Belarusian Woodcarver Makes Intricate Clocks Exclusively from Wood

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine someone making accurate clock mechanisms without using a single piece of metal. And yet, Andrey Martyniuk, a woodcarver from Belarus, manages to create intricate clocks exclusively from wooden components.

As a child, Andrey Matyniuk loved to sketch. He then got an education as an engineer, and later in life developed a passion for wood carving. After a master carpenter told him that wooden clocks are the pinnacle of perfection, he decided to combine all his skills to create artistic yet functional mechanism exclusively from wood. Bit it was easier said than done, and the ambitious woodcarver spent three years working on his first wooden clock. He tried copying the mechanism of a metal clock, but although the principle is exactly the same, there are two important things to take into consideration to ensure the clock measures time accurately – the softness of the material and the humidity of the environment. After years of experimenting, the master learned he had to increase the size of the gear teeth and treat the wood with a special compound to make it resistant to humidity. He also found that wood had a big advantage over metal – it has a much lower coefficient of thermal expansion, so it is much less affected by temperature changes than metal.

Andrey-Martyniuk-clocks

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The Indian Coin Divers of Yamuna River

It sometimes amazes me how humans are able to find a source of livelihood in almost any type of environment, in accordance with their surroundings. Case-in-point, the coin divers of the Yamuna River, in Delhi, India’s capital city. This unique group of men works around the year, braving the bone-chilling cold waters even during winters, to dive into the river and retrieve coins from the bottom. The same coins that are thrown into the waters by passengers of boats crossing the river, as an offering to the River Goddess. Wondering what such an offbeat job pays? Well, sometimes as little as 100-200 rupees (US $ 2 to 3) a day, and sometimes as much as a diamond ring.

22-year-old Sartaj Ahmed has been in the profession of coin-diving for the past 6 years. The brave young man says he started diving when he was just a boy, but it was only when he turned 18 that he began hunting for coins. “Some days I get 100-200 rupees but on lucky days, I can find small trinkets. I have even found a gold ring once.” 34-year-old Sajad Ahmed has been at it for 20 long years. He says it gets harder and harder each other, but they really do not have any other choice. 21-year-old Amit Kumar, who’s been doing this for 10 years, says, “We dive into the river and collect coins, brass, copper, sometimes even silver and gold.” Diving for coins is the only source of his daily income. “What can be done, I have to do something for my living. We live here so we keep diving here.”  Vicky, another young diver, says, “I dive and normally take home money for my daily expenses.” Raju says that he prefers coin diving because he doesn’t like working for a boss.

coin-divers-india

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Pregnant Woman Lets Online Voters Choose Baby’s Name for $5,000

A 26-year-old pregnant woman from West Los Angeles, California, has agreed to allow online voters to chose the name of her child, in exchange for $5,000.

Natasha Hill, a young art teacher from LA, is expecting a baby in September, but she had already started thinking about his/her name. She considered naming her child Katorah or Winter, but since she couldn’t make up her mind, she decided to enter a competition organized by Belly Ballot, a Austin, Texas-based startup that lets parents-to-be crowdsource their babies names with friends and family. According to the online company, voter will be presented with a list of 10 names – five boy names and five girl names – chosen by Belly Ballot and sponsors of the contest. The one with the most votes by the time the ballot concludes will be the name Hill’s baby will legally have, at least until he or she turns 18. Belly Ballot founder Lacey Moler assured participants brand names or names that are “too crazy” won’t be included in the 10 options.

Natasha-Hill-Baby-Ballot

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Money Artist Makes Beautiful Collages from Thousands of Old Soviet Banknotes

Igor Arinich is known as the “Money Artist”in his home country of Belarus. He earned that nicknamed after he became famous for creating intricate collages made exclusively from old Soviet banknotes.

