North Korea: World’s Most Unlikely Tourism Destination?

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  Why would you want to visit North Korea, a country where a quarter of the population is starving and slagging off the government can buy you a trip to a prison camp? It turns out that it’s a surprisingly nice to place be, on the surface… North Korea was forged in war. Annexed by Japan in 1910, Korea was divvied up between the Soviet Union and the USA after World War II. But while East and West Germany were able to survive the same treatment and reunify in the 1980s, the conflict between North and South Korea was always more volatile. A war over sovereignty that began in 1950 was never officially ended. The two nations still co-exist under an uneasy ceasefire. Though it claims to be a democratic state, North Korea is controlled by a single family – a totalitarian regime lead by the Kim dynasty and their Worker’s Party of Korea. And they don’t call it “North Korea” – they call it the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”. DPRK for short. “It’s a dictatorship of the most extreme kind,” says travel writer Tim Urban at his site whatbutwhy.com, “A cult of personality beyond anything Stalin or Mao could have imagined.”…

Reptilian Shapeshifters: Which Celebrities Are Really Reptiles?

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I think there can be no doubt at all that some of us are aliens. There’s simply too much evidence out there and too many blogs, sites and niche magazines dedicated to the fact. But there seems to be a massive proportion of the famous and renowned who were born as thinly disguised reptiles, arrived here from another planet and decided to pursue a career in light entertainment while avidly observing our behaviour. A few brave souls, particularly on YouTube, are dedicated to unmasking these lizard people for the baddies that they are and telling the world who is a shapeshifter and why. Here are a few of the top candidates, with indefatigable proof included. GEORGE BUSH Not George W. Bush, he is merely the son of an alien, but his dad, George Bush Snr, the one that Homer Simpson beat up. In this video, you can see that his fearful reptillian eyes shape-shift in a weird manner during a debate with Bill Clinton (probably another alien, he just hides it better). Others claim his weird eyes are down to demonic possession. Either way, it’s not good. PAUL McCARTNEY You’ll see a whole host of reptillian shape-shifters on offer in…

Doctor Who: How To Be More Like The Timelord

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He’s over two thousand years old, travels through space and time in a wooden box and is always the smartest person in the room. Who wouldn’t want to be more like the Doctor? Coming back to the telly box this Saturday, Doctor Who is now in its 51st year – with a title character who could teach us a thing or two about how to live a life more interesting. While we don’t know exactly what Peter Capaldi’s twelfth Doctor will be like yet, we can speculate. His face changes every few years, but he’s always the Doctor; an eccentric mass of compassion, cleverness and contradiction. These constants make him a truly fantastic hero – and a realistic role model. You don’t need a police call box that’s bigger on the inside or two hearts to be a better, less boring, more adventurous you. Let’s count down the ways you can be a bit more like the Doctor. The Doctor is never cowardly or cruel Former script editor and Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks was first to describe the titular time lord as “never cowardly or cruel”. Those words were used again as the Doctor’s motto in the 50th anniversary…

How To Be A Traveller (Not a Tourist)

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Tourists. Don’t you just hate them? Standing around on the pavement taking photos, blocking the doorways on the tube or babbling away loudly on the bus when you’re trying to read your book. Why can’t they be more like the natives; soaking up the real experience of the places they visit? That, fair friends, is the difference between a tourist and a traveller. The traveller makes their own decisions. They go to a foreign land to see what it really has to offer. The tourist goes to another country and laps up a packaged experience. Be honest; how often have you been that tourist? The guy claiming the sun lounger with his towel at 6.30 in the morning? The girl pickled in sangria, one shoe lost in the high street? The next time you go away, be a traveller instead – doing what the locals do and going where the experience takes you. You’ll come home a a lot more interesting than you were before you set off. Stay in one place for a while Get any train from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen and you’ll be seated near an American family “doing” Europe. There’s a least one in every…

7 Reasons To Carry A Penknife

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You’re heading out the front door, checking your pockets. You’ve got your wallet, phone, keys… What’s missing? Ah – yes. Your penknife. Because no right-minded person leaves the house without one. More properly, no-one should be without a multipurpose penknife; like the famous Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox. We’d suggest going for a Victorinox Spartan Pocket Tool or Swiss Army Hiker Knife. Some multipurpose knives are overkill, but both these models are compact, useful tools you can pop into your pocket and forget. Until you need them, that is. And you need them more than you think. 1. Cut things up Yep – it’s a knife, so it’s ideal for cutting things up. Chop up your Snickers bar in half, divide your sandwich and save a bit for later or slice a banana into your porridge in the morning. Our personal fave; use a penknife to carve up and eat an apple. Sounds like a waste of time? Your Grandad probably ate apples with his trusty pocket knife, avoiding all the icky brown bits and worm holes hiding under the skin. Bonus points: slicing up an apple also makes much less mess than chomping into one bite by bite. Grandad…

