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Breath of Fresh Air: Environmentally-Friendly Air Freshener Is Made from Cow Dung

Two Indonesian high school student have impressed judges at the national Science Project Olympiad with their ingenious air freshener made from from cow dung. Believe it or not, the organic product actually has a pleasant plant-like fragrance.

Dwi Nailul Izzah and Rintya Aprianti Miki managed to surpass 1,000 other participants at the Indonesian Science Project Olympiad (ISPO), held at the end of February, in Jakarta, and won gold medals for their original invention – an environmentally-friendly air-freshener made from cow manure. I know, that’s probably one of the last ingredients you’d expect to find in such a product, but according to the judges and everyone else who had the chance to sniff the girls’ air freshener, it has a surprisingly nice herbal fragrance. But it wasn’t just the smell that won Dwi and Rintya points. Their natural air freshener contains none of the chemicals found in similar commercially-available products, and it’s also more affordable. While a conventional 275-gram air freshener costs 39,000 Indonesian rupiah ($4), a 225-gram can of cow dung air freshener costs just $21,000 rupiah ($2). The two young inventors are getting ready to showcase their unique invention at the International Environment Project Olympiad (INEPO), in Istanbul, and are getting ready to file for a patent.

cow-dung-air-freshener

 

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Bon Appetit! London Public Toilet Gets Converted into a Gourmet Snack Bar

If you enjoy eating in the bathroom, you have to check out the Attendant Cafe, in London. Formerly a 19th century public restroom, the underground venue has recently been converted into a gourmet sandwich shop, but retains many of its original decors, including the urinals…

Rising property prices in London are becoming a big problem for would-be homeowners and businesses looking for commercial spaces. But for the few people who can see beyond the smelly history of the city’s abandoned public toilets, converting them into quirky restaurants and bars is proving to be a very cost-effective alternative. One such bold entrepreneur is Peter Tomlinson, who invested most of his savings into turning a 19th century men’s restroom on Foley Street into the Attendant snack bar. Don’t worry, it smells a lot better than it sounds, but patrons looking to enjoy a gourmet sandwich and a hot cup of coffee in this place might be a bit put off by some of the decor elements. For example, the old porcelain urinals have been re-purposed as table tops, so you’re basically enjoying your meals in the exact same place where Londoners used to…well, I wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite.

Attendant-cafe-London

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Minas Tirith Replica Made from Sand and Water Will Blow Your Mind

Lord of the Rings fan Joseph Alvenaz has created an awe-inspiring 10-foot-tall by 12-foot-wide replica of Minas Tirith, almost exclusively out of sand and water. Believe it or not, this was his first major sand sculpture.

We’ve featured some pretty impressive models of Gondor’s capital city, including one made entirely from matchsticks, and one made from LEGO, but Joseph Alvenaz sand-and-water Minas Tirith is right up there with the best of them. The young California artist chose the iconic setting of J.R.R. Tolkien’s LOTR – The Return of the King as his first large-scale sand sculpture, and judging by the images below, it’s safe to say he did an amazing job. Even more impressive is the fact that he didn’t use a frame for his incredibly detailed sand sculpture, save for a single brace added in the top tower, after it was repeatedly destroyed by birds. Apart from that one element, no reinforcement or adhesive was added; the entire structure was made exclusively from sand and water. The white is made of out of a chalkish wash he applied over the sand.

sand-Minas-Tirith

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Smart Billboard Produces 100 Liters of Drinking Water a Day Out of Thin Air

Researchers in Peru have teamed up with an ad agency to provide a viable solution to the problem of potable water shortage in Lima, the world’s second-largest city in the world. Their  creation is a s simple as it is ingenious – a billboard that turns air humidity into drinking water.

Located northern edge of the Atacama, the driest desert in the world, the city of Lima and its surrounding villages get around 0.51 inches of precipitation per year. For a long time, the capital city has relied on drainage from the Andes mountains and runoff from melted glaciers for its potable water needs, but due to climate change, the water supply from both sources is on the decline. Out of the 8.5 million people living in Lima, 1.2 million lack running water completely and have to either draw water from wells, which is known to be polluted, or rely on unregulated private-company water trucks, which charge u to 20 time the normal price of tap water. Aware of this dire problem, Lima’s University of Engineering and Technology started looking for a way to solve the problem and, at the same time, draw the attention of applicants for 2013. Inspired by the fact that the city’s average air humidity is about 83%, due to its location along the Southern Pacific Ocean, UTEC partnered with advertising agency Mayo DraftFCB to create an eye-catching billboard that produces water out of thin air.

