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.

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“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.

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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.

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High on Art – Brazilian Artist Paints with Marijuana Smoke

For his latest series, aptly entitled “Blow Job – Work of Blowing”, Brazilian artist Fernando de la Rocque has created images of political and religious icons using marijuana smoke. Needless to say that has sparked a great deal of controversy in the art world.

We’ve seen some pretty unique works of art created with smoke, like the ghost paintings of Rob Tarbell or the smoke-painted bottles of Jim Dingilian, but none as controversial as Fernando de la Rocque’s. The daring artist using a unique technique to paint images onto a white canvas – he blows marijuana smoke on pre-cut stencils laid down on the canvas to dye paint and shade the desired areas. The results are pretty impressive, but it’s the bizarre technique that attracted the most attention, with many wondering how he must feel after completing one of his smoky artworks.

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Vegetarian Designer Opens Special Butcher Shop with Fluffy Meats

It’s called “Aufschnitt” (German for “cold cuts”) and it’s a unique butcher shop created by designer Silvia Wald, who is actually a vegetarian. What’s even more bizarre is that she makes all the “meats” herself, by hand, out of fabric…

Every item on display at Silvia Wald’s Aufschnitt shop looks good enough to eat, only nothing is really edible. The young designer creates all her products from textile material and sells them as pillows, cushions or cool decorations. An engineer for clothing technology, Wald started making her delicious fluffy meats in 2009, as a small project, but after seeing how popular her few sausages were, she started making all kinds of other textile foods, from salami to large pieces of ham, from materials like cotton stretch velvet, lycra, wool or micro fibre. Then she opened her own little butcher shop in Berlin, where she sells her creations to both meat lovers and vegetarians. The designer says her favorite clients are the kids who always like to take a bite of her forever-fresh products,  just to see if they’re edible.

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TreT – The Amazing Parkour Dog from Ukraine

Parkour is cool when performed by humans, but when it’s a dog that doing the stunts, it’s simply amazing.  TreT, a 5-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier from the Ukraine jumps over railings, climbs walls and sprints, proving he’s a Pakour master on four legs.

TreT is one of only two known Parkour dogs around the world. His owner, Evgeny Elchaninov, says he knew nothing about the other dog from Hawaii when they started training, and that TreT’s moves are much more spectacular, anyway. The young man from western Ukraine used to practice Parkour himself, until a bad knee injury ruined his career, Suddenly he had to give up his biggest passion in life, but his unfulfilled dreams reincarnated in his six-months old dog, who loved to run and jump. He began training TreT in the art of Parkour, both in urban landscapes and at historic landmarks, and posted videos of his amazing stunts online. Now the pooch is a true Internet celebrity.

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San Pedro Prison – Bolivia’s Most Bizarre Tourist Attraction

San Pedro Prison is the largest in La Paz, Bolivia, housing around 1,500 inmates,  but that’s not what makes it special. Unlike most penitentiaries around the world, this place is a self-organized community with its own market stalls, restaurants, hairdressers and even a hotel. Oh, and no guards.

You’ve probably heard of or seen special prisons before. A few months ago we wrote an article on Norway’s Bastoy Island, where prisoners have hotel-like accommodations, are allowed to walk around freely and engage in a variety of relaxing activities. Today we take you on a tour of San Pedro, in La Paz, Bolivia, a sort of jail town where prisoners are free to live with their families and buy whatever they want without fearing repercussions from the guards. In fact there are no guards inside the large prison, or bars on the cell windows, so inmates have the relative freedom of going wherever they please. The police don’t interfere with the affairs of the inmates, who are expected to resolve their own issues with the help of representatives elected democratically.

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Farmer Who Lost Both Arms in Accident Spent Eight Years Building New Ones from Scrap Metal

Sun Jifa, a Chinese farmer who lost both his arms after a homemade bomb exploded prematurely, built his own functional prosthetic limbs after he couldn’t afford to buy the one offerd by the hospital.

A few years back, 51-year-old Sun Jifa, from Guanmashan, Jilin province, northern China, was working on explosives designed for blast fishing when a bomb blew up prematurely leaving him without both his arms. He was taken to the hospital and treated, but when doctors proposed he wear a pair of prosthetics designed to make his everyday life easier, Sun realized he just couldn’t afford them. At the same time he knew he needed both his arms in order to work on the farm and provide for  his family. That’s when he decided to built his own artificial arms out of scrap metal. After eight years of planning and several prototypes, He finally has a pair of functional arms.

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Y Lan – The Lady Playing with Sand

Y Lan, real name Tran Thi Hoang Lan, is a famous Vietnamese artist who uses multicolored sand to create beautiful paintings. Her works are famous all over Asia, as well as in Europe and North America.

Y Lan has no formal arts training and discovered her unique talent for making sand paintings purely by mistake. In 2001, while visiting her husband’s home town in Phan Thiet she saw the coastal sands in the area and was mesmerized by their beauty and took three differently-colored varieties in a transparent flower vase. After she came home she was just obsessed with the exotic beauty of the sands, so she went back and took more sand samples of different colors. Then she started thinking about what to do with this wonderful colored sand she had gathered, and the idea for her grainy sand paintings was born. Now, Y Lan is internationally recognized as the inventor of sand painting and has established her own company selling these masterpieces all around the globe.

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Successful Businessman Selling His Whole Life on eBay

After working hard to build a business and achieve millionaire status, a Florida entrepreneur is selling it all on eBay. This includes his successful video game stores, two beachside condos, several expensive cars and three kayaks. All for the small price of $3.5 million.

