Man and beast in tug-of-war
Who is stronger? Man or tiger?
To find the answer to this elusive question China’s Changsha
Ecological Zoo has introduced a unique test to visitors who would like
to try their strength against a tiger.
It is a tug-of-war between man and caged tigers using live
chicken.The game is as simple as it gets: the visitors pull at one end
of a rope and at the other, the tiger bites and pulls at a hessian bag
with a live chicken inside. The chicken is an added bonus meant to
engage the tiger’s interest and keep him on his toes.
The game was designed as a mean of entertainment and for 45 yuan
($7), anyone can play and it seems there are many courageous folks
willing to measure their strength against the powerful beasts.
So far, the tigers are in the lead, winning most of the tug-of- war
games, with one four-year-old Siberian tiger demonstrating his muscle
superiority by tackling seven men at the same time.
According to the zoo staff, when lying around with nothing to do and
having food served to them, zoo animals often become lazy, overweight
and even lose interest in any kind of physical or intellectual
They came up with this very interesting way of keeping the animals in
shape through tug-of-war games.
Chinese history teacher draws world map from memory
Anyone can draw the map of the world but not as accurately as the
Chinese history teacher whose achievement was featured on the Chinese
According to the photographs uploaded in the website the teacher
whose last name is Zhao obviously does not need a map or a text book to
teach his students.
He possesses a photographic memory and is able to intricately draw
the world map freehand on the blackboard without referring to a real map
even once. The student who uploaded the photographs wrote that this
teacher was teaching his brother and that it takes only a minute for him
to draw the whole world.
Another student writing in the Sina Weibo says; "Looks like my
Dongbei [Northeast] Normal University Affiliated Middle School’s Teacher
Zhao Dengming has become famous! He taught me, so would I make this up?
Would I lie about personally seeing him draw the map in class? This old
man is very adorable, teaching class with his loud, northwest accent.
May he have good health!"
Living with an iron lung for 61 years
Can you ever think of spending rest of your life being immobilised
and attached to an iron lung? And for that matter to live in that
miserable state for 61 years?
If you have to face such an experience you might want to kill
yourself to put an end to the misery.
But 71 year old late Ms Martha Meson from Lattimore, a small town
about 50 miles from Chaarlotte,was made of different mettle.
Ms Mason was an extraordinary human being who spent over 60 years of
her life immobilised and attached to an Iron Lung after becoming
paralysed in her childhood years as a result of polio. Despite her
seemingly tragic situation, she lived a fulfilling life, graduating from
high-school and college with the highest honours, hosting many dinner
parties and even writing a book called “Breath: Life in the Rhythm of an
Iron Lung”, in which she portrayed the challenges and joys of her life.
Martha Mason was born on May 31, 1937, and her life took a tragic
turn when she was only 11 years old, after the death of her brother
Gaston who had suffered from a terrible condition which left him
paralysed before eventually killing him.
After his burial, young Martha realised she had also contracted the
dangerous viral illness but kept it to herself as not to distress her
parents even more.
“I knew that I had polio. I didn’t want anyone else to know,” she
wrote in her book.
“The day before I had heard Mother talking to a friend about the iron
lung Gaston had been in. . . . I knew I wouldn’t have that difficulty
because I had excellent lungs.” But soon she too found herself
immobilised in the iron lung, dependent on it to do the breathing for
“Iron lung” is only a colloquial term used to describe a pressure
ventilator, a type of medical device which helps paralysed people
breathe by decreasing and increasing air pressure inside of a large iron
tank. Ms. Mason has lived almost her entire life in such a tank with the
pressure contracting and expanding her lungs when her weak muscles
Doctors told Martha’s parents to take her home and make her happy for
a year, as that was how long she had left to live. She outlived them
both thanks to an avid curiosity and a desire to learn about the world.
But the iron lung didn’t stop Martha from enjoying life and learning
as much as she could.
With the help of her mother and her school colleagues she managed to
finish high school top of her class. She then went on to graduate from
two colleges – now universities, receiving an associate’s degree as well
as a bachelor’s degree in English. After returning home she started a
job as a writer for the local newspaper which she managed to do by
dictating the words to her mother.
This went on until her mother became too busy for her helping her
invalid father who had suffered from a heart attack. Years later, in
1977, he passed away.
It was only decades later, in the mid 90s, that Ms. Mason was able to
write again with the use of a voice-activated computer connected to the
Internet. She soon began to work on her book, a memoir dedicated to her
Despite her mother’s descent into dementia and her abusive behaviour
towards her daughter, Ms. Mason took of her and hired helping aids which
soon became her family.
Although obviously limited by her iron lung, Ms. Mason lived a
fulfilling life among people who loved her.
They held dinner parties and book club meetings at her house and made
her a part of their graduations, weddings and trips around the world.
In 2009 Ms. Mason passed away at 71, having spent 60 years with her
cold life-companion, more than anyone else has ever lived in an iron
“I’m happy with who I am, where I am,” Ms. Mason said, adding “I
wouldn’t have chosen this life, certainly. But given this life, I’ve
probably had the best situation anyone could ask for.”