Feb 2014 17:52:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6070846 at http://www.globalpost.com The world’s most imaginative insults http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140209/the-world-s-most-imaginative-insults <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> For when ‘yo mamma’ just doesn’t say enough. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>As long as there have been words, humans have been using those words to make other humans feel bad (probably).&nbsp;So it&#39;s little wonder that the world has a lot of names to call people by. Admittedly most of them involve mothers, anatomy and mothers&#39; anatomy, but we&#39;ve tried to skip the simply shocking and go right for the ridiculously rude. Here&#39;s a sampling of some of the most creative insults from other cultures (warning: contains bad &mdash; and bizarre &mdash; language).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 1. Chinese: &quot;Ni muqin shi yi ge da wugui!&quot;</h2> <p>... or, &quot;Your mother is a big turtle.&quot; Because turtles aren&#39;t monogamous, get it? Zing!</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/57323482.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 2. Spanish: &quot;Me cago en la leche!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;I sh*t in the milk.&quot; Imagine a pitcher of milk in the middle of the breakfast table. Now imagine a Spaniard defecating in it. Yes.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-february/milk.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 3. Russian: &quot;Perhot&#39; podzalupnaya&quot;</h2> <p>... you, sir, are &quot;ass dandruff.&quot; For which there is no shampoo, oh no.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/bum.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 4. Finnish: &quot;&Auml;itisi nai poroja!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Your mother married a reindeer!&quot; File under &quot;yo mamma.&quot;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/reindeer.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 5. Yiddish: &quot;Lign in drerd un bakn beygl!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;May you lie in the ground and bake bagels.&quot; If that sounds like a rather pleasant way to spend eternity, consider this: <em>those are bagels you will never get to eat</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/bagels.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 6. German: &quot;Schattenparker&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;One who parks in the shade.&quot; Because you&#39;d have to be a total wimp to take precautions against the sun turning your vehicle into an unbearable radiating hell box, am I right?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-february/car.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 7. Jamaican: &quot;Bumbaclot&quot;</h2> <p>... literally, &quot;ass wipe.&quot; So how does the word manage to sound so darn cute?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/world-toilet-day-1-20111118.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Matt Cardy/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 8. Albanian: &quot;T&euml; qifsha t&euml; bardh&euml;t e syve!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;F*ck your eye whites.&quot; It&#39;s the specificity you have to appreciate here. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/brazil_tattoo_blue_eyes.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 9. Turkish: &quot;Sana girsin keman yayi!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;May the bow of a violin enter your anus.&quot; Not a concert we&#39;d wish to attend.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/violin.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 10. Persian: &quot;Mee goozam rangesh kon!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Try to paint my fart,&quot; or less literally, &quot;f*ck off.&quot; Unless, of course, you&#39;re up for the challenge. &nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/paint.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 11. Japanese: &quot;Hesomagari&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Twisted belly button,&quot; which means &mdash; obviously &mdash; that you are one sick puppy.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/navel.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 12. Gaelic: &quot;Go n-ithe an cat thu, is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;May the cat eat you, and may the devil then eat the cat.&quot; It&#39;s not clear why the cat has to get involved here.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-february/cat.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 13. Dutch: &quot;Volgescheten palingvel&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Eel skin full of sh*t.&quot; Wait, eels have <em>skin</em>?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2013-April/eel_in_butt_2013_04-10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 14. Romanian: &quot;Sufla-ţi-aş cu curul in lingură cand te arde ciorba la gura!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;I can blow farts in your spoon when the soup is too hot for you.&quot; Um, thanks?</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/soup.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 15. Italian: &quot;Caccati in mano e prenditi a schiaffi!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Take a dump in your hand and then slap yourself.&quot; This requires quite some commitment from the insultee.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/468076863.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 16. Hindi: &quot;Chipkali ke gaand ke pasine&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;Sweat of a lizard&#39;s ass.&quot; And there you were, happily living your life, without once having thought of either a lizard&#39;s sweat or its ass.</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/lizard2.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 17. Afrikaans: &quot;Ek wens jou vingers verander in vishoeke, en jou balle begin te jeuk!&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;I hope your fingers change into fishing hooks, and you get an itch in your balls.&quot; Think about it.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-february/fish_hook.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 18. Bulgarian: &quot;Grozna si kato salata.&quot;</h2> <p>... &quot;You are as ugly as salad.&quot; And salad is very ugly indeed.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/germany_toxic_cucumbers_052911.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Joern Pollex/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 19. Australian: &quot;May your ears turn into arseholes and sh*t on your shoulders!&quot;</h2> <p>... Never let it be said that English isn&#39;t vulgar. Thanks, Australia, for an image that needs no translation.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-February/australia_hats.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Marianna Massey/Getty Images)</span></p> What a world Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat Tue, 11 Feb 2014 06:02:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6065640 at http://www.globalpost.com All The Single Leaders: The world’s most eligible heads of state http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/world-leaders/140131/all-the-single-leaders-most-eligible-presidents <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> These presidents, prime ministers and premiers who know what it’s like to rule without putting a ring on it. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-size: 13px;">If breaking up is hard to do, when you&rsquo;re a head of state, what comes after is even harder.</span></p> <p>Whichever country you visit, presidential plus-ones are <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/de%20rigueur"><em>de rigueur</em></a>. Who&rsquo;ll accompany you to that state banquet now? Who&rsquo;ll pose between you and your dog for the yearly greetings card? Who&rsquo;ll high-five children with Michelle Obama or make quantum chemistry-based small talk with Angela Merkel&rsquo;s other half when your leader pals come to stay?</p> <p>You wouldn&rsquo;t blame France&rsquo;s newly single Francois Hollande for thinking that his is the only presidential suite to go unshared. But, strange as it may seem to Americans &mdash; who&rsquo;ve only ever trusted <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/jamesbuchanan" target="_blank">one lifelong bachelor</a> to run the country more than a century and a half ago &mdash; some voters do actually elect people to lead their nation when they&rsquo;ve never led anyone down the aisle.</p> <p>As Hollande comes to the end of his first week as an officially single commander-in-chief, here are the presidents, prime ministers and premiers who know what it&rsquo;s like to rule without putting a ring on it.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 1. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/par7005827.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Bachelor Number One is <a href="http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/meet-new-dutch-prime-minister-mark-who-0 " target="_blank">Mark Rutte</a>: jolly, 40-something, and prime minister of the Netherlands. (He was also, by coincidence, the first foreign leader Francois Hollande visited after the story broke about his alleged affair.) Ironically, he was born on Valentine&rsquo;s Day &mdash; though to parents who well knew the complications of marriage. His father&rsquo;s first wife died during World War II and he then married her younger sister, meaning that Rutte&rsquo;s half-siblings are also kind of his cousins. Yikes.</p> <p>He almost never speaks about his private life and isn&rsquo;t known to have any prospective first ladies &mdash; or gentlemen, for that matter &mdash; in sight. Instead, he&rsquo;s reputed to be <a href="http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/imported/water-cooler-premier/74159.aspx" target="_blank">a boyish bachelor</a> who <a href="http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/06/who_is_mark_rutte_a_short_biog.php" target="_blank">vacations with his mother</a> and takes the king&rsquo;s wife to formal functions as his strictly platonic date. He could make a solid wing man for Hollande &mdash; if he weren&rsquo;t, you know, younger and better looking.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 2. South Korean President Park Geun Hye</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/park_geun_hye_2013_1_31.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Park Geun Hye is in the unusual position of having served as both first lady and president (daughter of ex-President Park Chung Hee, the 22-year-old Park stepped into her mother&rsquo;s shoes when she was assassinated by North Korea). Ever since then, she&rsquo;s been going steady with South Korea. Park said she hasn&#39;t taken a husband because she&rsquo;s already <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/21/world/asia/park-geun-hye-nominated-for-south-korean-presidency.html?_r=0 " target="_blank">married to her country</a> &mdash; a slightly creepy metaphor that some of her supporters made that much creepier by making <a href="http://www.koreabang.com/2013/stories/park-geun-hye-is-getting-married-to-south-korea.html" target="_blank">mock wedding invitations</a> ahead of Park&rsquo;s inauguration in February 2013.</p> <p>To <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ-M0KEFm9I" target="_blank">misquote</a> another woman in charge, we suspect the lady&rsquo;s not for marrying.