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Man Plans To Live In Barrel On Top Of Pole For 80 Days

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  • Doesn’t exactly sound like a ‘barrel of fun’, does it?



Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash
Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

 

Ever wanted to live in the sky? Or wanted to know what it felt like to be in the crows’ nest of a ship? Well, Vernon Kruger has found a way you can…

“Hey, I can see my house from here!

Vernon Kruger is a 52-year-old from Dullstroom, which is a small town in South Africa. He hasn’t set foot on solid ground in 74 days, ever since he climbed into his ‘home in the sky,’ as he calls it. It’s a small barrel at the top of a 25-meter-tall pole. It may sound like a joke, but it’s not. There is very little space, not much to do, and you’re reliant on people on the ground for things like food and water.

And This Isn’t The First Time He’s Done This

The first time Kruger climbed his now-famous barrel was 22-years-ago, as a dare. He was on vacation on an exotic island where one of his friends said: “why don’t you break the record for sitting in a tree?” It was a joke… at first. Then it became a dare, so Kruger started looking into it. He learned that an Indonesian man had already broken the record, setting it to 28 days. Instead of letting it go, he decided to try a pole challenge. It was originally set for 54 days, so Kruger set up his own pole and lasted 64 days. That was in 1997, and though they tried, no one was able to beat his record.

When Asked Why He Attempted This Again

“Well, I don’t know why anymore, I’m starting to question myself. The previous time I did it was a dare and that was 22-years-ago, nobody managed to beat my record. A similar attempt was made by David Blane, the magician, and they all failed, so I was approached to see whether I’d raise the bar a bit.” Kruger doesn’t plan on coming down until he’s been up there for 78 days, at least.

“It Does Get A Bit Frustrating Up Here”

“It does get a bit frustrating up here especially because I can’t do many things for myself, I need to rely on other people for absolutely everything. Sleeping in this barrel is not very easy, it’s a very small place to curl up in and I have to lie in a fetal position. I’ve broken my own record now. 22-years-ago I broke the British record of 54 days. I took it to 67 days. This time I’m going to try it to about 80.”

How It Works

The food Kruger gets is donated by local restaurants and hosted up via a wicker basket. He baths two times a week in a small basin, and the waste he generates goes into a septic tank under the pole, connected to his barrel through a long drainage system.

 

Good luck, Kruger! We’re rooting for you!

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‘Challenging’ Rescue Operation For Horse Stuck In Mud

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  • It’s said that art imitates reality, but in this case it’s the other way around

Have you ever seen The NeverEnding Story? If you have, then you will remember the horse in the swamp scene. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments in film history and seeing it as a child scarred many of us for life.

An incident very reminiscent of the infamous clip played out near Bognor Regis on the southern coast of the UK. Only this time, the horse had a happy ending.

On the evening of July 29 a white horse named Millie got herself stuck in deep mud. She’s even the same color as Artax, the horse from the movie. It’s just too uncanny.

Around 6 p.m. that night, the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service got a call for help from Millie’s owner. According to the owner, Millie was stuck shoulder deep in a muddy pond.

Firefighters from the Bognor Regis Fire Station and officers from the service’s Technical Rescue Unit rushed to Millie’s aid.

The TRU Crew Manager Adrian Kirkpatrick said they arrived to a scene that wasn’t quite as dramatic as the one in the movie. Sure, Millie was stuck but she seemed calm and the owner wasn’t wailing.

“We found Millie standing quite calmly in the water, but she was unable to climb back out again as the bank was so muddy, and quite steep,” Kirkpatrick recounted.

The rescuers began the operation by doing the same thing they do whether dealing with people or animals – talking.

“The first and most important action you can take is to try and talk them in to the side without having to go into the water yourself,” said Kirkpatrick.

“But despite all our reassurances, and those from the owner as well, Millie was having none of it and was unable to climb out on her own.”

Time for Action

And so, the rescuers decided it was time to get down and dirty. Two officers from the team, trained in swift water rescue, geared up and got into the water.

Carefully wading waist-deep through the mud, they reached Milly and fitted her with a harness. But even though they tried several tricks to get her moving, the horse wouldn’t budge.

“It became clear quite quickly that she would need to be lifted out as she wasn’t going anywhere under her own steam,” Kirkpatrick said.

He complimented Millie’s owner for deciding for calling the rescue service.