He is not the only artist in the world who uses money as his main medium. In fact, he started doing it himself after seeing the works of an American artist who made dollar collages, and he knows of another Russian artist who makes art from modern Rubles. But after trying to imitate them by using modern Belarusian currency, and euros, he realized none of today’s banknotes are as beautiful and colorful as old Soviet bills. So he began visiting flee markets in his city of Minsk, buying every Soviet banknote he could find, dating from 1961 to 1991. It all started as a hobby, but after people became interested in his craft, he decided to become a professional artist. Although he doesn’t want to reveal the number of money collages he has sold so far, Arinich says he charges between $700 and $2000 for his unique artworks, and many of them are sold abroad.

Igor-Arinich-money-collages

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Giethoorn – A Rural Venice in the Netherlands

The tiny Dutch village of Giethoorn, located right in the middle of the De Wieden nature reserve, is fondly known as the Venice of Netherlands. Quite an apt name for the place, since it has distinct features that are reminiscent of the romantic Italian city – 7.5 km of canals, about 50 little wooden bridges, boat rides, quaint houses, and more.

If there’s something that Giethoorn does not have in common with Venice, it’s history. The small village was first inhabited in the year 1230 by a group of fugitives from the Mediterranean regions. It is said that when they first arrived in the area, they noticed an unusually large number of goat horns that were left over after the big flood of St Elisabeth had ravaged the area in 1170. So they named their settlement Geytenhorn (horn of goats), but with dialect changes over the years the name gradually changed to Giethoorn. There’s a story about how all the lakes came to be as well. Early settlers took to peat mining; they dug for peat in the areas that suited them the most and left holes in the ground. These holes soon filled up and turned into lakes of varying sizes. So to carry the peat from one area to another, they would sail through navigable canals and ditches. The means of transportation that was once a necessity is now a huge tourist attraction.

Giethoorn-Venice

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Man Wears Empathy Suit for Nine Weeks to Experience Pregnancy

In a bizarre attempt to experience “the one thing unavailable to men as parents”, writer Benjamin Percy wore an empathy suit complete with a fake belly, for nine weeks. You’d think the efforts of a man trying to go through the hardships of pregnancy would be applauded by women, right? Well, no…

Although fully aware that he couldn’t go through all the stages of pregnancy or experience all the nasty symptoms, Percy thought that by wearing an empathy suit for a condensed pregnancy period of nine weeks would be “a way for me to alter my point of view, deepen my empathy, help me overcome my mouth-breathing-caveman deficiencies.” He may never be able to go through child birth, but he wanted to know what it felt like to carry carry one with him wherever he went. To aid him in this “pregnant man” project, the noted fiction and non-fiction writer used a special suit designed by the Japanese scientist Dr. Takayuki Kosaka of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology. It was made of thick nylon, had a fake belly and fake boobs, but instead of adjusting his wardrobe, Benjamin opted to wear the unusual accessory over his regular clothes. As the weeks passed, he added extra weight to the belly, to match the growth of his imaginary baby. It was a unique experience, but a lot of women aren’t exactly impressed with his stunt.

Benjamin-Percy-pregnancy

 

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Indian Sculptor Makes Creepy Bust of Favorite Politician from His Own Blood

An Indian man known only as Hussaini has recently unveiled a shocking work of art – a bust of J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister of the Tamil Nadu state, made from 11 litres of frozen human blood, donated by him and 32 of his students.

Apparently, nothing shows admiration for a person like making a creepy sculpture of them from human blood. At least that’s what Hussaini, a sculptor and archery teacher from Chennai, must have thought when he got the idea to create a bust of Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha out of his own frozen blood, for her 65th birthday. The noted artist wanted to thank the politician for being the “most sports loving CM of India” and for her support to his archery association, and since he had a few liters of his own blood stored for special occasions, he decided to put it to good use. You see, Hussaini has had his blood drawn at three-month intervals, over the last eight years, waiting for an opportunity to use it as a medium for his sculpture. But he only had 6.5 liters of blood, and this special project required 11. Luckily, his 32 archery students were more than willing to donate the extra 4.5 liters needed to complete the project.

human-blood-sculpture

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Would You Pay $600 a Month to Live in a Human Locker Room?

