Indonesia’s Laughing Cock Craze Is No Laughing Matter

Roosters being sold for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars might sound like a joke to you, but in many parts of Indonesia it’s very serious business.

They look like ordinary cocks, but it’s only when they start crowing that people realize just how special they really are. Instead of the normal “cock-a-doodle-do”, these birds make a sound similar to human laughter, which earned them the name “laughing cocks“. Trained and raised to make this special sounds, laughing cocks are source of pride for their owners, who feed them only the best foods, and pamper them with large, ornate cages. This breed of chicken originated in South Sulawesi, where it was known as ayam raja (king chicken), because only Burgis kings were allowed to breed them.

Nowadays, anyone who can afford is allowed to breed laughing cocks, and while they are very valuable, they’re also extremely sensitive. They have to be fed properly and their big cages have to be cleaned twice a day, because these birds tend to become ill very easily. But the high maintenance cost is easily covered by the profit of selling laughing cocks or winning regional laughing contests. A day old chick sells for Rp 100,000 ($12), while a 3-month old bird goes for Rp 300,000 ($36) to Rp 500,000 ($59). But it’s the mature laughing roosters that bring the most profit, as the price of a 9-month bird ranges between Rp 3 million ($354) and Rp 5 million ($590).

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Mom Celebrates Divorce by Tattooing 85% of Her Body

Jacqui Moore, a 41-year-old mother of two, covered 85% of her body with tattoos, in celebration of her divorce and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

When Jacqui, from Oxford, England, divorced her husband Martin, in 2003, was so happy about her new found freedom that she decided to get a tattoo in celebration of the event. But as soon  as she walked through the door of the tattoo parlor and met Andreas “Curly” Moore her life changed once again. The two fell in love on the spot and that one tattoo she had in mind turned into a gigantic piece that spanned over eight years. The only parts that aren’t covered with ink are her left armpit, her right leg and most of her face.

Curly, who also sports an impressive full-body suit tattoo, is responsible for every one of the tattoos on Jacqui’s body. Her back is covered by a swarm of dragonflies, a giant spiderweb with tarantulas coming out of it is etched on her stomach, and her right leg features Indian and Tibetan flowers. He didn’t charge her for his services, of course, but it’s estimated the epic tattoo would have cost a mind-blowing $22,000.

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Japanese Clone Factory Makes Creepy Lookalike Dolls of Its Clients

If you’ve always wanted to have yourself cloned, you’re probably going to have to wait a few more years, but in the meantime you can get a creepy doll that looks just like you, from the Clone Factory, in Japan.

Danny Choo, of Culture Japan visited the quirky Clone Factory, in Tokyo’s Akihabara district and decided to try out their services himself. Lucky for us, he also snapped some nice photos of the place and the making process of a miniature clone doll. The so-called cloning process begins with the subject sitting on a chair in a room surrounded by SLR cameras and lighting stands. After he/she has the proper pose, the cameras start triggering in a loop, taking photos from all possible angles. The photos are then transferred into a computer and a 3D model of the client’s head is rendered. Once that’s out of the way, it’s time for the actual doll-making.

This all happens in Japan, so, obviously, they have a high-tech printer that pretty much does all the work. All they have to do is connect it to the computer, insert a tray full of plaster powder and the printer creates the detailed model using layers of ink which harden in the plaster. When the tray comes out, it looks pretty much untouched, but once the excess plaster powder is removed, a creepy, smiling doll is revealed, and it looks so much like an actual person it’s not even funny.

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Students Take Ice-Cream Making Courses at Italy’s Gelato University

I thought making ice-cream was pretty easy, but it seems that if you really want to get it right you have to take courses at the Gelato University, in Bologna, Italy.

Ice-cream making was one of the last thing I would have imagined required attending a university, but in reality thousands of students from all over the world study the art of making quality ice-cream at the Carpigiani Gelato University, in Bologna., every year. Gelato lovers, and entrepreneurs who want to learn the secrets of making great ice-cream and take it back to their homelands pay around €800 ($1,138) for a week of courses and accommodation at a nearby hotel. They attend technical lectures on traditional gelato-making techniques by veteran ice-cream makers, and take part in practical courses where they learn to use the world famous Carpigiani gelato machines.

Believe it or not, the Carpigiani Gelato University has been around for a long time, and as more people around the globe fall in love with the Italian gelato, it gets more students with each passing year. In 2011, the number of students has gone from 9,000 to 12,000 and for the first time in history, the number of foreign tourists has surpassed that of Italians.

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Pretend Guitarists Compete at US Air Guitar Championships

22 of America’s best air-rockers gathered at Chicago’s legendary Metro, where they pulled out their best pretend-guitar-playing tricks, hoping to take home the title of US Air Guitar Champion.

