South Koreans Are Faking Their Own Funerals For One Purpose

Leaving a funeral without shedding a tear is enough to make anyone think they’re heartless. After all, celebrating a lost loved one and confronting death with a shovel is emotionally exhausting. Well, in South Korea, people are starting to take a different approach to funerals.

South Koreans have found a strangely morbid — and fresh — way to approach burials and ceremonies. And while the reason behind the process is sound, people across the world can’t help but dismiss the way Koreans are grappling with the idea of the end…

Are you in the market for a free funeral? Well South Korea’s Hyowon Healing Center offers them, complete with wooden coffins. They’re not exactly conventional, though. They’re only for the living.

Since 2012, the Seoul-based wellness center has been offering these free services, which are fittingly called “living funerals.” But at these unusually lively remembrance ceremonies, you wouldn’t be the only guest of honor.

They’re mass services, as they honor the (ongoing) lives of several people at once. All together, more than 15,000 people have partaken in these ceremonies, all united with one similar purpose.

“Once you become conscious of death, and experience it, you undertake a new approach to life,” said 75-year-old living funeral honoree Cho Jae-hee. As an elder, Cho participated as part of a “dying well” program, which, we must say, is shockingly blunt.

But not all living funeral guests of honor are oldies; pimply teens, exhausted retirees, and everyone in between have succumbed to the inevitable final chapter for a day. Mortality really finds ways to haunt us all.

With their anticipation to pose for gloomy funeral portraits, announce their final wishes, or act out death in cozy, wooden coffins, these entombment ceremony honorees wished to accept the concept of death with open arms to grapple with the struggles of life. The effects are interesting.

University student Choi Jin-kyu was always one to compare himself to others, viewing them as competition. But when he viewed the world from the inside of a dark coffin, he realized just how stifling that mindset was.

“When I was in the coffin, I wondered what use that is,” the 28-year-old scholar explained. To counter his unproductive competitive nature, he relayed that he planned to start his own business after graduation. Though inspiring, how does this relate to the notion of mortality?


New Information About The Only Men To Escape Alcatraz Suggests Experts Got It All Wrong

Of all the prisons in the world, Alcatraz is easily one of the most notorious — and for good reason. Originally constructed as a military installment, the imposing stone structure housed some of history’s most dangerous criminals and became legendary for its impenetrability. Many inmates tried to escape the prison over the years, but according to record, none ever made it back to the mainland.

Yet this is only one side of the story, as according to the details the record left out, three men may have actually escaped from Alcatraz after all. While this has only been mere speculation over the years, one newfound piece of evidence may finally provide the answer to one of history’s greatest mysteries.

When the military barracks on Alcatraz were first converted into a prison in 1933, many believed the island fortress was inescapable. Still, that didn’t stop a handful of inmates from trying.

Over the prison’s first 15 years of operation, 12 escape attempts were made by a total of 31 prisoners; 21 of them were caught alive, six were shot and killed, two were never found and presumed dead, and two drowned in the icy waters of San Francisco Bay.

But even so, a group of inmates resolved in the summer of 1962 to become the first to successfully escape from Alcatraz. Career criminals Frank Morris, Allen West, and John and Clarence Anglin knew they had their work cut out for them.

For six months, the escapees used the noise of the prison’s music hour to drown out their work. With discarded saw blades, spoons smuggled from the mess hall, and a make-shift drill, the four men chiseled away at the vents beneath their cell sinks.

Once the holes were large enough to crawl through, the men slipped into the vacant utility hall behind their cells and climbed to the empty top level of their cellblock. There, they constructed a makeshift workshop to begin the second phase of their plan.

Using stolen raincoats, the inmates meticulously sewed a raft and built paddles out of scrap wood. They also cleverly rigged a concertina to serve as a bellows, which would allow them to inflate the raft and make their escape.

To account for their absence while working, the men crafted dummy heads out of soap, toothpaste, concrete dust, and toilet paper, even going as far as attaching human hair collected from the prison barbershop. Tucked into their beds, these dummies easily fooled the guards.

With everything in place, the men put their plan into action on the night of June 11, 1962. Yet no sooner did they begin climbing from their cells did the scheme hit a major snag.


