10 Coolest Finds of the Week #5

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On the Deadly Trail of Poachers in Congo’s Virunga National Park (Environmental Graffiti)

Batmobile Limousine: Stretching the Superhero Awesomeness (Bit Rebels)

France Introduces Baguette Vending Machine (The Australian)

Shanghai Subway Station Equipped with Punching Bags (Metro)

The Mocha Lisa and Other Coffee-Painted Masterpieces (Daily Mail)

French Farmer Advertises Against Advertisement (MSN)

Brazil Prison Uses Geese as Alarm System (Huffington Post)

Fried Butter on a Stick (Geekosystem)

Fraternals Envy Identicals at Twins Convention (WSJ)

A Robot That Can Learn, Think and Act on His Own (Geekologie)

 

A Dream on Two Wheels – Man Rides Bicycle from Shanghai to London

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Zheng Sheng, a 23-year-old college graduate from Shanghai, has fulfilled his dream of cycling across Eurasia, traveling 14,000 kilometers all the way to London.

When Zheng tried to convince sponsors to finance his daring dream, they all thought he was crazy, but he wasn’t about to let something as meaningless as money stand before him and his goal. With the help of his sister and a few friends, he managed to raise 13,000 yuan ($2,000), which he used to buy all the necessary gear for a bike ride from his home city of Shanghai to London. Before setting out on March 5, he posted on his microblog: “A journey 14,000 kilometers is the goal – here I go!”. He went though all kinds of challenges throughout the 136 days he spent cycling across 11 countries, but believe it or not, this ambitious young man reached his destination on July 18.

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Teenage Demon Hunters Travel the World Conducting Exorcisms

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Most girls their age spend their time at malls, shopping for clothes, trying on make-up and flirting with boys, but these teenage graduates of Bob Larson’s school for exorcists are only interested in casting out demons.

While they may look like average teenagers, these girls are actually seasoned exorcists who have traveled all over the world casting out Satan and his minions. Savannah Schurkenback, Jess Shurkenback, Christina Massih, Melanie Massih and Brynne Larson, aged 15 to 19, decided to answer the call of evangelist Reverend Bob Larson of Spiritual Freedom Churches International, when he announced the number of possessed people was on the rise while the number of trained exorcists had fallen. They joined his exorcism school, where they study everything there is to know about fighting demons and dealing with the possessed.

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China Converts Aircraft Carrier into Luxury Hotel

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Just days after the Varyag, China’s first aircraft carrier was taken out for sea trials, a second carrier, the Kiev is stirring up interest as the first aircraft carrier hotel in China.

The Kiev, a retired former Soviet aircraft carrier was sold to a Chinese company back in 1996, and was used as part of a military theme park in the Tianjin Province, since 2004. But since the acquisition of a working carrier, the Varyag, people have begun looking at these mighty ships as symbols of their country’s military might, so the owners of the Binhai Aircraft Park decided to cash in on their interest. They spent over $15,5 million restoring the old attraction and converting it into a luxury hotel.

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Woman Becomes Human-Horse Hybrid for the Sake of Art

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Art Orienté objet, a French artistic known for its exploration of trans-species relationships and questioning scientific methods and tools has staged one of the most shocking experiments ever – injecting a human being with horse plasma.

For this latest project, entitled Que le cheval vive en moi (May the horse live in me), Marion Laval Jeantet, one of the members of Art Orienté objet, was injected with horse blood, which made her feel “extra-human”. This shocking event took place in February, but Marion spent several months preparing her body, by injecting herself with small doses of horse immunoglobulins, the glycoproteins that flow through the blood and function as antibodies in immune response. The French artist called this process mithridatization, after Mithridates IV of Pontus, who is said to have developed an immunity to poisons by gradually ingesting small doses of them.

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German Designer Uses Wood as Textile Material

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Elisa Strozyk, a young designer from Germany, is able to turn blocks of wood into delicate paper-like material. So far she has created wooden rugs, bed covers, table cloths and is working on a line of wooden clothes.

Most people are familiar with the feeling of walking on wooden floors, touching tree bark or wooden furniture, but young Elisa Strozyk wanted to take this hard material and turn into something completely new – wooden fabric. She spent months working on her original idea, experimenting with different types of wood, until she settled on wood veneer. The slices of wood she uses are about 0.6 mm thick and very flexible, an essential property for her wooden textiles. But not all types of wood can be used to make wood fabric; oak, for example, is too brittle, so she prefers to use cherry and maple.

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Indian Optometrist Creates Gold Plated, Diamond Encrusted Contact Lenses

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Inspired by the jewels in his wife’s teeth, Chandrashekhar Chawan, an optometrist at India’s Shekhar Eye Research Center has created gold plated, diamond encrusted contact lenses that will bring that special twinkle in your eyes.

