World’s First 7-Star Pet Resort Opens in Dubai

Urban Tails Dubai, the world’s first seven-star resort for pets, was inaugurated this summer and owners say it was such a big hit they’ve been full all season.

Just think of this place like an equivalent of Burj al Arab for cats and dogs. It was created by Irish ex-pat Aideen O’Mara who moved to the UAE in 2004, where she worked at an international school before opening her luxury pet resort. She speculated the fact that dogs aren’t allowed on Dubai’s public beaches or in parks and decided to create an environment where cats and dogs could “socialize in luxury surroundings”, while their European masters went home during the hottest time of the month. This way, the poor animals didn’t have to be confined inside for five months, due to unbearable heat. ”I have always had pets and I feel that animals are given a bit of a raw deal in the UAE in terms of pet services on offer and they do not have much freedom in comparison to dogs in Europe.” Aideen says.


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Embroidered Wine Stain Portraits by Amelia Harnas

American artist Amelia Harnas creates original portraits by spilling wine on white cotton or paper canvases and embroidering certain details to emphasize features.

It’s amazing what some artists can achieve with the most unusual of mediums. Take wine for example, I’ve seen it used as a weapon during the Haro Wine Battle, and as a relaxing spa attraction, but I never imagined someone could use it to create artistic portraits. But that’s exactly what Amelia Harnas does, she uses wine stains to make works of art. From the artist’s website:

These portraits are created either by using a wax resist (much like batiks) and repeated wine stains with embroidery as a reinforcing drawing over the original design or wine on paper with machine sewing. These are my first experiments using wine, and I am excited to continue expanding upon these first results.

It’s amazing how she’s able to control the wine to create just the right effects, and I’m sure her works are just going to get better as she gains more experience.

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Forcadas – The Brave Bullfighting Women of Mexico and Portugal

It takes a lot of guts to get in the ring with an enraged bull, even when carrying a sharp sword, but the forcadas (women bullfighters) are brave enough to take the bull head-on without any kind of protection or weaponry.

During the early days of bullfighting, the bullring had a staircase leading to the royal cabin, and a group of men called forcados was employed to make sure the bull didn’t go up the stairs. They used a long pole with a steel half-moon at the top, called a “forcado” (fork) to fight the bull, and that’s how they got their name. But nowadays they only use a symbolic forcado during opening ceremonies and historical demonstrations, as their main role in modern bullfighting is the “pega de caras” (face catch). The pega essentially involves challenging the bull with their bare hands and trying to win by immobilizing it.

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Akodessewa Fetish Market – Africa’s Voodoo Supermarket

Togo’s Akodessewa Fetish Market is recognized as the largest fetish market in the world, a place where Voodoo practitioner can find anything they need for their rituals.

The practice of voodoo began in West Africa, before being taken to America by slaves, and in countries like Togo, Ghana, or Nigeria the religion is very much alive. Many people believe healers using animal parts and strange talismans can invoke spirits with their bizarre rituals, and solve their problems. And if there’s one place where voodoo priests can stock up on their creepy supplies, it’s the Akodessewa Fetish Market, in Togo’s capital city, Lome. Just think of it as an outdoor pharmacy where various animal parts, bone statues and herbs take the place of conventional medicine.

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Amazing Pin and Thread Installations by Debbie Smyth

British artist Debbie Smyth uses hundreds of pins and meters of delicate thread to create mind-blowing art installations.

I’ve seen a lot of impressive artworks made from thread, but young Debbie Smyth is really pushing the envelope with her incredible thread drawings. She’s mixing fine art drawings and textile art, illustration and embroidery, flat and 3D art, to create something totally unique that challenges viewers to ask themselves “how did she do it?”. Debbie starts her sophisticated art installations by plotting out the design with hundreds of thin pins on a white canvas, then moves on to fill it with thread. “On first glance, it can look like a mass of threads but as you get closer sharp lines come into focus, creating a spectacular image. The images are first plotted out before being filled out with the thread, the sharp angles contrasting with the floating ends of the thread.  And despite the complexity of the lengthy process I try to capture a great feeling of energy and spontaneity, and, in some cases, humour” the artist says about her works.

