A Look into the World Beard and Moustache Championships

A few days ago, we presented you with a guide for experimenting with your beard styles. We also put up a strong defense of the sometimes vilified and mocked hipster beard. Since the topic has been opened, we would like to examine a unique world and subculture you may not have heard about until now: the world beard and moustache championships. Yes, you read that right, and yes, it’s just as upbeat and fun as you probably already imagined it to be.

the World Beard and Moustache Championships

Yes, it’s quite hipster-ish (which isn’t a word). This sort of competition falls into a recent hipster beard debate. This debate has split sides down the middle between the beard-praising enthusiasts (as I am) and the beard-bashing whiners. These people decry the beard as a compensation for the loss of masculinity as it once was. I believe that the way men choose to style their beards should be as free as the way women choose to color (or not color) their hair. It should not indicate something about the quality of the person sporting said style. Last but not least, beards look and feel pretty friggen awesome. I think those aesthetics count for something. So, let’s raise a glass to the beard resurgence and the World Beard and Moustache Championships.

The History of the World Beard and Moustache Championships

The only unfortunate consequence of the relatively new hipster beard resurgence is the fact that these World Beard and Moustache Championships don’t really have a rich history. The first time the completion took place was in 2007. It was organized as a convention that reunited some of the world’s largest association and clubs that already were centered on their members’ facial hair. The history of these modern contemporary clubs celebrating beards and moustaches is arguably older than the relative novelty of the competition itself.

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The styles and categories in the World Beard and Moustache Championships should speak for themselves about the historic value of the beard. “Hungarian moustache”, “Musketeer”, “Garibaldi” and “Imperial” are all styles which proudly reflect the rich history of the beard and moustache styles that mankind experimented with. The World Beard and Moustache Championships aren’t quite as new as some may think because the beard is a more contemporary style. Only recently have beards become something exotic enough to spark up a special competition dedicated to them. Not that anyone is complaining about competition, of course.

Who Competes in the World Beard and Moustache Championships

If you’re wondering about where the contestants of these competitions come from, you will be pleased to know that most Western countries have a team of awesomely styled hairy men competing. That includes, of course, the United States. More details about the American team can be found here. If you want to check them out or maybe even manage to get involved in the club, the next public event will take place in Montana at the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in Sulphur Springs. This festival will be held on July 26th 2014.

People Who Had Plastic Surgery to Look Like Someone Else

Have you ever been tempted to go under the surgeon’s knife to look like someone else? The following people are so obsessed that they will do almost anything to be someone else.

The Jessica Rabbit Fan

Plastic Surgery to Look Like Jessica Rabbit

I enjoyed the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as I’m sure most right thinking people did. However, I can safely say that I don’t harbour any urges to become any of the characters. That’s because I’m not as stark flipping bonkers as Penny Brown. This Australian lady now lives in Japan and she is quite keen on being Jessica Rabbit. Sadly, Jessica is a cartoon character whose proportions aren’t realistic. This hasn’t stopped our bold heroine from getting breast enlargements and squeezing into a tiny corset every day to exaggerate her figure. Bizarrely, she isn’t even the first person to get surgery done to look like the famous animated character.

The Asian Brazilian

Plastic Surgery to Look Asian

Have you ever wished that you had been born on the other side of the world and looked completely different? Of course you have, as you are a hard to please sort of person. However, unless your name is Xian Guacho you didn’t spend a fortune a series of bleeding painful operations to look as though you were from another continent. This blonde Brazilian felt that his life would be enhanced if he looked Asian. 10 operations and a good few thousand dollars later he now models Asian clothes on a Brazilian website.

The Human Barbie

Plastic Surgery to Look Like Barbie

Valeria Lukyanova is a human who looks like a Barbie doll. What’s hard to understand about that? What? You don’t understand why someone would undergo a series of expensive plastic surgery treatments to try and look like a frankly unlikeable doll? Actually, when you put it like that I guess you’ve got a point.

The Nefertiti Surgery

Nefertiti Plastic Surgery

I’m sure I read once that the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti has been classed as the finest example of human beauty to ever walk the Earth. Personally, I thought she was a bit ugly but Nileen Namita didn’t agree with me. This English woman believes that she was an Egyptian queen in a previous life and has had over 50 operations to recreate the look in this life. Well, I reckon that I was a pirate in a previous but you don’t see me growing a beard and getting a hook fitted, do you? Actually, the beard growing part might be good fun really.

The Twin Surgery

Twins Get Plastic Surgery to Look Alike

The strange thing about this plastic surgery story is that it is a pair of twins who had the surgery to look like, err, twins. Jo and Kerry Burton are the deranged geniuses who spend all that money on looking the same as each other. They get all their operations carried out at the same time using the same doctors, although I guess that he at least finishes one of the noses before moving on to the next beak.

The Michael Jackson Surgery

Michael Jackson Look-a-Like after Plastic Surgery

Who do you think is in this picture with Michael Jackson? Unless you are Mr Magoo I am guessing that you didn’t say that it’s another Michael Jackson. This is a shame, especially for the lady called Miki Jay who spent $16,000 to try and look like the King of Pop. At least in this case there is an almost sensible reason for using plastic surgery to look like someone else. The UK based impersonator makes a living from looking vaguely like a dead singer.

