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Savika – Wrestling Angry Bulls in Madagascar

Savika is a rodeo-like sport practiced by men of the Betsileo ethnic group in Madagascar. It’s considered a rite of passage, and any man who dares dance with the angry zebus is considered a hero of the community.

No one remembers exactly when savika was invented, but everyone agrees it has been practiced by Betsileo men for centuries. The traditional sport is enjoyed by all members of the community, be they men or women, young or old, rich or poor, and is considered a unifying factor that brings everyone together. Savika is also a rite of passage for young boys who want to prove their manhood, and one of the best forms of courtship for single men. Apparently nothing impresses Betsileo women more than seeing their men dance with a zebu – a kind of domesticated cattle with long horns and a distinctive hump.

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Latvia’s Wacky Milk Carton Boat Race

Every year, at the end of August, Latvians celebrate Milk, Bread and Honey Festival with a special race between boats made from thousands of empty milk cartons.

The milk carton boat regatta has become a very popular tradition since it first took place nine years ago. The wacky event always take place on the Lielupe River, in the Latvian town of Jelgava, and means to offer local audience a good time and popularize a healthy lifestyle through the consumption of organic dairy foods made in Latvia. Teams of locals eager of a good time, as well as some representing dairy processors and food producers enter the competition every year and fight for various titles, including the fastest boat, funniest crew and most original boat.

This year a record number of participants registered milk carton boat race – 36 teams showed up on the Lielupe River, on August 27, to prove their seafaring skills. There were only a few rules teams had to obey for this event: boats had to be made excursively of empty milk cartons and had to be guided to the finish line by human power alone. The size of the boat and number of rowers was not limited, provided the carton vessel remained afloat. The course was only 50 meters long, the shortest so far, but teams struggled to finish as they had to paddle against a strong wind. Some team members even jumped into the river to push their boats across the finish.

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Snapperfest – Yet Another Another Animal Cruelty Fest

Snapperfest is an obscure Indiana festival where participants have to yank a snapping turtle’s head out of its shell until they can wrap their hands around its neck.

It has been taking place in Ohio County, Indiana, for over a decade, despite PETA’s numerous attempts to shut it down, and sadly, it was organized this year as well, on August 20th. As always a big crowd gathered at Campshore Campgrounds to see the “brave” competitors tormenting a bunch of frightened snapping turtles. Now that right there sounds like a great way to spend your weekend.

Every Snapperfest contestant has to run up to a tank full of snapping turtles, grab one by its tail, slam it onto a piece of tarp and yank its head out of the shell. Apparently, each participant has his own techniques to get the wild-caught turtles to reveal their heads, but most popular are the repeated slamming against the ground, and pounding on the shell. While the crowd cheers them on, they grab the snapper turtle’s head and yank it out enough to wrap their hands around its neck. The one who manages to yank the turtle’s head fastest, wins.

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Brazilian Doctor Uses HIV-Infected Needles to Keep Burglars Out

Some people use guard dogs, other opt for an alarm or surveillance system to keep burglars away, but a certain Brazilian doctor went for something a lot more extreme – needles infected with HIV.

The female orthopedist from the city of Sobradinho was fed up with burglars jumping over her fence and stealing her belongings. They had already stolen her lawnmower, hair dryer and photo camera when she decided to put an end to the trespassing by taping dozens of HIV-infected syringes atop her metal fence and hanging a sign saying ” Wall with HIV positive blood. No trespassing.”

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Bridesmaid Attends Wedding via iPad

Although she “called dibs on being a bridesmaid” at her friends wedding, Renee Armstrong couldn’t actually be there in person to fulfill her promise, but thanks to modern technology she did it via iPad.

Jonathan Alberico and Jamie Wilborn looked beautiful on their wedding day, but something else attracted the attention of the guests throughout the whole ceremony. One of the groomsmen walked down the aisle and stood by the altar carrying an iPad with Renee’s face on the screen. Because she couldn’t physically attend her friend’s wedding, 1,600 miles away, she attended the ceremony, chatted with guests and posed for photos via Apple’s popular tablet.

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Shinji Saito Wins 2011 World Yo-Yo Championship

Shinji Saito, the most competitive yo-yo player in the history of yo-yo competition put on quite a performance at the 2011 World Yo-Yo Championship, winning his 11th title.