Lima-water-billboard

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“Barbie Man” Spends $30,000 a Year Collecting Barbie Dolls and Memorabillia

41-year-old Stanley Colorite, who calls himself “the Barbie Man” has been collecting Barbie dolls for the last two decades, and has turned his home into a virtual museum to the popular Mattel toy.

A house-cleaning business owner from Florida, Stanley Colorite bought his first  Barbie doll in 1997. Now he has over 2,000 of them, as well countless outfits and accessories. He admits it’s become somewhat of an obsession, but says he simply can’t stop collecting. If sees a doll he doesn’t yet have, or anything with the Barbie name on it, he just has to buy it. Every month, he adds about 20 new dolls to his impressive collection, as well ass numerous other related items he finds at toy shops, jumble sales and eBay. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty expensive shopping habit, one that’s setting Stanley back about $30,000 a year. It’s a lot of money, but the Barbie Man isn’t considering stopping anytime soon. Even though four of his rooms are already lined with Barbie stuff, he says he plans to go on collecting until all the seven rooms of his Florida home are full. He even considers gluing them to the ceiling or making chandeliers out of the dolls, just to make some extra room.

the-barbie-man

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Extreme Athlete Attempts Mary Poppins-Inspired Umbrella Skydive

Remember Mary Poppins, that lovable nanny played by Julie Andrews in the 1964 movie adaptation of P.L. Travers’ children books? Growing up I always asked myself if floating around with an umbrella was possible in real life. Now, thanks to the stunt of extreme athlete Erik Roner, I finally have an answer.

I remember wanting to climb on to the roof of my parents’ house to test out Mary Poppins’ umbrella-powered traveling technique, but as crazy as that sounds to me today, it’s nothing to the stunt pulled by Erik Roner. The famous daredevil teamed up with camera maker GoPro to conduct a “retro-tech” experiment and see if Mary Poppins was actually more than a delightful fairy tale. Using a sturdy garden umbrella instead of a parachute, he jumped out of a hot air balloon, over Southern California. “We’re gonna see if an umbrella actually slows you down, like Mary Poppins’ does…What am I thinking?” Erik says before detaching the umbrella from the supporting balloon and starting his descent. For a few moments, his umbrella flight seems quite smooth, but the pressure of the air ultimately turns it inside out and tears the fabric to shreds.

Mary-Poppins-experiment

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Share Breakfast with the Long Necks at Giraffe Manor

How do you talk to a Giraffe face-to-face? By peeking out of the top-floor window of a very high house, of course. That’s exactly what the owners of Giraffe Manor, in Kenya, do. And you could too, if you went to spend a few nights in one of the 6 rooms of the old manor turned hotel.

The residents of this unique tourist attraction are the Carr-Hartley family, along with eight Rothschild giraffes, one of the rarest subspecies on the planet. The English-style manor was built in the colonial era and is part of a 140-acre estate in the shadow of Kenya’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley, both 41, grew up close to the house in Nairobi when they were children and always dreamed of owning it someday. So once they started a family of their own and the house came up for sale, they jumped at the opportunity. Since Michael’s family has been involved in the protection of animals for several generations, they do not mind taking care of the endangered giraffes. In fact, they love it.

Giraffe-Manor-Kenya

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The Shark Whisperer – Young Conservationist Dances with Great White Sharks

Most people wouldn’t dream of going anywhere near a Great White Shark, and yet shark conservationist Ocean Ramsey has no problem swimming with the deadly predators and even hitching a ride with them, in her efforts to prove they’re not the monsters films like Jaws made them out to be.