How to Start A Fire With No Matches Or Lighter

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Everyone knows how to make fire. You just take out a lighter and flick a switch – or strike a match. But what if you don’t have those things? What if you’re stuck in the wilderness with just what you’re wearing between you and the elements? Clue: your new name is “Wolf Food”. Maybe not. The ability to make fire is what separates us from animals. Chimpanzees can use tools and communicate with sign language, but the minute they learn how to build a bonfire this’ll be Planet of the Apes. Fire civilises. It brings light and warmth to the most inhospitable places. It dries us when we’re wet and lets us cook our food. It scares away creatures that mean us harm and stops us from perishing from hypothermia in the desert night. It keeps us alive. So, if there’s one thing you should learn to do  – one thing you have a duty to learn as a human being – it’s how to make fire. Sparks As Bruce Springsteen will tell you, you can’t start a fire without a spark. Well, you can – but using a spark is a classic method. It’s how your lighter works, after all. Sparks…

British Summer Time: 11 Things You Won’t See Anywhere Else

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Ahhhhhh! Is there anything more glorious than a British summer? The intrigue, the confusion, the unpredictability. Sadly, other countries have to suffer the unfortunate condition whereby they endure months of uniform heat and sunshine. Now how is that supposed to keep you on your toes and form character? No, give me the UK summertime any day with it’s biting winds, sudden sleet and lobster red participants. And when you do luxuriate in our finest of seasons, keep your eye out for these idiosyncratic happenings. DOGS OUTSIDE PUBS DRINKING WATER FROM FRAY BENTOS TINS Some locations have their palm trees, tranquil lakes and unusual insects. But I challenge you to find any other country that has so many hot dogs standing in the street noisily lapping water from an oven-baked pie tin.  It brings a lump to the throat every time you witness it, especially if it’s a labrador. BUSINESSMEN LOOKING CONSPICUOUS AS THEY EAT SOLEROS Some things just look out of place when wearing a suit. Limboing. Deep fat frying. And, of course, eating luxury ice lollies. But once the temperature hits a certain point, you simply have no choice except to duck into a newsagents and avail yourself of…

How to Play Guitar: Get Your First Gig In Seven Days

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To become an expert in anything, it takes 10,000 hours practice. Stuff that, we say. You can learn how to play guitar in about seven days. Most of those days will be spent practicing over and over until your fingers feel like they’re made of leather – but it can, we promise, be done. First, gather together all the stuff you will need: An acoustic guitar Some plectra (the plural of “plectrum”) A guitar strap A capo (we’ll explain this later) Three chords Finger tips of steel (these will come with practice) Why an acoustic guitar? Electric guitars are more expensive and they require additional stuff to work, like an amplifier and electricity. You can play an acoustic guitar anywhere. Also, you don’t need to spend a lot on an acoustic guitar. You can pick up a playable instrument new for under £100. If you don’t mind buying second-hand, you can halve that. Take a muso friend with you when you buy your guitar to make sure it’s not a lemon. Or just borrow your muso friend’s guitar. Much cheaper. Plectrums are the little plastic doohickeys you use to strum the strings of your guitar. Get half a dozen, medium thickness from any…

How to Win at Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Every Time

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Poker is cool. It’s like playing snap, except that you can win money. And now that there’s online poker, you don’t even have to put your trousers on when you play. Did you know there are people who play poker for a living? It’s totally a thing. The best players take home tens of millions of dollars every year.They can do that because poker isn’t a game of chance – it’s a game of odds. If you play the odds intelligently and consistently, you can win at poker over and over. And over. If you’ve never played poker at all the game is easy to pick up. Try a few free sites or mobile apps to learn the basics. Once you have the rules down, these eight tips will transform you from a poker rookie to a pro by the time you’ve finished reading. Don’t play drunk The Hollywood image of poker is of hard drinking men in back rooms chomping cigars and sipping bourbon. Truth is, alcohol impairs your judgement – in a specific way – that makes it a no-no for poker. It decreases your inhibitions so you’re more likely to take a chance. To win at poker,…

How to Cheat Death With A Lightning Strike

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Though it’s a common atmospheric phenomenon with over 8 million known lightning bolts flung from the heavens every day, there are still some mysteries that scientists don’t quite understand. We do know that in storm conditions clouds act like giant capacitors, storing up electrical energy. Lightning is the discharge of this energy between the ground and the cloud. With an average 30,000 Amperes of charge, there’s enough electrical power in a single bolt of lightning to power 3500 kettles or to light up 250 houses. The core of the bolt is five times hotter than the sun. We could go into much more detail, but this isn’t a science lesson – the only other thing you need to know is that if you’re hit by lightning, you might die. Instantly. How could you possibly survive that? Fortunately for you, we know. The Facts According to David Hand’s book The Improbability Principle, the chances that you’ll be struck and killed by lightning in the course of your lifetime are 300,000 to 1. Some statistical sources halve that to 1 in 140,000. Either way you look at it, those are pretty long odds… You’re more likely to be legally executed than are…