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Students Take Up Boxing to Become Better Musicians

 The students of the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., learn more than just music. In groups, they are asked to attend classes of a highly different nature. Classes that test and train them physically, and teach them the basic skills of boxing.

While it’s perfectly understandable that a musician may enjoy a little physical exercise, fitness is not a priority for these students. They have taken up boxing to improve their music skills. It all started when their professor, James VanDenmark, took up the sport himself. The world renowned double bass soloist says the classes had a remarkable difference upon his skills on the instrument. He reports better bow control, more confidence, stamina and energy. Intrigued, VanDenmark began to send a few of his female students to learn boxing, along with some conditioning and strength building. When they displayed the same results, he made this a regular feature with all his students. He now sends them in groups to Rochester gym ROC Boxing & Fitness to learn boxing basics and practice strength training. The students, he says, are now able to produce a bigger and more focused sound from the big instrument.

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Fake Pregnancy Bellies Become Top Sellers in China

China is notorious for making cheap copies of almost every item in the world. And now, they seem to have moved on from man-made objects to replicating nature itself. The latest in the long list of fake Chinese items is a fake pregnancy belly. Put it on, and you can deceive anyone.

These artificial copies of pregnant women’s abdomens are made of silica gel, and are being sold on the internet. The silica gel makes them take on a very natural quality, close to human skin texture. Some online shop owners have said that the fake bellies are highly comfortable and have a flesh color. If you’re wondering what use anyone could possibly get out of fake pregnancy bellies, we have some answers for you. For now, the people who buy it are actors, purchasing them for performances. Others have bought it as a joke, and also to get an idea of how it feels to be pregnant. Apparently, the product is a hot seller online.

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Artist Uses Fire and Soot to Create Unique Masterpieces

A true artist can create art out of literally anything, even ashes. Steven Spazuk, a Canadian artist, is doing just this. Through his unique technique of burning paper and drawing on the soot, he creates breathtaking monochromatic images.

He has perfected his art form over ten years of practice. Spazuk uses candles and torch flame to partially burn thick pieces of paper. He then makes use of various tools to draw directly on the soot. A collection of burnt paper are gathered together to create the entire drawing. Spazuk says that he often works piece by piece, collecting a multitude of unique elements that he assembles into mosaics. “Entities that, once grouped together, afford a different meaning and provide a new perspective that is both novel and complementary,” he says. He mostly creates images of human faces or bodies, which contain a soulful element.

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Students Claim Haunted Toilet is Causing Them to Faint and Scream

Kids love exchanging horror stories at school, even if it means weeks of sleepless nights. But what if a real ghost decides to make a guest appearance? It could cause kids to lose not just sleep but even their sanity. In Vietnam, it’s causing them to faint on a regular basis.

The students of Son Hoa Ethnic Boarding High School in the Son Hoa District claim to have had supernatural visitors in the bathroom at night, causing many of them lose consciousness. It all started with K Pa Ho Luon, a student of the school. He returned to his dorm one night  in November, from the toilet area, in a state of hysteria. He was talking gibberish, fell to the floor and began to scratch the walls and the floor. All this, just before he passed out. Luon was then rushed to the hospital by school authorities. When he recovered, he claimed to have met a ghost in the toilet.

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Yukigassen – Competitive Snowball Fighting from Japan

If you grew up in a place where it snowed, you probably would have mastered the art of throwing snowballs. Bet no one thought much of your talent back then. Too bad you never heard of Yukigassen, a snowball fighting competition that is held in Japan every year, and now in other parts of the world as well.

Yukigassen, literally meaning “snow battle”, originated around 20 years ago as a marketing scheme. The Mount Showa-Shinzan resort wanted to attract more tourists in the winter, so they devised this game, which certainly sounds like it could be a lot of fun. It is being described as a combination of chess, paintball and backyard brawling. The objective of the game is pretty simple. Players of the opposing team need to be knocked out with snowballs. But of course, there are more technicalities involved. For instance, the field on which Yukigassen is played is a 44 X 12 yard rectangle divided by red and blue lines, similar to the layout of a hockey rink. Three periods, three minutes in duration each, constitute the match. The team that wins two out of three is ultimately the winner of the match. A period could either be won by having more standing players than the team at the opposite end, or by capturing the other team’s flag without getting hit by their snowballs.

