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As tests of human endurance go, few are stranger "“ or more subtly sadistic "“ than Texas' annual "Hands on a Hardbody" contest. Sponsored by a Nissan dealership as a publicity stunt and featured in a fascinating 1997 documentary, its rules are pure evil genius: to win a brand-new truck, all contestants have to do is keep their hand on it ... longer than anyone else. Including hourly five-minute breaks and occasional drug tests to make sure goofballs and bennies aren't giving anyone a competitive edge, the contest has run as long as 126 hours. (For those of you counting, that's more than five days without sleep, and though the world record for sleep deprivation is a cool 265 hours, hallucinations and other nasty side effects tend to kick in around day three.) But as any former contestant will tell you "“ despite aching backs, swollen legs and fallen arches "“ physical endurance is the easy part. 1993 Hardbody winner Benny Perkins:

"It's a contest, they say, of stamina. But it's who can maintain their sanity the longest, and that's what it is. That's what it comes to. Cause when you go insane, you lose."

Tragically, when 2005 contestant Ricky Vega dropped out after 48 hours, he lost more than just his shot at a new Toyota Tacoma:

The 24-year-old East Texan politely excused himself just before a scheduled 15-minute break for competitors. He went directly to a Kmart across the street, threw a trash can through a window and rushed into the store. When police arrived, they saw Vega walking from the back of the store toward the doors. He had a shotgun in his hands, and when police confronted him, he shot himself in the temple.

Psychologists blame his death on sleep deprivation, which has been known to take garden-variety mental health troubles "“ Vega had a history of run-ins with the police, among other problems "“ and make them exponentially worse.

Look for more posts on sleep deprivation and feats of endurance "“ all of which will be happier, and none of which will feature David Blaine "“ in upcoming posts.

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travel
The Real Bay of Pigs: Big Major Cay in the Bahamas
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When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

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Pop Culture
The House From The Money Pit Is For Sale

Looking for star-studded new digs? For a cool $5.9 million, Top10RealEstateDeals.com reports, you can own the Long Island country home featured in the 1986 comedy The Money Pit—no renovations required.

For the uninitiated, the film features Tom Hanks and Shelley Long as hapless first-time homeowners who purchase a rundown mansion for cheap. The savings they score end up being paltry compared to the debt they incur while trying to fix up the house.

The Money Pit featured exterior shots of "Northway," an eight-bedroom estate located in the village of Lattingtown in Nassau County, New York. Luckily for potential buyers, its insides are far nicer than the fictional ones portrayed in the movie, thanks in part to extensive renovations performed by the property’s current owners.

Amenities include a giant master suite with a French-style dressing room, eight fireplaces, a "wine wall," and a heated outdoor saltwater pool. Check out some photos below, or view the entire listing here.

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

The real-life Long Island home featured in 1986's “The Money Pit”
TopTenRealEstateDeals.com

[h/t Top10RealEstateDeals.com]

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