Most people only practice air-guitar moves in the privacy of their own homes, away from prying eyes, while listening to their favorite rock song, but for the guys competing in the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships, it was all about putting on a show for others. And what they lacked in musical instruments they made up for in sheer craziness, performing the most outrageous air-guitar tricks, including the ever-popular drop to the knees, the behind-the-back and teeth picking.

The competition took place last weekend,and even though it featured air guitar legends like New York’s Airistotle, Washington’s Tommy Fretless or Tony Tapatio, from Portland, the title of US Air Guitar Champion went to local pretend musician Nordic Thunder. Also known as Justin Howard, the Chicago-based viking lookalike kick-started his air-guitar career five years ago, with a regional competition win. He suffered a ruptured disk in one of his hardcore performances, but has come back with a vengeance and has just proved he’s ready to take the pretend-guitar-playing world by storm.

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100-Year-Old Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home

Felma Schrimshire, 100, was named the winner of the 2011 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant, out of 75 grey-haired contestants from across the state.

They may have more grey-hair than your average pageant participants, but the ladies who competed in the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home contest proved they have just as much style and grace. The top ten finalists gathered at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, for the last stage of the competition. Here, the judges and an enthusiastic crowd evaluated the senior beauty queens on their outlook on life, as well as poise and personality. After a 15-minute interview in front of a panel of judges, contestants were asked to answer a surprise question. In case you were wondering, this particular pageant didn’t include a swimsuit competition.

100-year-old Felma Scrimshire won the judges’ votes with her incredible life story. She has traveled to every one of 50 of the US states, seen the Canadian provinces and much of Europe, served in the army for a year, during World War 2, and retired from a civil service job in 1976. A resident of the Andalusia Manor nursing home, Felma will serve as spokesman for nursing home residents throughout Alabama.

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Iowa Welder Hopes to Break Record for World’s Largest Bicycle

Lewis, a small town in Iowa, US, may soon be acknowledged as home to the world’s largest bicycle. A local welder took the task of building a giant bike after hearing the annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa was passing through his town.

Duane Weirich is either one of the biggest cycling fans on the planet or a simply a welder with too much free time on his hands. After learning the Great Bike Ride across Iowa was going to pass through his home town, he decided to honor the even by making a giant bicycle. Although he’s not exactly sure if it qualifies for a new world record, his 32-feet-long, 18-feet-high bike has so far attracted the attention of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Even though the verdict on whether this is the world’s largest bicycle isn’t out yet, cyclists engaged in the cross state bike race haven’t missed the opportunity to have their picture taken with Weirich’s creation. Pleased with the public’s reaction to his efforts, the welder said he plans to complete the bike by actually making it rideable. You’re going to need some longer legs, though.

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Chinese Couple Sell Their Three Kids to Play Online Games

A young couple, from Dongguan, China, have reportedly sold all their three children for money needed to keep playing online games at Internet cafés.

According to Chinese newspaper Sangxiang City News, Li Lin and Li Juan, both under 21, first met back in 2007, in an Internet café. It was their obsession with online gaming that fueled their relationship, and a year later, the two welcomed their first baby. Actually, “welcomed” is a bit of an overstatement considering that just days after they brought him home, the couple left him alone and went to play video games at an Internet café 30 km away.

In 2009, the irresponsible couple had another child, a baby girl, whom they decided to sell in order to fund their online gaming obsession. They managed to get RMB 3,000 ($500) for her, which they spent in a matter of days. Having run out of cash they proceeded to sell their first born as well, this time for ten times as much, RMB 30,000 ($4,600). At this point they probably decided having kids could be pretty profitable so they had a third baby, a boy, that got them another RMB 30,000 ($4,600). They would have probably continued like this for years, if the boy’s mother hadn’t learned of their deeds and alerted the authorities.

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Designer Creates World’s First Bulletproof Kimono

Designer Miya Ando chose to celebrate her Japanese origins by creating a long-sleeve kimono entirely from stainless steel plates and sterling silver rings.

While it hasn’t been tested yet, considering the materials used to create it, Miya Ando’s furisode style kimono might just be the world’s first bulletproof kimono. Well known for her mastery of steel, the young half-Japanese artist has hand-soldered 4,000 sterling silver rings and stainless steel plates, and used them to create this unusual version of the traditional Japanese garment.

While it could prove a valuable piece of armor, I doubt Miya’s steel furisode kimono is as comfortable as the real thing. Women probably couldn’t even move in that thing, let alone wield a samurai sword, as well. Luckily, it’s just for the sake of art.

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Karen Caldicott Immortalizes Celebrities in Plasticine

Leicester-born Karen Caldicott is currently living in the New York area, where she stays busy creating plasticine portraits of celebrities.

Well-versed in a multitude of styles, Karen has found  a niche rendering various celebrities in plasticine, and her skill and dedication landed her collaborations with established publications such as the New York Post or Fortune Magazine. She bases her three-dimensional  seven-inch plasticine busts on photographs of the celebrities taken from different angles, and then shapes and carves away the clay until it looks like she intended.

