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Japanese High-Tech Coat Imitates Girlfriend Hugs

Studies have shown  that hugs can truly make lonely people feel better, so a group of Japanese students from Tsukuba University have invented a coat designed to imitate the feeling of a girlfriend hugging you from behind.

Hugging is all the rage right now. London has its own cuddling workshop for people in need of a hug and a professional cuddler in New York City will wrap her arms around you for a fee. But these solutions don’t work very well if you suddenly find yourself in need of a hug and there’s no one around to give it to you. Luckily, a team of Japanese geeks students have come up with a more practical, if weird, solution – a special hugging coat that emulates the sensation of a girlfriend putting her arms around you from behind. Called the Raiju Coat (Fulfillment Coat), this offbeat invention features motors attached to its back to operate the artificial “arms”, which are controlled through a computer using a USB connection. So whenever its owner feels lonely and in need of a fake girlfriend hug, all he has to do is put it on, close his eyes and imagine a cute anime girl putting her arms around him, as the coat takes hold of his waist. To make the experience even more realistic, the Raiju Coat comes with a pair of headphones that plays the sound of footsteps running from behind and pre-recorded sentences like “I’m sorry, were you waiting?”; “Watch your back!”; “Guess who?”; and “Blind side!” With such advanced hugging technology, who needs a real girlfriend?

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Man Self-Injects Snake Venom to Boost Up His Immunity

Steve Ludwin, a 42-year-old snake obsessed rocker from California, is one of a just a handful of people who regularly inject venom from the world’s deadliest snakes into their bloodstream, in the belief that it will make them immune to it.

Around 100,000 people around the world die from snake bites every year, and another 250,000 are permanently disabled, but these statistics don’t seem to scare Steve Ludwin. Every week for the past 23 years he has been injecting a venom cocktail from the world’s most dangerous snakes, trying to train his antibodies to resist the poison. By gradually increasing the quantity and frequency of the injections, he believes one day he will become immune not only to snake poison, but other viruses as well. Steve currently has a collection of 28 potentially deadly reptiles in his home, but he is always on the lookout for new additions, scouring European countries for missing specimens and attending snake conventions. On injection days, he expertly milks his snakes for a few milligrams of venom and visits an immunologist to have his killer shot. Within minutes, the muscles in his arm quadruple in size for around 24 hours, as his white blood cells struggle to fight off the poison. The doses he can take these days would kill the average person, but Steve usually goes to a rock concert right after the injection…

Steve-Ludwin

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Modern Espressionist Creates Amazing Latte Portraits

New York City barista Mike Breach uses a toothpick as a brush to create beautiful portraits into his tasty lattes. From Albert Einstein to rapper Jay Z, it seems like there’s no face this self-proclaimed “espressionist” can’t draw on coffee.

Today Mike Breach is well-known coffee artist, with a big following on social sharing sites like Tumblr, but only a year ago he was just another barista working in a hotel kitchen surrounded by espresso machines. He was “so, so bored” that he started drawing things on coffee just to pass the time. Armed with a toothpick he realized he could manipulate the coffee foam and milk to create all kinds of designs. He started by doing hearts on his cups and people got really excited about it, so he kept on practicing and came up with adorable teddy bears, and even a portrait of the hotel boss. At first he didn’t think he could ever draw faces into his lattes, but his skills gradually improved to the point where he’s now able to create detailed celebrity portraits. The fact that his artworks only last for a few minutes only makes them more personal. “I kind of want to be like Willy Wonka with coffee- make it interesting and fun for people; take the pretentiousness out of it, take the seriousness out of it,” Mike says.

baristart-Mike-Breach

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Extreme Kidnapping – Detroit Company Abducts Clients for Fun

Extreme Kidnapping is a low-profile Detroit company that offer clients the chance to get abducted and spice up their mundane lives. The realistic experience includes getting handcuffed, slapped by goons, zapped with a stun gun and even attacked with police pepper spray.

