Amateur Inventor Showcases Homemade Submarine

Tao Xiangli, a 34-year-old amateur inventor from China, spent two years building a fully-functional homemade submarine.

Tao is not the first person to build a homemade submarine, but that doesn’t make his achievement any less impressive. Especially since he did it using oil barrels and tools purchased from a second-hand market.

After two years of hard work and testing, on September 3, young Tao Xiangli presented his invention to the world and took it for a test dive in a lake just outside Beijing. His homemade submarine features a periscope, electric motors, a manometer, two propellers, depth-control tanks and it only cost $4,385 to make.

Photos by Reuters

via Drugoi

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Chinese Farmer Grows Buddha-Shaped Pears

Gao Xianzhang has managed to create what some would call the holiest fruits ever, pears shaped like Buddha.

Gao has been working on his pear-growing technique for six years and this season he managed to grow 10,000 Buddha-shaped baby pears. Each fruit is grown in an intricate Buddha mould and ends up looking like a juicy figurine. The ingenious farmer says the locals in his home village of Hexia, norther China, have been buying his Buddha pears as soon as he picks them from the trees. Most of them think they are cute and that they bring good luck.

Gao Xianzhang pears aren’t cheap, roughly $1.8 each, but their success in China convinced him to start exporting them into Europe.

Photos by Central European News

via Daily Mail

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A Real-Life Scorpion King

Suang Puangsri, a 38-year-old man from Thailand lives in perfect harmony with his 4,600 pet scorpions.

Scorpions, grasshoppers, locusts and other insects are considered delicacies in Thailand and Suang Puangsri has been eating them for the last 10 years. To atone for this “crime” he has adapted his home in Uttaradit province, 600 km north of Bangkok, to live with 4,600 dangerous scorpions.

He feeds them and cares to their every need and ultimately releases them in their natural habitat, in the forests of Uttaradit. As you can see in the images, he has no problem with his creepy pets crawling all over his body and even in his mouth.

Inspired by his scorpion pets, Suang makes insect figurines out of seeds and branches.

Photos by Reuters

via Yahoo

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Blue Ducks Invade London Once More

Over 200,000 blue rubber-ducks took part in the 2009 Great British Duck Race, on September 6, on the Thames, in London.

Last year the tradition of the blue ducks began and this year they returned in even greater numbers, literally covering up Molesey Lock, on the River Thames. As we’ve mentioned in our coverage of the 2008 Great British Duck Race, the duckies are blue because, in 2007, when they were yellow, people threw their own ducks in the water, without paying the entrance fee.

The Great British Duck Race is a contest between rubber ducks, to determine which is the fastest floating one. People have to pay 2 pounds to “adopt” a blue rubber duck and enter it in the competition. The winner’s prize is 10,000 pounds and the rest of the earnings go to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

Last year’s record of 200,000 blue rubber ducks on the Thames was beaten this year, with over 205,000 “contestants” registered for the race.

Photos by Xinhua/Reuters

via Xinhua

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World Belly Board Championships in Cornwall

More than one hundred belly surfers from all over the world gathered in Cornwall, Britain, for the annual World Belly Board Championships.

You might be surprised to know surfing wasn’t always about standing up on the board and riding the waves. British surfers practiced the sport on their bellies, using short wooden planks, over one century ago. On September 6, 2009 belly surfers from as far as Australia and America gathered in Cornwall for the annual charity event for the National Trust and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The World Belly Board Championships began back in 2002 as a way to commemorate the beginnings of British surfing.

Cornwall has been the main surfing area in Britain and it’s recognized as the first place where a British surfer actually stood up on a surf board. The first photographic evidence of this dates back to 1929.

Photos by Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe

via Zimbio

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The Mysterious Blood Falls

One of the most amazing sights in Antarctica, the Blood Falls have been a mystery ever since they were discovered, in 1911.

A bloody column of water coming out of a glacier isn’t what you’d expect to see in the frozen land of Antarctica, but if you visit Taylor Glacier, that’s exactly what you’re going to find. At first, scientists thought they were dealing with some sorts of red algae, but further research proved the bloody color was caused by something spectacular.

It turns out a small lake was sealed under Taylor Glacier roughly 2 million years ago. Incredible, isn’t it?!? Actually no, what’s incredible is the glacier acted like a natural time capsule for the ancient microbes living in the lake. These invisible forms of life have survived without oxygen, light or heat and are considered to be the “primordial ooze” out which every living thing on Earth evolved.

The Blood Falls are proof life can be found in the most extreme environments, probably even on other planets, like Mars.

via Atlas Obscura

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Stainless Steel Skull

Made out of what looks like a bunch of kitchen utensils, this stainless steel skull sculpture, by Subodh Gupta, is one of the weirdest artworks I’ve seen recently. I’m sure it has some kind of meaning, but so far I haven’t been able to figure it out. let me know if you know something I don’t.

via bookofjoe

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Donald Duck Transformer

I know of Disney’s acquisition of Marvel, but I had no idea they also had their eye on Hasbro, owner of the Transformers franchise.

