World’s First Twitter Hotel Caters to Social Media Addicts

If you’re one of those people who can’t stop tweeting even when they are on vacation, you might find the world’s first Twitter-themed hotel, in Magaluf, Spain, to be the perfect summer destination.

Ever-growing customer demands, the need for diversity and the increasing number of social media addicts all over the world have inspired Meliá Hotels International, the leading hotel chain in Spain, to create the world’s first ever Twitter hotel. Located in Magaluf, Mallorca, the @SolWaveHouse Hotel allows guests to interact with its staff and other tourists via text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”. The hotel’s General Manager, Gonzalo Echevarría, says “the hotel takes a new step in meeting the expectations of an increasingly experiential and social customer profile, through new technologies.” At the heart of this social-media-themed hotel is #SocialWave, a virtual community accessible only from its wifi via smartphone, tablet or computer. Once they’ve registered with their Twitter accounts, guests can use #SocialWave to connect with other tourists, chat, share photos and even flirt by sending virtual kisses. There’s a special hashtag for pretty much everything, and two Twitter Concierges are always standing by t meet guest requests via Twitter and generate conversation in this virtual community.

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Can You Believe They’re NOT Photos? The Wildlife Paintings of Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson is one of the world’s most talented wildlife artists. During the last 20 years, he has painted endangered animals in their natural habitats all over the globe using a variety of mediums, from oil paints to pastels.

Growing up in Scotland, Eric Wilson spent most of his childhood days roaming the highland mountains, where his love for nature and wildlife was born. He also displayed great artistic talent very early on, and in 1967 his art teacher confirmed “Eric has an artistic talent way beyond his years”. So you could say it was only natural that he would combine his his love of wildlife and passion for the arts to become a wildlife artist. Unlike many of his colleagues, who use photos as reference for their works, Eric has always believed observing the animals in their natural habitats with just the help of local guides was key to his art. Throughout the years, he has painted lions in South Africa, tigers in Nepal, clouded leopards in Thailand, rhinos in Zimbabwe, wolves in Alberta, chimpanzees in Burundi and even polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, always making sure he included all the correct flora and fauna to create a faithful depiction of the wild.

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A Beautiful Mind – The Story of Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an autistic savant who can perform mind-boggling mathematical calculations and learn foreign languages in a matter of days. He speaks ten different languages, including Romanian, Gaelic, Welsh, and Icelandic and even made up his own. It’s safe to say he has one of the most extraordinary minds on Earth.

Daniel Tammet was born on January 31 1979, in East London, England. As a young child, Daniel banged his head against the wall and cried constantly. Nobody really knew what was wrong with him, and all doctors could say was that he was understimulated. Then, one day, while playing with his brother, Daniel had an epileptic seizure. He started taking medication and had to go to the hospital every month for blood tests. It was a troubling time for his parents, as one of Daniel’s grandfather suffered from epilepsy and eventually died from it, and they were thinking their son could suffer the same fate. Luckily, the medication worked and he eventually overcame his condition. It was during his childhood that Daniel and his family discovered his brain was different. One day, his brother asked him to multiply a long series of numbers in his head, as a joke, but the boy just closed his eyes, and after five or ten seconds the right answer came out of his mouth. His brother asked him several other questions and his answers were always right. His parents witnessed the whole thing, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it and never pressured him to work his magic in front of other people. They knew he was different, but they wanted him to have a normal life.

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Some People Walk Their Dogs, Cornman Walks His Fresh Produce

It’s not every day you get to see people dragging vegetables on a leash in the street. Unless you live in Japan, that is. Over the last year, photos of a well-dressed man walking all kinds of produce through Tokyo like they were pets have been surfacing on various social networks. Known as “Cornman”, he has become one of the human attractions of Japan’s capital city.

Until recently, no one really knew who Cornman was or why he was walking produce on a leash. The first known photo of him dragging an ear of corn outside a subway station was tweeted in May of 2012, and ever since then people started sharing pics of the elusive character with all kinds of produce, from cauliflower to radishes. There was a lot of speculation surrounding Cornman and the motives of his bizarre habit. Some people said he was crazy, others that he was just looking for attention, and there were those who claimed he was the loser of a batsu game (a competition or a bet where the loser has to do something embarrassing), but no one knew for sure. Then, a few days ago, Cornman appeared on a Japanese TV show and talked about himself and his produce pets.

