Russian Woman Aims to Become Most Realistic-Looking Human Doll

I don’t know why, but there seems to be a sudden surge in the obsession over Barbie-like looks on the internet. It was only a few days ago that we did a complete feature on five different doll lookalikes, and now we have news of one more such woman. 21-year-old Valeria Lukyanova is an internet sensation in her home country of Russia. Her popularity stems from the fact that she might be the closest anyone’s ever come to looking like a real live Barbie Doll.

Valeria looks very unreal, almost plastic. Her face is expressionless, and her body proportions are quite abnormal. It’s highly unusual to find a woman with a naturally tiny waist, a huge chest and plasticy-looking blond hair. Many speculate that Valeria is either a product of plastic surgery, or her photographs have been doctored by photoshop. The girl has no qualms about discussing her looks though, and refers to herself as the most popular woman on the Russian-language Internet, on her blog.

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Gaza Zoo Puts Creepy Stuffed Animals in Cages to Cut Food Costs

If you visited the Khan Younis Zoo in the impoverished Gaza strip, you would see quite a variety of animals, but on close inspection, you would realize that over half of them aren’t even alive. The ones that died have been stuffed before going on display to keep visitors entertained. It sounds pretty creepy but the zoo keepers really have no choice. They cannot afford to get new animals across the border, and don’t really wish to smuggle them illegally, and can barely afford the food costs for the few live animals they have left. So it’s up to the embalmed corpses of the zoo’s dead animals to entertain the 200,000 odd people of Khan Younis.

In total, the Palestinian zoo has only 65 live animals the rest of which have all been stuffed. The zoo owner, Mohammed Awaida, said that he lost several of his animals in December 2008, during Israel’s 3-week military offensive against Hamas. He could not reach the zoo during this period and the animals died due to starvation and neglect. “The idea to mummify animals started after the Gaza war because a number of animals like the lion, the tiger, monkeys and crocodiles died. So we asked around and we learned from the Web how to start.”

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Delicious Street Art – Sugar Icing Murals by Shelley Miller

Montreal-based artist Shelley Miler uses sugar and edible blue paint to create incredibly detailed murals on the side of buildings. Her works are influenced by the cultures of the places in which she’s creating, and although they look as durable as ordinary murals, they simply wash away at first rain.

Looking at Shelley Miller’s artworks for the first time, you’d think they were carved in stone, but in reality the talented artist just applies cake icing using a common pastry bag and paints them with edible blue paint. Trained at the Alberta College of Art and Design and Concordia University, Miller has experienced with a variety of art mediums, ranging from sand to marble, but always found herself returning to sugar. She also spent some time decorating cakes during her university days, but quickly moved on to bigger and better things, and now she is internationally-known for her unique street art sugar murals.

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Dead Dogs – World’s Creepiest Hot-Dogs Are Prepared in a Black Coffin

What do you get when you combine hot dogs and coffins? Dead Dogs, of course! The name may be a bit of a put-off but going by popular opinion, but these hot dogs prepared and sold from the inside of a black coffin are to die for.

Dead Dogs was founded in the most unusual of circumstances. The owner, La Barbera, a car collector and shopping center developer, had no intention of going into the food business. It was his love for cars that led him into setting up this bizarre hot dog shop. He happened to win a lowball bid for a Cadillac hearse at $12,000 last year. What he didn’t know and found out only after the car was delivered, was that it came with a huge coffin. For a while he had no idea what to do with it, but then the idea to adapt the hearse for the food-truck revolution hit him. “It was just another idea that popped into my head,” says the 64-year-old.

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Touch-Me-Not – A Plant That Clearly Doesn’t Like to Be Touched

I first heard about the Touch-Me-Not plant from my mother’s stories of her childhood. There were plenty of these where she grew up, and she had fun playing with them. But no matter how much she described the plant to me, I never could quite imagine how the phenomenon worked. Now, thanks to the internet, I can see it for myself ,on video.

The Mimosa Pudica (derived from Latin for shy), commonly known as the Touch-Me-Not, is very true to its name. It obviously doesn’t like to be touched, because running a finger along the leaf simply causes it to fold inwards. I’m not sure if touch really bothers the plant, but the phenomenon is very beautiful to look at. The exact reason for this peculiar behavior of the Touch-Me-Not is also unknown, but it is believed the plant uses this feature to thwart predators. The closing leaves supposedly scare them away. Apart from the stimulus of human touch, the leaves also close during night time. The plant has its origins in South and Central America, but it is actually found all around the world.

