A Dream on Two Wheels – Man Rides Bicycle from Shanghai to London

Zheng Sheng, a 23-year-old college graduate from Shanghai, has fulfilled his dream of cycling across Eurasia, traveling 14,000 kilometers all the way to London.

When Zheng tried to convince sponsors to finance his daring dream, they all thought he was crazy, but he wasn’t about to let something as meaningless as money stand before him and his goal. With the help of his sister and a few friends, he managed to raise 13,000 yuan ($2,000), which he used to buy all the necessary gear for a bike ride from his home city of Shanghai to London. Before setting out on March 5, he posted on his microblog: “A journey 14,000 kilometers is the goal – here I go!”. He went though all kinds of challenges throughout the 136 days he spent cycling across 11 countries, but believe it or not, this ambitious young man reached his destination on July 18.

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Natsumi Hayashi – Tokyo’s Levitating Girl

Natumi Hayashi‘s blog featured all kinds of normal photos of herself, her pet cat, friends and Tokyo sights, but on September 16, 2010 she posted a photo entitled “Today’s Levitation”. The rest, as they say, is history…

Hayashi has become an Internet sensation after she began posting photos of herself levitating in all kinds of places around Tokyo. She told the Daily Mail it was an English idiom that inspired her to take the first photo of herself levitating – ‘to have one’s feet firmly planted on the ground’. Apparently they have the exact same phrase in Japan, but since she doesn’t consider herself a practical person she chose not to have her feet firmly on the ground in her self-portrait photos, to show how she really is. “In being free of gravity in the pictures, I am also not bound to societal conventions. I feel as though I am not tied to many things and able to be my true self.” the artist said in an interview. After taking her first levitation photo the frequency of “Today’s Levitation” gradually increased until she started posting a new photo every day.

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Teenage Demon Hunters Travel the World Conducting Exorcisms

Most girls their age spend their time at malls, shopping for clothes, trying on make-up and flirting with boys, but these teenage graduates of Bob Larson’s school for exorcists are only interested in casting out demons.

While they may look like average teenagers, these girls are actually seasoned exorcists who have traveled all over the world casting out Satan and his minions. Savannah Schurkenback, Jess Shurkenback, Christina Massih, Melanie Massih and Brynne Larson, aged 15 to 19, decided to answer the call of evangelist Reverend Bob Larson of Spiritual Freedom Churches International, when he announced the number of possessed people was on the rise while the number of trained exorcists had fallen. They joined his exorcism school, where they study everything there is to know about fighting demons and dealing with the possessed.

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China Converts Aircraft Carrier into Luxury Hotel

Just days after the Varyag, China’s first aircraft carrier was taken out for sea trials, a second carrier, the Kiev is stirring up interest as the first aircraft carrier hotel in China.

The Kiev, a retired former Soviet aircraft carrier was sold to a Chinese company back in 1996, and was used as part of a military theme park in the Tianjin Province, since 2004. But since the acquisition of a working carrier, the Varyag, people have begun looking at these mighty ships as symbols of their country’s military might, so the owners of the Binhai Aircraft Park decided to cash in on their interest. They spent over $15,5 million restoring the old attraction and converting it into a luxury hotel.

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Rie Hosokai – Japan’s Balloon Dress Designer

Japanese balloon artist Rie Hosokai uses latex balloons to create unique dresses that can only be worn 24 hours before they deflate and change color in hot weather.

The latex balloons are inflated and hand-woven in different directions both vertically and horizontally, creating a texture similar to fabric. The amount of air that goes into each balloon is pretty hard to estimate when adjusting the size and volume of the dress, but the 35-year-old artist has been working with balloons for 10 years so she has everything pretty much figured out. She started  her career as a florist, before switching to balloon art and opening her very own studio, Daisy Balloon, where she creates all kinds of inflatable artworks.