If you need a break from your boring life and feel that extreme sports like bungee jumping or jumping out of an airplane just won’t cut it, you need to look into the services of Extreme Kidnapping. According to founder Adam Thick, “this service caters to the extreme sports adventurer who is bored with what’s currently available; this takes it to a whole other level. If you don’t feel like you’re really being kidnapped and your life is in danger, then we’re not doing our job.” To make sure he offers customers their money’s worth, Adam says he’s not afraid to hire henchmen with a criminal background, who can get mean and rough when they need to. Thick himself is a convicted counterfeiter so you can say that staging an illegal act is right up his alley. It’s hard to describe what an average fake abduction is like, because Extreme Kidnapping offers custom services designed according to clients’ requests, but one thing you can expect is to be genuinely scared.

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Dead Delicacies: The Man Who Eats Roadkill

72-year-old Arthur Boyt from Bodmin Moor, England is an unusual man who eats unusual food. His preference in meat leans towards roadkill – the dead animals that lie on the side of highways after being hit by speeding vehicles. This has earned him a bad reputation, but he just considers it a waste to eat anything else.

Over the years, Boyt has taken on the fancy title of ‘Roadkill Connoisseur’. “I am often asked how did this all begin,” he says in an interview. “After 1976, when I was living on my own, I didn’t have to bother with anybody else’s feelings in the matter. The food was there to be bought home and eaten. I would pick up roadkill in those days to bring home, I’m a taxidermist, I skin things and stuff them. And instead of throwing the body away, I decided to start eating them. I think that’s how it came about.” Boyt isn’t queasy about eating a lot of things, including Polecats, whose meat he says has a vile stink. But he’s figured out a way to get rid of the nasty smell – just place the meat under running water for four days, and it’s good to eat for him. He’s eaten badgers and once even a swan, which “tasted like mud.” One of his favorites is Labrador. “It has a pleasant taste and flavor that is a bit like lamb. It turns people off when I say that Labrador is my favorite thing to eat but the point is, I would never kill an animal.” True enough, Boyt is not a wasteful person by nature. “I don’t believe in waste,” he says. “I’m a freegan, I try to eat all my meals for free.” Read More »

Hari Kuyo – Japan’s Unique Memorial Service for Broken Needles

Hari Kuyo is a Japanese festival dedicated to old and broken needles. Celebrated every year on the 8th of February, this festival sees hundreds of women dressed in colorful kimonos, gathering at various Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples in and around Tokyo. This 400-year-old ritual involves sticking old and broken needles into soft chunks of tofu or jelly as a way of showing thanks for their hard work. I suppose this tradition springs from the Eastern system of displaying gratitude towards objects that are a source of livelihood. It also reflects on the animist belief that all beings and objects have a soul.

It’s not just about needles, several Japanese women consider Hari Kuyo as a time to value the small, everyday objects of daily life that are otherwise forgotten. Mottainai is the concept of not being wasteful about small things. Burying needles in tofu is said to symbolize rest for the needles, as they are wrapped with tenderness. It’s also about the many sorrows that women are believed to carry in their hearts, the burdens of which are passed on to the needles during many hours of sewing. So the needles do deserve a proper farewell and rest at the end of their service. According to Ryojo Shioiri, a Buddhist monk, “Sometimes there are painful things and secrets that women can’t tell men, and they put these secrets into the pins and ask the gods to get rid of them.”

Hari-Kuyo-custom

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The Peabody Hotel’s Celebrity Ducks and Their World Famous March

The Peabody Hotel in Memphis is famous not just just for its exemplary service, but also for a truly unique attraction – the March of the Peabody Ducks, which involves a performing troupe of, you guessed it, ducks. The whimsical experience is enjoyed by guests both young and old alike, every day of the year.

The daily routine of the Peabody Ducks goes something like this – each morning, at exactly 11 a.m., five North American mallard ducks, four hens and one drake, come down from their $100,000 penthouse in the hotel in their very own private elevator. As the doors open, the ducks take their positions on a plush red carpet in front of their Duckmaster. Then they begin to march to a rousing rendition of John Philip Souza’s King Cotton March. When they reach the orchid-tipped marble fountain in the Grand Lobby, the birds ascend four red-carpeted steps and splash around in the fountain’s water. They stay there until 5 p.m., when the procession is reversed and they march back to their elevator, returning to the Royal Duck palace for a quiet evening.

