Dordoy – The Shipping Container Bazaar of Kyrgyzstan

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One of Asia’s largest shopping centers, the Dordoy Bazaar consists of around 7,000 shipping containers, which makes it a monument to repurposing.

Located near the city of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Dordoy Bazaar is one of the main entrepots through which Chinese goods make their way to markets in Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It was inaugurated in 1992, and as wholesale markets across the country began to plummet, the bazaar’s popularity kept rising transforming it in the monument of raw commerce it is today.

Dordoy Bazaar stretches for about a kilometer, on the north-eastern outskirts of Bishkek, and features all kinds of goods, from Chinese and Turkish knock-offs to Russian music CDs, all off them stocked in the thousands of stacked shipping containers that serve as shops and storage space. Practically, the entire bazaar is built out of shipping containers organized in rows to form streets and plazas of sort. A 2005 newspaper report stated there were between 6,000 and 7,000 containers in Dordoy Bazaar, and their numbers probably went up considerably, since then.

The few buildings in Dordoy Bazaar that aren’t made of containers serve as administrative offices, hotels and toilets.

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Christmas Tree Lights Powered by a Bunch of Electric Eels

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People are definitely becoming more and more concerned about the environment, also more inventive. Looking for ways to save up energy, the staff of the Helsinki Sea Life Center aquarium in Finland, discovered they had a  totally free energy source living right in their fish tanks – electric eels.

“Our electrician built a device that uses four plastic-encased steel probes to capture the eel’s electrical discharge and feed it to the lights. At feeding time though, it really powers up. You can hear the voltage increasing and the lights shine bright and steady.” explains Markus Dernjatin – from the Helsinki Sea Life Center in Finland.

These deadly deep sea creatures can produce an amount of electrical energy sufficient to light up more than one Christmas tree – around 650 volts. At the same time, the high voltage is enough to kill a grown man…

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Chinese Artist Paints on Water

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Zhu Shenghi, a talented artist from Xi’an, China’s Shaanxi Province, has developed a unique way of painting on water.

While we can all take a brush and start stroking away on water, results won’t be nearly as spectacular as what Zhu Shenghi can do. Using a fine tool and naphta, he paints all kinds of detailed shapes on the surface of the water, but water isn’t actually the real canvas. After he’s finished the design, Zhu places a piece of paper that absorbs the paint from the surface of the water, thus becoming a regular painting without having been touched by any painting utensils.

UPDATE: Seeing the photos for the first time, I thought Zhu Shenghi’s art was unique, but it’s apparently been around since the 15th century, and used in East Asia and the Islamic World. It might not be as modern as other painting techniques, but it’s still pretty fascinating.

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Kobe Luminarie – Japan’s Festival of Light

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Kobe Luminarie is an extraordinary light festival that takes place every December, in commemoration of the Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995.

The first edition Kobe Luminarie took place in December of 1995, as a memorial to the lives lost in the terrible earthquake of January 17. It was entitled “Dreams and Light” and was a message of hope that two and a half million people came to see, on the first day. Following the success of the first festival, Kobe Luminarie became a yearly event that celebrates Kobe’s remarkable recovery from disaster.

Various light decorations are created from millions of small light bulbs and LEDs, from bright arches to citadels and whatever else Italian designer Valerio Festi and his team decide on. Since the name of the festival comes from the plural of the Italian “luminaria” -which means light decoration – the decision of employing an Italian team must not have been incidental. Every year, the theme of Kobe Luminarie changes, and that has people from all over the world coming back year after year, to see the new light structures. Approximately five million people attend the Kobe Luminarie every year.

Apart from the beautiful light structures, another impressive aspect of Kobe Luminarie is that it relies on its audience to keep going. Visitors support the event by putting coins in the donation boxes set up around the brightly lit structures, and this assures the funding for next year’s festival. A great way to show appreciation, considering the entrance if free of charge…

Just to be clear, Kobe Luminarie has nothing to do with Christmas, despite the common colorful-lights theme. This year, the festival of light took place between December 2-13, and was named “Il cuore nella luce” (The heart in the light).

