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Meet Varya Akulova, the World’s Strongest Girl

Varya Akulova is one of those extraordinary human beings most people have never even heard of. Often referred to as “The World’s Strongest Girl”, Varya holds two Guinness records and is able to lift up to four times her own body weight.

Born in 1992, in the Ukrainian mining town of Krivoy Rog, Varya Akulova showed remarkable physical abilities from a very young age. When she was just one year old, Varya could do a handstand, at one and a half she did flips, at three years of age she started performing acrobatic routines with her parents, and by age four she was already doing powerlifting exercises with massive weights. When Varya’s mother, Larisa, became pregnant, her father, Yuri, started making plans about performing in the circus with his yet-unborn strong son, but when his wife gave birth to a girl, he knew his dreams would never materialize. But as the days went by, Yuri began to realize that with the right training, his daughter could become as strong as a man. The girl had stronger arms and legs than most babies her age, and soon he became certain Varya had inherited the Akulovs’ legendary strength. Historically, his ancestors served at the court of Catherine II and became known for their amazing abilities and toughness during the Russian – Turkish wars. And as the years passed, it became clear Varya was truly an Akulov, able to lift massive weights when other girls her age were busy playing with dolls.

Varya-Akulova

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The Drinkable Masterpieces of a Japanese Anime Latte Artist

If you’re a fan of coffee and Japanese anime, you’re going to love these amazingly detailed latte portraits of famous Japanese cartoon characters. They are the creations of Twitter user, Sugi, who only started doing latte art a year ago.

I’m a big fan of coffee art, whether it’s executed directly on a cup of joe or on a canvas, using the delicious medium as paint, so when I saw these incredible works of anime art I just couldn’t resist sharing them with you guys. If you thought latte hearts and leaves were cool, Sugi’s designs are probably going to blow your mind. The talented Japanese barista only took up coffee art last April, but she is already able to create unbelievable portraits of anime characters like Sailor Moon or Naruto in stunning detail. Using only toothpicks, chocolate syrup for the dark areas and cocktail syrups for the other colors, Sugi hand-draws two-three of her beautiful artworks every day. So far, she has created over 800 latte masterpieces, and posted photos of them on her Twitter page.

anime-coffee-art

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Chinese DIY Wiz Builds His Very Own Scrap-Part Robot

Tao Xiangli, a 37-year-old inventor from Beijing, China, has spent over 150,000 yuan ($25,000) and more than 11 months building a functional robot made of scrap parts and wires bought from second-hand markets.

In China, Tao Xiangli is known as a DIY genius, with a collection of amazing home-made creations under his belt. Three years ago, he made headlines in international media after building a submarine all by himself, and today he’s back to with another impressive achievement – a 496lb (225kg) robot he pieced together in his small Beijing apartment. “He’s ugly, but he’s kind of awesome,” Tao said about the  2.1-meter-tall metal behemoth  that can apparently perform simple movements and even mimic human actions by using infrared rays. It can turn its neck, raise its legs and even shake hands at the flick of a switch on the board located on its back. Instead of crating a humanoid casing for his robot, Tao Xiangli decided to leave it “naked”so viewers could see every one of the over 110 scrap parts and 3,000 lengths of wiring required to make it work. To make it easier on the eyes, the young Chinese inventor fitted his robots with strips of bright neon cabling.

home-made-robot

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Meet Ai Hasegawa, the Woman Who Wants to Give Birth to a Shark

With a population nearing nine billion people and food shortages becoming increasingly problematic, the human race needs sustainable solutions if it wants to survive. Japanese designer Ai Hasegawa has come up with a very controversial approach to solving environmental and food-related issues – the possibility of women giving birth to various animal species and eventually eating them.

In one of her most intriguing projects yet, “I Wanna Deliver a Shark…”, Ai Hasegawa tackles “the problem of human reproduction in an age of over-population and environmental crisis.” She envisions the possibility of humans one day giving birth to their food and satisfying both their nutritional needs and that of giving life. The 33-year-old says having a human baby isn’t as simple as some people think, especially with our world about to face a major food crisis. She argues that bringing new humans into this world is definitely not the answer, but giving birth to endangered animal species might be just what we need to survive. “We are genetically predisposed to raise children as a way of passing on our genes to the next generation but we live in an age where the struggle to raise a child in decent conditions is becoming harder with gross over-population and difficult environmental conditions,” Hasegawa says. “We must also eat, and we are equally facing growing food shortages as a result of over-fishing, land use and a growing population. By giving birth to an edible animal it might place more value on that endangered species and help prevent it’s extinction.”

