People stuck at the office all summer with no vacation time to speak of must look out of the window and just dream of the far off places they could be adventuring.
Well, now you can pay the cost of such an adventure and send someone—or something—else in your place: your stuffed animal!
The last few years, a travel agency in Tokyo, Japan has made a decent living taking travel plans for stuffed animal owners.
All it costs for the Tokyo tour is $45 or $55 for the onsen (hot spring) trip plus the cost of shipping the toy to the agency. There is a weight limit though: No stuffed animals over 0.55 pounds allowed. Sorry, Fatty the Bear!
As weird as it sounds, the agency does do a lot of good. It's geared toward people who can't make the trip themselves due to handicaps and illnesses.
Some have even mustered up the inspiration to rehabilitate after seeing photos of their stuffed animal having a good time, wanting to visit the place themselves.
So if you can't get out and see the world, at least your playthings can!
Indonesia has been the world’s largest fishery for rays and sharks for almost 30 years.
A dead manta ray is worth $40-$500 in Indonesia. Manta ray tourism, however, can bring in $1 million during the life span of a single ray! Mantas can live to become 50 years old and can travel in groups of up to 50.
The Indonesian government did the math, figuring a ray is worth 2000 times more alive than when it is dead!
This prompted the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to ban fishing and export of mantas in 2014. Indonesia’s 2.2 million square miles of ocean is now the largest sanctuary for manta rays in the world.
This could not have come at a better time for mantra rays whose population has declined in the last ten years and the ray is now listed as “Vulnerable to Extinction" by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Manta products are mostly sold in the Guangzhou region in southern China as part of a scam, proclaiming the gills can cure everything from chickenpox to cancer and infertility.
But it has no curative properties and are not considered a formal component of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, they are not even recognized by traditional medicine practitioners!
In 1858 Abraham Lincoln defended a friend’s son in court.
The young man, William “Duff” Armstrong was accused of murdering James Preston Metzker just before midnight on 29 August 1957.
Jack Armstrong, Lincoln’s friend and Duff’s father, had just passed away and Abraham offered his services without pay to help Jack’s widow during the difficult time she found herself in.
During the trial Armstrong was accused of murdering Metzker with a slung-shot – a maritime tool which consisted of a rope with a heavy weight on one end that was used to cast a line from one place to another.
The principal witness for the prosecution, Charles Allen, claimed that he witnessed Duff killing Preston from 150 feet away.
When Lincoln asked Allen how he could identify Armstrong at such a distance just before midnight in the dark, Allen said, "By the light of the Moon."
Lincoln must have anticipated his response, because he produced an almanac and paged to August 1957. Using the almanac he proved to the jury that the moon was in its first quarter and, at the exact time Allen claimed to have witnessed the murder, the moon was about to set!
The jury agreed with Lincoln that the moon could not possibly have produced enough light for Charles to clearly identify the killer at such a distance, and Duff Armstrong was acquitted!
In 1958 the Chinese leader, Mao Zedong, declared war. He decided there were four things he had had enough of: Mosquitoes, flies, rats and sparrows.
He was informed by his scientists that one sparrow eats about 4.5kg of grain each year. They said that according to those calculations, for every million sparrows killed there would be grain (and therefore food) for 60,000 people.
With only that information and a stubborn unwillingness to listen to anything else, he launched the Great Sparrow Campaign in which all citizens were expected to participate and kill as many sparrows as possible.
On 13 December 1958 alone, 194,432 sparrows were killed! Hundreds of millions were killed during the duration of the campaign and the sparrow almost became extinct in China.
What the scientists failed to mention, was that sparrows eat insects like locusts, and that locusts do much more harm than sparrows can. With no sparrows in sight, the locusts did indeed move in and had free reign.
Suddenly Mao Zedong realized what an eco-system was and hurriedly imported sparrows from the Soviet Union, but it was too late. The overflow of insects contributed to the Great Chinese Famine (1958-1961) in which approximately 30 million people starved to death!
Imagine working on something for four years and then watching it drive away from you because you forgot it in a taxi in a foreign country!
Guillermo del Toro experienced that horrible, sinking feeling first hand.
The Mexican film maker has a habit of writing all his ideas down in leather bound notebooks and he did exactly that with his thoughts surrounding ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’—a movie about a child’s fantasy set in the wake of the Spanish Civil War.
The notebook contained four years’ worth of planning and sketches around the plot and character deign for the movie. It was the foundations of the entire project.
Del Toro tried to run after the British taxi, but to no avail. He jumped in another taxi and asked the driver to follow the one driving off with his hard work, but they could not catch up with it.
Luckily the cabbie noticed the journal on the back seat of his cab. He found a scrap of paper with the logo of the hotel Guillermo was staying in printed on it. There was no name or address for the hotel, but he went to work finding the owner of the leather bound journal.
Two days later he returned the notebook to Del Toro who was so delighted that he tipped the driver $900!
Until that day he was not even sure if he was going to make the movie, but after the kind act of the taxi driver, he believed it was a sign that ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ had to be made.