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Texas Blind Man Builds His Dream Home

Some folks seem to think blind people can barely perform the most mundane tasks without needing assistance, but Thomas Graham, a blind man with a vision, is proving them all wrong by building his dream house.

Thomas Graham, from Bullard, Texas, was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face when he was only 18 years old. He was in a dark place for a long time after that, until a neighbor gave him an old cane and with it the hope that he could still live a happy life and fulfill his dreams. He attended a rehabilitation institute in Austin, and took a class called Industrial Art, where a blind teacher taught him everything he needed to know about building things. “I noticed when I shook hands with him that he had all of his fingers so I figured it was okay to learn from him,” Graham remembers about his teacher. He had always had a hand for construction, but he didn’t have the eyes to go with it anymore, so he had to learn how to use all the usual construction tools without hurting himself. This April, after being laid off from his job at the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind, Thomas finally decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of building his own home, and in just a month and a half he finished the entire wooden skeleton of the house.

Thomas-Graham

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Talented Artist Carves Layered Portraits into Pieces of Cardboard

English artist Giles Oldershaw has a very unique talent. He can take discarded pieces of cardboard, the kind pizza boxes are made of, and turn them into amazing portraits of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando using only the cardboard’s layers to highlight their features.

58-year-old Giles Oldershaw is not the world’s first artist to choose cardboard as his favorite medium. Renowned artist Chris Gilmour has been building detailed cardboard landscapes for years, and Scott Fife’s realistic cardboard busts have won him international acclaim, but Giles sets himself apart through his unique creative process. He begins by drawing the outlines of his portraits on a piece of cardboard with a pencil, then uses an assortment of tools like tweezers, scalpels and scissors to remove certain layers of corrugation, card and protective coating to give his artworks more depth. The actor-turned-artist says no ink, paint or charcoal of any kind is used to highlight the facial features of his subjects. From a distance, Oldershaw’s portraits resemble sepia paintings, but on closer inspection, the images reveal the high level of technical skill involved in their creation.

cardboard-portraits

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Chinese Undergo Plastic Surgery to Change Their Destiny

In the Western world, most people undergo cosmetic procedures like rhinoplasty, eye lifts and chin implants in their quest for a youthful and attractive appearance, but in China they are considered sure ways of improving one’s fortune and changing fate.

According to Mian Xiang, the ancient Chinese Art of Face Reading, a person’s facial features compared to their date of birth say a lot about their future. For example, small and sparse eyebrows show a lack of vitality and strength, whereas a hidden mole within the eyebrows indicates a successful break and monetary gain. A “double forehead” or a full prominent forehead means that person is very intelligent and has the capacity to retain a lot of information, while the bulbous end of the nose is called a “wealth palace” and its size and shape reveal a man’s ability to store wealth, and a woman’s chances of finding a rich and supportive husband. Basically the shape, size, placement and color of each facial feature is believed to reflect an individual’s health, personality traits, luck and future career prospects. In order to improve their chances of hitting it big in business, finding true love or improving their luck, many Chinese have their features altered according to the instructions of face reading masters.

plastic-surgery

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Man Builds Replicas of Iconic Movie Cars for Fun

Jerry Patrick, an automobile enthusiast from Newnan, Georgia, has been building cars for the last three decades, but a few years ago he got bored with the usual Camaros and Mustangs, so he decided to test his skills on some truly unique vehicles. Now his garage houses amazingly accurate replicas iconic cars like KITT from Knight Rider, Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine and the Batmobile.

A few years ago, Jerry Patrick decided it would be a great idea to combine his love for cars with his passion for films, so he started building functional replicas of some of the most popular vehicles in movie and TV history. The experienced builder typically has 25 to 35 cars on hand at any one time, as his projects usually require parts from multiple vehicles to create the finished product. His creations start out as beat-down old cars he finds on Craiglist, eBay or by word of mouth, but after months or sometimes years of work they become dream rides that any movie buff would consider themselves lucky to drive. Patrick’s amazing collection includes replicas of Eleanor from Gone in 60 Seconds, Herbie the Love Bug, KITT from Knight Rider, the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo and an awe-inspiring Batmobile complete with retractable machine-guns.