Ai-Hasegawa

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Clothing in a Can – Designer Mixes Fashion and Science to Create Spray-On Fabric

Spanish fashion designer Manel Torres is the man behind the world’s first spray-on clothing, which is applied directly on the body and can be washed and worn again just like your regular clothes.

It may sound like something out of a futuristic film, but Manel Torres actually patented his amazing spray-on clothing back in the year 2000. He came up with this original idea while studying for his MA in Fashion Women’s Wear, at the Royal College of Art, London. Torres was aware of the slow process of creating regular garments, from weaving the actual fabric to dyeing it and tailoring the clothing items, so he tried to come up with “a futuristic, seamless, quick and comfortable material.” I’m sure most of you can come up with even more outrageous concepts than a spray-on fabric, but the Spanish designer was determined to make his a reality. Since he had no real knowledge of chemistry he sought the help of scientists at the London Imperial College, and after years of research and testing, Manel invented the spray that turns into a wearable second skin in contact with the human body.

spray-clothing

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The Chillout Ice Cafe Is Literally a Very Cool Place to Hang Out

In the desert city of Dubai, summer temperatures average at about 40 degrees Celsius, so the last thing you’d expect to be able to do in this place is chill out in a sub-zero climate. But this is the UAE, where almost everything is possible, if you have the money. Welcome to the Chillout Ice Cafe!

Tourism is a huge part of Dubai’s economy, as it supports the entire emirate’s retail and hospitality industries, so in order to keep people coming to this desert paradise, local entrepreneurs have invested heavily in all kinds of unique attractions, from the stunning Burj Al Arab hotel to a palm-shaped artificial archipelago, and even an ice cafe where visitors can hang out at -6 degrees Celsius, surrounded by nothing but ice. Located in the Times Square shopping mall, right next to the famous Dubai Ski Dome, where people can actually ski down artificial snow slopes, the Chillout Cafe is made entirely of carved ice, including ice curtains, frosty tables and seats covered with fur, ice chandeliers, as well as beautiful sculptures highlighted by fluorescent lights. The cutlery, plates and glasses are also made of ice. Talk about a cool place to hide away from the scorching sun.

Chillout-Cafe-Dubai

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The Meticulously Woven Mugshots of Joanne Arnett

American artist Joanne Arnett combines photography and embroidery into an amazing new art form. Using thread and steel wire, she is able to reproduce people’s mugshots in photo-like quality.

We’ve featured some impressive embroidered artworks on Oddity Central in the past, but Joanne Arnett’s masterpieces are in a class of their own. Living and working near the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, the talented artist hand-weaves every photo onto a canvas made of steel wire. According to The Jealous Curator, “she weaves large scale portraits with wire so the face is visible when light bounces off it. The images shift, like a giant daguerreotype from positive to negative depending on where the viewer stands, or sometimes they completely disappear into the plane of fabric.” It’s simply amazing how she can turn these embarrassing mugshots into something so beautiful, and the fact that she names every work of art after the subject’s sentence just adds to their charm. If you thought weaving and embroidery were just outdated crafts your grandmother used to practice, Joanne Arnett’s stunning artworks will definitely change your mind.

woven-mugshots

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The Huli Warriors of Papua New Guinea and Their Elaborate Wigs

The Huli Wigmen are a tribe that inhabit several villages in Papua New Guinea. They are known both as some of the most fierce warriors in the region and as masterful “hairstylists”who craft flamboyant wigs out of their own hair.

Not much is known about the origins of the Huli men’s tradition of crafting wigs from their own hair. When researchers discovered the tribe, they were already practicing the custom, and since they are believed to have lived in the area for at least 1,000 years, the tradition must have been developed sometime during this period. Males in their late teenage years and early 20’s leave their community behind and go to Bachelor school, where older man teach them all about manhood, including how to make beautiful wigs from their own hair. They are sequestered in the jungle for at least 18 months, after which they can return to their villages or stay a while longer to acquire more knowledge and improve their skills. The wig-making process starts with the trainees growing out their hair. When it’s big enough, the shaping of the wigs begins while the hair is still attached to their heads. Most of the shapes are saucer-like, so the men have to sleep with bricks and other objects under their heads to keep their heads off the ground and prevent the hair from getting flattened.

