Man Turns Decade-Worth of Fingernail Clippings into What He Calls Art

45-year-old Mike Drake has been doing something bizarre in the name of art for over a decade – he’s been collecting all his fingernail clippings, stuffing them in paperweights, and selling them for $300 to $500 apiece!

The Queens resident started the strange practice 11 years ago: “I used to bite my nails, and I wondered how long they could grow,” he told The Huffington Post. “And then I wondered how much I might be able to accumulate.” So he collected his nail clippings in a Ziploc baggie for about a year, and was about to throw them out when inspiration struck. He decided to do something ‘artistic’ with them.

“I realised I went to all that effort, and I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. I already worked with acrylics as a hobby so I decided to make paperweights.”

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These Floating Trashcans Could be the Answer to Cleaning Polluted Oceans

A couple of Australian surfers have come up with a creative solution to clean up polluted oceans – they’ve designed an automated trashcan that can suck up floating garbage, right from plastic bottles, to paper, oils, fuel, detergent and more.

Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, who spent their childhood around the ocean, said they were frustrated with the increasing amount of rubbish they encountered in the water. So they quit their jobs to design a prototype bin in Perth, with the help of seed investors Shark Mitigation Systems. Once ‘Seabin’ was ready, they introduced it in Mallorca, Spain, the marina capital of Europe. They’re now trying to raise more money through crowd funding for commercial production. The idea’s been very well received – they’ve already raised over $70,000 and a Seabin promo video has attracted over 10 million views.

So how does it work? Seabin, a cylinder made from recycled materials, is fixed to a dock with a water pump running on shore power. It floats upright with the open end level with the water’s surface. The pump creates a flow of water into the bin, sucking in all the floating rubbish into a natural fibre bag and then pumping clean water back out. “It essentially works as a similar concept to a skimmer box from your pool filter,” explained Richard Talmage, a spokesperson for ‘Seabin’. “But it’s designed on a scale to work and essentially attract all that rubbish within a location within a marine harbour.”

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Outfitter Donates High-End Suits to Men in Need to Help Them Get Back on Their Feet

Recognising the importance of first impressions, a Baltimore-based charity is hooking up men in need with “gently worn” suits, just so they can have a fighting chance at a better life.

‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was started in 2012 by local businessman Christopher Schafer and his son Seth, the owners of custom clothing store Christopher Schafer Clothier. They make high end-suits for a living – usually priced at $1,200 and up – and many of their customers always bring back old suits to be donated. When one client gave them $10,000 worth of used custom suits a few years ago, they began thinking of ways to make a difference.

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Real-Life Hansel and Gretel – You Can Now Dine in a Life-Size Gingerbread House

You can now be Hansel or Gretel for a day, thanks to this life-size gingerbread house made of hundreds of pounds of sugar, spice, and all things nice. Located in a resort in Marana, southern Arizona, the house is actually a restaurant that serves its very own three-course menu. Fear not, there’s no wicked witch inside waiting to eat you!

The one-of-a-kind house is the creation of three pastry chefs at the Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana – they decided to get together this holiday season to make a gingerbread house that’s more than just a display. “There’s a lot of gingerbread houses out there but usually it’s just a facade and the inside is forgotten about,” said head pastry chef Daniel Mangione. “But this year we really wanted to see if we could make it different.”

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This Swallowable Balloon Pill Is a Less Invasive Alternative to a Gastric Bypass

Thanks to ‘Elipse’, a swallowable gastric balloon pill, people with obesity can now avoid painful gastric bypass surgeries to curb their appetite. The balloon can be swallowed in the form of a pill that inflates once it enters the stomach filling a portion of it and creating the sensation of fullness that helps you eat less. A few months later, it self-destructs and passes as waste.

Developed by Allurion Technologies, a Massachusetts-based company, Elipse is being touted as a “safe and effective weight loss tool” that “empowers overweight and obese individuals to reclaim their health.” Currently, gastric balloons are used by doctors across the globe to help treat severe obesity through a highly invasive procedure. The balloons are placed in the stomach endoscopically, left in there for several months, and then removed endoscopically as well.

But according to the company’s website, Elipse – the world’s first procedureless gastric balloon – does not require endoscopy and is designed to self-empty and pass through the gastrointestinal tract. The balloon is packaged into a capsule and attached to a thin, swallowable delivery catheter long enough to reach the patient’ stomach. Once the capsule enters the stomach, it disintegrates, releasing the Elipse.

