Man Spends 50 Years Hand-Painting 2,000-Foot Map of Imaginary World

Fifty years ago, Jerry Gretzinger started painting a map of a world that existed only in his imagination. It began as a doodle, but since that first day, he has been adding a new hand-drawn panel to his map every day. Today the masterpiece known as Jerry’s Map numbers 2,600 different unique panels that cover 2,000 square feet. And it’s still growing…

“The map began as just a doodle. I just made little rectangles and cross-hatched them carefully. And I just kept adding more rectangles and I put a river in and some railroad stations,” Gretzinger explains in a short documentary about his work. ”But there was this moment when I came to the edge of that sheet of paper and got out another sheet of paper and I put the two together… That’s when I realized that it kind of had a life of its own.” He started out with a city that kept on growing, until he realized its imaginary population had to eat to survive, so he decided to throw in some farmland. He added rivers, forests, cemeteries, railroad stations, airports transforming small towns into cities as his universe evolved and keeping track of the population of each of his imaginary settlements on a computer spreadsheet. Even though it might seem like he is controlling everything that happens in Ukrainia, Plaeides and his other cities, Jerry has created a system that dictates almost everything that happens in his world.

Jerry-Gretzinger-map4

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Solo Per Due – World’s Smallest Restaurant Only Seats Two People at a Time

If you’re searching for the most private restaurant dining experience possible, look no further than Solo Per Due, a small ristorante in Vacone, Italy, that only features one table and two chairs.

Aptly named “Solo Per Due”, Italian for “just for two”, the world’s smallest restaurant only accepts two people at a time. This unique feature makes the Italian restaurant a popular destination for tourists from all over the world, but especially for lovers. There are no queues, no turns and no waiting, but booking this place for a romantic dinner, especially on holidays like Valentine’s Day can be a real challenge. Only around 1,500 people get a chance to enjoy the unparalleled privacy Solo Per Due has to offer, and it’s this exclusivity that best explains the set price of €250 ($335) per person (not including wine and champagne). The idea behind this unique eatery is that guests enjoy true intimacy and get the full attention of the cooking and waiting staff, which guarantees an extra special dining experience.

Solo-Per-Due-restaurant

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Bizarre Anti-Cheating Paper Hats Spark Controversy in Thailand

A photo showing students of a renowned Bangkok university wearing strange headgear complete with side flaps to thwart cheating during a midterm exam caused quite a stir after it was uploaded to Facebook as a joke.

Teachers at Kasetsart University in Thailand have recently come under fire for making their students wear horse blinder-like devices made of paper to prevent them from cheating on their exams. A photo showing around 100 students wearing the rudimentary anti-cheating hats was recently posted on Facebook by the KU student board, where it got so many negative reactions that it was eventually removed. Unfortunately for the Thai learning institution the photo had already been picked up by the media and the negative responses just kept on coming. However, it appears the students were not pressured into wearing the paper blinders, in fact they were the one who suggested it. ‘‘It was an agreement between us. No student was forced to wear a hat. Instead, all were happy to do so and thought it was fun. They felt more relaxed during the test,’’ Nattadon Rungruangkitkrai, a lecturer at Kasetsart University, said during in a press conference.

anti-cheating-blinders

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Talented Young Artist Paints with Used Coffee Grounds

21-year-old Vincent Francisco Navarro, from Baguio City, Philippines, is an emerging visual artist who uses ground coffee as the main medium of his art. He collects used coffee grounds and recycles them as paint, thus giving the waste product new value and purpose through aesthetics.

The city of Baguio produces around 300 tons of garbage every day, and authorities are still looking for environment-friendly ways of storing and disposing of the waste. Local artist and environmentalist Vincent Navarro decided to do his part by proving recycling can be of great help against the build-up of garbage in an ingenious way. After doing extensive research he started exploring the possibility of creating beautiful works of art with coffee grounds collected from a large gourmet coffee chain. He spent ten months creating portraits of coffee farmers from the Benguet region of the Philippines, using nothing but coffee and used grounds. Inspired by the months his spent as a volunteer aiding coffee farmers in Benguet and Cordillera, Navarro created his works as tributes to the “toil and sweat” these hard-working people put into growing “the best-tasting and rich coffee beans”.