Jerry-Patrick-cars

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Pucker Up and Sing – The World Whistling Championship

Every year, the world’s most passionate whistlers gather in Louisburg, North Carolina, to compete in the annual World Whistling Championship. Whistlers, young and old, are judged on resonance, intonation and stage presence as they interpret some of the most famous concertos and sonatas.

In 1970, Allen De Hart, director of public affairs at Louisburg College, founded the Franklin County and Louisburg College Festival, which focused on traditional music and dance from the southern states. Three years later, Darrel Williams, a contestant from Durham, North Carolina, requested he whistle his original composition rather than sing it. The judges accepted it and they were so impressed with his performance that the annual event soon became the National Whistlers Convention. For the last 40 years, talented whistlers from all around the world have been coming to Louisburg to show off their skills and claim the coveted title of World Whistling Champion. It might sound like a wacky contest to a lot of people, but for the dozens of participants who take part in it every it’s serious business. They spend a lot of time practicing both their whistling and their stage performance, and take special care of their “instruments”, making sure they are in perfect condition on the big day. Kissing apparently makes the lips mushy so some of them adopt a “24-hour no kissing” policy to keep their lips crisp, while others sip ice water right before the performance. The ice constricts the lip tissue, making it nice an smooth and allowing the air to flow properly.

whistling

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Smartphone Panties Protect Your Handheld’s Private Parts

There are plenty of smartphone covers and screen protectors out there, but they all leave your phone’s most thumbed area, the home button, exposed. That’s where the stylish smartphone panties or pantsu come in. They stretch over the base of the device and cover it private parts.

If you haven’t figured it out already, these cheeky accessories were invented in Japan, by the world’s largest toy-maker, Bandai. They lacks any kind of functionality, and actually make it really hard to operate your phone, but Japanese teens thought they were cute and snatched them up quickly when they first hit the market back in march. Following the SmartPants’ success, Bandai has recently launched a new range of silicone smartphone underwear, featuring all kinds of patterns, from animal print to banana and Mount Fuji. There are also a variety of models, from skimpy bikinis to jockstraps and briefs. The stretchy gadget undies are made of silicone to fit most smartphone models and cost ¥200 ($2) a piece. You can find them in Gashapon machines (Japanese vending machines) across Japan. If you’re interested, sets of 7 panstu are available on the J-Box online store for $38.50. Kind of expensive for a useless accessory, but they’re guaranteed to make your phone stand out.

Smartphone-panties

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Meet Aevin Dugas, Proud Owner of the World’s Biggest Afro

Aevin Dugas a 38-year-old social worker from Louisiana, holds the Guinness Record for the largest natural afro hairstyle in the world, with a circumference measuring an incredible 4 feet 4 inches (1.32 m). The hairdo has taken over 14 years to grow to its current proportions, and although Aevin is really proud of it, she admits sometimes it can be pretty problematic.

At one point in her life, Aevin Dugas used all kinds of tricks to straighten her curly hair, until she realized that wasn’t what she really wanted. “As a woman you’re told that straight hair is beautiful hair. This is crazy,” she says “The afro is my natural hairstyle and there can’t be anything more beautiful than that”. 14 years ago, inspired by an old photo of her mother sporting an afro, she traded in her straight tresses for a big round hairdo and never looked back. Her hair just kept growing, and in 2010 she set a new world record for the world’s biggest afro, becoming an inspiration for black women to ditch relaxers and go natural. As you can expect, Aevin’s hair draws attention wherever she goes, and while most people just ask her if it’s real, some can’t resist touching it to see for themselves.

Aevin-Dugas

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Talented Florist Creates Blooming Dress Entirely from Flowers

Lisa Dickinson, owner of Manchester florist Venus Flowers, and her team of four florists spent over a week planning and working on a magnificent dress made entirely of flowers. The blooming gown was worn by Boss Model Eleanor Davies during the opening of  this year’s Dig the City festival.