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Japanese Restaurant Serves World’s Largest Sushi Portions

A restaurant in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture has become famous for serving arguably the world’s largest sushi dishes, up to 20 cm in diameter and nearly 6-kg-heavy.

The Umewaka Restaurant in Anjo City, Japan is unlike any other sushi restaurant in the world. Here the world-renown Japanese delicacy doesn’t come in bite-size servings, unless your name is Francisco Domingo Joaquim and you have the world’s largest mouth. At Umewaka, everything from the futomaki roll to the nigri zushi comes in super-sized servings no one man could hope to finish in one sitting.

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Numberism – Using Numbers to Create Incredible Works of Art

Numberism is a unique drawing technique invented in 2008, by Portland-based artist Sienna Morris. She uses numbers and scientific formulas to draw beautiful works of art.

27-year-old Sienna Morris has been a painter and designer for most of her life, but she truly found her passion in 2008, when inspired by her obsession with time and the unanswerable question of how much we have left, she started drawing pieces using only the numbers of the clock (1 – 12). She tried to capture beautiful moments of our lives and just how fleeting they are, reminding us all to appreciate the present, knowing we only have one shot to do so. Sienna’s early works were drawn in pencil, but as she started creating larger scale pieces, she moved on to brown micron pen (005), and later to scratchboard, where she etches the numbers using an exacto blade and finishes with an ink or watercolor wash.

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The Tipat War of Bali Is What I Call a Real Food Fight

Every year the men of Kapal Village, in Bali, celebrate the rice harvest by throwing rice cakes at each other in one of the largest traditional food fights in the world.

Also known as the Aci Rah Pengangon ritual, the Tipat War is preceded by a collective prayer in the inner court of Kapal Village’s Pura Desa (the village temple). Here local men give thanks for the bountiful rice harvest and relax before the upcoming food massacre. After praying, dozens of bare-chested men start the first rice cake fight right in the middle of the temple courtyard. They are divided into two groups and throw tipat (cooked rice wrapped in a square shaped woven coconut leaf) at each other. This fight lasts for only five minutes and is a preliminary event to the full-scale war that is about to take place in the village street outside the temple.

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Gregory Da Silva – The African Mad Hatter

Gregory Da Silva, better known as Egg Man, is an African comedian artist and storyteller famous for wearing an outrageous had adorned with 1,000 eggs.

Born in Benin, West Africa, Da Silva studied computer science but decided to follow his artistic calling and went on to found a theater group called Voice of Spirit. They performed political, comic and poetic theater shows in Benin, but he made a name for himself after he became the Egg Man and started giving street performances wearing his ridiculously large headgear. When he first started performing in Cape Town, South Africa, Gregory’s art was so unique it got him arrested by the local police, who had to call their superior for advice on what to do with him. They were told to let him go, and he’s been performing in the city’s Green Market Square ever since.

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Mercedes Supercar Recreated from 10,000 Pieces of Scrap Metal

Three German friends set out to recreate one of the most impressive cars ever made – Mercedes 300 SLR ‘Uhlenhaut Coupe’ – out of pieces of scrap metal. It’s not drivable, but their replica is definitely easy on the eyes.

Armin Ciesielski, Peter Brakel and Walter Willer, three friends working at a German company called Giganten aus Stahl (Giants of Steel), decided to pay homage to one of the greatest cars ever made, by making a life-size model out of metal. The three sculptors sourced thousands of pieces of metal for their recycled masterpiece and spent seven months cutting and putting it together. Although Ciesielski claims he could rebuild any car out of crap metal, he admits this particular project was a rather difficult one because of all the intricate details and the work that went into making even the car’s engine identical to the original.

