French Coffee House Owner Refuses to Sell His Life’s Work – A Story of Courage

Although his is the only standing building in what used to be an old neighborhood of Roubaix, in Northern France, Salah Oudjani refuses to sell the coffee house he has worked in for the last 46 years.

The title doesn’t sound like anything special, after all, many people refuse to have their property demolished, at least in the beginning, until they get a good price or they notice everyone else is selling except them. But for the 71-year-old business owner neither of the above reasons were good enough. The two-story triangular building once located at the intersection of two streets appears to be the only survivor of a serious air raid. Everything around it has been turned to rubble and taken to local landfills, brick by brick, and Oudjani’s place looks like it’s the only sign of life in a wasteland. Like all the other residents, the café owner has received numerous proposals for his property, but he never even considered selling it. “I will not sell! I worked for it, this coffee house. They will not make me go, I’m used to pressure” Oudjani says, and everyone knows he means it.

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Sweet-Toothed Siblings Make Giant Versions of Their Favorite Treats

Have you ever wondered what a giant Toffifee candy would look like? Well, now you don’t have to, because sweet-loving Laura Parry and her brother David have already made one, as well as several other giant versions of popular English sweets.

23-year-old Laura and her brother David, 20, spend one day each week cooped up in the kitchen creating giant calorie bombs shaped like popular English snacks. The two university students came up with the idea on a day off from their summer jobs say neither of them are culinary geniuses, but they just thought they’d give it a go. And considering so far they’ve created impressive super-sized versions of treats like the Bourbon biscuit, Cadbury Fudge, Angel Slice and Jammy Dodger, I’d say their idea was brilliant. The Toffifee looks especially tasty to me, which had to cut with a saw to get a cross-section photo.

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Japanese Botaoshi – Arguably the Craziest Sport Ever

Botaoshi is a wacky Japanese sport played by cadets at Japan’s Military Defense Academy, where opposing teams literally fight each other over a wooden pole.

Now I’ve seen my share of bizarre sports and games since I started Oddity Central, but Botaoshi (poll-pull-down) definitely takes the cake, and guess what, it’s Japanese. The game, which involves two teams of 75 members each and a wooden pole, is pretty straight forward. Members of a team gather around and on the wooden poll and try to defend it against the attacking team, which tries to take it down by any means necessary. And I do mean ANY means…Players push, punch, kick and grab their opponents as they try to fulfill their mission.

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Duzzle Art – Doug Powell’s Puzzle Piece Mosaics

Mosaic artist Doug Powell uses thousands of puzzle pieces to assemble mosaic portraits that capture facial features right down to the finest features.

We’ve featured some of Doug’s work on OC a while ago, when he created a space shuttle mosaic exclusively out of keyboard keys. But he is actually most famous for his unique skill of putting puzzle pieces together as detailed mosaics, which he calls Duzzle Art. If you’re wondering what that means, he just replaced the “P” in puzzle with a “D” from Douglas to personalize his art.

Doug Powell started experimenting with random jigsaw puzzle pieces in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he began assembling them into portraits. Throughout the years he has developed and refined his technique to the point where he can now reproduce detailed features like lips or eyelashes. The artist never paints any of the puzzle pieces he uses in his mosaics, he only cuts and shapes some of the pieces to make his works even more realistic. Each of the Duzzle Art masterpieces numbers thousands of individual puzzle pieces, and Doug claims he has an inventory of over one million pieces, enough to fill an average size above-ground pool.

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Arab Sheikh Pays $10 Million for World’s First Superbus

The Superbus looks more like a very long Lamborghini than a regular bus, but it’s able to transport 23 people over long distances at speeds of up to 250 km/h.

The world’s first superbus was developed at the Delft University of Technology, in Holland, under the supervision of professor Wobbo Ockels, who in 1985 became the first Dutch astronaut to travel in outer space. He thought trains were too slow for present day needs and also have the disadvantage of traveling only between stations, so he set out to build a super vehicle that could travel at lightning speeds and be eco-friendly at the same time. He and his team spent three years working on the Superbus, and the result is nothing short of impressive.