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Baseball Fan Has Caught over 5,800 Home Run and Foul Balls

Zack Hample, from New York, is a baseball fan and bawl hawk – he’s great at catching and stealing balls. But Zack isn’t an ordinary ball hawk, because no one else boasts a collection as impressive as his: more than 5,800 balls, both home runs and fouled balls. The way he goes after balls at matches can be characterized as almost professional.

A typical game for Zack Hample goes kind of like this – running around the Major League ballpark, searching for foul balls or home runs, and sometimes even convincing coaches and players to toss balls into the stands. As you can imagine, being a ball hawk is no walk in the park. It involves a lot of athleticism, a bit of science and loads of luck too. All three of which Hample has plenty of. His collection of baseballs is the largest in the world. “Yes, I’m obsessed,” he admits.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #36

Royal de Luxe’s Huge Marionettes Perform in Titanic Commemoration (Laughing Squid)

Beijing’s Secret Underground City (Environmental Graffiti)

Chinese Farmer Creates Wind-Powered Vehicle (Metro)

Moscow Hosts World’s First Caviar Speed Eating Contest (Ria Novosti)

Blog Comparing Rafa Nadal to Capibara Becomes Internet Hit (Tumblr)

Stupidity Captured at 2,500 Frames per Second (This Is Colossal)

Japanese Burger Made with 1,050 Bacon Slices Is a Heart-Stopper (G4TV)

Artists Create Inflatable Stonehenge in Glasgow (The Guardian)

Philadelphia CheeseSteak Ice cream – Would You Eat It? (Asia Obscura)

The Unexpected Beauty of Rotting Vegetables (Environmental Graffiti)

Eau de MacBook Pro: A Fragrance That Smells Like New Apple Products

The Apple MacBook Pro is definitely not the most affordable laptop on the market right now, but thanks to custom scent developer, Air Aroma, you can now close your eyes, take a sniff of hour old machine and imagine you actually own one of Apple’s expensive devices.

This may very well be the weirdest perfume ever created… Oh, who am I kidding, we’ve had real fragrances synthesized from urine and excrements, but this one is pretty strange too. Apparently, the guys at Air Aroma have been working around the clock to make a perfume that combines the unique aroma of cardboard, printed ink, plastic wrap and a brand new aluminum laptop. The formula was commissioned by by Melbourne based artists Gavin Bell, Jarrah de Kuijer and Simon McGlinn, for their exhibition on the digital age and the rise of new technology, entitled “De Facto Standard”

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Monkey-Man Keinichi Ito – The Fastest Man on All Fours

29-year-old Kenichi Ito, from Tokyo, says he has loved monkeys ever since he was a child. He has always been able to identify with animals, and harbored an ambition to adopt one of their traits. His deep desire has been fulfilled, now that he is actually able to move around quite comfortably on all fours, just like a monkey. It all started one day when he witnessed a monkey running quickly. From that point on, he claims he practiced running like the animal every day, until he became the fastest man on all fours.

“You know, my face and body kind of look like a monkey, so from a young age everybody used to tease me, saying ‘monkey, monkey,'” Ito said in his neat apartment, sitting in front of a large poster of a chimpanzee. But I wasn’t really bothered because I really liked them, and somewhere inside of me I had this ambition to adopt one of their traits. When I saw a monkey that could run fast, I knew I’d found it – and from that point on I practiced running like a monkey every day,” Keinichi Ito says about how it all started.

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Man Tries Out To Become Cheerleader for Denver Broncos

I don’t think there are any rules against men becoming cheerleaders. But even if there was one, it wouldn’t stop Sacha Heppel, from Colorado, whose dream is to join the ranks of professional NFL cheerleaders. His current mission, to become the first male cheerleader for the Denver Broncos, however, fizzled out when he was rejected by the judges. Heppel competed with 200 other women at the first round of the 2012 Denver Broncos Cheerleader tryouts last Sunday, dressed in a turquoise shirt and tight fitting black pants.

Heppel’s love for dance is what compelled him to try cheerleading. He is not a professional dancer, although he enjoys it very much. “When I dance, I lose myself,” he says. His previous job involved standing at a street corner with a sign where would do several dance routines to keep people entertained. He was disappointed when he didn’t make the cut, but he says he will try hard again next year.

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Dutch Insect Cookbook Will Have You Eat Bugs

Some people will eat anything that moves or even crawls. While the rest of us are wrinkling our noses at them, they’re actually at an advantage, because insects are considered to be very rich in proteins. A group of Dutch insect munchers love their creepy crawly snacks so much they’re releasing a special Insect Cookbook, next week. Their creation is said to be dedicated to promoting insects as a great source of nourishment. I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve heard it contains some pretty unique recipes like how to add worms to your chocolate muffin mix, or grasshoppers on a mushroom risotto.

