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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dutch 'Iceman' in record attempt

Dutch daredevil Wim Hof has dunked himself in ice water to raise awareness of climate change ahead of his plans to break a world record.

The 51-year-old "Iceman" submerged himself in a tank of ice water for around five minutes wearing only a swimsuit in Hong Kong, reports the Telegraph.

He performed the stunt for one hour and 44 minutes in January and is bidding to beat that time on New Year's Eve and set a Guinness World Record.

Hof told reporters: "When I am performing ice immersion, actually I do not think very much.

"It is all before. Before coming to Hong Kong do this challenge. I like a psychic preparation, and it is not of one day. It's of many days. It's coming. It's going. It's coming and going. It's like preparing yourself inside for what is to come."

Dog gets head stuck in wall

A German shepherd dog has been rescued after getting his head stuck in a wall.

The eight-month-old dog, called Rebel, somehow managed to squeeze his head through the 18-inch block wall in Desert Hot Springs, California, reports the Telegraph.

A friend of the owner heard the dog whimper and bark and called the County Animal Services, before officers gently pulled its head back through the wall after 30 minutes.

Rebel made a full escape from the wall and recovery from the ordeal.

Indian farmer becomes dad at 94

A 94-year-old farmer in India claims he has become the world's oldest father.

Ramajit Raghav of Kharkhoda in Haryana, northern India, says his wife Shakuntala, who is in her 50s, gave birth to a son called Karamjit, reports the Daily Mail.

The couple said their child's birth was "god's gift" and Mr Raghav, who believes the secret to eternal youth is half a kilo of butter washed down with three litres of milk every day, did not rule out having more children.

He is confident that he will be around to see his little boy grow up, adding: "I will die only if a black snake bites me and that is very unlikely."

Doctors said that the child was delivered normally a month ago and is in good health.

If the story is true, Mr Raghav will beat current record holder Nanu Ram Jogi, an Indian farmer who fathered his 21st child at the age of 90 in 2007.

UK's most fertile town revealed

A study has revealed that Weybridge in Surrey is Britain's most fertile town.

Women living there take an average of just three months to conceive, compared to the UK average of six months, and are more likely to fall pregnant than in any other area, reports The Sun.

The town is part of the posh Elmbridge district, named this week as Britain's best place to live, with official statistics showing its birth rate shot up by 20 per cent between 2002 and 2008.

Parenting website Gurgle.com carried out the study, based on number of pregnancies by population and the average time taken to conceive.

The second most fertile area is Jersey, followed by the small village of Winkleigh, Devon. Women in Brighton fall pregnant the fastest, but they have fewer pregnancies than other top 10 towns. Eight of the 10 most fertile areas are in the South, and all are outside the major cities.

Gurgle.com editor Nifa McLaughlin said, "It seems the less frantic pace of life outside big cities helps couples conceive."

Human Eyes And Martian Craters

The incredible pictures that reveal how the human eye looks like the rugged craters on Mars

These pictures are a sight for sore eyes.

For while they may resemble the dramatic surface of the Red Planet they are actually the eye-catching images of the human iris in all its glorious detail - each one as unique as a fingerprint.

 Each as unique as a fingerprint, the human eye is captured in glorious detail by Suren Manvelyan
 Everyday we see hundreds of eyes but do not even suspect they have such beautiful structure, says Suren Manvelyan

Physics teacher Suren Manvelyan took these ocular portraits using his friends, colleagues and pupils as models. For the first time these intensely detailed shots provide a microscopic look at the human eye structure, providing viewers with a different perspective of its complexity.

The 34-year-old from Yerevan, Armenia, explains: 'It is quite natural when you shoot macro shots of insects and plants, but to try to make a picture of the eye? I did not expect these results. 'I was not aware they are of such complicated appearance. Everyday we see hundreds of eyes but do not even suspect they have such beautiful structure, like surfaces of unknown planets.'
 Out of this world: The complexity of the human eye resembles the cratered surface of Mars
 The microscopic look at the human eye structure provides viewers with a different perspective of its complexity
Mr Manvelyan's 'Your Beautiful Eyes' series of photographs detail the iris, that regulates the amount of light entering the eye, and the pupil, the size of which is adjusted by muscles attached to the iris. His work is literally eye-catching, but Mr Manvelyan, who started experimenting with photography when he was 16 and is now a leading photographer for Yerevan Magazine, is reluctant to share his technique. The process of taking these pictures is my secret,' he says.

Amazing Northern Lights

The amazing Northern Lights show that never ceases to amaze

Dancing across the clear skies, the amazing Auroa Borealis are truly a sight to behold.

Icelandic photographer Kristjan Unnar Kristjansson - also known as 'Kiddi' - has spent the last nine years capturing the kaleidoscopic light show in his native homeland.

'These are some of my very favourite Aurora Borealis photos that I have taken in recent years,' said the 31-year-old from Reykjavik in Iceland.

