Showing posts with label Weird. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weird. Show all posts
21 April 2021

Company Sells Sex Robot "Clones" Of Dead Partners Using 3D-Modeling Technology

For many people who have lost their significant others, sex dolls have provided one way to ease the pain of grief and loneliness.

However, sex robot company Lux Botics is taking things one step further – by offering a clone of dead partners using state-of-the-art three-dimensional modeling.

With demand for sex dolls booming amid the ongoing pandemic and lockdowns across the world, Lux Botics is offering “ultra-realistic humanoids” to satisfy the carnal needs of the singles without any other recourse.

The company’s flagship “Adult Companion” model called Stephanie goes for USD $6,000 on the Lux Botics website.

The model includes speech control, facial recognition, a “hyper realistic eyes” option and even the option of implanted real hair, as well as limited AI capabilities.

However, the company also offers the option of creating a facsimile of a lost loved one.

The company can either create a 3D model through detailed modeling prior to it being printed in ultra-fine resolution, or it can rely on photos of the individual.

A mould would then be constructed based on the 3D model, complete with a robot skeleton. The robot is then painted and fitted with the lips, nails, eyebrows and other features the customer chooses.

“We can make robots that talk but we have not made robots that truly walk on their own,” Lux Botics co-founder Bjorn told Daily Star UK

“We hope to develop this in the near future. We can make a large number of body parts that can move in a realistic manner.”

While the company hasn’t yet created body doubles, Lux Botics is offering the choice to customers.

Since the start of the pandemic, people have been desperate to cope with the solitude of self-isolation and lockdown measures. While many have resorted to traditional measures like purchasing a pet or using dating apps, sex doll sales have also skyrocketed as people seek an emotional crutch.

23 March 2021

Preachers And Their $5,000 Sneakers: Why One Man Started An Instagram Account Showing Churches' Wealth

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

From his couch in Dallas, Ben Kirby began asking questions about the lifestyles of the rich and famous pastors when he was watching some worship songs on YouTube on a Sunday morning in 2019. While listening to a song by Elevation Worship, a megachurch based in Charlotte, the evangelical churchgoer noticed the lead singer’s Yeezy sneakers were worth nearly the amount of his first rent check.

Rapper Kanye West sports Yeezy shoes during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11, 2018. © Calla Kessler/The Washington Post Rapper Kanye West sports Yeezy shoes during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11, 2018.

Kirby posted to his 400 followers on Instagram, “Hey Elevation Worship, how much you paying your musicians that they can afford $800 kicks? Let me get on the payroll!”

Plus, Kirby wondered, how could the church’s pastor, Steven Furtick, one of the most popular preachers in the country, afford a new designer outfit nearly every week?

With a friend’s encouragement, Kirby started a new Instagram account @PreachersNSneakers posting screenshots of pastors next to price tags and the street value of shoes they were wearing. Within a month, the account had attracted 100,000 followers.

“At the beginning, it was easy for me to make jokes about it,” he said. “Some of the outfits are absurd, so it’s easy to laugh at some of the designer pieces. The price tags are outlandish.”

On his feed, Kirby has showcased Seattle pastor Judah Smith’s $3,600 Gucci jacket, Dallas pastor T.D. Jakes’s $1,250 Louboutin fanny pack and Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado’s $2,541 Ricci crocodile belt. And he considers Paula White, former president Donald Trump’s most trusted pastoral adviser who is often photographed in designer items, a PreachersNSneakers “content goldmine,” posting a photo of her wearing $785 Stella McCartney sneakers.

As the Instagram account grew, Kirby started asking more serious questions about wealth, class and consumerism, including whether it’s appropriate to generate massive revenue from selling the gospel of Jesus.

“I began asking, how much is too much?” Kirby said. “Is it okay to get rich off of preaching about Jesus? Is it okay to be making twice as much as the median income of your congregation?”

The Washington Post tried to contact several pastors featured on the Instagram account for comment, including Carl Lentz, White and Jakes, but none of them replied.

For the past two years, Kirby has posted and podcasted without sharing his real name, but recently he decided to share his real identity with The Post with the release of his new book, “PreachersNsneakers: Authenticity in an Age of For-Profit Faith and (Wannabe) Celebrities.”

Kirby, 31, who grew up in a Christian home schooling family in Ruston, La., holds a degree in marketing management and an MBA. He attends a nondenominational church and considers himself an evangelical, he said, “not as in, ‘Trump is the chosen one,’ but I believe in sharing my faith.”

When Kirby began showcasing pastors’ high fashion, he was putting dollar signs on designer items for everyone to see just how expensive the clothing items were valued, said Whitney Bauck, a journalist who writes about ethically sourced fashion and first wrote about the Instagram account.

“He is someone who gets Christianity enough and gets fashion enough, but also has a really critical eye,” Bauck said. “He’s not a known professional in either space, so he was willing to say things that people in those spaces weren’t.”

Kirby’s father is a family-practice doctor, so he grew up in what he describes as a “comfortable but modest lifestyle,” where his parents gave generously to their church. He remembers feeling confused when he saw his “Pastor Charles” driving a royal blue Harley Davidson cruiser, worth more than one year of his parent’s tithes. That’s when, he said, he realized that there was a “somewhat fuzzy line” between successful ministry and booming business.

In his new book, Kirby highlights a nationwide trend of pastors wearing oversize glasses, tight jeans and pricey kicks who look like they belong at “your local craft-cocktail watering hole instead of church.”

“Gone are the days of a choir, suited up pastor and random people sitting in velvet chairs onstage. No,” Kirby writes. “Now it’s a U2 incarnate worship band, perfectly placed LED wash lights and a pastor … motivating, edgy and might even let a cuss word slip if you’re lucky.”

From suits to denim, many pastors of all kinds of denominations have shifted in their dress in recent years. The Rev. Melech Thomas, who was born in Baltimore and now pastors an AME church near Raleigh, N.C. said he started attending a Black church in the 1990s, when all the pastors wore black suits. He watched as a generation of young Black male youth pastors began trying to reach a hip-hop generation by wearing jeans and Jordans.

“First it was a theological statement,” Thomas said. “Now it’s a statement of status.”

Thomas, who has been a minister in places with lower-income populations, said he buys most of his clothes from places that set an example to his followers that they don’t have to go into debt to impress people.

“They’re making deliberate choices with the DaVinci, the Prada,” Thomas said. “It seems like they’re choosing to do ministry to people who can afford shoes like that.”

In his book, Kirby writes that these pastors who have enormous social media followings aren’t simply pastors anymore, he writes. Often they are motivational speakers, corporate coaches and leadership consultants. Kirby said he has heard of churches where a volunteer was designated solely for the purpose of carrying the pastor’s Bible. Often, he writes, these pastors have private entrances, reserved parking spaces, security details and a gaggle of personal assistants or handlers. And, often, they promise blessings from God to their followers if their followers bless the church.

“Like Hollywood — a world so often criticized by the pietistic — these institutions and their leaders celebrate and reward the ‘blessing’ of fame, popularity and influence,” he writes. “Pastors function like ‘talent’ performing for an audience or like a spokesman for the church’s ‘brand.’ ”

In recent years, the line between who is a pastor and who is a celebrity has been blurred. Kirby notes how often Hollywood celebrities and preacher celebrities will be seen together in social media posts, such as Lentz playing basketball with Drake, pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. FaceTimeing with Justin Bieber or pastor Craig Groeschel hanging out with Kanye West at his ranch in Wyoming.

