Submarine Enthusiast Converts Small Barge into U-Boat Replica

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Richard Williams may be 51 years old, but he still has the dreams of a young boy. Sure, he’s not the only one, but unlike others he set out to fulfill them. I guess it’s true what they say, better late than never.

As a child, Richard was a big Star Trek fan, but never got the chance to be on the bridge of the Enterprise, so ten years ago he converted one of the rooms in his apartment into the bridge of the iconic spaceship. It wasn’t the best Star Trek replica ever created, but it made our man happy. “Every boy wants a spaceship, but I got to 40 before I could have mine”, he says, but that’s not the only childhood dream he managed to fulfill. The idea for his U-boat replica, came around his 50th birthday, when his father bought him a barge, so he could enjoy life at a more relaxed pace. But as soon as he laid eyes on it, the former mobility scooter salesman began devising a plan to turn it into something more exciting.

At first, he wanted to transform his barge into The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, but after he finished converting the hull, he learned the specialist yellow paint would cost him £4,000 ($6,500), so he settled for black, which was considerably cheaper. When it was finished, his wife Laurel said it looked a lot like a German U-boat, and since he had always been interested in naval history, he decided to take it to the next level. With the help of a company that supplies props for the Star Wars and James Bond movies, Richard Williams decided to turn his U-boat into a floating museum.

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German Fashion Designer Creates Clothes from Milk

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Yes, that white stuff cows make. Anke Domaske, a German fashion designer/microbiologist, has found a way to create a special fiber from milk and use it to make fashionable eco-clothes.

The 28-year-old designer realized there’s more to milk than meets the eye, and since she’s always had a thing for science, she and her team spent years experimenting with turning it into eco-thread. It was a lot like experimenting ingredients you have in your cupboard, only in this case the result was truly revolutionary. They came up with a special mixture  containing a protein derived from sour milk, which is processed in a lab, near the German city of Brehmen. It’s heated up and pressed through a kind of mincing machine to create the threads. And the best thing is the milk used is low grade and would normally be thrown away.

But how does a fashion designer come up with a complicated formula for creating bio thread from milk? Anke Domaske learned to make clothes as a child, from her great grandmother, a milliner, but she also had a passion for science and even won a contest for up-and-coming scientists, as a teenager. After she finished school she went to Tokyo, Japan, where she sold t-shirts she designed herself. On her return home she began studying microbiology and set-up her own fashion label on the side. In short she managed to balance her two greatest interests and the result is astonishing.

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Chinese School for Gold Diggers Proves Big Hit

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Why bother building a successful career, when you can just marry yourself a rich guy that will pamper and take care of you, forever? A Chinese school, ironically named the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women, claims it can teach single ladies how to get their hands on a billionaire. I know, it sounds like new you’d expect to read on The Onion, but this one’s for real, folks.

According to a popular Chinese saying “Marriage is a career. A good marriage is the most successful career for a woman”. So, considering many Chinese women rate a marriage by how rich the husband is, it comes as no surprise that the courses offered by the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women have been pretty popular. Since the school first opened its gates, in August 2010, over 3,000 students, aged between 21 and 36 have attended its courses, hoping to find Mr Rich Right. Most of them are middle class women who can apparently afford to pay around 20,000 yuan ($3,100) for 10 to 30 husband-hunting classes.

But what does a gold-digger study at one of these schools, you ask? Well, instead of acquiring skills that would help them make a living, these young ladies study the art of being charming. Teachers at the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women are all top-class professionals in their fields; for example, one of them is a Beijing Radio host, and he teaches the girls how to speak with a soft and charming voice. Others teach the art of applying the perfect make-up, and tea-pouring techniques, in short everything a Chinese woman has to know in order to snag a rich husband.

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Mom Celebrates Divorce by Tattooing 85% of Her Body

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Jacqui Moore, a 41-year-old mother of two, covered 85% of her body with tattoos, in celebration of her divorce and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

When Jacqui, from Oxford, England, divorced her husband Martin, in 2003, was so happy about her new found freedom that she decided to get a tattoo in celebration of the event. But as soon  as she walked through the door of the tattoo parlor and met Andreas “Curly” Moore her life changed once again. The two fell in love on the spot and that one tattoo she had in mind turned into a gigantic piece that spanned over eight years. The only parts that aren’t covered with ink are her left armpit, her right leg and most of her face.

