French Chocolatier Creates Floating Chocolate Boat

George Larnicol, a 55-year-old French chocolatier, managed to create and sail a 3.5-meter-long boat made of chocolate.

On Saturday, September 25, the walled city of Concarneau, in north-western France, hosted an event unique in the world – the launch of a full size chocolate boat. George Larnicol, the mastermind behind this crazy creation, first attempted to sail a chocolate boat on August 15, but the boat crumbled to pieces when turned over from where it was mounted. But one small failure wasn’t enough to make Larnicol quit, and on Saturday, he returned to Concarneau port, with a new chocolate boat named “Bateau Chocolat II” (French for Chocolate Boat II)

The 1.2-ton-heavy boat had a sugar framework, while the rest of it was made entirely of pure chocolate. It took Larnicol and his team one and a half months to complete, working eight hours a day, which adds up to a total of about 400 hours.

George Larnicol and a friend got in the chocolate boat and sailed in it for a bout an hour, waving proudly to the audience, and smiling the whole time. The attached electrical motor allowed the Bateau Chocolat II to reach a top speed of 15km/h.

Chocolatier George Larnicol, who owns a chain  of chocolate shops in western France, promised to build a giant 12 meter-long yacht, with two masts, made of 6 to 8 tons of chocolate, sometime in 2012. That’s going to be a sight to be hold, and you can bet you’ll read about it on Oddity Central.

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Two-Legged Pig Becomes Tourist Attraction

Zhu Jianqiang, which translates as “strong willed pig”, was born without her hind legs, but managed to survive, and is now a local celebrity.

As a piglet, Zhu Jianqiang had nine strong siblings, and neighbors told her owner it would be best to just throw her away or put her out of her misery. But farmer Wang Xihai would hear none of it, and he even refused his wife when she told him to throw the piglet away. He believes all life should be given the chance to survive, and Zhu Jianqiang managed to beat all odds.

After seeing the little piglet fight for her life, Wang Xihai decided to get more involved, and began training her to walk on her front legs, just a few days after she was born. After only 30 days, she began walking on her own, and now, even though she weighs a good 50 kg, Zhu Jianqing walks upside down quite effortlessly.

Word about the amazing two-legged pig spread rapidly, and Wang Xihai says his home is overrun by tourists, every day. “I won’t sell her no matter what the offer is”, he added.

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Ice Boats Are Good Just in Theory

BBC science show Bang Goes The Theory set out to test inventor Geoffrey Pyke’s claim that ice boats could be used during World War 2, in case steel supplies ran out.

Geoffrey Pyke suggested suggested it was possible to build unsinkable boats using a special material called Pykrete – a mixture of ice and wood pulp. In theory, the icy material could be moulded into any shape and because of its slow melting rate, could carry troops and vehicles for long distances. The idea was first mentioned during the early 1940s, but it sounds like a good idea for modern times, as well, so the guys at Bang Goes The Theory decided to test it out.

The team mixed 5,000 liters of water with the hemp-like wood pulp, moulded the mixture into the shape of a boat and froze it in one of England’s largest ice warehouses, in Tilbury, Essex. It took three weeks to freeze the boat, before it was transported to Portsmouth Harbor. The crew prepared for a trip to Cowes, on the Island of Wight, but son after the boat was launched on the water, it began taking water. Before they even got comfortable in their icy boat, the crew had to abandon ship and swim to the rescue craft.

But this test wasn’t enough to disprove Pyke’s theory. According to experts there are several explanation for the recent Pykrete failure, and they include water temperature and size. Geoffrey envisioned his revolutionary material used to create 1,000-ton carriers, not half-a-ton boats, because a large ice surface requires a lot more energy to start melting. Also the waters of Solent Bay are far warmer than the Atlantic, where the carriers were meant to be used.

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Artists Create World’s Largest Sand Sculpture

Measuring a total of 22.43 meters in height, this detailed sand sculpture, created at the Zhoushan Sand Sculpture Festival, in China, has been acknowledged as the world’s tallest sand sculpture.

Officials from the Guinness Book of Records arrived in Zhoushan, on Wednesday, September 29, and after careful measurement, confirmed the sand masterpiece will be going into the record books. Depicting a Nigerian story of how a hummingbird managed to become the king of all animals, the 22.43 meter-tall sand sculpture was created by over 30 artists, during 75 days.

This year, the Zhoushan Sand Sculpture Festival gave sand artists the opportunity to express themselves on the theme of a trip to Africa.

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Epic Kevin Bacon Made of Bacon

I’ve always wondered what actor Kevin Bacon would look like if made of actual bacon, and apparently I’m not the only one. The guys at J&D Foods have teamed up with Bacon-crafting website What Do Bacon Do to create a life-size bust of bacon Kevin Bacon.

The tasty-looking bacon bust of Kevin Bacon was created to be auctioned on eBay, with all proceedings going to non-profit organization Ashley’s Team, who seeks to bring joy and happiness to cancer suffering children and their families. But, by buying this unique piece of bacon art, you will not only be helping sick children, “you will become the coolest person you will ever know, a champion of the underground meat sculpture movement.” At least, that’s what Justin Esch, of J&D Foods, says.

