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World’s tallest LEGO tower

This toy tower brings back memories…

If you’re lucky enough to be living near Legoland Windsor, in England, than you’ll be able to examine this toy wonder in person. It may look pointless but this baby climbed its way into the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Tallest LEGO tower. The former record was of 96 feet but the Legoland Windsor tower measures a whopping 100 feet. It was built to resemble a Viking longboat mast, to mark the inauguration of the land of Vikings attraction in the theme park, but also to celebrate 50 years of LEGO.

The tower was built by children, one 20 cm portion at a time, portions that were then lifted by a crane and it took almost half a million LEGO pieces to build. The tower is held in place by wires.

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The art of stone balancing

I know it looks impossible, but it really isn’t…

You’re probably thinking something like “myeah, another fake set of images” but I assure you they are all the real deal. Actually stone balancing is a very old art, passed on from generation to generation and frequently practiced for a number of reasons. Some do it in exhibitions, just to show off their talents, while others perform rock balancing as a meditating ritual (Korean Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism and Yoga).

No matter the reason it is performed for, stone stacking or balancing is simply amazing, just for the fact that it defies all logic and probably even physics, I don’t know, I’m not really into science…

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Swimming through the grass

Not a monument like I originally thought, but cool nontheless

Commissioned and unveiled last year by the Discovery Channel to promote one of its reality shows, London Ink, this giant swimmer swims his way through the grass on the South Bank of the river Thames, near Tower Bridge. first time I saw this work of art I thought it was meant to symbolize something like the British ambition or competitive spirit, not a lousy advertisement scheme. Oh well, at least it looks cool.

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Fooling gravity

That’s what I’d say this man is doing through his performances.

Johan Lorbeer is a German performing artist that became famous in his home country through his Still Life street shows. Through a very ingenious optical illusion, Lorbeer makes it seem like he is defying gravity just by leaning off buildings. Try to guess how he pulls this stunt off and learn if you guessed right by looking at the last photo.

Although he is clearly a brilliant artist and has been performing for quite some time, Johan Lorbeer is still semi-unknown on an international level. Here’s a link to his personal page.

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Easter Eggs-building models

An unusual building-models exhibition took place in Kiev recently, with famous national landmarks being built out of Easter eggs. It took almost 17.000 eggs to recreate Saint Sophia Cathedral and a city of castles Kamenets-Podolsky. The roof of the cathedral has been painted gold. The eggs of this Ukrainian egg-map will be given as souvenirs after the gallery closes.
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Swallow’s Nest Castle

A great architectural wonder built on the edge of a cliff.

Swallow’s Nest is an ornamental castle built in Yalta, Crimea peninsula, Ukraine, built between 1911-1912 by Russian architect Leonid Sherwood. It lies on the 130foot-high Aurora Cliff, overlooking the Black Sea. Over time it has been a restaurant, a reading club headquarters and, lately, a very popular tourist attraction. In 1927 it survived a strong earthquake (between 6 and 7 on the Richter scale) with only a few decorative elements falling in the sea, but the cliff itself developed a huge crack, so access to the Swallow’s Nest was restricted for almost 40 years. In 1968 the castle was renovated and a monolithic concrete plate console was used to strengthen the cliff.

I love the way it looks, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting a place that looks like it could fall into the see any second.

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Color-painted human skulls

That’s right, in this Austrian town, when you can’t bury bones, you paint them.

Hallstatt is a very small town in Austria with a very interesting ossuary, definitely the town’s biggest tourist attraction. The story behind it goes like this: Back in the 16th century, Hallstatt’s small cemetery had reached its limit and the people there had to come up with a solution. So people who died were only buried in the cemetery for 10-12 years, after which their bones were dugg up, bleached in the sunlight for a few months, then painted with the person’s name, dates of birth and death and some decorations and, finally placed in the ossuary.

The city is much smaller now and most of the people are cremated anyway, but this practice still take place on request, the latest of the 1200 skulls dates back to 1997. In the old days all the bones were placed in the ossuary, but these days its getting pretty crowded in there so only the skulls are allowed.

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Japanese fashion: Harajuku

As a manga and anime enthusiast, I must say I love these girls’ style!

I’m sure most of you are already familiar with this fashion style, very popular in Japan’s biggest cities and even though you didn’t know it was called Harajuku, you’ve surely seen some oddly dressed girls, wearing lots of make-up, they’re all over the internet.