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Company Creates Self-Drying Jacket Inspired by ‘Back to the Future’

In a weird ‘art-inspires-life’ type scenario, the self-drying jacket that Marty McFly wore in 2015 in the movie Back to the Future II has actually become a reality this year. A prototype has already been created and a Kickstarter campaign is underway to raise funds for mass production. 

The jackets – named SDJ-01 – are classified as wearable tech, because of the internal air circulation system that expedites the drying process from the inside out. “The self-drying jacket is real,” the campaign page states. “They actually do dry. Under normal circumstances, you can expect the jacket to dry in about 1-2 minutes after being exposed to rain or a spilled drink. If you jump into a pond to escape some maniac on a hoverboard, that will probably take longer.”

“Think of how quickly your clothes dry when you turn a standard fan on them. Now imagine how quickly breathable, water resistant material dries when exposed to concentrated, high-pressure air. In lab tests, our jacket consistently experienced noticeable drying effects after just 30 seconds, with the average time of about a minute to achieve 90% drying effect.”

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Greek Cafe Serves Coffee by Day, Shelters Stray Dogs by Night

The kind owners of a cafe in Greece are making headlines for their extraordinary generosity towards dogs. ‘Hot Spot’, located in Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, serves as a coffee place during the day and doubles up as a shelter for dogs at night!

Kindness towards animals is apparently quite common among the Greeks, but the generosity displayed by the management of Hot Spot is being hailed as unprecedented, even by local standards. They began their practice of letting strays spend the night indoors in July, when a waiter took pity on a dog that was stranded outside at around 3 am. Since then, they’ve been opening their doors to the dogs every single night.

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This Japanese Bookstore Only Stocks One Book at a Time

Japanese bookseller Yoshiyuki Morioka has come up with a highly unusual concept for a bookstore – he sells one book at a time in a tiny shop located in Ginza, Tokyo’s luxury shopping district. Ever since he launched the store in May, he has stocked multiple copies of only one title per week. 

You might argue that it’s hardly a bookstore if you can’t go in and spend at least a few hours browsing through hundreds of volumes, but Morioka never intended to create a classic bookstore. It’s like a weekly ‘suggested reading’ service – you just go in and pick up the book chosen for the week, relieving yourself of the burden of choice. Morioka said he came up with the idea a store that solely focused on one book at a time after organising several book-launch events at his old bookstore.

“Before opening this bookstore in Ginza, I had been running another one in Kayabacho for 10 years,” Morioka told The Guardian. “There, I had around 200 books as stock, and used to organise several book launches per year. During such events, a lot of people visited the store for the sake of a single book. As I experienced this for some time, I started to believe that perhaps with only one book, a bookstore could be managed.” To finance the store, Morioka sold his huge collection of Japanese wartime propaganda, famous for the quirky, strong graphics.

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Birdly – A Unique Virtual Simulator That Lets You Fly Like a Bird

If you’ve always dreamed of soaring the skies like a bird, here’s your chance. You can’t fly for real, of course, but you can experience what it feels like thanks to a futuristic virtual simulator called Birdly.

According to the inventor, Swiss artist and software developer Max Rheiner, Birdly stimulates all the user’s senses to give the user a sense of flying, based on human dreams. “People who have dreams about flying, they can just fly without training and they have great feelings,” he said. “We tried to model this experience like those dreams.”

To use the machine, users are required to lie flat on their stomachs with their hands sprawled out. They also strap on special VR goggles that are programmed with real skylines and landscapes of American cities. Tilting the body up and down produces the effect of ascending or diving. The machine even blows wind with the appropriate force and recreates smells that relate to the landscape below. So users experience a salt-air aroma as they fly over the sea, and and industrial odors while gliding over cities.

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The Black Boiled Eggs of Owakudani – A Japanese Delicacy

Owakudani, also known as the ‘Great Boiling Valley’, is a large volcanic caldera that formed 3,000 years ago when Mount Hakone erupted. The explosion was so powerful that the area is still active with boiling pools of water and huge vents that expel steam and volcanic fumes of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. That hardly sounds like an ideal tourist destination, but hordes of people visit Owakudani each year in search of the mystical black boiled eggs, locally known as ‘Kuro-Tamago’.

