Dangerously Genocidal


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Friday, 9 June 2017

6 Serial Killers That Have Never Been Caught

June 09, 2017 0
Jack the Ripper and The Zodiac Killer; infamous serial killers that still hold a certain fascination for people years later. Everyone knows them, especially because these notorious killers had never been caught. But they aren’t the only ones out there – and considering how far investigative techniques have come, it’s a little scary how many serial killers still manage to avoid police. Worse still, not all of them are actually that good – but they are brutal, ruthless and, in some cases, just really lucky. Here are:

6 Serial Killers That Have Never Been Caught

1. Edmonton Serial Killer, Canada

This is one serial killer – if he is a serial killer – who still has so many questions surrounding him that he doesn’t even have an official name. It all started in 1975, when the first body was discovered. Since then there have been at least 30 bodies of women discovered, all dumped in the fields around Edmonton in Alberta, Canada – many of them burned to death. So why is there no real interest? Unfortunately for the victims – and potential victims – they are mostly indigenous people, and prostitutes to boot. Neither of these things rank the poor victims high up on the priority list.

In 2003 Project KARE was established – a task force that is meant to be dedicated to solving these crimes and catching the killer (or killers) responsible. So far they’ve managed to establish a DNA database of the local sex workers – so that, you know, they can identify the bodies of more victims.

Believe it or not, they actually have a voice recording of the alleged serial killer. In 2010 Amber Tuccaro, one of the victims, made a call to her brother and it just so happened that the killer yacked on a bit himself. Eager to solve the case, the police released the tape… 2 years later. Reports indicate that women have actually come forward to identify the voice – but if the police have made any progress, they haven’t indicated anything.

The fact is this; until someone starts to take this spree of murders seriously, though, this is one killer that’s just going to keep on killing.

2. Highway of Tears Murderer, Canada

Another Canadian culprit, this murderer has been responsible for over 40 estimated female victims. All of the women were thought to be taken along a 720km stretch of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, starting in 1969. The latest reports of missing women are from as recently as 2011. There are 23 First Nations communities along the stretch, and the region Is plagued by poverty and lack of public transportation – which is ideal for this killer, as it forces his victims to resort to hitchhiking.

Naturally, there are many critics that blame systemic racism on the lack of results from the investigation. See, there's a little detail that is often overlooked... many of the victims are, in fact, First Nation women, and these critics claim that less value are placed on their lives. Their claims do seem to hold some water – Project E-Pana (another ‘project’, who woulda thunk?), responsible for looking into the murders, was only established in 2005. That’s 36 years since the first reported victims. To top it off, the victim that received the most attention (from both the media and police) was Nicole Hoar – a Caucasian woman who disappeared in 2002.

To date, no other progress has really been made. It does make one wonder, in this day and age, why it seems that less value is still placed on the lives of indigenous peoples. Aren’t we all flesh and blood people, damn it?

3. The Rainbow Maniac, Brazil

Between February 2007 and August 2008, 13 men were murdered in Paturis Park, Carapicuiba. The victims were aged 20-40 years old, with the first victim being beaten to death. The rest of the victims were all shot in the head, the last victim in the spree being shot twelve times. So… why these victims, and why the name ‘Rainbow Maniac’? Well, some insensitive asshole of a cop must have come up with the name while laughing it up with his buddies – the name refers to the gay pride flag. All of the victims were gay men.

It’s interesting to note that officials from the State Public Safety Department did actually announce that the killer could be a cop. They set out to prove it too, testing for the weapon used in the murder. Considering that they’ve been doing this since 2008, though, doesn’t inspire much confidence.

A retired state police sergeant was arrested in December of 2008, believe it or not. A witness took the risk and came forward which implicated the sergeant in the final murder. Another witness also claimed that the sergeant was no stranger to the park, looking for gay men. So, what happened to him? Oh, he had a trial. Not sure how surprising it was, though, when he was declared not guilty by a jury, with 4 votes to 2.

Whether he was guilty or not, the Rainbow Maniac is still out there.

4. The Doodler, California

According to reports, The Doodler (or The Black Doodler, as he was also known) was a serial killer in San Francisco. Between 1974 and 1975, the Doodler was responsible for 3 assaults and the deaths of 14 gay men. His nickname came from the fact that he first sketched his victims before sleeping with and then stabbing them to death. Here’s what makes this particular case so sad: Remember the 3 assaults? The police did arrest a suspect, and all three victims could have testified against him in court. They chose not to, for fear of persecution by their families, friends and employers for being homosexual - especially since one was a well-known entertainer, and another a diplomat.

If I may say so… people suck.

Harvey Milk publicly sympathised with the victims and their fear to come forward due to the persecution of gay men at the time. The fact that this serial killer was never brought to justice can, perhaps, be blamed on the fear of three men… but, in this writer’s personal opinion, the judgemental dickwads responsible for that atmosphere of fear and rejection is just as much to blame.

5. Charlie Chop-off, New York

This bastard – and I refuse to call him anything else – was active in Manhattan between 1972 and 1974. He was responsible for the deaths of five children, while leaving another child for dead. At one point a man did come forward and admit to one of the murders but, in the end, he was sent back to a mental institution – which leaves you to wonder if he was responsible for these killings or not.

