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…

Dead-Sea-pool

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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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Guy Builds Functional Boeing 737 Cockpit in His Kids’ Bedroom

It’s not going to make his house airborne, but Laurent Aigon’s home-made Boeing 737 cockpit is so realistic that the Institute of Aircraft Maintenance at Bordeaux-Merignac Airport asked him to give a lecture on his achievement, and an aircraft maintenance company contacted him about using his creation for simulations.

40-year-old Laurent Aigon, from Lacanau, France, has always had a thing for airplanes. He grew up in Beutre, just 200 meters from the Merignac Airport, where he used to spend most of his time watching planes land and take-off, daydreaming that one day he would be the one behind the yoke. At 12-years old he had his first plane-flying experience, in front of his computer screen, playing Flight Simulator, but he was just too lazy for school and never went on to become a real pilot. Still his childhood dream stuck with him, and one day he decided that if he couldn’t fly a real plane, he was going to fly a fake one, right in the comfort of his own home. Five years ago, he met Jean-Paul Dupuy, a like-minded aircraft enthusiast, and together they set out to build the most realistic simulation cockpit possible. They met with the people of Aquitaine Simulation, and got s glimpse of their Airbus flight simulator. Confident they could build their own functional cockpit, Laurent and Jean-Paul scoured the internet for parts, and piece by piece, module by module, they managed to put together one of the world’s most realistic Boeing 737 cockpits. The fact that it’s crammed between a closet and a bunk-bed in a children’s bedroom is of little importance.

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Woman Is Offering $10,000 to Whoever Finds Her Future Husband

Finding true love can be pretty tough for a lot of people, but a female management supervisor from a fairly well-known San Francisco advertising agency seems to think money helps. According to a leaked email, she is offering $10,000 to any of her friends who can introduce her to Mr. Right.

The unnamed husband seeker who sent out the email obtained by Agency Spy had just finished reading the best-selling feminist book “Lean In” by Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg. It was 11 PM on a Sunday night and she realized this was the second self-help book she had read in month, she was still single and she had just sprinkled dish soap on leftover pizza so she wouldn’t eat two more slices. Things were not looking well, but there was hope for her still. If Sandberg’s book had taught her anything it was that she needed take a more proactive role in finding love. After all, if she wanted to get a better job, she wouldn’t just sit in the lobby of an employer’s building and wait for someone to offer it to her, so why should finding a husband be any different. But instead of going out and meeting new people she decided to write an email to all her friends, offering to give them $10,000 on her wedding day if any of them manage to introduce her to her future husband.

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Aegyo Sal – Korea’s Obsession with Beautiful Eye Bags

While most Western women spend ridiculous amounts of money to conceal or get rid of the puffy bags under their eyes, Korean women consider them a sign of beauty and resort to a variety of cosmetic procedures in order to get them.

Aegyo Sal, as the bizarre baggy-eyes trend is known in Korea, should not be confused with the saggy or dark purplish eyebags caused by lack of sleep and aging, those are considered unattractive pretty much everywhere. The trendy feature refers strictly to the slight puffiness of the lower eye-socket which has to match the color tone of the skin. Contrary to general beliefs and perceptions, Korean women find these little pockets of fat under the eyes cute and believe they give them a more youthful look by brightening the eyes. Ever noticed how a person’s eyes become puffy when they smile? The Koreans have, and they’ve come up with way of creating that illusion of a bright joyful facial expression without actually smiling – the aegyo sal.

Aegyo-Sal

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Paradise Lost – England’s Deceptively Inviting Blue Lagoon Is Now Black

It was known as England’s  Blue Lagoon and its tranquil turquoise waters really did resemble those of an exotic watery paradise, but the popular swimming spot located near Buxton, was actually a flooded former quarry and its alluring contents were almost as toxic as bleach. That didn’t seem to bother people who came here from all over the country for a quick dip, so authorities had no choice but to dye it black.

Seen from afar, the Blue Lagoon at Harper Hill looked like the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day, but as the saying goes, appearances can often be deceiving. Not only was this abandoned quarry full of trash, dead animals and human waste, but its waters had a pH level of 11.3, almost as toxic as ammonia (11.5pH) or bleach (12.6pH). The shoreline was lined with warning signs stating the dangers swimmers would be exposing themselves to – skin and eye irritations, stomach problems, fungal infections, etc. –  if they entered the water, and yet for decades they chose to ignore these warnings, bewitched by the beauty of the lagoon. The attractive color of this place was caused by the surrounding limestone walls which leached calcite crystals into the water, turning it turquoise, and the high alkalinity came from calcium oxide, a by-product of the quarrying process left around the site. Fearing for their children’s safety, locals asked authorities to restrict access to the lagoon, but because it was located on private property, they couldn’t stop people from visiting. So they decided to make it less attractive instead.

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The Pixel Painter – 97-Year-Old Partially Blind Man Creates Masterpieces with Microsoft Paint

When 97-year-old Hal Lasko was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration, which weakens the sight in the center of the field of vision, he thought his art-making days were over. Then, he discovered the computer and Microsoft Paint, which help him zoom in close enough to see every pixel, and got a second chance at making art history.

Making art with a rudimentary software like MS Paint is a nightmare for modern-day graphic designers, but Hal Lasko loves spending up to 10 hours a day creating stunning masterpieces one pixel at a time. Hal, a.k.a. Grandpa, used to work as a typographer, drawing all kinds of interesting fonts, back when that kind of thing was drawn by hand, and made maps during World War II. He retired during the 70′s but art remained a big part of his life, and he felt devastated when he started losing his eyesight. Hal thought his painting days were over, but his worries were put to rest 15 years ago, when his family introduced him to Windows 95′s Microsoft Paint, which allowed him to zoom in to pixel level, enough for him to see what he was doing. From that moment on, Grandpa has spent most of his days moving pixels around and creating unique artworks that combine pointilism with 8-bit art.

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German Driver Converts Old BMW into Pool on Wheels

Tired of dealing with the unbearable summer heat, a 27-year-old driver from Eibenstock, Germany, had the not-so-brilliant idea to turn his BMW convertible into a mobile pool, by completely sealing the passenger cabin and filling it with water.

A pool on wheels sound pretty cool, but unfortunately for its creator, the local police didn’t think so. The nutty driver and three of his friends were driving their unconventional vehicle around town last Sunday, when they passed by a motorcycle policeman who happened to see the car had no license plates and that one of the passengers was riding on the trunk. As he pursued the suspicious convertible through Eibenstock, the officer noticed something very strange: every time it turned into a curb, water poured out of the vehicle. After a short chase, the BMW pulled over in a parking lot and the passengers, who were only wearing bathing suits, ran out and jumped into the nearby Mulde River. As he approached the empty car, the policeman discovered it had been converted into a regular pool on wheels. The interior had been sealed, painted blue and filled with water. The sides of the pool were lined with wooden planks, the steering wheel was covered in raffia, and next to the ignition switch was a beer bottle holder.

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