Tim Gloege, a historian who wrote a book called “Guaranteed Pure” about marketing in evangelicalism, said fashion has always been important in religion. In Catholicism, dress was once simple and drawing on ancient Roman dress before liturgical dress became quite regal. The dress was so elaborate that it was the theme of the 2018 Met Gala.

High church meets high fashion: How Catholic style took over the Met

During the Protestant Reformation, Gloege said, clergy dress became more academic during a movement toward simplicity.

But in the early 20th century, an evangelist named D.L. Moody made a big splash by dressing in business attire instead of clerical dress. Moody’s business attire made a class statement by associating himself with the respected leaders of his day, according to Gloege, and other pastors began to follow his example.

“Dress often reflects who people currently admire, and how you generate authority in society,” he said. “Do you trust the Koch brothers or George Clooney?”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the median salary for clergy was $53,180 in 2019, but Kirby’s Instagram feed showcases how a nationwide evangelical market has become lucrative for leaders with celebrity status. Like other social media influencers, sometimes these pastors are gifted the shoes and clothes they wear.

Kirby notes how the fancy-sneaker-wearing preacher trend has taken off while the resale market for sneakers has also boomed. In 2019, Kirby posted a picture of Pastor John Gray wearing the coveted Nike Air Yeezy 2 Red Octobers, selling at the time on the resale market for more than $5,600. If a pastor buys or receives a new pair of shoes as a gift with a lucrative resale value and chooses to wear them, it can demonstrate to followers that he can afford to not resell them.

Across the United States, the biggest-name pastors and worship leaders produce best-selling books and albums, often earning huge salaries and housing allowances from their churches. And many of the biggest churches, which do not have to disclose their revenue publicly, often generate opulent untaxed revenue.

In recent years, West has helped to bring merchandise into churches with his creation of “Sunday Service,” eventually selling $50 socks that said “Jesus Walks” and $225 crewneck sweatshirts with “Holy Spirit” on the front. Many megachurches began follow, developing their own merch with streetwear elements.

Since starting the Instagram account, Kirby has been dipping his own toes into the evangelical marketplace, entering a world that he has so openly critiqued. Like church leaders, his income is partially dependent on his podcast advertising and book sales, and he sells merch based off the brand. The difference, he said in a later clarification, is that he doesn’t leverage his position as a congregation’s spiritual leader, asking people to donate to a ministry that builds his personal brand.

He has had his own brushes with fame, texting with people such as once-major megachurch preacher Lentz, befriending Joel McHale of the TV show “Community” and attending a Super Bowl party thrown by NBA star Carmelo Anthony.

Kirby doesn’t want Christians to abandon fashion or celebrities, but he does want more transparency and accountability.

“I’m getting people to question the status quo within the church and hopefully push for a reevaluation of what we value,” he said. “People aren’t going to reach God without this guy wearing Yeezys? Come on.”

US Government Reports Say UFOs Broke Sound Barrier Without Sonic Boom

Ex-Intelligence Director confirms Navy and Air Force pilots have seen “difficult-to-explain,” “hard-to-replicate” objects.

Department of Defense
  • Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox News the Pentagon has many reports about unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), including UFO sightings that haven’t been made public.
  • Ratcliffe said the reports contain sightings of objects making movements that “are hard to replicate” and “traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.”
  • By law, the Pentagon must report more information on UFO sightings in June.

A former U.S. intelligence official recently revealed the Pentagon is sitting on “lots of reports” about what it officially calls unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), better known as unidentified flying objects (UFOs).

John Ratcliffe, who served as the Director of National Intelligence Community from May 2020 to January 2021, told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo on Friday the reports include sightings of objects that “frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain.” Ratcliffe said both U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots and satellite imagery have spotted the UAP.

The objects reportedly made “movements that are hard to replicate that we don’t have the technology for, or traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom,” Ratcliffe said. “In short, things that we are observing that are difficult to explain.”

When an aircraft increases its speed, pressure waves build up on it and eventually coalesce into a single shockwave. When the plane outruns that shockwave and travels faster than the speed of sound in air, it causes a sudden change in pressure, which in turn creates the sonic boom. There’s no publicly available scientific data to suggest any aircraft can break the sound barrier without producing a sonic boom; while engineers can take steps to try to reduce sonic booms, physics says it’s impossible to outright eliminate it.

sonic boom

U.S. Navy F/A-18 flying faster than the speed of sound. The white cloud is formed by decreased air pressure and temperature around the tail of the aircraft.
Ensign John Gay, U.S. Navy

Ratcliffe admitted the Pentagon simply can’t rationalize some of the reported sightings:

“We always look for a plausible explanation. You know, weather can cause disturbances, visual disturbances, sometimes we wonder whether or not our adversaries have technologies that are a little bit further down the road than we thought or that we realized. But there are instances where we don’t have good explanations for some of the things that we’ve seen.”
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Ratcliffe told Bartiromo he wanted to “get this information out and declassify it” before he left office in January, when Donald Trump’s presidential administration gave way to Joe Biden’s. “But we weren’t able to get it down into an unclassified format that we could talk about quickly enough,” Ratcliffe said.

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It’s unclear why Ratcliffe has decided to speak out about UAP now, although the former Director of Intelligence’s remarks may foreshadow a major report the Pentagon is set to release in the coming months. Indeed, 2021 promises to be one of the most significant years ever for the advancement of UFO disclosure—and that follows a year in which the U.S. Navy officially released three videos that show UFOs are genuine.

In August 2020, the Department of Defense (DoD) officially approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF). The task force will investigate the sightings of UAP.

The UAPTF is the first official government program affiliated with UFO research since a 2000s-era unit that analyzed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other UAP lost its funding in 2012, even though multiple sources confirmed with Popular Mechanics that the unit remained active in secrecy after its shuttering.

The DoD formed the UAPTF to “improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of [UAP],” Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough told Popular Mechanics at the time. “The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze, and catalog [UAP] that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”

In June 2020’s Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA), the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) authorized appropriations for fiscal year 2021 for the UAPTF and supported its efforts to reveal any links that UAP “have to adversarial foreign governments, and the threat they pose to U.S. military assets and installations.”

In the IAA, the Select Committee on Intelligence said it “remains concerned that there is no unified, comprehensive process within the federal government for collecting and analyzing intelligence on [UAP], despite the potential threat,” and so it directed the task force to report its findings on UAP, “including observed airborne objects that have not been identified,” within 180 days.

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When Trump signed the coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law in December 2020, it contained the IAA for Fiscal Year 2021, which means the UAPTF must report its findings to Congress by June 25.

While we don’t know what the task force will reveal in its first report, Ratcliffe’s remarks could offer hints. It’s noteworthy, for example, that he mentioned both U.S. Navy and Air Force pilots’ encounters with UAP. The Navy, of course, has confirmed three videos taken by Navy pilots show UAP, but the service also said the footage should have never been released to the public in the first place.