The police still think that the mental patient, Soto, was responsible for the murders – and even the mental institute claims that he ‘could have’ escaped (excuse me, say WHAT?!) several times to commit the murders – and sneak back into the institute afterwards. But no, he’s not sane enough to know what he’s doing. Besides, you know, child murdering serial killers have ‘rights’.

The victims, generally between the ages of 8-10, were abducted and stabbed – not once, but up to thirty-eight times. The killer didn’t stop there. As if abducting and stabbing the young boys weren’t enough, Charlie also mutilated them. If you can’t figure out how this particular sicko did that, let me put it to you this way: if he’d been called Chop-off John, it wouldn’t have been inaccurate.

6. The Babysitter, Michigan

The name given to this particular killer is very apt, considering his M.O. Between 1976 and 1977, this killer abducted, and murdered, four children – that are known, but more are suspected. The victims that are known include two boys and two girls; Mark Stebbins (12), Kristine Mihelich (10), Timothy King (11) and Jill Robinson (12). Before he would kill them, the murderer would keep them for anything from 4 to 19 days – hence the name ‘Babysitter’.

Although the bodies tended to be arranged neatly, hands folded and clothed, their appearance belied the horrors they’d been subjected to. Both Mark and Timothy had been sexually assaulted by an object before being murdered. Mark was strangled, Jill shot in the face with a shotgun, Kristine was smothered and Timothy had been suffocated. In an emotional appeal for the safe return of their son, Tim’s mother said she wanted to serve him KFC – his favourite food.

Maybe it was a sign of emotion from the killer, or maybe he just to prove that he was aware of the suffering he caused. Either way, Timothy’s post-mortem showed that he’d recently had KFC to eat. Despite tips, a specialized task force and a $100,000 reward… the killer was never caught.

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Thursday, 8 June 2017

6 Idiotic Decisions That Changed the Course of History

June 08, 2017 0
People do stupid things and they make really bad, really moronic decisions. Most of the time, thankfully, you can hide beneath your covers until the embarrassment blows over. Unfortunately, not everyone can escape their bad decisions, especially not when those decisions set our history on a completely new course. Sometimes it was for the better, other times for the worse. Here are:

6 Idiotic Decisions That Changed the Course of History

1. Cascading Brain Failure – The Chernobyl Disaster

Everyone knows about Chernobyl and the disaster that caused one of the biggest nuclear accidents in our history. Although the ‘direct’ fatalities only number about 31, estimates place the total amount of victims who died between 9,000 and 27,000 – and that’s not counting the thousands who suffered other effects, including those suffering from birth defects. So what exactly caused this disaster? Well… a lot.

It all started with an experimental test of a voltage regulating system. Everything was planned, with experts in attendance (because why would they have experts working on site?). Unfortunately, the experiment had to be cut short, so they delayed it… for a few hours. Just long enough to put the testing time smack in the middle of the night shift, with no experts. These geniuses, who decided to proceed with the test to avoid delays, initiated the experiment.

Pretty soon warnings started popping up all over the place – but hey, who gives a shite about big warning lights that practically scream “TURN BACK, JACKASS!”? Not these brave souls. Reports actually stated that some of the fail-safe's that were meant to prevent such a disaster had been padlocked to prevent them from engaging – because, again, who gives a shite about safety? Throw in a few more moronic manoeuvres, and you’ve got an exploded reactor on your hands.

Do they evacuate? Nah. Warn the people? HELL no. This is MUTHER RUSSIA. She has no disasters. Thus, on the orders of their superior, Akimov, all the poor buggers just kept working – mainly on clearing up all the debris. Without safety gear. With their hands, actually. Give you one guess who was amongst the aforementioned victims. The residents of the area were only evacuated days later because no one wanted to admit to their major fuckup.

And there you have it. One plague of chronic brain failure, and one giant scar of human stupidity left on the Russian countryside.

2. Just Keep Your Eyes Open – The Titanic

The sinking of the Titanic has been blamed on many things – mainly on the big iceberg that had just ‘appeared’ out of nowhere and placed itself right in the way of the giant ship. That’s what they wanted people to think. Sadly, the sinking of the Titanic can be traced to several possible causes – and all of them squarely to blame on a severe infestation of idiots.

Not only was the Titanic going too fast (since the Captain was dead set on making the crossing faster than the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic), but they also ignored several warnings about ice-fields. That particular problem occurred because the messages didn’t contain a prefix (MSG) that would indicate that they’re urgent. Because of that tiny detail the radio operator decided that all these repeated warnings were probably nothing important, and went back to doing whatever the hell he was doing. Besides, the lookouts were keeping an eye on the horizon – they would spot any problems, right?

Wrong. See, there was an officer that had been supposed to be on the Titanic, but he was bumped off at the last minute. That officer, David Blair, walked away with a key in his pocket. A locker key. A locker that contained the very binoculars that the lookout needed to spot the iceberg. At this point the fact that the steersman turned right instead of left was just icing on this frozen disaster. We’re not even going to go into the bloody lifeboat catastrophe.

3. No One’s Made This Mistake Before! – Napoleon and Hitler Invade Russia

First Napoleon screwed up. Who knows what exactly his reasons were – chronic boredom, possibly – but one fine day Napoleon got it into his head that he was going to march his 750-thousand strong army right into Moscow. But the Russians weren’t stupid – they retreated further and further into the wastes, burning everything as they went. By the time the tiny Emperor got to Moscow there was diddlysquat for him to find, aside from some smoking ruins. Miserable and quite put out, Napoleon turned his men around and headed for home.

