Man Shuns Solid Food to Live on Beer for 40 Days

For many Christians, Lent is a time to abstain from the things they love. But for people like Chris Schryer, it’s just the opposite. He’s giving up everything else except what he loves most – beer. The 33-year-old web designer from Toronto has shunned all solid food  and has been living on beer since March 5. In fact, he believes that what he’s doing is a real test of spiritual discipline.

“Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun,” said Chris. “It’s challenging. Every meal time there’s a challenge. I look pretty healthy now, but by the end of the 40 days my wife figures I’ll look like a castaway on account of my bushy beard.”

For the past few weeks, Chris has been having a bottle of strong beer for breakfast. At lunch, he guzzles another beer and dinner consists of a large 650 ml bottle. He also has a mid-afternoon ‘work beer’. To avoid getting dehydrated, he keeps up a steady intake of watered down juice and other clear liquids. His rules are simple: ‘No dairy, no ‘nectars’, no protein shakes or smoothies.” He takes a multivitamin and his health is constantly being monitored by his family doctor.

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Share a Coffee with Snakes and Scorpions at Vietnam’s Popular Pet Cafe

If you love dogs, cats and cute, cuddly bunnies, then Vietnam’s Pet Café is certainly not the place for you. It exists to serve a totally different kind of animal lover. Located in the capital city of Hanoi, the café has an awesome collection of snakes, rats, lizards, tarantulas and even a few hedgehogs, stored in glass cages of various sizes. As you sit at your table and share a coffee with a friend, you can gaze upon these slow-moving reptiles in replicas of their natural habitats. And if you’re feeling a little brave, you could even ask to touch or play with them.

28-year-old Nguyen Minh Nghia, the owner of Pet Café, has a degree in mining and geology, but is now a stockbroker. He has been obsessed with animals since childhood, and that’s what prompted him to start the café. “I loved animals since I was a little boy. I began raising reptiles 5 years ago, when a friend asked me to feed his salamanders as he was too preoccupied with his own business,” Nguyen said.

He fell in love with the creatures and ended up traveling to Thailand, Singapore, Australia and China, amassing a huge collection of snakes, salamanders and other reptiles that are now his best friends. “These pets are easy to feed, but for beginners, it is not a walk in the park,” he said. “You have to read a lot of materials to learn how to raise reptiles. I’ve chosen reptiles that are suited for the environment and climate in Vietnam. To keep them alive here, I’ve got to study a lot about their living environment. My café is always dark because many reptiles do not like the light.”

Pet-Cafe-Hanoi

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You Know China’s Smog Issue Is Serious When People Line Up to Sample Free Bags of Fresh Air

It’s no secret that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. But things have gotten so bad that a few cities actually have free ‘fresh air stations’, stocked with individual bags of fresh air that users can breathe out of. These stations have become so popular that they are crowded with visitors lining up for just a whiff of fresh, clean air.

One of the stations is located in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province. According to sources, Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 158. In comparison, Bakersfield (the most polluted city of America) has an AQI of just 45. The air at Zhengzhou’s station is sourced from Laojun Mountain, a scenic spot in Luanchuan County consisting of 80 percent green land. Photographs show large crowds of locals waiting patiently at the station. When it’s their turn, a uniformed air hostess hooks them up to oxygen masks.

Feng Lin, a 75-year-old user, said: “The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.”

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” said one pregnant woman. “I would love to walk in the mountain’s forests after my child is born.”

bags-of-fresh-air

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Chinese Woman Has Been Wearing Her Wedding Dress Every Day for the Last Ten Years

A 47-year-old Chinese woman is so happy to have found true love that she hasn’t taken off her wedding dress for the past ten years. You might think that’s crazy, but wait till you hear everything she’s been through. At age 18, Xiang Junfeng was kidnapped from her hometown and sold to an elderly man. She was forced to marry him and lived for 15 years in captivity before she found the courage to run away.

A native of Jimo, in China’s Shandong Province, Xiang was sold to a man in the neighboring city of Linyi. He ended up using her as a slave, putting her to work in the fields. After several years of living in captivity, she managed to escape by running to Liujiazhuang village where a local woman helped her. Eventually, the woman turned out to be Xiang’s savior in more than one way. She introduced Xiang to her own brother, Zhu Zhengliang, and the couple tied the knot in 2004. This event made poor Xiang so happy that she’s refused to wear anything but her wedding attire ever since.

