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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Alexa Fisher – An 8-Year-Old Poker Prodigy

Alexa Fisher, from Texas, looks and talks like any other 8-year old girl. However, she has a skill that is most unusual for girls her age. She can play poker fabulously well. In fact, Alexa is so good at poker that she can take on card sharks seven times her age. She was introduced to playing cards at the age of three by her father Justin, a 35 year old poker enthusiast. He says he taught her the game to help improve her Math skills.

Justin began by having ESPN and other poker game shows on TV playing in the background all the time. He also used playing cards as a way to teach her to count and learn math skills before she began school. And his efforts payed off. Alexa slowly began to understand which cards were higher and recognized poker terminology, like a flush, a pair and three of a kind. He then went on to get her poker chips. By the age of four, when other kids are barely able to hold an entire pack of cards in their tiny hands, Alexa was could shuffle, deal and also knew the basic strategies of bluffing. When she reached five, she could play No-Limit Texas Holde’m like a pro. She slowly began to learn more games like Badugi, Double Flop Hold’em, and many other WSOP (World Series of Poker Tournaments) games.

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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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Photocopied Portrait Recreated with 3.2 Million Dots

People have been photocopying their body parts for a while now, and even though it’s still pretty funny, it’s not that impressive at it once was. But what about a portrait of a photocopied face recreated with over 3 million dots, is that impressive enough for ya?

Artist Miguel Endara started out with a portrait  of his father’s photocopied face, and somewhere along the way he decided to recreate it with millions of dots made with a variety of Micron pens. he took a piece of paper, drew an outline of his dad’s face with a pencil and started adding dots. As you can imagine, this kind of painstaking work takes a lot of patience, and luckily Miguel managed to keep it together for all the 210 hours it took him to finish his masterpiece. He even made a cool video documenting his amazing effort and posted a high resolution image of the portrait on his website, so you can actually see all of the 3.2 millions of dots he had to use.

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Germaphobe Artist Spends Four Days Living and Sleeping with Pigs

I’ve always thought that the best thing in the world would be getting paid to just eat and sleep. Well, Miru Kim, a Korean-American performance artist found a way to do just that. Except, she calls it a form of art. Influenced by Buddhist teachings that all livings beings are connected in a circular manner through life force, Kim wanted to mingle with animals and feel her existence more than ever.

She therefore decided to eat and sleep with pigs, naked, for four straight days. Starting last Friday, she ended up spending 104 consecutive hours in a makeshift pen right in front of her gallery, in the company of pigs. Her project “I Like Pigs and Pigs and Pigs Like Me,” for Art Basel in Miami, is in fact a small scale version of what she had done earlier, when she curled up naked next to pigs in hog farms.

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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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Coolest Finds of the Week #20

90’s Boy-Band, Hanson, to Launch Their Own Beer, Called “MMMHop” (Contact Music)

Pee-Powered Video Games Hit London Pub (The Sun)

Man Has 120 Kg Alligator Pet, Says He’s a Gentle Giant (Daily Mail)

Exploring the Decaying Chambers of an Abandoned Slaughterhouse (Environmental Graffiti)

Ugandan Space Chief Builds Test Craft in Mother’s Muddy Backyard (MSN Photoblog)

China Sets Record for World’s Longest Christmas Cake (NDTV)

Woman Reveals Cement Cheek Implants Done by Fake Doctor (Huffington Post)

600,000 LEGO Bricks Christmas Tree Built in London (Brothers Brick)

12 Incredible Visions of Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Mom Says World of Warcraft Turned Son into Raging Hunchback (Geekologie)

No Snow? No Problem, We’ll Just Ski on Rocks

Although it’s December and the skiing season is officially open, there is no sign of snow in the Tyrol region of Austria. But that’s no reason not to ski, at least not for those brave enough to practice the winter sport on a rock-covered slope.

