Russians Blow Up Their Own Weapons

Russia’s blow-up weapons might seem funny, but they play a crucial role in the country’s strategy to keep their real arsenal hidden from prying eyes.

The inflatable decoys were commissioned by the Russian government, to protect their real military capabilities from surveillance satellites. The company making them, Rusbal, says they imitate the heat signature of real military vehicles and look so realistic that’s it’s easy to mistake them for the real thing, even from short distances.

These blow-up weapons are only around 100 kg heavy and can be easily transported and set up by small teams, in a matter of minutes. They’ll also stay intact in case of gunfire or small explosions.

Even though this type of inflatable decoys have been very popular in World War II and the Cold War, they are just as important and useful now as they were then. Rusbal says they are now creating inflatable decoys for Russia and several other Western countries.

Photos via CCTV

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Saimir Strati – The Master of Mosaics

One of the world’s best known mosaic artists, Saimir Strati, from Albania, has created some of the most original and impressive mosaics in history. For his creations he has been rewarded with four Guinness Records and international fame. From nails to paintbrushes, Strati can almost any kind of material to create amazing mosaic masterpieces. Let’s have a look at his four most memorable achievements:

The photos used in this post are copyright of Saimir Strati and mosaicart-sast.

Nail Leonardo Da Vinci mosaic

In 2006, Saimir Strati would shock the art world with his giant mosaic of Leonardo Da Vinci, made entirely from nails. It was 6 1/2 x 13 feet and held over 800 lbs of nails. Each nail acted as a pixel, rising and falling to depict every detail of Da Vinci’s face.

It took 500,000 nails and 24 days to complete, but this nail mosaic won Saimir Strati his first Guinness Record, for the World’s Biggest Nail Mosaic.


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Who Knew Snails Could Grow This Big

Giant African Snails are the largest species of snails on the planet, with a shell that can grow up to 30 cm long and 15 cm in diameter.

Native to the tropical forests of Ghana, Africa, Giant African Snails live in tropical conditions, with no natural enemies. That, combined with the fact each snail can lay up to twelve hundred eggs per year, makes their large population, a problem. wherever a colony of these giant snails settles down, all other species of tree snails go extinct. Their insatiable appetite for any kind of plants and fruits, makes Giant African Snails pests, in their homeland. Just so you can get an idea, these things eat even the stucco and paint, buildings.

Like all snails, GAS are hermaphrodite and very prolific. Just one pair of snails can turn into an 8 to 10 billion colony, in their 5-7 year life span. Another half cycle like this, and we’re looking at 16 quadrillion giant crawlers. It’s a scary image, especially since they can bury themselves for up to 6 months, if the climate isn’t right for them

While they’re regarded as parasites, in Africa, in the Western World, Giant African Snails are some of the most coveted pets on the market, because of their intelligence and ability to reproduce sounds. Actually, I’m pulling your leg, people just like them because their huge, slimy and hard to come by.

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The Cyborg Plant of Gilberto Espaza

Nomadic Plants is a quirky project of Mexican artist, Gilberto Espaza, that possible symbiosis between vegetation and technology.

This is not Gilberto Espaza’s first such project. Last year, he unleashed his Urban Parasites on Mexico City. The small machines, made from recycled consumer goods, roamed the urban area in search of power sources they could feed on.

This year, the Mexican artist has an even more interesting project prepared. His Nomadic Plants installation focuses on the symbiosis between plants, micro-organisms and technology. A few river plants and bacteria live inside the Nomadic Plants robot, and whenever the life-forms inside it need nourishment, the machine searches the nearest polluted water-source and “drinks” from it.

A microbial fuel cell process decomposes the water’s elements and turns them into energy for the robot, and the rest is used to feed the plants and organisms inside. Gilberto Espaza said he was inspired to create this cyborg plant after reading about the microbial fuel cell that inspired him to take on the theme of environment pollution.

The Nomadic Plants installation is on display at Laboral Art and Industrial Creation Center, in Gijon, Spain, until June 2010.

via We Make Money Not Art

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102-Year-Old Student Proves You’re Never to Old to Learn

Ma Xiuxian never had the opportunity to attend school, as a child, but she is making up for that in her later years.

The 102-year old Chinese woman, from Jinan, Shandong province, began working at a cotton mill, at the age of 13, and married when she was only 18. She gave birth to nine children, seven of which attended universities. Her children remember Ma Xiuxian and her husband made great sacrifices, in order to support their studies, but never got the chance to fulfill her own dream, of going to school, for the first time.