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Convicts Prove Knitting is Hardcore

The male convicts at the Pre-release Unit in Jessup, Maryland, have a unique story to tell. A story of how they found peace and calm through an unusual activity – knitting. Unusual, because it hardly seems normal to picture a bunch of rough-looking guys sporting tattoos and several teeth missing, sitting quietly, occupied with knitting needles and a bunch of wool.

And yet, it’s true, thanks to the efforts of Lynn Zwerling, the founder of Knitting Behind Bars. 67 year-old Zwerling retired from her job of selling cars in 2005, and then turned her attention to knitting, which was her passion. Initially, she started off with a small knitting group of women in her town. The group grew quickly to around 500 members. According to Zwerling, she observed something Zen-like when she saw women who did not have anything in common sitting quietly beside each other, absorbed in their knitting. She then had the idea to take knitting to prisons, more importantly, male prisoners.

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The Iconic Goat Tower of Fairview

The Fairview Wine and Cheese farm in South Africa is famous for more than just its wine and cheese. Owned and run by Charles Back, it houses a unique monument built for the comfort and use of the farm’s goats – The Goat Tower. Acknowledging the fact that goats love to climb, sometimes even up on livestock, to get a better view, Back first got the idea of the tower some thirty years ago.

The tower, a first of its kind, is built of brick and mortar, and consists of a steep metal roof. It also has a spiral staircase made of wood, and windows too. The goats in Fairview farm have the privilege of climbing the two-story tower at will, resting within it. Since 1981, the tower has become a symbol of the winery, so much so that they produce a wine called “Goats do Roam”. The goat tower is by far, the first known to be built with such a purpose in mind. However, according to Back, the tower was inspired by a similar one his parents had seen during a vacation in Portugal. As a result of that trip the farms first goats were purchased, and the tower built.

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Kieron Williamson – The 9-Year Old Monet

When 9-Year Old Kieron Williamson’s paintings were put up for sale in Norfolk, England, they were sold out in just 10 minutes. While artists more than twice his age struggle to find buyers for even a single piece of art, Kieron’s story is one that could spark envy in the most established of painters.

It’s always interesting to learn about the early years of artists, especially ones as young as Kieron. According to his parents, he never showed much interest in art or drawing until he was five. A typical energetic child, he was more interested in mud and water, riding his bike and playing with bugs. His inclination towards art was sparked off on a family visit to Cornwall, in 2008. It was here that he had asked for some sheets of paper and began to draw, inspired by the boats in a nearby port. After a few art classes and some lessons from artist Carol Ann Pennington, a family friend, Kieron began to produce masterpieces that people would soon be queuing up to purchase. His first sale was in the summer of 2009, when he sold 19 pictures for £14,000 ($22,000). The latest sale of his paintings have earned him £ 100,000 ($157,000).

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Incredible Portraits Made with Dripped Plasticine

Argentinian art collective Mondongo creates incredibly detailed portraits by using dripped and molded Plasticine. I can’t imagine how much time they spend getting the skin tones just right.

We’ve posted our share of impressive portraits here on OC, made from the most unusual materials (from pancakes and chewing gum to written words), but few more detailed than the masterpieces created by Mondongo. The art collective, which consists of  Juliana Laffitte, Manuel Mendanha and Agustina Picasso, was founded in 1999 and has worked with  a huge variety of materials, from food to plasticine, depending on what best reinforces the concept of the work. Mondongo, which is the name of a traditional Argentinian tripe stew, was chosen precisely becomes the art collective creates its work from a cauldron of ingredients.

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Wieliczka Salt Cathedral – Poland’s Underground Wonder

The Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland have been used for several centuries to extract salt, but are now in the news for a different reason. Through their excavations and adventures, Polish miners have left behind something unique in these underground spaces, little known to the world until recently. 

