Smog-Covered Hong Kong Installs Clear Skyline Banners for Vacation Photos

Hong Kong has one of the world’s most stunning skylines. The problem is it’s becoming barely visible behind the dense curtain of smog that has engulfed several of the city’s districts, and even harder to capture in vacation photos. Unable to fix the air pollution problem, tourism authorities have instead decided to install clear skyline banners where tourists can have their pictures taken.

This week, Hing Kong’s Air Pollution Index reached “very high” levels in Central and Western District, Causeway Bay and Mongkok, with very high concentrations of toxic ozone and nitrogen dioxide recorded by local monitoring stations. Apart from the obvious health-related issues, the heavy smoke covering the island city is also hurting the local tourism business. According to Chinese newspaper China Daily, the frequent air pollution has contributed greatly to the decline in tourist numbers, with a recent survey revealing a rise in “complaints focused on the environment at scenic spots” around China. After all, what good is a city’s magnificent skyline if you can barely see it? Luckily, Hong Kong authorities have come up with a novel solution to this problem – they installed a number of panoramic banners displaying a clear view of the city at various scenic spots. Here, people can take smog-free photos of the skyscraper-studded waterfront, to have as souvenirs.

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Russian Powerlifter Has the Face of a Porcelain Doll and the Body of an Amazon

Yulia Viktorovna Vins, or Julia Vins, as she is known in the online bodybuilding and powerlifting communities, is a 17-year old Russian powerlifter who recently shot to Internet fame after a series of photos showing her doll-like face and impressive physique went viral.

Russia and countries of the former USSR have their share of doll-faced beauties – with Valeria Lukyanova, Anastasia Shpagina and Anzhelika Kenova being the most famous – but none of them have the impressive body of Yulia Vins. The young athlete from Engels, Russia, might have the face of a fragile porcelain doll, but her massive arm and leg muscles are enough to put most men to shame. In a recent interview with a fellow bodybuilding enthusiast, Yulia said she started working out to become stronger and build self-confidence, but had no intention of becoming a professional powerlifter. During the first year, she trained her muscles without following a clear workout program, but eventually decided she needed guidance. She was training at the school gym and the only coach there specialized in powerlifting and weightlifting. Yulia opted for the former, because she wanted her body to develop harmoniously, and in just one year she made extraordinary progress. She is currently preparing for her first official powerlifting competition, in September.

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Loving Husband Buys His Wife 55,000 Dresses in 56 Years

If love was measured in dresses, Paul Brockman would probably be the most loving husband in the world. Over the past 56 years, the German-born contractor from Lomita, California, has gifted his wife Margot with 55,000 dresses, all of which he picked out himself.

The first 10 dresses in Paul Brockman’s impressive collection were free. He got them while working at a seaport in Bremen, Germany, where workers could pick out anything they wanted when the merchandise bales were opened. He gave them all to his then-girlfriend, Margot. After going steady for a while, Paul asked the girl’s parents for her hand in marriage, and they agreed, on one condition – that they leave struggling Germany and move to America. They left for the Land of Opportunity during the 50′s and Paul was disowned by his own family for going against their wishes. The two arrived in Ohio and moved to Arizona before finally settling in California. Brockman started working in construction. No stranger to hard labor, he was soon able to build a construction company and pretty soon the money started coming in. He and Margot shared a passion for dance and went ballroom dancing every week, but Paul wanted her to have a different dress every time, so he kept buying her new ones. By the time they arrived in Los Angeles, in 1988, Margot Brockman already had between 25,000 and 26,000 dresses.

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Guy Drinks Human Toe Cocktail, Swallows the Toe

There is a bar in Dawson City, Canada, where patrons can opt to have their liquor spiked with a very unusual ingredient – a severed human toe. Those brave enough to try the world-famous Sourtoe Cocktail are required to pay a $5 toe tax and touch the human digit with their lips without swallowing it. Last Saturday night, someone broke the rule…

The Yukon tradition of downing drinks containing a severed toe dates back to the early 1970s, when an eccentric river barge captain by the name of Dick Stevenson found a human digit in an old cabin, dropped it in a glass of champagne and created the Sourtoe Cocktail. In the last 40 years, the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City has served over 52,000 such bizarre drinks to customers from all around the world. Terry Lee, the bar’s “Toe Captain”, says toes have been ingested by mistake in the past,  but he never imagined someone would swallow the “gross looking thing on purpose”. To make sure that didn’t happen the bar also had a $500 fine policy for swallowing the toe, as a deterrent. The unthinkable happened last Saturday, when a man identified only as Josh from New Orleans walked into the place around closing time, and paid the usual $5 to have the toe added to a shot of whiskey. He was a card-carrying member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, which means he had tried the unique cocktail in the past. Terry told reporters he downed the drink fast, slurped the toe into his mouth, slammed $500 on the table and walked away. “I said, ‘Where’s the toe?’ and he said, ‘I swallowed it’ . . . I was shocked,” the bartender remembers.

