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Coolest Finds of the Week #20

90’s Boy-Band, Hanson, to Launch Their Own Beer, Called “MMMHop” (Contact Music)

Pee-Powered Video Games Hit London Pub (The Sun)

Man Has 120 Kg Alligator Pet, Says He’s a Gentle Giant (Daily Mail)

Exploring the Decaying Chambers of an Abandoned Slaughterhouse (Environmental Graffiti)

Ugandan Space Chief Builds Test Craft in Mother’s Muddy Backyard (MSN Photoblog)

China Sets Record for World’s Longest Christmas Cake (NDTV)

Woman Reveals Cement Cheek Implants Done by Fake Doctor (Huffington Post)

600,000 LEGO Bricks Christmas Tree Built in London (Brothers Brick)

12 Incredible Visions of Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Mom Says World of Warcraft Turned Son into Raging Hunchback (Geekologie)

Italian Truck Fan Builds Awesome Remote-Controlled Big Rig

Luca Bordin is a big fan of American trucks, and since he couldn’t get his hands on a real rig, the Italian handyman decided to build his own Peterbilt 359.

Luca, who lives in Venice, Italy, told Wired Magazine he finds European truck small and dull compared to the American behemoths, but even if he could afford to buy a real big rig, it would never fit through the narrow streets of his home city in Northern Italy. So after seeing a YouTube video of a Dutchman driving around in a 1/4 scale replica truck, he decided to build his own Peterbilt 359, just to see if he could do a better job. Making model trucks was never really a big passion of his, but after seeing that video, the challenge was just too hard to resist.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #9

Amazingly Creative Paper Roll Portraits (Bit Rebels)

The 12 Most Poisonous Snakes on Earth (Environmental Graffiti)

Woman Has World’s Longest Fingernails (Metro)

Parents Allow 4-Year-Old to Drive Car (Weird Asia News)

Possibly the Worst Restaurant Menu Ever (Asia Obscura)

Panasonic Enters Mini Robots in Hawaii Triathlon (AFP)

French Cows Love Listening to Jazz (Youtube)

The Secret River Flowing Under London (Environmental Graffiti)

World’s First LEGO Greenhouse Unveiled in London (Inhabitat)

Would You Pay $60,000 for This Phone? (Huffington Post)

10 Coolest Finds of the Week #7

Strapped for Cash Priest Inaugurates Inflatable Church (Metro)

Origami Crane Made from 2,000,000 Origami Cranes (Colossal)

Druid King Arthur Loses Legal Battle for Stonehenge (MSN)

Dad Wakes Up Son with Super Soaker, Hums Doom Theme (Dvice)

6 Magicians Who Died Performing the Bullet Catch (Mental Floss)

12 Incredible Snapshots of Animals Silhouetted Against the Sun (Environmental Graffiti)

Beautiful Photos Takes with Handmade Legotron Mk1 Camera (Gizmodo)

Man Films Himself Counting to 100,000 (Youtube)

10 Famous People Who Look Like Pets (Oddee)

Sky Zone 3D Trampoline Dodgeball (Laughing Squid)

 

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Real-Life Hobbit Shire Exists in the Hillsides of Montana

The Hobbit House of Monatana, located in a man-made shire built by LOTR enthusiast Steve Michaels and his wife Christine, is a must-see attraction for any self-respecting Tolkien fan.

This isn’t the first time someone builds a real-life hobbit house, but this particular house situated in the hillsides of northwest Montana is actually a tourist guesthouse available for only $245 a night. So if you’ve always wanted to see what it’s like to live as a hobbit, now’s your chance. But unlike the simple homes featured in J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels, the Hobbit House of Montana comes with a modern king-size bedroom, designer kitchen with customized granite counters, HD Blu-Ray television set, XM Radio, three phones and WiFi. The LOTR theme, however, is everywhere, from the little rock handles on the drawers, to the Gandalf stained glass doors, or The One Ring dangling from the loft.

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Artist Makes Detailed Architectural Models from Paper

US-based artist Christina Lihan uses her experience as an architect to create detailed models of famous buildings and urban spaces, from paper.