Huli-wigmen

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Panamanian Mr. T Is a Coconut Peeling Machine

I pity the fool who would dare try to compete with 64-year-old Andres Gardin in a coconut peeling contest. The Mr T. lookalike has been using his strong teeth to peel off the fruit’s hardened shell for over 50 years, but he is till waiting for Guinness to add his name to their famous record book.

The B.A. Baracus fan from Rio Alexander, a small and humble town in the province of Colon, Panama, has been entertaining neighbors and colleagues with his amazing talent for over half a century. While most men his age are thinking about retirement and playing with their grandchildren, Andres Gardin is busy using his vice-like jaws to peel off coconuts. He’s been doing it since he was just 11 years old, after seeing his own father use his teeth to angrily bite through a coconut that had fallen on his head, knocking him unconscious. He reckons he has since then peeled off over 100,000 coconuts, and claims his dentures are as strong as they’ve ever been. Still, he says ripping off the fruit’s tough shell is not as easy as it looks; it requires strong jaws and teeth, as well as the power of God. Gardin’s biggest wish is to have his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records. He says he can peel 500 coconuts in just six and a half ours, more than enough to beat any who would dare challenge him, yet no official has ever come to verify his feats.

Andres-Gardin

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Sharkskin Designer Gloves Are a Real Pain to Take Off

If you’re looking for a pair of comfortable designer gloves, stay away from Sruli Recht’s pain-inducing mitts. The Australian designer used an inner lining made of basking shark skin, which features thousands of hook-like scales.

From the outside, Sruli Recht’s Lasting Impression looks like a nice and soft basking shark skin glove, but there’s a thorny surprise waiting inside for would-be wearers. The eccentric designer decided to fit the interior of his creation with thousands of sharp hook-like scales, all directed inward. That means the gloves are easy to put on, but literally a pain to take off. “Should you put your hand in, you will discover that the thorns, all directed to slant inward, will lock your hand in place in the manner of ten thousand fishhooks. Should you attempt to remove it, the thousands of thorns will bite into the skin. You can put the gloves on, but to remove them would mean to cut them off. Gloves for life, or for one wear – the ultimate and final commitment,” Recht writes on his website. Of course, you could always cut it off to avoid experiencing the excruciating pain, but then again, you would be throwing a good $950 right off the window. I say pull the hand out! Yes, you’ll probably faint from the pain, but you will have ripped off most of the spikes, and ended up with a nice, comfortable glove. Plus, you’ll feel like a real man…

shark-skin-glove

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Frustrated Chinese Owner Smashes His Maserati with Sledgehammers

The Chinese owner of a Maserati Quattroporte worth $423,000 paid three men two smash it with sledgehammers at the 2013 Qingdao Auto Show, because he was disappointed with the way the car dealer had fixed it.

The man known only as Wang told Chinese media he had bought the car in 2011 and was forced to bring it back for repairs only two months later. He said the dealer charged him for new parts, but they really replaced the faulty components with second-hand ones. Later, the staff failed to fix a problem with the car door and even managed to scratch it. That was apparently more than Wang was willing to take, so he decided to deliver a loud and clear message to Maserati. He waited for the Qingdao Auto Show and tipped off the media to show up for an unforgettable spectacle. On the day of the show, he brought in his luxury car draped in a banner accusing Maserati of poor service, and paid three men to smash it with sledgehammers, in front of hundreds of onlookers. They shattered the car’s windscreen, headlights, grill and mirrors, and left some serious dents in its metal body. “I hope foreign luxury car producers acknowledge clearly that Chinese consumers are entitled to get the service that is commensurate with the brand,” Wang said.

smashed-Maserati

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Meet Ahmed Angel – Probably the Most Narcissistic Guy on the Internet

His bright eyes have the power to see into your soul, his glossed hair makes girls reach for their computer screens to touch it, and his photo captions make you feel like you’ve skipped grammar classes in school. He is Ahmed Angel – the greatest internet superstar ever…