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Plastic Surgeon Uses His Skills to “Sculpt” the Perfect Wife

Ever since they first met in 2007, Dr. David Matlock, a famous Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, has been using his body-sculpting skills to turn his wife Veronica into the perfect wife.

When Veronica first visited Dr. Matlock to ask about a vaginoplasty procedure after giving birth to her daughter, she had no idea she would soon become his wife. But he did. The beautiful brunette was 40lbs heavier and was so unhappy with the way she looked that she couldn’t even look him in the eye during their first conversation. But David didn’t see her extra pounds, he just saw her potential and asked her if she was willing to go through a “Wonder Woman Makeover” which included liposuction of the chin, arms and thighs as well as a “Brazilian Butt” lift. She opted for everything he suggested and put her body in his able hands. After he was done, Dr. Matlock asked Veronica out and proposed to her on their very first date. He has been helping her improve her physique ever since, also encouraging her to stick to a healthy diet and strict exercise program.

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Fit for a Royal Behind – Hanebisho, the World’s Most Expensive Toilet Paper That Costs $17 a Roll

If you’ve recently run out of things to spend your mountains of cash on, you may want to try the outrageously expensive Hanebisho toilet paper. It’s considered the most luxurious and most expensive toilet paper in the world.

From the $91,500 crocodile skin t-shirt to the $97,060 GRV goldRally car wax, we’ve featured some pretty outrageous things the world’s rich and famous like to spend their money on, but none as crazy as the Japanese exclusive toilet paper known as Hanebisho. For people who feel their derrière deserves the best money can buy, there’s simply no alternative to this beautifully adorned work of art. As you can see in the photos below, a three-pack of Hanebisho will set you back ¥5,000 ($51), while the eight-pack can be yours for ‘just’ ¥10,000($102), which means a single roll ranges from $13 to $17. That’s a whole lot more than what the average person spends on toilet paper, not to mention the darned thing is just 2-ply. At this stage, you’re probably wondering what on Earth makes Hanebisho toilet paper so special that people are willing to spend a small fortune on it? Where do I begin?

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Man Who Can’t Make It to Anything on Time Gets Diagnosed with Chronic Lateness Condition

For as long as he can remember, 57-year-old Jim Dunbar has never been able to make it to appointments on time. His friends and family always thought he was making excuses, but after a recent doctor’s appointment, for which he was a half-hour late, Jim was diagnosed with incurable lateness.

Jim Dunbar used to always tell people it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t make it on time for anything, but they never took him seriously. Even as a five-year-old he remembers constantly being late for school, football matches and holidays. As an adult he has left women waiting for him on first dates, lost several jobs, turned up to meals with his friends hours after the set meeting time and even showed up for funerals long after they had started. Recently, Jim tried to catch a movie at the local cinema, in Forfar, Scotland, and knowing his lateness might get in the way, he gave himself an 11-hour head start to make sure he got there on time. Dunbar knew the movie started at 7 pm, but despite his best efforts, he arrived 20 minutes late. After going through countless similar experiences, he finally decided to talk to a doctor about his problem. He was a half-hour late for his appointment at a Ninewells hospital, but he finally got an answer to the question that had been bugging him for a lifetime – “Why can’t I be on time?”

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Chinese Designer Combines Babies and Pets, Creates Disturbing Baby-Pets

What if combining human and animal DNA wasn’t illegal, nor did it violate moral or ethical codes of conduct? What if technology allowed us to create hybrids between babies and pets that were still biologically bound to their parents but didn’t require a permanent responsibility and commitment? These are the questions Chinese artist Lingxizhu Meng tackles in her latest project, Baby-Pet.