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Artist Creates Self-Portrait with Thousands of Plastic Bottle Caps

Chicago-based artist Mary Ellen Croteau has created an astounding self-portrait using thousands of recycled plastic bottle caps.

Mary Ellen Croteau considers herself a political artist who uses her works to make statements and get people to look at things from a different perspective. This time she wanted viewers to acknowledge the presence of bottle caps in our everyday lives and realize how rarely they are recycled. Croteau was stacking plastic bottle caps and plastic pill bottles trying to create precarious towering columns inspired by the modernist works of Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi, when she noticed smaller caps fit inside the larger ones and created a whole new color combination. This got her thinking about Chuck Close’s art and the way he creates realistic portraits using just shapes of color.

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Gold and Jewelry Make World’s Cheapest Car One of the Most Expensive

A Tata Nano, which usually sells for $3,000 has been converted into one of the most expensive cars in the world, after it’s been plastered with $4.6 million worth of gold and jewelry.

The Nano was a welcome innovation designed to bring affordable transportation to Indian masses, and though it may not have all the features we’ve grown accustomed to in the western world, the tiny car achieved its goal. But there is nothing affordable about Tata’s latest publicity stunt for the Nano – they’ve teamed up with Titan Industry-owned Goldplus jewelry chain and decided to create the most expensive Tata Nano ever. After covering it with kilograms of gold, silver and jewelry, the price of the world’s cheapest car went from $3,000 to $4.6 million. Now that’s quite a makeover.

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Pet Designer Makes the Most Adorable Animal Hats

Like to torment your pet, do you? Than you’re going to get a kick out of Amelie Segarceanu’s extensive collection of cat and dog headgear.

Amelie, from Atlanta, Georgia, is a hat designer who apparently likes to play dress-up with animals. She creates funny headgear for cats and dogs and sells them to animal lovers on her Etsy shop, To Scarborough Fair, along with free tips on how to trick pets into wearing them. A relaxed mood and some tasty treats are always a good way to start dressing up your pet, and speaking in a warm, soothing voice doesn’t hurt either. Still, cats are known to be very sensitive and even though these silly hats are especially designed to make them more tolerable, some felines won’t be easily convinced. I’d say they don’t like being laughed at, but that’s just me.

Maybe Amelie should get together with Cat Prin, the famous cat tailor, and make some complete pet wardrobes.

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Self-Taught Artist Creates Incredibly Detailed Wildlife Scratchboard Art

Self-educated artist Cristina Penescu creates wildlife-themed scratchboard artworks that look so real it’s hard to believe they’re not photographs.

It’s not often I get to cover the works of fellow Romanians, but I guess that’s what makes it so special. Cristina Penescu was born in 1988, in Bucharest, but her family relocated to California when she was only a year old. Her love for art and nature began during her early childhood and stuck with her through her youth, but it was only in August 2009, at the age of 20 that she started focusing on promoting her wildlife artworks and making a name for herself in the art community.

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Breast Slapping – A Thai Beautician’s Alternative to Plastic Surgery

If you’re serious about making some changes to your appearance but are to afraid to go under the knife, you might want to book a flight to Thailand and give Khemmikka Na Songkhla’s government-approved slapping techniques a try.

I know what you’re thinking – yet another breast-enlargement scam, I was inclined to think that as well, but after doing some research on Khemmikka Na Songkhla’s slapping treatments I found the Thai Health Ministry conducted a six-month study on them and acknowledged her technique as a viable alternative to plastic surgery. The 44 -year-old Bangkok beautician is the only person in the world who knows the secrets of breast, face and buttock slapping, which she inherited from her grandmother. Now, she’s selected planning to select 10 people to pass on her knowledge to, but not for free. Khemmikka is charging 10 million baht ($330,000) for the body-sculpting course, 8 million baht ($260,000) for the breast slapping course, and 5 million baht ($165,000) for the face slapping course. Four people have applied for her courses, so far.

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