Buffalo Body-Painting at Unique Traditional Festival

What started as a means to ward off intruders, is now a full-blown festival. The people of Jiangcheng County, China’s Yunnan Province, have their bulls painted and decorated by artists for a major event every year. The bulls are displayed in a riot of colors, painted with a variety of themes.

Traditionally, the bulls were painted by the Hani people of China in the belief that the practice would protect their village, mainly by preventing tigers from wandering into their homes. Of course, the threat of tigers and other man-eaters has reduced drastically in modern times, but the festival continues to be celebrated with much enthusiasm. The China-Laos-Vietnam Bull Painting Festival, as it is called, had 48 participating teams this year. The paraded bulls were hardly recognizable, covered in colors like bright blue, gold, yellow and red. But the paintings were far from abstract. The bulls served as a canvas for some real artistic talent, landscapes, portraits, and intricate patterns adorned their otherwise brown or white skin. Even the horns were covered with paint.

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Pink-Obsessed Woman Changes Her Name to Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice

100,000 Brits changed their name this year, but the one that stands out from the crowd is a woman from Nottingham, who calls her self “Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice.” Yes, that’s her actual name now.

Born Charlotte Price, the mother-of-three has renamed herself according to her obsession with the color pink. She lives in a pink house decorated and furnished with pink, wears pink most of the time and even works in a pink salon. The color of the wax used in the salon? You guessed it, it’s pink. The shortened version of her name is Pink Nice, which is what she goes by these days. Quite understandably, her three kids aren’t very pleased. “Everyone is still calling me by my old name. My mum thinks I’m a bit mad really and so do my children. They stick to ‘Mum’,” said Pink Nice, who hopes her crazy name change will boost up her business.

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Tickets for Noah’s Ark 2012 Are Holiday Bestsellers on Chinese Shopping Site

It’s been long said that the year 2012 will see the end of the world. The movie 2012 even makes an attempt to show us the catastrophic events leading up t0 the worldwide disaster, and a modern version of Noah’s Ark, a ship in Tibet where people will be safe. While tickets for the movie ship cost a billion Euros each, in real life they can be purchased  for less than $0.5.

Chinese online shopping portal, Taobao, has several online stores selling these counterfeit tickets at 3 RMB a piece. The tickets have been popular as a new year’s gift, a comical way of ensuring one’s safety in the face of the 2012 Armageddon. Thousands of tickets have been sold so far. Physical stores are printing up and selling these tickets, too. One store in Jingsau has sold 2,500 train and ark tickets at 3 RMB each. Another one sold 1,700 Chinese Noah’s Ark passes in a month, at 2 RMB each.

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Father Videotapes Children Coming Down Stairs on Christmas Morning, for 25 years

Every family has its own traditions for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Writer Nick Confalone recently shared on YouTube, a particularly endearing tradition followed by his dad during Christmas.

Starting in 1985, Nick’s father made home videos of his kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. He continued this practice for 25 years, chronicling the growth of his children over a quarter of a century. Nick recently edited the footage filmed by his father and posted it on YouTube. Apart from Nick and his sister, other members of the family are also seen in the video. Pets come and go, as do boyfriends, and you can clearly see how the kids evolve from little toddlers to teenagers and then young adults. Initially the kids are seen to be excited to find out what Santa Claus has left them under the tree. Nick is a cute kid making silly faces at the camera. As years go by, their reluctance to be a part of the videos is quite evident. Of course, Nick now considers the videos to be nothing short of magical.

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Human Spit Could Cause Indian Bridge to Collapse

Howrah Bridge, located in Kolkata,  India, is a cantilever bridge that spans over Hooghly River. Built during the British rule, in 1943, it is one of the most famous symbols of Kolkata.

The nearly 70-year-old bridge however, is in danger of collapsing, not from age, but from human saliva. It is common to find many locals chewing paan (a mild intoxicant containing betel nuts and leaves), and then spitting out red-tinged saliva on the steel hangers of the bridge. This is not only unsightly, but the corrosion caused by the accumulation of several years worth of saliva, is a cause of serious concern. Bird droppings are also a major cause for the corrosion of the bridge, and regular cleaning was undertaken ever since this threat was identified. The cleaning is apparently not good enough to work its way through the layers of spit and local authorities say the corrosion has caused so much damage that the thickness of the hangers has reduced to half of the original, from 6mm to 3mm.