Raising a child involves much more time and responsibility than owning a pet, which is why an increasing number of people are opting for the latter. Parents usually have to put their active lives on the back-burner in order to take care of a baby, but what if they didn’t have to? “The objective of this society’s endeavor is to create a new species that meets various needs. The result being something that is not your child but that is also not your pet. It serves as a combination of the purity that exists in both, the essence of affection one has when caring for a baby and the affection one receives when having a dog,” Lingxizhu describes her unique idea. “The animal human baby pet is a combination of baby and pet. Raising a child incurs significant financial costs, while pets in comparison are far more economical. Such as saving the cost of education, for example. The dogbaby life cycle is very short, similar to that of a dog, often only 11-­15 years of life. This is a circumstance that can enable elderly people to rise a dogba-by in the golden years of their lives. Some couples are not ready to ising a child. The dogbaby provides a link in their partnership without necessitating a permanent responsibility and commitment. Some singles who are occupied by an active social and work life but who have the desire to have a child find the benefit of a dogbaby’s growth process and need of attention levels much simpler to those of a child.”

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The Incredibly Lifelike Charcoal Portraits of Douglas McDougall

Scottish artist Douglas McDougall uses charcoal, sandpaper and scalpel blades to create his amazingly realistic portraits of friends and people he finds interesting.

Douglas McDougall learned how to draw as a child to pass the time while going in and out of hospitals with a blood disease. He spent countless hours in hospital wards trying to draw his surroundings, and the experience fueled his passion for art. In his younger years, the 50-year-old artist used to do a lot of pen and ink illustration work during the night, after coming home from his day job, but eventually settled on charcoal as his medium of choice. “The immediacy of applying that blackness and the way in which it’s sucked into a white ground /paper/ forever excited me with a glorious kick of absoluteness”, the artist says, and after getting his hands on Conté compressed charcoal for the first time and discovering its power there was no going back. Today he uses various kinds of charcoal along with unusual art tools like sandpaper and sharp blades to create some of the most detailed hyper-realistic portraits I have ever seen.

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Bug Fan Keeps Tens of Thousands of Cockroaches as Pets

Kyle Kandilian, a 20-year-old student from Dearborn, Michigan, has a very unusual hobby – he enjoys raising cockroaches as pets. His bedroom walls are decked with boxes and crates which hold around 200,000 roaches he breeds for fun and profit.

Kyle’s passion is probably going to bug a lot of people, seeing as most people tend to freak out if they so much as hear the word “cockroach”. But Kyle is not most people. Ever since he got to see and hold some Madagascar hissing roaches during a tech day exhibit at the University of Detroit Mercy, he has been fascinated with them. He came home that day and asked his mother if he could have one as a pet, but his mother looked him in the eye and said ”Kyle? You are never bringing cockroaches into this house.” Today his bedroom is home to around 200,000 cockroaches from 130 varieties, and his parents are very supportive of his passion. Maybe “supportive” is pushing it a little, but Kyle agrees they are “very tolerant of his enthusiasm”. He is aware that cockroaches are usually a taboo topic, but says he has never tried to hide his hobby, instead talking openly and enthusiastically about bug passion in an attempt to change people’s perception of them. He claims only about a dozen of the 4,000 known species of roaches are actually pests, but they manage to give all of them a bad name.

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Former Monk Has Spent the Last 50 Years Building a Giant Junk Cathedral in the Name of God

Justo Gallego Martinez, an 86-year-old farmer from Spain, has spent the last 50 years of his life single-handedly building a large cathedral in a suburb of Madrid, without any architectural knowledge or construction experience.

Considering the sheer size of Justo Gallego’s junk cathedral, almost 40 meters (131 feet) tall, with its large dome and spires towering over nearby apartment buildings, it’s almost impossible to believe it’s the work of a single man. But it just goes to show how far people can stretch their limits in the name of a higher purpose. In Gallego’s case, it was his faith and love of God. His mother was very pious and he grew up with a deep Christian faith and an overwhelming desire to dedicate himself to the Creator. After working as a farmer and as a bullfighter, Don Justo, as everyone calls him, joined a Trappist monastery, where he spent eight years as a monk. He was forced to leave the monastery in 1961, after he contracted tuberculosis, but promised himself that if he survived the illness he would dedicate his life to building a  a chapel in the name of the Lady of The Pillar (the Blessed Virgin Marry), who he prayed to during the ordeal. His prayers were answered and he stayed true to his vow, laying the first brick of what would become a unique cathedral, almost 50 years ago.

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Japanese Artist Uses Toothpicks and a Spoon to Create Amazing Banana Sculptures

Keisuke Yamada is a self-taught Japanese artist who takes plain bananas and turns them into edible masterpieces. Using only a spoon and toothpicks the talented food artist works against the clock, trying to finish his pieces before the fruit begins to oxidize.