Curly, who also sports an impressive full-body suit tattoo, is responsible for every one of the tattoos on Jacqui’s body. Her back is covered by a swarm of dragonflies, a giant spiderweb with tarantulas coming out of it is etched on her stomach, and her right leg features Indian and Tibetan flowers. He didn’t charge her for his services, of course, but it’s estimated the epic tattoo would have cost a mind-blowing $22,000.

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Students Take Ice-Cream Making Courses at Italy’s Gelato University

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I thought making ice-cream was pretty easy, but it seems that if you really want to get it right you have to take courses at the Gelato University, in Bologna, Italy.

Ice-cream making was one of the last thing I would have imagined required attending a university, but in reality thousands of students from all over the world study the art of making quality ice-cream at the Carpigiani Gelato University, in Bologna., every year. Gelato lovers, and entrepreneurs who want to learn the secrets of making great ice-cream and take it back to their homelands pay around €800 ($1,138) for a week of courses and accommodation at a nearby hotel. They attend technical lectures on traditional gelato-making techniques by veteran ice-cream makers, and take part in practical courses where they learn to use the world famous Carpigiani gelato machines.

Believe it or not, the Carpigiani Gelato University has been around for a long time, and as more people around the globe fall in love with the Italian gelato, it gets more students with each passing year. In 2011, the number of students has gone from 9,000 to 12,000 and for the first time in history, the number of foreign tourists has surpassed that of Italians.

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Pretend Guitarists Compete at US Air Guitar Championships

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22 of America’s best air-rockers gathered at Chicago’s legendary Metro, where they pulled out their best pretend-guitar-playing tricks, hoping to take home the title of US Air Guitar Champion.

Most people only practice air-guitar moves in the privacy of their own homes, away from prying eyes, while listening to their favorite rock song, but for the guys competing in the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships, it was all about putting on a show for others. And what they lacked in musical instruments they made up for in sheer craziness, performing the most outrageous air-guitar tricks, including the ever-popular drop to the knees, the behind-the-back and teeth picking.

The competition took place last weekend,and even though it featured air guitar legends like New York’s Airistotle, Washington’s Tommy Fretless or Tony Tapatio, from Portland, the title of US Air Guitar Champion went to local pretend musician Nordic Thunder. Also known as Justin Howard, the Chicago-based viking lookalike kick-started his air-guitar career five years ago, with a regional competition win. He suffered a ruptured disk in one of his hardcore performances, but has come back with a vengeance and has just proved he’s ready to take the pretend-guitar-playing world by storm.

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100-Year-Old Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home

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Felma Schrimshire, 100, was named the winner of the 2011 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant, out of 75 grey-haired contestants from across the state.

They may have more grey-hair than your average pageant participants, but the ladies who competed in the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home contest proved they have just as much style and grace. The top ten finalists gathered at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, for the last stage of the competition. Here, the judges and an enthusiastic crowd evaluated the senior beauty queens on their outlook on life, as well as poise and personality. After a 15-minute interview in front of a panel of judges, contestants were asked to answer a surprise question. In case you were wondering, this particular pageant didn’t include a swimsuit competition.

100-year-old Felma Scrimshire won the judges’ votes with her incredible life story. She has traveled to every one of 50 of the US states, seen the Canadian provinces and much of Europe, served in the army for a year, during World War 2, and retired from a civil service job in 1976. A resident of the Andalusia Manor nursing home, Felma will serve as spokesman for nursing home residents throughout Alabama.

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Chinese Couple Sell Their Three Kids to Play Online Games

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A young couple, from Dongguan, China, have reportedly sold all their three children for money needed to keep playing online games at Internet cafés.

According to Chinese newspaper Sangxiang City News, Li Lin and Li Juan, both under 21, first met back in 2007, in an Internet café. It was their obsession with online gaming that fueled their relationship, and a year later, the two welcomed their first baby. Actually, “welcomed” is a bit of an overstatement considering that just days after they brought him home, the couple left him alone and went to play video games at an Internet café 30 km away.