Although her “fabric” is very inexpensive (just ¢0.09 cents a balloon), the dresses Rie Hosokai makes sell for thousands of dollars. They last only 24 hours before starting to seriously deflate, must be kept away from sharp objects and change color at high temperatures, yet these designer balloon dresses cost between ¥150,000 and ¥300,000 ($1,930 – $3,860). She has even sold a full set of balloon-made wedding dress, headpiece and bouquet for ¥1 million ($13,000).

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Woman Becomes Human-Horse Hybrid for the Sake of Art

Art Orienté objet, a French artistic known for its exploration of trans-species relationships and questioning scientific methods and tools has staged one of the most shocking experiments ever – injecting a human being with horse plasma.

For this latest project, entitled Que le cheval vive en moi (May the horse live in me), Marion Laval Jeantet, one of the members of Art Orienté objet, was injected with horse blood, which made her feel “extra-human”. This shocking event took place in February, but Marion spent several months preparing her body, by injecting herself with small doses of horse immunoglobulins, the glycoproteins that flow through the blood and function as antibodies in immune response. The French artist called this process mithridatization, after Mithridates IV of Pontus, who is said to have developed an immunity to poisons by gradually ingesting small doses of them.

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The Disappearing Tattooed Faces of Burma’s Chin Province

For generations, the village women of Burma’s Chin Province have tattooed their faces as a symbol of strength and beauty, but this tradition is dying out as a result of globalization. Luckily, photographers have traveled to Burma to capture the beauty of these tattooed-face women before there aren’t any left.

According to Chin elders, the practice of tattooing women’s faces started a long time ago, to prevent women from being taken away by the Burmese kings, who had heard about the beauty of Chin women and teenagers. They would come to villages across the province and just pick out the girls they wanted to take away with them. With no other means to defend themselves, the village elders, who were also women, began tattooing the girls’ faces, thus taking away their beauty.

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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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German Designer Uses Wood as Textile Material

Elisa Strozyk, a young designer from Germany, is able to turn blocks of wood into delicate paper-like material. So far she has created wooden rugs, bed covers, table cloths and is working on a line of wooden clothes.

Most people are familiar with the feeling of walking on wooden floors, touching tree bark or wooden furniture, but young Elisa Strozyk wanted to take this hard material and turn into something completely new – wooden fabric. She spent months working on her original idea, experimenting with different types of wood, until she settled on wood veneer. The slices of wood she uses are about 0.6 mm thick and very flexible, an essential property for her wooden textiles. But not all types of wood can be used to make wood fabric; oak, for example, is too brittle, so she prefers to use cherry and maple.

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Self-Taught Artist Turns Beach Trash into Unique Works of Art

Mark Olivier, a self-taught artist from Berkeley, California, scours the beaches of East Bay looking for washed-up junk, which he then turns into beautiful sculptures.

For seven years, Olivier has gathered all kinds of trash from various East Bay beaches, but instead of throwing it all away, he decided to create one-of-a-kind artworks to display on his lawn. It all began one morning, when he was walking his dog Zsa Zsa at an old coastal landfill known as Albany Bulb. He was looking at all the huge amounts of trash on the beach and asking himself “why doesn’t someone clean this stuff up?’, when it suddenly hit him – why doesn’t he clean it up? he started out small, with just a few cigarette lighters and some pieces of plastic, but before long he had amassed an impressive collection of useless junk.

Although he has no training in art, and has spent most of his life working as a waiter, herbalist and now as a carpenter, Mark Olivier has found ingenious ways of turning detritus into something beautiful that’s stopping passers-by in their tracks. Some of his neighbors agreed to host his creations on their lawns when there was no more space for them on his, and say this work enhances the street. So far, Olivier has used umbrella handles, hats, worn-out shoes, lighters to create samurai, Buddha statues, Greek gods, and a whole lot of other interesting sculptures that have brought him local fame. His latest creation, a 5-foot-high blue poodle made from crabbing rope is the newest attraction on the self-taught artist’s lawn, but anyone can have it for $5,500. He has sold some of his older artworks, including one for $1,500.

