Man Makes a Living Scraping the Sidewalk for Gold and Diamonds

Believe it or not, the streets of New York really are paved with gold, but you have to get down and dirty to get your hands on it. For urban prospector Raffi Stephanian this isn’t an issue, just a great way to pay the bills.

Using only a Styrofoam cup, a butter knife and tweezers, 43-year-old Raffi scours the streets of New York’s Diamond District searching for gold, diamonds and other precious jewels. You’ve probably walked on 47th Street countless times and didn’t realize the riches that were right there in front of you, but don’t beat yourself up about it, Raffi was probably the only one who ever thought there was something valuable on the sidewalk. And that only because he worked as a stone setter, years ago, when he found gold scraps on the floor of a diamond exchange. He realized if he could find gold inside, then people must have carried it outside, as well.

The gold and precious stones industry is a hectic one, and you can see people running from one shop to the other, from a diamond supplier to a diamond dealer, and so on, and in the process, they drop tiny valuables without even realizing it. Most of the fragments found by Raffi Stephanian were carried into the streets by diamond merchants who accidentally picked them up on their clothes or on the soles of their shoes. He also finds platinum chips, loops from broken necklaces, watches or bracelets, all of which were dropped by mistake.

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Designer Creates Furniture from Thousands of Puzzle Pieces

Devon-based artist Rupert McKelvie has used thousands of discarded puzzle pieces to create a stylish table complete with a lamp.

If you’re wondering what inspired the 27-year-old artist to create pieces of furniture from a weird medium like broken puzzles, it was the frustration of spending hours of patient labor assembling a puzzle, only to see them wasted because of a missing piece. Apparently, charity shops get a lot of puzzles handed in these days, only most of them are missing at least one piece, so he decided to use these incomplete artworks to create something new and complete.

McKelvie has put in hundreds of hours painstakingly assembling around 4,800 puzzle pieces into what looks like a functional and stable table, from popular jigsaw puzzles featuring the Taj Mahal, the Arc de Triomphe and Winnie the Pooh. It must have been a pretty tedious process, but it beats searching everywhere for that one missing puzzle, only to find it under the couch, years later.

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Roger Federer Gets World’s Biggest Shave in Gillette Publicity Stunt

Tennis legend, Roger Federer, has set yet another world record, after he (well, a giant portrait of him) got the world’s biggest shave, on a field near London.

Anyone seeing Gillette employees sprinkling weird paint on a green field near London, the other day, would have probably thought the company switched from shaving to landscaping, but it was only a big publicity stunt to promote its new Fusion ProGlide razors. With the help of Gillette’s Facebook community and laser-guided robots, workers covered the green field with environmentally-friendly paint to create a big portrait of the Swiss champion.

Then they used cannons to cover his face with bio-degradable foam, which they then removed with lawn mowers. To finish the job, they brought in these giant Fusion ProGlide razors to show how smooth a shave can be when you use them. Kind of a wacky idea, but they did a great job with the portrait.

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Entrepreneur Turns Atomic Reactor into Popular Amusement Park

Wunderland Kalkar is a unique amusement park built on the site of a never-used power plant, complete with a fast breeder reactor, in Kalkar, Germany.

Construction of the Kalkar nuclear plant began in 1972, but was constantly  delayed due to technical difficulties and protests from those concerned about the safety of nuclear power. When it was completed, over 10 year later, authorities decided to pull the plug on the project, and the $4 billion complex was dismantled in  less than a decade. The fast breeder reactor remained in place, and in 1995 Dutch entrepreneur Hennie van der Most bought what was left of the Kalkar plant for a mere €2.5 million and managed to turn it into a profitable amusement park visited by over 600,000 people, every year.

Wunderland Kalkar has around 40 rides, for children and adults alike, and a 400-bed hotel. Among the most interesting features of the park are the swing ride set up inside the cooling facility, and the climbing wall on its outer walls. Also, chairoplanes, quad bikes, go-karts and a whole bunch of other fun gadgets make trips to Wunderland Kalkar a blast for the whole family.

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Metropolis II – The World’s Coolest Miniature Car Circuit

Every little boy who has ever owned a Hot Wheels miniature car remembers how fun those things were to play with, whether you owned a circuit track or not. Artist Chris Burden has spent the last four years working on Metropolis II, an awe-inspiring miniature car circuit that will spark the interest of even the most mature grownup.

It’s called Metropolis II because Chris built another cool Hot Wheels circuit back in 2004, but compared to his first one, this latest project is superior in every way. It really lives up to its name, measuring an impressive 10-feet-tall by 28-feet-long and featuring 13 toy tracks and a gigantic car circuit with 18 lanes, winding around in a loop, around 30-40 skyscrapers. There are a total of 1,100 modified cars moving around Metropolis II, at any given time. Chris and his team inserted a small magnet on the underside of each car, so when they reach one of the circuit’s three conveyor belts, which also have magnets placed underneath, they get picked up and transported to a high point from where they are released and flow away.