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 3. Bolivian President Evo Morales</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/mvd6278569.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>It&rsquo;s fair to say that Evo Morales is happily unmarried. He&rsquo;s rumored to be <a href="http://www.cooperativa.cl/las-coplas-machistas-y-groseras-de-evo-morales/prontus_nots/2012-02-20/180313.html" target="_blank">something of a flirt</a>, he&rsquo;s known to have children with two different mothers (just like Hollande, in fact), and he&rsquo;s occasionally heard to make some, er, <a href="http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/mujer-varon-sustituta-Evo-Morales_0_1838816210.html" target="_blank">revealing comments</a> about his love life.</p> <p>Such as: &ldquo;A man&rsquo;s ideal woman is a surrogate mom,&rdquo; i.e., someone who is &ldquo;loving, cares about food and looks after you.&rdquo; Right. Remind us again why you&rsquo;re single, Evo? It&rsquo;s certainly not for want of asking. Women would invariably decline his proposals, telling him that &ldquo;&lsquo;either they&rsquo;re going to throw you in jail or take you to the cemetery, and I don&rsquo;t want to be a widow or to suffer,&rsquo;&rdquo; the president related to <a href="http://www.la-razon.com/nacional/mujer-varon-sustituta-Evo-Morales_0_1838816210.html" target="_blank">one interviewer</a> last year. He says he gave up on the idea of a Mrs Morales some 20 years ago.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 4. Philippines President Benigno Aquino III</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/hkg3565724.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>If Mark Rutte is too clean-cut and Evo Morales too&hellip; <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Oedipus%20complex">Oedipal</a>, Francois Hollande could do worse than &ldquo;Noynoy&rdquo; Aquino for his companion on a boys&rsquo; night out. Ever since splitting from glamorous girlfriend Shalani Soledad two years ago, the president and his love life have been the subject of <a href="http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/248664/lifestyle/pnoy-s-love-life-10-women-who-caught-his-eye" target="_blank">frenzied speculation</a> in the Philippines&rsquo; press (fuelled, no doubt, by his penchant for taking attractive young women out for late-night dinners t&ecirc;te-&agrave;-t&ecirc;te). So fascinated are Filipinos by their playboy president that they&rsquo;ve even come up with an outline of his ideal woman: &ldquo;10 to 20 years younger than him, smart, pretty and curvy, with a taste for Chinese, Japanese and Filipino food and music,&rdquo; according to <a href="http://www.scmp.com/article/973361/playboy-aquino-cant-see-what-fuss-about" target="_blank">one account</a>. Well, that&rsquo;s specific. Though according to the &ldquo;astrological researcher&rdquo; consulted recently by one leading newspaper (<a href="http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/145281/will-aquino-remain-loveless-in-2014" target="_blank">yes, really</a>), the all-eating-all-dancing lady in question isn&rsquo;t fated to show up for another two years at least.</p> <p>Aquino is apparently a little fed up of the whole business. &ldquo;If ever I get the chance to go out on a date, it seems I invited the entire Filipino people to join me on that date,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.philstar.com/headlines/687189/p-noy-my-love-life-my-business" target="_blank">he lamented</a> in 2011. If two&rsquo;s company and three&rsquo;s a crowd, 96 million has got to cramp your style.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 5. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/dv1597481.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Anyone who lures Lithuania&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.president.lt/en/institution/president_dalia_grybauskaite_399/biography.html" target="_blank">Dalia Grybauskaite</a> out of singledom will be lucky indeed. The &ldquo;Steel Magnolia&rdquo; is fluent in four languages, has a PhD in economics, won the so-called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.dw.de/dalia-grybauskaite-the-iron-lady-of-lithuania/a-16801406" target="_blank">Oscar of politics</a>&rdquo; and &mdash; here&rsquo;s the clincher &mdash; is a black belt in karate.</p> <p>Like many a single woman, Grybauskaite has had to field <a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7ed07920-aee2-11de-96d7-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2ry1qFCJe" target="_blank">intrusive questions</a> as why she remains unwed. No, she&rsquo;s not a joyless blue-stocking. No, she&rsquo;s not a lesbian. Is it so far-fetched that the president &mdash; gasp &mdash; might just like being unattached? According to <a href="http://www.baltictimes.com/news/articles/31891/#.UutwemRdWGk" target="_blank">one recent poll</a>, single Lithuanians reported being the happiest of any demographic. Perhaps their president is the ultimate proof.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 6. President of Botswana Ian Khama</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/par2828319.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Monirul Bhuiyan/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Easily the most eligible head of state in all Africa is Botswana&rsquo;s stately president. He&rsquo;s got the pedigree (his father was the country&rsquo;s first post-independence president, his forefathers paramount chiefs), the military bearing (he was trained at Britain&rsquo;s top officer school) and &mdash; &nbsp;<a href="http://mg.co.za/article/2012-11-02-00-khama-inc-all-the-presidents-family-friends-and-close-colleagues" target="_blank">alleged cronyism</a> notwithstanding &mdash; the political creds. Khama has won international respect as a steady-handed leader and <a href="http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/botswana-breaks-ranks-sadc-au-over-zimbabwe-polls" target="_blank">unrelenting critic</a> of Zimbabwe&rsquo;s Robert Mugabe when other neighbors are too busy making nice. And there&rsquo;s nothing sexier than standing up to dictatorship, am I right? Oh, and did I mention that he occasionally <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22336542" target="_blank">plays with cheetahs</a>?</p> <p>All that&rsquo;s why ladies love cool Khama. Take Berry Heart, for instance, a headline-courting performance poet almost 40 years the president&rsquo;s junior. She&rsquo;s gained notoriety in Botswana for her ballad &lsquo;<a href="http://www.thevoicebw.com/2012/06/01/i-want-your-babies/" target="_blank">I Have A Crush On Ian Khama</a>,&rsquo; whose lines not only propose marriage but tell the head of state exactly where he can put his mustache. To date, Khama has not responded to the offer. Though he does claim <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/International/botswana-president-describes-perfect-wife-insults-female-minister/story?id=12324410" target="_blank">his ideal wife</a> would be &ldquo;tall, slim and beautiful,&rdquo; and that presidential aides have been dispatched to find her. Good luck with that.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2> 7. Russian President Vladimir Putin</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2013-December/putin1.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Alexey Druxhinin/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Of all the single leaders whose sympathy Hollande might seek, only Vladimir Putin knows what it&rsquo;s like to find yourself a singleton again after long years of coupledom. Putin split from wife Lyudmila last year and instantly became <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/newly-single-vladimir-putin-is-the-most-wanted-man-in-russia-8686127.html" target="_blank">Russia&rsquo;s most eligible bachelor</a>. In the weeks after the break-up, the presidential torso could be seen gracing magazine covers <em>sans</em> shirt, along with quotes from female celebrities who attest that &ldquo;Any girl would marry Putin.&rdquo;</p> <p>Not quite any, but at least one in five: <a href="http://en.ria.ru/russia/20121005/176428552.html" target="_blank">a pre-divorce poll</a> found that 20 percent of Russian women asked would accept Putin&rsquo;s proposal on the spot, while a further 14 percent would need a little time to think it over. That leaves 66 percent who&rsquo;d turn him down outright. Not that that&rsquo;s likely to bother the bare-chested one: his minions have stated categorically that &ldquo;there is <a href="http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323844804578531053522111778" target="_blank">no other woman</a> in the president&rsquo;s life.&rdquo; No other woman but perhaps, just perhaps, a newly single bro to take out huntin&rsquo;, shootin&rsquo; and <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/world-leaders/130716/vladimir-putin-photos" target="_blank">mannin</a>.&rsquo;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--> shoulda put a ring on it World Leaders Strange But True Offbeat Fri, 31 Jan 2014 15:50:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6058002 at http://www.globalpost.com #ThrowbackThursday: How the world looked on this day in history http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140130/throwbackthursday-how-the-world-looked-january-30 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A day in the life of Earth, Jan. 30 edition. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h2> On this day in ...&nbsp;</h2> <h2> <br /> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> ... 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg (left) appointed Adolf Hitler the chancellor of Germany. Within months Hitler had suspended the constitution, quashed his opponents and begun the Nazi dictatorship that would lead to World War II. &nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_01.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1951, negotiations to end the Korean War had stalled and refugees were fleeing by the truckload.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_02.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STR/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1965, the great and the good were gathered at St. Paul&#39;s Cathedral in London for the state funeral of Winston Churchill. (See if you can spot a young Prince Charles.)</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_03.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1970, Pierre Cardin&#39;s &#39;Earth-Moon&#39; designs were the hottest thing at Paris Fashion Week.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_04.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1972, British paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, killing 14 civilians. The day, one of the blackest in all the Irish Troubles, would be known as &#39;Bloody Sunday.&#39;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_11.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1979, Saddam Hussein &mdash; then vice president of Iraq &mdash; was visiting Havana, Cuba, where he was welcomed by President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul, the defense minister at the time.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_15.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1982, Hosni Mubarak, three months into what would be his 30-year rule of Egypt, met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_05.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (VATICAN POOL/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1983, the Washington Redskins were playing the Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl XVII in Pasadena, California. The Redskins would win it 27-17.