Unfortunately for Napoleon, his army was now a prime target. With their supply lines pretty much obliterated, the starving (and freezing, now that winter was setting in) soldiers could scarcely cope with the constant attacks from Russian harassment units. Of the 750,000 that went in, less than a third came out.

Now, you’d think future warmongering dip-shites would have learned their lesson. Not so with Mr. Can-Do-No-Wrong Hitler. Let’s be clear about one thing – the Nazi’s did NOT invade Russia in the winter. In fact, they started their march somewhere around midsummer. And Hitler, confident man that he was, was 100% convinced that the soldiers would have Moscow conquered well before winter set in. As such, the soldiers were not given the supplies they would have needed for a Russian winter.

Everything was going right on track, until some trouble kicked up around Kiev. The march was put on hold to take care of this little problem first, before the soldiers were sent to continue on their way. Unfortunately for the soldiers, the delay in the march did land them in the icy chills of a Russian winter. And, being without adequate supplies… well, we all know how the invasion turned out. Heil der Idiot Führer.

4. Um, well… Right Now, I Think – The Berlin Wall

Ah, the Berlin Wall. The biggest symbol of the split between Democracy and Communism. Whoever thought that it would fall, especially when that split was nowhere near being resolved? And yet, that is exactly what happened. In 1989, almost like it was orchestrated by some higher power, the wall came down. But what brought it all about? Believe it or not… it all happened because one moronic politician didn’t bother reading his speech before giving it.

The idiot in this case was Gunter Schabowski. It was his job to hold a press conference with the express intention of notifying the people there would be minor changes in procedure. Please note, minor. Basically, travel was going to be permitted from one side to the other. That was what Schabowski intended to say; that’s not what the paparazzi heard. As far as they were concerned, Schabowski had just told them that the divide was over.

In their excitement to get the ball rolling already, the press quickly asked about when this change was to take effect. Schabowski looked to his speech for an answer… and found none. So he decided to just wing it. His exact words: “Immediately, right away.”. Chaos ensued. The people didn’t bother waiting for any kind of official change to take place. Hell no, screw that; they’d been waiting long enough. Thank the lucky stars that the military didn’t panic under the onslaught and start firing into the crowd, or the story of that day might be very different. Instead they retreated, and the wall fell.

The end of communism, thanks to one question and one idiot who never had a filter installed between his brain and his mouth. That’s politicians for you.

5. Not That Way, Idiot! - WWI

If you know how World War I was started, then it’s probably safe to assume that you know it was because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife. And you’d be right – they were murdered, and soon enough everyone was at everyone else’s throats. Here’s the thing… if not for one monumental fuckup, the Archduke would have been just fine. Might even have gone on to claim the throne. So where did things go wrong? Well…

During that specific day there had been several attempts on the Archduke’s life. None of them succeeded. Believe it or not, the chauffeur was even responsible for saving the Archduke’s life by deflecting a bomb. What a hero, wouldn’t you say? But let’s be fair; it wasn’t completely his fault that everything went wrong during the last trip. Due to the numerous assassination attempts there was a route change implemented – but no one seemed inclined to inform the drivers of this route change.

The chauffeur took the planned route to the hospital, taking a ‘wrong turn’. It was that wrong turn that brought the little party to within… oh, just about five feet of a man named Gavrilo Princip – another assassin. The dedicated assassin didn’t even hesitate. He pulled out a gun, fired off two shots, Bob’s your uncle and Betty’s your aunt – WWI begins.

6. Ignore The Messenger, I’m Drunk – Battle of Trenton

George Washington wasn’t that great a strategist, but he was one of the luckiest generals to ever exist. But we’re not going to focus on his extensive battles. No, for this list we’re going to focus on only one; arguably, one of the most important battles fought during the revolutionary war. It had been a very bad year for the revolution, so General Washington had the bright idea to do something completely and insanely rude – he was going to attack the Hessian Army on Christmas, because who in their right mind would attack during the hols?

Had the Hessian army not been under the command of a drunken, gambling halfwit (at least, that’s what Colonel Johann Rall was on Christmas Eve), the American Revolution might have gone down in the annals of history as a gigantic failure. See, as Washington was approaching, he and his army were spotted by a loyalist. A servant was immediately dispatched to go and warn the army that the enemy was on the way.

The messenger never got to see Colonel Rall. The good colonel was too busy having a few drinks and playing cards, and was in absolutely no mood to be disturbed. Instead the guards had the messenger write a note, which they then passed on to the Colonel. As it happened, Rall was German. The note was in English. The commander didn’t understand a word of it, stuck it in his pocket, and went on with his game. You can bet your arse he remembered the note the next morning when he and his men were woken from their hungover sleep by the arrival of Washington and his army.