Photo: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP

Efforts are being made to salvage this old Indian monument from disgrace. Engineers have come up with an idea to cover the steel with sheets of fiberglass. There are other factors that are a cause for concern in the maintenance of the bridge, such as damage from vehicles due to rash driving. Over 100,000 vehicles are known to cross the bridge every day, along with around 150,000 pedestrians on the walkways.

Incredible Carved Book Landscapes by Guy Laramee

Can’t find any use for those thick books lying around your house? Carve landscapes out of them! At least, that’s what Guy Laramee has been doing for some time now.

An interdisciplinary artist who has been practicing for 30 years now, Laramee has done several things in his lifetime, from stage writing to contemporary music, painting painting and literature. But the work he became most famous for is book sculpture. Rocky mountain ranges, bodies of water, islands and hidden caves, you name it,  he can bring it to life out of a book, in 3D. For instance, from a set of English and Chinese hardcover encyclopedias, he has created two series of stunning landscapes, named The Great Wall and Biblios.

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World’s Smallest Theater Fits Only Eight Guests

Possibly the smallest theater in the world, and a strong contender for a Guiness record, the Kremlhof Theater is located in Villach, Austria. It’s so tiny, it can only fit eight guests, all of whom get front row seats.

In fact, it look doesn’t look at all like a theater, more like a cabin of sorts. The stage inside measures 1.30 by 1.30 m, and runs regular shows. Built by Felix Strasser and Yulia Izmaylova, irregularly puts on shows of the opera, ballet and plays for the privileged limited audience. The guests are required only to make a mere donation, as the theater doesn’t sell tickets. The Kremlhof Theater was opened 2 years ago in 2009, with the help of the theater organization for the stimulation of the dramatic appetite (der Verein zur Anregung des dramatischen Appetits or VADA). Also involved were the drama companies, ONEX and kärnöl. Their first production ever was called “Schnee” and began in January 2010.

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Have a nICE Stay At Finland’s Igloo Village

Ever wondered what it would be like to live in an igloo? Well, you have the chance to find out at the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, in Finland. A hotel located in the northern part of the country, high up above the arctic circle,  is being touted as one of the coziest romantic getaways in the world.

Holidaying couples have three options at the hotel – Log Cabins, Snow Igloos, and Glass Igloos. Of course, the snow igloos get my vote for the most interesting of the three. Let’s find out more about them. Built to fit 1 to 5 people, it is literally like sleeping inside a room made of snow Of course, while the temperature outside may be dangerously cold at below -30 C, all the necessary amenities are provided indoors to keep you warm and cozy. The temperature inside ranges between -3 and -6 C. Warm down sleeping bags, woolen socks and hood are provided. The ice itself illuminates the igloo.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #23

(NSFW) The Daily Routine of a World Champion Masturbator (YouTube)

China’s Giant Snow Sculpture Festival (Environmental Graffiti)

How to Make a Giant Snow Ski Rapm Off of Your Roof (Laughing Squid)

Cardboard Cop Cars Slow Chinese Traffic (Orange News)

Remote-Controlled Motorised Shoes Save You the Effort of Walking (Daily Mail)

Giant Wave-Shaped Clouds over Birmingham, Alabama (Life’s Little Mysteries)

World’s Shortest Woman Is Just 2-Feet-Tall (People Magazine)

Asia Obscura Tests China’s weirdest Potato Chip Flavors (Asia Obscura)

10-Foot Story Rocket Burried in Swamps of Florida (Environmental Graffiti)

Seoul’d Balancing Expert Is Awesome (YouTube)

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The Miniature World of the Holiday Train Show, in New York

The New York Botanical Garden has put up a new  Holiday Train Show, which has been attracting several visitors. Held in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, the show isn’t very far from the entrance to the garden. The display does feature some trains, but the real attractions are the models of famous buildings made entirely from plants.

The miniature trains weave around the lush plants and flowers, and replicas of the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, TWA Terminal at JFK and a few other buildings that are made entirely of plant parts. What’s special about these models is that they aren’t exact replicas of the structures themselves. Rather, artists have tried to capture the defining characteristics of these buildings. Creator Paul Busse, along with his team of artists gathers the material from woodlands around their studio situated in Kentucky, making an effort not to disturb the natural environment. The 100% natural models are created from plant material, with acorn chimney tops and magnolia leaf roofs. The reproduction of Washington Irving’s home has pink orchids surrounding it, one of the branches wrapped like a vine around the entrance. Small plants and flowers are used to depict trees and bushes on a perfectly manicured front lawn.