We’ve featured a variety of unique garments in the past, from the prom dress made of homework to the fur coat made of chest hair, but few of them were as lovely as the flower dress created by Lisa Dickinson. When the organizers of  Dig the City, Manchester’s urban gardening festival, asked her to create the unique garment, Lisa admits she felt the task daunting, but once she started planning it became fun. “The challenge was to keep the dress looking fresh for as long as possible, the trick to making the dress endure was to use flowers that wouldn’t wither and die after a few hours, so I made the full skirt of the dress out of wax flowers—which is a really tough shrub—but with delicate sprays of flower heads,” the talented florist explains.

flower-dress

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World’s First Twitter Hotel Caters to Social Media Addicts

If you’re one of those people who can’t stop tweeting even when they are on vacation, you might find the world’s first Twitter-themed hotel, in Magaluf, Spain, to be the perfect summer destination.

Ever-growing customer demands, the need for diversity and the increasing number of social media addicts all over the world have inspired Meliá Hotels International, the leading hotel chain in Spain, to create the world’s first ever Twitter hotel. Located in Magaluf, Mallorca, the @SolWaveHouse Hotel allows guests to interact with its staff and other tourists via text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. The hotel’s General Manager, Gonzalo Echevarría, says “the hotel takes a new step in meeting the expectations of an increasingly experiential and social customer profile, through new technologies.” At the heart of this social-media-themed hotel is #SocialWave, a virtual community accessible only from its wifi via smartphone, tablet or computer. Once they’ve registered with their Twitter accounts, guests can use #SocialWave to connect with other tourists, chat, share photos and even flirt by sending virtual kisses. There’s a special hashtag for pretty much everything, and two Twitter Concierges are always standing by t meet guest requests via Twitter and generate conversation in this virtual community.

SolWaveHouse4

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Can You Believe They’re NOT Photos? The Wildlife Paintings of Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson is one of the world’s most talented wildlife artists. During the last 20 years, he has painted endangered animals in their natural habitats all over the globe using a variety of mediums, from oil paints to pastels.

Growing up in Scotland, Eric Wilson spent most of his childhood days roaming the highland mountains, where his love for nature and wildlife was born. He also displayed great artistic talent very early on, and in 1967 his art teacher confirmed “Eric has an artistic talent way beyond his years”. So you could say it was only natural that he would combine his his love of wildlife and passion for the arts to become a wildlife artist. Unlike many of his colleagues, who use photos as reference for their works, Eric has always believed observing the animals in their natural habitats with just the help of local guides was key to his art. Throughout the years, he has painted lions in South Africa, tigers in Nepal, clouded leopards in Thailand, rhinos in Zimbabwe, wolves in Alberta, chimpanzees in Burundi and even polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, always making sure he included all the correct flora and fauna to create a faithful depiction of the wild.

Eric-Wilson-wildlife

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A Beautiful Mind – The Story of Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations and learn foreign languages in a matter of days. He speaks ten different languages, including Romanian, Gaelic, Welsh, and Icelandic and even made up his own. It’s safe to say he has one of the most extraordinary minds on Earth.

Daniel Tammet was born on January 31 1979, in East London, England. As a young child, Daniel banged his head against the wall and cried constantly. Nobody really knew what was wrong with him, and all doctors could say was that he was understimulated. Then, one day, while playing with his brother, Daniel had an epileptic seizure. He started taking medication and had to go to the hospital every month for blood tests. It was a troubling time for his parents, as one of Daniel’s grandfather suffered from epilepsy and eventually died from it, and they were thinking their son could suffer the same fate. Luckily, the medication worked and he eventually overcame his condition. It was during his childhood that Daniel and his family discovered his brain was different. One day, his brother asked him to multiply a long series of numbers in his head, as a joke, but the boy just closed his eyes, and after five or ten seconds the right answer came out of his mouth. His brother asked him several other questions and his answers were always right. His parents witnessed the whole thing, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it and never pressured him to work his magic in front of other people. They knew he was different, but they wanted him to have a normal life.