The Air Force, on the other hand, has largely been quiet regarding UAP. A former Director of National Intelligence’s admission that the Air Force has also seen UAP is significant, and may suggest the service plays a larger role in the forthcoming UAPTF report.

Additionally, Ratcliffe emphasized the Pentagon’s documented UAP sightings go beyond “just a pilot or just a satellite, or some intelligence collection,” he said. “Usually, we have multiple sensors that are picking up on these things.”

That tracks with what government officials who have access to such documents revealed to The Debrief last year: “Some of the best evidence acquired has come from measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), rather than from videos or still images,” one source told The Debrief’s Tim McMillan, a contributor to Popular Mechanics.

While we wait to see what’s in the UAPTF’s report, Ratcliffe made it clear to Bartiromo that he’s just as eager for disclosure as the public is.

“I think it will be healthy for as much of this information to get out there as possible so that the American people can see some of the things that we’ve been dealing with,” he said.
03 March 2021

Indian rooster kills owner with cockfight Blade

Indian rooster kills owner with cockfight bladeThe victim died from loss of blood before he could reach a hospital

A rooster fitted with a knife for an illegal cockfight in southern India has killed its owner, sparking a manhunt for the organisers of the event, police said Saturday.

A rooster fitted with a knife for an illegal cockfight in southern India has killed its owner, sparking a manhunt for the organisers of the event, police said Saturday.

The bird had a knife attached to its leg ready to take on an opponent when it inflicted serious injuries to the man's groin as it tried to escape, officers said.

The victim died from loss of blood before he could reach a hospital in the Karimnagar district of Telangana state earlier this week, local police officer B. Jeevan told AFP.

The man was among 16 people organising the cockfight in the village of Lothunur when the freak accident took place, Jeevan said.

The rooster was briefly held at the local police station before it was sent to a poultry farm.

"We are searching for the other 15 people involved in organising the illegal fight," Jeevan said.

They could face charges of manslaughter, illegal betting and hosting a cockfight.

Cockfights are banned but still common in rural areas of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha states - particularly around the Hindu festival of Sankranti.

Specially-bred roosters have 7.5-centimetre (three-inch) knives or blades tethered to their legs and punters bet on who will win the gruesome fight.

Thousands of roosters die each year in the battles which, despite the efforts of animal rights groups, attract large crowds.




Cape Clean - India's Top Facade and Window Cleaning Company
13 March 2020

Pornhub Is Giving Italians Free Premium Access During Coronavirus Quarantine

As Italy closes down non-essential businesses, Pornhub will allow Italian users to access premium content without having to put in their credit card information.

By Adam Smith
If you're stuck at home during a global pandemic, what do you do? Pick up a book? Catch up on the plethora of streaming TV shows? Dial in to your umpteenth video conference call of the day?

Pornhub is hoping Italians have a little something different in mind. With Italy on lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Pornhub is offering its premium service for free to those in Italy during the month of March, The Next Web reports. No credit cards, just click and view. 

Meanwhile, a portion of the proceeds from Modelhub, Pornhub's creators hub, will be donated to local hospitals, The Next Web says.

Pornhub is never one to shy away from a newsy event; it's jumped on the VPN bandwagon, offered Black Friday deals, and launched a Tor site to protect users' privacy.

In the United States, the coronavirus has severely affected technology companies. Just today, MSI extended customers’ warranties by two months so they can focus on their health, while Twitter ordered its near-5,000 strong staff to work from home.

Many tech conventions, including GDC, f8, Google I/O, SXSW, and E3, have been cancelled, and quarantines have affected manufacturing and shipping.


Pure Salon & Spa Koramangla, Bangalore

Led by veteran hair stylist Pure Salon & Spa offers various services from the simple hair cut and styling for women, men, kids, and brides, to vibrant hair colours, conditioning treatments, and Brazilian blowouts. Located at the heart of Koramangla, Bangalore, the salon has been around since 2015, providing professional hair treatments in a relaxed ambience. This is definitely one of our favourite hair salons in Bangalore.

Cape Clean - India's Top Facade and Window Cleaning
25 June 2014

Casual Sex Is Great! (For Narcissistic, Coercive Men!)

A man builds his self-esteem.
Will going out and having some casual sex make you feel better, scientifically speaking? Some researchers have suggested that engaging in casual sex can lead people to experience “less enjoyment and nurturance than romantic sex, frequent regret, unwanted emotional attachment, substance use, and social stigma,” and that women in particular are vulnerable to the fallout. But others have found that casual sex can breed “satisfaction, confidence, self-knowledge, or social and academic engagement” among its participants.

A new study published in the journal Social Psychological & Personality Science suggests that the potential positive and negative outcomes of casual sex are not mutually exclusive: If you’re the type of person who enjoys engaging in casual sex, then hooking up can boost your self-esteem and life satisfaction. But if you’re not that kind of person, then it won’t.

The study, led by NYU psychology professor Zhana Vrangalova, recruited 371 undergraduates at a northeastern U.S. university, asked them to complete a survey to determine their “sociosexual orientation,” then surveyed them about their sexual behavior, feelings about the sex they’d had, and general well-being over a period of nine months.

The “sociosexual orientation” survey was meant to determine each person’s baseline “tendency toward or away from casual sex” by quizzing them on past behavior (‘‘With how many different partners have you had sexual intercourse on one and only one occasion?’’), current levels of desire (‘‘In everyday life, how often do you have spontaneous fantasies about having sex with someone you have just met?’’), and cultural attitudes toward sex (‘‘Sex without love is OK”). Researchers found that those students who identified themselves as more sexually permissive were more likely to engage in casual sex over the next few months than people who rated lower on the sociosexual scale.

And among those sexually permissive students, those who successfully engaged in casual sex reported higher rates of self-esteem and lower rates of depression and anxiety than those who failed to seal the deal.

The release of these findings has elicited some ‘‘Kumbaya” moments among commentators. ‘‘New research suggests that not all casual sex is bad,” Pacific Standard's Ryan Jacobs announced. Jesse Singal at New York magazine concluded the same, noting that research on the fallout of casual sex until this study has been draped “in a lot of puritanical pseudoscience, much of it with a decidedly sexist tinge.” (See: the work of Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, who have claimed that rates of depression among young women climb as their sexual partners accumulate.) So even if this new study’s findings appear obvious—people who like having casual sex will derive benefits from having casual sex—they at least move the needle past the assumption that casual sex has any “one-size-fits-all positive or negative impact” on every person. As Jezebel concluded: “Whatever floats your boat.”

But whose boats are being floated here, exactly? Vrangalova told Pacific Standard that people who rate high on the sociosexual scale are generally “extroverted” and “impulsive” men who are more likely to be attractive, “physically strong,” and “more sexist, manipulative, coercive and narcissistic” than their peers. The people on college campuses who are the most likely to engage in casual sex—and to reap its benefits—are also dudes who are high in social status and low in character. For college students like them, ‘‘not all casual sex is bad.’’ But is that actually good news for anyone else?