Some people work their whole life and don’t even get close to amassing a fortune as large as 29-year-old’s Shane Butcher. The Tampa Bay gamer owns a thriving video game business as well as several houses and cars and lives a life most of us only dream of, and yet he is ready to sell it all and start over. “My name’s Shane, and I’m putting my American dream up for sale,” the young businessman says in his eBay ad. Butcher got the idea to pass on his success to somebody else after he heard about other people who made similar sales on eBay. He and his family are in search of a new challenge, and want to visit the world, so they decided to sell everything they’ve built so far. “If you build a castle, it’s awesome to sell it and then start building another one, hopefully bigger and better,” Shane said.

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Children Work Together to Build 1.8 Million LEGO Map of Future Japan

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of LEGO blocks being introduced in Japan, the Danish company organized a cross-country workshop called “Build Up Japan” in which over 5,000 children created their visions of future Japanese buildings. The assembled pieces were all brought to Tokyo and assembled as a giant white map.

As Johnny from Spoon&Tamago noticed, the Internet is full of all kinds of massive LEGO works. We ourselves featured an impressive LEGO map of Middle-Earth, a LEGO football stadium model and even a full-size LEGO Ford Explorer. But the “Build Up Japan” event was special in more ways than one and definitely worth covering. While most large-scale works of art are usually created by experienced LEGO masters who spend years working on their pieces, this giant map was created piece by piece by around 5,000 Japanese children from six different regions of the island country. And, instead of having the kids just reproduce some of their country’s iconic buildings, organizers encouraged them to set free their imaginations and create imaginary structures of a futuristic Japan. The future of the country was literally in their hands and they made sure it was a bright one. When the assembled LEGO structures were completed, they were sent to Tokyo to be a part of a massive 1.8 million LEGO map that left the audience speechless.

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Japanese Chilly Chair Makes Horror Movies Even Scarier

Are horror films not scary enough for you? Than you might want to try watching them from the Chilly Chair, an offbeat invention that literally raises the hair on your forearms and back to enhance emotion.

You could say Shogo Fukushima’s invention is really hair-raising. The doctoral student who attends the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo wanted to create a device that would induce body hair to stand up, thus potentially intensifying people’s reaction to movies and video games. He came-up with a thing called the Chilly Chair, with weird forearm-rests that use electricity to reproduce the sensation usually activated by feelings of fear and surprise. The square arches of the innovative chair are made up of three layers; from the inside to the outside it contains an insulating dielectric plate, an electrode and a rubber plate. Electricity goes through the electrode polarizing the dielectric plate and attracts the user’s arm hairs making them experience a sensation similar to when picking up clothes charged with static energy. After testing the Chilly Chair on six subjects, Fukushima found they showed stronger reactions to video and audio stimuli.

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Swearing Hotline Lets Germans Blow Off Some Steam, for a Fee

Boss giving a hard time at work? Wife can’t seem to stop nagging you when you get home? Do you feel like lashing out at people all the time, but are afraid of social consequences? Fear no more, as an innovative new hotline allows frustrated people to use their most fowl language as a way to blow off steam.

It’s called “Schimpf-los” (German for “swear away”) and it’s an innovative new hotline that has operators standing by 24/7 ready to take serious verbal abuse from people who feel like blowing off steam by swearing. “We don’t judge people who are angry,” said Ralf Schulte, one of the creators of this offbeat service. “It happens. It’s natural. With us you can blow off steam no strings attached.” The 41-year-old entrepreneur set up Schimpf-los along with partner Alexander Brandenburger, after drawing inspiration from their own stressful daily routine. They realized their idea would help people avoid altercations at the workplace or at home, by providing an alternative place to release all tension. “If you’re stressed out at work, you go home and your partner gets an earful,” Schulte comments. “Even though it’s not her fault.” With Schimpf-los, angry folks need not worry about this kind of scenarios anymore.

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Robin Hood Mayor Robs Supermarkets and Gives to the Poor

The story of Robin Hood and his merry men is centuries old, but even in this modern age their example is as popular as ever. In the Andalucia region of Spain the roles of outlaws are nowadays played by a village mayor and a group of Socialist extremists, who instead of rich royalty rob local supermarkets and give the loot to the poor.

Andalucia was hit particularly hard by the international economic crisis and the collapse of the construction industry. The whole of Spain is struggling, but in this region the unemployment rate has reached 34% and some people have difficulties even putting food on the table. The dire situation inspired a group of members from the Andalucia Workers Union, led by Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, a member of the regional parliament for the United Left party in Andalucia and mayor of the village of Marinaleda in southern Spain, to stage Robin Hood-style attacks on local supermarkets to get food for the needy. Although authorities see this kind of acts as crimes, Sanchez Gordillo and his modern merry men are heroes to the Spanish poor, who welcome the food products with open arms.

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World’s Deadliest Card Player Slices Fruits an Vegetables with Plastic Playing Cards

Ye Tongxin, a 48-year old man from Nanjing, China, has a very unique talent. He can slice various fruits and vegetables by throwing plastic cards at them from meters away. I guess you can say he’s a real life fruit ninja.

You probably thought Oddjob was cool for slicing stuff with his hat, but Ye Tongxin’s skill is much more impressive – he’s able to slice fruit and veggies with common plastic playing cards. We’ve all tried doing at some point, but it’s a much harder trick to pull off than most people think. Mr. Ye has been practicing his ability for the last ten years, and although he spends two hours every day throwing cards at hanging plastic bags shaped as cucumbers, he says training to become the world’s best fruit slicer is much more complex. Apart from just throwing cards, he also runs between 8 and 10 laps up high ground, in order to improve his strength, because unlike other card throwing ninjas he needs to cut through tougher fruits like watermelons and apples, instead of just soft cucumbers.

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