These black eggs might look other-worldly, but they’re actually just plain chicken eggs. The strange black hue comes from boiling them in the sulphur-rich hot water pools of Owakudani, near Hakone, Japan. The sulphur in the water reacts with the eggs’ shells, making them black and imparting a sulphur tinged flavour and odour to the cooked egg inside.

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Cliffside Capsule Hotel in Peru Offers Stunning Views, Is Not for the Faint-of Heart

The Nature Vive Skylodge hotel, in Cusco, Peru, is made up of three transparent capsules attached to the side of a cliff, 1,312 meters above the beautiful Sacred Valley, once the heartland of the Inca Empire. Reaching this unique hotel is an adventure in itself, but once inside the pods, thrill-seekers can enjoy a stunning view of this natural paradise.

Each of the three 24×8-foot hanging capsule suits are built from an aerospace-grade aluminum frame and weather-resistant polycarbonate. Furnished with four beds, a small dining area, and a separate bathroom, the rooms can accommodate up to eight people. The transparent walls allow visitors to enjoy an almost 360-degree view of the Sacred valley, while four ventilation ducts let in the fresh mountain air. High quality mattresses, cotton sheets, down pillows, quilts and curtains for privacy are provided to ensure your your stay is as comfortable as possible.

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Controversial ‘Wall of Shame’ in Peru Separates the Rich from the Poor

Everyone talks about the gap between the rich and poor, bit nowhere is this barrier more clear than Lima Peru, where a 10-kilometer concrete wall topped with barbed wire separates one of the cities richest communities from one of the poorest.

Located on the outskirts of Lima, the Wall of Shame’, also nicknamed ‘Peru’s Berlin Wall’, was erected to provide protection to the wealthy by preventing the poor from entering their neighborhood to commit crimes. It is so long that it can actually be plotted as a line on a satellite view of the area. The line separates Las Casuarinas, home to some of the nation’s richest citizens, from the suburb of Vista Hermosa, where the vast majority lives in poverty, without even the most basic amenities.  “The wooden houses illuminated by candles and the broken roofs are contrasted by multi-million pound houses within a few kilometers,” a local media news station recently described the situation.

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New World’s Most Expensive Material Costs $150 Million per Gram

Platinum, gold, silver, and diamonds are going to seem dirt cheap when you hear how much this new man-made carbon-based material costs – an eye-watering £100 million ($150 million) per gram!

Created last year by British scientists in an Oxford University lab, ‘endohedral fullerene’ is a cage of carbon atoms containing nitrogen atoms. Carbon atoms exist in many forms like diamond and graphene, distinguished by the number of atoms they contain. This fullerene, with 60 carbon atoms, is also called Buckminsterfullerene or ‘bucky-ball’ because of its unusual shape.

It has several important applications apparently – it’s being used to create a small, portable atomic clock that will be the most accurate time-keeping system in the world. It could also help make GPS navigation more accurate to 1mm in self-driving cars.

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Russian Scientists Develop Quadcopter That Can Be Controlled By Thoughts

Thanks to the hard work of a few Russian scientists, everyone might soon be able to use the power of telekinesis. They’ve created a special quadcopter that doesn’t need external controls as it can be operated with the power of thought. The user needs to put on a special helmet that can read human thoughts and translate them into machine-readable instructions, telling the copter how high and far to fly.

The project was financed by Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Research, an organisation that supports research programs in the interest of national defense. Neurobotics, a Zelenograd-based company, worked on the copter’s design for many years before developing a successful prototype. “Commands, or ‘conditions’ as we call them, are generated by the sensors on the head of an operator,” Neurobotics director Vladimir Konyshev explained. “The person thinks about certain actions at right moments which the system then recognises and identifies.”

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Fruit-Scented Plastic Cup Makes Drinking Water More Enjoyable, Helps You Lose Weight

The ‘Right Cup’ is a new weight loss device designed to trick dieters into enjoying a drink of plain water. The cup has a scented inner lining that emanates the aroma of sugary fruit, satiating cravings for flavored drinks like juice or soda without having to consume the calories.

The cup works on the basic premise that 80 percent of the flavor and experience of food comes from its smell. The material of the cup is BPA-free and has a proprietary Encapsulated Aroma Release technology on the inside, so when users tilt the cup towards their face to take a sip, the aroma floods the senses, making them forget that they’re actually drinking bland water.

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