Coffee Farmer 10

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The Tapeworm Diet – Ingesting Dangerous Parasites to Lose Weight

The things people will do to shed a few unwanted pounds. A woman from Iowa has reportedly swallowed a tapeworm she bought from the internet in order to drop a few pounds, thus proving the tapeworm diet is more than a myth.

You can buy a lot of crazy things online these days, and apparently the tapeworm is one of them. Back in 2009, reports surfaced that dieters in Hong Kong were ingesting giant intestinal roundworm eggs in a desperate attempt to lose weight, and according to a number of sources, tapeworm pills are legally available at a number of clinics in mexico. The tapeworm diet is officially banned in countries like the U.S. and Britain, but as a recent case revealed by Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, proves, that doesn’t mean it’s not still practiced by extreme dieters. According to Today.com, a woman from Iowa went to her doctor and told him she had bought a tapeworm pill from the internet and swallowed it to lose weight. Unsure of what to do in such a situation, the physician contacted the state’s public health department for advice. In her weekly email to state public health workers, Dr. Quinlisk provided a treatment option and talked about the dangers of this bizarre practice.

tapeworm-diet

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For Sale: One-of-a-Kind Car COMPLETELY Covered in Canadian Bison Leather

We’ve featured some outrageous cars on Oddity Central in the past, but this one definitely takes the cake. An automotive enthusiast from Moscow, Russia is selling a unique hot rod that is completely covered in Canadian wood bison leather. And by “completely” I mean interior, exterior and even the engine…

According to the ad posted on Russia’s biggest classifieds website, Avito, the vehicle’s fiberglass body is covered in genuine Canadian bison leather, tanned and artistically etched by a master from the Middle East. The car’s interior, including the dashboard, is also layered with brown bison leather and expensive natural furs. And as if this thing didn’t have way too much leather already, the inside of the hood, as well as the engine and several other parts are also encased in specially treated bison leather than can withstand high temperatures. The seller, known only as “Rustam“, claims the engine and trunk compartment also feature Swarovski crystal inserts.

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Each Line One Breath – Artist Creates Meditative Drawings One Line at a Time

Each Line One Breath is a collection of morphogenetic freehand drawings by Netherlands-based artist John Franzen.  He creates textured artworks reminiscent of wrinkled fabric or water ripples by drawing hundreds of lines from the top of a paper canvas all the way to the bottom.

The process of creating a morphogenetic freehand drawing is a very tedious one. The artist starts by drawing a vertical line on left far-side of his canvas, with an ink pen. He then tries to copy the line as he moves towards the right side. By controlling his breathing, Franzen tries to replicate the straight line as best he can, but unlike those of a machine, the movements of his hand create tiny imperfections. Instead of correcting the mistakes, he amplifies them by copying them with each new line he draws and at the end of this seemingly maddening process, the imperfections take center stage, “revealing wave-motion-patterns transporting energy through space-time, such as any electromagnetic wave, or the pattern of a DNA-replication”.

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Relaxing Pillows Shaped Like a Woman’s Lap Gain Popularity in Japan

Designed to replicate the relaxing experience of resting your head on a woman’s lap, the Himazakura Lap Pillow is still very popular in Japan, years after it was launched.

