Toast Mona Lisa Mosaic Is a Labour of Loaf

English toast artist Laura Hadland used 10,080 pieces of toasted and regular bread to create an impressive mosaic of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

Remember that awesome giant toast portrait we featured a few months ago? Well, that was also Laura’s doing, and now she’s back with even more toast goodness. This time she traveled to Matera, Italy’s “City of Bread”, to create an edible replica of the famous Mona Lisa. It took a big effort on Laura’s part, because the slices of bread were larger than the 10 x 10 squares she had already printed as a blueprint, so every piece of bread had to be trimmed to size. Which wasn’t easy, since the more toasted the bread is, the more likely it is to shatter when trimmed. But her experience with toast mosaics paid off and she managed to create a delicious looking Gioconda.

The mosaic measured 9 meters by 11.2 meters and numbered 10,080 slices of bread, a combination of plain white bread, toast, and slices covered with dark and milk chocolate. It was made entirely from edible materials, in deference to the hunger caused by natural disasters in Japan. The toast Mona Lisa was made for a Japanese television show featuring the actresses who form MoriSanchu, whatever that is.

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Spanish Gym Offers Naked Workouts

A gym in Spain’s Basque region has begun offering naked workouts, in order to beat the economic recession.

When Merche Laseca, owner of the Easy Gym, in Arrigorriaga, noticed fewer people were attending his gym because of the crisis, he knew he had to come up with something new to keep his business afloat. He did some research and discovered the area was a popular destination for naturists. In fact, two local swimming pools were already offering popular monthly nude swimming sessions, and since he discovered there are at least 12 nudist beached in the Basque region, and a mass naked run organized yearly in the nearby town of Sopelana, he figured a naturist gym wasn’t a bad idea.

“We’re always interested in new activities” and “doing sports without clothes is natural and much more comfy” argues Maite Vicuna, president of the Basque Naturist Association, but there are skeptics who are less than thrilled with the idea of a nudist gym. They claim clothes are important when working out, as they retain most of the sweat, whereas doing it naked means the swat goes on the machines, the floor and even on the people around you.

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Chinese Beef Extract Turns Pork into Beef In Just 90 Minutes

The Chinese department of industry and commerce has recently discovered a “beef extract” additive used by small restaurants around Hefei to turn pork into beef.

A lot of knock-offs have come out of China over the years, in fact they’ve probably made replicas of every successful product ever made. That’s not to say the Chinese don’t make original stuff as well, but their talent of replicating pretty much anything is legendary. That being said, I had never heard of Chinese food replicas until a few months ago, when I watched a news report about a guy making completely artificial eggs, using chemicals, right in his own home-made laboratory. Today, as I was surfing the interwebs, I came across and even stranger article about a “beef extract” additive that turns pork into beef, in just one and a half hours.

This “magical” product has apparently become very popular in small Chinese restaurants in Hefei, Fujian, Jianxi and other places around the country, especially since beef is twice as expensive as pork. A pound of beef is sold for around 20 yuan, whereas pork costs just 10 yuan, so some restaurant owners are inclined to buy a liter of beef extract for 45 yuan and use it to maximize profits.

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Indian Sadhu Has Kept His Right Hand Up for the Last 38 Years

Sadhu Amar Bharati is an Indian holy man who claims he has kept his right hand raised in the air since 1973. Now, 38 years later, his hand is just a useless piece of skin and bone, but has become a symbol for Shiva worshipers around India.

Until 1970, Amar Bharati was an average middle-class man who lived a normal life. He had a job, a home, a wife and three children, but none of that mattered when he woke up one morning and decided to leave everything behind and dedicate his life to serving the Hindu god Shiva. He began wandering the roads of India dressed in his simple Sadhu clothes and carrying only his trusty Trishula (a metal trident). After three years, in 1973, Amar realized he was still too connected to the fading luxury and pleasures of mortal life, and decided to separate himself from them by raising his right arm and keeping it raised. 38 years later, his arm is still up and he couldn’t use it, even if he wanted to.