Ancient Mosaic Found In Israel Gives New Insight On One Famous Biblical Passage

For centuries archaeologists have unearthed secrets hiding under our feet all around the world. The discoveries made by these experts bring insight to the past and sometimes even solve the world’s most ancient mysteries.

Recently, a discovery was made in Israel that many people believed pieced together a mythic biblical narrative. The experts couldn’t believe it: had they really found stone cold proof of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles?

No matter what you believe, Biblical stories are widely recognized. We’ve all heard of Adam and Eve and Noah’s Ark. Another particularly familiar set of stories include Jesus and the many miracles he performed within the pages of the New Testament.

Water to wine is certainly one of his greatest hits, but a recent discovery has shed some light on another famous miracle. The story involves Jesus creating food for thousands out of just two fish and five loaves of bread.

One of the things that separates believers from non-believers has to do with evidence. Some find it challenging to believe in something that relies on faith. With recent findings, however, that faith might not be so blind.

Our setting is the ancient city Hippos-Sussita. The city is vastly different than it was in the fourth century, as bustling streets have been replaced with miles and miles of excavations and dig sites.

With over seven churches in the city limits of this archaic holy land, archaeologists have had their hands full. However, only one of the seven churches piqued the interest of those working in the area. The South-West Church was different.

When Romans began to settle in Hippos during the second century, things really started to come together. The city boasted a basilica, a theater, and an odeon. Also, a very elaborate shrine to the emperor. Things were all wine and togas for awhile.

During the fourth century A.D., the Christians showed up. Away went the shrine to the emperor and up popped a crazy number of churches per capita. For over four centuries, Hippos was a center for Christianity.

Even when Muslim soldiers conquered the city, the Christians were still permitted to practice their religion. Unfortunately, in 749 A.D. the city was basically destroyed by a huge earthquake and was left abandoned for over 1,000 years.

Until our brilliant friends the archaeologists showed up and started sorting out a historical timeline from the myriad ruins strewn across the area. The 21st century ushered in large-scale excavation sites in the area, leading to some amazing discoveries.

One aspect that drew researchers so strongly to this particular church were the intricate mosaics preserved on its floors. Additionally, the church appears to have not fallen victim to the epic earthquake. It looks as though it was destroyed in a different way.

Fire seems to be the culprit for the destruction of the church, whether by accident or arson remains unclear. It turns out, the fire was a positive thing for modern day researchers.

Copious and suffocating amounts of ash covered the floor and, by extension, the mosaic. The ash allowed the decorative tiles to be surprisingly well-preserved even so many years later. This is extremely lucky, because the mosaic tiles tell some incredible stories.

In one odd observation, epigraphist Gregor Stabb saw that the Greek inscriptions where not grammatically correct. This led the team to believe Greek wasn’t the official language of the people that founded the church.

The experts believe the congregation may have used Aramaic as their native tongue. Meaning that the members of the church spoke the language associated with Jesus Christ. This would be even more important when they discovered one particular mosaic.


Adorable “Unicorn” Rescue Puppy Has a Tail Growing From His Head

Puppy With a Tail Growing From Its Head
If you thought unicorns only lived in dreamland, then get ready for something magical. It turns out that the single-horned creatures do exist—in the form of an adorable rescue puppy named Narwhal. The 10-week-old dog was discovered on the streets of Kansas City, Missouri with a companion canine named Papa Smurf. Both have since been rescued by the non-profit Mac’s Mission, a special-needs dog rescue organization based in Jackson, Missouri.

One of the most-asked questions about Narwhal is: Does his face-tail wag? No, it does not. “The extra tail is not connected to anything,” Mac’s Mission shares, “and has no real use other than making him the COOLEST PUPPY EVER!” According to their vet, Dr. Heuring, there’s no reason for the tail to be removed, as it is not causing him pain nor does it slow him. Narwhal is like any other pup, he just has an extraordinary facial feature.

Narwhal is not available for adoption quite yet. Mac’s Mission still wants to watch him grow some more to be sure the tail won’t be a problem in the future. Scroll down to see more of Narwhal and follow his journey through the Mac’s Mission Instagram.