If you thought Zoolander was just the fruit of Ben Stiller’s wild imagination, think again. He’s real, and his name is Ahmed Angel. Quite an appropriate name for this angelic male super model the world can’t seem to get enough of. Crazy photos of this new internet superstar have been doing the rounds on sites like Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post for the last week, with everyone trying to find out more about him. Apart from his out-worldly prettiness everything else about Ahmed Angel was a mystery. Well, maybe not everything. Anyone could see he was craving attention like his life depended on it, and his love for makeup, hair gel and acid-washed jeans was obvious from the hundreds of edited photos he posted on his Facebook page. But the world wanted something of substance. Who was this dashingly handsome man that captured the imaginations of millions around the world and inspired hundreds of hilarious comments on Reddit with his killer looks? Was he even real? Luckily, Ahmed was kind enough to answer questions posted by various media outlets on his Facebook page, and reveal more about himself.

Ahmed-Angel

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Stunning Japanese Paintings Created in Microsoft Excel

When it comes to painting, or even digital art, Microsoft Excel isn’t usually the first thing that pops into your head. Yet 73-year-old artist, Tatsuo Horiuchi, has been using it to create stunningly beautiful traditional Japanese artworks.

If you’re going to use software for artistic purposes, why not use something like the powerful and popular Adobe Photoshop, right? Well, Tatsuo Horiuchi’s explanation sort of makes sense – he says graphics software is too expensive, while Microsoft Excel came pre-installed on his computer. Plus, although he had never used it himself, before he retired from his job he often saw his colleagues using it to create graphs, so he thought the program could be used to draw art as well. In his early pension years, Horiuchi decided he wanted to try something new, so he bought a computer and began experimenting with digital painting. At first, he tried Microsoft Word, but he experienced problems with determining the canvas size to fit the printing paper, so he ultimately turned to Excel, which had a neat feature that automatically reduced the worksheet size to fit his A4 printing paper. Painting in a spreadsheet application was hard at first, but the ambitious Tatsuo managed to hone is skills, and during the last 10 years he has established himself as an original artist, with exhibitions all over Japan.

Tatsuo-Houichi

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Retired Barber Gives Homeless People Haircuts in Exchange for Hugs

Although some of us refuse to believe it, we live in a mean, cutthroat world. Luckily there are still some genuine good Samaritans out there, and Anthony Cymerys is definitely one of them. For the last 25 years, the man known as Joe the Barber has been offering homeless people in Hartford, Connecticut haircuts in exchange for hugs.

Anthony Cymerys started offering his barber services to those less fortunate in 1988, after hearing a sermon about the homeless. He had just retired and was only cutting hair for family, but those inspiring words he had heard in church made him decided he didn’t want the homeless looking like homeless anymore. So he prepared his tools, put them in the car and started driving around town looking for people in need of his services. In the beginning, he helped people in shelters and convalescent homes, then he cut hair in downtown YMCA for years, before moving to the carousel near Bushnell Park. Every Wednesday, the wooden benches on the Elm Street side of the park are packed with homeless people waiting for a relaxing haircut, shave and facial massage from the 82-year-old Joe.

Joe-the-Barber

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Battle of the Queens – Switzerland’s Ultimate Cow Fighting Championship

Every year, the peaceful Swiss village of Aproz becomes a battleground for Herens cows, a breed of cattle known for its genetic predisposition for combativeness. During the Battle of the Queens (Combats de Reines) the animals get a chance to fight each other for supremacy.

Before you pick up the phone to call your favorite animal rights association, you should know the Battle of the Queens is nothing like the bloody bull fights organized in Spain. Here, farmers take great care of their prized “queens”, making sure they don’t suffer any serious injuries. Plus, there really isn’t much fighting going on, either. The territorial cows mostly lock horns and push each other with their foreheads, until one of them turns around and walks away, accepting defeat. Some of the fighters have lost horns or gained battle scars in the event, but no serious injuries were recorded in recent events. Herens cows, named after Val d’Herens in Valais, have an aggressive instinct that makes them fight among themselves for leadership of the herd. These so-called queens then take part in regional and national rounds of traditional Swiss cow-fighting, with participation in the final Battle of the Queens as their ultimate goal. The event draws in hundreds of cattle farmers from across Switzerland, eager to test their champions in horned combat, as well as a crowd of spectators. Those who can’t attend, watch the fighting on television or listen to it on Rhone FM, a radio station in Valais with a weekly cow fight program.

Battle-of Queens4

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