Other sources claim Amar Bharati felt disillusioned by all the fighting going on in the world, and decided to raise his right arm for peace. A respected Sadhu at the Kumbh Mela, in Haridwar, Amar has inspired other Sadhus to raise their arms for peace and harmony, and some of them have kept them raised for the last seven, thirteen, even 25 years. But doing something like this doesn’t just mean giving up the functionality of an important body part, it also implies dealing with a lot of pain. Bharati himself says he went through excruciating pain for a long time, but not anymore. That’s because his arm is completely atrophied and stuck in a bizarre, semi-vertical position, a useless bony structure ending in thick, twisted nails that he never clips.

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Lelo Burti – Easter Rugby in the Georgian Countryside

Considered the predecessor of modern Georgian rugby, Lelo Burti is a centuries-old game played every Easter, in the western village of Shukhuti.

Lelo Burti is played only once a year, on Easter Sunday, and only in Shukhuti. Men from the upper and lower parts of the village compete against each other struggling to get a leather ball to a river, on the outskirt’s of their opponents’ half. Whichever team reaches their goal first is declared the winner, there are no other rules.

The morning before the game, participants gather to drink wine from the empty leather ball, before it is filled with 16 kilograms of dirt topped up with some more wine. Before the game begins, the village’s Orthodox priest blesses the ball, and this seems to make it an even more coveted price, as neither of the two halves hold back in trying to control it. Lelo Burti is a primitive tradition that is carried out the same way as it was many generations ago – the two groups smash everything in their paths as they approach the village center, including fences, gardens and orchards, scale walls and scrabble across ditches. As soon as the ball is in play, the game turns into a festival of unrestrained aggression fueled by gallons of previously consumed wine, where getting the ball is all that counts.

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Incredible Etch-A-Sketch Artworks by George Vlosich

Placed in the hands of a great artist, even a children’s toy like Etch-a-Sketch can become a powerful tool able to deliver mind-blowing masterpieces. Case in point – George Vlosich

George has been drawing since he was two years old, but it wasn’t until he got his hands on an old Etch-a-Sketch, in 1989, that he discovered his unique talent. He and his family were getting ready to go on a trip to Washington D.C., when they decided to drop by grandma’s house to say goodbye. His mother found her 1960’s old Etch-a-Sketch and gave it to George and his brother, so they wouldn’t get bored in the car. The ten year old artist etched a picture of the U.S. Capitol, and when his parents saw how detailed it came out, they pulled up at a nearby gas station and took a picture of his work, before it got erased.

In the beginning, Vlosich Etched a lot of simple things like Batman, Spiderman, and pretty much anything he took interest in, and before long the Etch-a-Sketch became the favorite way of expressing his artistic talents. The more he Etched, the better he got at drawing, and the more he drew, the better he Etched. At first, his works didn’t take himvery long to complete, but the more complicated his art became, the more time he had to dedicate to them. Now, every one of his Etch-a-Sketch artworks takes him between 70 to 80 hours to finish.

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Real Birds Tweet on Twitter

A Latvian magazine thought it wasn’t fair that real twitting birds didn’t have the chance to do it on Twitter so they set up a service that allows them to share their thoughts with the world.

Voldemars Dudum, the founder of BirdsOnTwitter.com, has always been a big bird lover, and while feeding them pork fat one winter, he came up with a brilliant idea to give them the chance to tweet for themselves. By fixating small pieces of unsalted pork on keyboard keys, feasting Tomtits type their own messages on the popular social networking platform.

The fat is attached to the keys with small stainless steel screws which increases the sensitivity of the strokes, since Tomtits are too light to press a real key with their beaks. The bird tweeting station is set up in the small Latvian village of Sarnate, where winter temperatures drop to a whopping -20 degrees Celsius. Eating the pork fat helps the chirping birds survive the harsh temperatures, and now gives them the chance to send messages worldwide.

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Mom Spends Six Years Making a Prom Dress from Candy Wrappers

High-school senior Tara Frey, from Wisconsin, won’t have to worry about having the same prom dress as other girls, as her mother has made her a unique outfit from thousands of Starburst candy wrappers.

