Newly-Opened Chinese School of Arts Is a Real-Life Hogwarts

Young Potterheads in China are in for a real treat – they have the chance to study at their very own Hogwarts! Well, it isn’t really a school of magic – the building is a part of the Hebei Academy of Fine Arts and will house the school’s animation students. But who cares as long as you get to spend hours inside a magnificent castle that strongly resembles Harry Potter’s famous school, right?

Images of the impressive school went viral as more and more netizens began to notice that its various turrets and towers are a lot like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. But the designers of the structure insist that they weren’t inspired by J. K. Rowling’s magical world; they simply modelled the castle after European architecture in general. They actually prefer to call it ‘Cinderella Castle’, since it features a gigantic clock tower.

Sadly, there won’t be any shifting staircases or talking portraits inside the castle. But it still is a pretty awesome place for a college. “We want our students to be inspired and this impressive fairytale architecture is exactly what they need for working in a creative environment,” a spokesperson for Hebei Academy said. “It’s important for the students and for the staff that they feel part of something special, and that is enough magic to ensure what we have created is a fine institution for furthering interest in the study of arts.”

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Artist Draws Insanely Detailed City Landscapes Entirely from Memory

Dutch artist Stefan Bleekrode has been blessed with the most amazing talent – he can draw amazingly detailed sketches of cities he has visited, using only his razor-sharp memory as reference .

The 28-year-old has used his superhuman power of recollection to create ‘Cityscapes’,  a series of sketches of some of the world’s most famous cities, like London, New York and Paris. Stefan’s drawings are so mindbogglingly detailed that it’s almost impossible to believe he relies solely on his memory. Using just ink, he composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, bridges and any other details his mind picks up. His sophisticated techniques – stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and stunning detail –  make each drawing look photographic, as if they were captured from an aerial vantage point.

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Waitresses at Aptly-Named Shooters Grill All Carry Guns

True to its name, Colorado restaurant ‘Shooters’ is a pro-guns type of place – the waitresses are all packing heat and patrons are encouraged to do the same! Incidentally, the restaurant is located in a town called Rifle, where openly carrying guns in public is illegal.

A sign on the front door of the restaurant reads: “Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered, unless the need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.” So when waitresses at Shooters take an order, they not only carry a pad and pen, but also loaded handguns holstered around their waist, Wild West Style.

According to Shooters owner Lauren Boebert, the restaurant is simply allowing customers and employees to exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. “We encourage it, and the customers love that they can come here and express their rights,” said Boebert. “This country was founded on our freedom. People can come in carrying their gun, and they can pray over their food.”

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This Adorable Bird Is Apparently a Vicious Brain-Eating Zombie in Disguise

The Great tit might seem like just a cute little bird, but don’t let its appearance fool you for. In reality, it is one of the most vicious creatures in the world. Also known as ‘The Zombie tit’, this chirping ball of feathers is a killing machine with an insatiable hunger for brains.

Scientists generally agree that modern birds are direct descendants of fierce dinosaurs like the T-Rex and Velociraptor. Of course, most of them are so small and their feathers so pretty that it’s hard for people to actually associate them with the monstrous creatures depicted in films like Jurassic Park. However, their predatory instincts have definitely passed the test of time, and this holds true for the tiny Great tit, as well. So what’s so scary about this seemingly harmless bird? Well, just that it is known to routinely seek out other birds and bats, crush their heads and feast on their brains!

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Macabre Restaurant in Mexico Is Decorated with 10,000 Animal Bones

A new Mexican restaurant in Guadalajara is making waves for its highly unusual interior. The concept restaurant is named ‘Hueso’ (Spanish for ‘bone’), and true to its name, it uses animal bones as the mainstay of its decor.

Mexican architect Ignacio Cadena is the brains behind the beautiful yet haunting design that plays with the sculptural elements of deconstructed skeletons. The exterior or ‘skin’ of the renovated 1940s building is made up of handmade ceramic tiles with zigzag patterns that resemble stitches and sewing patterns.

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Hundreds of Indians Fast to Death Every Year in Ancient Santhara Ritual

Fasting is a common religious practice in several cultures across the world, but few are as hardcore as ‘Santhara’. The exacting ritual is a part of Jainism, one of the oldest religions in the world, and it involves participants making an oath to stop eating until they literally die of starvation. According to the Jains, this is a surefire way to purge oneself of bad karma and achieve ‘Moksha’ – liberation from the worldly cycle of death and reincarnation.

