China’s Dead Sea – Probably the World’s Most Crowded Swimming Pool

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If you think your local swimming pool becomes unbearably crowded on hot summer days, just check out these photos of the so-called Dead Sea, a salt-water swimming pool in China’s Daying County where thousands of people gather every weekend to escape the heat.

Inspired by the real Dead Sea in the Middle East, the Chinese resort build around an underground salt-water lake in Daying County covers an area of 30,000 square meters and is able to accommodate up to 10,000 swimmers at one time. It’s pretty big even for Chinese standards, but apparently not big enough. According to the Chinese press, over 15,000 people, most of them equipped with large swim rings, descended upon this popular summer retreat last Sunday making it look like a giant bowl of human cereal. I’m not even sure the term “swimming pool” even applies to this place on such occasions, considering it’s nearly impossible to move without hitting somebody, let alone flap your hands and feet to swim. The good thing about this place is the high salinity of the water which makes “swimmers” float freely, so there’s no real risk of going under. If that were to happen I can’t see how a person could rise up again…

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Ukrainian Battlestar Galactica Fan Builds Life-Size Wooden Cylon

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39-year-old Dmitry Balandin, a robot enthusiast from Zaporozhye, Ukraine, spent six months building a 1.95 -meter-tall Cylon out of 500 plywood parts.

Dmitry Balandin works as a crane operator, but ever since he saw the 1980 Russian movie “Electronik”, about a professor who builds a robot that looks and acts like a human, he has always been fascinated by robotics. About two years ago he finally decided to live out his childhood dream of creating a real-life robot. In the beginning, he wanted to use metal as his medium, but realized it was hard to work with in his Zaporozhye apartment, so he chose plywood instead. After months of planning and experimenting, Dmitry finally started work on his wooden robot six months ago, designing and cutting all the parts himself. Although he didn’t have the resources to give his creation a human appearance, he decided the best way to make it as realistic as possible was to use flexible joints. The Cylon (a name inspired by the hit-series Battlestar Galactica) can bend and extend its limbs, shake hands and rotate its neck and torso, but Balandin wants to add a series of improvements, including a radio-controlled motor that will allow his wooden robot to move in a way similar to the fighting bots from the movie Real Steel. Unfortunately, that would cost the Ukrainian craftsman an extra $3,000, which at the moment is more than he can afford.

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German Star Wars Fans Build 1:2 Scale Tie Fighter

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The Star Wars universe has millions of fans throughout the world, and some of them really invest a lot of time and money into their passion for the franchise. Case in point, a group of German Star Wars enthusiasts who created an almost life-size model of the iconic Tie Fighter spacecraft out of wood, steel and plastic.

It took an army of hobbyists two years to complete, but the 1:2 scale Tie Fighter recently unveiled in Eichenzell, Germany, is a true DIY masterpiece. 20 Star Wars fans of different professions, from financial brokers to policemen and architects, put their blood and tears into this 5.30 m wide, 4.80 m long, 4.30 m high and 1.4 tons heavy model of the Galactic Empire’s starfighter. They worked in 12-meter-wide parking garage and spent an estimated €14,000 ($18,500) on necessary materials. The steel and aluminum frame alone cost €6,000 ($8,000), the wood was mostly provided for free, and the giant plastic ball that makes up the cockpit cost €1,900 ($2,500). Luckily, they had a couple of generous sponsors who took care of the bills.

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Pyura chilensis – Nature’s Bizarre Living Rocks

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Pyura chilensis doesn’t look like much from the outside. You could pass right by a colony without realizing they’re more than just simple beach rocks, but cut them open and you’ll think you’ve discovered a real bizarre-looking alien specimen.

Popularly known as the living rock, Pyura chilensis is actually a weird sea organism that lives on the rocky coast of Chile and Peru. It feeds by inhaling the sea water and filtering out edible microalgae through a pair of siphons. It has clear blood and can accumulate high quantities of a mysterious and rare element called vanadium. It’s been discovered that the blood of the Pyura chilensis contains 10 million times more vanadium than the surrounding sea water, although it’s role in the creature’s development is yet unknown. The alien-like organism is born a male but also grows female organs over time, and breeds by releasing both eggs and sperm that meet in a fertile cloud and form tiny tadpole-like offsprings that eventually settle on nearby rocks and grow into adult form. This is all very unique and fascinating, but there’s really nothing quite like seeing one of these bizarre creatures sliced in half. The Pyura chilensis is covered in a thick layer of tunicin that helps it blend in its surroundings, but underneath lies a bright red tissue-like mass that leaves first-time viewers flabbergasted.

