For the past four years, the Minato Mirai district of Yokohama, Japan, has been bringing Pokémon’s most famous character to life with a Pikachu Outbreak Festival. The event, which features numerous fun activities, including colorful parades with thousands of people dressed in Pikachu costumes, began in 2014 to promote an upcoming Pokémon movie. It was such a success that its sponsors, The Pokémon Company, decided to make it an annual, week-long extravaganza.
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Governments, corporations, and even individuals concerned about losing valuable data or photos in the event of a cataclysmic disaster can now rest easy thanks to the recently opened Arctic World Archive. Located 300-meters (984-feet) below the ground inside an abandoned coal mine in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, the “Doomsday Vault” is equipped to keep information safe in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.
While Japan is known to have higher than average rates of stomach cancer, the residents of the town of Kaneyama in Yamagata Prefecture appear to be particularly susceptible to the gastric ailment. After a recent report revealed that the municipality had one of the highest stomach cancer fatality rates out of the nation’s 344 “secondary medical districts”, the town officials decided to get its 6,000 residents tested.
With its majestic mountains, spectacular landscapes, and pristine beaches, Ireland’s Achill Island has always been a popular European tourist destination. However, since April, the rugged 57-square mile island of just 2,600 residents has gained worldwide fame thanks to the ‘miraculous’ return of a beach that was washed away over three decades ago.
When six-week-old Gavel arrived at the Government House, the official residence of the Governor of Queensland, in April 2016, everyone thought it would be for just a short period. The adorable purebred German Shepherd was, after all, being trained to become a Queensland Police Service (QPS) dog to help officials chase down criminals. Given that five members of his extended family are currently in the force, there was little doubt of his success.
Every ocean lover knows the perils of getting caught in a rip current. Experienced swimmers know it is relatively easy to escape the narrow channel of fast moving water by floating and allowing it to drag you further into the ocean or by swimming alongside the shore. However, novice beachgoers often panic, and try to swim to land, placing themselves at risk of drowning due to fatigue. According to the US National Ocean Service, the currents kill about 100 Americans each year and account for 80% of all lifeguard rescues. These scary statistics may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Clever GIRL (Global Intelligent Rip Locator), a smart buoy that alerts swimmers of the presence of deadly rip currents.
Some fortunate visitors to the Chicago Botanic Garden recently witnessed the rare opening of not one, but two, titan arums. Better known as corpse flowers due to their pungent odor that resembles decaying flesh, the massive plants bloom once every ten years, and that too, for only a few hours. However, that may be a good thing given that when the petals unfurl, the stench emanated is so foul that it has earned the titan arum the title of the “world's smelliest flower.”
The city-state of Dubai that is home to the world’s tallest building, manmade islands shaped like palm trees, drone taxis, and jetpack wielding firefighters, is fast cementing its reputation as the city of the future. On May 22, Dubai officials added to their list of futuristic accomplishments with the introduction of the world’s first operational robot police officer.