Ms. Lihan received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Virginia and went on to get her Master’s in architecture, from Columbia University, in New York. She done internships in England, France and Italy, but it was the repetitive, monotonous rhythm of hundreds of soviet-built housing cities she saw in Czechoslovakia that most influenced the way she looked at building facades. After completing her studies, she decided to use all of the acquired knowledge in the name of art, by creating impressive architectural models from paper.

Christina Lihan first decided to dedicate her life to art during the time she spent living in Florida, designing hospitals for another architect. She was really bored, and realized she needed a creative outlet so she just started cutting paper, playing with it and trying to turn it into building models. It sort of grew from there and ultimately became her passion. Her impressive creations are made from unpainted, 300lb, watercolor paper. She carves, cuts and folds every little piece by hand until she assembles them into a completed composition. Ms. Lihan starts by photographing the site she wants to replicate, then moves on to sketching with charcoal, and finally enlarges the drawing to the desired size of the finished piece. She generally places the detailed pieces of paper directly over the drawing.

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10 Coolest Finds of the Week #2

These are just some of the cool things I found this week and didn’t get the chance to cover:

Rottweiler Guard Dog Stolen from His Home (SWNS)

Intricate Miniature Models of Old Hong Kong (Flavorwire)

Meet Mimmi – The Bear WHo Likes to Practice Yoga (Environmental Graffiti)

Cenobio de Valeron (Atlas Obscura)

Tortoise Has Leg Replaced with Swivel Wheel (Geekosystem)

LEGO Animals Invade Bronx Zoo (Inhabitat)

Hair-Raising Harry Potter Babies (Bit Rebels)

The Crooked Forest of Poland (Neatorama)

Red Onion Flavored Wine in China (Asia Obscura)

Guillotine Slingshot Decapitates Zombies (Nerd Approved)

Life-Size Chevrolet Is World’s Largest Play-Doh Sculpture

A life size Play-Doh replica of the Chevrolet Orlando MPV, created to mark the launch of the seven-seater, has been turning heads on the streets of London.

The sculpture was created out of 1.5 tonnes of blue Play-Doh, by a team of eight model makers who worked on it for two-week period. Created as a marketing scheme for the launch of the Orlando MPV in the UK, the 4.6-meters-long, 1.8-meters-wide Play-Doh Chevrolet has set a new record for the world’s largest Play-Doh sculpture.

The plasticine-like substance may seem like a strange material to build a car, but the marketers decided on it after Play-Doh was voted the most loved toy of 2010, with 19% of the votes. LEGO came in close second with 17%, followed by Kinder Surprise, 15 %.

It’s hard to believe the popular toy started out as a wallpaper cleaner, in the early 1950’s.

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Pixelated Self-Portrait Is Made from Over 10,000 Nails and Screws

Inspired by the work of mosaic art masters like Saimir Strati, artist Shannon Larratt has created a unique self-portrait from thousands of different nails and screws.

Shannon used a four foot sheet of heavy 3/4″ plywood as canvas and six different kinds of nails and screws space roughly 5/16″ apart. He estimates there are around 20,000 pixels in his project, and over 10,000 nails. The whole thing weighs around two hundred pounds, and the artist plans to hoist it up from an I-beam, in his studio.

The first thing Shannon did was take a photo of himself, which he then manipulated in Photoshop, so the colors would match the general range of the nails, and then converted it into an indexed color image using a custom palette that matched his nail set. He stacked up all these conversions as layers, and then started the manual labour, occasionally changing or shifting the nails slightly, to improve translation.

The result of his work is just incredible, although the artist says he has learned a lot from this project and he will do a lot better next time. But, because the process of creating one of these pixelated portraits is so time-consuming, Larrat doesn’t know exactly when he will start work on another one.

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Artist Builds One-of-a-Kind Imperfect Boats from Discarded Materials

John Taylor is a self-taught artists who uses scrap wood, computer parts, hockey sticks and various other discarded materials to create unique replicas of famous sea vessels.

John has been fascinated with ships ever since he saw a photo of his great-grandfather standing on the deck of a vessel, during the Spanish-American War. He was only a child, but the obsession stuck with him throughout the years, and, as an adult, he began creating these unique models of ships he saw in old photos. Working from his garage in San Juan Capistrano, he turns buckets of junk (computers chips, nails, copper wire, lawn chairs, drift wood, staples and more) into imperfect interpretations of old sea vessels.