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46-Year-Old Korean Mom Proves Weight Loss and Fitness Really Do Turn Back the Clock

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It’s hard to believe the woman in the photo below is actually 46-year-old and a mother of two. Jung Da Yeon is known as momjjang ajumma in her native land of South Korea which means “mom with a striking figure”, and it’s easy to see why.

But Jung Da Yeon didn’t always look like this. In 2003, after going through two pregnancies, she weighed 70 kilograms and looked like a normal housewife. According to most media reports, she just woke up one day and decided to do something about her dissatisfaction with her figure and weight, and I don’t mean not looking in the mirror for a very long time but strict dieting and physical exercise. However, Jung told the Wall Street Journal she was actually motivated to lose weight to relieve back pain, and that the perfect figure was only a side-effect.  She managed to lose 20 kilograms in just three months, and after posting some photos of her new self, the ambitious mother triggered what came to be known as South Korea’s “momjjang syndrome”. Housewives all around the country followed her example and started working out in an attempt to achieve the same toned physique. Before she knew it, Jung Da Yeon was making appearances on television, launching weight-loss books and videos, and building her very own fitness empire. The 46-year-old’s fame spread beyond Korea’s borders to Japan, where she launched an exercise-themed video game for the Nintendo Wii and opened an education center to train Figure-robics specialists.

Jung-Dae-Yeon

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What the Quack? Australia’s Amazing Flying Duck Orchid

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Just like the Monkey Orchid we posted about a few weeks ago gets its name from its remarkable resemblance to a smiling monkey, the Flying Duck Orchid got its name for looking like a tiny duck with its head and beak held high and wings swept back.

If you’ve never been to the Australian wilderness, chances are you’ve never seem a Caleana major , or Flying Duck Orchid before. That’s because despite numerous attempts to grow it anywhere else, this amazing-looking flower refuses to propagate in captivity. Apparently, that’s because its roots have a symbiotic relationship with the vegetative part of a fungus which can only be found in the wild country of eastern and southern Australia. The fungus protects the flower from infections, and without its presence, it never lasts for very long. But even if you travel to Australia to see the Flying Duck Orchid in its natural habitat, you have to look really carefully to spot it. At up to 50 centimeters in height, it’s definitely not the smallest flower in the world, but its red-and-purple coloring helps it blend so well in its wild surroundings that it becomes almost invisible.

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The Amazing Orchid That Looks Like a Monkey’s Face

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It’s not very hard to guess how the Monkey Orchid got its name, but ever since photos of it started circulating on the internet about a year ago, people have had a hard time believing such a flower actually exists.

As photoshoped as it may look, the Monkey Orchid actually exists, and yes, it really does match the grinning face of a very small monkey. The scientific name of this very rare flower is Dracula simia, with the first part hinting at the resemblance between its two long spurs to the fangs of Bram Stoker’s famous vampire count, and the second meaning “monkey” in Latin. It only grows in the mountainous regions of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, at an elevation of between 1,000 and 2,000 meters above sea level, but there are a few lucky collectors who have managed to grow it in “captivity”. The Monkey orchid is not season specific, and in its natural habitat it can flower at any time. As if its striking resemblance to a monkey’s face wasn’t astounding enough, this flower actually smells a lot like a ripe orange, as well. Which is kind of ironic, because with a face like that you’d expect it to smell like bananas, right?

Monkey-orchid

 

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The Dancing Inmates of the Philippines

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The Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, in the Philippines, has become internationally famous for using choreographed dancing to rehabilitate dangerous inmates. Videos of their dance routines have registered tens of millions of views on sites like YouTube, and the prison itself is now a tourist attraction of sorts.