Harajuku style was named after Harajuku district in Tokyo, the place where it’s believed it all began and where all the kids gather to scout for new funky clothes in the numerous shops and boutiques, or just to show off their new outfits. The nice thing about this fashion trend is that it’s not big brands or fashion designers telling people what to wear, but just the opposite, the kids are dictating what sells.

Japan is very “absorbent”when it comes to Western culture, so the Harajuku style is a trademark for those independent spirits that don’t go with the flow and choose to freely express themselves.

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The Real Toy Story

No link to Pixar’s animation movies, but just as interesting.

The Real Toy Story is an elaborate work of art and a homage to Chinese workers, who produce most of the world’s cheap plastic toys. It all began when German photographer Michael Wolf thought to surprise his son on his birthday. He went to the local flee-market, bought 600 second-hand toys and glued them on every available surface of the boy’s room. Upon further examination of the toys, they observed that every single one was made in China. His son said “I thought Santa and his helpers make toys” and that’s when the idea hit him. He immediately set off on a 30-day journey across California, in his van, stopping at every market and collecting all the toys that had a face and were made in China.

He managed to gather 20,000 toys which he shipped to his studio in Hong Kong, where he then sanded-down their backs in order to attach magnets. He then visited some Chinese toy factories and took pictures of the workers. He covered his studio walls with metallic surfaces and stuck the toys to them, also embedding the photos he took.

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Bottle-wall houses

If you’re a big beer fan, don’t throw away the bottles, build yourself a house instead.

Yet another example that with a god imagination you can build anything out of anything. The first bottle house was built in 1902 by William F. Peck, in Tonopah, Nevada, using approximately 10,000 beer bottles; the house was later demolished in 1980. Tom Kelly built himself a bottle house in 1905, in Rhyolite, Nevada, using 51,000 bottles masoned with adobe. He reportedly used bottles because other materials were hard to come by in that area.

There are quite a few bottle houses in the world today, but most of them have been built specifically as tourist attractions or simply as artworks.

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Wacky Austrian museum

Ever been afraid that a house might fall on you and squash you?

I know what it looks like, but no, that house did not just fall out of the sky. It’s an artistic project of sculptor Erwin Wurm and it was set up especially to look like a house just fell out of the sky and landed on the Viennese Museum of Modern Art. Actually it took two large cranes to get that house in its place and secure it properly.

Wurm says his work of art is a statement against over-development, here are his thoughts on the matter: “There are hundreds of thousands of houses and they are spreading like a plague, like a cancer across our land.”

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Matchsticks-made Minas Tirith

Who knew something made of matchsticks could be so impressive!

Patrick Acton is an artist from Iowa and apparently a big fan of The Lord of The Rings universe, who uses matchsticks to create his masterpieces. What you see in these photos is just a work in progress, an incomplete model of Minas Tirith, the famous fortress city, as seen in LOTR3: The Return of the King. The details are remarkable and I can only imagine what it will look like when it’s finished, sometime in 2009.

Anton has become famous through his work and has been featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, Home and Garden TV and in magazines like AAA Travel wood, The Iowan and others. I admire him for his patience!

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Incredible soap art

Who says soap can only be used for cleansing?

As you can see it makes for great material when you have an artistic sense. Some of you may not be impressed by all these pieces, but I for one never looked at soap as anything but something to help me get squeaky clean, so I’m genuinely impressed to see art in something so common.

I wonder how much one of these babies costs and if anyone really uses them when they bathe? I doubt it.

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Great use of a used plane

This is El Avion, a famous plane now turned into a bar.

El Avion is a model C-123 Fairchild and it can be found in Costa Rica and it has quite an unusual story. I for one really didn’t get much of it, but the bottom line is that it was abandoned by the USA at the San Jose airport, in 1986, after its identical sister plane was shot down over Nicaragua, leading to the capture of a one Eugene Hasenfus by the Sandinista army. Apparently there was a huge scandal regarding this incident at the time, but right now El Avion remains just a place where you can come and get a really expensive drink.

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Cement tube houses

I could think of a number of uses for these cement tubes, but housing is still not one of them.

But as you can see it’s very possible, and the people living in them seem very content. Sure you only have enough space to fit a small bed but at least you have a roof over your head…well it’s not exactly a roof but you know what I mean. I guess this one of those places where rich people come to experience what the hard-knock life feels like, before heading back to their luxurious mansions.

Would be nice if they had a toilet or something, though…

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