Narwhal is a rescued “unicorn” puppy that has a tail growing from his head. (No, it doesn’t wag.)
Unicorn Puppy

Unicorn Puppy

According to the Mac’s Mission, the organization that rescued him, the tail has no real use except for making him the “coolest puppy ever.”

Unicorn Puppy

Puppy With a Tail Growing From Its Head


Scientists Find Evidence That Finally Explains The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle has been the subject of intense debate for decades. Over the years, ships and planes have mysteriously disappeared while crossing through the 500,000-square mile area of ocean, and in every instance, no one knows what happened.

But those who study the vanishing phenomenon know solid objects don’t just go missing; there has to be some kind of logical explanation for the occurrences. Well, researchers at the University of Southampton in England think they have the answer.

Every time you think of Bermuda, doesn’t that classic Beach Boys song start playing in your head? It’s a beautiful island where people bask on sandy shores and soak in the sun. But the Bermuda Triangle has a different reputation.

In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean lurks the Bermuda Triangle, a 500,000-square mile area that connects Bermuda, Miami, and Puerto Rico. It looks just like any other area of the ocean, but it has a pretty ominous reputation.

See, when vessels try to sail through this particular corner of the universe, something terrifying is known to happen: they completely disappear. That’s what fascinated people about the Bermuda Triangle for so long.

Interestingly, this mystery dates back to Christopher Columbus and his oceanic journeys. In his journal, Columbus wrote that, when he was in the area, his compasses went oddly askew and he saw strange lights. Then, hundreds of years later, a bizarrely inexplicable event happened.

In March of 1918, the USS Cyclops — a ship with a 309 people on board — set sail out of Barbados. The trip started off as planned, but while crossing through the triangle, the ship and crew vanished.

It gets even weirder. On December 5, 1945, five Avenger torpedo bombers took off into the sky and flew over the Atlantic Ocean through the triangle. None of them were ever seen again.

People assumed these bizarre Bermuda Triangle stories were actually based on The Tempest, a play written by William Shakespeare about an actual shipwreck he proposed was caused by a sorcerer.

But, there was one literary piece that really got people into the mystery. Vincent Gaddis, a magazine author, wrote a compelling article about the strange occurrences in the triangle, which got tons of people talking.

The craze about the triangle didn’t stop with that article. People suddenly demanded to know more about the three-sided shape that haunted the ocean, and author Charles Berlitz wrote an entire book about it.

Tons of theories formed as to what caused this eerie phenomenon. One theory stated that a massive sea creature was responsible for everything. But, of course, we now know that’s an absurd idea.


Tribe Develops A Strange Body Adaptation That’s Stumping Scientists Around The World

Whether it’s sweltering heat, frigid temperatures, or vicious storms, the human race has been learning how to combat the elements since the beginning of time. It’s just how we’re wired, and how we’ve survived for so long. There is one thing, however, we haven’t figured out: getting by without oxygen.

Oxygen is an absolute necessity to humans (hence mermaids only existing as mythical beings). That being said, one tribe in Malaysia has come pretty darn close to getting by without it. Scientists from around the world are trying to understand these people’s incredible adaptions that are putting Ariel herself to shame.

The idea of a life spent on the water is incredibly romantic. Those breathtaking photos of small homes hovering on the crystal-clear ocean are constantly going viral. Yet, as most of us are fairly committed to dry land, it begs the question: who actually lives there?

While pictures make it seem like living this way would be the ultimate oasis, life on the water comes with it’s own challenges. The Banjau people, who have lived in and on the water surrounding Asia for thousands of years, know a thing or two about its turmoil.

Multiple legends offer accounts of how the Banjau ended up spending 60% of their lives in water. In one, the “sea nomads” are sent to rescue a princess. When they couldn’t retrieve her, they stayed in the water to avoid the king’s wrath.

Another folktale tells of a giant stingray that brought them out to sea. No matter what version, the ending is the same: a group of people that live and work in the ocean. Logistically, there are many things they must work around.