Prison life is tough everywhere – well, maybe except Norway – and the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center is no exception. Inmates sleep on hard pallets, share their cells with around a dozen other roommates and have a very strict schedule of work. But at least they get to dance. The truth is they don’t have a choice, because apart from the elderly and the sick, every one of the almost 2,000 prisoners is required to take part in the jail’s now-famous dance routines. Most of them enjoy doing it, because it takes their minds off their problems, keeps them away from drugs and violence, and teaches them discipline. In fact, two former inmates went on to become professional dancers when they got out. Introducing dancing as a rehabilitation technique was the idea of security consultant Byron Garcia. He was brought in to Cebu Prison in 2004, to deal with the constant riots. He moved the prisoners from an ancient stockade to a larger, more modern facility, fired dozens of corrupt guards, broke up gangs, banned the use of cash and introduced dancing. That last measure made the biggest difference. Violence subsided and the inmates health and behavior improved dramatically. Yet no one took notice…

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Belgian Man Makes His Own Amazing Samurai Armor

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Japanese samurai are famous all over the world, but one Belgian man has taken his passion for these medieval warriors to a whole new level by making his own authentic armor from thousands of custom metal pieces and hundreds of meters of cord.

Danny had always been fascinated by the history and culture of the samurai. He began collecting Japanese swords when he was 16 years old, and dreamed of one day owning his very own armor. He couldn’t afford to pay tens of thousands of dollars on an authentic samurai costume, and replicas, though cheaper, weren’t built for his impressive nearly two-meters-tall size. But he wasn’t going to give up on his dream too easily, and with the help of some supportive metalworking friends, the now 42-year-old bank teller set out to build his own samurai armor. Just like the Japanese craftsmen of old, Dennis assembled his protective suit out of traditional chainmail and 3,000 small pieces of metal, every one of which was hammered by hand to the correct shape and size, strung together with 225 meters of cord. It took two long years to finish the whole thing, but the end result is simply breathtaking.

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Hard Currency – Italy’s Unique Cheese Banks

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Cash-for-cheese sounds more like a joke that a serious financial agreement, but in some regions of Italy it’s a reality. The famous Parmesan is so precious that some banks are willing to keep the cheese as collateral against loans to local producers.

The Credito Emiliano bank has hundreds of branches and thousands of employees around central and northern Italy. Its central offices look like those of any other banking institution, with cameras watching every angle, security doors to lock down the place and even a big vault in the back. Only you’re not going to find too many diamonds or hard cash stored in there. Instead, there are hundreds of thousands of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheels, neatly placed on giant shelves. The bank takes the Parmesan from local producers in exchange for a cheap loan, and charges a 3% interest as well as a fee for looking after the cheese and making sure it matures properly in the air-conditioned, humidified vault. It might seem strange, but Credito Emiliano treats Parmigiano-Reggiano like other banks do gold. And for good reason, as the mountains of cheese locked away in its secured vault are worth around $200 million.

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Fan Builds Awesome DIY Iron Man Suit

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A passionate Iron Man fan from the United Kingdom spent hundreds of hours creating a realistic-looking suit of the Marvel superhero from Eva foam, wood and other recycled items. Did I mention he’s only 17?

Reddit user Mafferick was so impressed with his 17-year-old friend’s home-made Iron Man costume that he decided to share it with the community. DIY fans obviously had a lot of questions about the materials he used and the time he spent working on it, so he gave the young creator the chance to reply via his account. It turns out the guy is a big fan or Iron Man, and he also likes making stuff, so this awesome wearable suit is a combination of two of his greatest passions. He used “lots and lots of foam, wood and various recycled bits and bobs (the boots are some old shoes with the cushions from some old roller blades to make them wearable)”, and spent ”a few weeks if you add the hours together” sculpting all the various parts and making them look as realistic as possible. The rudimentary tools used to make this impressive piece of equipment include an industrial knife, a dremel, sandpaper and over 100 extra sharp blades for cutting the Eva foam. He painted the whole thing with automotive spray paint and now plans to give it a “damaged” effect. The price tag – around $540 worth of materials and a great deal of time.

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The Mysterious Shell Grotto of Kent

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The Shell Grotto is a unique 70-foot underground winding passageway in Margate, Kent, painstakingly decorated with around 4,6 million seashells. This English tourist attraction is as beautiful as it is mysterious, as no one seems to know who created it and why.