“The owner was right to give us a call to get Millie out of the water, as we would never advise members of the public to attempt a rescue from water – especially when there is a large animal involved.”

With horse- and manpower having failed, the rescuers decided to rely on machinery. They connected the harness wrapped around Millie to a winch attached to one of the rescue service’s off-road vehicles.

“After lining the bank with some thick plastic sheeting so she wasn’t injured as we hauled her out, we pulled her slowly back up onto dry land,” said Kirkpatrick.

Unlike Atrax in the movie, Millie rose from the mud and laid down on the ground beside the pond. But all was not yet well.

Further Complications

Despite her having gotten out of the water, Millie made no effort to get back on her feet. Could it be that she had been injured by the operation?

Luckily, that was not the case. Kirkpatrick explained that not all horses will happily bounce back onto their feet after such an ordeal.

“Their legs can go to sleep if they’ve been in the water for a prolonged period of time, and sometimes the shock of the situation they find themselves in can all just be too much,” he said.

It wasn’t the rescue service’s first time helping out a horse and they knew just what to do. With great care, they rolled Millie over from laying on one side to the other.

“This did the trick,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was the adrenaline rush she needed to get back up again.”

For all their strength, horses can be surprisingly delicate creatures. Especially their legs are prone to various injuries and ailments. So, a lot could have gone wrong during the operation.

“Horse rescues can be incredibly complex, and this one was no exception,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Thankfully, Millie was none the worse for wear for her ordeal, just a little damp and wet from being in the water.”

Cause for Concern

This particular horse rescue ended well, but it’s one more number in a concerning statistic. Incidents with sick or injured horses in West Sussex – and all of the UK – have gone up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Between March and May 2020, West Sussex alone had 32 such cases, reported Spirit FM. While Millie ended up stuck by accident, a lot of the other cases have sadly involved intentionally abandoned horses.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said that equine welfare charities were already under immense strain. A lot of horses were taken in to different charities some ten years ago due to the 2008 market crash.

Now, with the coronavirus cutting into horse owners profits, cases have increased again. Charities are buckling under the increased number of cases and the financial strain they cause.

Those of our readers wanting to help save UK horses from the impacts of coronavirus can make a donation to the RSPCA.

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Kanye’s Running for President and His Platform Is What You’d Expect

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  • Kanye announced his bid for the presidency on the Fourth of July via Twitter.
  • Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian-West tweeted out their support soon after.

On July 4th, Kanye tweeted, “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States!” garnering 1.2 million likes. At this point in 2020, why not? Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian-West tweeted out their support. But the general response from political pundits and others was one of skepticism and indifference. 

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

At most, those following the 2020 campaigns seem to feel, he’ll split the vote and give the Trump campaign a boost in its re-election bid. But in this bizarro-world we’re inhabiting with a worldwide pandemic, protests, and rampant natural disasters, doesn’t it seem like Kanye could win? 

 

At least, he stands as much of a chance as the last person to run without political experience. He’s also pretty open about his shortcoming as a political candidate, as revealed during a four-hour interview with Forbes. The entire thing is worth a read, but let’s go over a few of the highlights. 

The Kanye Campaign, in Brief

Photo by Srikanta H. U on Unsplash

“I haven’t done enough research on that,” he said about taxes. I mean, none of us have, otherwise why would filing your taxes every year induce a flop-sweat panic. It’s complicated, and you have to believe that Kanye isn’t a fan of the tax-the-rich model. He’s open to the advice of “the strongest experts that serve God.”

 

“I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now,” to manage the White House, which sure, why not? Worked well in Black Panther. He goes on, “we’re going to work, innovate, together.” 

 

“I don’t know if I’d use the word policy for the way I would approach things,” he replied when asked about his platform regarding foreign policy. He made some comparisons to designing with Nike and Louis Vuitton. But maybe that’s just a semantic difference? Design foreign strategies? Sure. 

 

“They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven,” sums up Kanye’s feelings on vaccines, right after he called them the “mark of the beast.” Which isn’t exactly the attitude you want from your president during a pandemic desperate for a vaccine so we can all go to Buffalo Wild Wings or wherever. 

 

The interview also revealed that Kanye had COVID-19 back in February. His campaign slogan is “YES,” but he’s missed the deadlines in several states to get on the ballot for the fall, and his window of opportunity in the rest of the country is closing, so maybe no? He’s not worried, “God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time… I’m not crazy.”

