Disabled Student Turns His Wheelchair into Awesome Mad Max Cosplay

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Inspired by summer blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road, a college student in Florida has converted his own wheelchair into a spectacular Mad Max costume. Benjamin Carpenter, 20, made the most of his physical disability to create the ingenious costume, and it was an instant hit at the Tampa Bay Comic Con last month. His photographs made the front page of Reddit last week.

Carpenter, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, uses an upright wheelchair to move around – and he managed to work that right into the costume. He rigged the wheelchair to so it could be attached to a chariot or a larger buggy, and then added finer details, emulating lead character Max Rockatansky’s look as a mobile blood bank in the film.

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Gyotaku – The Traditional Japanese Art of Painting Fish with Actual Fish

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Back when there were no cameras for fishermen to record their trophy catches, the Japanese came up with a unique printing method called Gyotaku. Gyo means fish, and Taku means impression, and the technique involved just that – using freshly caught fish to make inky impressions on paper.

Hundreds of years ago, Japanese fishermen would take paper, ink and brushes out to sea with them. They would rub the fish they caught with the non-toxic sumi-e ink and then print them on rice paper. Most of the fish were then cleaned and sold in markets, but a few revered ones were released back into the ocean. In the mid-1800s, fishermen began to add eye details and other embellishments, giving rise to a unique art form.  

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The Chinese Farming Village Where Everybody Knows Kung Fu

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Ganxi Dong, a small village hidden deep in the mountains of Tianzhu in central China, is gaining worldwide attention for its unusually skilled residents. Apparently, everyone who lives in the self-sustaining village is a martial arts expert!

The Dong people, one of the 56 recognised ethnic minorities in China, pride themselves for having shunned the outside world in favor of local tradition. Apart from farming, every villager is well-versed in the art of kung fu, each one pursuing a different style of the ancient Chinese martial arts. They use a range of weapons including sticks, pitchforks, and their own fists.



Thai Collector Uses Ancient Ritual to Create Souls for Creepy ‘Child God Dolls’

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A creepy new trend in Thailand has people caring for supposedly haunted dolls, for good luck and prosperity.

The Look Thep (Child God) dolls are believed to be inhabited by children’s spirits, created through special rituals. They’re considered to be an updated version of the ancient kuman thong, the practice of worshiping human fetuses that died in the womb. Look Thep allows people to revere the spirits of children without having to actually obtain dead fetuses.

Several locals, including Thai celebrities, are vouching for the effectiveness of Look Thep dolls. Like DJ Bookkoh Thannatchayapan from 94 FM, who claims that his doll Wansai has made him successful in show biz. “The first day I got him, I took him out shopping for clothes in the baby section,” Bookkoh said. “Right after I paid for his clothes, I got a call that my canceled job was back on!”

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Dapper Gentleman in His 70’s Becomes Online Fashion Icon

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Most people tend to lose interest in fashion as they age, but an elderly gentleman from Germany is stunning the world with his sartorial elegance. Through his impeccable sense of style, Gunther Krabbenhoft is proving that fashion and charm are not limited to the young.

Gunther was recently photographed in Berlin, near the Kottbusser Tor station, and his pictures have created quite a stir online. His choice of clothes is simple, yet artistic, with clean lines and clever use of color. He regularly dons turned up jeans, corduroy jackets, classic bowties, waistcoats, brogues, hats, and braces – effortlessly nailing the look that modern day hipsters try so hard to emulate.

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This Woman Has Been Crying White “Crystals” for 20 Years and Nobody Can Explain Why

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Laura Ponce, a nursery school teacher in Lins, Brazil, suffers from a strange condition that causes her to cry ‘crystal’ tears. The white plaques start off as soft blobs inside her eyes, but they harden when she blinks in an attempt to expel them, finally emerging as solid white crystals.

