Convicts Prove Knitting is Hardcore

The male convicts at the Pre-release Unit in Jessup, Maryland, have a unique story to tell. A story of how they found peace and calm through an unusual activity – knitting. Unusual, because it hardly seems normal to picture a bunch of rough-looking guys sporting tattoos and several teeth missing, sitting quietly, occupied with knitting needles and a bunch of wool.

And yet, it’s true, thanks to the efforts of Lynn Zwerling, the founder of Knitting Behind Bars. 67 year-old Zwerling retired from her job of selling cars in 2005, and then turned her attention to knitting, which was her passion. Initially, she started off with a small knitting group of women in her town. The group grew quickly to around 500 members. According to Zwerling, she observed something Zen-like when she saw women who did not have anything in common sitting quietly beside each other, absorbed in their knitting. She then had the idea to take knitting to prisons, more importantly, male prisoners.

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The Iconic Goat Tower of Fairview

The Fairview Wine and Cheese farm in South Africa is famous for more than just its wine and cheese. Owned and run by Charles Back, it houses a unique monument built for the comfort and use of the farm’s goats – The Goat Tower. Acknowledging the fact that goats love to climb, sometimes even up on livestock, to get a better view, Back first got the idea of the tower some thirty years ago.

The tower, a first of its kind, is built of brick and mortar, and consists of a steep metal roof. It also has a spiral staircase made of wood, and windows too. The goats in Fairview farm have the privilege of climbing the two-story tower at will, resting within it. Since 1981, the tower has become a symbol of the winery, so much so that they produce a wine called “Goats do Roam”. The goat tower is by far, the first known to be built with such a purpose in mind. However, according to Back, the tower was inspired by a similar one his parents had seen during a vacation in Portugal. As a result of that trip the farms first goats were purchased, and the tower built.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #20

90’s Boy-Band, Hanson, to Launch Their Own Beer, Called “MMMHop” (Contact Music)

Pee-Powered Video Games Hit London Pub (The Sun)

Man Has 120 Kg Alligator Pet, Says He’s a Gentle Giant (Daily Mail)

Exploring the Decaying Chambers of an Abandoned Slaughterhouse (Environmental Graffiti)

Ugandan Space Chief Builds Test Craft in Mother’s Muddy Backyard (MSN Photoblog)

China Sets Record for World’s Longest Christmas Cake (NDTV)

Woman Reveals Cement Cheek Implants Done by Fake Doctor (Huffington Post)

600,000 LEGO Bricks Christmas Tree Built in London (Brothers Brick)

12 Incredible Visions of Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Mom Says World of Warcraft Turned Son into Raging Hunchback (Geekologie)

No Snow? No Problem, We’ll Just Ski on Rocks

Although it’s December and the skiing season is officially open, there is no sign of snow in the Tyrol region of Austria. But that’s no reason not to ski, at least not for those brave enough to practice the winter sport on a rock-covered slope.

45 kilometers west of Innsbruck, near the picturesque village of Haiming, skiers have found the perfect place to test out their skiing equipment, even though there’s not one white patch of snow in sight. The brave daredevils climb a rock-covered slope on foot and descend on their skis, leaving a cloud of dust behind them. The rocks aren’t as smooth as snow, and they obviously do a lot of damage to their equipment, but the avid skiers don’t seem to mind, as long as they get to practice their favorite sport. Falling of your skies during a descent on the rocky slope of Haiming isn’t what you’d call a pleasurable experience, that’s why only experienced skiers are advised to try their luck here.

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Restaurant Fines Customers if They Don’t Finish Their Food

The wastage of food is something we often don’t realize, because we tend to think of it as ‘just this once’. In reality we’re all guilty of ordering something on the menu we know we can’t really finish, just out of the temptation to see what it tastes like.

Well, one restaurant has finally decided to put the matter to rest. A Saudi food joint has started charging their customers extra if they order more food than they can eat. Fahad Al Anezi, the owner of Marmar restaurant in the city of Dammam says the move is an attempt to stop the wastage of food and reduce extravagance. According to Al Anezi, he routinely witnesses clients who order large quantities of food in order to impress those around them. He also says that the idea of fining people for leftovers, instead of making him unpopular, has actually been endorsed by the Saudis. In fact, a few customers have said that they’ve learnt their lesson and will only order food that they can finish.