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_06.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1988, engineers at Sangatte were preparing to start work on the Channel Tunnel between England and France.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_07.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (JEAN MEUNIER/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1989, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was addressing the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters in Washington DC. Twenty-four years later, Museveni is still in power.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_08.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (RENATO ROTOLO/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1993, Belgian expats were fleeing amid a mutiny by the armed forces in Kinshasa, capital of what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_09.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (FRANCOIS ROJON/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1994, Nelson Mandela was hitting the campagin trail in South Africa&#39;s first-ever democratic election. Three months later, his ANC party would win by a landslide.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_16.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (WALTER DHLADHLA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1995, Muslims were praying at the Jama Masjid mosque in New Delhi, India,&nbsp;to celebrate the festival of Eid. &nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_17.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (</span><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px; line-height: 20px;">JOHN MACDOUGALL</span><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1998, North Korean children were skating on Pyongyang&#39;s outdoor ice rink during their winter vacation. &nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (</span><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">YOSHIKAZU TSUNO</span><span style="font-size: 10px; color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2002, this was the cutting edge in mobile wireless technology. The Sierra Wireless AirCard 555 enabled users to access the internet at high speed from a portable device.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_12.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Don MacKinnon/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2005, Iraqis were lining up to vote in the first free elections in their country&#39;s history.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_13.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2013, the Zaatari camp in Jordan was struggling to shelter record numbers of refugees fleeing Syria&#39;s civil war. One year on, those numbers are even higher.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/photos_-_14.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)</span></p> history Want to Know Offbeat Thu, 30 Jan 2014 05:20:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6052418 at http://www.globalpost.com Swedish marines sing and dance 'Greased Lightnin' in Afghanistan (VIDEO) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/middle-east/swedish-marines-dance-and-sing-greased-lightning-afghanistan-vid <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Swedish marines dance and lip-sync John Travolta and the rest of the 'Grease' cast in a somewhat impressive parody of 'Greased Lightnin.' </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> News Desk </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>In the small but increasingly impressive collection of <a href="http://ll-me-maybe-military-version-16807386" target="_blank">military music video parodies</a>, this new and already highly praised YouTube video of Swedish marines doing &quot;Greased Lightnin&quot; has got to be a contender for the top spot.</p> <p>The production value along with a set that closely mimics the original &mdash; from the 1978 <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grease_(film)" target="_blank">musical film &quot;Grease&quot;</a> &mdash; make the video well worth your time.</p> <p>The lip-syncing is almost exact, and the dance moves hit the beat. Well, most of the time.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cbLwmUdee64" width="560"></iframe></p> <p class='u'>http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/regions/middle-east/swedish-marines-dance-and-sing-greased-lightning-afghanistan-vid</p> Afghanistan Afghanistan War Entertainment Military Middle East Offbeat Sun, 26 Jan 2014 17:44:00 +0000 News Desk 6053504 at http://www.globalpost.com A beginner’s guide to Franglais http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/140120/beginners-guide-to-franglais <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> In the spirit of mutual mistranslation, here’s a brief glossary of the weirdest 'English' words you need a French dictionary to understand. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">PARIS, France &mdash; Do you want the good news or the bad news first?</span></p> <p>The good news, at least for people who don&rsquo;t speak French: You&rsquo;ll hear lots of English in France. The bad news: You won&rsquo;t understand it.</p> <p>It looks like English. It sounds like English. Some of it really <em>is</em> English. But it doesn&rsquo;t mean what you&rsquo;d expect it to mean.</p> <p>If Anglophones love to pilfer from other languages (pilfer: from the Old French <em>pelfrer</em>), the French like to add their own <em>je ne sais quoi</em>. No, really: without some help, you wouldn&rsquo;t <em>savoir quoi</em> they&rsquo;re on about.</p> <p><strong>More from GlobalPost: <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/pakistan-inside-out/beginners-guide-urdlish">A beginner&#39;s guide to Urdlish</a></strong></p> <p>In the spirit of mutual mistranslation, here&rsquo;s a brief glossary of the weirdest &ldquo;English&rdquo; words you need a French dictionary to understand &mdash; not to mention a few <em>bons mots</em> we&rsquo;ve adopted in English that just won&rsquo;t fly in France.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Un after-work (n).</strong></em> An event that takes place after work. Simple, effective, yet irremediably ugly.</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914229-un-after-work/embed?eid=AQAAAAll-lJ1NR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914229-un-after-work">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Un after work&#39; &rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><strong><em>Le baby-foot (n).</em></strong> Table football. I just&hellip; I don&rsquo;t even know.</p> <p><em><strong>Le brushing (n).</strong></em> A professional blow dry in a hair salon. It comes after your <em>shampooing</em> (shampoo) and <em>apr&egrave;s-shampooing</em> (conditioner).</p> <p><strong><em>Le cocooning (n).</em></strong> This seems to be a term invented by marketers with the aim of selling women casual clothes they don&rsquo;t really need. It means, roughly, staying in and being cozy.</p> <p><em><strong>Le fooding (n). </strong></em>A Frankenstein&rsquo;s monster made of &ldquo;food&rdquo; and &ldquo;feeling,&rdquo; and meaning something along the lines of eating well.</p> <p><em><strong>Le footing (n).</strong></em> Jogging. Because you use your feet&hellip;?</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914243-le-footing/embed?eid=AQAAADJl-lKDNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914243-le-footing">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Le footing&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Le forcing (n).</strong></em> A sustained attack on your opponent, for example in sports or business.</p> <p><em><strong>Un hard-discounter (n).</strong></em> A discount store. I defy any native English speaker to have a clue what a French person is on about the first time you hear them mention the local &ldquo;ard-diss-coont-air.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>Hype (adj).</strong></em> Trendy. Rendered even more amusing by its Franglais pronunciation, &ldquo;ipe.&rdquo;</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914311-hype/embed?eid=AQAAAFll-lLHNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914311-hype">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Hype&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Le jogging (n).</strong></em> Confusingly, this can but doesn&rsquo;t necessarily refer to jogging (that would be <em>footing</em>, above) &mdash; it means what you wear while you&rsquo;re jogging, i.e., a tracksuit.</p> <p><em><strong>Un lifting (n).</strong></em> A face-lift. The last resort after <em>un peeling</em> (exfoliation or chemical peel).</p> <p><em><strong>Le looping (n).</strong></em> To go loop-the-loop on a roller coaster.</p> <p><em><strong>Le mailing (n).</strong></em> Junk mail and the sending thereof.</p> <p><em><strong>Un/une people (n).</strong></em> A celebrity. I&rsquo;m serious.</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914322-people/embed?eid=AQAAAGpl-lLSNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914322-people">listen to &lsquo;&#39;People&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>People (adj).</strong></em> Showbiz. An event packed out with celebs would be &ldquo;<em>une soir&eacute;e tr&egrave;s people</em>,&rdquo; while gossip magazines constitute &ldquo;<em>la presse people</em>.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>Peps (n).</strong></em> Used just like the English word pep, but the French have more of it.</p> <p><em><strong>Un pin&rsquo;s (n).</strong></em> A pin or badge. BUT WHY IS THE APOSTROPHE THERE? WHY?</p> <p><em><strong>Le planning (n).</strong></em> A schedule or timetable.</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914342-le-planning/embed?eid=AQAAAIZl-lLmNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914342-le-planning">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Le Planning&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Une pompom girl (n).</strong></em> A cheerleader. Try breaking it to the French that men cheer too.</p> <p><em><strong>Un recordman, une recordwoman (n).</strong></em> An athlete who holds the record in their event.</p> <p><em><strong>Relooker (v).</strong></em> To give someone or something a makeover. The person giving you it is a <em>relookeur</em> (male) or a <em>relookeuse</em> (female).</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914350-relooker/embed?eid=AQAAAHll-lLuNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914350-relooker">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Relooker&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Un rugbyman (n).</strong></em> In British English, you might expect to hear this phrase in a sentence such as: &ldquo;He&rsquo;s more of a cricket than a rugby man.&rdquo; In Franglais, it means a rugby player. Likewise <em>tennisman</em> and its wrong-in-every-way plural, <em>tennismens</em>.</p> <p><strong><em>Un talkie-walkie (n).</em></strong> What&rsquo;s the difference between a <em>talkie-walkie</em> and a walkie-talkie, you might ask? There is none. The French just decided to switch the words round, for reasons best known to themselves. Use a pair and you&rsquo;ve got yourself some <em>talkies-walkies</em>.</p> <p><em><strong>Un shake-hand (n).</strong></em> You mean a handshake. In fairness, I&rsquo;ve never heard anyone use this by now outdated term, but it goes to show that French people have been entertainingly reinventing English since at least 1835.