Most members of this tribe scattered across Asia do not have a home at all on the shore. Essential to this lifestyle is their small boats called “lepa-lepa.” The most incredible aspect of their lives on the waves are the homes they have constructed.

Instead of having a traditional foundation, their homes are famously built on stilts rising just above the water’s surface. In the event of a major storm, they will evacuate to the shore. Every other day of their lives is spent out in the ocean.

In their unique situation, they truly live off of what the ocean can provide for them. The Bajau people have become expert divers and fisherman in order to survive. Most often, they utilize spears to catch fish and their diving ability to scour the ocean floor.


NASA Struggles To Contain A ‘Super Volcano’ That Could Destroy All Of Humanity

The end of the world looks different for everyone. A big meteor hitting somewhere in the Sahara, pollution and changing climates finally taking their toll, or even aliens zipping down to the surface and squeezing off a few laser blasts top most predictive lists. No one truly has the answers.

Except for maybe a handful of NASA engineers, whose sole focus was all-things catastrophic. In their research, they came across a threat hiding in one of the world’s most beautiful places and knew something had to be done, fast. If they couldn’t cook up a serious defense, their grim vision of the future would come to pass — and it wouldn’t be pretty for anyone.

When Brian Wilcox joined the NASA Advisory Council on Planetary Defense, the mission laid before him was simple: find the realistic ways the world might end, and then, stop them from happening. He never could’ve predicted where his research would take him.

At first, his job mostly entailed drawing up schemes to prevent Earth from getting smashed with an asteroid or comet (none of which involved a Bruce Willis Armageddon situation). But because of his research, Brian’s attention — and worries — turned away from space debris.

What really started to concern Brian was in Yellowstone National Park, the 3,500-square-mile stretch of rivers, canyons, forests, and sights like Old Faithful that draws tourists from all over the world. Beneath the beauty, trouble was brewing.

See, five miles under the surface is a pool of magma with access to the surface. In laymen’s terms, it’s a volcano. But because it holds so much explosive potential, scientists classify it as a super volcano, one of twenty on the planet.

“I came to the conclusion during that study,” Brian, who eventually transferred to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said, “that the super volcano threat is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.” When diving into the possibilities, it’s easy to see why.

Every 100,000 years or so, a super volcano erupts, and Yellowstone’s, according to the doomsday experts, could potentially be due: throughout history, it’s burst three times, about once every 600,000 years. It’s been about that long since the last blast.

Of course, eruption models aren’t exactly a precise science. Just because we’re at the 600,000 year mark doesn’t guarantee another magma blast. But Brian, focused on doomsday, couldn’t ignore the potential devastation of an explosion.

Three feet of ash could blanket states like Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Idaho. Atmospheric cooling would induce a “volcanic winter,” wiping out crops and making it impossible to grow more. Food reserves, according to the UN, would run out 74 days later.

After studying the destructive potential, NASA scientists were left scratching their heads. The chances of such a devastating eruption were low, sure. But they couldn’t sit around, fingers crossed, hoping the odds were in humanity’s favor.

At the drawing board, scientists considered what they knew about volcanoes, namely that they erupted once the magma inside reached a certain temperature threshold. So, these experts thought, why not simply cool the volcano down?


8-Year-Old Cleaning Up Beach Full Of Trash Stumbles Upon A Once-In-A-Lifetime Sight

If we all had the chance to see the immense amount of trash floating like small islands throughout the sea, we’d be horrified. Animals and ecosystems are increasingly at risk, and unless humans make a massive effort to lower the amount of waste disposal, it’s going to get way worse.

When Storm Eleanor hit the coast of the United Kingdom in 2018, tons of trash washed ashore, littering the beaches. An 8-year-old joined in the cleanup effort, but while sifting through the piles of rubbish, he came across something that he only thought possible in the movies.

It hardly sounds believable, but by 2050, more plastic will live in the ocean than fish. And when massive storms batter coastlines, the mountains of beached trash they leave in their wake is proof.

And in 2018, a violent storm named Storm Eleanor battered the coastline of the United Kingdom. The 100-mph winds brought rain, and hail hammered the local town relentlessly. The damage it caused was immense.

