China’s Rich Can Hire Body Doubles to Serve Their Prison Time

As shocking as it may sound the practice of hiring body doubles to serve jail time in the place of rich and powerful individuals is well-documented in China. So if you thought your country’s legal system was corrupt, think again.

Just two days ago I wrote a post about another bizarre job available in China – hiring white guys to pose as employees or business partners – but that’s nothing compared to the “profession” you’re about to discover. Apparently, China’s wealthy can get away with just about anything, even serving jail time, as long as they’re willing to part with a small fraction of their fortune. Sure, that’s not very surprising, considering even in some Western countries where the legal system is considered impartial, the rich and famous are often shown leniency. Only in China, the so-called “1%” has a different way of dealing with unpleasant situations, like serving time in prison. Instead of wasting their time behind bars, they just pay stand-ins who, for the right sum are willing to take their place. Yes, apparently that’s possible.

Read More »

Tasmania’s Town of Murals – A Colorful Outdoor Art Gallery

If you didn’t believe in the power of art to change an entire community’s history and fortune, then Sheffield, also known as Tasmania’s Town of Murals, is the perfect example to convince you.

Despite being located in a spectacular natural setting, at the foothills of Mount Roland, in north-western Tasmania, the small town of Sheffield needed something more to help it overcome a steady economic decline. The population of this typical Tasmanian settlement went up dramatically when construction of several hydroelectric plants began in the area, but once the development was complete, workers started moving away to newer prospects, which led to a decline both in population and local economy. By the mid 1980s, the people of Sheffield realized the gorgeous setting wasn’t enough to attract enough tourists to boost their economy, so they formed a tourism association that decided to follow the example of a Canadian town that had a similar economic clump, and turn Sheffield into an outdoor mural art gallery.

Read More »

Creepy-Yet-Beautiful Ship Models Made of Human Bones by POWs

To pass the time, French prisoners held in British dungeons during the Napoleonic Wars would build intricate ship models from human and animal bones. Now these creepy works of art sell for tens of thousands of dollars at auctions.

While English prisoners of war spent their jail time playing sports, French POWs found a rather macabre hobby – building models of enemy ships out of bones. Although it’s recorded they were treated exceptionally well by the English, because the skirmishes between the two European forces dragged on for years some prisoners remained locked away for over a decade, so they needed something to pass the time. Prisoners would keep pig and mutton bones from the food rations issued to them by the English, boil them and bleach them in the sun. But sometimes materials from their meals weren’t enough for their detailed works of art, so they supplemented their supplies with human bones from the shallow graves around camp, uncovered by roving pigs. No one really cared where or from who the bones came from, as long as they helped finish the job.

Read More »

Renzuru Paper Folding, or Origami on Steroids

If you thought Origami was hard, that the advanced form called Renzuru will probably seem impossible This centuries-old Japanese art form involves folding multiple cranes from a single piece of paper, ensuring that they remain connected with each other.

Renzuru, which is roughly translated as “consecutive crane” can be traced back to the Edo period of Japan (1603-1867) and is regarded as one of the most advanced Origami techniques. In order to master the art of renzuru, one must learn to make strategic cuts to form a mosaic of semi-detached smaller squares from a large piece of traditional “washi” paper, and then fold each square into a crane, without breaking the thin strips of paper that connect them. Concealing the extra paper is also a challenge. Typical renzuru artworks consist of four paper cranes arranged in a circle and attached at the tips of their wings, but some skilled masters have developed their own renzuru styles. One of these skilled artists is 70-year-old Mizuho Tomita, who holds a record of 368 connecting cranes from a single sheet of paper.

Read More »

Chinese Farmer Builds Lamborghini Reventon from Scrap Metal

28-year old Wang Jian, a mechanic and farmer from China’s Jiangsu province, has spent the last year building himself a home-made replica of the Lamborghini Reventon, one of the world’s most exclusive sport cars.

Wang developed a passion for cars at a very young age, and even worked at an auto shop for 10 years before opening his own business. Although he had a chance to work on many different cars, the young mechanic felt like something was missing from his life. It was his very own Lamborghini Reventon, a beautiful Italian sport car priced around $1.3 million. And as if the price wasn’t prohibitive enough, Wang Jian knew only a few of these gems had been produced by the Italian car maker, and all of them were sold to wealthy buyers most of who’s names remain a mystery. But he wasn’t going to let these kind of technicalities stand in the way of owning his own Lamborghini Reventon, so he decided that if he couldn’t buy one, he was going to build it. He set in plan in motion in May of last year, buying an old Volkswagen, and a small Reventon model car to use as reference.

