Real-Life Spider-Man Climbs 1,500-Foot Rock Wall without Any Safety Equipment

American rock climber Alex Honnold has had an incredibly good (and miraculously lucky) start to 2014. He managed to climb El Sendero Luminoso, a 1,500 foot wall, without the use of any safety gear.

Alex is being dubbed a ‘real-life Spiderman’, but I wouldn’t agree with that moniker because even Spiderman spun a web and used it to swing across walls. But Alex uses just his bare hands and fingers to climb.

He recently ascended a 1,500 foot limestone big-wall route called El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico. While most parties generally take two days to complete the climb, Alex completed it in just three hours, by clinging to tiny crevices all the way up. “I would stop at the occasional good foothold and shake it out, but for the most part I kept a very steady pace,” he said.

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America’s Most Exclusive Restaurant Has a 5-Year Waiting List

Damon Baehrel has what most chefs in the world would kill for – a restaurant with a five-year waiting list. The restaurant is aptly named after himself; in his own words he’s “the chef, the waiter, the grower, the forager, the gardener, the cheesemaker, the cured-meat maker,” and everything on the menu comes from his 12-acre property.

Formerly known as the Basement Bistro, the place is actually located in Baehrel’s basement and has only 12 tables. Each night, he cooks and serves a 15-course meal for 18 guests. Although he has never received professional training, Baehrel is a master of molecular gastronomy. All of his small bites are dehydrated, infused and tinctured on their way from the garden to the table.

One of his signature dishes is a palate cleanser called the ‘sumac flavored ice slush’. It involves the steeping of sumac leaves to make tea, to which he adds liquefied wild violet stems (cut from his backyard) and a dozen varieties of fresh grapes (from his garden). He freezes the mixture and serves up one spoonful for a refreshing bite.

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Artist Carves Incredibly Accurate Fast-Food Kitchen Exclusively Out of Wood

‘Carcass’ is an odd name for a kitchen, don’t you think? But this isn’t a regular kitchen we’re talking about. It’s a diorama on view at Kavi Gupta Gallery in Chicago. This happens to be artist Roxy Paine’s first solo show, ‘Apparatus’. Carcass is the full-scale replica of a real fast-food kitchen that Roxy made entirely out of wood.

The details of the kitchen are incredible – order screens, cash registers, deep fryers, soft-drink dispensers and stacked up containers for burgers and fries, all made of wood. There’s something very attractive about the neat, clean lines and the monochromatic appearance. Makes me want to reach into the photographs and touch the all-wood kitchen.

The absence of flashy logos lends the diorama a very gaunt appearance, something like that of an empty shell, hence the name ‘Carcass’. The large-scale model is entirely carved out of birch and maple wood and formed from steel. Roxy’s work is significant, according to Kavi Gupta gallery, because he has challenged the perception of visual language and how it affects the understanding of our environments.

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Just Another Russian Daredevil Hanging Off Vertigo-Inducing Ledges

Kirill Oreshkin, from Moscow, is a photographer with a strange passion. He’s crazy about ‘rooftopping’ – a sport that involves hanging on for his dear life from all kinds of precarious ledges.

In all the photographs, you can see him smiling nonchalantly at the camera. Going by his expression, you’d think he was hanging around the corner of a sidewalk. But he’s actually perched hundreds of meters above the ground, in an extremely precarious position. One wrong move and there’s no escaping death.

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Ski Resort Has Been Using Contaminated Sewage Water to Make Artificial Snow

Arizona Snowbowl, a resort in Flagstaff, Arizona, has resorted to the worst kind of commercialism seen in modern times. Since 2002, they’ve been using the city’s treated sewage effluent to make fake snow. Environmental groups, concerned citizens and the indigenous people of the region have been opposing this for years.

For the Hopi Tribe, the San Francisco Peaks, where the resort is located, are a spiritual and holy land. The tribe has been trying to get the city to stop selling its waste water to the resort for almost a decade. They recently got permission to file a lawsuit against Arizona Snowbowl in November 2012, due to the threats posed by the reclaimed water to an endangered plant found only on the Peaks. But it appears that the resort has turned a deaf ear to all protests.