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Kieron Williamson – The 9-Year Old Monet

When 9-Year Old Kieron Williamson’s paintings were put up for sale in Norfolk, England, they were sold out in just 10 minutes. While artists more than twice his age struggle to find buyers for even a single piece of art, Kieron’s story is one that could spark envy in the most established of painters.

It’s always interesting to learn about the early years of artists, especially ones as young as Kieron. According to his parents, he never showed much interest in art or drawing until he was five. A typical energetic child, he was more interested in mud and water, riding his bike and playing with bugs. His inclination towards art was sparked off on a family visit to Cornwall, in 2008. It was here that he had asked for some sheets of paper and began to draw, inspired by the boats in a nearby port. After a few art classes and some lessons from artist Carol Ann Pennington, a family friend, Kieron began to produce masterpieces that people would soon be queuing up to purchase. His first sale was in the summer of 2009, when he sold 19 pictures for £14,000 ($22,000). The latest sale of his paintings have earned him £ 100,000 ($157,000).

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In Thailand, a “Like” on Facebook Can Get You 15 Years in Jail

In older times, it was “off with your head” if you spoke ill of the King. Now, you go to jail for posting your feelings on Facebook about the Thai monarchy, which many of the Thai folk actively do. In fact, over 10,000 pages of material was found on the social networking, containing images or text that is offensive to the royal family.

The Information Minister of Thailand, Anudith Nakornthap, warned the people of Thailand that if users on Facebook so much as even like or share any kind of information insulting the monarchy, the consequences would be severe. Such a person could be charged with violation of the lese majeste laws of the country, and could serve up to 15 years in prison. He also advised people to ‘unlike’ any pages and remove any comments made on similar lines. In a world where democracy and freedom of speech are taken for granted in most countries, this news might come across as quite surprising. I mean, we’ve lost count of the number of jokes made online at the expense of Bush, Palin and the likes. Thailand however, has always been strict in enforcing laws that protect the dignity of the sovereign.

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Design Student Creates Fashionable Dress from Condoms

Apparently, women can now wear condoms too! Thanks to a Vietnamese student, Nguyen Minh Tuan, who created a dress entirely made of condoms.  He made the dress for his graduation project at Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City. The dress is called “Breaking the Condom Taboo” and contains 700 condoms.

Tuan says he created the dress with a purpose – to raise awareness of the use of condoms among the Vietnamese people. According to Tuan, the attitude of the Vietnamese towards sex and safe sex practices needs changing. So he decided to make the dress a part of World AIDS Day on the 1st of December. He hopes that the dress will encourage people to use condoms and protect their loved ones against STDs. The dress itself is quite pretty, and has been getting compliments from designers and models worldwide. In fact, unless the dress is looked at up-close, it’s hard to tell that it has been made from condoms. The dress is being described as quite versatile, designed to suit different body types.

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Oscar Wilde’s Tomb Protected from Dangerous Kisses

Oscar Wilde is famous not just for his writings, but also his tomb. The legendary writer who died of meningitis in a Paris hotel, was buried outside of Paris in a beautiful tomb designed by modernist sculptor Jacob Epstein, decorated with a flying Assyrian-style angel.

The monument, undoubtedly beautiful, was a major attraction for women to plant their kisses on. Indeed, the tomb that had long been victim to increasing graffiti, had a new, pressing issue since 1999 when someone had the idea to plant a big, lipsticked kiss on it. This became the rage for many of Wilde’s admirers visiting Paris. The grease from people’s lips was slowly starting to sink into the stone, causing it great damage.

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Gun Club Offers Photos with Santa and Machine Guns

The holiday season is when most businesses tend to rake in the big bucks, thanks to promotional offers and discounts. A gun club in Arizona has apparently decided to make use of the season too, by offering its customers the chance of posing for photographs with Santa while holding military-style rifles and pistols.

According to Ron Kennedy, the general manager of the Scottsdale Gun Club, this is a fun way for people to express their holiday spirit, and also their passion for firearms. The photo event was held last weekend and about 500 people attended. He says that the photos are being uploaded to Facebook and also being used on Christmas holiday cards. It is interesting to note that kids were allowed to pose for the photographs too.