27-year-old Ocean Ramsey got the nickname “shark whisperer” after photos and video of her petting 17-foot sharks went viral. The world is just discovering this brave young girl and her honorable cause, but Ocean has been traveling the globe swimming with many species of sharks to convince people they are not just mindless killing machines, for years. So far, she has come face to face with 32 species of sharks, including some of the most dangerous like Great Whites, tiger sharks and bull sharks. “I feel so fortunate that some of the greatest moments of my life have been diving with Great White sharks,” the blonde beauty said. “It’s sad to think that the human race could be responsible for the extinction of such vital and beautiful animals.” She hopes her incredible experiences will grab the attention of the public and raise awareness to the plight of these fascinating creatures. A new study revealed that around 100 million sharks are killed every year, a rate 30 to 60 percent than sustainable. It’s estimated only a few thousands of Great White Sharks are left in the world’s oceans.

Ocean-Ramsey-shark-whisperer

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The Electrifying Painting Performances of David Garibaldi and His CMYKs

David Garibaldi is a successful performing artist who combines his passion for painting, dance and music in truly inspiring performances. Holding a paintbrush in each of his hands, he strokes the canvas as he dances to modern tunes, creating incredibly detailed portraits of pop icons.

Born in Los Angeles to entrepreneur parents, David Garibaldi moved to Sacramento when he was just four years old, for his dad’s business. Ever since he was very little, David had a strong sense of creativity, and although they didn’t share his passion for the arts, his family always encouraged him. He started by drawing cartoon characters, then moved on to encyclopedias, comic books and anything else kids his age were into back then. Then, during middle school, he started getting into hip-hop, so his friends suggested he use his artistic talents to do graffiti. It helped him develop his own style and explore all kinds of new design elements, but all those late nights he spent leaving his artistic mark on the walls and trains of Scaramento really affected his education. By the time he realized he was neglecting school, it was too late, and he couldn’t graduate with the rest of his class. It’s one of his biggest regrets, but also one of the things that motivated him to become the great artist he is today.

David-Garibaldi-speed-painting

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Twi-line – A Phone Line for Twilight Fans Struggling to Cope with the Series’ End

One of the biggest film franchises ever made, the Twilight Saga came to an end with the launch of Breaking Dawn – Part 2. It was a celebrated moment by fans of the series, but now that all the hype is gone, many of them are struggling to accept the fact that their favorite blood-suckers won’t be returning to the silver screen. Luckily, now they have Twi-line, a special phone line that helps them relive their favorite Twilight moments.

It must be tough coming to terms with the fact that vampire heartthrob Edward Cullen will never show his pale face again in a Twilight film, although considering the state of the film industry today, a spin-off isn’t out of the question. For now though, the series is officially over, and apparently that’s really painful for a lot of fans. To celebrate the UK launch of the Breaking Dawn – Part 2 DVD, and to comfort Twi-hards, the film’s distributor has set up a special phone line where they can listen to memorable quotes from their favorite characters over and over again. I don’t get what the big deal is, when they could just replay scenes from the movie and also see their heroes speaking those lines, but it seems many fans actually love the idea of hearing vampire Edward, werewolf Jacob Black and their love interest Isabella Swan over the phone.

Twilight-phone-line

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Bathing in Fermented Sawdust – The Latest Bizarre Beauty Treatment from Japan

Forget about greasy creams, mud wraps and even Botox shots. All you need to keep your skin looking healthy and beautiful is a good old fashioned fermented sawdust bath. It’s all the rage right now in Japan, and everyone seem to love it.

Women will do all sorts of weird things to their bodies in order to keep themselves looking younger for just a little longer. That includes extreme plastic surgery, having their breasts slapped,  and even their teeth chiseled, but the Japanese seem to have discovered a much less intrusive magic way of rolling back the clock and keeping old-age disorders at bay – bathing in fermented sawdust. It’s really not as disgusting as it sounds, and many beauty experts from the Land of the Rising Sun swear by it. Apparently, just 15 to 20 minutes of being covered in sawdust from cedar and cypress trees improves circulation, cleans skin and helps with muscle pain, among other health claims. Enzymes from vegetation and fruit ferment within the sawdust to warm the body, bringing the temperature up to 40 degrees Celsius and making you sweat like you’ve just finished a 2-hour marathon. The process is said to activate your internal organs, thus optimizing metabolism, raising immunity and improving circulation. It also stimulates sweating without clogging the pores and washes away sebum and dirt from your skin.