According to a news report on Elite Daily, “Skiing is big business in Flagstaff. Resorts bring in about $35 million to the local economy during snow season. But since the climate has been changing, there isn’t enough snow.”

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Artist Sculpts Animal Bones into Delicate Works of Art

Artist Jennifer Trask creates sculptures that are so delicate, it’s easy to mistake them for paper. But they’re actually made of bones. I’m seriously awe-struck at how she can convert something as hard and dry as bone into such exquisite works of art.

Some of the petals carved by Jennifer are so thin and frail, they would be instantly pulverized if you touched them. Her complex pieces contain several motifs – delicate florals and mythical creatures surrounded by vines and curls, cleverly laced with gold and other found objects dating back to the 18th century. They usually form wearable pieces like pendants, necklaces, and brooches, or wall art.

The New York based artist, who received an MFA from SUNY at New Paltz, has a very philosophical reason behind choosing bones as her preferred medium. “As the ultimate expression of both physical sensation and emotional sentiment (e.g. ‘I feel it in my bones’), bone is the absolute reductive essence of both life, and death,” she said. “Initially made of living cells, evolving, incorporating evidence of how we lived, the material itself embodies a latent narrative.”

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Meet the German Prince Skiing for Mexico in a Unique Mariachi-themed Suit at the Sochi Winter Olympics

Prince Hulbertus von Hohenlohe – his name might sound German, but he’s actually Mexican. But he’s also a German prince. Confused? Let’s start again.

Prince Hulbertus was born in Mexico in 1959, to Prince Alfonso and Princess Ira of the reigning dynasty of a former German county. The German prince and Mexican citizen is often known to people by his nickname – ‘Royal Disaster’.

Over the years, the prince has been in the news for all strangest reasons. The latest – he’s formed a one-man Alpine Skiing Team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He plans to represent Mexico and win the title of ‘king of the hill’. Not for his skiing talents of course, but for his bizarre outfit.

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Guy Gives His Dog Away after She Chews on His $130,000 Sports Car

This has got to be the saddest picture of a dog I’ve ever seen. It broke my heart to see Luce, a Border collie spaniel, literally in tears. Her owner gave her away after she chewed through the fiberglass wheel arch of his US $130,000 sports car last Wednesday.

42-year-old builder Royston Grimstead, from Chedzoy, Somerset, said he was devastated when he came home to find his dog had chewed through the fiberglass wheel arch of his beloved Aston Martin. The total damage was worth about $5,000.

Grimstead, a divorcee, said he was already considering re-homing Luce because she did not get along with his other dog, a 10-year-old border collie called Jess. “She must have overheard me talking about re-homing her because she’s normally friendly and never really chewed on anything before,” he said.

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Chinese Girl Rotates Non-Stop for Four Hours during Spring Festival Celebration

15-year-old Wei Caiqi, the niece of Chinese dancing star Yang Liping, twirled nonstop for four hours straight during China’s New Year celebrations. The annual China Central Television (CCTV) gala was aired live on January 30 and watched by 704 million viewers across the nation.

Wei, clad in a white gown, spun on a special stage as the rest of the festivities went on. Her performance was meant to represent ‘the passing of time and the changing of seasons’. But all it did was create a huge controversy online, where people called the event ‘cruel’.

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African City Replaces Traffic Lights with Intimidating Robots

The intersection of Boulevard Triomphal and Huileries Avenue in Kinshasa, Congo, has two new additions – robot traffic policemen. These large robocops have replaced human police officers and traffic lights, and, believe it or not, they’re actually doing a great job.

At first glance, the robocops don’t look like much. They appear to be rudimentary tin boxes with attached tin hands. I’d say they have a scarecrow-like effect. But commuters have responded surprisingly well to the latest technology.

Demouto Motumbo, a resident of Kinshasa, said: “As a motorcyclist I’m very happy with the robot’s work. Because when traffic police control the cars here there’s still a lot of traffic. But since the robot arrived, we see truly that the commuters are respectful.”

