More Mouthwatering Hyper-Realistic Food Paintings by Tom Martin

They may look like high-resolution photos of delicious foods, but these are actually incredibly detailed paintings by acclaimed hyper-realist artist Tom Martin. All of his pieces is a least one meter wide and can sell for up to £17,000 ($27,000).

We first discovered Tom Martin’s amazing artworks back 2010, when we featured some of his most impressive food-related paintings. The 26-year-old artist has been keeping himself busy in these last few years, creating new stunning masterpieces guaranteed to make viewers drool over them. Most of his works focus on food, but you might notice there aren’t any greasy burgers and pizzas displayed in his paintings. “I focus on food and its content because it plays a very big part in my life at the moment,” the artist explains. “I am a keen fitness enthusiast and along with that comes a healthy diet and the science of learning how your body uses carbohydrates and proteins.” You will however find bowls of delicious-looking fruit cereal, toast and marmalade, and even small guilty pleasures like waffles and ice-cream.

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Guy Runs 26-Mile Marathon Backward While Juggling

Most people couldn’t run a marathon if their life depended on it, but world-record juggler Joe Salter ran the whole 26.2-mile Quad-Cities Marathon backward, while doing what he does best, juggling.

32-year old Joe Salter can practice his juggling skills pretty much anywhere. In the past, he swam a half-mile in the Gulf of Mexico, doing the backstroke while juggling three balls, juggled for 16.2 miles on a bike and ran and juggled for four miles. He also holds the world records for the fastest time to run a mile backward while juggling (7 minutes, 32 seconds) and fastest juggling triathlon (1 hour, 57 minutes), but he was hungry for a Guinness World Record, so he challenged himself to run the entire Quad-Cities Marathon, in Illinois, backward, while juggling. Unfortunately, Guinness rules are very strict and for Joe’s unique feat to qualify as a record, every second of the race had to be recorded, which was impossible as videotaping is prohibited along several miles of the course that run through the Rock Island Arsenal. Although slightly disappointed, Salter found an upside to the whole situation. ”I actually feel better, not having the stress,” he said before the race, and indeed the lack of added pressure helped him finish the entire 26.2-mile marathon in just 5 hours and 51 minutes.

Joe-Salter-juggling

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Beijing’s Haunted Mansion: Chinese Shun Expensive Beijing Property for Fear of Ghosts

The beautiful three-story French Baroque-style house at Chaonei No. 81 is a well-known anomaly of Beijing. Small courtyard properties in this area of China’s capital city sell for millions of dollars, and yet this once lavish mansion lies in a state of decay. The reason no one will go near it? Fear of ghosts and death.

Local legend has it this amazing mansion was built by the Qing imperial family as a church for British residents of Beijing. In 1949, when the Communists had just defeated the Nationalists and were making their way into the city, the high-ranking Kuomintang official living in the house at the time abandoned his wife, leaving her to face the Communists all by her safe. Devastated, she allegedly hung herself from the rafters of their impressive home. Many believe her troubled spirit has been haunting the place ever since, and few dare venture inside by themselves, especially during the night. The once luxurious mansion is now a dilapidated shadow of its former self, covered with graffiti warning daredevils to stay away and full of empty alcohol bottles and cigarette buts. Despite its location in the center of Beijing, where prices for small properties are in the millions, there are currently no plans to do anything with this particular building. Ghost stories keep potential tenants away, and the building is now on a historic preservation list so it can’t be torn down, just renovated. So everyone seems to be waiting for it crumble on its own.

Chinese-mansion

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This Young Journalist Is Earning Her Engagement Ring by Making 300 Sandwiches for Her Boyfriend

New York Post journalist, Stephanie Smith, truly believes the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. After her boyfriend told her she is 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring, Stephanie got cooking and started a blog to document her progress. She is currently at sandwich #176.

Stephanie says her relationship to her boyfriend, “Alexander Skarsgård look-alike” Eric, has always been centered on food. They met at a restaurant, he cooked her dinner on their second date, and they’ve hosted numerous dinner-parties together, so she knew how important food was to him. And there was nothing he liked more than sandwiches. “To him, sandwiches are like kisses or hugs. Or sex,” the young journalist says. The two New-Yorkers had been going steady for about a year and even moved into a cozy apartment together, but Stephanie was wondering what it would take for Eric to finally pop the big question. She found the answer one day, after she made him her her first a turkey on whole wheat bread, with mustard, lettuce and swiss cheese. “Honey,  this is the best sandwich ever!” Eric told her in between bites. When he was done, he dropped the bomb on her: “You’re, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.” That was it, the secret to the marriage proposal she had been dreaming of. Stephanie didn’t really know hot to cook, but she was willing to learn and she wasn’t one to back down from a challenge.