Daniel-Tammet

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Some People Walk Their Dogs, Cornman Walks His Fresh Produce

It’s not every day you get to see people dragging vegetables on a leash in the street. Unless you live in Japan, that is. Over the last year, photos of a well-dressed man walking all kinds of produce through Tokyo like they were pets have been surfacing on various social networks. Known as “Cornman”, he has become one of the human attractions of Japan’s capital city.

Until recently, no one really knew who Cornman was or why he was walking produce on a leash. The first known photo of him dragging an ear of corn outside a subway station was tweeted in May of 2012, and ever since then people started sharing pics of the elusive character with all kinds of produce, from cauliflower to radishes. There was a lot of speculation surrounding Cornman and the motives of his bizarre habit. Some people said he was crazy, others that he was just looking for attention, and there were those who claimed he was the loser of a batsu game (a competition or a bet where the loser has to do something embarrassing), but no one knew for sure. Then, a few days ago, Cornman appeared on a Japanese TV show and talked about himself and his produce pets.

Cornman-Japan

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World’s Largest Drum Set Includes 813 Pieces and It’s Still Growing

56-year-old Mark Temperato has spent the last 36 years assembling the world’s largest drum kit. The amazing instrument is made up of 813 individual pieces, including drums, cymbals and bells, and its creator needs an hour to hit every one of them.

Mark Temperato has always had a thing for drums. He has been building his custom drum set for the past 36 years, and he’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. A reverend at the Breath of Worship Church, in Lakeville, New York, Mark, who also goes by the name “RevM” has been using the popular musical instrument to “praise God” and get His word out “in a very different way”. Adding new pieces to his set every year, the amateur musician always thought he had the biggest drum kit in the world, but it wasn’t until his two sons, who are also drummers, prompted him to contact Guinness Records that he considered making the title official. Last year, RevM finally got his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records after managing to hit every one of the 340 drums and cymbals from a sitting or standing position without taking a step to either side. But the newly-obtained titled only fueled his obsession with drums even more, so he spent the last few months adding hundreds of new components to his set which currently numbers 813 different pieces.

biggest-drum-set

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Chinese Get Their Feet Wet at Chongqing’s Unique River Restaurant

Aptly named the River Cafe, one restaurant in Chongqing, southern China, has come up with an ingenious way of attracting clients. Taking advantage of a nearby stream, the owners have set up dozens of tables straight on the water, offering patrons a cool escape from the unbearable heat.

With summer temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius, the Chinese are always looking for new and enjoyable ways to cool off. The River Cafe, in Chongqing, is inviting locals and tourists to take off their shoes and grab a seat in the waters of a cooling stream. Since it’s too hot to serve their delicious food inside or in the sun, the managers of this popular venue have decided to set up most of the tables straight on the water, under the shade of trees. The pop-up restaurant now has more tables in the stream than it has on land, which can seat up to 300 people at a time. The water doesn’t look very clean, and you can see plastic bottles floating through the plastic tables, but it beats facing the scorching sun or going to overcrowded swimming pools like the famous Dead Sea of China.

River-Restaurant-Chongqing

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China’s Dead Sea – Probably the World’s Most Crowded Swimming Pool

If you think your local swimming pool becomes unbearably crowded on hot summer days, just check out these photos of the so-called Dead Sea, a salt-water swimming pool in China’s Daying County where thousands of people gather every weekend to escape the heat.

Inspired by the real Dead Sea in the Middle East, the Chinese resort build around an underground salt-water lake in Daying County covers an area of 30,000 square meters and is able to accommodate up to 10,000 swimmers at one time. It’s pretty big even for Chinese standards, but apparently not big enough. According to the Chinese press, over 15,000 people, most of them equipped with large swim rings, descended upon this popular summer retreat last Sunday making it look like a giant bowl of human cereal. I’m not even sure the term “swimming pool” even applies to this place on such occasions, considering it’s nearly impossible to move without hitting somebody, let alone flap your hands and feet to swim. The good thing about this place is the high salinity of the water which makes “swimmers” float freely, so there’s no real risk of going under. If that were to happen I can’t see how a person could rise up again…

Dead-Sea-pool

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