It may be that attractive, manipulative, narcissistic, and sexist men are simply naturally inclined to enjoy no-strings-attached sex. Or it might be that only these men have acquired the status necessary to not suffer any social consequences for doing so. Pacific Standard’s takeaway from the study is “Casual Sex Is Actually Excellent for You, If You Love Casual Sex,” and all the other coverage I’ve read this week takes a similarly celebratory tone. But before we all cheer for these results, maybe we should look at who on campus really gets to love casual sex, and who’s still left out of the party.
11 June 2014

Introducing The Newest Social Media Symbol: The F*ckyer

In lieu of a 'dislike' button, this is the most succinct way to tell people on the Internet that they are being terrible.

%# (F*ckyer Hashtag)

27 May 2014

The Man Who Climbed Everest Naked



By Scott Carney

A dilapidated farmhouse in the Polish countryside creaks and groans on its foundation as six men hyperventilate inside one of its frigid rooms. The windows are caked with frost and snow piles up outside the front door. Wim Hof surveys his students with stern blue eyes as he counts their breaths. They are lying in sleeping bags and covered in blankets. Every breath they expel appears as a tiny puff of mist as the heat of their bodies crystallizes in the near-arctic air. When the students are bleached white from exhaustion, Hof commands them to let all the air out of their lungs and hold their breath until their bodies shake and shudder. I exhale all my breath into the frigid air.
“Fainting is okay,” he says. “It just means you went deep.”

Hof is one of the world’s most recognized extremophiles. In 2007 he made headlines around the world when he attempted to summit Mount Everest wearing nothing but spandex shorts and hiking boots. He has run barefoot marathons in the arctic circle and submerged his entire body beneath the ice for almost two hours. Every feat defies the boundaries of what medical science says is possible. Hof believes he is much more than a stuntman performing tricks; he thinks he has stumbled on hidden evolutionary potential locked inside every human body.

With my lungs empty and my head dizzy from hyperventilation, I note the stopwatch on my iPad as it slowly ticks by the seconds. At 30 seconds I want to let go and feel the cool air rush inside, but I hold on.

Participants have come from across Europe and America for this seven-day training program aimed at extending control over the body’s autonomic processes. The human body performs most of its daily functions on autopilot. Whether it’s regulating internal temperature, setting the steady pace of a heartbeat or rushing lymph and blood to a limb when it’s injured, the body, like a computer, uses preset responses for most external stimuli. Hof’s training aims to create a wedge between the body’s internal programming and external pressures in order to force the body to cede control to the conscious mind. He is a hacker, tweaking the body’s programming to expand its capabilities.

At 60 seconds, with empty lungs, my diaphragm begins to quiver and I have to rock back and forth to keep from gasping. Even so, my mind is strangely calm. My eyes are closed, and I see swirling red shapes behind my lids. Hof explains that the light is a window into my pituitary gland.

Hof promises he can teach people to hold their breath for five minutes and stay warm without clothes in freezing snow. With a few days of training I should be able to consciously control my immune system to ramp up against sicknesses or, if necessary, suppress it against autoimmune malfunctions such as arthritis and lupus. It’s a tall order, to be sure. The world is full of would-be gurus proffering miracle cures, and Hof’s promises sound superhuman.

The undertaking resonates with a male clientele willing to wage war on their bodies and pay $2,000 for the privilege of a weeklong program. Across the room Hans Spaan’s hands are shaking. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s 10 years ago, he had to quit his job as an IT executive, but he claims Hof’s method has enabled him to cut the amount of drugs his doctors insist he needs. Next to him, Andrew Lescelius, a Nebraskan whose asthma can be crippling, hasn’t used his inhaler for a week.
For almost an hour we’ve been cycling between hyperventilating and holding our breath. Every repetition has made it incrementally easier to hold on just a bit longer. Hof tells us the quick breathing adds oxygen to our blood supply so that, at least until we use it up, we don’t have to rely on the air in our lungs to survive. The autonomic urge to gasp for air is based on the mind’s ordinary programming: No air in the lungs means it’s time to breathe. My nervous system hasn’t yet realized there’s still air in my blood.

Ninety-two seconds and my vision starts to cloud over. The room has taken on a red sheen I don’t remember being there before. I may be seeing lights. I let go and allow air to rush in. It’s far from a record, but after only an hour of trying, it’s my longest attempt. I smile with a small sense of accomplishment.

Hof then commands us to undergo another breathing cycle, but this time, instead of holding my breath, he instructs me to do as many push-ups as I can. Raised on a diet of cheese curds and little exercise, I’m out of shape. At home I can manage an embarrassingly feeble 20 before collapsing. Now, with no air in my lungs, I push myself off the floor with almost no effort. They roll out one after another, and before I know it I’ve done 40

I decide I’m going to have to reevaluate everything I’ve ever thought about gurus. Hof is a difficult figure to dissect. On one level he speaks in a familiar creole of New Age mumbo jumbo. There’s a spiel about universal compassion and connection to divine energies. Then, of course, there are the results. His relatively simple exercises make undeniable changes in my body seemingly overnight. Following his prescriptions for a week, I hack my body to perform physical feats of endurance I didn’t think possible and earn confidence I didn’t know I had. As a bonus, I lose seven pounds of fat—which come out in oily clumps during my morning eliminations.

Our goal by the end of the week: to complete an arduous eight-hour climb up a powder-covered mountain, wearing nothing but shorts. It will be my own personal Everest, though in this case the mountain is called Sneˇzˇka. But even with these first routines in the safety of a training room, I’m not sure I’m up for it.

I am at the mercy of Hof, who wears a pointy green hat that makes him look like a life-size garden gnome. A bushy beard frames his piercing blue eyes and ruddy nose, and his body bristles with tightly corded muscles. A six-inch surgical scar across his stomach marks a time he took his training too far and ended up in the hospital. Hof is a savant and a madman. He’s a prophet and a foil. And as is occasionally the case with people who try to cultivate superpowers, Hof’s abilities have come at a heavy price.

Born in the Dutch city of Sittard in 1959, on the eve of Europe’s hippie revolution, Hof spent his early years in the middle of a working-class family of nine children. While the rest of the Hof family learned Catholic liturgy, Wim became fascinated with Eastern teachings, memorizing parts of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and scouring the Bhagavad Gita and Zen Buddhism for wisdom. He was keen on exploring the connections between the body and the mind, but none of what he read was quite what he was looking for.

Then, in the winter of 1979, when he was 20 years old, he was walking alone on a frosty morning in Amsterdam’s picturesque Beatrixpark when he noticed a thin skin of ice on one of the canals. He wondered what it would feel like if he jumped in. With juvenile impulsiveness he has never quite shed, he took off his clothes and plunged in naked. The shock was immediate, he says, but “the feeling wasn’t of cold; it was something like tremendous good. I was in the water only a minute, but time just slowed down. It felt like ages.” A wash of endorphins cruised through his system, and the high lasted through the afternoon. He went on to repeat the exercise every day since. “The cold is my teacher,” he says.

The breathing technique emerged naturally. He started by mimicking the rapid breaths people take instinctively when they plunge into icy water, which he says are similar to the breaths a woman takes during childbirth. In both cases the body switches to an instinctual program. When Hof dunked under the ice, he went from rapid breathing to holding his breath. That’s when he began to feel changes in his body.

The way Hof explains it, humans must have evolved with an innate ability to resist the elements. Our remote ancestors traversed icy mountains and parched deserts long before they invented the most basic footwear or animal-skin coats. While technology has made us more comfortable, the underlying biology is still there, and the key to unlocking our lost potential lies in re-creating the sorts of harsh experiences our ancestors would have faced.