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The Camel-Riding Robot Jockeys of Arabia

Camel racing is a really popular sport throughout the Arab world, and owning a heard of specially-bred fast camels is apparently considered a symbol of wealth and power. But it’s not the animals we should be talking about, it’s their weird-looking robot jockeys.

Obviously, robot jockeys aren’t exactly an integral part of the old camel racing tradition. In the old days, children and light young men were used to whip the camels to victory, but in recent years things had  really gotten out of hand, and crackdowns on the black market revealed around 40,000 kids from South Asia had been kidnapped or sold by their families to become, among other things, camel jockeys. Welfare organizations started reuniting the children with their families, offering them shelter and food until they could return home, but a solution to camel jockey trafficking had to be found urgently. The United Arab Emirates banned children under the age of 16 from competing in camel races, and a Swiss company called K-team realized the business opportunity and began creating light robot jockeys known as “Kamal”, in 2003.

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Would You Believe These Were DRAWN by an 18-Year-Old?

Rajacenna is an 18-year-old self-taught artist from the Netherlands who draws the most realistic portraits I have ever seen, using only pencils.

I’m a big fan of realistic drawings, and I’ve previously featured amazing works like the pencil drawings of Paul Lung, the ballpoint pen portraits of Juan Francisco Casas, or Cristina Penescu’s detailed scratchboard masterpieces, but at only 18 years of age Rajacenna is in a league of her own. Born in 1993, she started modelling for various Dutch companies when she was only 4, and at 5 years old she made her first appearance on television. She starred in films, soap-operas and tv-series and at 12 she became the host of Kinderjournaal, the first Dutch web-tv for kids.

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World’s Most Expensive Sheep Is Worth over $2 Million

This whole economic boom is just making China weirder with each passing day. Just last week I read they inaugurated their first gold-dispensing machine and now the country’s big bosses are paying millions of dollars for sheep.

Dolan sheep, to be exact, a rare breed which according to breeders has very special features that make it the latest collector’s item for China’s rich businessmen. They have a distinctive curved nose, long floppy ears and twin tails, but the thing that really makes them special is there are just around 1,000 of them left in the world. Dolan were originally bred from sheep in Kashgar, north-west China, to grow more quickly and yield more meat, the priced breed has since become purely ornamental. It reaches maturity and weighs over 200 lbs at just six months, but no one is thinking about sacrificing them for meat anymore.

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Manly Man Considers Razors a Luxury, Shaves with Shovel

Alexander Karpenko, a 35-year-old English teacher from Nizhny Novgrod, Russia shaves with all kinds of sharp objects, including a shovel, hatchet or scissors, but not with razors.

Impressed by the war stories his grandfather, a WW2 veteran, told him about men who used anything sharp to shave on the battlefield, Alexander first experimented shaving with scissors when he was 16 years old. He realized razors were a luxury and decided to teach himself to use other more helpful sharp objects for his morning grooming. For the past 20 years, Karpenko has used all kinds of stuff like shovels, chisels or sharp knives to remove facial hair and claims he has never once used a common razor.

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British Artist Paints Masterpieces on Swan Feathers

Artist Ian Davey has found a natural and sustainable canvas to paint his masterpieces on – swan feathers. Now his light works sell for thousands of dollars.

Each individual piece can take up to a week to complete, but Ian Davey’s delicate feather paintings really are something special to look at. The 46-year-old artist, who lives in a converted farmhouse in Snowdonia National Park, Wales, paints on swan feathers collected from a nearby swannery. He only uses feathers that naturally fall on the ground during the birds’ annual shedding period and starts the artistic process by cleaning and individually straightening them with tweezers. He always draws a sketch of what he means to paint on the feather, because he only has a one-foot-long, three-inches-wide canvas to work with so he has to know exactly what goes where. He applies a primer and works with a special acrylic paint that protects the feather. To nail the most detailed parts, Ian uses a specialized 000-size brush.