Trees were uprooted, entire sections of the road collapsed, and thousands of people were left without power for days. But, the beaches saw some of the most alarming messes.

Tons of garbage that was littering the ocean near the coast was churned up and carried onto the beaches. Not only was it disgusting, but it was an embarrassing example of how little people cared about their own environment.

A local man devised a plan to clean up the beaches, and he reached out to the people who lived along the coastline, looking for groups of volunteers to help. It would take a massive effort, but in the end, everyone wanted their beaches looking beautiful again.

A man named Nick Crooks learned of the cleanup effort and wanted to help. He brought along his two boys, figuring it was a great chance to show his children how important taking care of the environment was.

Nick was made aware of how dire the garbage situation in the ocean was when he watched the BBC documentary Blue Planet II. The footage of struggling animals inspired him to take action to clean up the water.

So Stanbury Beach was where the three started their efforts. They, along with dozens of other volunteers, made their way down the coastline bagging up the trash. Nick’s eight-year-old son, Noah, was scooping up plastic bottles, and he saw one that stood out.

It was an empty green Sprite bottle resting on its side, but it looked like it had something stuffed inside. Noah called his dad and brother over before opening it up. The three of them stared down in shock at what came out.

It was a perfectly intact handwritten letter! It was from a 10-year-old girl named Jacquie Chmilar, and she left her parents’ contact info at the very bottom for whoever found it. She ended the letter with, “If found, call or email please.” Noah knew what to do.


Wild Facts That Sound Too Far Out To Be True

Where were you when you learned that giraffes have black tongues, or that some turtles can live for hundreds of years? Maybe you read these tidbits on a Snapple cap, but there are even more incredible facts that completely change how we look at the so-called ordinary world.

While the human mind is capable of making up some pretty outlandish pieces of fiction, nothing will ever rival what Mother Nature can dish out in all its odd and baffling glory. and these head-scratching realities are proof of that!

1. There’s an oceanic isopod that acts as a parasite to fish and replaces their tongue! They enter through the gills where they sever the blood vessels of the tongue and take over food consumption.

2. Researchers at the non-profit Oceana found an alarming truth about the fish consumers buy. They claim most of it is purposefully mislabeled, which means that the expensive yellowtail you bought could very well actually be catfish or some other bottom feeder.

3. Sentencing people to death by way of the guillotine sounds cruel and unusual nowadays, but France did it up until 1977. That was the same year Star Wars: A New Hope came out!

4. Jellyfish aren’t just bizarre looking: their anatomy is just as weird. They use the same opening to consume food as they do to excrete waste. They’re the trash talkers of the ocean!

5. If you’re the kind of person who’s terrified of bugs, just know there are actually microscopic mites with wormlike bodies that live on your face! Luckily, you’ll never actually see them.


NASA Astronauts Conduct First All-Women Space Walk

Christina Koch was first to venture out of the ISS
Meir soon followed, carrying a tool bag
The mission was extended by 7 more hours to do additional jobs

NASA made history Friday morning when astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir stepped outside the International Space Station to replace a faulty battery charger.

The all-female spacewalk – the first of its kind “in human history,” the agency said – began at 7:38 a.m. Eastern time as the two American astronauts set their suits to battery power mode.

Koch was first to venture out of the ISS with a red tether attached to her suit.

Meir soon followed, carrying a tool bag as she made her way out of the hatch at 7:49 a.m. The spacewalk was originally scheduled for 5-and-a-half hours, but the crews successfully completed their main task and the mission was extended to more than seven hours so the astronauts could perform some additional jobs.

The historic float outside the orbiting laboratory into the vacuum of space came several months after another all-female spacewalk was canceled because NASA did not have enough spacesuits in the right size. And it’s being heralded as a huge step forward for the agency at a time when NASA continues to work to highlight the contributions of women.

Riffing on the renowned quote by first moonwalker Neil Armstrong in 1969, Rep. Katherine Clark , D-Mass., tweeted: “One giant leap for WOMANkind!”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., celebrated Koch and Meir “for leaving their mark on history” and called them “an inspiration to women & girls across America.”