Hof trained on his own in obscurity for 15 years, rarely talking about his growing abilities. His first student was his son Enahm. When Enahm was still an infant, Hof took him down to the canals and dunked him in the water like Achilles. While it’s anyone’s guess what nearby pedestrians might have thought of this sight, most of his close friends shrugged off his morning routines as just another eccentricity in an already eccentric city.

Hof did odd jobs, including working as a mail carrier, and took gigs as a canyoneering instructor in Spain during the summers. Money was always a problem, and his wife—a beautiful Basque woman named Olaya—began to show signs of a serious mental disorder. She was depressed. She heard voices. In July 1995 she jumped off the eighth floor of her parents’ apartment building in Pamplona on the first day of the Running of the Bulls.

Sitting at a handmade wooden table in what serves as lunchroom and breakfast nook in his Polish headquarters, Hof recounts Olaya’s death as tears roll freely down his cheeks. “Why would God take my wife from me?” he asks. Confronted with loss and a broken heart, he put all his faith into the one thing that set him apart from everyone else: his ability to control his body. Olaya had never shown interest in Hof’s methods, but he felt he could have done more to help her. “The inclination I have to train people now is because of my wife’s death,” says Hof. “I can bring people back to tranquility. Schizophrenia and multiple-personality disorder draw away people’s energy. My method can give them back control.” It was his call to action. But he still needed a way to announce himself to the world.

His opportunity came a few years later. As winter settled on Amsterdam, a local newspaper ran a series of articles about odd things people did in the snow. Hof called the editor and explained that for the past couple of decades he’d been skinny-dipping in icy water. The paper sent a reporter, and Hof jumped into a nearby lake he frequented. The next week a television crew showed up.

In one famous segment, Hof cut holes in the ice and jumped in while a Dutch news crew filmed. He was drying himself off when, a few meters away, a man stepped on a thin patch and fell through. Hof charged out onto the lake, jumped in a second time and dragged the man to safety. The news crew caught the exchange, and soon Hof wasn’t just a local oddity, he was a local hero. Someone dubbed him the Iceman, and the name stuck.

After that act of heroism, Hof became a household name across the Netherlands. A Dutch television program hosted by the eminent newscaster Willibrord Frequin asked Hof to perform on camera. The gimmick was to have Hof establish a Guinness world record. They planned for him to swim 50 meters beneath arctic ice without breathing. It would be sensationalist fun, but the program would air throughout Scandinavia and give Hof a shot at doing stunts for other channels around the world.

A few weeks later Hof stood on the surface of a frozen lake near the small village of Pello, Finland, a handful of miles from the arctic circle, wearing only a bathing suit. Although the temperature would drop to minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit, his skin glistened with sweat. Below him a diamond-shape hole shot down a meter through the ice. There were two other holes 25 and 50 meters from the first. A camera crew watched as Hof descended and dipped his toe in the periwinkle waters.

On the first day of shooting he was supposed to swim only to the first hole so the crew could get the right shots and feel comfortable with the safety setup. But Hof had other plans. He wanted to surprise and impress the crew by clearing the whole distance in one go. He had done his calculations in advance. One stroke took him one meter, so he would need to do 50 to reach his destination. Taking a giant gulp of air into his lungs, Hof disappeared and began his sprint.

He later recalled that he opened his eyes midway between the first and second hole and could make out a beam of sunlight slicing through the water. But at stroke 29, with the safety of the first hole and rescue team behind him, something went wrong. He hadn’t anticipated what the cold water would do to his eyes. His corneas began to freeze over, and crystallization blurred his vision. Five strokes later he was blind, with only his stroke count to direct him to oxygen. Soon he was off course. At 50 strokes he grabbed around in vain for the rim of the second hole. He turned around thinking maybe he had passed it. He wanted to gasp for air but knew the results would be fatal. At 65 strokes his hope was beginning to fade. Seventy strokes in, just as he began to lose consciousness, he felt a hand wrap around his ankle. A safety diver dragged him to the surface. He knew he had almost died and that his hubris had led him there. Despite that close call, the next day he would set a world record, with the cameras rolling.

The show went on to be a hit and secured him a series of similar on-air stunts for international channels from Discovery to National Geographic. But success came at a price. Although he was capable of incredible feats, Hof’s desire to impress and please the people around him would time and again lead him into near-fatal situations. Should he die, the world might never understand how he had achieved his dramatic results. Hof needed a better plan.

To understand Hof’s abilities, I board a plane from Los Angeles to Wrocaw, Poland, where he meets me at the terminal gate with a broad smile. Hof decided to make his headquarters here instead of the Netherlands so he could be close to icy streams and snow-covered mountains—and also take advantage of the weaker economy to purchase a larger space. We pile into a tiny gray Volkswagen with two other devotees—a Croatian and a Latvian—who have come to study his technique, and we traverse miles of Polish pines and picturesque villages toward Hof’s rural headquarters.
Janis Kuze sits crammed next to me with my hiking backpack overflowing onto his lap. The burly Latvian grew up amid the turmoil of a collapsing Soviet Union, when bandits roamed the countryside. His father stashed a loaded AK-47 beneath his son’s bed so it was never more than an instant away should they need to defend themselves. Now Kuze studies the Israeli combat system Krav Maga in his spare time and spars with his equally intimidating and, he assures me, beautiful girlfriend. Asked if he’s ready to immerse himself in ice water, he replies, “When my father was in the special forces, they tested soldiers’ ability to adapt by making them sit in ice water. If they survived, they passed. Not everyone passed.”

We arrive in the tiny village of Przesieka, where Hof owns an isolated farmhouse he was able to purchase after signing a sponsorship deal with Columbia Sportswear to shill a line of battery-heated jackets in 2011. In the commercials, which were created for TV but thrived on the internet, Hof swims in a frozen lake while giving icy stares to toasty outdoorsmen who use the high-tech gear to warm themselves with the touch of a button. The videos went viral, and commenters compared Hof to Chuck Norris, propelling him to a sort of internet alpha-male celebrity. But the condition of the house confirms that web fame does not necessarily translate to riches. The space is a permanent work in progress, with an assortment of bunk beds and yoga mats. A busted sauna sits next door to its new replacement. The coal furnace doesn’t quite work and spews black smoke through cracks in the floorboards. Most of the floors don’t seem level.

The crumbling building is headquarters for Hof’s growing global presence as a New Age guru and ground zero for the experimental training regimens he’s developing. One of Hof’s first students at the house, Justin Rosales, now 25, flew here from Pennsylvania in 2010 to serve as a guinea pig. “If we want to become strong, passionate and motivated, we have to take on seemingly impossible tasks. Without an open mind, the cold will never be your friend,” Rosales tells me over e-mail. He has written a book with Hof about the experience, called Becoming the Iceman, which is often passed among devotees interested in cultivating superpowers.

I stash what little winter gear I’ve brought beneath a bunk on the second floor and look out the window onto a snowy field that serves as the main training site. Andrew Lescelius, the wiry asthmatic Nebraskan who arrived a week earlier, crosses the field outside clad only in black underwear, stopping to pick up handfuls of snow and rub them over his arms and chest. Steam erupts off his body in great clouds.