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World’s Largest Drum Set Includes 813 Pieces and It’s Still Growing

56-year-old Mark Temperato has spent the last 36 years assembling the world’s largest drum kit. The amazing instrument is made up of 813 individual pieces, including drums, cymbals and bells, and its creator needs an hour to hit every one of them.

Mark Temperato has always had a thing for drums. He has been building his custom drum set for the past 36 years, and he’s not planning on stopping anytime soon. A reverend at the Breath of Worship Church, in Lakeville, New York, Mark, who also goes by the name “RevM” has been using the popular musical instrument to “praise God” and get His word out “in a very different way”. Adding new pieces to his set every year, the amateur musician always thought he had the biggest drum kit in the world, but it wasn’t until his two sons, who are also drummers, prompted him to contact Guinness Records that he considered making the title official. Last year, RevM finally got his name mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records after managing to hit every one of the 340 drums and cymbals from a sitting or standing position without taking a step to either side. But the newly-obtained titled only fueled his obsession with drums even more, so he spent the last few months adding hundreds of new components to his set which currently numbers 813 different pieces.

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Chinese Get Their Feet Wet at Chongqing’s Unique River Restaurant

Aptly named the River Cafe, one restaurant in Chongqing, southern China, has come up with an ingenious way of attracting clients. Taking advantage of a nearby stream, the owners have set up dozens of tables straight on the water, offering patrons a cool escape from the unbearable heat.

With summer temperatures reaching over 40 degrees Celsius, the Chinese are always looking for new and enjoyable ways to cool off. The River Cafe, in Chongqing, is inviting locals and tourists to take off their shoes and grab a seat in the waters of a cooling stream. Since it’s too hot to serve their delicious food inside or in the sun, the managers of this popular venue have decided to set up most of the tables straight on the water, under the shade of trees. The pop-up restaurant now has more tables in the stream than it has on land, which can seat up to 300 people at a time. The water doesn’t look very clean, and you can see plastic bottles floating through the plastic tables, but it beats facing the scorching sun or going to overcrowded swimming pools like the famous Dead Sea of China.

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China’s Dead Sea – Probably the World’s Most Crowded Swimming Pool

If you think your local swimming pool becomes unbearably crowded on hot summer days, just check out these photos of the so-called Dead Sea, a salt-water swimming pool in China’s Daying County where thousands of people gather every weekend to escape the heat.

Inspired by the real Dead Sea in the Middle East, the Chinese resort build around an underground salt-water lake in Daying County covers an area of 30,000 square meters and is able to accommodate up to 10,000 swimmers at one time. It’s pretty big even for Chinese standards, but apparently not big enough. According to the Chinese press, over 15,000 people, most of them equipped with large swim rings, descended upon this popular summer retreat last Sunday making it look like a giant bowl of human cereal. I’m not even sure the term “swimming pool” even applies to this place on such occasions, considering it’s nearly impossible to move without hitting somebody, let alone flap your hands and feet to swim. The good thing about this place is the high salinity of the water which makes “swimmers” float freely, so there’s no real risk of going under. If that were to happen I can’t see how a person could rise up again…

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The Photo-Realistic Pastel Drawings of Ruben Belloso Adorna

Ruben Belloso Adorna, a young artist from Seville, Spain, has taken the art world by storm with his incredibly detailed portraits of real-life and fictional characters drawn exclusively in pastel on wooden canvas.

Painting hyper-realistic works of art with oil paints requires great talent and skill, but drawing them with pastel sticks and crayons seems almost impossible. It appears the word “impossible” is not in Ruben Belloso Adorna’s dictionary, as the young Spanish artist manages to create stunning photo-quality masterpieces using only pastels. Born in 1986, he studied Fine Arts at the University of Seville, and has already made a name for himself in the art world, participating in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and winning several awards. Looking at the quality of his colorful drawings, and the way he is able to bring out the emotions of his subjects, it’s easy to see why many are already calling Ruben a genius of the 21st century.