It’s no secret that Tokyo is one of the most crowded cities n the world. It’s also got some of the smallest apartments in the world, but a recent news program showed this whole housing problem is getting ridiculous. People are paying huge rents to live in coffin-sized apartments.

Just looking at photos of these locker room apartments in the Tokyo’s Shibuya district is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic. And yet there are people willing to pay as much as ¥55,000 a month ($586) a month to live in them. Granted, most of them are probably just young professionals who spend most of their time at work and outdoors, using these tiny accommodations just for sleeping, but still, the fact that someone would pay that high a rent for this kind of living conditions is baffling. Apart from the obvious lack of space, these so-called “geki-sema share houses” are stacked on top of each other, and some don’t even have windows. The latest reactions to the video report show even Japanese people, who are used to small spaces, think these human locker rooms are insane.

Tokyo-small-apartment

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Guy Is Suing His Parents for Not Loving Him Enough, Wants $200,000

Bernard Bey, a homeless man from Brooklyn, New York, is suing his parents for not loving him and supporting him enough. He is actually asking for $200,000 in compensation. This is not a joke…

32-year-old Bernard Bey is an aspiring rapper from Brooklyn. He’s also homeless, and blames his parents for his current situation. In a recent interview, he says he ran away from home wen he was just 12 years old, because his family abused him both physically and verbally, and he’s been in and out of the shelter system for the last twelve years. He’s also spent time behind bars. And since he believes his parents are responsible for everything he’s been through, he’s just filed a lawsuit against them in Brooklyn Court, in which he accuses them of making him feel “unloved and beaten by the world”. In the self-written lawsuit, Bey is asking for $200,000 in damages and demands his family mortgage their brownstone in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, to help him open two franchises “like Domino’s Pizza”.

Bernard-Bey

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Steve Casino’s Celebrity Figurines Are Nuts, Literally!

Steve Casino, better known as the “Painter of Nuts” creates detailed celebrity figurines out of peanut shells and mixed media. His collection includes big names like James Brown, Andy Warhol or Elton John.

One day, Steve Casino was eating peanuts, when he noticed one was kind of looked like him. So he started painting a cartoon version of himself on the shell and showed it to his friend, Neil. He thought it was pretty funny, and this inspired Steve to pursue this idea further. He decided to try a celebrity next, so he picked out another peanut and did Joey Ramone, of punk rock band The Ramones. It turned out pretty good for a first attempts, but he got much better at it with each new peanut figurine he made. Trying o perfect the technique, looking for the right materials and painting detailed faces was a lot of fun, and Steve was hooked. Now he’s known as the Painter of Nuts and his work is starting to get some much-deserved publicity on the Internet.

peanut-James-Brown

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Woman Spends a Year Building Hogwarts Replica from 400,000 LEGO Pieces

LEGO master Alice Finch has spent over 12 months piecing together an impressive model of the Hogwarts school of magic, from the Harry Potter movies, complete with decorated and populated interiors.

LEGO makes its own official Harry Potter sets, but they weren’t enough for master builder Alice Finch. While the mother of two understands why the Danish toy company makes sets that are only finished on one side and accessible on the back, she wanted to build her own version that was architecturally accurate with 4 walls and a roof, minifigs scale, and also playable for big and little hands. She had been to many of the places in Oxford were some of the movie scenes were shot, so she already knew what it should look like. Still, Alice did plenty of research for her LEGO Hogwarts: she consulted J.K. Rowling’s books, watched the blockbuster Harry Potter movies and even went to the Harry Potter studio tour in London to see the sets in person. Many times, the details in the books and those in the films didn’t coincide, so she had to choose what worked best. But, after 12 months of piecing together her monumental model from around 400,000 LEGO pieces, she had created every Harry Potter fan‘s dream – her very own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

LEGO-Hogwarts

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Finland’s Shouting Men’s Choir Will Make Your Ears Bleed

Shouting is what some men do best. And when a group of such men get together, you can hardly expect to hear something musical. But that’s what makes the Shouting Men’s Choir in Oulu, northern Finland, so special. The men shout, and it becomes music.