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The Incredible Map Collages of Matthew Cusick

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Matthew Cusick, a talented collage artist from Dallas, Texas, creates incredible works of art with map cutouts. Using the most rudimentary tools, Cusick reconfigures entire networks of roads, rivers and municipal transit systems to create intricate artworks that look like paintings and drawings, if looked at from afar.

Originally from New York, Matthew Cusick graduated from Cooper Union in 1993, and had his first exhibition just two years later. Since then, his masterpieces have been showcased around the world. Inspired by topography, the artist states that he likes to “catalog, archive, and arrange information and then dismantle, manipulate, and reconfigure it.”

Have a look at these amazing map collages, and be sure to check out Matt’s official site for more of his beautiful artworks.

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American House Lit Up by One Million Christmas Lights

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For most of us, Christmas lights are just another tradition, but for Faucher family, in Delaware, it has become a real passion. For 23 years they have been decorating their home with one million Christmas lights that cover every inch of their property. The lights are accompanied by other joyful Christmas ornaments that spread through out the garden, like snowmen, candy canes, elves or toy soldiers.

But this beautiful, over-the-top display of Christmas spirit is definitely not cheap. According to  “House Logic”, a homeowners website, the bill could reach a staggering $82,320, if the lights used are common 5 watt C7 bulbs that are left on for four hours every night, for 30 days. If they use LEDs, they “only” have to pay a $10,680 electric bill, while proudly owning an environment-friendly installation.

The Christmas lights tradition is an ancient one. Even in the times when Christians were persecuted, people chose to light candles as a symbol of celebrating Christmas. It was around the year 1500 that Christmas trees were decorated with lights for the first time, in Germany, but quickly spread throughout the world.

It was only in the 17th century the Christmas lights were brought to the outside of the house, as people started decorating their homes and gardens.

Although the tradition of decorating with Christmas lights became very popular after the 1950’s, it’s only fair to say that the Fauchers took it all to another level with their 1 million lights installation. Every year, they enjoy the admiration of not only their neighbors, but also that of people from around the country, who come to admire the Fauchers’ magical display of Christmas spirit.

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Conflict Kitchen – Pittsburgh’s Unique Restaurant

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Conflict Kitchen is a unique take-out restaurant that only serves foods from countries the United States is in conflict with.

Although some people might get the idea that Conflict Kitchen is just a way of cashing out on the war on terror, the Pittsburgh establishment is much more than just a great marketing idea. Yeah, they serve some of the most popular dishes from countries like Afghanistan or Iran, developed in collaboration with actual members of Afghan and Iranian communities, Conflict Kitchen also offers important insight into the culture of these countries a lot of people know nothing about (except that they’re the enemy). Every order that goes out the take-out storefront is served in a custom wrapper featuring interviews with members of the Afghan community living both in their home country or the US, on issues ranging from culture and ideology to serious geopolitical issues.

Every four months, Conflict Kitchen changes its focus from one country to another, and every iteration features events, performances and discussions on the problems the country faces, thus allowing attendants to learn more about these nations and their role in the conflict with America.

So far, Conflict Kitchen has covered the Iranian and Afghan cuisines, but they’re preparing for iterations that will focus on North Korea, Venezuela and more.

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Le Truc – Old School Bus Converted into Restaurant on Wheels

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Le Truc may have started out as a old school bus, but it’s now one of San Francisco’s most popular gourmet restaurants.

Le Truc is the brainchild of Hugh Schick, a talented chef who wanted to offer his customers a truly unique experience. He managed to convert a 1989 Ford Ward School Bus into an ingenious restaurant on wheels that not only unlike any other restaurants you’ve ever seen, but also serves the finest gourmet meals. It’s now painted all-black, with copper accents, instead of the old yellow, and while it still looks like a bus on the outside, the interior has suffered a complete makeover. The original seating has been altered to accommodate 12 guests, skylights have been added, and the back section has been transformed into a kitchen.