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Japanese Universities Install Anti-Socializing Cafeteria Tables

At the request of students who wanted to avoid lunchtime socializing, Japanese universities in Kyoto and Kobe have replaced regular tables with so-called “lonely seats” featuring 50-cm dividers in the middle.

In most cultures, going to lunch with friends or co-workers is a great way to take your mind off the job and relax, but it seems that’s exactly what the students at Kyoto University are trying to avoid. They are busy people who don’t always have time to sit around and make small talk with their peers, so in order to avoid this kind of uncomfortable situations, they’ve asked the university for a practical solution. There are always empty tables where they could eat their meals in peace, but according to one 22-year old engineering student ”If you are sitting at a big table by yourself it’s like you don’t have any friends and that is embarrassing.” So to solve this predicament, the university replaced the regular cafeteria tables with “bocchi seki” or “lonely seats” that have an opaque divider across the middle so the person on the other side can’t see you slurping your noodles or engage in a conversation.

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Japan’s Long Breath Diet – A Breath of Fresh Air in the Weight-Loss Business

What would you say if I told you losing those extra pounds is as easy as taking a nice long breath and exhaling for just 2 minutes a day? Only it’s not me who is saying it, it’s Miki Ryosuke, a Japanese actor turned dieting guru and inventor of the famous Long Breath Diet.

Miki Ryosuke discovered the Long Breath Diet completely by accident. He was practicing breathing techniques to ease back pain, but noticed he was losing a lot of weight, which eventually amounted to 28 pounds and 5 inches in 50 days. Realizing the potential of his discovery, Ryosuke came up with a series of more effective ways of breathing in and exhaling, and created the now famous Long Breath Diet. The name is a bit misleading, because his weight-loss techniques have little to do with dieting and more with exercising. Basically, you have to have a certain posture, inhale through the nose for three seconds and than exhale aggressively through the mouth for seven seconds, while using your whole body to push out all the air. Apparently, repeating the process for 2 to 5 minutes every day will help you lose weight, or breath away the extra pounds, if you will.

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Get Served by a Robot Bartender at Germany’s Robots Bar & Lounge

Some bars use intriguing names just to attract clients, but the Robots Bar & Lounge in Ilmenau, Germany really lives up to its name. This unique venue not only has a technology-inspired decor, but also a humanoid robot bartender that mixes drinks and makes small talk with patrons.

The Robots Bar & Lounge just opened late last month, but it’s already hugely popular in the town of Ilmenau thanks to Carl, an unusual bartender who fits right in the techie atmosphere of the place. Carl is a humanoid robot built by mechatronics engineer Ben Schaefer out of parts from disused industrial robots. Schaefer says that although progress has been made in the field of robotics artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but by placing a robot in an environment where it can observe and interact with real humans it’s much easier to test the programming and make necessary improvements than it would be in a closed laboratory. Apart from evolution, Carl’s secondary goal is to bring humans and robots closer together, and prove that “scenes from science-fiction movies are quite possible”. So far, the likable bartender is doing a great job, entertaining clients with his drink-mixing skills and the occasional small-talk. Unfortunately, his speech recognition skills and ability to interact are very limited at the moment, but like all bartenders he is a very good listener. To make sure he doesn’t bump into things and spill the drinks on his clients, Scahefer equipped Carl with a belt of sensors.

 

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The Ostrichcopter – A Dead Ostrich Turned into a Helicopter

Remember Bart Jansen, the Dutch artist who stuffed his pet cat and attached rotors to each of his paws to create the Orvillecopter? Well, Bart did it again, only this time he used a large ostrich as a medium for his bizarre art.