Read More »

Chinese Companies Renting White Guys to Look Successful

Believe it or not, in China white guys can get a job posing as businessmen for companies who hire them to look more international to their real partners. It’s called “White Guy Window Dressing” and it’s apparently a very popular business tactic.

What makes this such a great job for white guys in China is that it has some really simple requirements: be white, don’t speak any Chinese, or speak at all unless asked, pretend like you just got off an airplane the day before, and look good in a suit. The people who usually go for this king of gig are part-time models and actors, English teachers and expats looking for a quick and easy paycheck. It’s called “White Guy Window Dressing”, “The Token White Guy Gig”, or simply the “Face Job” and it’s so popular in China these days that there’s actually a company called Rent A Laowai (Chinese for “foreigner”) that helps businesses improve their image by providing fake white employees or partners.

Read More »

Woman Avoids Looking at Herself in Mirrors for a Year to Boost Self-Esteem

Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology, has gone mirror-free for an entire year, avoiding her own reflection in order to boost her self-esteem and inspire others to stop focusing on their physical appearance.

Can you imagine not checking how you look for an entire year? Most women can’t go a day without looking in the mirror, whether to check how their clothes fit, or if their make-up looks good, but one ambitious young student managed to avoid looking at her reflection for a full year. If you think about it, it’s hard not looking at yourself, when you’re surrounded by mirrors and all kinds of shiny surfaces, but Kjerstin Gruys somehow made it work. For months, she covered the bathroom mirror so she could wash her face and brush her teeth without accidentally catching a glimpse of herself, she learned how to apply make-up by touch and not by sight, and she even learned to use her car’s mirrors so that she didn’t have to see her face in them. It was hard in the beginning, but she quickly adapted and says the experiment made her realize looks are really not as important as most people think.

Read More »

The Facekini – China’s Bizarre Beach Sun-Blocker

Beach-goers usually use sunblock and umbrellas to make sure they don’t get burned, but in China they use something called a “facekini“. The fact that it makes you look like a Mexican wrestler doesn’t seem to bother anybody.

The facekini is being called “China’s latest beach craze”, but according to a Qingdao sales officer, the bizarre mask has been around for at least five years. But photos of Qingdaonese swimmers wearing the bizarre accessory have only recently gone viral on Chinese social sites, and were eventually picked up by Western photo agencies and websites sparking readers’ curiosity. The bizarre clothing item is made of elastic fabric, covers a person’s entire head and neck down to the collarbone and has holes cut out for the neck, nose and mouth. They look pretty creepy, if you ask me, but that’s apparently a very small price to pay in order to protect yourself from getting a tan while going for a swim.

Read More »

You Too Can Kill Osama bin Laden, in a Real-Life Navy SEALS Role-Playing Game

Ever wish you were the one pulling the trigger during the famous SEALS raid that rid the world of Osama bin Laden? Well, thanks to Larry Yatch and his realistic re-enactment, now you can. And it only costs you $325.

Retired Navy SEAL Larry Yacht opened Sealed Mindset, a 10,000-square-feet gun-safety and defense instruction center in New Hope, Minnesota, where he hosts a high-end role-playing game that offers people the chance to shoot and kill terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Since its inauguration in April, 137 people have signed up to take out the Al-qaida leader in a re-enactment of the famous Pakistan raid. A man wearing a white robe and fake beard plays the dreaded terrorist and the would-be SEALS led by Yacht himself have to infiltrate his hideout, reach his room and finally take him out with a few paintball rounds before he has a chance to shoot them. According to participants quoted by Minnesota Public Radio, the experience is “awesome” “intense” and gets the adrenaline going.

Read More »

Teenager Sets New World Record at Mobile-Phone Throwing Contest

Every year, the Finnish town of Savonlinna hosts a fun and relaxing phone-throwing contest where participants are invited to take out all their frustration on their handhelds by throwing them as far as possible. This year, a Finnish teenager managed to set a new world record, with a throw of over 101 meters.

Ever since 2000, when it was first organized, the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championship has become an international event drawing in participants from all over the world. According to reports of Finnish insurance companies, there are lots of phones laying on the bottom of Finland’s lakes, causing a serious environmental problem due to the toxicity of their batteries. In an attempt to convince people there are better ways of getting rid of their faulty mobile devices, a Savonlinna-based translation and interpretation company called Fennolingua organized a mobile-throwing contest that immediately drew the attention of media all around the world. In the following years, the event became even more popular gathering throwers from every continent eager to show their hurling skills.

Read More »

Gotmar Mela – India’s Centuries-Old Stone Pelting War

For over three hundred years, the residents of Pandhurna and Sawargaon, two Indian villages located on the banks of the river Jaam, have been engaging in a bizarre stone-pelting ritual called Gotmar Mela that leaves hundreds critically injured and even dead.