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Japanese Toilet Company Creates Poop-Powered Bike

The Toilet Bike Neo is a toilet-bike hybrid that runs entirely on biogas (human poop). It was created by TOTO, Japan’s biggest toilet manufacturer as part of a campaign to reduce CO2 emissions in toilets by 50% until 2017.

Believe it or not, we may have been looking for alternatives to fossil fuels in all the wrong places. Making biodiesel, harnessing the power of the sun, even using electrical batteries sounds way to complicated when apparently all we need to do to power our vehicles is answer the call of nature. Japanese toilet company TOTO has been working on a poop-powered tricycle called Toilet Bike Neo that actually has a toilet for a seat and runs only on human feces. The technology used to convert waste into fuel for the bike hasn’t yet been made public, but details are slowly emerging on the company’s blog.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #11

Pages from an Amazing Chinese Revolutionary Textbook Written in English (Asia Obscura)

NYC Comedian Gives Out Free Cab Rides to New Yorkers for 14 Hours (Mark Malkoff)

Stag Beetles Locked in Mortal Combat (Environmental Graffiti)

China Inaugurates Gold Dispensing Machine (Reuters)

World’s Youngest Professional Mountain Climber (Huffington Post)

Devoted Piranha Parents Attack Beachgoers in Brazil (Discovery)

Thif Is Caught Trying to Smuggle Hummingbirds in His Pants (Ripley’s)

Pyrographs: Painting with Fiery Molten Glass (Visual News)

Flureboxing Teen (The Awesomer)

How Water Bottles Create Cheap Lighting in the Philippines (BBC)

Russian Couple Build Their Own Fairy Tale Castle

A retired couple from the suburbs of Artyom, Russia have worked for 16 years transforming an ordinary house into a fairy tale castle, using only junk materials found on the street and at a local landfill.

They might be pensioners, but Alexey and Valentina Krivov don’t consider themselves too old for fairy tales. They didn’t want to grow old in their grey house and since they couldn’t afford to buy a castle of their own, they decided to build their own castle fit for a prince and princess. Alexey worked in constructions for most of his life and this gave him the chance to be a foreman for his own personal project, and Valentina had experience as a decorator and plasterer, so they figured out most of the details themselves. They started work on their architectural wonder in 1995, salvaging whatever materials they needed from the streets and the nearby construction landfill. As the castle started taking shape, their neighbors started noticing it and became eager to help the Krivovs in whatever way they could.

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The Mysterious Magus of Java and His Amazing Power of Chi

John Chang, also known as the Magus of Java or the Electric Eel man is a mysterious Indonesian healer who reportely possesses an incredible power called nei kung.

Mr. Chang was first presented to the world in an award-winning documentary called The Ring of Fire, by brothers Lawrence and Lorne Blair. He requested his identity be protected and he was referred to as Dynamo Jack, in relation to the amazing current of energy he was able to produce with his body. In this documentary he showed the world how he uses Chi to heal his patients, sending electric impulses through their bodies and even treating Lorne for his eye infection. All he needed to do was touch certain areas of a person’s body and electricity just passed through them causing uncontrollable twitches. His power was so strong he needed an assistant to hold the patient’s body and ground them.

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Monsieur Pingouin – The Man Who Thinks He’s a Penguin

79-year-old Alfred David has come to be known as “Monsieur Pingouin” by the people of Brussels because he almost always walks around in his big penguin suit and even “talks” like one.

People who see Mr. Penguin for the first time and don’t know his story might think he’s on his way to a costume party, but the truth is the pensioner puts on the bizarre outfit because it makes him feel like more of a penguin. Alfred’s story began in May 1968, when he injured his hip in a car accident which left him with a limp his friends and colleagues thought was more like a waddle, so they gave him the nickname Mr. Penguin. Some would be bothered being called that, others probably couldn’t care less, but our Mr. David took a real interest in the flightless bird and eventually became obsessed with it.

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