Last year, visual artist Bart Jansen and technical engineer Arjen Beltman shocked the world with the Orvillecopter, a unique flying machine that was part cat part helicopter. Apparently, their first invention wasn’t shocking enough, so they’ve decided to kick it up a notch by building an even more bizarre radio-controlled device they aptly named the OstrichCopter. This time they took a male ostrich that had died at an ostrich farm and turned it into a quadcopter by adding four rotors and a pair of wooden skids. The crazy duo describe their invention as “the world’s flying ostrich”, adding that the experience of flying “must be it’s wildest dream, to able to fly and finally escape them untrustworthy Wildebeests”. I didn’t know wildebeests attacked ostriches, but they probably just meant wild beasts. Anyway, Jansen and Beltman recently posted two videos of the OstrichCopter’s test flights on YouTube, and it seems to work pretty well.

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Military Kindergarten Toughens Up Preschoolers with Marine Drills

At the Albert Kindergarten, in Taichung, Taiwan, children aged three to six don camouflage outfits and take part in a mandatory exercise program modeled after marine drills. Their parents hope the rough training will prepare them for the hardships of life, but there are those who criticize the preschool for pushing the kids too hard and exposing them to injury.

For one to two hours a day, the children enrolled at Taichung’s Albert Kindergarten perform a series a series of physical exercises inspired by military drills. Principal Fong Yun believes Taiwanese kids lack confidence and courage compared to youngsters from other countries, so over 10 years ago she teamed up with pediatric professor Chen Yi-hsin to develop a special program that combined military drills and gymnastics to boost their physical and mental strength. Yun is convince her training will help the students deal with hardships like tough college admission exams, job hunting and even marriage. Many Taiwanese parents seem to share her beliefs, as all the classes at Albert Kindergarten are full and parents drive from over half an hour ever day just to drop their kids off here. The children climb ladders, do handstands, backflips and all kinds of other exercises that even hardened marines sometimes find difficult. In order to graduate, they must prove they’ve mastered the entire routine by passing a challenging test.

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Ukrainian Battlestar Galactica Fan Builds Life-Size Wooden Cylon

39-year-old Dmitry Balandin, a robot enthusiast from Zaporozhye, Ukraine, spent six months building a 1.95 -meter-tall Cylon out of 500 plywood parts.

Dmitry Balandin works as a crane operator, but ever since he saw the 1980 Russian movie “Electronik”, about a professor who builds a robot that looks and acts like a human, he has always been fascinated by robotics. About two years ago he finally decided to live out his childhood dream of creating a real-life robot. In the beginning, he wanted to use metal as his medium, but realized it was hard to work with in his Zaporozhye apartment, so he chose plywood instead. After months of planning and experimenting, Dmitry finally started work on his wooden robot six months ago, designing and cutting all the parts himself. Although he didn’t have the resources to give his creation a human appearance, he decided the best way to make it as realistic as possible was to use flexible joints. The Cylon (a name inspired by the hit-series Battlestar Galactica) can bend and extend its limbs, shake hands and rotate its neck and torso, but Balandin wants to add a series of improvements, including a radio-controlled motor that will allow his wooden robot to move in a way similar to the fighting bots from the movie Real Steel. Unfortunately, that would cost the Ukrainian craftsman an extra $3,000, which at the moment is more than he can afford.

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Fashionable Dress Made from the Pages of an Old Thesaurus

Canadian actress Jori Phillips spent months tearing pages out of an old thesaurus and gluing them together to create an awe-inspiring strapless paper dress. After uploading photos of her wearing the unique garment to Reddit, she garnered more attention than she had ever hoped for.

Two years ago, Jori Phillips was asked by a committee member for the Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival if she could design a bookworm costume to greet visitors during the four-day event. A bookworm herself, Jori decided the best way to do it was to make a dress almost entirely from book pages. So she started scouring thrift stores for the perfect book for the job, and finally found an old thesaurus. Although she doesn’t remember exactly how many hours she put into making her stunning dress, the aspiring actress says she through two full seasons her favorite television show, How I Met Your Mother, tearing, folding and gluing pages. Lined with fabric and featuring a bodice for body support, Jori’s recycled dress is completely covered with hundreds of yellowed pages from thesaurus sections A through O. “It feels quite comfy actually,if not a little hot, although its hard to move without ripping it,” Jori says. “The parts that are scaled are actually the parts that don’t move. It has pages bunched up on the parts that stretch so they sorta inchworm out when it moves.”

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