According to Chris Burden, Metropolis II is ten times bigger than the original Metropolis and was conceived as a miniature representation of Los Angeles. Just recently completed, Metropolis II has already been sold for millions of dollars, but Burden says is also cost millions to complete and refine. Over the next few months it will be taken apart and properly packed in steel cages, where the parts shouldn’t move more than a 32nd of an inch, in order to keep everything running smoothly.

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Designer Gives Dollar the Pop-Culture Treatment

James Charles is not the first artist to use currency as inspiration for his original art, but his works are the geekiest I’ve seen in a while.

While some items of the “American Iconomics“series might have ou think that Charles simply manipulated the faces on genuine dollar bills, it’s just an illusion. The artist kept the original outline of the bills, but replaced the faces of former American presidents with those of famous pop icons like Jimi Hendrix, Master Yoda, Mr. Spock, Sarah Palin, and many others. In sone cases he simply drew over the faces of the presidents to give them a whole new look, but every one of his pop-culture dollars comes with a sarcastic and funny line of text.

The “American Iconomics” collection is currently on display at San Francisco’s Shooting Gallery, where pop-art fans can purchase their favorite artworks for anywhere between $600 and $1,000.

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Artist Uses Motherboards as Canvases for His Art

We’ve seen motherboards used as an art medium before, but Arizona-based artist Joe Dragt took it one step further when he decided to uses the basic computer components as painting canvases.

Joe first got the idea of using motherboards as canvases for his art earlier this year, when his full-time job required him to take more than 30 old computers to be recycled. Looking at that huge stack of computers, the idea just hit him. He thought thought the complexity of the circuits could make motherboards really great backgrounds for his paintings, and during these troubled economic times, they were much cheaper than traditional canvases, too.

He asked if he could take one of the old computer home, to give his idea a go, and it just blossomed from there. He recycles 100% of the computers he uses, meticulously unscrewing every component. He uses the motherboards as canvases, the co0l-looking parts for his sculptures, and sends the rest of the plastic and metal bits to recycling facilities. All potentially harmful elements are taken to a special facility, in Phoenix.

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Dog Believed to Be Reincarnation of Lawyer Sentenced to Death by Stoning

A rabbinical court in Jerusalem recently sentenced a wandering dog to death by stoning, after they decided he was the reincarnation of a lawyer who offended the judges 20 years ago.

A few weeks ago, a large dog entered the Monetary Affairs Court, near the ultra orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim, scaring away visitors and refusing to leave, even after people tried to drive him away. One of the court’s judges remembered something that occurred 20 years ago – a secular lawyer who had offended the judges was cursed by them to reincarnate in the body of a dog (considered an impure animal by Halacha).

The lawyer in question passed away years ago, but one of the still-offended judges sentenced the poor dog to death by stoning, and ordered the task be carried out by the neighborhood’s children. Either the dog sensed the imminent danger and fled, or it was rescued by an animal lover, what’s important is he managed to escape before the sentence could be carried out.

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Crayola Crayons Used to Create Colorful Artworks

Nashville-based artist, Herb Williams, makes incredible 3D sculptures from hundreds of thousands of colorful Crayola crayons.

37-year-old Herb first started working with Crayola crayons, after he was inspired by a dream. He had worked with various mediums, but his career wasn’t really going anywhere, he had no money and was alienating his friends due to frustration. He even got to the point where he thought “this is not worth it”, burned some of his works, but it was that very night that he has a powerful dream in which someone inspired him to use crayons in his art. He got up the next morning, wrote some ideas in his notebook, and he has been making a living out of it ever since.

Most people would have probably used the crayons as drawing tools, but not Herb. He painstakingly cuts ever crayon to size, using a double guillotine cigar cutter, before sticking them to a shaped mould, with industrial glue. He is the only person in the world who has a personal account with Crayole, because of the high number of crayons he buys from them every year. Each of his spectacular 3D sculptures numbers thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of crayons, and he always has crates of 3,000 of each crayon color shaped to his workshop.

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Italian Artist Recycles Found Objects into Colorful Sculptures

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the work of Italian artist Dario Tironi is evident proof. While most people look at discarded objects and see only trash, he sees precious materials for his beautiful sculptures.

Old toys, discarded computer components, broken calculators, even plastic bottles, they’re all part of Tironi’s recycled universe. Similar to Robert Bradford, who uses old toys for his sculptures, and Leo Sewell,  the young Italian artist manages to glue together various junk items and create detailed sculptures of people and animals, and gives everyone who sees his art a whole new perspective on the concept of recycling.