Although she got married with just the one dress, Xiang later had three more made – one for each season. “I bought one and made the other three,” she said. “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell and treated me so differently. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”

Xiang-Junfeng

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French Artist to Live inside Grizzly Bear Carcass for Thirteen Days

Abraham Poincheval, a performance artist from France, specializes in confining himself to the smallest possible spaces for long periods of time. A couple of years ago, he spent a whole week buried in a tiny underground hole in a bookstore, with just a pile of books for company. Now he has fashioned a new task for himself – he’s spending nearly a fortnight (1 to 13 April) crammed inside the carcass of a grizzly bear, in a space measuring only half a square meter. He won’t be coming out at all, not even to eat, drink, sleep or relieve himself. Two cameras will be on him at all times, recording the whole experience.

The bear itself was excavated by Abraham and has been partly reconstructed to support the project, using plywood, plaster, foam and polystyrene tubes. The bizarre installation is completely covered with the bear’s original skin and fur. When empty, the entire structure weighs 115 pounds. Inside it is a semi-upright chair on which the 42-year-old artist will be spending all his time. Rubber exercise bands will help him get some movement and he has some room by his feet for a stretch. There’s also a kettle and an odd assortment of foods that only a bear could appreciate – frozen dried fruits, insects and worms. Too bad the bear isn’t Winnie the Pooh, or Abraham could have had some honey as well.

Abraham-Poincheval-bear

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Cat Working as Train Station Master Is Japan’s Cutest Tourist Attraction

Tama the cat has been a part of the Japanese workforce for the past seven years. She works as a station master at Kishi station, a remote railway stop in Kinokawa City, Wakayama, Western Japan. Of course, ‘works’ isn’t exactly the right word for what she does there. Her job mostly involves sitting around, posing for pictures and looking rather stern (which reminds me of my ex-boss, actually). But Tama has been rewarded handsomely for her efforts – she has a large window office, a hat with a gold lining, a badge, and her annual compensation is one years’ worth of cat food.

Station Master Tama is special because she attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. Her presence at Kishi station has helped revitalize tourism in a rural area that was struggling to stay afloat. At one point, the train line that passed through Kishi station saw a 15 percent annual decline in ridership. But when Tama stepped into the role of station master, in 2007, there was a sudden 10 percent jump in the first year.

Tourists continue to pour in from Hong Kong and Taiwan; Wakayama Electric Railway (the company that runs the line) said that at least 20,000 tourists visit the small town annually. The estimated combined revenue from the ticket sales and memorabilia like photobooks and commercial appearances has bumped up the local economy by a whopping 1.1 billion yen ($10.8 million). The company operates just the one line, with about 2.2 million passengers annually.

Tama-Station-Master

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Korean Photography Enthusiasts Build Awesome Camera-Shaped Cafe

‘Dreaming Camera’ is a quaint little coffee shop located in the breathtaking countryside of Yangpyeong County of South Korea. The spectacular café was built by a photography enthusiast, which is quite obvious, seeing as how the building is shaped like a gigantic vintage camera.

I’m not sure who the owners are, but here’s what I could gather from the website: it’s a mom-and-pop type café, run by a family of three. The husband is a former air-force helicopter pilot with a huge passion for photography. He lives in a beautiful bungalow just next to the café with his wife and adorable daughter. The camera-shaped coffee shop had been his dream for many years before he finally got the chance to make it a reality.

Café Dreaming Camera is designed like a Rolleiflex camera – it is two storeys high with panoramic, round windows. The first floor is decorated with miniature and toy cameras. A few real ones are displayed as well, on a shelf beside the large window. On the website, the owner’s wife writes that all the real cameras are her husband’s area of expertise; she just knows that ‘everything is working’. The second floor has a photo exhibition on display, in which patrons are encouraged to participate.

Dreamy-Camera-cafe

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Guy Spends Two Years Building Giant World Globe with Colored Matchsticks

Now that we have Google Earth, world globes are almost obsolete. But there certainly is an undeniable old-world charm associated with them. Perhaps that’s what prompted sculptor Andy Yoder to spend the last two years building his own globe, entirely out of colored matchsticks. He painstakingly hand-painted thousands of matches individually and put them together to form a large model of our planet.