According to San Francisco local media, Le Truc is gaining mad popularity and it’s on its way to becoming one of the city’s busiest restaurants. I guess people are curious to know what it’s like to eat fine foods, on a bus. And to prevent long lines outside the bus, Le Truc has a modern electronic order system that allows people to order from the small kiosk outside, and then simply wait for their meal. They’ll even receive a message on their phone or computer, when the order is ready.

Just so you can get an idea of the foods Hugh Schick and his team cook, on Le Truc here are some of their most popular dishes: grilled Portobello mushrooms and ground chicken meatballs, grilled duck breast with dried cherry, dried pear, and pomegranate molasses, as well various savory sandwiches.

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Sol Cinema – The World’s Smallest Solar Powered Theater

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Nowadays eco-friendly is definitely the way to go, and green is a hip color, so the Sol Cinema follows the latest trends.

It was created by artist Peter O’Connor with the help of some of his colleagues from the British art collective Undercurrents, in a travel trailer from the 1960’s. The Sol Cinema is fully powered by the sun, using 120W solar panels that are connected to four large lithium-ion batteries, providing sufficient energy for the LED projector and all the other electronics inside .

But being powered by solar energy alone isn’t the only unique characteristic of the Sol Cinema, as being set up inside a trailer also makes it the world’s smallest solar theater. Believe it or not, it’s able to accommodate up to eight visitors.

The cinema focuses it’s screenings on eco-themed movies or documentaries. If you’re interested, more info on the theater’s tour dates and locations can be found on the official website. Apparently, following its local success, the Sol Cinema is preparing for a tour around Europe.

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Noche de Rábanos – Spanish Festival Celebrating Radishes

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Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) takes place every year, on the 23rd of December, in Oaxaca,Spain and is one of the most impressive vegetable festivals around the world.

The radish was brought to the Americas in the 16th century, and back then the vendors used to carve them and use them on their market stalls to attract customers. Although the origins of the festival cannot be traced to an exact period, it is considered that it all began in the year 1897, when the mayor of Oaxaca organized the first radish-art exposition. Everever since that first celebration, every year, this humble vegetable is meticulously carved into animals, warriors, kings, dancers and pretty much any shape you can imagine. The artists sometimes make use of other vegetables, like onion or lettuce to complete their work. There’s also a prize for the most beautiful piece displayed.

The carver’s work begins about three days in advance and on the 23rd of December, the day of the festival, the results of all their hard work is presented to the public. On that same day, especially in the morning, children have the chance to learn this incredible art of radish-carving, or at least some of its secrets.

The celebrations don’t end that day. They continue on Christmas Eve and Christmas  Day with other joyful “fiestas”, parades of floats, fireworks music and dancing.

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“Butt Drag” Wrestling Move Drags Sexual Battery Charges

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Preston Hill, a 17-year-old Buchanan High School student from Clovis, California, used the Butt Drag move on one of his teammates at a school-sponsored event and now faces sexual battery charges.

As both Preston and his father assert the “butt drag” is a move that his coaches taught him ever since he was in middle school, the boy’s family doesn’t understand why such a common move brought such dire consequences. As coaches describe it, the “butt drag” is a move which involves grabbing the butt cheeks of the rival and inserting your fingers inside his anus, as to obtain better positioning and leverage.

Although it has been used for years in many wrestling matches, Preston has been suspended until his expulsion hearing. He has also been charged with sexual battery and the trial was to begin on Thursday, 9th of Dec.

On the other hand, Ross Rice, the assaulted boy’s father, claims it was an intentional aggression,as Preston was looking to get revenge on his opponent for standing up to him in school. “Preston took it beyond a wrestling move. He crossed the line.”