Sculpting bananas is not easy. The fragile texture of the fruit and the fact that you can’t add more material to cover up a mistake like you would with clay makes it a very difficult material to work with. And that’s exactly what makes 26-year-old Keisuke Yamada’s art so special. It all began little over two ears ago when he peeled a banana and thought it would be interesting to carve something into it. His first creation was a simple smiling face, but he received such a positive reaction from art fans that he felt inspired to pursue the idea further. Using only a spoon to prime the banana by smoothing its surface and toothpicks for carving its flesh, Keisuke created an entire series of banana sculptures that won him international acclaim after the photos he uploaded to Japanese art site, Pixiv, went viral. In his interviews with some of the largest sites in the world, Yamada revealed he works as an electrician by day, and becomes an expert banana carver during the night. He described the artistic process as a race against time, trying to finish his creations in less than 30 minutes after the peeled banana has been exposed to air. Taking too long causes the fruit to turn brown ruining the whole piece. Once he’s finished, he quickly takes a photo after which he eats the banana.

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The Game of Gostra – Running Up a Greasy Wooden Pole in Malta

Every year, on the afternoon of the last Sunday in August, brave young men from all over Malta compete in the traditional game of “gostra”, trying to run all the way to the top of a long greasy pole and snatch one of the three prizes.

Dating back to the Middle Ages, the game of gostra was practiced all through the festive summer months, in various locations around the islands of Malta and Gozo. A wooden pole measuring about 10 meters long was mounted on a coal barge and towed to harbor towns and seaside villages around the Maltese coast, where it was smeared with grease and animal fat. Brave local men would try to run up the pole and reach one of the symbolic flags at the top in order to claim a prize. Today, the traditional game is only held in the towns of Msida and Spinola Bay, in honor of St. Joseph and St. Julian. The pole stretches out into the water, and only half of it is covered in grease, but in order to have a higher chance of reaching the flags before slipping off the slippery wood, most competitors prefer to run up the pole, hoping they can maintain their balance long enough to snatch one of the coveted prizes. This sometimes causes them to fall awkwardly hitting the log on their way down into the sea, and injure themselves.

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Man Builds 12,000 Square-Foot Castle in the Middle of a Florida Swamp

When he moved from New York to Florida over 40 years ago, Howard Solomon took the saying “A man’s home is his castle” quite literally. The artist once known as “The DaVinci of Debris” spent a total of 12 years building a three-storey castle by hand, in the middle of a swamp.

Solomon began working on his unique castle in the 70′s, after he and his family moved to Ona, Florida. The original plan was to build a nice house on the piece of land he had bought in Hardee County, but after realizing the place was actually a big swamp, he decided to construct something high enough to resist any potential floods. He had always been fascinated with medieval castles and this proved to be the perfect opportunity to build his very own 16-century fortress, complete with a bell tower, moat and drawbridge. Howard worked on his architectural masterpiece on and off ever since 1972, and reckons he has spent over 12 years erecting the structure and covering it in aluminum plating, and an additional 4 years building a Spanish galleon in the castle moat. When he first started building his dream home, people thought he was mad, and wouldn’t even let their kids play with his, but over the last 40 years they’ve accepted him into the community, and Solomon’s Castle is now the most popular attraction in the area.

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Photo-Realistic Paintings of Landscapes Reflected in Sunglasses

Many of Simon Hennessey’s paintings look so lifelike that they are often mistaken for photos. To achieve this level of realism, the English artist spends anywhere from two weeks to seven months on a single piece using an airbrush and acrylic paint.

40-year-old Simon Hennessey started painting landscapes reflected in the sunglasses of tourists in 2008. He had just finished painting a model wearing sunglasses and suddenly realized the reflection on the lenses allowed him to explore the spatial and environmental surroundings in a unique distorted and miniature fashion. From that moment on the popular accessory has become a predominant them in his hyper-realistic art. Simon has spent the last five years traveling to big cities like London and New York, taking photos of iconic landmarks reflected in the lenses of sunglasses worn by human models, which he uses as an inspiration for his art. He doesn’t just copy an entire photograph, but combines elements from multiple reference pictures, adding or removing certain details, altering textures and depth to produce original works of art. This allows him to create an illusion of reality different from that of his photographic sources, making his realistic paintings appear clearer and more distinct than any photo.

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