In 2009, the irresponsible couple had another child, a baby girl, whom they decided to sell in order to fund their online gaming obsession. They managed to get RMB 3,000 ($500) for her, which they spent in a matter of days. Having run out of cash they proceeded to sell their first born as well, this time for ten times as much, RMB 30,000 ($4,600). At this point they probably decided having kids could be pretty profitable so they had a third baby, a boy, that got them another RMB 30,000 ($4,600). They would have probably continued like this for years, if the boy’s mother hadn’t learned of their deeds and alerted the authorities.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #2

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These are just some of the cool things I found this week and didn’t get the chance to cover:

Rottweiler Guard Dog Stolen from His Home (SWNS)

Intricate Miniature Models of Old Hong Kong (Flavorwire)

Meet Mimmi – The Bear WHo Likes to Practice Yoga (Environmental Graffiti)

Cenobio de Valeron (Atlas Obscura)

Tortoise Has Leg Replaced with Swivel Wheel (Geekosystem)

LEGO Animals Invade Bronx Zoo (Inhabitat)

Hair-Raising Harry Potter Babies (Bit Rebels)

The Crooked Forest of Poland (Neatorama)

Red Onion Flavored Wine in China (Asia Obscura)

Guillotine Slingshot Decapitates Zombies (Nerd Approved)

Girl Has Half of Brain Removed, Now Paints Like a Pro

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The human brain is a remarkable thing, and the incredible story of Taisia Sidorova, who gained an amazing artistic talent after having the left side of her brain removed, is proof of that.

Three years ago, 21-year old Taisia Sidorova, from Sankt Petersburg, Russia, suffered a severe car accident that left her with a smashed skull and bone fragments wedged in her brain. Doctors were skeptical about her chances of survival, and was even given the last rites, but even after she had the left hemisphere of her brain removed, she hung in there. The part of her brain responsible for logic and analysis was replaced with a protective metal place, but even though her family was warned that a long, painful recovery period was to follow, and that Taisia may never be the same, they never gave up on her.

Irina Sidorova, the girl’s mother, remembers she was like a vegetable in the beginning, and doctors didn’t believe she would survive. But she stayed by her bedside praying, massaging her limbs and talking to her. The miracle she was waiting for occurred on New Year’s Eve, while she was crying on Taisia’s bedside. The girl moved her arm trying to wipe away her mother’s tears. It was the breakthrough nobody expected anymore, and in two years’ time she regained her strength, started to speak and even learned to hold a pencil and paintbrush.

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Working Flintstones Car Replica For Sale

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I’m a huge Flintstones fan, but apparently not as huge as this guy who actually built a replica of Fred’s iconic vehicle from wood, fabric and steel.

I haven’t yet been able to find the source of this story, but according to InAutoNews.com, this cool replica of the Flintstones car is actually for sale, online. And the best thing about it is that under all that wooden exterior is a functional, drivable car powered by a 4-cylinder 1.6 petrol engine. Although it looks like it uses two wooden drums as wheels, if you look closely you’ll see one of the four old-fashion tires revealed, in the front. Which is a good thing, because steering would have been a problem with the original prehistoric system.

According to the above mentioned car blog, the vehicle already has 80,000 km under its belt, although it’s listed as built in 2011. The top speed of the real-life Flintstones car isn’t specified, but I’m pretty sure whatever it is, it beats pushing it with your feet. If you’re interested and manage to find the actual sales ad, this nicely done replica apparently costs just 2,200 euros. Pretty cheap for such an iconic piece of cartoon history.

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Eccentric Sheikh’s Name Can Be Seen from Space

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We’ve all scribbled our name in the sand, at the beach, when we were little, but whereas our writing were washed way by the first wave, sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan’s name will last a while longer.

The 63-year-old Saudi Sheikh decided he wanted his name carved into the dessert of Al Futaysi Island, so he had a team of experts working for weeks to fulfill his wish. The name “HAMAD” is 1,000 meters high, 3,000 meters long and can actually be seen from outer space. I guess this way the aliens will know what to call us… And if you thought the giant signature was at the mercy of the sea, think again; the letters form waterways and absorb the power of the tide and carry the water inland.

Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan is part of the ruling Abu Dhabi family and boasts a fortune second only to the Saudi King himself. Known as the “Rainbow Sheikh” for his collection of seven Mercedes 500 SELs painted in the colors of the rainbow, this powerful man has a taste for doing things on a large scale. He has a giant collection of around 200 cars, which he keeps in a giant pyramid, he has built the world’s largest truck, with a four-room bedroom fitted inside the cabin, and owns a custom-made motor home in the shape of our planet, which is exactly one millionth the size of Earth.

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California Cat Lady Adopts over 700 Feral and Abandoned Cats

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Lynea Lattanzio wanted a cat when she was little, but her mother didn’t approve. Now she runs California’s “Cat House on the Kings” shelter and takes care of almost 800 cats.

Lynea’s inspiring story began in 1981, when, after going through a difficult divorce, she decided to move to a quiet place on the river. She bought a 6-acre patch of land and settled in by 1983. Soon after she started asking herself: “What was I thinking, single woman with no children living in a big house on 6 acres?”, but little did she know her decision would change her life forever. Nine years later, Lynea’s father asked for her help to replace his 2 Manx cats who had died of old age. On a quest to fulfill her father’s wishes, Lynea stopped by a local animal shelter and walked out the door with a box of 15 abandoned kittens (none of which were Manx). By the end of that year she had rescued and placed 96 abandoned cats, and had found her calling.

In 1993, Lynea Lattanzio came out of retirement to become a surgical veterinary techinician, an experience that both expanded her medical knowledge and help pay the veterinary expenses of her increasing cat family that now numbered 150 members. She also had to sell her diamond wedding ring and her 1973 Mercedes 450 SL – her pride and joy. In 1997, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning variance on Lynea’s property, which put her Cat House on the KIngs into the spotlight and brought in financial support and volunteers. In 2002, she expanded her cat shelter and added long-term boarding facilities and an area for FIV positive cats.

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Father Sculpts Giant Clay Head of His Daughter

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Indonesian artist Eddi Prabandono has created a giant clay sculpture modeled after the head of his 5-year-old daughter, Luz.

Tourists walking through Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, will be surprised to see a 4 meter by 4 meter child’s head made of clay, in a 2,5 meters-deep hole in the ground. It’s not exactly the kind of sight you normally see in Indonesia, but it’s definitely breathtaking to look at. Part of the “Luz Series” envisioned by Indonesian artist Eddi Prabandono, the giant head in question is actually modeled after the head of his daughter, Luz.

Although he had the help of 15 workers, Eddi also needed to rent an excavator to make the hole for his giant clay sculpture, but the 47-year-old artist is just happy he received the support of local authorities who allowed him to dig a hole right in Taman Budaya Yogyakarta. Luz’s giant head is made of 25 tons of special clay and was created for the 2011 edition of Jog Art, and artistic exhibition featuring 241 artworks by over 150 artists.

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Artist Creates World’s Largest Lite-Brite Image

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Rob Surette wanted to create something unlike any artist’s tribute to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, so he turned to one of his favorite childhood toys, Lite-Brite pegs, and managed to create the world’s largest Lite-Brite image.

Known for his quick brush strokes, the self described “fastest portrait artist in the world” once painted a portrait of Albert Einstein in just 60 seconds, but while his lighting speed hasn’t won him a place in the record books, his latest artwork, made from hundreds of thousands of Lite-Brite pegs, surely will. “It wasn’t like I wanted to beat that world record, I wanted to create something to add to the healing of Sept. 11,” Surette says about his 10 feet by 20 feet Lite-Brite creation entitled World Peace. Made from 504,000 pegs, and weighing around 1,750 pounds, it depicts 100 faces of different races, cultures and religions and is meant to promote world peace.

“I felt that with my inspiration, to have it be a world record will help catch more people’s attention and help it travel and be seen around the world,” Surette said about his work. He first got the idea of creating the largest Lite-Brite image after seeing a picture of the current record holder on an art blog. It was the Lite-Brite recreation of a training sneaker made by Lori Kanary, with 374,004 pegs. As a matter of fact Kanary actually shared some trade secrets with Rob Surette after hearing the motivation behind his work of art, and he apologized for breaking her world record.

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