Yoder’s son, Reddit user ‘yoderaustin’, explained that underneath all the matchsticks is a frame of foam and cardboard inside a plywood skeleton. Once the frame was ready and the painting was done, his father used wood glue to attach the matches to the skeleton. And in case you’re wondering – the ‘matchstick globe’ isn’t a potential fire hazard. Yoder had the good sense to douse the entire structure in a flame retardant chemical.

world-globe

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Black Sapote – The Chocolate Pudding Fruit

Throughout my childhood I wondered why fruits and vegetables don’t taste as good as chocolate, not knowing that one actually did: the black sapote. It’s probably the only fruit in the world that comes close to tasting like heaven. Or chocolate pudding. Same thing in my book.

The black sapote doesn’t just taste nice, it’s a dieter’s dream-come-true. Don’t let the name and delicious appearance of this fruit fool you, it is actually very low in fat. It also contains four times the vitamin C found in a single orange, and significant amounts of Calcium and Phosphorus. Interestingly, the black sapote isn’t really a sapote at all. The delicious fruit is a close relative of the persimmon, a fruit that greatly resembles a tomato. While persimmons are red, black sapotes (as the name suggests) are chocolaty dark black on the inside. The sticky texture of the fruit might put you off at first, but the unique flavor of a ripe black sapote is absolutely worth it.

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New York Man Turns Line Sitting into a Prosperous Business

They say good things come to those who wait. But here’s the loophole: what if you could pay someone to do the waiting for you? Same Ol Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.) is a new service in New York that helps people get in line for the latest, hottest and trendiest new products. At $25 for the first hour and $10 for every half hour after that, I think it’s pretty legit. If I could avoid waiting in line and still get to buy the new iPhone or enjoy a cronut, I’d definitely be willing to pay for it.

The idea for the business came to Robert Samuel after he made $325 selling two spots in a line for the iPhone 5 launch last year. That’s when he realized that he could cash in on people’s fear of missing out on new things. “It’s a phenomenon,” he said. “I did an interview with German Public Radio a while ago and I explained FOMO: fear of missing out. Especially in New York, you have friends and you’re hanging out and it’s like, ‘Did you see that new exhibit at MoMA? Do you know what a cronut is?’ People want these things like it’s the end of the world. When I show up to their offices with a sleeping bag in one hand and the cronuts in another, they know they’re getting their money’s worth.”

There have been services like this in the past, but they weren’t exactly ethical. Like these guys who would buy cronuts in bulk and sell them on Craigslist at a higher price. But Robert makes sure he plays by the rules. He has a few super-rich clients. When one of them wants cronuts for his out-of-town guests, Robert gets to the bakery hours ahead of time. He’s always properly equipped – a portable charger, two iPhones, an iPad mini and handwarmers are always at his disposal. A lawn chair, the MetroCast and HBO Go make sure that waiting in line is never a boring experience.

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Mind Blown – These Soft-Looking Dresses Are Actually Carved from Marble

The white dresses in the pictures below are so pretty and airy you’re probably already imagining yourself or your girlfriend wearing them. But unless you are or dating Wonder Woman, that’s never going to happen, because these lovely pieces of clothing with all their frills, pleats and waves have actually been carved out of hard rock by Scottish sculptor Alasdair Thomson.

A History of Art graduate from the University of Edinburg, Thomson says his love for sculpting began when studying classical and Renaissance works for his dissertation. He dabbled in the trade while working as an apprentice for an American sculptor between 2006 and 2008. Around the same time, he became interested in clothes and the way they are depicted through art. That’s when he decided to produce his own contemporary take on the classical subject.

“I started to play around with some flowing drapery forms and eventually started carving simple T-shirts and folded men’s dress shirts,” said 32-year-old Thomson. “I produced a piece of work that was a wall-hanging called Ruby and that is when I thought, ‘Okay, there is something in that.’” His latest work is showcased in ‘The Identity Collection’, a set of 12 sculptures that explore the way fabric hangs and folds and captures that lightness and gracefulness in stone.

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14-Year-Old’s Simple Idea Could Save US Government $400 Million on Official Documents

Suvir Mirchandani, a 14-year-old student from Pittsburg, has figured out a way to do something that financial experts have been struggling with for decades – substantially reduce Government spending. And we’re not taking about a few dollars here and there, we’re talking millions. $400 million, to be precise. To save all that money, Suvir suggested that the US government simply switch fonts from Times New Roman to Garamond when printing official documents. Because each character is printed lighter and thinner in Garamond, it uses 25 percent less ink, saving a lot of money in the process.