This happens to her for weeks at a time, with a new plaque forming as soon as she expels another. It gets so bad at times that she has to take time off work, to remove as many as 30 plaque membranes from her eye in a day. “A clot starts to swell then I have to open my eye to take out the membrane,” she explained. “When it dries it hardens, it gets really hard, it hurts a lot.”



This Ghost Pepper Ice-Cream Is So Hot You Need a Waiver to Eat It

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Savory ice creams have been around for some time now, but none quite as hot as the Ghost Pepper Ice Cream. This bad boy is so spicy that you actually have to sign a legal waiver before attempting to eat it.

The frozen treat is available at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It’s basically a vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce streaks, but it’s also infused with some of the world’s hottest chillies and capsicum sauces. These chillies are so hot that villagers in India actually smear sauce made from them on fence posts to keep elephants away!

According to Delaware Online, the first mouthful tastes of a “deep, rich, creamy vanilla with a hint of sweetness,” but that’s quickly followed by “a Mike Tyson worthy wallop of mouth-searing heat.” The paper warns people to “be prepared for a loitering burn that outstays its welcome.”

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Japanese Hospital Uses Miniature Sushi and Origami to Test Surgery Interns

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Instead of testing potential interns’ surgery skills on real patients, a Japanese hospital devised an innovative examination process that involves miniature origami and sushi!

The Kurashiki Central Hospital, in southern Japan offers one of the best surgical internship programs in the country, but medical students who want to secure a position here have to prove their skills in a series of bizarre hand-on challenges. First, they have to use surgical instruments to fold a piece of paper into an origami crane. That sounds easy enough for someone with a bit of experience in creating origami, but did I mention the piece of paper measures only 1.5 square centimeters?



This Transforming Castle Truck Is the Most Amazing Mobile Home Ever

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Justin and Jola Siezen are an unconventional family.  They have adopted a traveling lifestyle and are constantly on the move with their baby son Piko, in a mobile home. But that’s no ordinary mobile home – it’s a magical truck that transforms into a fantasy castle, complete with a kitchen, bedroom, turret bathrooms, and a rooftop bathtub!

The couple used to spend a lot of their time on the road, because of Jola’s job as an acrobat. “We were traveling around overseas and thought about coming back to New Zealand and where we were going to live,” Justin said. “I remembered living in a bus and I was thinking ‘that’s actually not a bad idea, that would be a good start when we get back until we decide on something else.”



Deep Springs College – An Exclusive All-Male College in the Middle of a California Desert

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One of the most exclusive colleges in the world is located bang in the middle of the remote high California desert. The institution accepts only 12 male students a year, and believe it or not, it consistently tops Harvard’s yield rate!

Deep Springs College, founded in 1917, is unusual in every imaginable way. It has a miniscule student body, an alfalfa-farm-and-cattle-ranch campus, and a mandatory 20 hours of manual labor per week. In fact, the college was built on the concepts of self-governance, manual labor, and rigorous academics. So the 24-odd guys up there spend their college years studying hard and, farming even harder.

Located in the Inyo-White Mountains, just east of the Owens Valley and the Sierra Nevada range, the campus spans 50 square miles in Deep Springs Valley. It offers a two-year liberal arts course, technically making it a junior college. But according to Vanity Fair, “Roughly 80 percent go on as juniors to colleges such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia and Oxford, while the remainder typically embark on a year of service first.” This places Deep Springs college in a category of its own.

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The Mexican Town Where Women Engage in Bloody Fist Fights to Call the Rain

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Every year, in the month of May, women from the Nahua villages of Guerrero, Mexico, get together to beat the living daylights out of each other. All the blood they spill during the fight is collected in buckets, and later used to plough and water their lands. The villagers believe that this bizarre ritual will bring the rain and provide bountiful harvests!

