Competitive Gravedigging Is a Real Thing in Europe

Looking to, uh, undertake a new sport? Consider competitive grave-digging. Last Friday, the Associated Press reports that Hungary held its first national grave-digging competition in Debrecen, the country’s second-largest city after Budapest. The winners will go on to compete in a regional championship held in Slovakia later this year.

The bizarre event came courtesy of the Hungarian Association of Cemetery Maintainers and Operators. Organizer Iren Kari told the Associated Press that the organization hopes the contest will bring awareness and respect for the work gravediggers do. Kari told the outlet that it's difficult to find young people who are interested in manual labor, and willing to replace retiring diggers. Plus, the increasing ubiquity of cremations threatens the job’s very existence. But as the BBC points out, gravediggers are as necessary as ever, as crowded cemeteries can’t accommodate mechanical diggers.

Eighteen two-man teams competed in the event, and had to use shovels, rakes, axes, and pickaxes to dig regulation-size graves that were 2 feet, 7 inches wide, 6 feet, 6 inches long, and 5 feet, 3 inches deep. Diggers were judged on speed and style (i.e., how good the finished grave mounds look). The winners, Debrecen locals Laszlo Toth and Janos Racz, reportedly buried their competition in under 34 minutes.

According to Reuters, Toth and Racz will compete against gravediggers from Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic in the international tournament. Check out the contestants' skills in the above video, courtesy of RT News.

[h/t Associated Press]

Banner image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

China Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to Restore the Great Wall

The Great Wall of China has been standing proudly for thousands of years—but now, it needs your help. CNN reports that the wall has fallen into disrepair and the China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation has launched an online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for restorations.

Stretching 13,000 miles across northern China, the Great Wall was built in stages starting from the third century BCE and reaching completion in the 16th century. To some degree, though, it’s always been under construction. For centuries, individuals and organizations have periodically repaired and rebuilt damaged sections. However, the crowdfunding campaign marks the first time the internet has gotten involved in the preservation of the ancient icon. The China Foundation for Cultural Heritage Conservation is trying to raise $1.6 million (11 million yuan) to restore the wall, and has so far raised $45,000 (or 300,000 yuan).

Fundraising coordinator Dong Yaohui tells the BBC that, although the Chinese government provides some funds for wall repairs, it’s not enough to fix all of the damage: "By pooling the contribution of every single individual, however small it is, we will be able to form a great wall to protect the Great Wall," he said.

[h/t CNN]

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YouTube // Deep Look
These Glowing Worms Mimic Shining Stars
YouTube // Deep Look
YouTube // Deep Look

The glow worms of New Zealand's Waitomo caves produce light, mimicking the starry night sky. Using sticky goop, they catch moths and other flying creatures unfortunate enough to flutter into the "starry" cavern. Beautiful and icky in equal parts, this Deep Look video takes you inside the cave, and up close with these worms. Enjoy:

There's also a nice write-up with animated GIFs if you're not in the mood for video. Want more glow worms? Check out this beautiful timelapse in a similar cave, or our list of 19 Places You Won't Believe Exist topped by—you guessed it—New Zealand's Glowworm Caves!


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