So far, Karen Caldicott has created plasticine illustrations of all sorts of celebrities, from President Barrack Obama, to rock legend Mick Jagger and even Apple CEO, Steve Jobs. But she also does commissions, so if you fancy a clay bust of yourself, contact her via her official blog.

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Sepak Takraw – A Combination of Football, Volleyball and Kung-Fu

Invented around 500 years ago, in Malaysia, Sepak Takraw remains one of the most spectacular sports in the world. It combines elements from football, volleyball and martial arts, and is real fun to watch.

It is believed Sepak Trakaw is based on the Chinese game of “Cuju” (kick-ball), after it was introduced to Southeastern Asian countries like Malaysia and Thailand, by early traders. By the early 1400s, the game had already become very popular and was played mainly by men and boys standing in a circle and kicking the ball back and forth. Earliest historical mentions date back to the 15th century, when, according to an important historical document, it was very popular at the court of the Malacca Sultanate. In Bangkok, murals at the Wat Phra Kaeo show Hanuman, the monkey king, playing Sepak Trakaw with a group of monkeys.

Sepak Takraw is played on a court similar to that of badminton, between two teams made up of three players, each. The ball used is bigger than a tennis ball, but smaller than a volleyball, and weighs between 170 and 180 grams. The goal of the game is to send the ball into the opponents’ half so that it touches the floor, while using only your legs and head. It’s kind of like volleyball, only no hands are allowed. A game of Sepak Takraw consists of two sets, each played until one team reaches 21 points (unless the other team has 20 points, in which case a two-point difference is required, to win). If each team wins a set, a tie-break round is played, until one team has 14 points.

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The Art-in-Art Collage Portraits of Maxim Ksuta

Using hundreds of small images of classic masterpieces, Russian collagist, portrait painter and historiographer, Maxim Ksuta, has created a series of unique portraits, called Art in Art.

According to English Russia, Maxim Ksuta believes some art forms have ceased to exist in the modern world, which is now getting ready to embrace something new. So he decided to give them new meaning and find a place for them by using tiny images of known artworks (paintings, sculptures, architectural motifs) dating from the antiquity and up to modern times, to create unique collage portraits of his friends.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #2

These are just some of the cool things I found this week and didn’t get the chance to cover:

Rottweiler Guard Dog Stolen from His Home (SWNS)

Intricate Miniature Models of Old Hong Kong (Flavorwire)

Meet Mimmi – The Bear WHo Likes to Practice Yoga (Environmental Graffiti)

Cenobio de Valeron (Atlas Obscura)

Tortoise Has Leg Replaced with Swivel Wheel (Geekosystem)

LEGO Animals Invade Bronx Zoo (Inhabitat)

Hair-Raising Harry Potter Babies (Bit Rebels)

The Crooked Forest of Poland (Neatorama)

Red Onion Flavored Wine in China (Asia Obscura)

Guillotine Slingshot Decapitates Zombies (Nerd Approved)

Toastman Creates Giant Toast Portrait of Marilyn Monroe

Maurice Bennet, also known as “The Toastman“, has created a large scale portrait of Marilyn Monroe using thousands of colorful pieces of toast.

Known for his original toast art, the New Zealand-based artist was commissioned by a Shanghai shopping mall to create one of his signature works. With the help of young local artists, The Toastman created a colorful portrait of Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe, out of 6,000 pieces of toast. The original piece has already been completed and will be placed on display at the Xintiandi Mall, in Shanghai, on Monday, July 25.

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Girl Has Half of Brain Removed, Now Paints Like a Pro

The human brain is a remarkable thing, and the incredible story of Taisia Sidorova, who gained an amazing artistic talent after having the left side of her brain removed, is proof of that.

Three years ago, 21-year old Taisia Sidorova, from Sankt Petersburg, Russia, suffered a severe car accident that left her with a smashed skull and bone fragments wedged in her brain. Doctors were skeptical about her chances of survival, and was even given the last rites, but even after she had the left hemisphere of her brain removed, she hung in there. The part of her brain responsible for logic and analysis was replaced with a protective metal place, but even though her family was warned that a long, painful recovery period was to follow, and that Taisia may never be the same, they never gave up on her.

Irina Sidorova, the girl’s mother, remembers she was like a vegetable in the beginning, and doctors didn’t believe she would survive. But she stayed by her bedside praying, massaging her limbs and talking to her. The miracle she was waiting for occurred on New Year’s Eve, while she was crying on Taisia’s bedside. The girl moved her arm trying to wipe away her mother’s tears. It was the breakthrough nobody expected anymore, and in two years’ time she regained her strength, started to speak and even learned to hold a pencil and paintbrush.

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