Just imagine what the world would have been if the messenger had come running with cries of “THE AMERICANS ARE COMING, THE AMERICANS ARE COMING!” instead.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

6 Beautifully Surrealistic Natural Places On Earth

June 07, 2017 0
There are some really beautiful and amazing places in the world, there’s no denying that. Breath-taking waterfalls, beautiful forests and majestic mountains and formations. But there are a few places that take it to a whole new level. Not only are they absolutely amazing but, when you take a closer look, it almost seems like you’re not on sweet planet Earth anymore. What makes these places so beautiful and special is how unreal they look. Here are:

6 Beautifully Surrealistic Natural Places On Earth

1. Zhangye Mountains, China

Everyone knows how mountains should look – big and brown, some trees and flowers, and maybe a few fluffy clouds or some snow at the top. That’s the traditional idea, at least. But whoever or whatever created the Zhangye Mountains in China had a completely different idea. Like something that jumped right off Salvador Dali’s canvas, the colourful Zhangye Mountains rise up in varying shades – depending on the angle and the light you could see anything from red, blue, green, orange… and everything in between.

The explanation for the colorization isn’t all that complicated (if you’re a geologist, anyway). Apparently the colours are due to weathering, oxidization, and a mix of the rock, clay and stone types that make up the mountains (again, which creator deity was drunk enough to vomit up a mixture like this?). In 2009 the mountains were made protected by UNESCO as a heritage site, mainly due to the development of surrounding areas and an increase in tourism.

Strange as they may look we have to admit this much: The Zhangye Mountains are as beautiful as they are strange, and definitely worth the trip to see them.

2. The ‘Lost Island’ of Socotra, Yemen

Have you ever wondered what the world might have looked like when dinosaurs were still alive? Or what the plant life on an alien planet might look like? Then there is only one place that you need to go: The ‘Lost Island’ of Socotra. According to experts, the plants on Socotra (like the aptly named, red sap Dragonblood tree) are 20 million years old. Yes, 20 MILLION. The popular thinking is that the plants are so unique because the remoteness of the island never required them to evolve. Not to mention the lack of human interference destroying them.

The trees and plants look like strange upturned umbrellas, with leaves only growing at the top of the knobbly branches – and that’s just one species. There are 307 species of plants that can only be found on the island, as well as 10 unique species of birds – and that’s just some of the unique plants and animals you can find there. To protect this little island out of time, UNESCO declared it a world heritage site – something we can all be thankful for, as a lot of the unique life on the island is already endangered.

If you want to experience the past like you’ve never imagined you could, Socotra is the place for you.

3. The Stone Forest of Kunming, China

This so called ‘Wonder of the World’ is about… 270 million years in the making. Back then the entire region was an expanse of sea. But, as the 270 million years ticked down to the more recent millennia, the water retreated and left behind one of the most interesting landscapes you could think to see – over 400 square kilometres of giant stone formations littering the landscape. This has become known as the Stone Forest, and with the way the natural landscape formed around it, the name is perfect.

The ‘forest’ is broken into three parts: The Major Stone Forest, the Minor Stone Forest and the Naigu Stone Forest, each one with their own unique formations. Here and there you might even spot a few formations that don’t look anything like the towering rocks that surrounds them. There are even a few local myths and legends that surround the forest.

In the end, the oddly-shaped and rock-lined landscape looks like something right out of an alien movie.

4. Waitomo Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

It’s a cave, you say. What’s so special about a cave? An excellent question, and it has an excellent answer. See, in these particular caves in Waitomo there lives a very special little worm. This worm lives nowhere else but in New Zealand, and in the Waitomo Caves there are millions of them. It’s these worms that make the caves special – because they glow.

Discovered in 1887, the caves started welcoming visitors in 1889. Since then they’ve only risen in popularity, with thousands of tourists coming to see them. And they are remarkable. The roof and walls of the caves are littered with the tiny glowing worms, giving the inside an otherworldly and ethereal feel – as if you’re a giant being looking at the stars of the cosmos sparkling around you. Aside from tours, there have even been people who’ve gone there to take their wedding photos. Surrounded by the ‘stars’… now that’s one way to make your special day even more unforgettable.

5. Cave of the Crystals, Mexico

Ever seen the first Superman movie? The one where Christopher Reeve was hot, but started off a series of films that became the worst sequels in history? Yes, those. And remember, in the very first film, what Krypton looked like? Giant crystal cities on a crystal planet – like a giant geode turned inside out. And geodes are something we have here on Earth, too. But have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk inside a geode? To walk in a landscape and a city that looked like Krypton?

Now you can.

In Mexico you’ll find the Naica Mine and inside, the most amazing crystal formations. The crystals are mainly selenite, with the largest crystal (that has been found so far) measuring a whopping 12m in length, and weighs 55 tons – that’s about 11 average sized African elephants. Because of where it’s situated (above an ancient fault and above a magma chamber) the crystals could form – over a period of 500,000 YEARS. It gets better, too. Apparently entirely new organisms are being discovered in the cave system, specifically evolved to withstand the high temperature and ridiculously high levels of humidity, and not related to anything in the known genetic database of life on Earth.

In other words, not only does it look like another planet, but it has life down there that you won’t find anywhere else.

6. Tianzi Mountains, China

I’m going to bring up another movie for this one (I like movies, alright?!), and this time I’m going to refer you to the gorgeous floating mountains in the film Avatar. Remember those? Well, as it turns out, they’re not completely fake. Yes, alright, the real ones don’t actually float all over the place, but the location itself does exist. These odd pillars of stone and marble rise up high into the sky and, with the usual misty clouds that lazily drift between them, you’d almost swear that they were floating.