Kuze chooses a bunk next to mine and looks eager to get out into the snow. I let him go on his own. I will have plenty of opportunities to be cold when training begins tomorrow.

After a restless night we meet Hof in the yoga studio. He explains that every training program he runs is different, and the method varies depending on the constitution of the group. But no matter how it starts, the building blocks are simple and, he assures us, our progress will be rapid. “This week we will win the war on bacteria!” he proclaims before warning us he will challenge everything we think about the limits of our body.

At one point Hof tells us to shed our clothing and head outside. We round the farmhouse to a small snowy field frequented by deer and the curious gazes of inquisitive neighbors. As we file past, one of them yells something to us in Polish and Hof chuckles. Most people here think he’s crazy, if affable.
It’s the first time in my life I’ve put my feet directly onto snow, and they feel as sensitive as a newly broken tooth. My heart rate jumps. Kuze lets out a gasp and Hof beams a trickster smile. We stand in a circle and take low horse stances.

We try to focus on our foreheads and simply endure the cold, our chests bare to the air. Five minutes is excruciating, but Hof has us stand for six before sending us numbly into the sauna.

But with numb limbs, going from ice to a 100-plus-degree room is a mistake. The body’s natural reaction to cold is self-preservation. To keep the core warm, the muscles that control arteries clench tightly and restrict the flow of blood only to vital areas in a process known as vasoconstriction. This is why frostbite starts in the extremities. The sudden change to heat has the opposite effect. Veins suddenly pop open and send warm blood rushing through cold areas. The pain is even worse than when we were standing in the snow, something I didn’t think possible.

Kuze stretches his feet toward a box of coals and says he may cry. Lescelius clenches his teeth and holds his breath. A side effect of asthma, he tells me, is poor circulation, and the sensation of vasoconstriction is even more painful. “But I like to think of it as lifting weights for the circulatory system,” he says. Hof nods at the statement. After years of exposing himself to the cold, he can consciously restrict the flow of blood in his body and effectively send it to any part he wants.
Although the first day of exercises is painful and exhausting, true to Hof’s word our progress is rapid. The next day we stand in the snow for 15 minutes before the same feeling of panic sets in. In the afternoon we take a brief dip in the basin of an ice-cold waterfall. It is an experience not unlike walking across a bed of hot coals—a trial by fire but with ice. With every attempt, the barriers we’ve built in our heads about the cold seem to recede.

By the fourth day, standing in the snow is barely a challenge. An hour passes by quicker than five minutes had just days earlier. In the evening we sit on snow-covered rocks by a stream until they’re warm, Hof smiling over us.
What we know about how the human body reacts to cold comes mostly from gruesomely accurate studies that emerged from the Dachau death camp. Nazis tracked Jewish prisoners’ core temperatures as they died in ice water. As terrible as they are, these morally compromised studies helped doctors understand how quickly the body loses heat in such conditions. Sitting in 32-degree water, humans begin to feel sluggish after only a minute or two. By 15 minutes most people fall unconscious. They die between 15 and 45 minutes. When the core body temperature falls below 82 degrees, death is almost inevitable. Measured against that data set, Hof seems to perform miracles.

In 2007 at the Feinstein Institute on Long Island, Kenneth Kamler, a world-renowned expedition doctor who has worked on Everest, observed an experiment in which Hof was connected to heart and blood monitors and immersed in ice. At first the experiment hit a major snag. The standard hospital devices that track respiration declared him dead after he’d been in the ice only two minutes. The machine got confused because he didn’t take a breath for more than two minutes and his resting heart rate was a mere 35 beats per minute. He wasn’t dead, though, and Kamler had to disconnect the device to continue. Hof stayed in the ice for 72 minutes. The results were astounding. Hof’s core temperature initially declined a few degrees but then rose again. It was the first scientific validation of Hof’s method. It was becoming clear that Hof could consciously affect his autonomic nervous system to increase his core temperature. “Exactly how you explain it depends on the kind of philosophy you want to believe in,” says Kamler, who references similar feats called tummo performed by Tibetan monks. Ultimately, he says, it boils down to how Hof uses his brain. “The brain uses a lot of energy on higher functions that are not essential to survival. By focusing his mind he can channel that energy to generate body heat,” he speculates.

Interest among scientists snowballed in 2008 just as it had in the mass media more than a decade earlier. At Maastricht University researchers wondered if Hof’s abilities stemmed from a high concentration of mitochondria-rich brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat. This little-understood tissue can rapidly heat the body when metabolized; it is what allows infants not to succumb to cold in their earliest moments. Usually brown fat mostly disappears by early childhood, but evolutionary biologists believe that early humans may have carried higher concentrations of it to resist extreme environments. The scientists learned that Hof, now 55, had extremely high concentrations—enough to produce five times more energy than the typical 20-year-old—most likely because he repeatedly exposed himself to cold.

Brown fat may be the missing organic structure that separates humans from the natural world. White fat stores caloric energy from food, which the body tends to burn only as a last resort. In fact, it’s difficult to burn the spare tire off your waistline because the body is programmed to store energy: It will burn muscle before it uses white fat to create heat or energy. Brown fat is different. Most people create it automatically when they’re in cold environments—the body detects physical extremes and starts to store mitochondria. The way Hof describes it, when brown fat is activated, the mitochondria enter the bloodstream and metabolize white fat directly to generate heat. Because most people do everything they can to avoid environmental extremes, they never build up brown fat at all. If we lived without clothing, the way our distant ancestors must have, we would have relied on the internal properties of brown fat to keep us alive.

As we sit in the sauna, I ask Hof how someone activates brown fat consciously. Instead of explaining, he tries to demonstrate.
He clenches the muscles in his body in sequence, from his rectum to his shoulders, as if pushing something up from below. Then he furrows his brow and squinches down his neck as though trapping that energy in a point that he says is behind his ear. The process turns his skin bright red as if he were catching fire. Suddenly he kicks out his leg, falls against the wall and gasps. “Oh my God,” he says, dazed. In his eagerness to teach, he didn’t calculate the heat of the sauna. He almost blew a fuse. He lurches out of the sauna and rolls in the snow outside. He returns with an embarrassed smirk. “That’s how you do it. But try it only in the cold.”
Hans Spaan, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2004, credits Hof with saving his life. “With this disease,” he says, “most people have to take more and more drugs just to maintain the same level of mobility and quality of life, and eventually you max out and begin the long decline.” Spaan is trying to manage his drug regime by accompanying it with the breathing technique and ice-cold showers. He tracks his drug use on spreadsheets and claims to be on far fewer drugs now than when he was first diagnosed. He credits Hof with keeping him out of a wheelchair. Although the anecdotal evidence is encouraging, it’s hard to determine how much of Hof’s abilities can be chalked up to the placebo effect. Since Hof claims to be able to control his autonomic nervous system—the system affected by Parkinson’s—it is important to have scientific backing.

Peter Pickkers is just about the last scientist who would be swayed by outlandish claims. An expert on sepsis and infection at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands, he specializes in studies that look at responses of the immune system in humans. In 2010 Hof contacted Pickkers, saying he could suppress or ramp up his immune system at will. The feat is, by definition, almost impossible. But Pickkers, who had watched Hof’s career rise on TV, was curious.