</p> <p><em><strong>Un shooting (n).</strong></em> A film shoot. You hear that, France? A shoot, period. You&rsquo;ll have noticed by now that the French have a compulsion to add &ldquo;-ing&rdquo; to any and every English word they get their <em>mains</em> on.</p> <p><em><strong>Un smoking (n).</strong></em> A tuxedo. It claims its origins from the English &ldquo;smoking jacket,&rdquo; but connoisseurs of men&rsquo;s attire will know that&rsquo;s not really the same thing.</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914353-un-smoking/embed?eid=AQAAAJ1l-lLxNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914353-un-smoking">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Un smoking&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Speed (adj).</strong></em> This word has mutated from its English sense into something closer to busy. Thus, you&rsquo;ll hear many a young French person declare &ldquo;<em>je suis speed</em>&rdquo; (literally, I am speed) to mean they&rsquo;re in a rush.</p> <div class="ab-player" data-boourl="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914354-speed/embed?eid=AQAAAJJl-lLyNR0A"> <a href="https://audioboo.fm/boos/1914354-speed">listen to &lsquo;&#39;Speed&#39;&rsquo; on Audioboo</a></div> <script type="text/javascript">(function() { var po = document.createElement("script"); po.type = "text/javascript"; po.async = true; po.src = "https://d15mj6e6qmt1na.cloudfront.net/assets/embed.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s); })();</script><p><em><strong>Zapper (v).</strong></em> To channel surf. Because you go &ldquo;zap&rdquo; with your remote control, get it?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>And the French words you&rsquo;re using wrong&hellip;</strong></p> <p><em><strong>Bon voyage (exclamation).</strong></em> You might get some funny looks from your French friends as you wave them off on their mini-break: it only really applies to long trips, the kind that involve at least one plane and maybe even a ship. Plus the phrase refers to the traveling itself &mdash; if what you really want to wish <em>les amis</em> is a great holiday, you&rsquo;d be better off trying out &ldquo;<em>bon s&eacute;jour</em>.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>Clique (n).</strong></em> We know, we know, ain&rsquo;t nobody fresher than your clique &mdash; but maybe they don&rsquo;t want to be. See, in French a clique always has more or less sinister overtones, a bit like a cabal.</p> <p><em><strong>Cul-de-sac (n).</strong></em> Um. You know you&rsquo;re talking about the &ldquo;bag&rsquo;s ass,&rdquo; right?</p> <p><em><strong>Encore (exclamation).</strong></em> Demand this at the end of a concert and you&rsquo;ll leave unsatisfied. You&rsquo;re saying &ldquo;again&rdquo;; a French speaker would ask for &ldquo;<em>une autre</em>&rdquo; (another).</p> <p><em><strong>Entr&eacute;e (n).</strong></em> No, the main course in a French restaurant isn&rsquo;t really, really small. You just ordered a starter &mdash; because <em>entr&eacute;e</em> is an entrance or beginning, ok?</p> <p><strong><em>Mangetout (n).</em></strong> A Brit might think they&rsquo;re asking for snow peas, but all a French market stall holder will see is a crazy person who wants to &ldquo;eat everything.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>M&eacute;nage &agrave; trois (n).</strong></em> What could be more French than a merry threesome, right? If you ever invite a French person (or two) to join you in one, though, they&rsquo;ll probably wonder why you think a &ldquo;household for three&rdquo; is anything to get excited about.</p> <p><em><strong>Oh l&agrave; l&agrave; (exclamation).</strong></em> Most Anglophones save this for a particularly risqu&eacute; moment, but for French speakers it serves as an all-purpose exclamation of disbelief, frustration or surprise.</p> <p><em><strong>Potpourri (n).</strong></em> Never, ever offer a French speaker the gift of a &ldquo;rotten pot.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>RSVP (abbrev).</strong></em> Aka &ldquo;<em>r&eacute;pondez s&rsquo;il vous pla&icirc;t</em>,&rdquo; or &ldquo;please answer.&rdquo; A French speaker probably won&rsquo;t, because the initials risk leaving them stumped &mdash; which might in fact be for the best, since the full phrase sounds more like an order than a polite request.</p> <p><em><strong>Saut&eacute;ed (adj).</strong></em> Saut&eacute; something, by all means, but describing the result as saut&eacute;ed is a bit like saying it&rsquo;s &ldquo;frieded.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><strong>Soup&ccedil;on (n).</strong></em> You&rsquo;re looking for a classy way to say &ldquo;a little bit,&rdquo; so you borrow the French word for suspicion or hint. So far, so good; but English speakers have a habit of ignoring the &ldquo;p&rdquo; and &mdash; as this correspondent has found out to her peril &mdash; &ldquo;soo-son&rdquo; sounds rather too close for comfort to <em>su&ccedil;on</em>, the French word for love bite. &nbsp;</p> Travel/Tourism France Strange But True Offbeat Fri, 24 Jan 2014 05:49:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6048094 at http://www.globalpost.com #ThrowbackThursday: How the world looked on this day in history http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140122/throwbackthursday-how-the-world-looked-january-23 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A day in the life of Earth, Jan. 23 edition. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h2> On this day in ...&nbsp;</h2> <h2> <br /> &nbsp;</h2> <h2> ... 1961, President John F. Kennedy&#39;s new cabinet was sworn in at the White House.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_01.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STF/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1964, Austria was preparing to host the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. Not enough snow fell naturally, so soldiers had to help shovel it in by the truckload.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_02.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1968, these three sisters were among thousands of Palestinians who fled the occupied West Bank in the aftermath of Israel&#39;s June 1967 war with Jordan, Syria and Egypt.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_03.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1973, negotiators Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho signed the Paris Peace Accords on behalf of the United States and Vietnam, supposedly ending the Vietnam War.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_04.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1976, Margaret Thatcher, then the chairwoman of Britain&#39;s Conservative Party, rode a tank with British soldiers stationed in West Germany.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_05.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1986, violence between South Africa&#39;s rival Zulu and Pondo ethnic groups was causing thousands to flee the region around Durban. This woman took her bed with her.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_06.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (GEDEON MENDEL/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1990, David Bowie had just announced his new world tour, and was rocking out in London.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_07.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (JOHNNY EGGITT/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1991, at the height of the Gulf War, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell was briefing the Pentagon on Operation Desert Storm, which had started one week earlier.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_08.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1995, Japan was still reeling from the Kobe earthquake six days earlier. This woman, who had lost her home, was making a sign with the address of where she was staying so that loved ones could contact her.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_09.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Toru YAMANAK/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1995, campaigners against domestic abuse were gathering outside the courtroom in Los Angeles where O.J. Simpson was due to go on trial, accused of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman. &nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_10.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1996,&nbsp;more than 1,000 Korean and Filipino couples &mdash; followers of controversial South Korean religious leader Sun Myung Moon &mdash; were getting married en masse in Manila.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_11.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (ST/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 1998, Boris Yeltsin was still the president of Russia, and his wife Naina was still doing his tie for him. &nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_12.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (ITAR-TASS POOL/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2001, US President George W. Bush was letting his dogs Barney and Spot play ball on the White House lawn.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-january/last_import_-_13.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (PAUL MORSE/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2002, this is how Ground Zero looked, four months after the Sept. 11 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center&#39;s twin towers in New York.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_14.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2003, US tennis star Serena Williams was celebrating beating Kim Clijsters of Belgium in the semi-final of the Australian Open. She would go on to win the final against her sister, Venus.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_15.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Adam Pretty/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2009, the UK officially entered recession for the first time in more than a decade. This is how Liverpool looked that day.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_16.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Christopher Furlong/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2012, Egypt held its first parliamentary session since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak, nearly a year earlier. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies held most of the seats.</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_17.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Asmma Waguih/Getty Images)</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <h2> ... 2013, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her long-awaited testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.&nbsp;</h2> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/last_import_-_18.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;"> (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> history Want to Know Offbeat Thu, 23 Jan 2014 06:17:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6050231 at http://www.globalpost.com This is what happens when you hold The X Factor in a prison http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/140121/what-happens-when-you-hold-the-x-factor-prison <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> ‘Their CD will be out before they are.’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>PARIS, France &mdash; Rap and prison go together like &hellip; well, like playas and playa haters.