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The Book Stack Sculptures of Kylie Stillman

Although relatively new, book carving has become on of the most popular art forms of our time, with masterpieces of acclaimed artist like Brian Dettmer or Long Bin-Chen exhibited in galleries around the world. Kylie Stillman cuts new life into old, outdated books, by sculpting them as slabs of stone and turning them and giving them a second chance as veritable works of art.

Using a scalpel, Stillman cuts right into the stack of books, creating beautiful inverted reliefs of trees and the birds that once inhabited them. Her works remind us where the paper for the books came from, by turning the thousands of pages into versions of their original tree form.

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Man Builds World’s Tallest Sand Castle, Again

Ed Jarrett first built the world’s tallest sand castle in 2003, then broke his own record in 2007, and now his back with his third consecutive record, a 37-foot, 10-inch sand marvel.

As you can probably imagine by looking at the photos below, Ed used more than just a sand bucket and shovel to complete his masterpiece, In fact, he needed the help of 1,500 volunteers, who worked a total of 2,500 hours turning 1.6 million pounds of sand into a record-breaking castle.

Work on the castle began on April 1st, and the completed structure was ready for official measurement seven weeks later, on May 20. According to Laura Ward, public relations official for Jarrett’s Castle, the work was initially supposed to be even taller, at 38 feet and 75 inches, but after a blue bird decided to scrape the top of the castle and meteorologists announced hostile weather conditions, the team hurried to get the sand castle certified before it got even shorter. Still, at 37 feet, 10 inches, Jarrett’s Castle is still easily the tallest sand castle in the world.

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Designer Creates Couture Fashion from the Remains of Dead Animals

I know what you’re thinking, so do those fashion companies making real fur coats, but Jess Eaton only uses the remains of animals that died of natural causes, have been hit by cars, or that have been killed for food.

Jess’ Roadkil Couture collection features weird items and accessories, like a necklace made from with the skulls of 12 dead pheasants, a bolero jacked made from the furs of 50 white rats eaten by her friend’s reptile, or a hat made from four magpie wings, but the designer claims she’s not out to shock the world. Sure, some of her pieces look like something only Lady Gaga would dare wear, but Jess Eaton says her creations are only meant to be beautiful, not outrageous.

While other women would probably flinch at the sight of a dead animal, Jess is more than happy to pick it up, skin it herself and use its various body parts in her unique fashion item. She recently received a dead horse’s head, which she carved and used in various pieces, proving she’d definitely not squeamish when it comes to working with her material of choice. Her seven-year-old son, Norton, however is sick of the smell of flesh-eating bugs in their Brighton house, and can’t wait until Jess finally opens her own studio, away from home. If there is an advantage to working with dead animals, is that the “fabrics” for her works are always free.

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Artist Creates Black Eyed Peas Portrait of Black Eyes Peas Member

To tell you the truth I often wondered why no one bothered to create a portrait of the Black Eyed Peas using black eyed peas, before. We’ve seen all kinds of weird portraits, like those made of toast, broken vinyl or bottle caps, so a black eyed peas portrait of the Black Eyed Peas seemed almost logical.

English artist Lee Mericks finally rose up to the challenge and created an 85 cm by 60 cm portrait of BEP singer will.i.am using nothing but thousands of black eyed peas. The artwork was commissioned by Alton Towers, to celebrate the Black Eyed Peas’ forthcoming concert at the Staffordshire resort, and took 24 hours, over a four-day period, to complete.

According to Lee Merricks, the black eyed peas portrait of will.i.am contains approximately 5 kilograms of black eyed peace, each of which were painstakingly placed by hand. If you’re curious to know the exact number of peas used, feel free to count them yourself.

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Researcher Creates Artificial Meat Based on Human Excrement

The global food crisis is a very serious issue, but professor Ikeda thinks his latest invention, an artificial meat based on protein from human excrement, could be of great help.

The Japanese researcher from the Okayama laboratory says its country has more sewage mud than they can handle, so Tokyo Sewarage asked him to explore its possible use. Knowing the wacky nature of many Japanese scientists, it’s no surprise he came up with a turd burger. During his research, he discovered sewage mud contains a great deal of protein so he began developing a process of extracting that valuable protein and turning it into a viable meat substitute.

Sewage mud is high in protein, because it’s full of bacteria, most of which comes from human feces. However, these microorganisms are harmless, because they are killer by heat during the manufacturing process. According to initial tests, the artificial meat even tastes like beef, thanks to added soy protein, and Ikeda added some red food coloring to give it a more natural look. In terms of nutritive values, the turd burger doesn’t sound bad at all: it’s 63% protein, 25% carbohydrates, 3% lipids and 9% minerals.

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