Pickkers devised a test in which he administered endotoxin, a component of E. coli bacteria the body thinks is dangerous but is actually inert. A previous trial Pickkers pioneered proved that 99 percent of healthy people who come in contact with endotoxin react as though they have the flu before the body realizes it has been duped and goes back to normal.

While Hof meditated, Pickkers injected him with the endotoxin. The results were unheard of. “Wim had done things that, if you had asked me prior to the experiment, I would not have thought possible,” Pickkers told me. Whereas almost every other person dosed with endotoxin experienced severe side effects, Hof had nothing more than a minor headache. Blood tests showed he had much higher levels of cortisol—a hormone usually released only during times of extreme stress, sort of like adrenaline—than had been previously recorded. Also, blood drawn while he was meditating remained resistant to endotoxin for six days after it had left his body.

Hof is unambiguous about what he thinks of the results: “If I can show that I can consciously affect my immune system, we will have to rewrite all the medical books.” But Pickkers and much of the rest of the scientific community are more reserved. While the results show an unprecedented response to endotoxin, there is no proof that Hof is anything more than a genetic anomaly. However, the results were promising enough for Pickkers and his colleague Matthijs Kox to commission a second study, this time with Hof guiding a group of college students through the same basic course I took to learn his technique before being injected with endotoxin. If his technique proves to be teachable, then the ground may begin to shift under Pickkers’s feet.

In April 2013, just after I was there, 12 students flew to Poland. Pickkers and Kox remained tight-lipped about the results while the journal article wended its way though the peer-review process, but they’ve issued a press release saying “the trained men produced fewer inflammatory proteins and suffered far less from flu-like symptoms.” Hof is ebullient. In several conversations he tells me that his students were able to master convulsions and fever responses within 15 minutes. Whether he is exaggerating or not remains to be seen, but if the results mirror the 2010 study Pickkers published, Hof will be a certified medical marvel.
All I can definitively report is my experience in Poland. I still have my challenge to complete: Despite my progress, I’m not sure I am up for the grueling bare-chested hike straight up a mountain. Sneˇzˇka Mountain straddles the Polish-Czech border and is battered by icy winds throughout the winter months. At its 5,260-foot summit, frequented mostly by intrepid cross-country skiers who hike up from a ski lift, a lonely observatory records the movements of the stars. Starting at the base of the mountain, Hof, myself and three other disciples begin the arduous climb through two feet of fresh powder. Seconds after we pile out of Hof’s dilapidated Volkswagen van, the cold slices through our winter coats like a knife. At 25 degrees Fahrenheit even modest breezes feel excruciating. In the parking lot, skiers clad head to toe in colorful Gore-Tex ensembles wrestle with their gear and trek slowly to the chairlifts.

Hof leads us to a side trail that snakes through parkland to the summit. Ten minutes up the trail, after our bodies have had time to build some internal heat, we start stripping off layers. Ashley Johnson, a former English hooligan who has found new direction in life doing work around Hof’s house in exchange for lessons, slaps Lescelius and Kuze on the back in camaraderie. Bare to the cold, we stash our clothes in a backpack and crunch forward through powder.

The moment I take off my shirt it begins to make some sense how our primordial ancestors survived. Trudging forward I don’t feel the bite of the cold the way I used to. Whatever heat I build up through exertion seems to stay in my skin as if I were wearing a wet suit. I can feel the sting of cold on my skin, but I focus on the point behind my ears that Hof said would help activate my brown fat and send waves of heat through my body.

Then I try to imitate what I witnessed Hof do in the sauna. With my muscles clenched, mind focused, it isn’t long before I am sweating. A thin steamy mist wafts upward from our group. A skier stops to take pictures. A ski patrolman on a snowmobile stops to see if we are okay. A snowboarder lets out a shocked cry and speeds by. Together we plod forward to the summit.

There is a parallel to walking across a bed of hot coals. The temperature is subservient to the task ahead. Six hours later I am nearing the summit, bare-chested and with my legs caked in snow. I have gone from California palm trees to Poland’s snowy peaks in seven days and feel perfectly warm—hot, even.

The trek takes more than seven hours, and every step upward leaves us more exposed than before. The outside temperature drops to eight degrees. About 300 feet shy of the summit, something changes. My core temperature is fine, but the wind has intensified and the incline has gotten steeper. Every step feels harder than the one before, and I am beginning to tire. We are seven hours into the ascent, and I have given my backpack to the younger, fitter Johnson. I worry what would happen to me if I stopped. Would the cold break through the mental barrier I’ve erected and send me cascading into hypothermia? Fear, more than anything else, keeps me walking. Twenty minutes later I reach the summit. I’m not cold but more tired than I can ever remember being before. After taking a couple of photos we walk into the observatory to warm up.

Just like entering the sauna after standing on ice, the warm air hits me and I feel cold. I shed my mental armor and feel ice leak into my bloodstream. I begin to rely on my environment rather than my mind to keep me warm. I shiver, and then I begin to shake. My teeth clatter. I have never been this cold before. It is an hour until I feel ready to get back on my feet for the climb down the mountain. This time, though, I wear a black peacoat that I brought up in a backpack.

Hof plans to attempt to summit Mount Everest soon. It will be his second time after an earlier, aborted, nearly naked attempt. I ask Hof what he thinks would happen if he finally meets his limits on this climb and joins the hundreds who have died on the mountain. Would his message be lost to time? Would even the modest lessons he has been able to give to his flock mean anything if he dies in a way most people would deem foolish? His face grows dark at the thought. He tells me he might cry. “I must not die,” he says. “I’ve decided.”

Scott Carney ( is an investigative journalist based in Los Angeles.
19 May 2014

Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die

By Tyler Durden

In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as "channel stuffing", of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning?


Where the World's Unsold Cars Go To Die (courtesy of Vincent Lewis' Unsold Cars)

Above is just a few of the thousands upon thousands of unsold cars at Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Please do see this on Google Maps....type in Sheerness, United Kingdom.  Look to the west coast, below River Thames next to River Medway. Left of A249, Brielle Way.
Timestamp: Friday, May 16th, 2014.

There are hundreds of places like this in the world today and they keep on piling up...


Houston...We have a problem!...Nobody is buying brand new cars anymore!  Well they are, but not on the scale they once were.  Millions of brand new unsold cars are just sitting redundant on runways and car parks around the world.  There, they stay, slowly deteriorating without being maintained.
Below is an image of a massive car park at Swindon, United Kingdom, with thousands upon thousands of unsold cars just sitting there with not a buyer in sight. The car manufacturers have to buy more and more land just to park their cars as they perpetually roll off the production line.