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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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Indian Optometrist Creates Gold Plated, Diamond Encrusted Contact Lenses

Inspired by the jewels in his wife’s teeth, Chandrashekhar Chawan, an optometrist at India’s Shekhar Eye Research Center has created gold plated, diamond encrusted contact lenses that will bring that special twinkle in your eyes.

If you’re looking for the most extravagant trend in eyewear, look no further than the over-the-top contact lenses of Chandrashekhar Chawan. His wife had diamonds planted on her teeth recently and that made the optometrist realize people love jewelry everywhere and anywhere, so he decided to develop a series of diamond encrusted, gold plated contact lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses to hold the jewelry in such a way that it doesn’t touch the cornea, thus making the fashion accessory “very safe”.

Chawan says his invention got mixed responses; some people thought it was scary, but most of them loved it, and the optometrist believes this will be the next big thing in Bollywood. He admits his jewel-studded lenses are an accessory, not a necessity, but thinks they’re a must-have for people who want to attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.”

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Banana Oxidation Art Is Just Bananas

Australian artist Jun Gil Park has found a way of turning regular bananas into awe-inspiring works of art by drawing on them with a toothpick.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing banana artworks since I started Oddity Central, like the banana wall, or Jacob Dahlstrub’s banana boats, but Jun Gil Park’s oxidation art just makes me go bananas. Using a simple toothpick he scratches the designs into the banana, and the harder he presses/scratches, the darker the bruised part gets. It usually takes about five minutes for the oxidation to start showing, and after a day or two it gets really dark.

You’re probably wondering how Jun Gil Park came up with this simple-yet-impressive technique of turning bananas into organic works of art. It was pretty simple actually- he was just sitting at the table one day, talking to his family, holding a toothpick in his mouth, when he noticed a banana in front of him. He began scribbling on it as they talked and noticed what was happening to the banana. That’s when he decided he should try something more detailed next time.

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Safety Shorts – Radiation-Proof Underwear for Mobile Phone Users

Safety Shorts is a line of radiation-proof underwear developed by a team of young Austrian students, aged 18 to 23, that’s supposed to protect people from infertility and other medical problems caused by radiation from mobile phones and laptops.

Carry your phone in your pants’ pocket a lot? Than you’re already at risk, at least according to a series of tests that have proven cell phone radiation can be harmful. Luckily, a pair of Safety Shorts is all you need to be safe from serious and irreversible health issues like infertility and impotence. The material used to make these special garments contains silver thread which deflects 99% of the radiation emitted by mobile phones and laptops.

Rico Kogleck, one of the students involved in the project, says he came up with the idea one day, in class, when they were talking about radiation and its harmful effects. He started thinking about ways in which we could protect ourselves and came up with these radiation-proof shorts. He and four of his pals spent a year working on Safety Shorts, and even though they were disappointed a similar fabric had already been implemented in Germany, no one had used it to make boxers.

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Artist Makes Detailed Architectural Models from Paper

US-based artist Christina Lihan uses her experience as an architect to create detailed models of famous buildings and urban spaces, from paper.

Ms. Lihan received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and went on to get her Master’s in architecture, from Columbia University, in New York. She done internships in England, France and Italy, but it was the repetitive, monotonous rhythm of hundreds of soviet-built housing cities she saw in Czechoslovakia that most influenced the way she looked at building facades. After completing her studies, she decided to use all of the acquired knowledge in the name of art, by creating impressive architectural models from paper.

Christina Lihan first decided to dedicate her life to art during the time she spent living in Florida, designing hospitals for another architect. She was really bored, and realized she needed a creative outlet so she just started cutting paper, playing with it and trying to turn it into building models. It sort of grew from there and ultimately became her passion. Her impressive creations are made from unpainted, 300lb, watercolor paper. She carves, cuts and folds every little piece by hand until she assembles them into a completed composition. Ms. Lihan starts by photographing the site she wants to replicate, then moves on to sketching with charcoal, and finally enlarges the drawing to the desired size of the finished piece. She generally places the detailed pieces of paper directly over the drawing.

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