</p> <p>But if most of the US rappers who&rsquo;ve penned albums in the pen have treated it as a temporary inconvenience, for one group debuting this week in France, without the bars, there&rsquo;d be no beats.</p> <p>They are <a href="http://shtaracademy.com/" target="_blank">Shtar Academy</a> &mdash; a play on the name of the French American Idol, called Star Academy, and &ldquo;chtar,&rdquo; a slang word for jail &mdash; and they were formed, as their alias suggests, in a talent contest. A talent contest in a prison.</p> <p>Thankfully, Simon Cowell had nothing to do with it. Shtar Ac, as the group&rsquo;s known, was the brainchild of <a href="http://www.franceinfo.fr/societe/itineraires/mouloud-mansouri-un-souffle-de-liberte-en-prison-929647-2013-03-24" target="_blank">Mouloud Mansouri</a>, an ex-con turned DJ who now organizes writing groups and concerts in penitentiaries across France &mdash; a country with one of the fastest-growing prison populations and highest rates of prisoner suicides in Europe.</p> <p>In 2012, Mansouri began auditioning inmates at a detention center near Aix-en-Provence, in the south of France. Three made the final cut: Malik, aged 21 and serving three years for burglary and extortion; Mirak, 36, sentenced to four years for selling drugs; and Badri, 21 and with a seven-year sentence for burglary and organized robbery.</p> <p>With the mentoring of some of the top names in French rap, the three men have just released their <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/fr/album/shtar-academy/id779317500" target="_blank">debut album</a>. Self-titled, it includes songs such as &quot;Yo Jailbirds&quot; and &quot;The Penitentiary Doors&quot; (sample lyric: &ldquo;Lots of people take inspiration from our story/Because theirs is just a con/You want to know what prison smells like/Listen to Shtar Ac&rsquo;s album&rdquo;). Said album came out on Monday and by Tuesday afternoon had reached number five on <a href="http://www.apple.com/euro/itunes/charts/top10albums.html" target="_blank">France&rsquo;s iTunes chart</a>.</p> <p>Amid the rounds of newspaper interviews and TV appearances, there&rsquo;s one notable absence: Badri, who remains locked up. The group hopes he&rsquo;ll be given special dispensation to take part in at least some of the concerts &mdash; in prisons, naturally &mdash; they have planned.</p> <p>For him, if not the others, it&rsquo;s just like their website prophesied: &ldquo;Their CD will be out before they are.&rdquo;</p> <p>Check out two of their videos below; more <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/shtaracademy?feature=watch" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hdTA9qPXkqw" width="640"></iframe></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/A4e_kiLvpt4" width="640"></iframe></p> Johnny Cash it ain't Entertainment France Strange But True Offbeat Wed, 22 Jan 2014 07:18:18 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6048990 at http://www.globalpost.com Mannequins all over the world are starting to look more like us http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/140116/mannequins-pubic-hair-surprisingly-realistic <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mannequins are getting pubic hair and other surprisingly realistic touches. That's a good thing, right? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you google &quot;merkin&quot; regularly (and really, who doesn&#39;t), you may have seen <em>Gothamist</em>&rsquo;s <a href="http://gothamist.com/2014/01/16/mannequin_bush_explainer.php">piece</a>&nbsp;about American Apparel&#39;s NYC store. If not, let me summarize: the dummies have pubic hair. (BTW, a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/wanderlust/wanderlust-daily-trifle-merkin">merkin</a> is a flirty hairpiece that covers the bathing suit area and it was once worn by prostitutes. Not to be confused with that other Shakespearean adornment, the <a href="http://www.pbs.org/shakespeare/glossary/glossary254.html">codpiece</a>.)</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>American Apparel pubic hair mannequins shock New Yorkers <a href="http://t.co/52Yd42rLi0">http://t.co/52Yd42rLi0</a> (Pic: Brendan McDermid/Reuters) <a href="http://t.co/TmvQIBB9NB">pic.twitter.com/TmvQIBB9NB</a></p> <p> &mdash; The Telegraph (@Telegraph) <a href="https://twitter.com/Telegraph/statuses/424181692673175552">January 17, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>It&#39;s a bit fuzzy why the LA-based clothing company went full lap wig. It could be the latest manifestation of pop culture&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/may/29/retromania-simon-reynolds-review">retromania</a>.&nbsp;It could be an&nbsp;ironic statement about society&#39;s obsession with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/the-new-full-frontal-has-pubic-hair-in-america-gone-extinct/249798/?single_page=true">bikini line maintenance</a> &mdash; although probably not, given American Apparel&#39;s own history of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/american-apparel-sexy-ads-asa-child-models_n_2243360.html?utm_hp_ref=american-apparel">hipster sexism</a>. More likely they just wanted to push some buttons and watch Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=american%20apparel&amp;src=typd">explode</a>.</p> <p>These days we&#39;re swimming in fancy beards and mustaches and yet it&#39;s unlikey that merkins will catch on. But we can actually learn a lot about a culture&#39;s values based on how mannequins reflect or distort the human body. Let&rsquo;s take a look at some of the recent stories from around the world:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. Venezuela</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/mannequin_1_venezuela.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(YouTube)</span></p> <p>All mannequins are fake, but the ones in Venezuela take it to a new level: huge breasts, cartoonishly small waists and butts that won&rsquo;t quit. The super-sexualized look is a recent development. As a manufacturer&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/world/americas/mannequins-give-shape-to-venezuelan-fantasy.html">told</a>&nbsp;the <em>New York Times</em>,&nbsp;&ldquo;The transformation has been both of the woman and of the mannequin.&rdquo; As it turns out, the older mannequins were based on European and American prototypes that didn&rsquo;t necessarily conform to real bodies. But the newer models confront women with an equally unnatural physical ideal.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s a real concern that Venezuela&#39;s mannequins are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2014/jan/16/shop-window-mannequins-venezuela-pictures">catering to and fueling</a>&nbsp;a national obsession with implants and other forms of plastic surgery. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/07/world/americas/mannequins-give-shape-to-venezuelan-fantasy.html">Some</a>&nbsp;trace the development to Venezuela&rsquo;s success in beauty pageants &mdash; and a culture of consumerism and instant gratification fueled by oil money.</p> <p><strong>More from GlobalPost: <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/video/3737490/inside-venezuelas-beauty-factory">See what it&#39;s like inside one of Venezuela&#39;s beauty pageant factories</a></strong></p> <p>So what does Osmel Sousa, the influential director of the Miss Venezuela pageant, have to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHcwoCy_ZHA">say</a>?</p> <p class="rteindent1"><em>&ldquo;I say that inner beauty doesn&#39;t exist. That&rsquo;s something that unpretty women invented to justify themselves.... In the rules of the international contest, the girls don&#39;t have to be completely natural. They have to be beautiful. But where that beauty comes from doesn&#39;t matter.&rdquo;</em><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. Germany and Switzerland</strong></p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/E8umFV69fNg" width="560"></iframe></p> <p>About <a href="http://www.hrw.org/topic/disability-rights">one billion people</a>&nbsp;around the world have a disability, whether it&#39;s physical, intellectual or sensory in nature. They rarely get to experience a world designed to embrace their needs, let alone their appearance. As <em>Jezebel </em><a href="http://jezebel.com/people-with-disabilities-react-to-mannequins-created-in-1475812519">notes</a>, &ldquo;fashion mannequins &mdash; the type you see constantly in clothing store windows &mdash; are generally what we think of as flawless specimens of the human form.&rdquo;</p> <p>So some people set out to change this. A German ad agency, Jung Von Matt/Limmat, and a Swiss disability rights organization, Pro Infirmis, wanted to remind people that beauty is not about physical perfection. They developed a <a href="http://www.adrants.com/2013/12/disabled-mannequins-ponder-the-notion.php">series of mannequins</a> modeled off the bodies of real people with impairments, including curved spines, shortened limbs and other mobility challenges. The results were displayed in a storefront in Zurich, Switzerland. See the stunning process above.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. United Kingdom</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/mannequin_2_uk_0.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(YouTube)</span></p> <p>Last December Debenhams, one of Britain&rsquo;s largest department stores, began to display &ldquo;plus-sized&rdquo; mannequins at its <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8bxYT98-68">flagship location</a> in London. How plus, you ask? The models are a UK 16 instead of 10 (in America, this would be a size 14 instead of 8). The size of the mannequins may be well above the retail industry&rsquo;s average but it&rsquo;s fairly standard for human beings: <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2342207/Is-size-16-normal--danger-These-women-Britains-common-dress-size-youd-expect-healthy-battery-medical-tests-came-surprising-worrying-results.html">45 percent</a> of British women wear a 16 or above.</p> <p>While <a href="http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/pressroom/pressrelease/2014-01-15/dutch-beat-french-and-swiss-top-oxfams-new-global-food-table">rising obesity rates</a> in the UK (and elsewhere) are a serious health concern, so too is the fat-shaming implicit in unrealistically thin models. The&nbsp;<em><a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/18/business/la-fi-mo-swedish-mannequins-20130318">LA Times</a></em>&nbsp;has compiled some particularly bad examples that you can see&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/11/gap-anorexic-mannequins_n_924771.html">here</a>&nbsp;(The Gap), <a href="http://stephaniemarcus.com/post/822763947/im-feeling-fairly-body-conscious-these-days">here</a> (Club Monaco) and <a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/jc-penney-reconsider-the-size-and-proportion-of-your-mannequins">here</a> (JC Penney). Larger mannequins may be healthier for women&#39;s body images. They also happen to make good business sense: British women are <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/business/store-uses-plus-size-mannequins-reflect-true-shape-shoppers-8C11542388">3 times more likely</a> to buy clothes if a mannequin is their size.