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.

profesional-waiter

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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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Indian Student Jumps into Zoo Enclosure to Challenge Full-Grown Tigers, Walks Away Unscathed

College students are known to do the stupidest things at times, but this one just takes the cake. Yashonandan Kaushik, a 23-year-old student of Engineering from Madhya Pradesh, India, actually jumped into a tiger’s enclosure at Gwalior Zoo. The bizarre incident that took place around 5pm on Monday stunned spectators and zoo staff alike. Kaushik completely ignored their cries to come out. He took off his shirt, challenged the tigers to a fight and tried to chase one of the beasts into its cave. Surprisingly, he made it out of the enclosure unharmed.

Someone caught the whole thing on video – the clip shows Kaushik trying to provoke Luv and Kush, the two tigers in the enclosure. But the tigers just look plain scared and run in the opposite direction. Kaushik continues to dance and behave irrationally (for about 45 minutes, according to news reports). When one of the tigers runs into its cave, he follows it and appears to call for it to come out and fight. At one point he can even be seen sitting in a yoga posture while the tigers stand merely feet away. Lucky for him, security staff arrived and locked the tigers away, before escorting Kaushik to safety.

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Self-Taught Artist Takes Creepy Special Effects Makeup to a Whole New Level

26-year-old Sandra Holmbom is one heck of a talented makeup artist. Her work is so mind-blowing that it’s hard to believe she has had no professional training whatsoever. She admits that she really loves special effects makeup – a fact that’s pretty obvious from her pictures. It appears that she’s mostly her own model, creating the most horrifying looks like decaying, festering wounds, ripped-skin eye masks, ripped off eyebrows, skeleton masks, wrinkled faces and more.

I am completely in awe of what the self-taught Swedish artist has managed to achieve, especially because I cannot put on simple eyeliner without messing up. Sandra’s makeup is nothing short of perfection. She tries out various ideas for fun and posts tutorials on YouTube. Photographs of her finished ‘looks’ go up on her blog, ‘psychosandra’. “I get really nice feedback on my makeup,” she said. “It’s so fun to read all the comments from all the people out there. Sometimes it may be some who do not like or understand it. But if you’re looking to do weird things, you should take it as a compliment.”

Sandra-Holmbom-makeup

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Japanese Man Spends $150,000 on Plastic Surgery to Look Like Michelangelo’s David

Alan, a 20-year-old kid from Japan, spent $150,000 on plastic surgery in a span of just one year. After being teased throughout school for his effeminate looks, he wanted to permanently change his face. And he chose to model it after Michelangelo’s masterpiece Renaissance sculpture, David. Alan wanted to make himself look ‘foreign’ and have an ‘ageless face’ so he felt like ‘the ideal is the Statue of David’.

I’m not sure how much Alan resembles the chiseled face of David, but he certainly looks nothing like his former self. He was on a Japanese TV show recently, where he spoke about his various surgeries – two on the nose, one on the eyes, four lift-and-tucks to remove and prevent wrinkles, and injections to alter the shape of his chin. Alan left home and moved to Tokyo at the age of 16. There, he got involved with at least five older women who have sponsored all his beauty treatments.

But he was quick to point out that he didn’t share sexual relationships with any of these women. He said: “If I do that once, the money flow will stop as that companion will be satisfied.” It appears that Alan’s income from his lady-friends is quite regular – he visits his plastic surgeon every morning to get a special IV (worth $3,000 a month) loaded with supplements that keep him looking young.

Japanese-David

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The Most Connected Man in the World Uses 700 Sensors and Systems to Record Every Detail of His Existence

They say meditation can make you self-aware, but it looks like technology can do the job too! 45-year-old American software developer Chris Dancy, the world’s most connected human being, uses a range of sensors, devices, services and apps that gather real-time data about his activities and the environment around him. A total of 700 systems monitor his every mood and move, and being ‘the most quantified human’ has helped him know himself better than ever before. “I spent the last four years connecting all the devices that I wear to all the smart technology in my home, and piping all that data through to a single online platform, so I can search my entire life. I call it my ‘inner-net’,” he said.

Dancy doesn’t just stay connected for fun, he puts all the data to good use. By constantly monitoring his movements and eating habits, he has managed to lose 100 pounds. “I now know what to drink, what to eat, when to sleep and when to actually make myself get up. Very simple things like that,” he said. “It’s body and mind hacking. Just like we hack computers and any type of data, your body and your mind is the greatest information system humanity has ever known and understanding it makes it hackable.”

“When I touch something, I try to make sure it’s a something that I can get information out of so I can track, then search it, visualize it and share it with people who might want that piece of it,” Dancy added. He got the idea to stay connected after realizing that he was putting a lot of information online and if one of these services went out of business, relevant information would be lost. “It really started with me having a desire to digitally collect what I was creating.”

Chris-Darcy-connected

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