Meet the adorable Donald Duck, like you’ve never seen him before. Takara Tomy, a famous Japanese toy manufacturer has decided to give the popular Disney character a radical makeover and turned him into a Transformer. Donald now turns from a skateboarder into a buggy-driving duck in seconds and might just steal Bumblebee‘s part in the new Transformers movie.

via Cool Buzz

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Live Like an Indian in Your Own Yard

With the Suburban Tipi, anyone can experience the life of a nomad.

Combining three types of nomad housing, the yurt, the tipi and the igloo, designer John Paanen managed to create a modern tent-like house that can be fitted pretty much anywhere. The Suburban Tipi is 16 feet tall, 18 feet in diameter and provides 255 square feet of living space.

To prove its practicality, John Paanen lived in a Suburban Tipi from January to July 2007. It took around three months to build, but it can be taken a part and stacked for relocation in three hours, by a three person team.

John Paanen’s Suburban Tipi can be observed at AguaFina Gardens International in Sylvan Lake, Michigan.

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Sauna World Championship 2009

Yes, believe it or not, there is such a competition as Sauna World Championship.

Held in Heinola, Finland, the Sauna World Championship brings together around 200 competitors from all around the world. These hot heads can withstand sauna temperatures of 100 degrees Celsius.

Inaugurated in 1999, this crazy competition has both a men’s and women’s challenge. The Finish men have proven unbeatable every year since the 1999, while women from Belarus and Russia managed to steal the trophy on a number of occasions.

The rules of the Sauna World Championship are simple. Contestants, dressed in just their bathing suits, go inside a steaming sauna and have to stay there for as long as they can. As water is thrown over the stove, temperatures reach 110 degrees Celsius. The last contestant to leave the sauna, on his own two feet, is declared the winner.

This year the men’s title went to veteran Timo Kaukonen, and the women’s trophy was snatched by Russian Tatyana Arkhipenko.

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Remember Our World Is Melting

Raising awareness on the issue of global warming is not easy this days, but artists come up with all sorts of original ways to make the news.

Take Brazilian artists Nele Azevedo,  who created 2,000 ice-sculptures and placed them on the steps of the Berlin Opera Hall, to melt. That’s a lot of work to watch melt away in one hot afternoon, but at least her message made the newspapers. And if one more person knows about the melting Arctic ice, than her effort was not in vain.

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Spain Invents New Style of Bull Fight

Very different than traditional bullfighting, bull dallying is a lot more fun and doesn’t involve killing the bull at the end.

People in San Sebastian, a small town in central Spain, have come up with a way of having fun and keeping the bull as a part of their ancient tradition. Instead of torturing and finally killing the animal to show off their matador skills, the brave Spaniards simply taunts the bull and try to dodge its attacks.

That’s it, no swords, no blood, no animal cruelty, just pure guts and, they say, a lot of fun. I have to say I like bull dallying a lot better than old fashioned bullfighting and I just wish they had thought about this sooner.

Photos by Xinhua/Chen Haitiong

via Xinhua

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Black Parents with Three Albino Children

As a black mother, having three albino children out of five can’t seem normal.

But it can happen, and Rosmere Fernandes de Andrade and her partner Joao, two black Brazilian parents are proof. Esthefany Caroline, Ruth Caroline and Kauan are as white as snow while their two other siblings have dark skin, just like their parents.

Scientists say this is very unusual, especially since both the parents and some of the children are black. But it’s all just a game of luck, since if both the parents carry the albinism gene, there is a 1 in four chance their offspring will be an albino.

You can imagine it’s not easy for them to adjust in a society where they look completely different from everyone else and they say they constantly get taunted by kids, at school. Their parents are also faced with the task of buying expensive sunblock and extra clothes, to prevent them from getting skin cancer.

Photos by REUTERS

via Daily Mail

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Let Vegetarianism Grow on You, Literally

PETA activists finds original way to promote vegetarianism in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Ashley Fruno, an old PETA activist from Canada, who in the past even went nude to promote vegetarianism, now found an even more ingenious way to attract attention. On September 2, 2009, miss Fruno showed up in front of a mall in Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur, dressed in a beautiful green dress, made only out of vegetables leaves.

She was holding up a sign that said “Let Vegetarianism Grow on You“. Well, she did and it looks amazing on her.

Photos by Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung

via Xinhua

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The Incredible Hanging Temple of Hengshan

Similar, in a way, to the Hanging Houses of Cuenca, the Hanging Temple of Hengshan is an amazing display of architecture.

The Hanging Temple of Hengshan literally hangs on the side of Hengshan Mountain, sustain by only a few wooden poles. You would think this kind of a building couldn’t for hundreds of years, but it is believed the temple was built during the late Northern Wei Dinasty (386-534AD), by a monk called Liao Ran. It was restored during the 1900s.

The gravity-defying Hanging Temple of Hengshan is comprised of 40 chambers, liked through a network of passageways, and hosts not one but three religions. Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are all worshiped here, in harmony.

via Atlas Obscura (one of my favorite sites!)

Hengshan-Temple

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