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The Stinking Rose – San Francisco’s Garlic-Centered Restaurant

If your idea of a perfect meal is garlic, garlic and more garlic, The Stinking Rose restaurant should definitely be on your itinerary the next time you’re in San Francisco. Their motto – “we season our garlic with food” – says about everything you need to know about this place.

Located in the Italian North Beach district of San Francisco, The Stinking Rose is probably not the best place to go on a first date, at least not if you plan on getting to first base. The garlic-centered restaurant prides itself on serving over 3,000 pounds of the pungent seasoning every month, so you can expect almost every dish served here to be literally covered in it. It does have a few garlic-free foods on its Vampire Fare menu, for “those finding the herb’s folklore and aroma more appealing than its taste”, but if you’re not a fan of the culinary treat, there’s really no point in visiting. On the other hand, if you are a garlic enthusiast, all you have to do is “follow your nose” and it will lead you to the door of The Stinking Rose restaurant, on Columbus Avenue. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by the unmistakable smell of garlic and a gallery of garlic-inspired memorabilia covering the ceiling and walls of this unique establishment. Colorful garlic characters, a mechanical miniature garlic factory and the world’s longest garlic braid featuring 2,635 bulbs of garlic are just some of the whimsical decorations you can expect to find inside The Stinking Rose.

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Cheryl Kelley’s Photo-Realistic Paintings of Classic Muscle Cars Will Blow Your Mind

They look like high-definition photos enhanced in Photoshop, but in reality Cheryl Kelley’s muscle-car inspired artworks are just really good hyper-realistic paintings. Using high-gloss oil paints the Texas-based artist  manages to capture the beauty of these iconic vehicles from a bygone era better than any camera ever could.

Cheryl Kelley has always been drawn to beautiful classic cars. During her childhood, she used to play with Hot Wheels toy cars and remembers being fascinated by their delicate curves. Now all grown up, Cheryl drives her very own 1977 Corvette, and has managed to make a name for herself in the art world by painting photo-realistic portraits of muscle cars. The talented artist finds her inspiration at classic car shows and museums, where she takes high-resolution photos of vintage Chevrolets, Camaros or Corvettes that she later uses as guidelines for her impressive creations. Working with glossy oil paints on aluminum panels, Kelley is somehow able to reproduce not only the tiniest details of the vehicles, but also every reflection, ultimately producing masterpieces that look more realistic than their photographic references.

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Artist Creates Creepy Firearm Models from Animal Bones

New Zealand-based artist Bruce Mahalski collects animal bones and uses them to assemble creepy yet realistic-looking models of various firearms, including a Colt pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle.

Mahalski started collecting animal bones at a very young age. His parents were both scientists with collections of their own, and traveling all over the world gave them the opportunity to gather some very “interesting stuff”. In the early days of his artistic career, Mahalski experimented with a variety of mediums, from screen-printing, photography, painting and sculpture, but eventually returned to the thing that fascinated him the most – animal bones. In 2005 he created his first bone gun, and by 2010 he had already become an experienced bone artist. Most of Mahalski’s works reflect his interest in firearms and Pacific and African carving styles. They include bones from a variety of animals, birds and fish that the artist sources locally. His latest creation, a life-size AK-47 is made of rabbit, stoat, ferret, sheep, hawk, pheasant, wallaby,  snapper, snake, blackbird, tarakihi, hedgehog, broad-billed prion, shear water, thrush, seal ,cat and possum bones, plus a rare bone from a now-extinct moa the artist found in a cave. It was auctioned for $3,500.

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Chinese Student Staged Her Own Funeral So She Could Enjoy It

Zeng Jia, a 22-year-old student from Wuhan, China, shocked family and friends when she invited them to a rehearsal of her own funeral so she could take part in the festivities while she is still alive.

The young student told members of the press that she got the idea for the morbid event after realizing that people spend a lot of time and effort on someone when they’re gone, and they never get the chance to appreciate and enjoy it. Determined not to let that happen to her, Zeng Jia used up all her saving to arrange an elaborate funeral service complete with a coffin, flowers and origami birds, as well as photographers and a crowd of mourners. She then invited her family and friends to take part in the unusual festivities. Believe it or not, some of them actually attended, and got the chance to look at the young girl as she lay in her coffin, with a Hello Kitty doll on her chest. To make the whole thing look and feel realistic, Zeng even hired makeup artists who specialize in working on dead bodies to give her that coveted past-away look. She spent an hour playing dead, as all her relatives and friends passed by her coffin to say their final goodbyes, after which she jumped out to attend the wake and even delivered a eulogy in her honor. Read More »

Everything – A Unique Fragrance That Smells Like All the 1,400 Perfumes Launched Last Year

Created by Dutch art duo Lenert and Sander, Everything is a unique perfume made up of 1,400 samples of every new perfume launched in 2012. Can you imagine what it smells like?