At Home with Stephanie Smith author of Blog 300 Sandwiches and

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Man Spends $65,000 on Macabre World Tour of Celebrity Graves

For most people, an ideal holiday involves gorgeous natural surroundings, famous landmarks and fun activities, but for 38-year-old Mark Dabbs the perfect vacation is all about visiting celebrity graves. So far he has spent around £40,000 ($65,000) traveling across six continents and visiting the final resting places of over 200 famous people.

From the grave of kung-fu legend, Bruce Lee, in Seattle, to the glass coffin of communist leader Mao Tze-Tung, in Beijing, Mark Dabbs, a male nurse from England, has trekked every continent, except Antarctica, in search of famous tombs. He say it all began 20 years ago, when he visited the final resting place of American president John Fitzgerald Kennedy, in Virginia, USA. He just found it fascinating and since then he has traveled the world in search of more celebrity graves, dragging his siblings and sometimes even his girlfriends along with him. Mark admits most people don’t share his passion for tracking down and visiting the macabre attractions, but says he can’t think of a better way to spend his summer vacations. He considers each tomb a museum that tells the story of a person’s life and he doesn’t mind spending around £2,000 ($3,200) every year on at least 2 or 3 trips to satisfy his curiosity. Mark estimates he has spent at least £40,000 ($65,000) on his macabre hobby since he first started visiting graveyards.

Mark-Dabbs

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Poland’s Knight Fighting League Looks Like a Brutal Medieval Version of Fight Club

The awesome-looking Polish Knight Fighting League has medieval enthusiasts put on full body armor and do battle in one-one duels or team matches, using actual (although blunt) weapons like swords, axes and spears.

The Polish Knight Fighting League is no scripted medieval battle reenactment. It’s more like a Dark-Ages-themed tournament for people who share a passion for shiny helmets and medieval martial arts. Participants put on full protective armor and try to land as many hits on their opponents as possible. They can strike with their metal weapons and shields, or simply use punches, kicks or headbutts. Matches are judged on points, like fencing, where the knight with he most connected hits wins the game, or by knockdown, where the first man to touch the ground with more than a third of their body loses. Would-be knights can participate in one-on-one duels, or team matches where the ultimate goal is to knock-down as many opponents as possible. The team with the most people left standing when time is called wins the day. Sounds like a fun time if you’re into this sort of thing, but judging by the promo video below, it can get pretty brutal. Apart from hitting an unarmored opponent and landing hits to the spine, neck and back of the knees, everything else is apparently permitted.

knight-fighting-league

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Woman Cancels Wedding, Her Parents Decide to Hold It Anyway to Feed the Homeless

After their daughter cancelled her nuptials just 40 days before the big event, Carol and Willie Fowler decided not to let the upscale meal they had planned for her wedding go to waste, so they went ahead with it, albeit with a new list of guests. On September 15, two hundred of Atlanta’s homeless were invited to enjoy a four-course meal at one of the city’s upscale restaurants.

When the people at the Hosea Feed the Hungry charity in Atlanta got a call from someone offering to donate a lavish meal at the upmarket Villa Christina restaurant to the needy, they thought it was a prank. But Carol and Willie Fowler were dead serious. Their daughter Tamara had just cancelled her big weeding, but they weren’t about to let all the food they had ordered for the big event go to waste. ”It was my husband’s idea,” Mrs. Fowler told WBUR. ”We prayed about it. And when he woke up the next morning, he said, ‘We’re going to call Hosea Feed the Hungry and ask if we can donate it to the needy.” They set the whole thing up with the help Elisabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed the Hungry, and on September 15, 200 of Atlanta’s less fortunate were treated to fine dishes and drinks in an event dubbed ”The First Annual Fowler Family Celebration of Love”. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade, right?

Fowler Family Celebration of Love

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Real-Life Escape-the-Room Games Gaining Popularity in China

Have you ever fantasized about starring in a real-life Saw-like scenario where you’re forced to look for clues in order to escape a locked windowless room before time runs out? Apparently many Chinese have, as more and more of them flock to various real-life room-escape game locations across the country.