At just 24 Shinji Saito is the most acclaimed yo-yo master in history, winning most of the contests he’s ever entered. He was a 2A yo-yo champion by the age of 13 and since 2002, he only came in second place once, in 2008, but reclaimed the top spot the following year, and hasn’t lost it since. At this year’s World Yo-Yo Championship, Shinji Saito showed everyone why he’s the best at what he does, putting on a memorable performance that make tricks like “walk the dog” look like child’s play.

For his 11th World Yo-Yo Champion title, Shinji won a $300 cash prize and the priceless reputation that comes with the territory.

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Artist Draws Portrait with His Own Hair

Human hair used as a medium has become rather common in the art world, and we’ve featured a few worthy examples on Oddity Central, but this man’s ability to manipulate his curls into a cool portrait is something I’ve never seen before.

Some artists use hair to make unique jewelry, others use it for clothes, but the artist you’re about to see cuts his own curls and uses them to draw a pretty good portrait of a woman. He starts out by giving himself a sloppy haircut with some scissors, than takes the hair and carefully shapes it into a portrait using only his hands and what appears to be a pencil, for the fine details. His work is somewhat similar to that of sand manipulating artists like Ksenyia Simonova so I’ve posted a video of one of her amazing performances, as well.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find out who the hair drawing artist yet, let me know if you know anything about hm or his hairy art.

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Tennessee Musician Creates 27-String Guitar

Keith Medley has been a master guitar builder for most of his adult life, and while he has created custom instruments for many famous musicians, his most impressive guitar is the one he made for himself.

If you’re missing a guitarist or two for your band, stop worrying, because the 27-string guitar Keith Medley invented has the power to make them obsolete. The only trick is learning how to play it. That’s in fact the biggest problem, White House-based Medley had to overcome, as well. “Building this guitar turned out to be the easy part,” Keith explains on his site. “The hard part has been learning to play it. Through two years of bittersweet struggle between myself and these 27 strings, I determined it would not defeat me but would play the music I heard in my heart.”

But why would anyone need a 27-string guitar, when most guitarist seem to do very well with just 12, or even 6? Keith says the music he hears in his head is more than can be played on six strings, so after many sketches and nights of contemplation, he came up with this unique 27-string instrument. He claims it’s like playing three instruments at the same time, but that apparently isn’t good enough since he’s now working on a guitar with 34 strings.

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Indonesia’s Laughing Cock Craze Is No Laughing Matter

Roosters being sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars might sound like a joke to you, but in many parts of Indonesia it’s very serious business.

They look like ordinary cocks, but it’s only when they start crowing that people realize just how special they really are. Instead of the normal “cock-a-doodle-do”, these birds make a sound similar to human laughter, which earned them the name “laughing cocks“. Trained and raised to make this special sounds, laughing cocks are source of pride for their owners, who feed them only the best foods, and pamper them with large, ornate cages. This breed of chicken originated in South Sulawesi, where it was known as ayam raja (king chicken), because only Burgis kings were allowed to breed them.

Nowadays, anyone who can afford is allowed to breed laughing cocks, and while they are very valuable, they’re also extremely sensitive. They have to be fed properly and their big cages have to be cleaned twice a day, because these birds tend to become ill very easily. But the high maintenance cost is easily covered by the profit of selling laughing cocks or winning regional laughing contests. A day old chick sells for Rp 100,000 ($12), while a 3-month old bird goes for Rp 300,000 ($36) to Rp 500,000 ($59). But it’s the mature laughing roosters that bring the most profit, as the price of a 9-month bird ranges between Rp 3 million ($354) and Rp 5 million ($590).

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Iowa Welder Hopes to Break Record for World’s Largest Bicycle

Lewis, a small town in Iowa, US, may soon be acknowledged as home to the world’s largest bicycle. A local welder took the task of building a giant bike after hearing the annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa was passing through his town.

Duane Weirich is either one of the biggest cycling fans on the planet or a simply a welder with too much free time on his hands. After learning the Great Bike Ride across Iowa was going to pass through his home town, he decided to honor the even by making a giant bicycle. Although he’s not exactly sure if it qualifies for a new world record, his 32-feet-long, 18-feet-high bike has so far attracted the attention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Even though the verdict on whether this is the world’s largest bicycle isn’t out yet, cyclists engaged in the cross state bike race haven’t missed the opportunity to have their picture taken with Weirich’s creation. Pleased with the public’s reaction to his efforts, the welder said he plans to complete the bike by actually making it rideable. You’re going to need some longer legs, though.