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Sweden</strong></p> <p><img src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2014-January/mannequin_3_sweden.jpg" width="670" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">YouTube</span></p> <p>Swedish store &Aring;hlens was one of the first to display curvy mannequins, which it did last March. Photos quickly went <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/18/business/la-fi-mo-swedish-mannequins-20130318">viral</a>, with thousands of women around the world <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=510240455685022&amp;set=a.204542062921531.45848.184599864915751&amp;type=1&amp;theater">celebrating</a> the more natural proportions. As Delia Lloyd <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/03/16/what-a-swedish-mannequin-hoax-reveals-about-body-image/">commented</a> in the Washington Post, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an encouraging sign of the times that we&rsquo;re beginning to push back against the anorexic ideal that is so deeply embedded in our commercial and cultural aesthetic.&rdquo;</p> <p>The representativeness of mannequins and models is increasingly impacting the fashion industry, for <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2265874/Shockingly-male-model-catwalk-YSL-reignites-manorexia-debate.html">men</a> as well as women. In <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/18/business/la-fi-mo-swedish-mannequins-20130318">2007</a>, Spain&rsquo;s Ministry of Health wrangled a promise out of Spanish companies to feature mannequins at least size 6 or larger. And <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/International/israeli-law-bans-skinny-bmi-challenged-models/story?id=18116291">last year</a>&nbsp;in Israel, legislation took effect requiring fashion models to have a <a href="http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/bmi_text/en/">BMI</a> of at least 18.5. For a woman who&#39;s 5&#39;9&quot;, that&#39;s 125 lbs. (or 175 cm and 59 kg).</p> Bodies Home Strange But True Culture & Lifestyle Offbeat United Kingdom United States Venezuela Sun, 19 Jan 2014 14:20:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6045319 at http://www.globalpost.com #ThrowbackThursday: How the world looked on this day in history http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/offbeat/140115/throwbackthursday-how-the-world-looked-january-16 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A day in the life of Earth, January 16 edition. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><strong>On this day in&hellip;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1947, the presidential guards outside the Elysee palace in Paris wore this.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/141298186.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1960, Salvador Dali was unveiling his work &lsquo;The Discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus&rsquo; in New York.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/145309648.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1970, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi formally took control of Libya, four months after leading a bloodless coup against its former king.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/51400851.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1979, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi left Iran, never to return. His departure, after months of protests, set the stage for Iran&#39;s transition into the Islamic republic it is today.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/99857003.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1983, a pig named Botham (after English cricketer Ian Botham) found its way onto the pitch in Brisbane, where Australia was playing England in the Ashes cricket series.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/51778400.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Adrian Murrell/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1993 in El Salvador, thousands of people were celebrating the signing of a peace treaty that ended 12 years of civil war.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/52017671.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Francisco Campos/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1993, Bill Clinton was packing up his closets and leaving Little Rock, Arkansas, for Washington DC, where he would be inaugurated four days later as president of the United States.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/52029730.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(J. David Ake/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 1995, Sarajevo was under snow and under siege in the depths of the Bosnian War.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/51969426.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Fehim Demir/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&hellip; 2002, Argentina&rsquo;s government had just defaulted on most of its public debt and abandoned the fixed exchange rate between the peso and the US dollar.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/691643.jpg" title="" /></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Quique Kierszenbaum/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 2003, one of the crew on the US Space Shuttle Columbia was about to take this photograph of Earth &mdash; just days before the shuttle broke apart on reentry, killing all seven people onboard.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/2392216.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(NASA/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 2010, Port-au-Prince was in ruins, three days after the massive earthquake that destroyed entire swathes of Haiti&rsquo;s capital.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/95849960.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 2013, in foggy London, a helicopter crashed into a crane on top of a tower and killed two Brits.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/159565060_0.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p> <strong>&hellip; 2013, President Barack Obama announced proposed changes to reduce gun violence in the United States, watched by children who&rsquo;d written to the White House after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/159574033.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)</span></p> The way back machine Want to Know Offbeat Thu, 16 Jan 2014 05:59:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6043902 at http://www.globalpost.com Weird stuff world leaders give each other http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/politics/diplomacy/140114/weird-stuff-world-leaders-give-each-other <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> They shouldn't have. No really, they shouldn't have. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jessica Phelan </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>You say potato, John Kerry says let&rsquo;s give it to Russia.</p> <p>The US Secretary of State proudly presented his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with <a href="https://twitter.com/mfa_russia/status/422644051410558976" target="_blank">two Idaho potatoes</a> at a meeting in Paris on Monday. It was the gift that kept on giving, a) because Kerry&rsquo;s spokeswoman got <a href="https://twitter.com/mfa_russia/statuses/422681382314201088 " target="_blank">a rather nice pink hat</a> out of it, and b) because we got multiple photos of two of the world&rsquo;s most powerful diplomats clutching oversized tubers.</p> <p>A pair of humble spuds not your idea of a gift fit for a statesman, perhaps? Well, compared to the bizarre junk world leaders usually give each other, Lavrov&rsquo;s potatoes are probably the most useful gift he&rsquo;ll get all year.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a run-down of the strangest stuff clogging up ministerial desk drawers the world over.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1. The US to Russia: A big red button</strong></p> <p><img alt="FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/85276480.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)</span><em> </em></p> <p>It wasn&rsquo;t the first time Sergei Lavrov had to do his best to look grateful for a screwball gift from the United States. In 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton handed him <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7930047.stm" target="_blank">a cartoonish red button</a> with the word &ldquo;reset&rdquo; on it, which was intended to symbolize Washington&rsquo;s will to draw the line under its past tensions with Moscow. The only trouble was, whoever made the button didn&rsquo;t know their Russian: they mistranslated &ldquo;reset,&rdquo; as Lavrov coolly pointed out in front of a crowd of reporters, instead choosing the Russian word for &ldquo;overloaded.&rdquo; We suspect the gift went straight in the Kremlin&rsquo;s trash.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2. Colombia to the US: A giant coffee bean</strong></p> <p><img alt="Alex Wong/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/111848952.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(Alex Wong/Getty Images)</span><em> </em></p> <p>The <a href="http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/213839.pdf" target="_blank">official register of gifts</a> given President Barack Obama makes for compelling reading. There&rsquo;s the signed red-white-and-blue basketball from Chinese President Xi Jinping, the beaded Coca-Cola bottle from Mexico&rsquo;s President Felipe Calderon, the cross-stitch tapestry of Barack and Michelle from Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, and of course the book about President Abdullah Gul of Turkey from, er, President Abdullah Gul of Turkey.</p> <p>But my personal favorite has to be the &ldquo;silver figure representing oversized coffee bean&rdquo; given by Colombia&rsquo;s president, Juan Manuel Santos, in April 2013. It now languishes somewhere in the National Archives and Records Administration.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3. Bulgaria to Russia: Buffy the dog</strong></p> <p><img alt="NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/106971306.jpg" title="" /><br /> <span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Russian President Vladimir Putin stands out as the recipient of some legitimately excellent state gifts. The most excellent by far is <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8135952/Vladimir-Putin-given-a-puppy-during-trip-to-Bulgaria.html" target="_blank">Buffy, a Bulgarian shepherd</a> given to Putin in 2010 as an impossibly adorable 10-week-old puppy by the then prime minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borisov.</p> <p>Lucky Putin has also received <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koni_(dog)" target="_blank">a black labrador</a> (from a Russian army general), <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/japan-russia-vladimir-putin-akita-inu-puppy" target="_blank">an Akita</a> (from Japanese officials), and <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27113957/ns/world_news-europe/t/grrr-russias-putin-gets-tiger-cub-birthday/#.UtUtzmRDuwE" target="_blank">a tiger</a> (he wouldn&rsquo;t say who it was from, but he gave it away to a wildlife reserve).&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4. Iraq to the US: Horrifying animal abuse video</strong></p> <p><img alt="PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/51674675_0.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>This infamous gift was revealed by Donald Rumsfeld in his 2011 memoirs. In 1983 he visited Iraq as the United States&#39; special envoy to the Middle East, whereupon Saddam Hussein welcomed him with a present of <a href="http://papers.rumsfeld.com/library/detail/new-video-released-middle-east-envoy" target="_blank">a blurry three-minute video</a> that, Hussein claimed, was proof of the barbarity of his then enemy, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.