The choir consists of 30 men who generally dress in black suits for their performances. Most locals consider the choir to be a product of long nights in a town with little to do, the north-Finnish sense of humor that borders on the absurd, and of course, a steady supply of vodka. Mika Ronkainen, a local filmmaker, made a documentary film with the choir and its founder as the subject, called Mieskuoro Huutajat. That translates to Screaming Men. It was the first Finnish film to be accepted at the Sundance Festival, and also the first to get international distribution. I saw a short clip from the film on YouTube, in which Petri Sirvio, the founder and director of the Shouting Men’s choir says that the best part of the group’s performance is the element of surprise. “I trained them quite well,” he says rather unabashedly.

Shouting-Mens-Choir

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Artist Recreates the World’s Most Famous Cities from Cardboard Boxes

Using only corrugated cardboard boxes and glue, renowned English artist Chris Gilmour has managed to recreate some of the world’s most famous cityscapes in stunning detail.

We first featured Chris Gilmour’s amazing cardboard sculptures back in 2009, but his latest project, titled “You can build anything when you put your mind to it“, is probably the most impressive one yet. The talented artist used common packaging boxes and glue to build models of some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, and did it all in record time. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but Gilmour managed to make a 40-foot-wide replica of London in just two days. Featuring the river Thames at the center, the fragile work of art also includes an intricate replica of Big Ben, a functional model of Tower Bridge and a rotating cardboard Big Eye. Part of an advertising campaign for the Bankers Box brand, the project also included incredibly detailed cardboard replicas of Paris and Berlin.

Chris-Gilmour-London

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Conquer Your Fears in China’s Snake Village

Nestled in the heart of a vast farmland in East China’s Zhejiang province, the small village of Zisiqiao has a pretty common look, but it hides a scary secret. The aptly names “snake village” is home to thousands of the most feared snaked species on Earth.

Snakes are a vital ingredient in Chinese medicine, and are also widely used to make soup and wine believed to increase a person’s immunity. As the number one snake village in China, Zisiqiao breeds and sells over 3 million snakes per year, to satisfy the ever-increasing demand. The 160 snake-breeding families living here now boast an annual income of several thousands yuan, and in this Year of the Snake, a significant profit increase is expected. The once poor village of Zisiqiao is now the envy of similar rural communities, with some of the larger snake farms making tens of thousands of dollars from this lucrative business. Obviously, it’s not the easiest job in the world, and most breeders admit they have been bitten several time, even by deadly snakes, but the rewards are definitely worth the risk.

Zisiqiao-snake-village

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Only Allowed to Whistle When Walking: The Quirky Story of the Portland Whistler

Believe it or not, whistling can get you arrested. Robert Smith, better known as The Whistler, in the city of Portland, was actually thrown in jail for disturbing people with his constant whistling and has now been ordered by a judge to only whistle when walking, so he doesn’t annoy businesses and passers-by in any one area.

“It came from God — that’s where it came from,” Robert Smith says about the origins of his passion for whistling. “God is showing me what I’m doing is OK. He shows me every day with laughter.” He’s referring to the reactions of people who seem amused by his constant whistling. But, unfortunately for him, laughter is not the only reaction triggered by his almost daily habit. Businesses around Portland have been filing complaints about The Whistler’s behavior, and when they just kept piling up, the Police Department finally picked him up ant even took him to court for disorderly conduct for “loud whistling.” “It just got to the point last summer where the complaints just mounted,” said Trish McAllister, the city’s neighborhood prosecutor. “He’s so loud!” Apparently, Smith’s steady monotone notes are so strong they can be heard a block away.

The-Whistler-of-Portland

 

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