There is proof that the worlds recession is still biting and wont let go.  All around the world there are huge stockpiles of unsold cars and they are being added to every day.  They have run out of space to park all of these brand new unsold cars and are having to buy acres and acres of land to store them.
The images on this webpage showing all of these unsold cars are just a very small portion of those around the world.  There are literally thousands of these "car parks" rammed full of unsold cars in practically every country on the planet.  Just in case you were wondering, these images have not been Photoshopped, they are the real deal!
Its hard to believe that there are so many unsold cars in the world but its true.  The worse part is that the amount of unsold cars keeps on getting bigger every day.
It would be fair to say that it is becoming a mechanical epidemic of epic proportions.  If anybody from outer space is reading this webpage, we here on Earth have too many cars, why not come and buy a few hundred thousand of them for your own planet! (sorry but this is all I can think of)
Below is shown just a few of the 57,000 cars (and growing) that await delivery from their home in the Port of Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. With Google Maps look South of Broening Hwy in Dundalk for the massive expanse of space where all these cars are parked up.

The car industry would never sell these cars at massive reductions in their prices to get rid of them, no they still want every buck.  If they were to price these cars for a couple of thousand they would sell them.  However, nobody would then buy any expensive cars and then they  would end up being unsold.  Its quite a pickle we have gotten ourselves into.
Below is shown an image of the Nissan test track in Sunderland United Kingdom.  Only it is no longer being used, reason...there are too many unsold cars parked up on it!  The amount of cars keeps on piling up on it until its overflowing.  Nissan then acquires more land to park up the cars, as they continue to come off the production line.

UPDATE: Currently May 16th, 2014, all of these cars at the Nissan Sunderland test track have disappeared? Now I don't believe they have all suddenly been sold.  I would guess they may have been taken away and recycled to make room for the next vast production run.
Indeed next to that test track and adjacent to the Nissan factory, they are collating again as shown on the Google Maps image below.  So where did the last lot go? This is not an employees car park by the way.

None of the images on this webpage are of ordinary car parks at shopping malls, football matches etc.  Trust me, they are just mountains and mountains of brand spanking new unsold cars. There is no real reason why you should be driving an old clunker now is there?
The car industry cannot stop making new cars because they would have to close their factories and lay off tens of thousands of employees.  This would further add to the recession.  Also the domino effect would be catastrophic as steel manufactures would not sell their steel. All the tens of thousands of places where car components are made would also be effected, indeed the world could come to a grinding halt.
Below is shown just a small area of a gigantic car park  in Spain where tens of thousands of cars just sit and sunbathe all day.

They are also piling up at the port of Valencia in Spain as seen below.  They are either waiting to be exported to...nowhere or have been go nowhere.

Tens of thousands of cars are still being made every week but hardly any of them are being sold.  Nearly every household in developed countries already has a car or even two or three cars parked up on their driveway as it is.
Below is an image of thousands upon thousands of unsold cars parked up on a runway near St Petersburg in Russia.  They are all imported from Europe, they are all then parked up and they are all then left to rot. Consequently, the airport is now unusable for its original purpose.

The cycle of buying, using, buying using has been broken, it is now just a case of "using" with no buying. Below is an image of thousands of unsold cars parked up on an disused runway at Upper Heyford, Bicester, Oxfordshire. They are seriously running out of space to store these cars.

It is a sorry state of affairs and there is no answer to it, solutions don't exist.  So the cars just keep on being manufactured and keep on adding to the millions of unsold cars already sitting redundant around the world.
Below are parked tens of thousands of cars at Royal Portbury Docks, Avonmouth, near Bristol in the United Kingdom. If you look on Google Maps and scan around the area at say 200ft you will see nothing but parked up unsold cars. They are absolutley everywhere in that area practically every open space has unsold cars parked up on it.

Below is that same area in Avonmouth, UK, but zoomed out. Every gray space that you see is filled with unsold cars.  Anyone want to hazard a guess at how many are there...

As it is, there are more cars than there are people on the planet with an estimated 10 billion roadworthy cars in the world today.
We literally cannot make enough of them. Below are seen just a few of the thousands of Citroen's parked up at Corby, Northamptonshire in England. They are being added to daily, imported from France but with nowhere else to go once they arrive.

So there they sit, brand spanking new cars, all with a couple of miles on the clock that was consummate with them being driven to their car parks.  Below is the latest May 2014 Google Maps image of unsold cars in Corby, Northamptonshire.

Manufacturing more cars than can be sold is against all logic, logistics and economics but it continues day after day, week after week, month after month, year in year out.
Below is shown a recent (April 2014) screen grab from Google Maps of the Italian port of Civitavecchia.  All those little specks are a few thousand brand new unsold Peugeots.  Just collecting dust and maybe a bit of salty sea spray!

Below, all nice and shiny but with nowhere to go.  Red and white and black and silver, purple, pink and blue, all the colors of the rainbow and be they all brand new.  Indeed all the colors of the rainbow are down there on those cars, making pretty mosaics, montages of color and still life.  Maybe that is all they will now ever be, surreal urban art of the techno production age.  Magnificent metal boxes, wasting space and saving grace, all sitting still, because its business at mill.

All around the world these cars just keep on piling up, there is no end in sight.  The economy shouts out quite loud that nobody has the money anymore to spend on a new car. The reason being that they are making their "old" cars go on a lot longer.  But we cannot stop making them, soon we will run out of space to park them.  We are nearly running out of space to drive them that's for sure!
Below, more cars mount up in the port of Valencia in Spain. They will not be exported as there is nowhere for them to go, so they just sit and rot in their colorful droves.

Gone are the days when the family would have a new car every year, they are now keeping what they have got.  It may be fair to say that some  families still get a new car every year but its the majority that now do not.
The results are in these images, hundreds of thousands if not millions of cars around the world are driven from their factories, parked up and left.

Could we say that these cars have been left to rot!  Maybe, as these cars will certainly rot if they are not bought, driven and cared for.  It does not look like they will be sold any day soon, many of them have been standing for over 12 months or even longer and this is detrimental to the car.
Below, as far as the eye can see, right into the background, cars, cars and more cars. But what's beyond the horizon?  Have a guess...Yes that's right...even more cars!  All brand new but with no homes to go to.  Do you think they will ever start giving them away, that may be the only radical solution.  Who knows, you could soon be getting a free car with every packet of cornflakes.

When a car is left standing idle, all the oil sinks to the bottom of the sump, and then corrosion begins to set in on all the internal engine parts where the oil has drained away.
Cold corrosion is when condensation builds up in the cylinders and rust forms in the bores. The engines would then start to seize and would need to be professionally freed before they could be started.  Also the tires start to lose air and the batteries start to go flat, indeed the detrimental list goes on and on.

So the longer they sit there the worse it slowly becomes for them.  What is the answer to this?  Well they need to be sold and that just isn't happening.
The epidemic is not improving, it is getting worse.  Car manufactureres are constantly coming out with new models with the latest technology in them.  Hence prospective buyers of, for example, a new Citroen Xsara Picasso want the latest model, not last years model.  Hence all the unsold Citroen Xsara Picasso cars from the previous year will now have even lesser chance of being sold.
The problems then just keep on mounting up.  In the end, the unsold cars that are say 2 years old will have no alternative but to be either crushed up, dismantled and/or their parts recycled.
Some car manufacturers moved their production over to China, General Motors and Cadillac are examples of this.  They are then shipped over in containers and unloaded at ports.  However they are now being told to put a big halt in their import into the U.S.A. as they just can't sell them in the quantities they would desire.  Consequently Chinese car parks are now filling up with brand new American cars.  Well nobody in China can afford them on their meagre pittance wages, so there they will stay until our economy improves...which it might do in a few generations.