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Sepak Takraw – A Combination of Football, Volleyball and Kung-Fu

Invented around 500 years ago, in Malaysia, Sepak Takraw remains one of the most spectacular sports in the world. It combines elements from football, volleyball and martial arts, and is real fun to watch.

It is believed Sepak Trakaw is based on the Chinese game of “Cuju” (kick-ball), after it was introduced to Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, by early traders. By the early 1400s, the game had already become very popular and was played mainly by men and boys standing in a circle and kicking the ball back and forth. Earliest historical mentions date back to the 15th century, when, according to an important historical document, it was very popular at the court of the Malacca Sultanate. In Bangkok, murals at the Wat Phra Kaeo show Hanuman, the monkey king, playing Sepak Trakaw with a group of monkeys.

Sepak Takraw is played on a court similar to that of badminton, between two teams made up of three players, each. The ball used is bigger than a tennis ball, but smaller than a volleyball, and weighs between 170 and 180 grams. The goal of the game is to send the ball into the opponents’ half so that it touches the floor, while using only your legs and head. It’s kind of like volleyball, only no hands are allowed. A game of Sepak Takraw consists of two sets, each played until one team reaches 21 points (unless the other team has 20 points, in which case a two-point difference is required, to win). If each team wins a set, a tie-break round is played, until one team has 14 points.

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The Video Coat – A Wearable LED TV

Inventor David Forbes is the proud owner of the world’s first video coat, a gadget/clothing item that allows him to display videos right on his body. Although it’s not exactly a technological breakthrough, the Video Coat scores points for geekiness and originality.

Created for the Burning Man, this wearable LED display is powered by a 12V battery and works by being plugged into an iPod or DVD player. With a resolution of 160×120, it doesn’t offer the clarity of a high definition television, but then again, you can’t really wear an HD TV either, so that makes them even. The coat was built on flex boards and expands on the back and sleeves offering a total body video experience.

The Video Coat is driven by circuit boards located on the wearer’s shoulders and hips and even comes with switches that allow you to tweak the colors. In the presentation video he made, David chose to play The Simpson on his wearable TV, because he thinks “its is the pinnacle of modern television entertainment”.

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Thai Cook Fries His Own Hands, Doesn’t Get Burned

Kann “Superhands” Trichan got the cool nickname for his incredible ability of scooping pieces of chicken from burning-hot oil with his bare hands.

The 50-year-old Chiang Mai-based street cook can sink his fingers into 480 degrees hot grease without getting so much as a blister on his hands, and his amazing ability has won him international fame. People from all over the world come to his “Fried Chicken Iron Hands Man” food stall to see Kann use his hands to scoop out the chicken and he and his wife travel the globe showing off his gift. Superhands has no idea why he can do what he does, but he’s just happy it brings more and more customers for his business, every day.

Kann Trichan first discovered his unusual gift seven years ago, when he accidentally got hot oil splattered all over his body. While attending his giant woks, he noticed a squirrel eating a mango on a branch just above him. The squirrel dropped the big fruit right in the oil splattering it all over Kann’s body and head. A taxi took him home and when he got up the next day ready to go see a doctor, he took a look in the mirror only to see he had no burns. The redness was fading away and his skin was practically intact, so he just decided to go back to work, to the astonishment of his fellow street vendors.

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Bashir Sultani’s Art with Salt

They say it’s back luck to spill salt, but Toronto-based Bashir Sultani clearly has little regard for superstition, as he has no problem spilling the seasoning and shaping its fine crystals into detailed portraits of modern icons.

After spilling salt onto a black background, Afghan-born Sultani uses basic tools, like a razor blade and Q-tips to manipulate the grains into portraits of actors, singers, popular movie characters and other icons. He makes it all look easy in his videos, but it’s obvious you need a great deal of patience and skill to create such original masterpieces.

Be sure to check his YouTube channel for more making-of videos of his amazing salt portraits.

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Incredibly Talented Artist Paints with Her Lips

Natalie Irish is one of those artists who doesn’t need to use her hands to create mind-blowing masterpieces. Like someone said, she has more talent in her lips than most do in their entire body.

You probably haven’t seen Natalie’s art before, neither had I, and that’s a real shame because she creates some pretty original stuff. Using only her lips and a lipstick, she creates detailed portraits, like the one of Marilyn Monroe, pictured below.  The Houston-based artist simply puckers her lips and kisses the paper canvas thousands of times, until she gets the desired result.

Get ready for the coolest thing you’ll see all day:

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