The eBay auction for bacon Kevin Bacon began today and fans of the actor (or bacon) will have the chance to buy it in the next ten days. But before you start fantasizing about literally eating Kevin Bacon’s head, you should know it’s covered in layers of lacquer, so it’s not edible. But think of it this way, at least you’ll be the owner of a one-of-a-kind of bacon art, for the rest of your life.

Mike Lahue, the artist who created the bacon Kevin Bacon bust out of small bacon bits, says the toughest thing about working with bacon all day long was satisfying his own craving for the crispy stuff. He managed to refrain himself from eating Kevin Bacon, by eating an entire bottle of bacon bits. Lahue also admits that after months of working on the bacon statue, he’ll never be able to look at the real Kevin Bacon the way he used to.

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Amazing LEGO Replica of the USS Intrepid

Remember the awesome LEGO Warship Yamato we featured a while back? Well, its supremacy as the world’s biggest LEGO ship on Oddity Central has come to an end. It’s now time for Lego Monster’s USS Intrepid to take its place.

Just like warship Yamato, the real USS Intrepid played a crucial role in several battles of the Pacific campaign of World War 2, and now acts as a war museum. That’s probably one of the reasons why Ed “Lego Monster” Diment chose to dedicate a large part of his free time to recreating it out of LEGO bricks. The LEGO USS Intrepid is bult at a scale of 1:40 and has 23 feet in length.

While it might look like the world’s biggest LEGO ship, that title actually belongs to a 7.66-meter-long container ship built by a group of German school children, this August.

If you want to see this epic masterpiece in real life, you can go to the Great Western Lego Show, in Swindon, UK.

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Russian WW2 Enthusiast Builds His Very Own Armored Division

Vyacheslav Veryovochkin, a village craftsman from Russia’s Novosibirsk area, has become famous for building exact replicas of various World War 2 armored vehicles, in his own garage.

Vyacheslav Veryovochkin began constructing WW2 vehicles a few years ago, when he got his hands on the plans of a Lend-Lease Studebaker truck. With only some basic tools he had in his garage, he managed to create a perfect replica, and continued to build other models, as a pastime. Because he is trying to recreate historical pieces, the passionate craftsman only works according to the original plans of the vehicles, which he now looks for on the internet and in magazines.

Right now there are just six vehicles in front of Vyacheslav Veryovochkin’s home, but he says he has so far created around 30 different WW2 tanks and armored trucks. He is the only man in Russia to create such exact replicas, so some of his works have been acquired by museums, while others rented by Mosfilm, the main film studio in Moscow, to be used in an upcoming movie inspired by the events of Stalingrad.

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The Bikini Track Sprint – A Horse Race for Women

An Australian horse race arena has caused great controversy when it announced it will be hosting an annual horse  race for women dressed only in bikinis.

When they came up with the idea of a women’s horse race, the guys at The Gold Coast Turf Club in Queensland, Australia probably thought something like “if guys come to the race track to see horses run, just imagine how many of them will come to see beautiful women dressed in skimpy bikinis  do the exact same thing.” The Bikini Track Sprint is scheduled to take place on December 4, with over 150 girls racing for the prize of 5,000 Australian dollars.

Believe it or not, in a poll conducted by a local tourism website, just 27% percent of voter said they find his kind of event degrading for women, while the other 73% were perfectly alright with it. Even the members of Women in Racing, a Gold-Coast group that promotes racing, said they can think of better ways of marketing races, but they’ll back anything that has something to do with racing.

The chairman of The Gold Coast Turf Club agrees there will be a few raised eyebrows at the event, but that the club will do everything in its power to attract really competitive girls and give the audience a real race.

The Bikini Track Sprint isn’t really an original idea. The American horse track Hollywood Park, in California has been organizing similar events for quite some time, and their success probably inspired the Australian race track to come up with their very own horse race for beautiful women in bikinis.

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Awesome DIY Halloween Meat Head

Halloween is closing fast, and if you’re looking to impress your party guests on the big night, you can’t go wrong with a delicious meat head.

If you think it’s a good idea, but have no idea how to make your own, Make user Andy Oakland has posted a great tutorial that will have you spook your guests with almost no effort. All you need is a plastic skull, some jello and a lot of cold cuts. The ham cover gives the meat head a Freddie Kruger-like texture,and the red-jello surprise underneath makes for a delicious surprise. You can find the full tutorial on the Make website, but if you don’t think a meat skull is creepy enough, you may want to go with the Halloween meat hand, instead.

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World’s First Smart ForTwo Wrapped in Cardboard

In an attempt to prove their products are by no means disposable, German car maker Smart has teamed up with a cardboard manufacturer and designer Sarah Illenberger to created the world’s first cardboard-wrapped Smart.