The mountains are considered sacred by many of the locals, and there’s even a monastery half carved into, half hanging off one of the mountains. Like the stone forest, it’s theorized that Tianzi was one under water but, as it retreated over the course of 400 million years, the mountains were formed.

The Tianzi mountains are, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful sights, and it’s no wonder that the surrealistic sight inspired the creation of a planet of blue aliens and giant, colourful prehistorical-looking bird-bats.

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Tuesday, 6 June 2017

6 Cute and Wild Critters We Wish We Could Have as Pets

June 06, 2017 0
Nature is filled with cute and cuddly creatures of all shapes and sizes. Some of them are so adorable that it can be hard to remember that those cute critters are actually wild animals, and many people do go so far as to keep them for pets. But there are some hard truths to face when keeping a wild animal as a house-pet. Honestly, though, unless you really know what you’re doing, here are:

6 Cute and Wild Critters We Wish We Could Have as Pets

1. Red Panda

The Appeal: There’s no denying that the little Red Panda is absolutely adorable. They seem to be very playful and sweet, not to mention all fuzzy and cuddly. They’re not generally considered to be dangerous and add in that they are an endangered species… well, who wouldn’t want to save a little Panda or two, and get the added bonus of snuggling with it as it curls up on their laps?

The Reality: Unfortunately, there are a lot of things to take into account with Red Pandas. First off, they’re arboreal – in other words, they like to climb trees. A lot. They need a large outdoor enclose, with an indoor shelter, and regulated temperatures. You’ve also got to be ready to deal with the rather strong scent of their territorial markings – they use their anal glands for that. They need to be cleaned often, are mostly active at night, and eat a lot of fresh bamboo every day. And then there are the health risks – Red Pandas are prone to canine distemper, a fatal disease, and frequently need to be checked for parasites and dental disease.

In Conclusion: They might look like adorable little crosses between raccoons and teddy-bears, but the Red Panda is not an animal to be kept as a pet, unless you have extensive experience and the money to spare.

2. Arctic Fox

The Appeal: As one of the most mellow species of fox – and definitely one of the fuzziest and most adorable – arctic foxes almost look like the perfect little not-dog cuddle buddies. They have the most adorable little laughs, interesting quirks, and they are highly intelligent to boot. Some pet foxes even have their own favourite cuddle toys, and properly socialized pet foxes can interact really well with people and even other pets (large pets, that is. Your hamster, however, will be a nice snack). The fact that they can learn to use litter boxes is a definite bonus.

The Reality: First thing you need to take into consideration is temperature. They need cold weather; if you live in a hot climate, this is one pet you shouldn’t have. They also have quite a distinctive scent, marking their territory with urine and feces, and require early socialization training. They’re also very curious (and very sly) creatures, making them prone to escape attempts just because something interesting caught their attention. Also, when training a fox, positive reinforcement is the way to go – spanking will not help you here. Although they can survive on puppy food, they also need a supplemented diet of vegetables, eggs and meat – but no pork! And remember, other small pets are food, not friends. And they are diggers, so if you’re a gardener… kiss your petunias goodbye.

In Conclusion: Although foxes can be kept as pets, you have to keep in mind that they need a lot of training, attention and special care. Vets are also, more than likely, going to charge you an arm and a leg to treat your fox – and you have to have them vaccinated. You also need to be extremely patient. Unless you’re ready to bond with your new fox partner for life, just don’t go there.

3. Striped Hyena

The Appeal: Striped Hyenas can actually make great pets – with certain things taken into account - if they’d been tamed from birth. They’re highly intelligent but, unfortunately, they are also endangered. In many ways, their behaviour is like that of dogs – but instead of barking, they laugh at you. And, believe it or not, they are actually really adorable and lovable animals that can steal your heart with a big, toothy smile.

The Reality: If you want to keep a Striped Hyena as a pet, there are a few things you’re going to have to be prepared for – over and above their unique sounds. These hyenas communicate a lot via their scent, and mark their territory with their anal pouches. They also need a good sized territory – these animals are not meant to be house pets alone. They also have a distinctive diet – not only do they tend to be carrion eaters, but they also need eggs, insects, fish, fruits and vegetables. They also tend to regurgitate pellets, much like owls do. And make no mistake, they might be ‘tamed’, but striped hyenas have quite the bite on them – they’re perfectly capable of killing an animal with one snap.

In Conclusion: If you don’t mind the scent, if you have a large enough property, and if you have the patience and the time to raise them from early on, then a Striped Hyena would be a great pet for you – just make sure you don’t have any smaller pets or kids around that might end up a perfectly natural snack.

4. Meerkat

The Appeal: No matter who you are, you can probably name one movie or commercial that’s shown off just how adorable Meerkats can be. They are playful, love to snuggle, and are undeniably cute when they clamber all over their beloved owners. They’re quite intelligent, too, and very fluffy – which is great, since they also love to be scratched, tickled and groomed. The idea of Meerkats as pets has also grown significantly in the past ten years.

The Reality: Most people who buy a meerkat for a pet only get one – which is just about the worst thing you could do to a meerkat. They are incredibly social – in the wild they live in massive family groups – and a lone meerkat will turn to self–mutilation and can even become suicidal. They also need a special enclosure with both an outdoor and indoor area.