Every year, hundreds of Jains across India take up the onerous oath – some are monks, others are ordinary people. Interestingly, over 60 percent of the participants are female, and it is believed that women are more strong-willed than men. The practice is more popular with Jains who are ill or dying, but healthy people are also known to participate.

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The World’s Longest Burning Light-Bulb Has Been On for 113 Years

With most of us having to replace light-bulbs every few months, it’s amazing that the Centennial Light-Bulb at Fire Station No. 6 in Livermore, California, has been burning continuously ever since 1901.

The exact date the centennial bulb was turned on is unknown, although its birthday is usually celebrated on June 18. However, we do know that it has been alight 24 hours a day since then, shining a dim light over the fire engines. Apart from the few power outages it has faced in the last 113 years, the unbreakable light-bulb has only had two breaks – one in 1976, when it was moved from one fire station and installed in another, and one in 2013, when it was off for 9 3.4 hours. When the bulb was moved, almost 40 years ago, people were so cautious not to break it that they severed the cord, instead of unscrewing it, and transferred it with a full police and fire truck escort. The whole business lasted just 22 minutes, after which it was back to business as usual.

The impressive light-bulb is apparently an improved hand-blown incandescent lamp with carbon filament. Debora Katz, a physicist at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., has conducted extensive research on the centennial light-bulb and what makes it so special, using a vintage light bulb from Shelby Electric Co. that is a near replica of the Livermore lamp. “The Livermore light bulb differs from a contemporary incandescent bulb in two ways,” says Katz. “First its filament is about eight times thicker than a contemporary bulb. Second, the filament is a semiconductor, most likely made of carbon. When a conductor gets hotter, its ability to conduct electricity goes down. When the Shelby bulb gets hotter, it becomes a better conductor of electricity.”

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Artist Turns Human Bodies into Living Canvases for Her Beautiful Animal Portraits

There’s more to the animal portraits painted by Florida-based artist Shannon Holt than meets the eye. If you look carefully, you’ll notice the canvases are actually human bodies contorted into just the right position.

The expert body-painter spends between 6 and 12 hours instructing the models to adopt the right stance and painstakingly painting every little detail of the animal she brings to life through her art. After experimenting with various mediums, Holt decided the skin was the perfect medium to express her talent. “The body was the final surface I tried before I decided skin was the key to making my work successful,” she said. “I love it because it happened automatically and beautifully with no planning – it’s a perfect creative example of how cool body painting can be. It can transform into two different images with the repositioning of the model’s arms and hands.”

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Indian Hindu Leaders Launch Beauty Products Made with Cow Dung

The Visha Hindu Parishad (VHP), a right-wing non-governmental organization in India, has recently launched a line of beauty products containing two very special ingredients – cow dung and gau mutra.

“The use of gau mutra in medicines and beauty products will help farmers and prevent them from selling cows. Ayurveda talks about use of cow dung to prevent pimples. But people are reluctant to use dung, which is why we are making beauty products out of it,” VHP leader Venkatesh Abdeo said. Just to be clear, gau mutra is not some miracle plant but plain old cow urine, which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

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Lack of Building Space Inspires Chinese School to Build Running Track on Its Roof

An elementary school in Tiantai, in China’s Zhejiang Province, has a 200-meter running track built on its roof. It’s a strange place to have children running, but the school’s authorities didn’t have much of a choice. There wasn’t any construction land available on the campus grounds, so they figured a track on the roof is better than no track at all.

“Under the circumstances that limited land cannot provide enough space for students to exercise in, we chose to challenge the concept that playgrounds and tracks have to be on the ground,” said chief architect Ruan Hao. The unique design has received worldwide recognition – it represented China at the 14th Venice Architecture Exhibition this year.

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Venice of the Middle-East: The Floating Basket Homes of Iraq

Little is known to the world about Iraq’s Tigris-Euphrates marshlands – an area that, at one time, covered over 9,000 square miles – bigger than Venice’s lagoon and Florida’s Everglades combined. The marshland was inhabited continuously for over 5,000 years and at its peak, it was home to half-a-million ‘Marsh Arabs’ or ‘Ma’dan’.