If you’re looking for the most extravagant trend in eyewear, look no further than the over-the-top contact lenses of Chandrashekhar Chawan. His wife had diamonds planted on her teeth recently and that made the optometrist realize people love jewelry everywhere and anywhere, so he decided to develop a series of diamond encrusted, gold plated contact lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses to hold the jewelry in such a way that it doesn’t touch the cornea, thus making the fashion accessory “very safe”.

Chawan says his invention got mixed responses; some people thought it was scary, but most of them loved it, and the optometrist believes this will be the next big thing in Bollywood. He admits his jewel-studded lenses are an accessory, not a necessity, but thinks they’re a must-have for people who want to attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.”

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Safety Shorts – Radiation-Proof Underwear for Mobile Phone Users

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Safety Shorts is a line of radiation-proof underwear developed by a team of young Austrian students, aged 18 to 23, that’s supposed to protect people from infertility and other medical problems caused by radiation from mobile phones and laptops.

Carry your phone in your pants’ pocket a lot? Than you’re already at risk, at least according to a series of tests that have proven cell phone radiation can be harmful. Luckily, a pair of Safety Shorts is all you need to be safe from serious and irreversible health issues like infertility and impotence. The material used to make these special garments contains silver thread which deflects 99% of the radiation emitted by mobile phones and laptops.

Rico Kogleck, one of the students involved in the project, says he came up with the idea one day, in class, when they were talking about radiation and its harmful effects. He started thinking about ways in which we could protect ourselves and came up with these radiation-proof shorts. He and four of his pals spent a year working on Safety Shorts, and even though they were disappointed a similar fabric had already been implemented in Germany, no one had used it to make boxers.

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Run For Your Lives – A Zombie-Infested Obstacle Race

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If you’re a big fan of zombie movies and video games, and always wanted to experience a zombie apocalypse in real life, this is your big chance. Run For Your Lives is a unique 5k obstacle course race where contenders have to get passed man-made and natural obstacles while chased by brain-eating zombies.

This sounds like one of my biggest nightmares, and after seeing the presentation video, I’m definitely not signing up. But then again, I’m too scared to even participate in one of those harmless zombie parades, so…But anyway, back to the race. Unlike in a regular running competition, you’re not just running against the clock, but also against an army of bloody, virus infested zombies that want to kill you. Don’t worry though, they’re not really going to kill anyone, just steal all their flags, which represent life points. At the beginning of the race, runners will be equipped with a flag belt, representing their health. If they lose all their flags during the race, they “die” and the zombies win. Runners will still be able to complete the race if they so desire, but they will not be eligible for awards.

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Chinese Craftsman Builds Functional Bicycle from over 10,000 Popsicle Sticks

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A craftsman from Kaiyuan, northeast China, has created a rideable bicycle using more than 10,000 wooden popsicle sticks.

It took him four long months to finish it, but 35-year-old Sun Chao doesn’t regret one second of the time he put into the world’s first popsicle stick bicycle. At 1.5m long, 0.55m wide, 0.95m high and 25 kg heavy, it’s smaller than the average bicycle, but works just as well. Sure, those wooden wheels don’t provide the comfort of air-inflated ones, but Sun Chao rode it for 20 minutes, when he unveiled it in the city square, on June 1, and he didn’t complain. It’s worth noting he is 90 kg heavy, but the popsicle stick bike easily handled the weight. The only metal parts used on this unusual bicycle were the chain and bearings.

Sun Chao says he first became interested in working with wooden popsicle sticks 12 years ago, after seeing a guy make a ship model from them and giving it to his girlfriend, on TV. He was so inspired he started making a small desk lamp from popsicle sticks. Since then he’s made all kinds of stuff from them, including photo frames, building models, tissue boxes, but nothing nearly as impressive as this working bicycle. Just in case you were wondering, he didn’t actually buy 10,000 ice-creams, only the sticks.

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Zoo Owner to Spend Five Weeks Caged with Lions

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Alexander Pylyshenko, 40, owner of his own private zoo, in the Ukrainian city of Vasylivka, will be spending 35 days caged with two lions, in a stunt he hopes will raise awareness to the poor treatment of lions held in captivity.

The brave zoo owner says he will live like a lion from the moment he enters the cage. That means he will sleep on hay on the floor and eat from the meat that will be given to the lions through the cage bars. As for personal hygiene, Pylyshenko has built a toilet and shower inside the enclosure, but he’ll have to restrain from using shampoo, shower gel or deodorant, as big cats hate sharp odours. While lioness Katya and her mate Samson seem to get along just fine with their caretaker, things might not be as peaceful when they share a living space 24/7, especially since the female is expected to give birth during the five week period, and lionesses are known to be quite over-protective of their cubs.

But Alexander Pylyshenko, who has studied lions his entire life, is confident he will survive this dangerous test, and draw attention to the problems of big cats in captivity. He also plans to paint portraits of the lions while living with them, and sell them to raise money for charity. His 35-day experience living with two lions will be recorded via four webcams, which will broadcast it on the Internet, here.