The stone war of Gotmar Mela, as its sometimes referred to, takes place every year, on the second day to “Bhadrapad’ (the new moon day). A tree trunk is fixed in the middle of Jaam River, and a flag tied on top of it. On the day of the bloody event, people from Pandhurna and Sawargaon gather on each of the river banks and arm themselves with stones. The bravest of them run towards the tree and try to climb high enough to grab the flag, while the mob on the other side tries to prevent them from doing so by showering them with large stones. The village who manages to snag the flag is declared winner. The rules of Gotmar Mela are pretty simple, but who ever takes part in it knows full well it might be the last thing they do, as hundreds are critically injured and even killed, each year.

Read More »

A Chinese Farmer’s Epic Rickshaw Journey to the London Olympic Games

Chen Guanming, a 57-year-old farmer from China, spent over two years travelling about 60,000 kilometers, through 16 countries, enduring floods, war zones and extreme temperatures,  to reach London in time for the games and “spread Olympic spirit”.

The 2012 London Olympic Games may have ended, but remarkable stories related to the monumental event are still popping up. One such story is that of Chen Guanming, a simple farmer from a village in China’s Jiangsu province, who traveled all the way to London the only way he could afford to, by rickshaw. The daring traveler said he was inspired to go on this epic journey when he watched the English Prime-Minister accept the Olympic flag, in 2008, and the media invited those watching the live broadcast to the next edition of the games. Chen took that invitation quite seriously, and in 2009, he started putting all his papers in order and preparing for an unforgettable adventure. His long rickshaw ride began on May 23, 2010, in the village where he grows rice and other crops, and took him through 16 different countries, including Vietnam, Thailand, Pakistan or Italy.

Read More »

The Heat-Painted Wonders of Dino Muradian

I discovered pyrography, the art of painting with heat, six month ago, after seeing the wonderful artworks of Julie Bender, but after I got an email from renown pyrography master Dino Muradian, I just had to write about it once again.

Dino Muradian, or Dumitru Muradian, as he is known in his native country of Romania, has made pyrographic history with his innovative tools and painting techniques. The 60-year-old self-taught artist started experimenting with this awe-inspiring art in 1965, but for approximately 20 years it remained nothing but just a fun hobby. It was only after he left Romaina, to escape Ceausescu’s communist regime, and achieved his dream of living in America that he truly discovered his potential as a pyrography artist. He dedicated a lot of time to developing a new heat-painting technique he had imagined and building custom tools needed to create the shading and effects he desired. He had felt for some time that he could take pyrography beyond its known limits and began doing so. After years of work Dino invented a new technique that burns the wood with shading, rather than lines, at a very high temperature. His great precision and control insures the shading is embedded deeply in the wood, but at the same time the “canvas”remains as smooth as glass.

Read More »

“Who’s Your Daddy?” Van Offers DNA Tests on the Go

Believe it or not, there’s actually a van dubbed “Who’d Your Daddy?” driving through New York offering men the chance to find out if they are really the fathers of their babies. As you might expect, business is going well.

You could say this unique RV parked randomly on the streets of New York sells on-the-spot piece of mind to fathers who want to know if the children they’re raising are really theirs, but Jared Rosenthal, the driver of “Who’s Your Daddy?” describes it as “heartbreak hotel”. He charges $299 to $575 per test and gives clients the choice of having the results delivered in person or by mail. The unique van has shocked quite a few New-Yorkers since it first started operating in the Big Apple, but for fathers looking for an answer to their burning question it’s been a welcomed solution. “Something about the RV makes it more intimate and people open up. It makes it easier for them,” Rosenthal said.

Read More »

New York Panini Shop Serves Alcoholic Sandwiches

I bet you never thought you’d ever be able to get drunk on sandwiches, yet here we are. The Salumé panini shop in New York City has created the world’s first line of alcoholic sandwiches, infused with different kinds of liquors, like scotch or gin.

I’ve covered a few really weird ways to get wasted, like vodka eye-balling or drinking hand-sanitizer, but I never thought I’d be writing about alcoholic sandwiches actually sold by a sandwich shop. At New York’s Salumé panini shop, customers can fill their bellies and get wasted at the same time, and I don’t mean by washing down the food with some beer. This innovative establishment is serving the alcohol inside the sandwich, so you’re sort of eating and drinking at the same time. Their unique menu includes items like prosciutto & gin sandwiches, Surryano ham & rye whiskey or prosciutto & beetroot with scotch, and prices range from $11 for a scotchwich to $18 for the Bulleit bourbon and ham.

Read More »

Page 196 of 419« First...102030...194195196197198...210220230...Last »