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Crazy Drinking Habits: Teens Drink Bleach to Pass Drug Tests

Where there is a will there is a way, they say, and this definitely seems to hold good for teens these days. Especially the ones on drugs. While it is no secret that a vast number of teenagers choose to use illegal substances these days, it is shocking to see the lengths to which they would go, in order to pass a drug test.

Drug testing is common in almost all schools across America. Testing positive could be devastating for kids, because it could mean getting kicked off a sports team or other important events. Students have always devised new methods to pass the test, and the latest according to the Sheriff’s Office of Mobile County, Alabama, is bleach. Yes, teens are actually ingesting bleach in the hope that it will purge any traces of drugs that they have consumed. While there are several products advertised on the internet that claim to help wash away drugs from the system in the form of drinks, chewable tablets, etc., teenagers seem to be throwing caution and common sense to the wind, looking no further than the kitchen sink. According to Sergeant Joe Mahoney, the Sheriff’s office has seen cases where kids have ingested straight bleach that caused significant damage to the body.

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World’s First Sex School Opens in Vienna

If you felt that Sex Ed classes in school were rather inadequate, we have some good news for you. There is now a school that provides courses related exclusively to sexual education, and includes practical instructions as well.

The Austrian International School of Sex (AISOS) will soon be open to students near Vienna. The opening was announced by the headmistress of the school, Ylva Maria Thompson. The vision of the school, according to Thompson, is to teach people how to be better lovers. She goes on to say that people spend time and money on training their mind, muscles, and fitness, but do not spend enough effort on developing their love-making skills. This is precisely what the sex school hopes to address.

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Jill Price – The Woman Who Cannot Forget

The human race has long been fascinated by superpowers. So much so, that many superheroes have been created for our entertainment, with every conceivable type of power. But, what about the power of a super memory? Would that be considered a gift, or a curse? And what if there was a real person born with this gift?

Well, it turns out there is. 42-year old Jill Price, from California, can remember every single event in her life, in chronological order, from the time she was 12. She remembers literally everything that has ever happened to her, and around her, everything that was on television and major world events. Just give her a date from, say, 10 years ago, and she’ll tell you what day of the week it was and everything that happened that day. As remarkable as it may sound, I wonder if this gift of ‘super memory’ is really a gift at all. I mean, there doesn’t seem to be much use it could be put to, not right now anyway. And imagine going through your life remembering everything that ever happened in it. Wouldn’t you agree that there are some things best forgotten?

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Incredible Portraits Made with Dripped Plasticine

Argentinian art collective Mondongo creates incredibly detailed portraits by using dripped and molded Plasticine. I can’t imagine how much time they spend getting the skin tones just right.

We’ve posted our share of impressive portraits here on OC, made from the most unusual materials (from pancakes and chewing gum to written words), but few more detailed than the masterpieces created by Mondongo. The art collective, which consists of  Juliana Laffitte, Manuel Mendanha and Agustina Picasso, was founded in 1999 and has worked with  a huge variety of materials, from food to plasticine, depending on what best reinforces the concept of the work. Mondongo, which is the name of a traditional Argentinian tripe stew, was chosen precisely becomes the art collective creates its work from a cauldron of ingredients.

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Saimir Strati Creates Impressive Mosaic from One Million Coffee Beans

Saimir Stari, one of the world’s most famous mosaic artists, is working on yet another mind-blowing masterpiece, this time using approximately one million coffee beans.

The Albanian artist known for creating large-scale art pieces made with the most unusual art mediums (from cork screws and toothpicks to paintbrushes) has recently started work on another massive mosaic, this time mad of coffee beans. Entitled “One World, One Family, One Coffee”, the original mosaic features five characters, each representing a different continent. As you might have guessed, the objective of Strati’s work is to inspire of sense of unit across the world. The patient artist is painstakingly working on his one million coffee beans mosaic in Tirana, Albania, and plans on completing the project on December 12. When finished, his unique artwork will measure 25 square meters and weigh 140 kilograms. As with his other impressive mosaic, Saimir Strati will most likely set a new Guinness record with his coffee bean project.

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