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Man Wins Lamborghini Murcielago, Crashes It in a Matter of Hours

David Dopp was in the news last month, for winning a Lamborghini. Then again last weekend, for wrecking it.

Dopp, a resident of Santaquin, Utah, won a lime green Murcielago Roadster worth $380,000 at a giveaway contest held by Maverick store. Sometime last month, the official announcement was made by the contest organizers at a college football game. On learning that he had won the car, Dopp was jumping up and down excitedly, a spectacle that was videotaped and broadcast on the local news. He received the car last Saturday, and 6 hours later, had crashed it. “Yeah, I got it on Saturday and I wrecked it on Saturday,” he said to local TV stations.

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Eat Like a Caveman at Berlin’s Sauvage Restaurant

A new restaurant in Berlin insists upon feeding its customers with the food that cavemen devoured. So basically, no bread, sugar, or cheese on the menu.

The Sauvage Restaurant proudly announces their ‘Real Food Revolution – Paleolithic cuisine!’ Guests are served dishes that contain ingredients most-likely used by hunter-gatherers. The owners of this place unsurprisingly adhere to the Paleolithic movement, which prescribes a lifestyle of a Paleo diet, lots of exercise, high contact with nature and sunlight, minimal clothing, plenty of sleep and spending a lot of time barefoot. Diners are served their meals at candle-lit tables. The food served consists of organic, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and herbs. Some of the exercises of the caveman-era are also mimicked by the owners such as  lifting boulders and running barefoot. To emulate the loss of blood that cavemen endured in their hunt for food, they regularly donate blood. These practices are recommended to guests as well, but they could just stick to the Paleo food if they wish.

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Beer Makes Its Way onto the Candy Market for the Holidays

Chocolate has traditionally been seen as a gift appropriate for women. But here’s something that gives it a manly twist – beer flavored candy.

Beer has been used as a candy flavoring for quite some time now and is something that many chocolatiers are experimenting with. The earliest known beer candy was introduced around three years ago, by Nicole Green. Ms. Green is the proprietor of Truffle Truffle, an online confectioner. Their top-selling product is the “Beer and Pretzel Collection.” The collection consists of goodies such as the beer-and-pretzel truffles and caramels, beer brittle and beer marshmallows.

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Scottish Bar Serves Heart-Stopping Deep-Fried Butter

We’ve heard of deep-fried Mars bars, ice-cream and butter that originated in the US. A Scottish Bar has now invented a new twist to deep-fried butter, something they say is quite popular with a few customers. Dubbed by some critics as a coronary on a plate and even a heart attack in the plate, this dish is being served at the Fiddler’s Elbow, perhaps for the first time ever in Scotland. The Scottish twist, being an Irn Bru batter.

The entire dish put together consists of the deep-fried butter balls, with an accompaniment of Irn Bru ice cream and coulis. The dish has been named quite aptly, as the “Braveheart Butter Bombs”. The folks at the Fiddler’s Elbow also plan to introduce a variation, using deep-fried whisky instead of Irn Bru. The head chef of the Scottish bar,  Simon Robertson, has been credited with the invention of this dish, along with the help of Paul Fitchie, a former chef at Harvey Nichols. The dessert is created by freezing balls of butter and then dipping them in an Irn Bru batter. These balls are then fried in hot oil, till the golden brown delicacies emerge.

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The Amazing Oak Chapel of Allouville Bellefosse

The French village of Allouville-Bellefosse is famous for the Chêne Chapelle (Oak Chapel), which is literally a chapel built into an oak tree. The amazing architecture consists of a wooden staircase spiraling around the ancient tree, leading up to a couple of chambers. These rooms have always been used as places of worship, by the village locals.

The age of the tree has been a subject of debate, but everyone agrees that it is the oldest tree in France, without a doubt. The tree is known to have been growing as far back as the thirteenth century, during the rule of Louis IX, when France was a truly centralized kingdom. It is also known to have survived the Hundred Years War against the English, the Black Death, the Reformation, and Napoleon’s rule. Local folklore dates it a 1,000 years old, when it is said that the acorn took root. However, tree experts say it could only be around 800 years old, which means the thirteenth century saw it’s origins.

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