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Here’s what the Untapped staff has been enjoying this week (along with the crisper October temperatures).

New York

Ever wondered what would happen if you threw caution into the wind and actually drank water from the Gowanus canal? So has Dan Nosowitz of Popular Science. Despite its location in the now-blooming Gowanus neighborhood, the canal itself is still one of America’s most polluted waterways. According to Nosowitz’s exposé, if you take a drink (not recommended), anticipate a very high risk of developing dysentery, cancer, and arsenic poisoning. Read the full article here.

remote-controlled-tourists-melbourne-australiaRemote control tourists Lucy and Tom in the streets of Melbourne. Image via the Sydney Morning Herald.

Melbourne

The Telegraph reports that this Australian city has launched a “try before you buy” initiative to entice potential visitors: a remote-controlled tourist. Two real individuals have strapped on helmet-mounted cameras and microphones for the project, which streams live on their website.

Website visitors can leave comments instructing the “tourists” where to go and what to do. So far, they have passed by landmarks such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Federation Square, but visitors have also been urging them to dance and hug strangers. The project will be live this weekend, so sure to visit the site while you can still boss the “remote-controlled tourists” around.

Vatican City

You would think that the Vatican would have a pretty solid grasp on how to spell Jesus, but that was not the case this Tuesday. According to CNN, Italian State Mint minted over 6,000 papal medals to commemorate the election of Pope Francis, but complaints began to pour in immediately after they went on sale earlier this week.

Pope Francis himself chose the medallion’s phrase (Latin for Jesus, therefore, saw the publican, and because he saw by having mercy and by choosing, He said to him, ‘Follow me.’) He probably did not intend for JESVS––Jesus’ name in Latin––to be spelled LESVS. But no worries: These mixed-up medallions are likely to become very expensive collectors’ items.

cricket-fight-beijing-championships-linkageThe beginning of autumn means the beginning of cricket-fighting. Image via Flickr by Hansojo.

Beijing

Ah, autumn––the crisp leaves, the pumpkin-flavored treats, and the start of cricket-fighting season. Cricket-fighting, a sport with over 1,000 years of history, pits two crickets against each other à la cockfighting in a shoebox-sized arena. This is no laughing matter: Bets run high, and the reputations of their owners are at stake. (Not to mention their finances––one championship owner’s crickets ran upwards of 10,000 yuan, or $1600.)

Beijing’s annual National Cricket-Fighting Championships took place just after the fall equinox, but the season is far from over. Head to the streets of Beijing or Shanghai to buy your own fighting insects, starting at about 10 renminbi ($1.60) a pop.

leandro-granito-eye-popping-artwork

Buenos Aires

Argentine painter Leandro Granato is taking the art world by storm with his eye-popping creations. He quite literally has an eye for art: His process involves snorting paint through his nose, sucking it through his nasal cavity, and squirting the paint onto canvas. Granato discovered this unique method of painting shortly after his grandfather passed away, and opened his own studio at age 20 due to popular demand for his paintings.

The artist uses specially formulated watercolor paint to avoid damaging his eyes or nasal cavity, and takes between 15 minutes to five days to finish a painting. Check out his gallery online.

Worldwide

If you like your nightlife with a dash of creepy, White Raver Rafting has an excellent roundup of 10 abandoned nightclubs from around the world. The Tuxedo Royale Nightclub Cruise, a now-abandoned party boat in Middlesborough, is especially eerie, as is the Starlite Music Theater. Check out the list here.

Burned Down Abandoned Club-Austria-Matthais HaikerBurned down club in Austria. Image by Matthais Haiker

Meanwhile, The Atlantic reports that architect Azin Valy has begun a fashion line inspired by––weirdly enough––urban planning from cities worldwide. The line, called Cityzen by Azin, incorporates aerial views of cities including London, New York, Tokyo, and Tehran. Explore Valy’s new line––including the Chicago dress she presented to Michelle Obama––on her website.

cityzen-by-azin-fashion-line-globalAzin Valy’s new fashion line, inspired by urban planning. Photo via SFGate by Johanna Aquino.

Finally, for a fresh perspective on an issue relevant for cities everywhere, check out David Madden’s excellent piece on the harmful side effects of gentrification in The Guardian here.

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