They’re also extremely care intensive. You can’t keep Meerkats if you have a day job – they need constant socialization and stimulation, being highly energetic. You should also be able to afford to cater to their dietary needs of fruits, vegetables and meat, and you better not mind mischievous little creatures trying to dig through your pillows, cushions, carpets and floors. They also have extremely sharp teeth and claws that can chomp right down to the bone – in other words, be prepared to get a few nips, and don’t let your kids play with them unsupervised.

In Conclusion: Meerkats can make great, loving and loyal pets. But, unless you have the dedicated time that they need and the money to cater to their living, feeding and social requirements – and have very thick skin / cheap furniture – don’t get a Meerkat.

5. Black-footed Cat

The Appeal: These cats are the smallest wild cats in Africa, coming in at a whopping… 2kg’s (4.5lbs). They are, without a doubt, one of the cutest little felines; not just because of their size, but also due to their almost unnaturally big, cute eyes. It’s also quite fluffy and looks to be the perfect snuggling companion. Basically, it’s every cat lover’s weakness. It also has to be said that they are amazing little creatures that are, very sadly, endangered.

The Reality: Although some people have managed to keep black-footed cats as pets, they’ve generally been hand reared since birth – and for good reason. Despite their overpowering level of cuteness, these cats are not for the faint of heart. They come from a very arid region, and tend to get most of their water from their food, requiring very little drinking water in normal circumstances. High humidity, or cold temperatures, are a death sentence.

They’re also nocturnal, and like to spend their days hidden away under rock ledges or in empty termite mounds – which is why they’re locally referred to as ‘Miershoop Tier’ or ‘Anthill Tigers’, and the tiger part is not an exaggeration. These cats are still hunters, and they don’t realize that they’re not part of the big cats. Aside from their normal food of insects, spiders, birds and rodents, they’ve been known to hunt sheep and have even gone after giant giraffes. You have to keep in mind that these cats are extremely energetic, and eat significant amounts to keep up with their metabolism. What they can’t eat, they hide. Oh, and just a little head’s up… these cats are loud. Really, really loud.

In Conclusion: Unless you have the right environment suited to these cats, a lot of patience, insane amounts of energy, and enough money to keep up with their eating habits (and hunting of your furniture, pets, neighbour’s dog or neighbour) – and a lot of experience dealing with wild cats – this is one adorable kitty you should pass on.

6. Hedgehog

The Appeal: From the critters on this list, hedgehogs are probably the ones who are most often actually kept as pets – and who can blame their owners? They look deceptively fluffy, and they have the most adorable little faces. There’s also a lot of information available on keeping them as pets. They’re also known to bond closely with their owners, making them a loyal and cute little friend.

The Reality: They may look fluffy, but you’ve got to understand that those are still prickly spines that cover their backs. They don’t shoot them like porcupines (and hedgehogs are not rodents), but that doesn’t mean that they are any less sharp, especially when they’re curled up in little balls – and apparently, they’re not all that easy to unfurl either. They also groom their spines with spit, which might be a little ‘gross’ for some.

You also have to socialize your hedgehog and keep him active – they love to eat, and can suffer from obesity. They’re also nocturnal little critters. Hedgehogs are not silent, either. They snuff, grunt, squeal, whistle and even purr. They also scream, mainly when in pain. Most importantly, Hedgehogs can carry diseases which are contagious to people – including salmonella, ringworm spores, etc. They need to be kept clean, and owners need to be very hygienic.

In Conclusion: You need to give your hedgehog a lot of time and care. You need to be prepared to deal with the hygienic requirements and to spend time socializing your hedgehog. And you definitely have to be prepared to get pricked a few times. But if you’ve got what it takes, hedgehogs can make really rewarding pets.

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Monday, 5 June 2017

6 Awesome Things You Might Not Know About Introverts

June 05, 2017 0
There are a lot of misconceptions about Introverts. Here’s the thing: Introverts are wired differently, and that’s not an exaggeration. There’s actually a proven difference in the way introvert and extrovert’s brain’s function. In other words – We Were Born This Way, and introverts are perfectly content with that. Just to help you understand why introverts tend to be perfectly happy with the way we are, here are:

6 Awesome Things You Might Not Know About Introverts

1. Introverts Tend to be Very Creative

Let’s just be clear on this one – there can be introverts that aren’t creative, just like there are extroverts that are. There just tends to be a large number of creative people amongst introverts. Because we love spending so much time on our own, we have a lot of time to invest in our own little projects – whether it be writing or some kind of art like painting or sculpting. We also tend to lean towards the more… perfectionistic side of things, so we can spend hours, days or weeks on a single project to make sure we’re happy with it.

Introverts especially tend to gravitate to literary arts. The long hours that’s spent alone and in thought is like a dream for a lot of us. Through writing, Introverts really shine – showing off their unique perspective on the world through the characters and worlds they create. In case you haven’t made the connection, J. R. R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Shakespeare and Stephen King, for example, were all introverts.

2. Introverts Are Very Sensitive to Stimuli

This isn’t just ‘a thing’. Remember I mentioned that our brains are wired differently? This just happens to be the biggest way – and it has its pros and cons. The biggest con is easy to guess – introverts quickly get overstimulated. That is one of the reasons why introverts don’t do all that well with big crowds; it’s just too much input in a very short amount of time. Afterwards, we need time to recharge. Extroverts recharge by overloading their senses, surrounding themselves with people and activity. For an Introvert, the recharge is alone time, sitting quietly and just relaxing in perfect calm and quiet.