It might sound and look stupid, but this cardboard Smart aims to somehow disprove the rumors that Smart cars are disposable. They want to show the world that even covered by heaps of  high-quality reusable cardboard blocks, their Smart ForTwo model makes a lasting impression. I don’t know about the “lasting” part, but it’s definitely caught my attention.

Renowned designer Sarah Illenberger applied all the cardboard blocks by hand, in a pixel-like fashion that she feels emphasizes the sustainability of both the car and material.

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Castellers – The Human Towers of La Merce

Every year, towards the end of September, the Spanish town of Barcelona hosts its largest street party – the “La Merce” Festival. One of the highlights of the event is the building of impressive human towers, by acrobats known as “castellers”.

Translated as “castle builders”, castellers are the people that take part in the building of the human towers, in the middle of Placa de Jaume. Surrounded by thousands of people who come to see them at work, the teams of castellers create impressive tower formations, several meters high. As you might imagine, this kind of exercise requires quite a deal of practice and planning, but if successful, their human structure is truly a sight to behold.

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The Great Gorilla Run in London

Hundreds of people running through the streets of London, dressed in gorilla suits, may sound like monkeying around, but it’s actually pretty serious.

While the annual Great Gorilla Run is a pretty fun event, the reason behind the event is very serious. The number of Mountain gorillas around the world is declining rapidly, and if something radical isn’t done soon, our children will probably know them as an extinct species. Through the Great Gorilla Run, the Great Gorilla Organization is trying to raise money for saving the endangered primates.

The seventh edition of the Great Gorilla Run saw 700 fake gorillas (about as many Mountain Gorillas are in the wild today) line up at the starting line, for a 7 kilometer run through London. The wacky race started in central London, in front of the Minister Court, went on along the Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral, past Tower Bridge, and all the way to the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

Participants were dressed in various gorilla outfits, from Scottish gorillas, to businessmen gorillas and even a gorilla impersonating Che Guevara.

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Belgian Pavilion Built Out of 33,000 Beer Crates

If the world needed any more proof Belgians love beer, this temporary pavilion, built out of 33,000 plastic beer crates should clear all doubts.

Set right in front of the iconic Atomium building, the beer crate pavilion of Brussels was designed and built in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1958 Universal World Exhibition. Beer crates were chosen for the project, because the architects decided their work should evoke the concepts of universality and reusability, and nothing did that better than an ordinary item from the daily life of an ordinary consumer.

An exercise in how a normal item can transcend its normal purpose and become architecture, the beer crate pavilion is made up of approximately 33,000 beer crates. It may seem like a tough structure to build, but designers actually said the chosen material made assembly easier and allowed them to explore architectural features like columns, arches and domes.

As soon as the temporary pavilion is taken down, the beer crates will go right back to transporting bottles of delicious Belgian lager. I wonder if the designers had the “terrible” task of emptying all the 33,000 crates of beer, before using them…

 

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Scientists Discover the World’s Largest, Toughest Spider Web

Scientist have recently discovered that the web of Darwin’s Bark Spider is the largest in the world, and is also ten times more resistant that Kevlar.

Igni Agnarsson, from the University of Puerto Rico, first discovered Darwin’s Bark Spider and their giant webs, back in 2001, and knew he had to return to Madagascar and study these little creatures further. He did just that in 2008 and 2010, and his research revealed some pretty incredible data.

While it isn’t exactly the largest spider known to man (the female is larger than the male, and it only measures 3-4 cm, with its legs outstretched), Darwin’s Bark Spider spawns giant webs that reach up to 25 meters in length, with a main core of around 2.8 square meters. With webs this size, it’s now wonder the silky substance can withstand twice as much force as a normal spider’s, which makes it 10 times stronger than a similar piece of Kevlar, and thus, the strongest biological material ever found.

How, and why Darwin’s Bark Spider creates these giant webs is still a secret, but the fact that they are usually found across rivers and lakes suggests they mean to capture big insects that spent their young lives in a water environment, trapping them right when they take to the air. Birds and bats also pass right above the water, but there’s yet no evidence the spider web could trap such large prey.

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Chinese Man Loves to Eat Live Scorpions

For the last thirty years, Li Liuqun has spiced up his meals by eating live scorpions. He literally just picks them up, shoves them into his moth and eats them whole.

Li Liuqun discovered the “delicious” taste of raw scorpions, thirty years ago, when he was stung by a scorpion, while hiking on a hill, near his home village, in Henan. The angry Li simply picked up the insect and ate it as revenge. This crazy act made him realize he actually liked the taste of scorpion, and he has since then eaten thousands of creepy crawlies.

The 58-year-old scorpion eater says he keeps the insects in a big porcelain jar, and every time he gets a craving for scorpion, he just reaches down, grabs a few of them and puts them in his mouth. When asked to describe the taste of scorpion flesh, Li Liuqun said it tastes a little like fried soya beans.

As you might expect, some of the live scorpions have stung Li in the mouth, as he bit down on them, but the says he is immune to their poison. All it does is cause a little swelling that goes down in a few hours, and their delicious taste is well worth that much.

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