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French Town Inaugurates Bubble Hotel Rooms in Local Park

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The French town of Roubaix, has recently opened a series of portable hotel rooms in a local park. They can be rented by people who want to feel close to nature in the middle of the urban jungle.

The bubble concept thought up by French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas aims to redefine the term temporary leisure accommodation, and is based on the following principles: minimum energy, minimum material, maximum comfort and maximum interaction with the environment. The unusual bubble rooms were launched in 2010 and have since then been made available to people who want to enjoy a unique experience in the middle of nature, for around $700 a night.

In the French city of Roubaix, a series of bubble hotel rooms have been installed in one of the local parks. They come with a clear view of the sky and offer nature lovers to be close to their environment without having to travel to far away. The bubbles are made of recycled plastic and, once inflated retain their shape thanks to an airlock at the entrance and a silent pump which creates constant pressure. Outside noises are reduced to a minimum while inside noises are maximized, so the visitors are encouraged to whisper to each other, in order to create a peaceful atmosphere.

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Texas Inventor Makes Water Out of Thin Air, Beats Drought

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Terry LeBleu of Granite Shoals, Texas, is one of the few people who can honestly say he’s not worried about water restrictions in these times of drought, and that’s because he has the Drought Master, a machine that makes water out of air.

The concept of LeBleu’s water-making machine is pretty simple – the Drought Master’s generator sucks in moisture-laden air, condenses it, then exhausts the purified air and captures the water, which is filtered and ready for drinking. ”These make pure water,” LeBleu says.  “The water never touches the ground.  It is strictly straight out of the air.  We have oceans of water in the air, in the sky.  All you have to do is pull it out and condense it down.” The clever invention is now on the market, and locals are already using it to beat the severe drought.

All you have to do is plug the Drought Master into an electric outlet and it will take care of the rest. According to its inventor, the machine can produce between 5 to 7 gallons of drinkable water a day, at just 4 cents of electricity cost per gallon. It beats buying bottled water from the supermarket, and LeFleur says his water samples met the standards set up by the Environmental Protection Agency, Association of Analytical Chemists, American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and the Water Pollution Control Federation. It contains no metals like zinc and copper, nor any coliform bacteria, and Terry says the company that analyzed the water likened it to sterilized distilled water.

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Paris Museum Displays Skateboarders’ Dream House

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The PAS House, a skateboarding living environment concept thought up by French pro skater Pierre Andre Senizergues and designer Gil Le Bon Delapointe, has finally been brought to life at the La Gaite Museum, in Paris.

Pierre Andre Senizergues has been in love with his skateboard ever since he first discovered it, as a teenager, and has pretty much built his life around the board. He’s ridden it to five world skateboarding championships and built a successful skateboarding shoe line called etnies, so you can see why he felt a little reluctant to part with it every time he went inside his house. But then one day, he had this crazy idea: “I began imagining a city of the future where skateboards are used as the primary form of transportation and recreation — in and out of your home.” the skater told the Toronto Star. “A utopia city for skateboarders would mean that a skateable path, like a ribbon connecting everything together, links each building in an unending ability to keep in motion on your board.”

So, in the early 2000′s, Senizergues partnered with etnies designer and fellow skateboarding fanatic Gil Le Bon Delapointe to create a perfectly skateable house on Senizergues’ Malibu property. They came up with a few great ideas, and even managed to build a miniature model of this skateboarder’s dream house, but after 10 years and some run-ins with the Coastal Commission, it was still in the project phase. But, La Gaite Museum, in Paris, somehow learned about their original housing idea and presented them with the opportunity of building a prototype for their skate-culture exhibition, running this summer.

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Couple Get Married in Geeky Ceremony Conducted by Computer

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A couple who found each other through an online social network called “Sweet on Geeks”, decided to geek out their wedding by having a computer program called Reverend Bit perform the ceremony.

Miguel Hanson and Diana Wesley had one of the most unusual yet appropriate weddings in human history. Hanson, a Houston web developer and IT consultant, got the crazy idea after they couldn’t find a friend to serve as minister at their wedding. He decided he was going to write his own minister, and while she acknowledged it would make them the target of nerd jokes, Diana agreed because it just fit who they are – geeks. They met on Sweet on Geeks, they both love science fiction and fantasy, and since the maid of honor was going to make the bride’s cake with Nerds candy as icing, they agreed to geek out their wedding completely.

The unique wedding ceremony took place on Saturday, in Hanson’s house, where the 30 or so guests were greeted by a mechanical, robotic voice. It was Reverend Bit, a program created by Miguel Hanson himself, who treated the audience to a short story about how the couple met, before beginning the actual ceremony. His square animated face appeared on one side of the 30 inch monitor, while the other side showed the text of what he was saying. His voice came over a sound system.

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