Ramesh Sahu works in the sanitation department of Calcutta, cleaning out the city's sewers. On a regular basis, Rakesh sits in a low crouch at the bottom of a seven-foot-deep manhole, sloshing away in a swirl of human waste and sediment. Equipped with a hoe and a steel bar, and wearing only a pair of loose purple underpants, Rakesh empties the thick black sludge from a clogged sewer into a bucket that his fellow crew members hoist up and dump in the middle of a narrow road. A small mountain of decaying excrement accumulates between the manhole and a rickety wooden vegetable cart.
Portable Toilet Cleaner
This job is a sort of combination of garbage collector and gastroenterologist, and arguably more disgusting than both put together. Although most people in polite society methodically avoid situations where they need to use a portable toilet, modern outhouses can be lifesavers. As gross as they can be, they'd be worse without the folks who clean them for a living. Using a tank and a vacuum wand, cleaners must suck up all the waste in a portable toilet. After picking up any stray toilet paper, they also wash down all surfaces that could possibly be soiled, including the walls. This is when a high-pressure hose comes in handy. Usually, cleaning one portable toilet takes only a few minutes, and most workers clean from 10 to 60 of them a day.
Guard at Buckingham Palace
Guard duty at Buckingham Palace is regarded as one of the worst jobs in the British Army. Besides the fact that they have to stand for hours, no laughing allowed, they also have to look their best. Soldiers spend several hours each day cleaning and pressing their uniforms and polishing their boots in preparation for one of the many kit inspections that they are likely to face before taking up their positions outside one of the royal palaces.
Flatus Odor Judge
Odor judges are common in the research labs of mouthwash companies, where the halitosis-inflicted blow great gusts of breath in their faces to test product efficacy. But Minneapolis gastroenterologist Michael Levitt recently took the job to another level-or, rather, to the other end. Levitt paid two brave souls to indulge repeatedly in the odors of other people's farts. (Levitt refuses to divulge the remuneration, but it would seem safe to characterize it thusly: Not enough.) Sixteen healthy subjects volunteered to eat pinto beans and insert small plastic collection tubes into their anuses (worst-job runners-up, to be sure). After each "episode of flatulence," Levitt syringed the gas into a discrete container, rigorously maintaining fart integrity. The odor judges then sat down with at least 100 samples, opened the caps one at a time, and inhaled robustly.
Brazilian Mosquito Researcher
Scientists fighting malaria must study the biting habits of the mosquito that spreads it. In Brazil, that's the Anopheles Darlingi, which doesn't fall for the light or wind traps researchers use in Africa: this smart little sucker will come near scientists only when they offer themselves as bait. In the early evening, when mosquito activity is busiest, a mosquito dinner- researcher finds a nice buggy area and sets himself up inside a mosquito-netting tent with a gap at the bottom. Mosquitoes fly in low and get trapped inside, where the researcher sits stoically, sacrificing his skin to science. He needs focus only on his legs to keep him busy: whenever a mosquito chooses a drumstick dinner, the researcher draws it into a mouth tube and then expels it into a container. Veteran researcher Helge Zieler used to put himself on the menu twice a week. On his best evening, he caught 500 Anopheles in 3 hours.
The daily grind at the office may not seem so bad after viewing these startling images.
For, no matter how grumpy your boss may be this morning, at least you aren't actually risking life and limb by sticking your head in his jaws.
But that is exactly what the crocodile wrestlers at a Thai zoo do on a daily basis. The men at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo perform what may well be the world's most dangerous job. The wranglers have been performing the stunts at the zoo on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand, since it was set up in 1985. During the hour-long shows they stick their head between the jaws of some of the zoo's biggest crocs, in the style of Krai Thong, a legendary Thai crocodile hunter.
Target girl is a term sometimes used in circus and vaudeville to denote a female assistant in "impalement" acts such as knife throwing, archery or sharpshooting. The assistant stands in front of a target board or is strapped to a moving board and the impalement artist throws knives or shoots projectiles so as to hit the board but miss the assistant. The presence of an assistant as a human target provides a powerful element of risk. Without assistants placing themselves in danger these acts would be simple demonstrations of accuracy, but with the potential for injury or death the show is much more dramatic. Where can I apply?
Demining or mine clearance is the process of removing either land mines, or naval mines, from an area. Manual demining is still the best system currently in use because it has been proven that the current generation of mine clearance machines can only clear up to an 80 percent certainty at best, whereas manual demining can give a 99.6 percent certainty. But this work can be very dangerous. Demining resulted in at least 500 deaths from 1996 to 2002.