Inspired by a computer game called “Takagism”, in which players had to find a way out of virtual locked room by searching their surroundings and manipulate objects in search for clues, real-life escape-the-room games have rally taken off in China during the last few months. A team of players is locked in a maze of dark, eerie rooms and have to work together in order to find clues to help them escape before the allotted times runs out. They are not allowed to use smartphones or any kind of gadgets or books to solve the rooms’ puzzles and must rely solely on their knowledge and skills to beat all challenges. Real Takagism club operators say teamwork, a good leader and the ability to keep calm and focused under pressure are key to escaping the locked rooms within the time limit, but the puzzles can be really tough and only the best succeed. For example, at Freeing Hong Kong, an escape game location in Hong Kong, only one in five teams make it out of the rooms before their time runs out.

escape-the-room

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Real-Life Hulk Has the Biggest Hands You’ve Ever Seen

Denis Cyplenkov is a Ukrainian strongman and arm wrestling champion known not only for his incredible strength, but also for his unusually large palms. Let’s just say fictional characters like the Hulk or Shrek would be jealous of this guy’s hands.

31-year-old Denis Cyplenkov was born in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine, where he attended various sports clubs during his childhood and teenage years. He trained in kettlebell lifting for a few years and had great results in a number of competitive events, before becoming one of the world’s best arm wrestlers. He won the Nemiroff World Cup in 2010 and 2011 and holds several Russian Arm Wrestling Champion titles. On his website, Cyplenkov claims he also holds records for the biggest biceps in Russia (64 cm in circumference) and the strongest man in Russia. At 186 cm in height and 140 kg of pure muscle, Denis Cyplenkov has quite an impressive physique, but his most incredible assets are his abnormally thick hands. As you can see in the photos below, his pinkie is easily twice as thick as most people’s thumb, not to mention his other fingers. His wrists are also a whopping 24 cm in circumference, which partly explains his successful arm wrestling career. The guy must have some grip strength.

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Man Swims over 2 Kilometers All Tied Up in a Bag

Jane Petkov, a 59-year-old Bulgarian man, tried to set a new Guinness record by swimming across a lake while wrapped in a bag with his arms and legs tied up. Known as “amphibian man” in his native country, Petkov says he relies on concentration and a special breathing technique to pull off the amazing feat.

The record-breaking attempt took place on September 10, on Lake Orhid, in Macedonia, and had Jane Petkov jumping out of a boat in the middle of the water trying to somehow make his way to shore. His arms and legs were tied once before putting on the thick bag, and again over the bag, to make sure he couldn’t use them during his death-defying feat. What’s even more astonishing is doctors who examined him before the challenge found he was severely anemic, which, given his age, made the task even more dangerous. Nevertheless, on the morning of September 10, the amphibian man jumped in the cold water of Lake Orhid and began to swim on his back like a dolphin.

Jane-Petkov

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Photo of Heavily Pregnant Woman Weightlifting Sparks Online Controversy

35-year-old Lea-Ann Ellison, from Los Angeles, has managed to start an online storm after a photo showing the eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman lifting what seem like heavy weights was posted on Facebook.

Heavily pregnant Lea-Ann Ellison doesn’t believe in taking it easy ahead of the big day. Instead she is following an intense fitness regime designed for professional athletes and members of the police and military. ”I have been CrossFitting for 2½ years,” the woman posted on Facebook. ”and … strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.” The photo of her preparing to lift a weight bar this far into her pregnancy prompted a series of comments, both positive and negative. Some Facebook users accused Lea-Ann of risking her baby’s well-being just to stay in shape and described the photo as “shocking”, while others showed their admiration for the weightlifter’s decision, calling her “amazing” and “an inspiration”. One person wrote: ”I think that we should all be more concerned about a mom who eats McDonalds everyday of her pregnancy, and doesn’t exercise one bit. This woman is not just concerned about herself, she is concerned about her child future and the example she sets for her other children about overcoming adversity.”

Lea-Ann-Ellison

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The Adorable Sushi Roll Art of Takayo Kiyota

Tokyo-based artist Takyo Kiyota uses sushi rolls as a canvas for her art. Believe it or not, she never knows exactly what her edible artworks are going to look like, relying only on visualization when expertly placing the colored grains of rice inside the roll.