Tara and her mother Kerrin worked on the dress for the last six years, trying to collect as many wrappers as possible before the big event. Kerrin Frey told local news station KARE-TV that she got the idea for the wacky project after seeing another mother weaving gum wrappers during a hockey game. The two started collecting Starburst wrappers, but had to go the extra mile in order to complete the outfit in time for the prom. They tried calling Starburst to ask them if they could only buy the wrappers from them, but they weren’t too keen on the idea, so they had to buy up to 9 kg of candy at a time. They handed them to neighbors and friends, but asked them to keep the wrappers and try not ot tear them.

In order to be used for the sweet prom dress, every candy wrapper had to be folded eight times, and pressed with tweezers to achieve a tight weave. Not the easiest of tasks, considering there were a lot of wrappers to prepare, so Kerrin asked for help from her friends. She doesn’t know exactly how many Starburst wrappers were used on Tara’s gown, but she does remember it took five failed attempts before the two of them agreed on the design.

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comBATON – Welcome to Martial Arts Football

Do you like American Football but wish kicking was allowed in the game? Are you a martial arts student who wishes classes weren’t so darn boring? If this is you, comBATON will be your favorite sport.

ComBATON was invented back in 1998, by Steve Blanton, but the first practice game didn’t take place until November 2004. You see, although Blanton had a vision, he needed someone to develop the game into a playable version, and that person was David Turnbull, president of the Florida A.A.U. Tae Kwon Do Association. He had more than a few black belt students more than willing to play in a game of comBATON, and when he saw how naturally they acted as a team, on the field, he knew he had struck gold.

The word comBATON is derived from combat and baton, and“the object of the game is for the offense to move the baton down field and score on their opponent’s goal pole. The defense must stop the offense and end the attack by kicking the baton carrier.” The goals are more like poles from which the opponent’s baton hangs, and a member of the attacking team carrying their baton has to kick the opponent’s baton to score. Sounds a little confusing with all these batons lying around, but martial arts enthusiasts seem to love it.

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Wacky Art Lover Wants to Marry His Painting

Tomasz Urynowicz, a 37-year-old art lover from Nowa Huta, Poland, has fallen in love with a young brown-haired girl hanging laundry in one of his paintings.

Urynowicz first saw the artwork painted by Antoni Maria Kwiek in 2001, in a art gallery and was fascinated by the beauty of the girl it portrayed. He bought it on the spot and spent the last decade searching for the girl. He hoped his neighbors might know who she was or where the artist who painted her in 1955 was located. “I just wanted to meet her, sit down and have coffee and a chat – to see who she is and what her life has been like,” he explains, but says he would have been happy enough to just track down Kwiek.

After years of failure tracking down the girl who “has brown hair that shimmers in the sun”, Tomasz is now looking for a priest who will agree to marry him with the painted version of the girl of his dreams. “I don’t know what the laws on this sort of thing are in Poland. But if I can’t do it here I’ll go somewhere else and do it,” he says, and 10 years of searching tell me he means it. If he actually goes through with this unusual wedding, I’m pretty sure he’ll be the first man in the world to marry a painting.

UPDATE: After receiving a comment saying this article “ruined this man’s life”, I found a Polish article where Mr. Urynowicz claims he never said any of the words he was quoted for, and that he is already happily married and even has a son named Adam. He also has no intention of finding a priest to marry him to the laundry girl in the painting.

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Designer Makes Furniture from Discarded Electronics

Benjamin Rollins Caldwell of BRC Design recycles old computer components by using them to create original pieces of furniture.

Discarded electronics are a major problem for the environment, and there’s no better example than China’s Guiyu electronics waste site, but some people come up with original ideas that make recycling them look easy and cool. Take Benjamin Rollins Caldwell, who’s Binary Collection features pieces of furniture any computer geek would love to have in their home.

For the Binary Low Table, the designer used bent computer tower cases as a basic frame, and proceeded to add various computer parts like motherboards, computer chips, LED displays and hard-drives, until the structure was completely covered. Even the glass panels were salvaged from an old warehouse. For the Binary Chair 01 and Binary Chair 02, Caldwell used a frame made of an old industrial printer, covered with a collage of electronics. Apart from being completely functional and visually appealing, the Binary Chairs also have an interactive quality, as the various buttons and keys can be pressed, the hard-disks can be spun and the antennae raised.