Here’s the thing, though – because introverts are so sensitive to input, we enjoy things a whole lot more. A bite of delicious food, a good song… Believe it or not, introverts also love seeing new places and exploring. We just prefer to do it when no one else is, or our closest friends are, around.

3. Introverts Tend to be Great Observers

Introverts spend a lot of their time observing people. They’ll sit in the back of the restaurant, or stand at the back of the party (that they hadn’t wanted to attend in the first place) and do something we introverts like to call ‘people watching’. It’s also one of the reasons why introverts can write such good characters – they observe the people around them and learn to read all the little nuances of their body language.

It also makes Introverts rather good judges of character – more often than not, because they need to be able to very quickly spot if a person would be the kind to keep, or to nod at politely and avoid going forward.

4. Introverts Make Great Friends

Because introverts tend to be relatively quiet around most people, they’re thought to be shy, withdrawn, rude, or all of the above. That’s not exactly true. Introverts are just really picky about the people they surround themselves with. It’s not that we always want to be alone; even when introverts have spent time with their own friends, they need some alone-time to recharge.

Thing is, Introverts don’t do small talk. There are few things that are more annoying, really. But get us in a comfortable setting surrounded by a couple of close friends, and we can have the most spirited discussions you can imagine. Introverts happily have deep and thoughtful conversations about everything that range amongst history, politics, the origins of life… you name it, we’ve thought about it.

Because introverts are so selective in their friends, they’re also extremely loyal (if rather practical in that loyalty). When you’re down, or in a pinch, you can generally count on it that your introvert buddy will be there to help you through it. Introverts can also be a lot of fun when with their few friends. In fact, some people might even say we get a little… crazy.

5. Introverts Actually DO Make Good Leaders

Introverts might not like being in the spotlight, but sometimes we end up there whether we want to be or not. And, believe it or not, introverted leaders have a lot to bring to the table. Whether it be in politics, business or activism, introverts have some unique qualities that allows them to really shine.

Since introverts are such good listeners and observers, they tend to have a good idea of the thoughts and needs of the people around them. They also tend to respect the opinions of those around them. Combine that with their natural independence, and introverts can lead, but they’re also not afraid to listen to the advice of those around them, weigh their options and then make a decision. Just in case you need a bit more convincing, here are a few great leaders who are – or were – introverts: Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

6. Introverts Can’t ‘Become’ Extroverts

Why is this awesome? Because, believe me, introverts don’t want to become extroverts. In fact, there are few things quite as annoying as being told we should be more extroverted.

We really like the way we are (and those that don’t are generally the exception, not the rule). Introverts enjoy that we can spend days with only our own company, that we have a few close friends we can count on, and that the people we surround ourselves with understand our unique brand of crazy. We enjoy spending time in thought, or hours with pen in hand or fingers on keyboard as we put down our wondrous worlds and characters on paper. We don’t want to change – and introverts don’t change. Not for anyone. And that’s exactly as it should be.

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Friday, 2 June 2017

6 Brilliant but Underrated Thrillers You Need to See

June 02, 2017 0
It’s a horrible truth, but finding good thrillers are nigh impossible. A big part of the problem is how easily thrillers are confused or heaped in with horror films. Because of that – and a regrettably small (by comparison) fan-base – the market for thrillers just isn't what it should be. There are so few good thrillers made that they often get lost in the Hollywood milling machine, or get harshly judged by critics for not being ‘mainstream’ enough. But they’re still there; little dark jewels just waiting for someone to find them. Here are:

6 Brilliant but Underrated Thrillers You Need to See

1. Breakdown (1997)

I remember seeing Breakdown for the first time. I was expecting another cheap, cliché horror passing itself off as a thriller, mainly due to the basic plot. You know; the old car breaks down, trucker offers a ride, person disappears… I’m sure you get the idea. No, I didn’t have high hopes – or any kind of hope, really – for Breakdown. The only reason I decided to just stick it out was due to my not-quite-faded schoolgirl crush on Kurt Russel (thank you, Tango and Cash).

I was wrong. I was so very wrong. Breakdown has its cliché elements, sure, but the movie is all the better for it – especially because of how skilfully the cliché’s are lampshaded and made to work for the movie as a whole.

The moment that Amy, wife to Kurt Russel’s Jeff, gets into the stranger’s rig you just know things are going to go wrong – and it does, in a big way. Every second between that moment and the final embrace is an action packed, nerve-wracking roller-coaster ride. Half the time you can’t even be sure who you can and can’t trust. And, for the time, the stunts are not to be sneered at. The driving alone is enough to make your hair stand on end.

And then there’s the end… I’m not going to spoil it for you, but if you’re a fan of the nail-biting, action driven type of thriller, then you just can’t go wrong with this beauty.

2. Disturbia (2007)

Disturbia is one of the slightly lighter thrillers on this list, but still completely deserving of its place. Starring Shia LeBeouf as Kale, you’re assured to experience a certain hyper-active feeling throughout the entire film. To top it off, the main character is pretty much confined to his house for the majority of the movie, so a certain measure of stir crazy jumps right off the screen and starts itching along your nerves as well. And what does dearly delinquent Kale do to pass the time? He starts to spy on his neighbours. He watches them so well that he even memorizes their routines.