The Ma’dan consisted of several tribes that had developed a beautiful, eco-friendly culture that centered on the marshes’ natural resources. One of the truly admirable aspects of their lifestyle was their beautifully elaborate dwellings – floating houses made entirely out of reeds that were harvested from the open water.

These architectural wonders, strongly reminiscent of the ‘casoni’ of the Venetian fishermen, were called ‘mudhif’. They were temporary structures built of reeds in only three days, without the use of nails or wood. Even the islands that the houses would rest on were made of complicated arrangements of mud and rushes.

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Elderly Care Home in Germany Uses Therapy Alpacas to Make Residents Happier

Just looking at the picture of an alpaca will make you want to pet the adorable creature. So it comes as no surprise that the camel’s super fluffy cousin is being used for therapy in Germany, at Berlin’s Mana Wedell Tagespflege elderly care home.

A group of alpacas live in the home’s garden and are welcome to go inside for a visit. A video of their interaction with the residents was put up on YouTube, and although it is in German, you can tell that the place is so full of love.

The footage shows the alpacas being taken to each of the residents’ rooms for a visit. It appears that the alpacas are incredibly affectionate and love to be cuddled. They also seem to enjoy being given tasty treats and like riding the elevator. The residents also have a great time petting and spoiling the delightful animals, making them happier and healthier.

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Finnish Bodybuilder Turns into Fantastic Four’s The Thing When Working Out

Meet Jari “Bull” Mentula, a bodybuilder from Finland who looks a lot like the Marvel superhero The Thing, of the Fantastic Four. Not only is he muscular enough to fit the bill, but his head gets so abnormally wrinkly when he flexes his muscles that the resemblance becomes uncanny.

Jari has been a familiar face on the IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilders) tour during the last 15 years, making a name for himself in competitions and even winning the European Bench Press Championships in 2002, 2004 and 2008. But he only became known to the general public last year, when a photo of him working out was posted on popular news sharing network Reddit. The image was captioned “I guess that’s the brain popping out, isn’t it?” And indeed, the bodybuilder’s head looked so incredibly wrinkly that it looked like his brain was about to burst through his scalp.

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This Afghan Bruce Lee Doppelganger Will Blow Your Mind

Abulfazl Abbas Shakoory not only bears an uncanny resemblance to legendary martial arts master Bruce Lee, but he can also perform his incredible moves almost to perfection. Shakoory has become an internet celebrity of sorts, after putting up videos of his stunts on social media websites.

The 20-year-old Kabul resident, who calls himself “Bruce Hazara” has been practicing various types of martial arts ever since he was a child. He had always considered Bruce Lee his hero, and describes the ability of mastering his famous moves as his “only dream”. To accomplish his goal, Shakoory has also started practicing Wushu, a full-contact sport derived from Chinese martial arts. As fate would have it, his face resembles that of the great Chinese actor as well, and adopting his famous bowl haircut made “Bruce Hazara” an almost perfect doppelganger.

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This Lady Is Revolutionizing the Fur Industry by Using Roadkill

For a lot of people, the term “ethical fur” is nothing more than an oxymoron, since it still involves killing animals for their pelts, but one fashion designer is actually legitimizing the expression by using roadkill for her fur accessories.

Pamela Paquin, founder of the aptly-named Petite Mort fashion label, picks up animal carcasses from the side of the road and turns their pelts into fur accessories that sell for up to $1,000 a piece. All of her creations, from gloves, to leg warmers and hats are marked with a specially-designed silver disk that lets people know they are ethical products. “People need to look at the fur and say okay, that’s Petite Mort, it’s an ethical fur,” Paquin said about the distinctive label. I would add that it’s also a great heads-up to animal activists not to smear the expensive fur accessories them with paint, as they tend to do at public events.

The idea of roadkill fur had been in Pamela’s head for a few years, before she actually decided to actually make it happen. But after traveling the world as a global sustainability consultant and living in Denmark for seven years, she and her daughter returned to New England, looking to start over. She told the Washington Post that she found herself “sitting in the woods literally staring at the trees. Winter was coming. I was like: ‘What am I doing to do with myself?” There was that dead raccoon on the road the other day. My cousin’s a hunter. Maybe I should just do this.'”

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