For obvious reasons, many people aren’t too enthusiastic about the Insect Cookbook, but a few feel that it couldn’t be coming out at a better time. According to Marcel Dicke, a professor at Wageningen University, the world population is expected to hit 9 billion by 2050, and there may not be sufficient land to raise livestock that meets everybody’s needs. We might just have to turn to bugs as a protein alternative. The university also said the nutritional value of insects is quite similar to that of meat, and it is more environmentally friendly to raise insects instead of livestock. “I see this as the next step towards the introduction of insects on restaurant menus in the Netherlands. I also expect people to buy the book and start cooking with insects at home,” says Dicke. However, he does admit that there might be some resistance towards insect foods, especially from the countries where people consume large portions of meat.

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Japanese Goggles Make Food Look Bigger, Help You Lose Weight

A team of Japanese researchers at Tokyo University have invented a pair of “slimming goggles” that make food look larger to help you eat less and thus lose weight. Sounds simple and effective, doesn’t it?

We’ve posted our share of wacky Japanese inventions,  here on Oddity Central, from the creepy anti-aging mouthpiece and the brainwave-controlled Necomimi to the poop-powered toilet bike. But this latest creation might be a bit hard to swallow, literally, because it makes food look 50% bigger. Professor Michitaka Hirose and his team of researchers at Tokyo University have created a pair of special goggles that can be set to make food look bigger or smaller, while keeping your hands and surroundings at their original sizes. This supposedly tricks you into eating less and ultimately helps you shed some of that extra weight.

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The World’s 3 Most Disgusting Egg Dishes

It amazes me how some people will eat anything. Especially if that anything happens to be disgusting-looking. If you are like me and can’t even eat eggs that are a wee bit undercooked, I must warn you to read this article with caution. What’s coming next is not pretty. We bring you the three most revolting egg dishes in the world.

Century Eggs

These preserved eggs aren’t exactly a century old, but judging by how they look I wouldn’t be surprised if they were. The slimy, grayish yolks and the herbal tea colored ‘egg-white’ makes these snacks quite nauseating to even look at. And yet, the Century Eggs, also known as Preserved Egg or Thousand-Year Egg, is considered a delicacy in China. They are prepared by taking fresh duck, chicken or quail eggs and preserving them for several weeks in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime and rice. The 600-year-old process is said to have been invented when someone came across a few old eggs in a pool of slaked lime. Instead of just tossing them out, they actually tasted the eggs and then made modifications to the recipe. And that’s how modern-day century eggs were born.

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The Creation Museum – A Controversial Attraction in Kentucky

The Creation Museum, located in Portland, Kentucky, is a $27million museum dedicated to the Creationist theory. Creationism, which opposes the concept of evolution, is based on the Christian Genesis story that God created heaven and earth. Spectacular multimedia displays that use Hollywood technology depict the story of Genesis at the Creation Museum. Tens of thousands of people from all over the US pay regular visits to the place dedicated to God and how he created our world. One visitor proclaims, “I finally realized today that God made time. He made the dates, He made the 24 hours, He gave this to us.”

According to the Creationist theory, the world has not been evolving for millions of years (as stated by the theory of evolution), but was created only 6,000 years ago. Calling scientific experiments and proofs as ‘based on a ton of assumptions’, the videos played at the museum’s auditorium state that it is better to “start with the word of someone who has seen everything from the beginning and told us exactly what happened.” That someone, they say, is God. Some of the other attractions at the museum include life-size models of Noah and his Ark, Adam, Eve, and other characters from the Bible. Also on display are a few fragments of Torah scrolls that were supposedly saved from the clutches of Saddam, in Iraq.

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Urban Golf – Taking the Game Out of Country Clubs and into the City Streets

There’s something very satisfying about hitting a ball into a hole with a golf club. And for those who don’t have access to great golf clubs or even mini golf courses in the neighborhood, and also for those who would like to avoid the formal nature of the sport, there’s always Urban Golf. This slightly altered version of golf can be played, well, absolutely anywhere you please.

Urban golf gets its name from the very urban landscape that it has been adapted for. In other words, it’s simply golf played in a city environment – potholed streets and black asphalt, building sites and car parks, with the city’s everyday life creating obstacles. The excitement of the game comes from the fact that each day poses a new obstacle, a new course, and new challenges. Lampposts serve as trees, buildings as wooded areas and drains, bunkers. Interestingly, the concept of urban golf has been around since 1992, when Torsten Schilling began playing golf in areas surrounding his office in Berlin. Today the sport has evolved into a real movement, with many supporters and members around the world.

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