The 7 Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

Have you ever been to an unlikely wedding? Maybe the bride is beautiful. Perhaps the groom is unfortunate looking. However, those supposedly strange unions have nothing on these 7 most unlikely weddings in the world. Read on and be amazed.

1) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: A Tower of Love

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

When you read the name Erika La Tour Eiffel, we’re sure you can guess who or, ahem, what she married? That’s right; this former soldier’s life partner is a famous French landmark. According to reports, she almost became Erika Berlin Wall. That is, until the Eiffel Tower finally won her heart.

2) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: The One Man Ceremony

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

“I take me to be my husband and wife.” Liu Ye wanted to show his “dissatisfaction with reality.” Is there a better way of doing this than by marrying yourself? Heck, no. The guy turned up at the unlikely wedding ceremony with a cardboard cut out showing himself in a dress. Nice.

3) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: The Virtual Bride

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

You guys know what it is like when you’re really into  a computer game, don’t you? Yeah, you do. Don’t be coy with us. Well, multiply this feeling by a million times and you should know what this guy’s life is like. A man from Japan with the rather mysterious moniker, Sal9000, got married. Strangely, his unlikely bride was a character from a video game. Even more bizarrely, she has a more believable name than the human in the relationship; Nene Anegasaki. She is a star of the Nintendo DS classic dating game, Love Plus. They got married in Guam. It seems that this kind of thing isn’t as uncommon as you may think.

4) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: The Goat Wedding

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

Charles Tombe made a mistake. He paid a heavy price for it. Our intrepid hero was feeling a bit frisky and made an awful mistake. In Sudan, you are forced to marry a woman if you are caught having relations with her. In the case of poor Charles, the same law resulted in his caprine wedding.

5) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: The Deceased Groom

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

This next one isn’t funny at all. It’s actually quite sad. You see, Jonathan George was killed in a traffic accident just before his marriage to Magali Jaskiewicz in France. Thankfully, the French law allows for posthumous weddings if you can prove that you were about to get married before the death. It has been claimed that about 10 of these unlikely weddings take place each year.

6) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: The Pillow Talk Wedding

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

When you think of the comfortable wedding night this guy probably had, you’ll realize he is probably the smartest person on this list. Lee Jin-gyu married a pillow in 2010. Hang on before you start judging! The pillow has the image of a popular anime character on it. That makes it sound a bit less insane. I guess.

7) Most Unlikely Weddings in the World: Computer Love

Most Unlikely Weddings in the World

This unlikely wedding unfortunately hasn’t yet happened. But, we sincerely hope it does soon. Chris Sevier likes his computer. No, he really likes it. In fact, he loves that darned piece of machinery. He loves it so much that he wants to marry it. Chris would like to love and honour it until a busted hdd do them part. This marriage proposal was not so surprisingly turned down by authorities in Utah. Chris has challenged the decision. Perhaps one day, he will be able to kiss his computer bride in front of his friends and family.

Midsummer Is Almost Here: 5 Traditional Ideas to Try

Traditional holidays from ages past that somehow still survived to the modern day have always been a fascinating topic for me. Especially if they’re less mainstream than the ones we’re used to – Christmas and Easter are a bit too well-known, for example, so they can’t really hold much surprise in regard with their traditions. Therefore, holidays like the Cinco de Mayo or, even less mainstream, Midsummer, are the perfect occasion to explore some unknown traditions of an almost forgotten holiday and maybe try them out. Heck – even if you don’t actually try them out – it’s still an interesting cultural trip worth taking. In the case of Midsummer at least, the pagan rites that were known as Midsummer are so intriguing they would make any modern day Wiccan green with envy.

midsummer_dance_sweden

So, let’s try to tap a bit into this mysterious summer rite, present throughout Europe, but especially prominent today in its Scandinavian part.

1. Try baking a Swedish solstice bread

Yes, it’s a pretty ambitious task, but it’s an essential part of any Swedish Midsummer celebration. In Sweden and the neighboring Scandinavian and Baltic countries, the Midsummer solstice holiday was preserved so well that it’s still a major happening. You could try recreating the event at home: invite some of your friends and serve some smoked salmon snacks, on this very special and authentic bread meant precisely for that. Tell tales of Odin and the giants and drink the night away. You can find the recipe for the bread here.

2. Make a Midsummer bonfire

This should be easy enough. For extra safety, make it as a camping fire; just abstain from the marshmallows or the country songs and drink mead with your friends instead.

3. Make a hay roll with your friends and set it on fire on top of a hill (kids, don’t try this at home!)

To symbolize the setting sun (which from now on will be less potent then until now, since Midsummer means the sun is at its peak) and the shrinking day, European peoples would make a big hay roll for Midsummer, as tall as man, and put it at the top of a hill in the evening. As the people gathered for the celebration, someone was tasked with setting the hay roll on fire and giving it a push down the hill. What ensued was the image of a fire circle tumbling down in the dark, just like the setting sun. As a disclaimer, I should probably stress again that this kind of thing is totally not safe to try unless in a large group, unless it’s a safe environment without the risk of starting a fire around and so on.