On the popular online store Japan Trend Shop, the Himazakura Lap Pillow is described as” soft and elastic to the touch, and perfectly suited to lying your head on. You’ll be surprised at how comfortable and real it feels!” Shaped as the lap of a woman kneeling in Japanese style, the polyurethane cushion recreates the comfortable feeling of resting your head on a woman’s lap, be it your mother or your loving wife. Launched during the mid 2000′s by the Trane Corporation and advertised as a homesickness-healing accessory, the lap pillow was an instant hit with lonely shoppers, and it’s still proving a best-seller today. The item is sold out on both Japan Trend Shop and Amazon Japan, and it’s flying off the shelves of duty free shops in Tokyo and Narita International airports, where most people buy it as a novelty gift for friends.

Lap-pillow-Japan

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Awesome Upside-Down Car Turns Driving Literally on Its Head

Jeff Bloch, a.k.a. Speedycop, is an American race-car enthusiast who likes to create all sorts of crazy contraptions for the popular 24-hour LeMons Race. His latest achievement – an upside-down vehicle he describes as “a frightening fusion of a wretched 1990 Ford Festiva and a horrible 1999 Chevy Camaro, with a not-so-subtle twist”.

Just two months after making headlines with a Cessna airplane converted into a race car, Jeff Bloch is in the spotlight once again, this time with a ridiculous upside-down car. To create this one-of-a-kind freak on wheels, he stripped off the Fiesta’s body and replaced it with the upside-down carcass of the Chevy Camaro. So he is basically driving a Ford Fiesta that looks like an inverted Camaro. The Ford’s underpowered 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine has thus been saddled with the body of the much larger car, including the extra set of wheels, making it easy prey during a race. But then again, Speedycop didn’t really build it to win the LeMons, just the attention and admiration of his fellow motorheads.

upside-down-car

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Indonesian Villagers Beat Each Other with Rattan Brooms in the Name of Brotherhood and Friendship

Every year, a week after the end of Ramadan, the Indonesian villages of Morella and Mamala hold Pukul Sapu, a unique ritual that has men from the two villages beating each other across their bare backs with rattan broomsticks.

There’s nothing like a good beating to strengthen the bond between members of a community, at according to the people of Morella and Mamala, two villages in the Maluku province of Indonesia. Seven days after the end of Ramadan, the local young men take part in Pukul Sapu, an ancient ritual that translates as “Beating Brooms”. A fitting name, considering it involves participants hitting each other with strips of rattan across their backs until they are all covered in bloody scars. Before the actual beating begins, the men gather to receive the prayers of the village elders which are supposed to provide protection from serious injury during the proceedings. Wearing only short pants and headbands, the brave men enter the arena and split into two groups, facing each other. They then take turns in hitting each other across the back and chest with hard rattan brooms, with the one taking the beating lifting his arms into the air to proudly display his bloody wounds. This is not a mock battle, and the traces left by each lash is more than enough proof, yet the participants take the beating without so much as a flinch or cry of pain.

Pukul-Sapu

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Israeli Women Convert Old Public Transportation Bus into Beautiful Living Space

Two women from Even Yehuda, Israel, seem to have found a practical solution to the country’s growing housing problem. They have taken a beat-down public transportation bus and turned it into a luxury home anyone would be lucky to live in.

Tali Shaul, a psychotherapist, and Hagit Morevski, an ecological pond water treatment specialist, became friends after their two sons started playing together. Sharing similar views, the two looked for a creative project and joint business idea for a long time, before finding their inspiration in the pages of a women’s style magazine. “I read an article about alternative housing solutions, such as containers and tents,” Shaul told Xnet, “and suggested Hagit and I turn an old bus into a living space.” That same week, they went to a scrapyard and bought an old public transportation bus. After stripping away all the seats and clearing up the space for the big transformation, Tali and Hagit found themselves wondering whether to keep the original outlay of the bus or turn it into a container-like space. Unable to make a decision on heir own, they reached out to their designer friend, Vered Sofer Drori, who ultimately found a way to keep the bus’ general layout and design the living space around it.