 

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Woman Tries To Take Photo With Wild Bear, Lives To Tell The Tale

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  • You really have to ask how taking that particular picture sounded like a good idea

 

A couple weeks ago we wrote about the dumbest tourist ever who tried to pet a lion in Tanzania. Now a woman in Romania has proven that you don’t need to travel to Africa to almost get mauled by wild beasts.

The incident reportedly happened in Bacau, Romania, in late June. An unnamed woman decided to pose for a photo with a wild bear that had stopped by the side of a road.

The bear, who clearly didn’t appreciate being made into a photo prop, lunged at the woman. A man by the name of Alessandro Bacaoanu managed to get the whole scene on video.

In the video, we can see the woman – dressed in a white shirt and blue shorts – gingerly approach the bear.

A voice in the car Mr. Bacaoanu is sitting in expresses exasperation at the young woman’s antics. According to LADbible, the translation goes: “I have to film it. Look how she is holding her hand, stupid girl.”

While the commentary is pretty rude, the person speaking is not exactly wrong. The video next shows the bear, which appeared calm, suddenly launch at the woman.

She bolts and runs off to the road, accompanied by gasps from the onlookers on the video. Luckily, the bear decides she’s not worth mauling and sits back down.

“Can you see how stupid she is? Go into the car. All that risk for a picture with a bear?” one of the people taking the video chides her. Soon after, the woman had disappeared into a black car.

She’s not only lucky the bear didn’t get her, but also that there wasn’t any traffic on the road. Her mad dash could’ve easily gotten her run over.

A Legacy of Bloodshed

In addition to heckling comments from an online audience, the incident has drawn condemnation from the authorities. It seems their repeated warnings to not approach bears encountered by roads are falling to deaf ears.

Romania’s Minister of the Environment, Costel Alexe, said: “The bear is a wild animal protected by law, not a pet. I say once again to the citizens of this country: a bear which has tasted biscuits, wafers, and feels that he can get his food in this way, will never be able to adapt to the forest again.”

In all seriousness, the authorities are doing the right thing by repeatedly telling people to stay away from bears.

After all, Romania has the largest brown bear population in all of Europe. Anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 bears roam in Romanian forests, Member of the European Parliament Vincze Loránt told BalkanInsight.

As a result, Romania also records the highest number of brown bear attacks on people in anywhere on the planet apart from Russia. Between 2010 and 2015, 131 bears attacked people in Romania, leaving 11 people dead, a 2019 study published in Nature said.

In 2019, bears killed eight people in the country, according to BalkanInsight. A BBC report from November 2019 said three Romanians lost their lives due to bear attacks during that month alone.

Those are some grim, grim numbers. The woman caught on the video can thank her lucky stars she didn’t join these morbid statistics.

A Difficult Issue

As the numbers show, the growing population bears in Romania has become a real problem. At the frontlines of the issue are Romanian farmers.

Not only do the bears attack people, they’ve killed livestock and destroyed crops. Numbers of road accidents involving bears have also increased.

“Everywhere I go in this area people are saying that there are too many bears, that you can’t produce any crops anymore,” Karoly Pal, a farmer in the region of Transylvania, told the BBC.

“People are forced to abandon agriculture and their land, and they are afraid to go outside the villages.”

Due to the number of incidents, Romanian politicians are lobbying the European Union to lift the ban on bear hunting in the country. They see culling their numbers as the only effective measure to control the bears.

Romania banned the hunting of brown bears in 2016. Despite their high numbers in the country, the brown bear is an endangered species in Europe.

No matter the politicians’ claims, though, the bears are not solely responsible for the attacks. They must eat up to 20,000 calories and wander across great distances in search of food.

Destruction of woodlands and forests may have driven the bears into closer contact with humans. However, MEP Loránt denies that deforestation is behind the issue.

“In the county of Harghita, for example, the surface of forest has increased by 4% in the last seven or eight years. Bears don’t look for dense forest but prefer areas where vegetation is lower, because they can find fruits and other food more easily,” he said.

It’s no wonder then that the hungry bears are drawn to farms. Whatever solution the authorities come up with, hopefully they can figure it out quickly.

Not everyone can run like the woman from the video.

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