</p> <p>The <a href="http://papers.rumsfeld.com/about/page/1983-video-from-saddam-hussein" target="_blank">footage</a> &mdash; which we don&rsquo;t recommend watching &mdash; purports to show young Syrian recruits biting the heads off snakes and stabbing puppies to death, all under the approving eye of Assad himself. Gee&hellip; just what no one ever wanted, ever.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5. Mali to France: One unlucky camel</strong></p> <p><img alt="JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/166165802.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Sadly for <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/130409/oops-mali-family-cooks-and-eats-francois-hollandes-gift-camel" target="_blank">the camel offered to Francois Hollande</a> in gratitude for his country&rsquo;s assistance driving out Islamist militants in Mali last spring, the French president decided there was no room for the bad-tempered creature at the Elysee. He left it in the care of a Malian family instead, only to find that they promptly cooked it in a stew.</p> <p>Mali&rsquo;s government, somewhat embarrassed, subsequently gave Hollande &ldquo;<a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130409/mali-give-france-new-camel-after-first-one-eaten" target="_blank">a bigger and better-looking</a>&rdquo; camel.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>6. Iran to Russia: Replica US drone</strong></p> <p><img alt="" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/137310440.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>When Iran presented the head of Russia&rsquo;s air force with <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/21/iran-russia-us-scaneagle-spy-drone-production-capture" target="_blank">a model of an American surveillance drone</a> in October 2013, it was really giving it &mdash; or, more accurately, sticking it &mdash; to the United States. The Iranian military insisted it was proof that it had indeed shot down the unmanned aircraft one year earlier, a claim that the US disputed.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not clear what Russia did with its fake drone, but <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/iran-mocks-us-toy-drone-174851478--abc-news.html" target="_blank">a miniature plastic version</a> made its way into Iranian toy stores for the equivalent of $4 a pop. The makers even offered to send one to the White House, though it&rsquo;s not clear whether it ever made it into Obama&rsquo;s toy box.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>7. Zimbabwe to North Korea: &ldquo;Noah&rsquo;s ark&rdquo;</strong></p> <p><img alt="JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/154586002.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>What does one loony dictator do when he fancies building a personal zoo? Why, he simply checks his Rolodex of loony dictator friends and calls the one in the most exotic location.</p> <p>That, or something like it, is how Robert Mugabe came to agree, in 2010, to send <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/zimbabwe/100616/mugabe-sends-noahs-ark-north-korea" target="_blank">pairs of some of Zimbabwe&rsquo;s rarest animals</a> to Kim Jong Il in North Korea. Zimbabwean authorities got as far as packing up the first of the wild elephants, giraffes, rhinos, zebras and monkeys they planned to send to their probable doom before <a href="https://awionline.org/awi-quarterly/2010-summer/zimbabwe-cancels-noah%E2%80%99s-ark-export" target="_blank">international outcry</a> from conservationists forced Mugabe to call off the deal.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>8. Soviet Union to North Korea: Bulletproof limousine </strong></p> <p><img alt="PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/52627174.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Zimbabwe&rsquo;s gift may not have made it to the garrison kingdom, but literally hundreds of others did. So many, in fact, that North Korea built <a href="http://www.gluckman.com/NKGift.html" target="_blank">a whole museum</a> filled with nothing but the booty sent to Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and most recently, Kim Jong Un. Among the highlights at the &ldquo;International Friendship Exhibition Hall&rdquo; in Pyongyang is <a href="http://www.theage.com.au/news/travel/north-korean-shows-off-leaders-gifts/2006/12/21/1166290663252.html" target="_blank">an armoured limo</a> gifted to Kim Il Sung by none other than Soviet leader Josef Stalin, who presumably knew just what to get for the authoritarian ruler who has everything.</p> <p>Other items on display include a sword and several chessboards sent by late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, an entire train car from China&rsquo;s Mao Zedong, a crocodile-skin briefcase from Cuba&rsquo;s Fidel Castro and, in pride of place, <a href="http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/06/travel/north-korea-kim-gifts/" target="_blank">a basketball</a> autographed by Kim Jong Il&rsquo;s favorite NBA star Michael Jordan and offered by the United States in 2000 as a gesture of goodwill.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>9. Fiji to the UK: Whale teeth</strong></p> <p><img alt="KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images" class="imagecache-gp3_full_article" src="http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_full_article/57393490.jpg" title="" /><span style="color: rgb(59, 58, 38); font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10px;">(KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)</span></p> <p>Why people feel the need to keep giving stuff to one of the richest women alive is beyond us, but it seems Queen Elizabeth II can&rsquo;t step out of Buckingham Palace without being showered with <a href="http://www.royal.gov.uk/the%20royal%20collection%20and%20other%20collections/giftstothequeen/overview.aspx" target="_blank">ill-advised gifts</a>. Every time she visits Fiji, for example, the South Pacific island&rsquo;s chiefs present her with <a href="http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/microsites/queenandcommonwealth/MicroObject.asp?row=2&amp;themeid=944&amp;item=2" target="_blank">a <em>tabua</em></a>, or sperm whale&rsquo;s tooth, traditionally their society&rsquo;s highest prized treasure. The Queen has at least three of them &mdash; not to mention the shark&rsquo;s tooth sword she picked up in nearby Kiribati.</p> <p>Other presents we assume have gone untouched by royal hand include a pair of cowboy boots offered by the United States in 1991; more recently, an iPod stocked with show tunes courtesy of President Obama; 500 cases of canned pineapple sent as a wedding gift by Australia; enough exotic animals to fill a small menagerie; and <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatpicturegalleries/9656410/Weird-and-wonderful-gifts-given-to-the-Queen.html?frame=2389241" target="_blank">the world&rsquo;s ugliest wine cooler</a> (thanks, France!).</p> <p>But even her loot can&rsquo;t compare to the trophies offered her husband, Prince Philip, by the jungle village of Tanna on the island of Vanuatu, whose inhabitants <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6734469.stm " target="_blank">worship him as a god</a> (really). In their time they&rsquo;ve offered him pigs, a club to kill pigs, and even the local costume &mdash; a sort of G-string made from long grass, which, regrettably, the prince was unable to model in person.&nbsp;</p> <!--pagebreak--><!--pagebreak--> Potato Diplomacy World Leaders Diplomacy Strange But True Politics Offbeat Tue, 14 Jan 2014 16:09:00 +0000 Jessica Phelan 6042758 at http://www.globalpost.com Global porn preferences? Surprisingly patriotic, says PornHub's data blog http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/culture-lifestyle/140109/pornhub-shows-us-what-the-worlds-porn-use-look-graphs <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> See the world's deleted browser history, one chart at a time. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Sarah Dougherty </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">Data&#39;s getting even sexier these days, thanks to new&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/brand-connect/wp/2013/12/11/big-data-solves-healthcare-obstacles/" style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">tools and applications</a><span style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">, new </span><a href="http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/dominic-barton-explains-why-the-global-impact-of-the-data-revolution-will-surpass-that-of-the-industrial-revolution" style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">analytical capacities</a><span style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;"> and unfortunately, new ways to breach individual privacy, as the&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140107/obama-meet-lawmakers-spy-chiefs-nsa-surveillance-0" style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">NSA spying scandal </a><span style="font-size: 12.7272720336914px;">shows.&nbsp;But who&#39;s looking at the data of sex itself?&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The answer is <a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights">Insights</a>, the data blog run by PornHub &mdash; a.k.a., the world&#39;s largest porn site. Its dedicated team of statisticians has compiled information from over 14.7 billion (!) site visits in 2013 to share the heartwarming story of porn usage around the world.</p> <p>You can check out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-2013-year-in-review/">disaggregated data</a>&nbsp;&mdash; such as top search terms by country, top visits by month (January), top visits by weekday (Monday) and average time spent on site (9 minutes). You can also peruse trends &mdash; such as spikes after <a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-traffic-trends-world-events/">major world events</a>, how <a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/high-vs-low-income-cities/">income levels</a>&nbsp;affect viewing habits, what Americans do during <a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/government-shuts-down-pornhub-views-go-up/">government shut downs</a>&nbsp;and which <a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights/pornhub-latin-america/">Latin American country</a>&nbsp;is winning at porn.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some key findings:</p> <p>- &quot;British&quot; is among the top 3 search terms in England <em>and</em> Scotland <em>and</em> Northern Ireland <em>and</em> Wales. The Queen would be very proud.</p> <p>- &quot;German&quot; is the top search term in Austria. It&#39;s also the top search term in Germany! Meanwhile &quot;Japan&quot; is popular throughout Asia, according to <a href="http://qz.com/164834/popular-porn-search-terms-show-that-east-asia-has-a-serious-japan-fetish/">data analysis</a> of a similar website, PornMD. What&#39;s really fascinating is how often countries actually do search for their own nationality. But this may be less about patriotism than the fact that the United States still&nbsp;<a href="http://knowmore.washingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/the-us-germany-and-britain-still-dominate-the-internet/">dominates the internet</a>, including online porn.</p> <p>- Brazil&#39;s traffic deflated 27 percent during the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, held in Brazil.</p> <p>- Among gamers, Sony Playstation drives a larger share of global traffic to PornHub than Nintendo Wii. The blog notes, &quot;While theorist <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan">Marshall McLuhan</a> coined the phrase &#39;the medium is the message,&#39; it would seem that, in the case of consoles, &#39;the medium is the fetish.