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The Creepy Life-Like Giants of Ron Mueck

Things are not as they seem, when it comes to the mind-blowing artworks of London-based sculptor Ron Mueck. Seeing his larger-than-life sculptures of the human body for the first time, you’d be tempted to think you are looking at real-life giants.

Australian-born Ron Mueck is the so of two toy makers, so it’s really not very surprising that he opted for a somewhat similar career, making his very own toys, only on an infinitely more detailed level. He worked as a model-maker and puppeteer on children’s television shows for 15 years, and went on to create special effects makeup for movies like the 1996 fantasy “Labyrinth”, featuring David Bowie. In the 1990s, he started his own company, making models to be photographed for advertisements. Back then, most of his works were only partially completed, as they were meant to be photographed from just one angle, leaving a lot of loose material lurking around the areas captured by the camera lens. Ultimately, he decided photography destroys the physical presence of the original object, so he turned his attention to fine art and sculpture. A wise decision, as his hyper-realistic works of art have now won him international acclaim.

Ron-Mueck-sculptures

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China’s MMO Video Game-Inspired Restaurants

Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) video games are very popular in China. Combine that with the country’s culture of fakes and copycats and you get lots of unofficial merchandise and even venues  inspired by popular virtual reality universes. One such place was the World of Warcraft-themed restaurant on Chaoyang Road, in Beijing.

Opened in 2008, by a businessman who just happened to also be a huge fan of Blizzard’s fantasy universe, the unique World of Warcraft restaurant was designed entirely around the MMO and its original opening cinematic. Created as a “comfortable gathering place for fellow gamers”, this place had Warcraft-inspired decorations, dishes named after locations in the game and plasma screens showing live footage from the MMO world. The large banner above the entrance featured the game’s logo, an Alliance mage and a Horde warrior, as well as the crests of the two playable races. This would have probably been enough to attract the millions of Chinese fans who live and breathe World of Warcraft, but the entrepreneur really went all out trying to make the restaurant itself appeal to die-hard gamers.

world-of-warcraft-restaurant

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Bedazzle Your Food with the World’s First Edible Spray Paint

I never would have imagined humans would one day be eating spray paint, and yet here we are…Food Finish is the world’s first edible spray paint, and according to its German manufacturer, it’s a great way to add some strange color to your food.

People have been eating strange things for a long time. There’s this woman in Ukraine who enjoys eating sand, another girl who savors soap bars, and even someone who likes to eat sponge, but spray paint is definitely something new. And apparently it doesn’t fall into the weird category because it was actually designed to be consumed and it’s totally safe. German-based producer The Deli Garage Food Cooperative says its ethanol-based edible spray paints are tasteless and odorless, and can be applied on any kind of food to make it look better. Food Finish is available in four different colors – gold, silver, blue and red – and has to be applied in layers in order to achieve that perfect effect. “I love it when it’s not only our cars which have a metallic finish but also our tomatoes,” Deli Garage project manager Kaya-Line Knust said. “It’s great when you see not only a steak on a plate, but a gold-plated one!” Yeah, who needs all those healthy-looking colors when you can go for gold, right?

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The Photographic Pencil-Drawn Portraits of Franco Clun

Italian artist Franco Clun uses only pencil and paper to create these incredibly realistic portraits that can easily be mistaken for photographs. Believe it or not, he’s a self-taught drawing master who has never studied art…

I’ve always found hyperrealism fascinating, and the collection of articles on this amazing art genre that I’ve posted on Oddity Central throughout the years is proof of that. I never get tired of looking at drawings and paintings so masterfully executed that they resemble high-resolution photos, and I consider myself lucky whenever I discover the works of truly gifted artists, like Franco Clun. The Italian-born master of the pencil says he has never taken art classes and that everything he knows he learned from experience and from reading some drawing manuals. I guess you can say he’s living proof that practice makes perfect, and that following your passions in life can truly lead to amazing things. Although he has had to take a long break from drawing to dedicate himself to other things, his love for graphite remained strong, and now he’s wielding his trusty pencils again to create marvelous works of art.

Franco-Clun-drawings

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