A Blast From The Past: Episode 31

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This will be the last post for 2016. Happy New Year to everyone. See you next year.

From the archives of Amusing Planet.

Kiribati, The True Land of The Rising Sun

When the sun sets on the evening of December 31 this year, and the world awaits the arrival of the new year, a tiny island country on the extreme east will already have begun celebrations. Located just to the west of the International Date Line, the Republic of Kiribati is one of the first places on earth to see the first rays of the rising sun. Their time zone is 14 hours ahead of UTC - the farthest forward time zone in the world.

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The Battle For The Largest Bonfire in The Netherlands

In the last few days of the year leading up to the midnight of December 31, two Dutch teams from the neighboring districts of Scheveningen (in Noorderstrand) and Duindorp (in Zuiderstrand) battle each other on Scheveningen’s  North Beach for the title of “the largest bonfire in the Netherlands”. The long tradition and a matter of pride keeps the emotions churning as enthusiastic participants stack wooden crates and pallets as high as they can. The battle is closely monitored not only from Scheveningen and Duindorp, but also in the rest of the Netherlands and beyond. Tourists come all the way from America, Germany, France and England to see the bonfires.

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The Christmas Tree Worm

Scientifically that are called spirobranchus giganteus, but they are better known by their colloquial name — Christmas tree worm. The worm is so called not because they feed on fig trees but because they look like them.

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Gubbio’s Enormous Christmas Tree on Mount Ingino

Every year on Christmas, the small medieval town of Gubbio, in northern Italy, lights up the world’s biggest Christmas tree on the slopes of Mount Ingino that lies outside the city. The “tree” is not an actual tree, rather a light installation shaped like a Christmas tree. With no biological restriction on size, this tree rises 650 meters up the slope, made up of nearly a thousand multi-coloured lights and 10 km of cabling. A shining shooting star at the top itself covers an area of more than 1,000 square metres and is made up of 250 lights. In 1991 the Guinness Book of Records named it "The World's Largest Christmas Tree"

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Caganers: Figurines of Pooping World Leaders in Nativity Scenes

In Catalonia - a historic territory in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula, mostly in Spain and adjoining portion in southern France – a bizarre tradition is followed. During Christmas, a large model of the city of Bethlehem is created along with the typical nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the Shepherds. But tucked away in a corner of the model is a little figurine of a defecating Catalan peasant. It’s called the Caganer, which means shitter in Catalan.

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Bosco Verticale: World’s First Vertical Forest in Milan

A fascinating new pair of residential tower called Bosco Verticale is being constructed at Milan, Italy. Towering over the city’s skyline it has been hailed as the world's first forest in the sky. The 27 storied building will accommodate nearly one hectare of forest trees as tall as oak and amelanchiers in its cleverly designed balconies. The 365 and 260 foot emerald twin towers will house an astonishing 900 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 ground cover plants.

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How The Madeira International Airport Extended Its Short Runway

Madeira International Airport, located near Funchal, Madeira in Portugal was first opened on July 1964 with two 1,600-meter (5,249 ft) runways. The short runway made landing a tricky business for even the most experienced of pilots. The high mountains surrounding the airport and the nearby ocean only complicated matters. First the pilots has to aim their aircraft at the mountains, and then break a hard right to meet the runway. Aside to the shift of direction, the warm winds coming off the ocean meet the cooler mountain dry air, which in-turn produces massive turbulence.

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Parting of the Sea in Jindo

The story of Moses is a famous tale among Christians and Jews throughout the world. The miracle of the parting of the Red Sea when Moses and the Jews were trapped between the Red Sea and the armies of Egypt is perhaps the most memorable and impressive part of the story. But do you know that the same miracle happens in Korea every year?

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Pedestrian Roller Coaster in Germany

If you are scared of the loops and dizzy heights of a roller coaster, you can try out the new roller-coaster walkway at Duisburg that lets you take them at your own speed, on foot. Designed by Hamburg-based designer duo Heike Mutter and Ulrich Genth, the walkable roller-coaster titled Tiger & Turtle - Magic Mountain is 45 meters high and consist of 249 steps. Visitors can climb on the curved sculpture and walk around, and take in the surrounding views from the spiral walkways in their own pace.

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Mass Whale Hunting in Faroe Islands Leave Sea Blood Red

Every year the inhabitants of Faroe Islands in north of Europe catch and slaughter pilot whales (Globicephala melaena) during the traditional whale hunt known as 'Grindadrap'. The mass hunting is non-commercial — the whale meat cannot be sold but is divided evenly between members of the local community. The hunters crowd the whales into a bay and then cut their spines leaving the animals bleed to death slowly, while the surrounding sea turns bloody red. These images of a blood-red sea can often have a shocking effect on bystanders.

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