&#39;&quot;</p> <p>- Economic crisis is a libido killer, even for free porn. Greece&#39;s porn-surfing has decreased 7 percent in recent years.</p> <p>- And finally, Kentucky is&nbsp;<em>really </em>into Japanese <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hentai">hentai</a>. Who knew?</p> <p>For more &quot;research,&quot; visit PornHub&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pornhub.com/insights">blog itself</a>. [Note: there are no nude photos or racy&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_plot">box-and-whisker plots</a>&nbsp;but&nbsp;there are some adult topics. Plus, your browser may block the site.]</p> <p>For work-friendly reading, check out The Guardian&#39;s <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jan/07/pornhub-porn-trends-search-terms-time">related aticle</a> about porn trends in the UK.</p> Regions The only industry that matters Americas Entertainment Strange But True Brazil Europe Germany Culture & Lifestyle Ireland Italy Offbeat Japan Spain United Kingdom United States Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:26:00 +0000 Sarah Dougherty 6039080 at http://www.globalpost.com Things rich people do: vacation in 'shanty towns' and pretend to be poor http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/140108/things-rich-people-do-shanty-towns-vacation <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> It's so hard to believe this is real. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>They&#39;re gorgeous little shanty towns. The corrugated metal is just askew and the scrap wood may even give you splinters.</p> <p>But don&#39;t worry! There&#39;s WiFi!</p> <p>&quot;This is the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access!&quot;</p> <p>That&#39;s on official press materials for the spectacularly offensive <a href="http://www.emoya.co.za/p23/accommodation/shanty-town-for-a-unique-accommodation-experience-in-bloemfontein.html" target="_blank">&quot;Shanty Town,&quot;</a>&nbsp;a fake slum near Bloemfontein, South Africa, where rich tourists go to pretend they&#39;re poor.</p> <p>Emoya Luxury Hotel and Spa, a five-star resort, has stooped to this new low, charging rich tourists around $82, or about half the average South African&#39;s monthly salary for a night&#39;s stay.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/R5vhgHbr0e0" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>Visiting real slums has become a <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/study-abroad/100911/south-africa-poverty-tours-tourism-townships" target="_blank">popular, if controversial, form of tourism</a>.</p> <p>But why risk it when Emoya has thought of everything. Battery-operated radio. Outdoor toilets. Even a big old drum to cook your dinner in &mdash; everything that is &quot;normally part of this lifestyle&quot; &mdash; and all &quot;within the safe environment of a private game reserve.&quot;</p> <p>According to the resort&#39;s official&nbsp;<a href="http://www.emoya.co.za/p23/accommodation/shanty-town-for-a-unique-accommodation-experience-in-bloemfontein.html" target="_blank">website</a>:</p> <blockquote><p>They&#39;re fake shanty towns. Now you can experience staying in a Shanty within the safe environment of a private game reserve. This is the only Shanty Town in the world equipped with under-floor heating and wireless internet access!</p> </blockquote> <p>Under-floor heating.</p> <p><a href="http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g312564-d2140792-r123152340-Emoya_Hotel_Spa-Bloemfontein_Free_State.html" target="_blank">Tripadvisor.com reviews</a> were mixed.</p> <p>One extolled the virtues of outdoor BBQ and finished with &quot;It was unusual and fantastic and we would stay again.&quot;</p> <p>Another read, &ldquo;Paid to sleep in a &#39;shack,&#39; but sleeping was impossible!!!&rdquo;</p> <p>This is for real.</p> Bad Travel Travel/Tourism Strange But True Global Economy Offbeat South Africa Wed, 08 Jan 2014 16:13:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6037674 at http://www.globalpost.com In Zambia, don't call the president a potato (and other handy insults from Africa) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/140107/zambia-dont-call-the-president-potato-and-other-helpful-insults- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> GlobalPost's senior correspondent in Africa decodes "potato" and other headline-grabbing insults from around southern Africa. Use with caution. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Erin Conway-Smith </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>JOHANNESBURG, South Africa &ndash; In Zambia, call the president a &ldquo;potato&rdquo; at your peril.</p> <p>Yes, a potato.</p> <p>This seemingly innocuous word, used to describe Zambian President Michael Sata during a radio show Monday, got an opposition leader thrown in jail and charged with defamation. If convicted, Frank Bwalya faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.</p> <p>Points for calling your leader a spud.</p> <p>But this is hardly the most colorful insult one finds in the region.</p> <p>As a public service, GlobalPost here decodes &quot;potato&quot; and other headline-grabbing insults from around southern Africa.</p> <p>Use with caution.</p> <p><strong>&quot;Potato&quot;</strong></p> <p>In comparing Zambia&#39;s president to a potato, the actual phrase used was &ldquo;chumbu mushololwa,&rdquo; a Bemba term that literally means a sweet potato that breaks easily when bent. It refers to someone who is stubborn and inflexible, and who won&rsquo;t listen to the opinions of others.</p> <p>Bwalya&rsquo;s supporters argue that this is not an insult, but rather &ldquo;a perfectly legitimate way for one politician to describe a fellow politician, if indeed that person is stubborn by nature.&rdquo;</p> <p>Either way, it seems an apt description for President Sata, who is known for his sharp tongue and increasingly autocratic behavior since being elected president in 2011.</p> <p><strong>&quot;Limping donkey&quot;</strong></p> <p>In Zimbabwe, dozens of cases have been filed in recent years under a law that makes it a crime to insult the president &mdash; and which is often used to harass and intimidate critics of President Robert Mugabe, who turns 90 next month.</p> <p>Opposition activist Solomon Madzore was arrested last May after allegedly calling Mugabe a &ldquo;limping donkey.&rdquo;</p> <p>In the Shona language, the phrase &ldquo;dhongi rinokamina&rdquo; refers to a lame draft animal that is no longer of any use and must be put out to pasture.</p> <p>A Zimbabwe court ruled in November that the &ldquo;insult law&rdquo; is unconstitutional, and said prosecutors should not be overzealous about charging people who make comments about Mugabe &ldquo;in drinking halls and other social places.&rdquo;</p> <p>But reports from Zimbabwe suggest that despite the court ruling, the law is still being used.</p> <p>So maybe hold off on calling Mugabe a &ldquo;limping donkey&rdquo; just yet.</p> <p><strong>&quot;Bushman&quot;</strong></p> <p>This one wasn&rsquo;t intended as an insult. But when a South African tourist spotted a framed portrait of Botswana&#39;s president at a border post and remarked that he &ldquo;looks like a Bushman,&rdquo; she quickly found herself in a world of trouble.</p> <p>The woman was interrogated, kept in jail overnight and forced to pay a fine before being freed.</p> <p>The Bushmen &mdash; also known as the San, or the Khoi &mdash; are the original people of Southern Africa, some of whom still follow a traditional lifestyle as hunter-gatherers.</p> <p>In Botswana they have faced discrimination and persecution by government officials. Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, once described their way of life as &ldquo;an archaic fantasy.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;A South African person thought resembling a Bushman was complimentary, but Botswana officials took it as an insult,&rdquo; the director of Survival International, a group that campaigns for the rights of indigenous people, said after the tourist&#39;s arrest in 2009.</p> <p>&ldquo;You couldn&#39;t have clearer evidence of the racism towards Bushmen in Botswana than this incident.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Tjajarag&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>In South Africa, insults won&rsquo;t get you locked up.</p> <p>President Jacob Zuma has been called a &ldquo;monster,&rdquo; a &ldquo;tyrant&rdquo; and &ldquo;illiterate,&rdquo; among many other things. The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buyelekhaya_Dalindyebo" target="_blank">abaThembu king</a> called him &ldquo;a liar who doesn&rsquo;t use condoms.&rdquo;</p> <p>Zuma too has been known to take mean swipes, for example calling the opposition party&#39;s parliamentary leader &ldquo;ntombazana,&rdquo; the Zulu word for a &ldquo;young girl.&quot;</p> <p>But one of South Africa&#39;s more colorful taunts made headlines a few years ago thanks to Julius Malema, the loudmouthed former African National Congress youth leader, who called a BBC journalist &quot;tjatjarag.&quot;</p> <p>Not the easiest of words, but a useful one, meaning someone who is annoying, in a hyper and overly excitable sort of way.</p> <p>The pronunciation goes something like this: &quot;cha-cha-raa-ch.&quot;</p> <p>Tjatjarag. Keep that one in your back pocket.</p> Africa World Leaders Want to Know Politics Offbeat South Africa Zimbabwe Tue, 07 Jan 2014 18:11:00 +0000 Erin Conway-Smith 6037213 at http://www.globalpost.com Superpower of the Year http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/131227/superpower-the-year-invisibility-cloak-harry-potter <div class="field field-type-text field-field-subhead"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Scientists have never been so close to making an 'invisibility cloak.' Wait. WHAT?!?!?! </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-byline1"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Emily Lodish </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>And the <em>GlobalPost 2013 End of the Year Award for Best Superpower&nbsp;</em>goes to: being invisible.</p> <p>You gotta see it to believe it. Except wait.</p> <p>This year scientists came one step closer to creating a true <a href="http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/scientists-create-harry-potter-invisibility-cloak">&quot;Cloak of Invisibility,&quot;</a>&nbsp;a la Harry Potter.&nbsp;They really did.</p> <p>A University of Texas research team developed an ultra-thin material called a <a href="http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/15/3/033037/article" target="_blank">&quot;metascreen,&quot;</a> which can hide 3D objects in microwave light.</p> <p>So, it&#39;s tiny and it only works in a certain kind of light, but we&#39;d rather focus on the fact that it renders things invisible from all vantage points provided those first conditions are met.</p> <p>All of this means that it is no longer so crazy to think about a human-sized cape that could one day make a person completely invisible in broad daylight.</p> <p>The metascreen is made up of strips of copper tape attached to a flexible polycarbonate film, and it works by scattering and canceling out incoming waves.</p> <p>The researchers were able to use the cloak to shield an 18 centimeter-tall cylindrical rod from microwaves.</p> <p>Yo, what up.</p> Best of 2013 Entertainment Strange But True Offbeat Science Technology United States Tue, 31 Dec 2013 16:17:00 +0000 Emily Lodish 6030443 at http://www.globalpost.com