The story goes that the Shell Grotto was discovered in 1835, when local James Newlove lowered his son Joshua into a hole in the ground that appeared while they were digging a duck pond. When the boy came back out, he told his father about this wondrous underground tunnel covered entirely in seashell mosaics. As soon as he laid eyes on the accidental discovery, Newlove immediately saw its commercial potential. He installed gas lamps to illuminate the ornate passageway and three years later he opened the grotto to the public. The opening came as a big surprise to the inhabitants of Margate, as the place had never bee marked on any maps, and nobody knew about its existence. As soon as the first paying visitors walked into the shell–covered underground tunnel, the debate regarding its origins began. For every person who believed it was an ancient temple, there seemed to be another one convinced it was actually the secret meeting place of a secret sect. Everyone saw something different in the mosaic patterns, from altars to gods and goddesses or trees of life. But despite the multiple theories going around, no one has been able to solve the mystery of the Shell Grotto.

Margate-Shell-Grotto

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Steampunk Locomotive Is One Smoking BBQ Grill

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Locomotive-shaped grills are not exactly unheard of, but a team of Russian metal workers have taken it upon themselves to set a new standard by building a unique and awesome-looking Steampunk locomotive barbecue grill.

This practical work of art was created by a group of metal workers from the village of Deulina, near the city of Ryazan, in Russia, who specialize in interior, exterior and landscape design. The one-of-a-kind Steampunk grill was apparently forged from scrap automobile, motorcycle and train parts, and is currently installed on a private property where very few have the privilege to see it in person. Luckily for the rest of us, the builders took a set of photos for a Moscow exhibition-competition, since their locomotive was too heavy to transport. The grill was apparently built in 2009, but the pics only recently surfaced on a series of Western sites and forums. The little information available on the Steampunk locomotive grill is in Russian, and although Google Translate does a decent job of revealing the essential, there are few paragraphs that don’t make much sense. Here is what I was able to make out: the locomotive has three work bays – two 60-cm-long grilling pits in the main body and a trailer that acts as a stove. The first compartment is designed for barbecuing kebabs and can accommodate up to twenty skewers, while the second one is equipped with a rotating spit for roasting chicken and large pieces of meat. Some of the locomotive parts are actually functional, like the large brass wheel in the cabin that rotates the spit.

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World’s Most Expensive Car Wax Costs More Than a Car

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Retailing at a jaw-dropping $97,060 the GRV goldRally Wax from luxurious car care products maker Mitchell & King has been described as “exceptionally exclusive” and is by far the most expensive car wax ever created.

You see, in the world of the rich and powerful, it’s not so much about making a car look shiny, but about spending ridiculous amounts of money to make a car look shiny. In order to satisfy the needs of its wealthy clientele, Scottish company Mitchell & King has launched a limited edition car wax in honor of the ultimate luxury lifestyle car race – the goldRush Rally. The GRV car wax boasts a gold shimmer and will apparently protect the vehicle for up to 4 months. That sounds great and all, but does it really justify the $97,060 price tag? Not really, but adding a stylish container milled from the finest grade Titanium, coated with 24ct Gold and encrusted with Swarovski crystals and 10 x 0.5-carat, F Colour, VS2, brilliant round cut diamonds definitely sweetens the deal. The goldRush Rally package also includes 2 24-carat gold rings, an expensive car shampoo, as well as the application of GRV wax by a Mitchell & King approved detailer. Oh, and the wax will be delivered personally by the company’s director. Now that’s more like it, right? No, I guess not…

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Meet Denis Hope, the Man Who Sells the Moon

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If someone tried to sell me the moon, I would dismiss them as con artists. So I was pretty surprised to learn about Denis Hope, a 65-year-old man from Gardnerville, Nevada, who runs a legit business selling land plots on the Moon, Mars, Venus, Io and Mercury. Of course, there’s no legal backing to all this, but there’s nobody stopping him either. As long as he’s able to make people smile, he says he can do anything he wants. He’s been in business since 1980.

Hope is a former-ventriloquist, now in the business of space real-estate. Some people view his work as the selling of ‘novelty items’ such as pet rocks and certificates. Others argue that he’s taking forth the age-old American tradition of land speculators selling plots of useless land. Hope admits that there are several others selling property in outer space, but the difference is that those people are criminal in their intent. He considers himself the legit owner of the Moon, so what he’s doing is all right. How come he is so confident, you ask? Well, he says this is as real as any other property you can buy on Earth, and that’s because he filed a declaration with the United Nations. Otherwise, Hope says he wouldn’t be selling at all.

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