 Lighting up the stars tonight: The Northern lights at Hvalfjorour fjord in Akranes near Reykjavik change the look of the landscape completely
 The Aurora Boralis over a golf clubhouse, and in the distance, the Second World War lighthouse, in Seltjarnes. Icelandic photographer Kristjan has spent the last nine years capturing the kaleidoscopic light show

'No words can properly describe the experience.  Even though I've seen them now and again throughout my life, I'm still awe-inspired and flabbergasted every time they show up.'  Also known as the northern and southern polar lights, the natural light displays are governed by sun storms and are usually observed at night. 
In northern latitudes the effect is known as the Aurora Borealis, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas.   Using highly sensitive cameras - and a lot of patience - Kristjan has gone to extraordinary lengths to capture the images.  'It is really hard capturing them, as they require bright lenses, highly photosensitive cameras, warm clothes and a whole lot of luck,' he said.  
 Mackerel skies? Deep inside Hvalfjorour fjord in Akranes near Reykjavik, the amazing phenomenon is a sight to behold. Photographers need warm clothes and a lot of luck, says Kristjan

'Words can't describe the experience': Photographer Kiddi Kristjan with the northern lights in the background

'Flashlights are must-haves, especially when there's no moonlight, as the night can be pitch black. 'I don't think anyone has ever captured a good aurora photo in their first try or even their second. 'I try to have people, structures, landscapes in the picture as it gives the auroras authenticity, scale and value, at least in my opinion.'   

Even though Kristjan is lucky enough to sometimes see the auroras from just outside his apartment, he often takes trips out of Reykjavik in order to get the best pictures. 'Getting good photos of them on the other hand can be tricky,' he said. 'So I often take trips outside of Reykjavik with a friend or two, and we take a drive to a remote, light-pollution free location. 'In total, I would estimate that I've driven somewhere around 10, 000-15, 000 kilometres while looking for them.'
 Waiting for the light: At Hvalfjorour fjord, photographers wait patiently while their digital cameras gather light, in Mosfellsaer.

For Kristjan the there is no other natural phenomenon as experiencing the Aurora Borealis first hand. 'I recommend that everybody should try to visit Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Alaska or any other northern-latitude country for this purpose alone. The northern lights are something special,' he said.   

The auroras are with us all year round. In Iceland, the summers never go dark so you wouldn't be able to see them, even though they are there. 'The auroras are governed by sun storms, which have been few and small in recent years. The last peak was in 2001, and the next peak is expected between 2013 - 2015.

'I can tell they're getting stronger by looking at their colour,' says Kristjan. 'Usually they're just green/pinkish, but now we're seeing clear tones of red. I can't wait until my next aurora trip.'  

Amazing Art on Beach Sand

Art refers to a diverse range of human activities and artifacts, and may be used to cover all or any of the arts, including music, literature and other forms. Here is some beautiful art on Beach Sand. Very creative and must take tons of hard work!

The Big Chill

Life In Siberia


The moment a kayaker plunged down a 128-foot waterfall and emerged with just a scratch

This is the jaw-dropping moment a lone kayaker decided to really take the plunge plummeting down a 128-foot waterfall.

Kayak legend Rafa Ortiz was caught on camera tackling the enormous Big Banana Falls, in Mexico, by extreme sports photographer Lucas Gilman.

Lucas and Rafa trekked through five miles of steaming jungle and dangerous drug growing cartels to reach the breath-taking falls with Rafa's only intention being to jump off them.

Rafa Ortiz is the first known kayaker to drop the 128.6-foot tall Big Banana Waterfall on the Rio Alseseca in Veracruz, Mexico

Beside the swirling whirlpool at the bottom of the falls Lucas had the job of capturing the moment Rafa made his dizzying descent.

In just seconds Rafa's tiny kayak can be seen bursting out through the water before the heart-stopping dive to the water.

Miraculously he got through the whole stunt with just a scratch, for which he needed three stitches, and a black eye.
The waterfall is called Big Banana due to the numerous banana plantations in the region.

Ortiz did end up needed three stitches for the scratch on his left eye

Photographer Lucas, from Colorado, Denver, has followed extreme sports all over the world, but he said this was one of the most challenging shoots ever.

Using two cameras, one horizontal and one vertical, he had just one chance to capture the perfect shot.

He said: 'It was not like I could say to Rafa, 'do you mind climbing up 128 foot again and doing that again'.

'It's not just a question of that, it's also obviously extremely dangerous, if he comes down any other way than the right way the chances are he will be seriously injured or even be killed.

'I just seconds to get the right shot and luckily I got it.'

Lucas was photographing Rafa, who is a Red Bull freestyle kayaker and one of only four people in the world to tackle a plus 100-foot waterfall, as part of an expedition to one of the remotest regions of Mexico.

He said: 'It took us five days to get to the falls and the jungle wasn't the only thing we had to worry about, the area is heavily used by drug dealers to grow marajuana.

'I have been all over the world following extreme sports from India to Africa and Australia, and I'm always planning my next adventure.'

Lucas captured the amazing action on his camera, a Nikon D3S.

Lucas Gilman has also photographed other extreme kayakers, like Pat Keller dropping Upper Lewis falls in Washington State, left, and Evan Garcia drops the 101-foot tall Metlako in Oregon
Gilman took this photo showing a dozen frames of Rush Sturges' sgoing down the Runs 90+ foot tall Lower Tomata Falls ns in Veracruz, Mexico - and losing his paddle part way down

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