Suvir came up with the brilliant idea while working on a science fair project at his school – Dorseyville Middle School. He was looking for a way to use computer science to promote environmental sustainability. After a lot of research, he decided to figure out if there was a way minimize the use of paper and ink. “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” the whiz-kid pointed out. So he collected random samples of teachers’ handouts at his school and studied the most commonly used letters: ‘e, t, a, o and r’.

The study included four different typefaces: Garamond, Century Gothic, Times New Roman and Comic Sans. Suvir measured how often the letters were used in each of these fonts. Then he used a commercial tool called APFill Ink Coverage Software to figure out how much ink was used for each letter. He printed out enlarged versions of the letters, cut them out on cardstock paper and weighed them to verify the data. He performed three trials per letter and graphed the ink usage for each font. The results of the analysis were astounding – he found out that Garamond’s thinner strokes could help his school district reduce ink consumption by 24 percent, saving about $21,000 a year.

Suvir-Mirchandani

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Norwegian Teen Tattoos McDonald’s Receipt on His Arm as a Dare

When 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl’s friends dared him to get a tattoo, they gave him only two options to choose from – Barbie on his buttocks or a McDonald’s receipt on his arm. They’re both terrible, but I suppose you can’t blame Stian for choosing the latter.

“Some of my mates thought I had been a bit too active on the ladies front recently and wanted to punish me,” he said. “When we were in the restaurant on Monday, they said I had to tattoo a Barbie doll on my bum, or the receipt on my arm.” Incidentally, this is the teenager’s first tattoo ever, covering most of his lower right arm. There’s a large McDonalds logo at the top, followed by a list of items he ordered off the menu – a cheeseburger and four added toppings.

Stian, from Lørenskog in Southwest Norway, also said that his parents were not at all pleased with the turn of events. “I got an email from my dad that wasn’t entirely positive, saying: ‘What on earth have you done?! Do you think you are coming home with that!? Your mother has had a break down.’” Stian’s parents got to know about the tattoo from a report in the local newspaper and they were devastated.

Lørenskog: Stian tatoerte McDonaldskvittering på armen.

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Microscopic Wonders – Incredibly Detailed Castles Etched onto Individual Grains of Sand

Artist Vik Muniz is almost a regular here at OC. We first wrote about his art made from domestic and industrial junk in 2010. Then, in 2012 he was back with his recreation of classic paintings using torn magazine scraps. Now, in collaboration with artist and MIT researcher Marcelo Coelho, Vik has taken then opposite approach to his previous art forms. While his older, gigantic art could only be admired from high above, his latest work is microscopic – a series of sandcastles etched onto individual grains of sand.

Vik said that earlier he had the opportunity to work on an environmental scale. Around that same time, he thought of “going the opposite way around and actually making things so small that it would create a similar impression. They would be so tiny that they could only be imagined, they could not be seen.” When Marcelo was first approached by Vik, he thought it was a joke. “He came to me and said, I want to draw a castle on to a grain of sand. I think the sheer impossibility of that is what excited me.”

Vik and Marcelo spent four long years on trial-and-error experiments before they could successfully create the tiny, magnificent drawings. Each piece of art is less than half a millimeter in size – an inconsequential fleck of sand to the naked eye. Together, they devised a process involving both antiquated technology and innovative visual tools. Vik first created the sketches using a camera Lucida – an optical superimposition device from the 1800s that uses a prism to turn images in front of the viewer into projections on paper. Using this technique, he was able to trace the tiny castles.

sand-grain-castles

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Steady Handed Chinese Man Balances Eggs on Needle Points

Cui Juguo, from Changsha city in China’s Hunan Province, holds the Guinness World Record for a very unique feat – he can perfectly balance eggs on small needles. As a person who frequently breaks eggs just by holding them, I think what Cui can do is phenomenal!

In the video footage below, Cui demonstrates how he can balance an ostrich egg on a needle point but as you can see in these photos, he can pull off his balancing feat with any kind of egg. “Ostrich eggs are largest in the world and I can balance them on a pin. No one else could do this,” he said. “I set a Guinness World Record on August 19, 2011, and I am still the record holder.”

Cui has been practicing the balancing act for about 6 years now, and it takes him a mere 10 seconds to put everything in place. He used to be a truck driver and he developed the unique skill to counter sleepiness on the road. “I often take several eggs with me on the road,” he said. “Once I felt sleepy, I would pull over and start to stand the egg on the needle point.”

Cui-Juguo

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