After being interviewed by a local newspaper, and revealing her dream, on March 31, Ma Xiuxian was invited to the Weishan Road Elementary School, to attend her first class. Equipped with a schoolbag and a large magnifying glass (for reading), Ma entered the class in the applause of her primary school classmates. The 102-year-old student commented she was very proud to be able to go to school, and that she will study hard to bring her contribution to the motherland.

Photos by QUIRKY CHINA NEWS/REX FEATURES

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The Cool Robotic Sculptures of Andrea Petrachi

Italian artist, Andrea Petrachi uses things most other people throw away, to create amazing robotic sculptures.

Milan-based Andrea Petrachi was born in 1975, in the Italian city of Lecce, and quickly began taking things apart. Nobody suspected such a seemingly destructive activity would eventually stand at the base of his artistic genius. He takes old stuff like broken electronics, used toys and recycled materials, breaks them into pieces, and reassembles them as cool robotic sculptures.

Known also as “Himatic” Andrea Petrachi currently works as a video editor for RAI television. Feel free to check out his entire portfolio of unique robotic figurines, on his official site.

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Indian Students Write World’s Longest Letter to God

A group of students from an Indian university celebrated their silver jubilee year, by setting a new world record for the longest letter.

The Brahmakumaris youth wing of Gujarat University found an original way to celebrate their silver jubilee year, the university’s diamond jubilee year and 600 years since the establishment of Ahmedabad city. They decided to organize an event where people could write their own letter to God.

In just 3 hours time, 2,800 people wrote down their feelings of gratitude for their happy lives and also asked the removal of poverty and protection from terrorism, corruption and other evils. The letter ended up being 2,841 feet long.

Participants were grateful for such an occasion to thank God for everything He helped them achieve in life, and organizers say this kind of event is perfect for people who want to learn how to write letters to God.

The previous record for the World’s Longest Letter was established by 2,000 of my Romanian countrymen who wrote a 1,358 feet-long letter for Santa Claus.

via WorldAmazingRecords

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Chinese Seamstress Works with Her Feet

Born without arms, Liu Jianming has learned to sew using her feet, ever since she was a teenager. and still creates beautifully embroidered works of art.

The old seamstress could never afford to rent or buy a shop, to work in, so she spends her days working on a street corner, in the Chinese city of Kunming, Yunnan province. What other seamstresses struggle to do with their hands, she accomplishes with only her feet, and while there are those who doubt her abilities, they become believers, once they see her at work.

But as she’s getting older, her job becomes more and more difficult. Her feet are just as nimble as they’ve always been, but her eyesight isn’t what it used to be. Still, Liu Jianming continues to sew, as it’s her only way of supporting herself.

Photos by europics via austriantimes

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Chinese Cooking Robot Cooks Over 600 Dishes

It’s official, China is trying to get this cooking thing completely automated. A week after a retired engineer presented his DIY robot cook, another springs up .

The students of Yangzhou University, in Yangzhou, China partnered up with an enterprise from Shenzen, to create a fully automated robotic cook. Their result is nothing short of impressive, considering the machine can cook over 600 dishes from Chinese cuisine. All anyone has to do is put in the necessary ingredints, program the robot and weight for the dish to be served.

Bad news for Liu Changfa, the retired engineer who presented his own patented robot cook. Iguess hi dream of selling one to every restaurant in China, won’t be coming true, after all.

Photos by Zhao Jun/Xinhua

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Wet Monday in the Ukraine

Known as an ancient tradition, in central-European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic, Wet Monday appears to be very popular in Ukraine, as well. It takes place on the second day of Easter

Wet Monday started out, in Poland,as a pagan custom that symbolize cleansing, with the coming of Spring. When Christianity became the main religion, Wet Monday was adopted as a Christian ritual, related to cleansing souls of sins. The truth is people loved this tradition so much, they found a way to keep it, by associating it with religion.

On Wet Monday. boys and men armed with bottles and buckets of water, chase after girls and splash them from head to toe. According to the original custom, the most beautiful girl in a village would be the wettest, but nowadays, boys just splash any girl they see. At one point, the tradition got so out of hand that boys threw buckets of water, at girls, threw their car windows.

With the current water shortage the world is facing right now, some would say this is a terrible waste, but the boys with water bottles wouldn’t dream of abandoning this ancient tradition. just look at those happy faces.