Just like in regular makizushi, or “rolled sushi,”, the ingredients in Takayo Kiyota’s rolls are laid lengthwise, bottom to top, then rolled shut in a sheet of seaweed. The loaf-shaped piece of sushi looks unimpressive on the outside, but slicing cross-sections reveals amazingly detailed works of art. From edible replicas of famous paintings and popular character of Japanese anime to gadgets like the Apple iPhone and Facebook “likes”, it seems there’s nothing Takayo can’t replicate in her makizushi rolls. But getting every grain of rice in just the right place seems like an impossible task, and the artist herself admits the slightest shift of an ingredient or overly exerted force when wrapping can completely throw things off. “I never know what the inside looks like so I’m never sure if it will come out the way I imagined. And I can’t make edits once it’s done,” Takayo, a.k.a Tama-chan, says. “It’s always a special moment when I make the first incision to reveal the image.”

sushi-art

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Robinson Crusoe 2.0: French Entrepreneur to Run Business from Uninhabited Island for 40 Days

French businessman Gauthier Toulemonde plans to isolate himself on an uninhabited island in Indonesia for 40 days and run his company via solar and wind-powered computers and satellite phones.

Fascinated by the novels of Jules Verne and the expeditions of famous explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, during his childhood days, Gauthier Toulemonde always dreamed of going on his own little adventure in an exotic paradise. He’s definitely not the only person in the world to have such a dream, but while others would consider the experience a break from their everyday lives and, more importantly, their jobs, Toulemonde plans to work a full 8 hours a day, managing his company 10,000 km away. On October 8, the 54-year-old French entrepreneur, who runs Paris-based philatelic publication services company Timbopress, will be transported to a 700 meters long, 500 meters wide island somewhere in Indonesia, where he will spend the following 40 days alone, keeping in touch with the world via the internet and a satellite phone. For safety purposes, the modern-day Robinson Crusoe has decided not to reveal the exact location of his temporary home.

Gauthier-Toulemonde

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Modern-Day Pharaoh: Brazilian Businessman Wants to Take Prized Bentley with Him to the Grave

They say you can’t take your worldly possessions with you when you die, but a Brazilian businessman is going to try. Following the example of Egyptian pharaohs, Count Chiquinho Scarpa decided to bury his prizes Bentley Continental in his back yard, so he can enjoy driving it in the afterlife.

62-year-old Count Scarpa, a quirky millionaire from Sao Paolo, Brazil, announced he has decided to do like the pharaohs and entomb his $500,000 Bentley Continental Flying Spur in his back garden, on Monday, via Facebook. The message came with a photo of the successful businessman holding a cockatoo on one arm while resting the other on his luxurious limousine. To assure those who doubted him that his claim was sincere, the following day Scarpa posted another photo of him holding a shovel next to a big hole in his garden, with the car parked behind him, adding that he was going to put in the ground by the end of the week. His bizarre messages got thousands of “likes”and “shares”on Facebook, and eventually got the attention of the media. Count Scarpa was invited on the “Agora É Tarde” TV show where he told host Danilo Gentili he got the idea after watching a documentary on Sunday. ’I was watching a documentary about the pharaohs of Egypt, very interesting. They buried their entire fortune to have a comfortable life on “the other side”!’ he said.

Count-Chiquinho-Scarpa

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Japanese 88-Member Pop Group Selects Lead Singers in Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament

Japanese music group AKB48 currently holds the Guinness record for the world’s largest pop group, with an impressive 88 female members split into various teams. But fitting all the girls on a single stage is tricky, so every time they launch a new single, AKB48 members hold a knockout rock-paper-scissors tournament to select a limited number of singers.

AKB48 is the brainchild of producer Yasushi Akimoto, who wanted to create a girl band that, unlike other pop groups who are mostly seen on TV and hold concerts sporadically, could perform for its fans live, every day, at their own theater. The band debuted in 2005 with 20 members chosen from almost 8,000 girls. In April of 2006, another group of 18 girls were chosen to form Team B of AKB48, and there are currently four different teams making up the 88-strong all-female idol group, as well as various sister groups Japan and various Asian countries. The team concept of AKB48 was meant to take load off of its members, since daily concerts at the group’s theater in Akibahara, Tokyo, are performed by only one of the teams, and also allow the others to make appearances at different locations around the world. In the eight years since its inception, AKB48 has become a social phenomenon, with record sales of $226 million in Japan alone. The girls have become so popular that tickets for their daily performances are not even sold anymore, but distributed by lottery. Even their unique rock-paper-scissors tournament to select lead singers for each new single is a sold-out event held at the giant Nippon Budokan arena.

AKB48-group

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