But then he starts noticing something strange about the neighbour across the street. And that’s where the light-hearted, somewhat dramatic yet still comedic feel of the film takes a complete turn. Suddenly every moment starts feeling like Kale and his two friends are going to get caught in the act by a very sinister, very dangerous man.

I, for one, will never forget the way David Morse (the creepy neighbour) catches Sarah Roemer (Shia’s love-interest), in the act. The way he… ‘let’s her down gently’ gave me ice-cold chills. Don’t ask me why Disturbia wasn’t a massive hit, because I don’t have an answer for you that makes any kind of sense. Just watch the damn thing – it’s worth it.

3. The Skeleton Key (2005)

I think one of my favourite things about The Skeleton Key is the setting. Unlike 99% of movies that are all based in major cities (enough of L.A. and N.Y. already!), Skeleton Key takes place smack in the middle of a Louisiana swamp. Considering that the film has a central hoodoo motif, that’s just perfect. They certainly didn’t shirk on the cast, either. Our heroin, Caroline, is played by Kate Hudson; a young woman who takes a position caring for the elderly invalid Benjamin (John Hurt). His wife, Violet (Gena Rowlands) doesn’t like Caroline one bit, but due to the insistence of the estate lawyer, played by Peter Sarsgaard, she gives Caroline the job.

By this point we are deep in the Louisiana swamp. In an old, creaky, gigantic mansion. Without a single mirror. And a creaky attic. What could possibly go wrong?

If you’re going to watch this and expect the usual romcom Kate, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. Instead she blends in perfectly with the dark feel of the entire film. But, more than anything else, it’s the ending that I love. It’s perfect. It’s logical. It’s risky, and it pays of in spades – any other ending than the one you get would just feel like a big cheat. And Skeleton Key doesn’t cheat. It gives you the perfect thrill all the way through.

By the way, I’m telling you to watch it more than once. Take the advice. You’ll miss so much the first time around that the second time will feel like you’re watching a whole new movie.

4. Julia’s Eyes (2010)

It’s my personal suspicion that Julia’s Eyes didn’t get the kind of coverage it deserved due to a certain similar thriller film (*Cough-The Eye-Cough*) that wasn’t all that good. Whatever similarities there might have been between that film and Guillermo del Toro’s Julia’s Eyes are purely bloody coincidental.

Julia’s Eyes is all about a young woman, Julia, who is losing her eyesight – just like her sister had before her. But although it looks like her sister committed suicide, Julia doesn’t believe it. She’s convinced there’s something else going on, and she goes out of her way to prove it. She does find some evidence, clues pointing towards an ‘invisible man’ – no, that’s not a supernatural reference.

It’s just a man that’s so absolutely mundane and forgettable that no one can quite seem to remember him - and somehow the entire premise is that much more creepy for it.

Like the others, I’m not going to spoil this for you. Needless to say, the ending is not what you’d expect – and when it comes to thrillers, that’s the best kind of ending to get.

5. Premium Rush (2012)

Although Premium Rush didn’t do badly, it could have done better – and not for lack of trying. There is something about Premium Rush that’s as much fun as the adrenaline it forces through your veins. The speeds to which Joseph Gordon-Levitt pushes that bicycle – being a bike messenger - is crazy, not to mention dangerous. The stunts that are performed are just as brilliant, and Joseph paid the price for it on set a few times, too. But every moment of that insanity keeps your nerves taught as you wait for some inevitable on-screen crash.

Our villain is player by Michael Shannon and, as usual, he brings a wonderfully over-the-top short temper and menacing feel to the whole thing. The film by-line says “Ride Like Hell”, and let me tell you, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would want to put as much distance between myself and Shannon as I possibly could.

Word of advice – make sure you have something to bring you down afterwards. You’re going to be experiencing an adrenaline rush of epic proportions and it lasts from beginning to end. Trust me, by the time the film reaches its ending, you’re wound up as tight as a spring. That, I think, is a testament to just how well done Premium Rush really was.

6. Dead Ringers (1988)

I find it highly appropriate that Dead Ringer’s was released the year I was born, because it’s my favourite film on this list by a good mile. It is the epitome of the thriller genre, screwing with your mind every step of the way – just like the ‘two’ main characters’ screw with and manipulate every other person they meet. Jeremy Irons plays the double lead role as twins Beverly and Elliot Mantle; identical twins and rock stars in the gynaecology world.

I have to say this – throughout the film the existing and growing bond between Bev (quiet and shy) and Ellie (brash, confident and quite the charmer) is shown in an almost beautiful way. Their closeness is so intense that they swap out identities with uncanny ease – in many ways, they look like a single being split between two physical bodies. And that is as much as I’m going to say about that.

It’s the wedge of love and growing independence that finally smashes the balance between the brothers to smithereens, and the results are catastrophic for them both. The film is tense, and as grim as it’s beautiful. But it’s the ending, such as it is, that captures both the beauty and the horror in a single moment – and it’s what makes this film one of the best thrillers I have ever, and will ever, see. If you can pick just one film to watch from this list, and if you consider yourself a true fan of the thriller genre, this is the one I’m going to recommend.

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