The photos below were taken on Wet Monday, in the Ukrainian city of Lviv. They are copyright of  Yurko Dyachyshyn.

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Chocolate Rolling Stones Spotted in Spain

It took 65 kg of chocolate but the Rolling Stones never looked this tasty. Even that big-mouthed Mick Jagger looks good enough to eat.

It all started with a dream. Alberto Dorna Pujol, the owner of a Catalan pastry shop always dreamed his idols, The Rolling Stones, would once play in his shop window. Since the chance of the real Stones coming to the town of Berga, to play in a pastry shop, were pretty slim, he decided to fulfill his dream, by taking advantage of an old Catalan Easter tradition.

Catalans usually make chocolate figures on Easter, and since Alberto is a master chocolatier, he decided to make the figures of  the legendary Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, out of chocolate. The result is impressive, and attracted a lot of attention to his Dolceria Pujol pastry shop. Well done!

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The Tasty-Looking Miniatures of Stephanie Kilgast

Young French artist, Stephanie Kilgast, creates the most delicious-looking miniatures that you could never shove down your throat, since their made of plastic. But if you like staring at your food, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Great things can come out of being bored, and Stephanie Kilgast is the perfect example. She discovered her passion for miniatures, in 2007, when she was looking for a new hobby, to keep her occupied. She realized creating miniatures took her back to when she was just a little girl, making tiny foods, out of clay, for her Barbie dolls.

Her new passion just grew and grew, until she realized she wanted to dedicate her entire life to making food miniatures. She struggled to get her architecture degree and now she’s a full time artizan. The best thing about her tiny creations is that they can be worn as jewelry. Ever dreamed of having two ice-cream cones as earrings? Well, now you can, courtesy of Miss Stephanie Kilgast.

She sells her tasty-looking miniatures on sites like Etsy and Dawanda, and you can check out all her creations on PetitPlat.fr.

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Vintage Ford Mustang Becomes Creepy Artcar

Some people have a thing about covering their cars with the strangest stuff, but a 1969 Ford Mustang? There are those who would consider this to be blasphemy.

From the Pen Guy’s pen-covered Mercedes and General Carbunkle to the Camera Van and the plush-toys-covered Corolla, we’ve seen quite a number of vehicles covered in the most bizarre memorabilia, and this Mustang artcar makes a nice addition to our automotive collection.

Spotted on the streets of Alameda, California, this 1969 Mustang is covered in skulls, skeletons, clowns and creepy Jack-in-the-Box dolls. As you can imagine, people were circling this 4-wheeled mutant, trying not to miss any details. It’s nice, if you’re into strange-looking pimped-out rides, but Mustang fans could have a meltdown.

Jalopnik via AutoRoyalty

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German Hotel on Wheels Takes Tourists around the World

The Rotel, a combination between a bus and a hotel, has been conducting worldwide tours for the last 50 years.

Yes, the Rotel is kind of like an RV, only it will take you to the end of the world, if the price is right. Rotel Tours was founded by a German entrepreneur (ironically named George Hotel), in 1959, and has since then conducted tours all around the world. From the mountains of Tibet to the scorching Sahara Desert, or the famous Taj Mahal, there’s literally no place the Rotel can’t take German tourists.

Featuring three-foot-wide and three-foot-high bunks, accessible through a zippered curtain, Rotel isn’t exactly the most comfortable hotel in the world, but it’s the only one that will take you around the world. The only serious problem is, while the Rotel features a bathroom, there are no showers. But the tour operator says its mobile hotels do make occasional stops, specifically for bathing purposes.

Source : Rotel.de via Jalopnik

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Rainbow Eucalyptus – Nature’s Painted Tree

It might look like someone painted these by hand, but the only artist responsible for these living works of art, is Mother Nature.

The incredible looking Rainbow Eucalyptus is the only species of eucalyptus that grows in the northern hemisphere. It can grow to impressive heights, of up to 70 meters, and it is normally grown for its pulpwood, used to create white paper. There are many other interesting facts regarding Rainbow Eucalyptus, but the obvious question arises: why does it look like it’s been painted?

The secret behind the Rainbow Eucalyptus is actually pretty simple. The trees shed multiple patches of bark every year, but not at the same time. As the patches are gone, the green inner bark is exposed, and, as it matures, every new patch first turns bluish, then orange, purple and maroon. This creates the rainbow effect that makes these trees so nice to look at.

Rainbow Eucalyptus can be found in New Guinea, New Britain and the Philippines.

via Kuriositas

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