It has been over ten years since any salt has been extracted from the Wieliczka Mines, and yet, people still pay a visit. Though an ordinary-looking mine from the outside, just 200 meters down below, lies an astonishing spectacle to behold. The salt mine has actually been converted into a cathedral, art gallery and it also contains a lake.

What’s all the more beautiful and intriguing about this place is that it has been built over the years by miners themselves. During the course of a few centuries, generations of miners left behind pieces of art, religious and historical figures, and even built their own cathedral down under there, to be able to pray. The huge cathedral is perhaps the most astonishing of the wonders that lie below the ground. Remarkable religious carvings can be found, of scenes such as the Last Supper and Jesus appearing to the apostles after crucifixion.

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Real-life Jessica Rabbit Has World’s Biggest Lips

It’s strange and funny to see how far people would go to achieve the kind of appearance they deem perfect. Case in point is Kristina Rei, a 22-year old nail technician from St. Petersburg, Russia, who has an obsession with the size of her lips. An obsession, that has today, earned her the status of the woman with the biggest lips in the world.

It’s really not uncommon to find women these days resorting to the knife or syringe to enhance their beauty. But what Kristina has done goes beyond the definition of regular beauty enhancements. She has endured over 100 silicone injections on her lips, spending around £4,000 ($6,200) on them.

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Real-Life Mario Karts Take LA Motor Show by Surprise

As a kid, cars play a big role in life as they are generally boys’ favorite toys. If you’ve got a father that’s as passionate about cars as you, you may end up going to a motor show and seeing them live.

Once you’re there however, things go a little bit wrong, after the ten or so supercars and a couple of off-roaders you realize it’s not really that interesting. There’s just tons of boring cars for daddy, mommy and whoever else can actually drive. Since odds are that you’re still calling the models “pretty women” there’s no appeal in that either. Car shows aren’t always as fun as you’d imagine they could be when you’re five years old. Unless you went to the LA Motor Show this year.

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Pixelated Beagle Is Made of 221,000 Sprinkles

Pointillism is  the technique used to create an image by repeatedly applying small dots of pure color to a blank canvas. When post-impressionist painter George Seurat first invented this technique, little did he know that a fine arts student would one day use it to create the image of a Beagle, with the help of Sprinkles.

After creating a chair with 22 different shades of paint for his fine arts university project, Joel Brochu was fascinated by the use of everyday objects in art. He first experimented with M&Ms to create images, but their size was a major hurdle. Brochu found that he had to stand several feet away from the completed image to actually view it as a whole. He then happened to notice sprinkles.

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China’s Richest Village Is a Tribute to Knockoffs

China is the most populated country in the world, probably the most hard working country in the world and well on its way toward becoming the richest one as well. Considering how they’ve managed to achieve such a feat is considerably less fun than making snide remarks at their legendary knockoff business.

Millions of brands around the world saw their products replicated cheaply and brands like Mike, Abidas, iFone appeared from nowhere. Though still considerably involved in the replica production China has since come a long way. Just about every manufacturer on Earth has plants there and, more importantly, most of their products are being sold there as well. You’d imagine that once the Asian country got a real taste of proper products, started making some real money and was looking for what to spend it on, they’d forget about the cheap fakes right?Well, sort of, rather unusually, the Chinese have now acquired a taste for expensive fakes. A prime example would be the country’s richest village.

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Katskhi Pillar – Going to Church on a Stairway to Heaven

Trust me on this, that headline has absolutely nothing rock’n’roll about it . Weirdly enough, it’s actually true and you can even go on to experience it yourself, provided you’re willing to travel.

Travel a little or a lot rather depends on where you’re starting from as you’ll have to go to Georgia in order to live this out. Oh, and that’s not Georgia, the American state, but Georgia a small country that sits borderline between Europe and Asia. In this rather remote country, that’s seen it’s fair share of misfortune over the years for various political issues, economic and social pressures and so on, you’ll be able to find an unusual bastion of hope.

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