4. Make a flower wreath and wear it all day

In Central and Eastern European countries (like Poland, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria), the folk customs from the olden days would separate the boys and the girls until the big celebration with the bonfire which reunited the two groups later on. During the day, both groups would be charged with special tasks, and the girls’ tasks would often include braiding a flower wreath which could be worn on one’s head. Girls would wear them all day, and pass them on to other members of the family the next day. It was believed that wearing such a wreath would bring good luck and health until the next year, and if a girl would sleep with her wreath beneath her pillow during Midsummer night, she would have a great chance to dream of her fated one. If you’re a guy, don’t feel excluded – just make one and gift it to a girl or woman in your life and say that it’s for Midsummer.

5. Make an Eastern European sweetbread with yeast

The good part is that it will be easier to pull off than the Swedish solstice bread, so you could start with this one if you’re feeling a bit oven-shy. Eastern Europe is specialized in sweet breads, based on an yeasted dough, which are consumed especially at holidays, but hold a ritual value in themselves. For example, a bread like this will be used both at a wedding – for being broken into four and then thrown in the direction of North, South, East and West by the bride – and at a funeral, for being given away and sometimes even buried with the dead so they have something to eat on their journey to the other side. To cut a long story short, Midsummer is another great occasion for Eastern Europeans to bake their sweetbreads and you could try making one yourself. An example of an English recipe can be found here (and it’s tested and fail-proof). In Eastern European countries like Romania and Bulgaria, the skies open up during Midsummer night and prayers can be heard all the way up to heaven more easily. Bake the breads and make a wish!

Is Time Travel Possible? What Scientists Say

Since we recently covered the topic of time travel, first by philosophically musing a bit about it, and then by recommending a few nice movies built around the idea, perhaps it’s about time to discuss whether it would be plausible to conceive it or not. After a bit of digging online, trying to separate the hysterically romantic from the scientific, we’ve reached the conclusion that it’s all a matter closer to a philosophical debate anyway. Still, it’s more interesting to hear what scientists say about what would make time travel possible, philosophically, so we went with that. Here’s the summary and prepare to be surprised.

For a long time, physicists (which are the most entitled to have an opinion on the matter) widely affirmed that no, it’s not plausible to assume time travel as a possibility, since time doesn’t really exist, but is more of a human mental construct. Another popular common opinion shared by philosophers, this time, was that even if time travel could somehow be made possible, it would only be conceivable as travel to the past, since the past at least happened, but the future doesn’t really exist at all. Both points seem pretty legit, which is why the issue wasn’t pursued further than this, at least on a larger scale, until recently.

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So, Is Time Travel Possible?

General relativity was the first kind of physics that considered the hypothesis as something worth pondering about. According to this branch, certain types of movement through space could spark up some time travel, if performed in their specific way, since, you know, time and space are so closely sewn together and all. So, to make time travel possible according to general relativity, you would need to enter a closed timeline curve (sounds pretty fancy if we put it like that). In plain English, if you were to move away from Earth’s rotations, at relativistic velocities, and then you would return, more time would have passed in the meantime on Earth than for you, thus you traveled into the future a little bit. On the other hand, backwards time travel wouldn’t be possible at all, according again to general relativity theorists, because that would open the way to too many paradoxes. For example, a minor change in the past could endanger your very existence (or the so-called grandfather paradox).

Newer Views: Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox

However, fresher takes on the matter have been made by contemporary scientists that have gone as far as to deem time travel possible, but only into the future. It seems that the old philosopher’s tale about only being plausible to travel back in time is now infirmed by the newest physics theories. Let’s see what these two prominent figures have to say. Both Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox are a bit main-stream and known as the pop culture versions of a scientist, but let’s not be judgmental since the topic itself is quite bombastic, ok?

According to Stephen Hawking, who draws upon general relativity and the theory about the spatial movements, if we were to build ships which could travel faster than the speed of light, a day onboard such a ship would be a year in Earth’s time. But the motion could only be performed forward into the future, since going back in time would violate the basic principles of cause and effect. He believes that achieving the speed and light and beyond, thus making time travel possible, could help the human race to save itself, by going into our desolate future and starting over somehow (like repopulating a desolate Earth with humans long after we have gone extinct).

Professor Brian Cox shares his colleague’s views on the matter: he too says that it could only be possible to travel into the future, but once one would arrive there, returning wouldn’t be an option any more. According to him, the only thing that could make time travel possible would be the creation of a time machine (which could travel faster than the speed of light, again) and the creation or discovery of some worm holes to travel through. Those worm holes which you may be familiar with from sci-fi movies are defined as shortcuts in the space-time fabric, but most scientists continue to doubt their existence. However, this should deter us from fantasizing: as long as we have scientists as big as these two vouching for at least the possibility of it, the issue needs further investigation.