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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Food Artist Creates Life-Size Suckling Pig Cake

I’ve posted my share of awesome-looking cakes on Oddity Central, but Michelle’s Wibowo’s suckling pig cake looks incredibly realistic.

Created for the Experimental Food Society Spectacular, an event that took place during the past weekend, Michelle’s suckling pig cake was a big hit, and has made the headlines of various online publications. The Experimental Food Society is made up of a group of “ground-breaking gourmet artists that demonstrate there is more to life than just swallowing.”

Michelle Wibowo has a degree in Architecture, but decided to pursue her passion in cake decorating and sugarcraft, and is now one of the most talented cake decorator in the world. She developed her skills by decorating thousands of cakes in cake shops around London, and now works from her own studio, in West Sussex.

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Nailympics – The Olympic Games of Fake Nails

Every year, teams from various countries around the world gather in Britain to compete in the Nailympics – the ultimate fake nail showdown.

For the last six years, the world’s top manicutists have been coming to Britain to show their skill in the art of fake nail making. Everyone knows everyone, but because of the accumulated  tension before every event, they don’t even talk to each other. After all, their personal egos and national pride are at stakes so there’s no place for courtesy, just focus and the desire to prove they’re number one.

Most people think of fake nails as the basic acrylic pieces glued as extensions to natural nails, but the competitors in the annual Nailympics create regular masterpieces, using  methods like airbrushing and the embedding of jewels and other trinkets. An explosion of creative madness, the fake nails entered in the “fantasy nail art” event range from fairies, pagodas and complete forest landscapes to flashing lights and revolving designs powered by small batteries strapped to the wrist.

Few people outside the nail industry has heard about the Nailympics, but it’s popularity is definitely on the rise, as the 30,000 visitors, this year, clearly show. With the manicure business still as flourishing as ever, despite the recession, the interest in over-the-top nail style is comparable to the impractical clothes showcased in fashion-shows around the world.

Some of the designs featured in the Nailympics may look ridiculous, and they may not be the perfect for doing the dishes, but to the people in the industry they “display the mastery of the nail technician’s craft.”

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The Bike Chain Chandeliers of Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

Artist Carolina Fontoura Alzaga uses old bike parts, like metal chains, to create one-of-a-kind steampunk chandeliers.

Inspired by Victorian chandeliers, DIY culture and bikes, the bike chain chandeliers start out as unartistic, due to the nature of the materials used, but end up as genuine works of steampunk art, fit as decorations for the equally awesome steampunk house.

Combining the elegance of the classic Victorian candelabrum with the elegance of discarded mechanical bike parts, Carolina Fontoura Alzaga’s bike chandeliers are both an example of original art, as well as upcycling done right.

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Twinkle Dwivedi – The Girl Who Cries Blood

For the last three years, doctors have been trying to figure out what makes Twinkle Dwivedi‘s body ooze blood through her eyes, feet and even her head, but she remains a medical mystery.

When Twinkle’s case first appeared in the international media, many hurried to call her a fake, but after countless tests and procedures, including blood transfusions, doctors are still baffled by her strange bleeding. A group of medical specialists, led by dr. George Buchanan, recently traveled to North India to investigate the 14-year-old Twinkle, but all they have been able to say was that “she really suffers from a condition we have never seen before.”

The young teen remembers her disorder first appeared when she was just 11, and her classmates started mocking her and calling her disgusting. Although her bleeding didn’t hurt at all, she felt scared and alone, because no one would come near her. At first she would cry when she saw her clothes soaked with blood, but now she just keeps quiet, and prays she will eventually get better.

Despite her parents efforts, who took her to see the best doctors, Twinkle Dwivedi still bleeds from her eyes and pores, up to 14 times a day.

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Welsh Artist Paints with Jam and Marmite on Toast

Nathan Wyburn, a young Welsh artist from Ebbw Vale, has created a series of celebrity portraits with jam and marmite, on a canvas made of toast.

The first time you lay eyes on Nathan Wyburn’s artworks, you don’t know whether to frame it or eat it. But, even though his art mediums might seem a bit weird, 20-year-old Nathan is an established artist, with a worldwide online following. Uploaded videos of his work have been watched by millions of people and made Nathan Wyburn somewhat of an Internet celebrity.

Some of Nathan’s past projects include a portrait of Simon Cowell made of 30 pieces of Marmite-covered toast, and Lady Gaga in sugar. His latest works were commissioned  by a new Costa Coffee shop, in Towcester, and feature the portraits of international celebrities David Beckham and Cheryl Cole, painted on toast.

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Chinese Man Builds His Very Own Plane

24-year-old Zeng Qiang spent the last year working on a home-made airplane, in his home village of Sifang, Southwest China.

Zeng, who makes a living by performing at weddings and funerals, in his neighborhood, suddenly became interested in airplanes 10 years go, and has since then spent most of his spare time studying model airplanes. About a year ago, he set out to build his very own flying machine, and believe it or not, he’s almost done it. His 6-meter-long, 9-meter-wide, 150-kg-heavy airplane just needs an engine, and Zeng Qiang says he’ll have it installed in time for the big unveiling, on September 25, during an airshow, in Chongqing.

The young builder has recorded the building process in a notebook, and says he’s already got a big fan: his 2-year-old son, whose toys are all model airplanes.

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Phaal Curry Challenge – Curry with a Side of Pain

Brick Lane Curry House, a restaurant in New York city, challenges people to try and down a whole bowl of the world’s hottest curry, in their now famous Phaal Curry Challenge.

Phaal curry is reputed as the world’s spiciest curry, and the restaurant’s website describes it as an excruciatingly hot curry, more pain and sweat than flavor”, but that’s just what draws people to the Brick Lane Curry House. People like to prove to themselves and others that they can do incredible things, and eating a whole serving of Phaal curry is pretty incredible. Just so you can get an idea of how hot this Indian concoction really is, you should know the chef cooks it with a gas-mask on, to protect himself from the fumes, and tastes it with his eyes closed.

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Quilling – The Art of Turning Paper Strips into Intricate Artworks

Quilling has been around for hundreds of years, but it’s still as impressive and popular now as it was during the Renaissance.

The art of quilling first became popular during the Renaissance, when nuns and monks would use it to roll gold-gilded paper and decorate religious objects, as an alternative to the expensive gold filigree. Later, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it became a favorite pass-time of English ladies who created wonderful decorations for their furniture and candles, through quilling.

Basically, the quilling process consists of cutting strips of paper, and rolling them with a special tool. It sounds simple enough, but special skill is required to create more advanced shapes like marquises, arrowheads or holly leaves. All through the years, the art of quilling has remained almost unchanged, but new specialty supplies now allow quilling masters to create anything from detailed 3-D figures to wall-sized museum installations.

Because it requires so few supplies, quilling is available to anyone with enough patience to give it a try, and with a little bit of practice you’ll be creating some pretty amazing paper artworks, just like iron-maiden-art, whose works I think show the beauty of quilling.

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50,000 Milk Cartons Make a Great Castle

Built back in May, during an event that took place in Granada, Spain, this recycled castle was made of 50,000 empty milk cartons.

Designed by the students of the Facultad de Arquitectura de Granada (Granada’s Architectural College), the milk carton castle of Granada was built exclusively out of  tens of thousands of empty milk cartons, gathered by over 5,000 primary school children. The three schools that gathered the most number of milk cartons had the privilege to attend the unveiling ceremony and see the end result of their efforts.

The 29-meters-long, 14.07-meter wide and 7-meter-high milk carton castle was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest sculpture ever made with recycled materials.

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