So why dump a bunch of toxic electronics in a landfill when you can create something as beautiful as BRC’s Binary Collection?

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Guy Changes His Name to Mountain Dew

A 21-year-old obsessed with the popular fizzy drink has recently changed his name to Mountain Dew Energy in the hopes of accumulating enough points to receive a six-month supply of the beverage.

Mountain, formerly known as Dan Grey, first tasted his favorite soft drink four years ago, during a holiday in America. He remembers it was different than anything he had ever tasted before, it had a unique taste that he still finds difficult to describe. Upon his return to Cumbria, he discovered the tasty beverage wasn’t available in the United Kingdom, so he began shipping crates of it from the US, at a cost of £400 ($655).

In the meantime, the citrus-flavored drink was released in Britain as Mountain Dew Energy, and even though it vanished off the shelves at one point, it was brought back after a few fans started a Facebook group and appealed to PepsiCo. Now, in order to secure a hefty supply of the drink, the man formerly known as Dan Grey has changed his name to Mountain Dew Energy, by deed poll.

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Marker-Wielding Artist Turns Rooms into 3D Installations

German artist Heike Weber uses dozens of permanent markers to completely transform a dull space into a mesmerizing three-dimensional environment.

The artist starts out by drawing her loopy shapes on sheets of paper, then proceeds to making them permanent by repeating the process on a room’s floor, ceiling and walls, with markers. I can’t imagine how much patience you need to do all the drawing by hand, considering you’re pretty much tracing the same lines over and over again, but I guess that’s just one of the qualities that make Heike Weber a great artist. What’s even more impressive is some her installations are larger than 5,000 square feet.

Apart from using the marker’s colors, Weber’s technique allows her to control the white space between the lines, creating a three-dimensional world that somehow feels alive. I can’t imagine anyone being able to live in a space that seems to be constantly flowing around them, but if you can’t make up your mind about how to decorate your home, maybe you should try a permanent marker and unleash your artistic talent. This guy did it, and it turned out pretty darn amazing.

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Viagra Laced Beer Is One Stiff Drink

A British company has brewed the world’s firs beer laced with Viagra, to commemorate the upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

BrewDog, Scotland’s largest independent brewery is set to release a limited edition ale called Royal Virility Performance, which contains Viagra and a series of known aphrodisiacs. Apparently, drinking three bottles of this unique beer has the same effect as taking one of the famous blue pills Hugh Hefner loves so much. The company has already sent several bottles of Royal Virility Performance to Prince William via Royal Mail, just in case he needs a little help on his wedding night. James Watt, co-founder of BreDog stated: “As the bottle says, this is about consummation, not commemoration, so we hope he gets it”.

The company will initially produce only 40 bottles of the miraculous concoction, which will be available for purchase on April 29, via BrewDog.com, for £10 a bottle. In the UK Viagra is available without prescription, so Royal Virility Performance is only available for Brits, but the company announced buyers will be limited to one bottle each, because of its powerful effects. If the beer proves a success, BrewDog plans to continue production.

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Italian Shop Sold Toys Made with Live AK-47 Bullets

A souvenir shop in the city of Siena, Italy, sold toys and decorative items assembled with real bullets that could be used by anyone with basic knowledge of guns.

The 25,000 AK-47 bullets were discovered during a control operation by the Siena Financial Guard. Most of them were used to assemble children’s toys like tanks, guns and attack planes, which were sold for €10 each. Further investigation revealed the Chinese owner of the shop got his lethal merchandise from a warehouse in Florence, which was also owned by a Chinese citizen. It’s suspected the raw material for the so-called toys was shipped over from mainland China, where it was probably obtained at no cost at all, from military deposits.

Upon inspecting this hidden arsenal, Italian authorities discovered it was live ammunition that could easily have been used by practically anyone familiar with guns. Even more disturbing is that the Kalshnikov cartridges had steel bullets, which made them a lot more dangerous than the lead ones used by Italian armed forces. Just think what could have happened if a child accidentally dropped or slammed one of these bullet toys on a hard surface.

Apart from toys assembled from live ammo, the shop also sold real Ak-47 rifles, Chinese military caps, and even bullet-pierced metal helmets.

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