The perfume business is doing better than ever, and it seems like every time you open a magazine or turn on your TV there’s a new fragrance being promoted. There are literally thousands of new fragrances being launched every year, and it looks like the world can’t get enough of them. Inspired by this booming market, creative Dutch artists Lenert and Sander have spent a whole year collecting 1,400 samples of all the perfumes launched last year and mixed them all in a 1.5 liter container to create a potent combination aptly named Everything. If you’ve ever asked yourself what a mix of all the perfumes in the world would smell like, this is your chance to find out.

Everything-perfume

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Life without Fear – Russia’s Hands-On Approach to Conquering Your Fears

Life without Fear is an increasingly popular hands-on course that helps people overcome their phobias and anxiety by putting them through a series of extreme trials, including walking on hot coals, sitting on broken glass, swimming in ice-cold water and even eating pieces of burning cotton.

There are people dealing with fears all around the world. In most western countries experts rely on psychology to help patients confront and beat their phobias. Acknowledging your fears, talking about your problems and visualizing yourself overcoming them are some of the most widely used methods, but in Russia, they have a more direct approach. Life without Fear is a two-day course during which participants go through all kind of extreme challenges and facing their greatest fears head on. Created by Valery Bochkarev, a life coach and fire interaction expert, and Alexander Blagov, a personal trainer and martial arts fighter, Life without Fear relies less on theory and lectures and more on direct contact in order to convince people that fear is just an illusion that can easily be overcome. The main idea is to push participants into doing things they never thought themselves able to, whether it be stopping falling knives with their stomach, dancing with balls of fire or breaking wooden poles with their neck.

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Weeping for Strangers – The Professional Mourners of Taiwan

In Taiwan, staging a dramatic funeral for relatives who have passed away is of the utmost importance. So, to create the proper atmosphere, wealthy families hire professional mourners who cry, sing and crawl on the ground to show their grief.

Taiwan’s “filial daughter” phenomenon emerged during the 1970s, when sons and daughters left their families to work in the city. Transport was limited, so if one of their parents died and they couldn’t make it back in time for the funeral, they would hire a filial daughter to take their place and lead the family in mourning. For some Taiwanese, showing grief in a dramatic fashion is the highest reverence for relatives who have passed away, because funerals are considered the most important times to honor one’s family. But not everyone has it in them to shed tears and show their pain in public, so to help create a grieving atmosphere, they hire professional mourning daughters. They chant, dance and wail, warming the hearts of the audience and helping them release their emotions. Crying on command isn’t easy, but professional mourners, like 30-year-old Liu Jun Lin, say it helps to really get involved in the event and consider the family that hired them their own. “I just imagine that I am part of the family and I fuse myself into the occasion,” she says.

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English Farmer Makes Vodka from Cow Milk

Jason Barber, a farmer from Dorset, England, has spent three years creating the world’s first milk vodka. Now, his Black Cow label is the poison of choice for celebrities like Elizabeth Hurley and James Bond star Daniel Craig.

47-year-old Jason Barber, a sixth generation farmer, got the idea for his pure cow milk vodka after watching a TV documentary on Tuva, a small Siberian republic where people make vodka from yak milk. Intrigued by the idea, he set out to make his own, from the milk of the 250 cows on his farm in Beaminster, Dorset. It took him three long years to perfect the process, but the final result is nothing short of impressive, according to food and drink experts. Barber starts out by separating the milk into curds and whey. He uses the former to make cheese, while the latter is fermented into beer, using special yeast, to convert the sugar into alcohol. After being distilled, the milk beer goes through a special blending process. The resulting vodka is triple-filtered and hand-bottled. Made from fresh whole milk Black Cow vodka is apparently an exceptionally smooth drink with a distinct creamy character.

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