45 kilometers west of Innsbruck, near the picturesque village of Haiming, skiers have found the perfect place to test out their skiing equipment, even though there’s not one white patch of snow in sight. The brave daredevils climb a rock-covered slope on foot and descend on their skis, leaving a cloud of dust behind them. The rocks aren’t as smooth as snow, and they obviously do a lot of damage to their equipment, but the avid skiers don’t seem to mind, as long as they get to practice their favorite sport. Falling of your skies during a descent on the rocky slope of Haiming isn’t what you’d call a pleasurable experience, that’s why only experienced skiers are advised to try their luck here.

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Restaurant Fines Customers if They Don’t Finish Their Food

The wastage of food is something we often don’t realize, because we tend to think of it as ‘just this once’. In reality we’re all guilty of ordering something on the menu we know we can’t really finish, just out of the temptation to see what it tastes like.

Well, one restaurant has finally decided to put the matter to rest. A Saudi food joint has started charging their customers extra if they order more food than they can eat. Fahad Al Anezi, the owner of Marmar restaurant in the city of Dammam says the move is an attempt to stop the wastage of food and reduce extravagance. According to Al Anezi, he routinely witnesses clients who order large quantities of food in order to impress those around them. He also says that the idea of fining people for leftovers, instead of making him unpopular, has actually been endorsed by the Saudis. In fact, a few customers have said that they’ve learnt their lesson and will only order food that they can finish.

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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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In Thailand, a “Like” on Facebook Can Get You 15 Years in Jail

In older times, it was “off with your head” if you spoke ill of the King. Now, you go to jail for posting your feelings on Facebook about the Thai monarchy, which many of the Thai folk actively do. In fact, over 10,000 pages of material was found on the social networking, containing images or text that is offensive to the royal family.

The Information Minister of Thailand, Anudith Nakornthap, warned the people of Thailand that if users on Facebook so much as even like or share any kind of information insulting the monarchy, the consequences would be severe. Such a person could be charged with violation of the lese majeste laws of the country, and could serve up to 15 years in prison. He also advised people to ‘unlike’ any pages and remove any comments made on similar lines. In a world where democracy and freedom of speech are taken for granted in most countries, this news might come across as quite surprising. I mean, we’ve lost count of the number of jokes made online at the expense of Bush, Palin and the likes. Thailand however, has always been strict in enforcing laws that protect the dignity of the sovereign.

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Design Student Creates Fashionable Dress from Condoms

Apparently, women can now wear condoms too! Thanks to a Vietnamese student, Nguyen Minh Tuan, who created a dress entirely made of condoms.  He made the dress for his graduation project at Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City. The dress is called “Breaking the Condom Taboo” and contains 700 condoms.

Tuan says he created the dress with a purpose – to raise awareness of the use of condoms among the Vietnamese people. According to Tuan, the attitude of the Vietnamese towards sex and safe sex practices needs changing. So he decided to make the dress a part of World AIDS Day on the 1st of December. He hopes that the dress will encourage people to use condoms and protect their loved ones against STDs. The dress itself is quite pretty, and has been getting compliments from designers and models worldwide. In fact, unless the dress is looked at up-close, it’s hard to tell that it has been made from condoms. The dress is being described as quite versatile, designed to suit different body types.

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Oscar Wilde’s Tomb Protected from Dangerous Kisses

Oscar Wilde is famous not just for his writings, but also his tomb. The legendary writer who died of meningitis in a Paris hotel, was buried outside of Paris in a beautiful tomb designed by modernist sculptor Jacob Epstein, decorated with a flying Assyrian-style angel.

The monument, undoubtedly beautiful, was a major attraction for women to plant their kisses on. Indeed, the tomb that had long been victim to increasing graffiti, had a new, pressing issue since 1999 when someone had the idea to plant a big, lipsticked kiss on it. This became the rage for many of Wilde’s admirers visiting Paris. The grease from people’s lips was slowly starting to sink into the stone, causing it great damage.

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