This is not a first. In 2007, an also 17-year-old wrestling champion from  South Dakota was charged with rape and attempted rape, as there were six other wrestlers that testified against him, saying that he penetrated or tried to penetrate their anuses. He was found guilty…

I can’t wait to see your comment on this one!

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The Giant Mermaid of Cumbernauld

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Scotland’s town of Cumbernauld has recently become the proud “host” of a beautiful mermaid statue that seems to be guarding the town’s entrance.

Standing at over 33ft tall, this statue is entirely made out of metal and depicts a beautiful four-armed mermaid, with two of her arms stretched outwards, as if to protect the town, and the other two holding up her mermaid tail.Her name is Arria and she was thought of and designed by English sculptor Andy Scott.

The real spectacle begins at nightfall as the statue features a rig of multicolored lights inside it’s structure that all lit up, putting Arria in a whole new “light”.

The costs for making the statue reached up to around $400,000, but local authorities hope the mermaid will be the town’s lucky charm.

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The Intricate Book Carvings of Julia Feld

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Using various carving tools, mixed media artist Julia Feld breathes new life into old, useless books by transforming them into beautiful artworks.

A scientist by trade, Julia Feld has always enjoyed the visual elements of science and started carving old books to draw attention to their beauty rather than their outdated content. While most people aren’t interested in the information these books contain, anymore, Julia tries to give them a second chance to be valuable. Making great use of exacto knives, rotary cutters, tweezers, rulers, pliers, files, custom cut panes of glass, and lots of glue, the artist creates incredible carvings that leave you wondering “how did she do it”?

While some people accuse her of ruining vintage books, Julia Feld insists she is actually a book lover, and would never dream of carving up a book that she believes still has valuable content. That’s why she prefers to work with reference books that are several editions out-of-date, and have been salvaged from garage sales or second-hand shops.

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Mummified Vampire Heart Auctioned Off on eBay

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For all you Twilight fans or haters out there, a mummified vampire heart,  belonging to vampire Auguste Delagrance, is being actioned off, on eBay.

The mummified heart is said to be that of vampire Auguste Delagrance, responsible for the deaths of more than forty people back in the 1900, a period of vampirism in the USA. When identified, Delagrance was hunted down by a Romano Catholic priest and a Voodoo Hougan, and and destroyed in 1912.

The seller offers the heart and stake with which the vampire was killed, both  stored into an oak box decorated with some hand lettered writing, including the vampires name and the date of its destruction.

I have to admit that this story, based upon some real events that took place in that particular period of time in the United States, such as cases of mass murders and alleged cults, make this heart far more realistic and impressive than it really is.

The extremely detailed prop is made using traditional techniques and although it is made out of dried beef jerky covered in a coat of wax, it certainly does look very realistic (probably feels that way, too) with all the stubs of the major vessels and the hole supposedly made by the stake.

And if you feel you have to have it, there is still some time left, as the auction is on for another 3 days. The current bid is $256.72. Surely, a vampire heart is worth much more than that…

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Artist Makes Realistic Vehicles Out of Used Computer Parts

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Enrique Conde has found a great way of recycling old computer components and peripherals, by using them to create cool-looking choppers, cars and dragsters.

Electronic waste is one of the most important environmental issues of our time, and finding new ingenious ways of recycling electronics is crucial. Enrique Conde has found a brilliant way of transforming used computer components into inspiring artworks he refers to as Kike Art. He takes old hard-drives, motherboards, used mice, and even mobile phones and puts them together to make really cool-looking motorcycles, cars and even dragsters or airplanes.

Looking at his computer part vehicles, you really couldn’t tell they were made from nothing but electronic junk, but a closer look reveals hard disks used as wheels, old mice as fuel tanks, or mobile phones converted into original seats.

On his website, Enrique Conde says he loves the process of searching for the right computer components and putting together as toy vehicles, just as much as he hopes people love looking at them. All of his ingenious artworks are for sale, and he also does custom works, if you have any particular specifications.

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