The festival, like many others in Mexico, combines catholic and prehispanic traditions. On the first day, women wake up early to make large quantities of food. They prepare turkey, chicken, rice, boiled eggs, pozole, mole, and tortillas, which they take along with them to the fighting grounds. At the official site, they lay out the food and decorate the area with flowers and inflated turkey bellies. They recite prayers for the virgin Mary and for the local rain god Tlaloc, after which it is time for the fighting to begin.

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The Land – A Different Kind of Playground Where Kids Get to Play with Fire and Take Risks

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‘The Land’ is a different kind of adventure playground in Wrexham, Wales, which doesn’t follow the traditional format of swings and slides. Instead, it allows kids to explore independence and take risks. The Land resembles a junk yard, where kids get to jump over barrels and into mud puddles, poke sticks into open fires, and hammer sharp nails into wooden planks.

“It’s shaped by children who attend,” said Claire Griffiths, play department manager at the Association of Voluntary Organisations, which manages The Land. “It’s open access provision so children come and go as they please. They build dens, saw, hammer; they create and they destroy.”

That pretty much sounds like a parent’s worst nightmare, but the concept is surprisingly popular. Most parents seem to agree that The Land offers a valuable childhood experience that has been missing for decades. It is the complete opposite of over-protective parenting that encourages children to stay indoors.



The Man Who Courted a Crane for Three Years to Save Its Species

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Award winning ornithologist George Archibald is a living legend among his peers. This man actually courted a female whooping crane for three years, until she laid eggs. He managed to form an unlikely bond with the bird, and is believed to have played a big role in saving the entire species from extinction.

The story goes back to the spring of 1976, when Tex the crane was the only female of her species at the San Antonio Zoo. She was also one of about 100 surviving whooping cranes in the world. Researchers at the International Crane Foundation – co-founded by George in 1973 – had realised that Tex’s genes could contribute to increasing the population of cranes, if she would breed in captivity. There was only one problem: Tex thought she was human!



Thai Batman Fan Opens His Own Dark Knight Museum Complete with a LEGO Gotham City

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Meet Somchai Nitimongkolchai, Bangkok’s biggest Batman fan. The 43-year-old has been investing in Batman memorabilia for the past decade – his vast collection now consists of a whopping 50,000 pieces, including a LEGO Gotham City. And it’s all on display at his very own ‘Batcat Museum & Toys Thailand’.

Somchai, a self-confessed superhero geek, became obsessed with the Dark Knight ever since the 2005 film Batman Begins. He was blown away by Christian Bale’s performance as Batman. “I saw Batman Begins and was really impressed by how smart and brave Bruce Wayne was,” he said. He felt like Batman was an ‘approachable hero’ for the real world. “Anyone could just put on a mask and be Batman.”

Somchai, who ran an event-organising company at the time, had never collected anything until then. But the film inspired him to purchase his first collectible – a ceramic Batman piggy bank – for his office desk. Since then, he has combed every flea market and garage sale in Bangkok, looking for stuff related to his favorite superhero. “I started shopping on eBay and then learned more about how collectibles are marketed,” he said.



Meet Baltazar, the Last Ice Merchant of Ecuador

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While the rest of the world reaches into the freezer for ice, there’s someone on this planet who actually climbs mountains to chop it off. Meet Baltazar Ushca, Ecuador’s last hielero, or ‘iceman’.

Ushca is the last surviving practitioner of his family’s trade – passed on from father to son for centuries. At least once a week, the 68-year-old spends five hours hiking up Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador’s highest peak. He keeps going until he reaches the ice mine that has fed him and his family for generations.

Negotiating the steep 14,700-foot path is no joke, especially at Uscha’s age. But he continues the family tradition of cutting ice from the cave and shaping it into blocks. He then transports the blocks, by mule, down to the nearest city of Riobamba, where they are sold.

Despite his age and his short stature (4ft 11in) Ushca can carry two 66-lb blocks of ice on his shoulders. And he’s quite happy working on the mountain that he considers to be sacred. “This is a man’s work,” he said, proudly. “I am happy when I walk. Father Chimborazo looks after me.”



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