At a media briefing before the spacewalk, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agency would build on the astronauts’ efforts and send the “next man and the first woman” to the moon by 2024, an effort the agency has dubbed “Artemis” after the twin sister of Apollo. Friday’s spacewalk is another milestone toward making space more available to everyone, he said.

In the Space Operations Center at NASA’s headquarters, Bridenstine watched the beginning of the spacewalk Friday with space station managers and a few members of Congress and pointed out that 15 women have now performed spacewalks.

“And 14 of then have been American,” he said. “So we’re leading the way on this.”

Koch, who is scheduled to spend 328 days aboard the station – the longest ever by a woman – has said she embraced the historic significance of the adventure she was about to embark on.

“In the past, women haven’t always been at the table,” she said in an interview with NPR from the space station. “It’s wonderful to be contributing to the human spaceflight program at a time when all contributions are being accepted, when everyone is having a role, and that can lead in turn to an increased chance of success.”

Meir said the spacewalk “shows all the work that went in for the decades prior – all of the women who worked to get us to where we are today. The nice thing for us is we don’t even really think about it on a daily basis. It’s just normal. We’re part of the team. . . . It’s really nice to see how far we have come.”

Ken Bowersox, acting associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA, said in a teleconference Friday that he hopes two women completing spacewalks will become routine one day. He noted that physical characteristics of women have made it harder in the past to do spacewalks because of the design of spacesuits. Spacesuits alone weigh 280 pounds on the ground, but nothing in space, according to NASA.

“There are some physical reasons that make it harder sometimes for women to do spacewalks,” he said. “It’s a little bit like playing in the NBA. You know, I’m too short to play in the NBA. And sometimes physical characteristics make a difference in certain activities. And spacewalks are one of those areas where just how your body is built in shape, it makes a difference in how well you can work the suit.”

But as different kinds of people have entered space, NASA has adjusted its suits, Bowersox said. Bridenstine quickly added that the agency is “really focused on making sure that the spacesuits are available for everybody.” And he said that because women appear to fare better in microgravity in some regards–their vision doesn’t suffer as much as men’s – it makes “them better at spaceflight than men.”

Former President Barack Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett tweeted that “little girls growing up today will this this historic event is perfectly normal.”

Both Koch and Meir were selected as part of NASA’s 2013 astronaut class, the first with an equal number of men and women. But women remain an overwhelming minority among the rank and file at NASA and the industry more broadly. Women make up about a third of NASA’s workforce, 28 percent of its senior executive leadership and 16 percent of senior scientific employees, according to a survey done by the agency.

Bridenstine said getting more women into the agency was a top priority. “We’re making significant progress in this area and have been for a number of years,” he said. “But we’re not done. There’s a lot more to do.” He said that events like Friday’s spacewalk are “what inspires tomorrow astronauts, and we want tomorrow’s astronauts to represent all of America.”

Spacewalks are among the mostly grueling work that astronauts undertake in space. They are physically taxing and mentally challenging, astronauts have said – like taking an exam while running a marathon.

Before becoming an astronaut, Koch, 40, was an electrical engineer at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center, where she worked on scientific instruments used in the study of cosmology and astrophysics. She later became a research associate in the U.S. Antarctic Program, which included a year-long stay at the South Pole.

Meir, a scientist, has a doctorate in marine biology. She previously worked at Lockheed Martin supporting human physiology research and participating in research flights for NASA on reduced gravity aircraft as well as in an underwater habitat. She also has studied the physiology of animals in extreme environments.

NASA was hoping to have an all-female spacewalk in March. But it was canceled after astronaut Anne McClain discovered that the spacesuit she was to wear did not fit properly. Instead, astronaut Nick Hague went in her place.

On Friday, there were no such hiccups as the spacewalk began.

“These are the kind of real role models we can look up to,” tweeted Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

“This is a remarkable moment highlighting the immense progress women have made in becoming equal partners in humanity’s search for greater knowledge of space,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., wrote on Twitter.

President Donald Trump congratulated Koch and Meir via teleconference this afternoon.”You represent this country so well. Our country is very proud of you,” he said with Vice President Mike Pence on his right and daughter Ivanka to his left.

“First the moon and then we go to Mars,” he said.

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