Bus-Home

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American Family Build Doomsday Castle to Survive the Apocalypse

Brent Sr. believes the apocalypse will be triggered by a strong electromagnetic pulse, or an EMP, that will take out the entire power grid, plunging mankind back into the Dark Ages. To prepare for the inevitable, he and his family are building a fortified castle complete with a drawbridge, portcullis and an underground bunker.

Atop a large foothill deep in the woods of North Carolina, a family of doomsday preppers are getting ready for the impending end of days. They are learning to use medieval weapons like crossbows and catapults, and building a fortified castle that will protect them from marauders and scavengers. Brent Sr., a retired infantry officer, got into doomsday prepping back in 1999, convinced that the predicted Y2K computer glitch would unleash chaos and bring about the end of civilization as we know it. Worried that the computers which controlled everything from electricity to natural gas would go down, he wanted to ensure his family’s safety if everything went dark. When that didn’t happen, Brent put the whole thing out of his mind for a couple of years because he didn’t want people to think he was crazy, but he eventually got back to the original plan. Only this time he has his whole family helping him.

Doomsday-Castle

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Ultimate Latte Art: Taiwanese Cafe Prints Your Portrait on a Cup of Coffee

If you’ve ever wanted to drink your own face, now’s your chance. Taiwanese cafe chain, Let’s Cafe, uses a special latte printer that creates portraits of customers directly on their delicious caffeinated drinks.

Let’s Cafe is a chain of small kiosks offering “fast but good coffee” to shoppers on the go all around Taiwan. Faced with the challenge of competing with larger more established cafe chains, they had to come up with a truly original gimmick in order to attract customers. Let’s Cafe needed something not even big players like Starbucks could compete with, and they found it in the ridiculously accurate coffee printing machine. All users have to do is upload a photo from their mobile phone to the coffee dispenser machine and after the cup has been filled with the caffeinated beverage of their choice, the incorporated printer uses edible ink to sprinkle their photo on the milk foam. While talented latte artists do a great job of creating beautiful designs using rudimentary tools and a steady hand, there are certain limitations to their techniques, whereas this coffee printer is able to produce photo-realistic images.

coffee-printer-latte

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Company in Honduras Allegedly Forced Employees to Wear Diapers at Work

A Korean and American capital company in Honduras is being accused by union leaders and former employees of forcing its workers to wear diapers in order to increase their productivity. Company representatives have denied the allegations but an investigation is already under way.

Last Saturday, Daniel Duron, Secretary General of the General Confederation of Workers, denounced the violation of labor rights by Kyungshin-Lear Honduras Electrical Distribution Systems, accusing the company of forcing its employees to wear adult diapers to avoid going to the bathroom for their physiological needs. He added that the employer doesn’t actually supply the diapers for its workforce, but that the employees, especially the women, buy them themselves to avoid leaving their work posts and risk losing their jobs. Duron based his accusations on testimonies made by Kyungshin-Lear employees and urged authorities to investigate.

adult-diapers

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Eccentric Businessman Builds Mountain Villa atop Beijing Apartment Building

Zhang Biqing, a successful Chinese businessman from Beijing, has spent the last six years building a realistic-looking two-story mountain villa atop a high apartment building right in China’s capital city.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could retreat somewhere quiet and get away from it all, without actually leaving your home? That’s probably what Zhang Biqing, a former government adviser turned successful entrepreneur, thought when he decided to build his dream mountain villa at the top of a 26-floor apartment building in Beijing’s upscale Park View estate. During the six years it took to complete, residents complained about the infernal construction noise, but after seeing the enormity of the complex covering the entire top of their building, they began to worry about structural damage. The mountain in which Biqing’s villa appears to be carved may be fake, but the materials used to make it are reportedly pretty heavy as well, and threaten to weaken the residential building’s resistance. It turns out the whole rooftop project is illegal, as Zhang never received the necessary planning permission for his extreme dwelling, yet no one ever bothered him about it until Chinese newspapers recently covered the topic sparking public outrage.

rooftop-villa

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