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Yemeni Girl Cries Stone Tears, Baffles Scientists

We’ve seen people shedding tears of blood before, but this 12-year-old Yemeni girl’s problem is truly baffling. When Saadiya Saleh cries, her eyes release small, hard stones. They form under her eyelids and get pushed to the front of her eyes, emerging as tears.

Doctors are unable to explain the strange phenomenon because Saadiya isn’t suffering from any known disease. Yemen’s satellite TV channel, Azal, aired a video that shows stones forming in her eyes. She is surrounded by family members and doctors, while a helper wipes her eyes with a napkin. The footage also reveals a small box full of stones that collected from Saadiya’s eyes in a few hours.

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Li Hongbo’s Flexible Paper Sculptures Will Blow Your Mind

Chinese artist Li Hongbo’s sculptures look no different from the classic white Roman-style plaster busts that many sculptors create. But the real magic begins only when you get close and touch them. What appeared to be plaster, reveals itself to be multiple layers of very thin paper.

Li’s technique is stunning – He sketches his ideas before pasting glue in narrow strips across pieces of paper, and stacking them up to the desired height. He uses up to 8,000 layers for a single head. He then cuts, chisels and sands the block of paper using a band saw and angle grinder, just as though he were working with stone. So you could literally touch and play with the busts that Li creates. You could stretch the faces and distort features to reveal an accordion of paper layers, and then snap everything back together with ease.

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A Fascinating Story of Exploding Toads and Clever Crows

In April 2005, a small pond in Hamburg, Germany became the center of a great mystery, rather repulsive in nature. A documentary film made on the phenomenon reported:

“About 1,000 dead toads were discovered lying around the edges. Their bodies appeared to have exploded. Eye-witnesses said they swelled up to about three-and-a-half times their normal size and then simply burst. And they burst with such an explosive force that their entrails were blown over several square meters.”

For several weeks, the common European toads in question received international attention. Scientists were totally baffled, unable to provide an explanation for the unnatural deaths. Health officials panicked – they suspected a virus spread by South American race horses from a nearby track. The tabloid press had a field day with the story, labelling the area ‘The Pond of Death’. Things got worse when the epidemic spread across the border to a nearby Danish lake.

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Eiffel Tower Nose Jobs, the Latest Plastic Surgery Trend in China

In a bid to increase their job prospects after college, Chinese students are resorting to a bizarre practice – Eiffel Tower nose jobs. The latest trend in plastic surgery promises to create a nose that is classic, slender and sloping, similar to the sweeping curve of the Eiffel Tower.

Surgeon Wang Xuming, the brains behind the procedure, said: “We are influenced by the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, we are not content to just add something to the nose, we reconstruct it.” The surgery costs about US $10,000 and involves the enlarging of the nose using tissue from the forehead.

Hundreds of posters advertising the procedure are plastered all over Chongqing city, where surgeon Xuming runs his practice. It shows a Western-looking woman with an almost-too-perfect nose, against a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Interestingly, many young women in China are eager to achieve a western appearance, as they believe it will give them an edge in the highly competitive job market.

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The European Space Agency Has a Sound System So Powerful It Can Kill You

For those of you who like your music loud, here’s a fun fact: sound can kill! Only if it’s greater than 135 decibels, that is. You’re not likely to get such high-power sound waves on your iPod, but there does exist a sound system that could kill you – the European Space Agency’s monster sound horn.

The horn is the most powerful of its kind in Europe. When turned to maximum volume, there’s absolutely no chance of survival. It is a part of ESA’s Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF), a test chamber used to perform acoustic noise tests on spacecrafts to make sure no damage occurs during rocket launches.

The sound test chamber is 16.4 m tall, 11 m wide and 9 m deep; one of its walls houses the massive horn. When nitrogen is shot through the horn, it can produce incredibly powerful sound – over 154 decibels. The effect is something like standing close to multiple jets taking off at once – enough to permanently deafen a human.

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