A landscape architect by trade, John Taylor will use any materials he can find that will give him the old, tattered results he aims for. “If it’s an exact replica, there’s no room for you to really wonder about it,” he says, trying to explain why he creates models that look like they’ve been fished from the bottom of the ocean, instead of making perfect replicas of the ships that inspire him.

The 3 to 5 feet long models are based on real boats, from Civil War river boats to World War II battle ships, John finds in old photographs.They are an authentic rendition of memory, rather than accurate historical replicas.

 

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The Decaying House Models of Daniele Del Nero

Italian artist Daniele Del Nero uses scale paper models of houses and mold to create a series of grotesque yet fascinating buildings that look like they’ve been abandoned for centuries.

In reality, it only takes Del Nero a few weeks to achieve this repulsive yet intriguing effect. With a background in building engineering and architecture, he creates realistic models out of black paper, which he then dampens and covers with a thin dusting of flour. The models are then placed in a transparent plexiglass case, where the mould takes over. Within two days it starts to grow on the building’s walls and after just two weeks it dies and leaves behind what the artist calls “a dusty spider-web which covers the model like a rambler plant”.

Del Nero avoids direct contact with the mould, removing the glass cover only to take photos of his artworks, and he even used to throw the models away after shooting them, but his vision has changed and he now believes “the models are part of my work as well as my photographs.”

Daniele Del Nero says the idea for his grotesque collection, entitled “After Effects”, was inspired by man’s perception of urban spaces – “We are used to imagining our cities as permanent and definitive, but it’s amazing how little time it takes for nature to reclaim its spaces”.

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The Bullet Hole Paintings of Viktor Mitic

One of the most controversial artist of our time, Viktor Mitic paints his artworks with semi-automatic rifles, hand-guns and shotguns.

Although he was acquainted with firearms from the time he spent in the National Service for the Serbian Army, in the former Yugoslavia, Viktor Mitic first got the idea of using guns in his art, after an art critic said his art needs to be more penetrating. Then, just before the war in Afghanistan started, he saw a report on a military group who destroyed 2,000-year-old statues of Buddha. ‘I wanted to use similar energy. The weapons had been around for a number of years, but no one has used them to paint with yet. I wanted to use it as a tool of creation, rather than of destruction’ Mitic says.

His bullet hole paintings include a replica of Picasso’s Gurnica, as well as portraits of popular figures the likes of JFK, Marylin Monroe, John Wayne, John Lennon and many others.

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BMW Made of Bricks Costs More than the Real Thing

A BMW Z4 model made from hundreds of bricks is now being sold for $125,000.

Chinese artist Dai Geng spent more than a year cementing bricks together and then carving the massive block into an impressive replica of the 155 mhp BMW Z4. Except for the windows, everything is made from brick, even the hinges that allow the door to open and close just like metal ones. The car was unveiled in January 2010, and has been on display, in Shenzheng City, for the last year. Now the artist wants to sell it and make a nice profit.

Although this brick BMW Z4 is definitely an impressive replica, down to the interior trimmings, the price tag of $125,000 seems prohibitive. But Dai Geng is confident that one of China’s rich businessmen will want to buy it as and ornament for their gardens…

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Cong Langui – China’s One Legged Chalk Art Master

Cong Langui is a talented Chinese chalk artist who travels across the country creating amazing artworks that make people stop in their tracks and stare in amazement.

Cong may not be the only talented chalk artist in the world, but the hardships he has had to cope with throughout his life, make him stand out as a truly impressive person. He was born in the Linyi countryside, Shandong, and was diagnosed with bone cancer, when he was just 16 years old, and had his left leg amputated. It was a terrible blow for a young man, but he found comfort in painting, and started making replicas of world-renown artworks, every day.

At the age of 21, Cong Langui left his home and began traveling from city to city, living off his amazing chalk paintings. Now at age 48, the artist says he’s been to every one of China’s provinces, except Tibet and Xinjiang. Life was never easy for Cong, especially with only one leg, but by painting chalk masterpieces on city streets, he’s always made enough money to get by and keep traveling. Always hungry for cultural knowledge, the one legged artist would visit the art museum of every city he traveled to, in order to improve his cultural accomplishment and level of chalk drawing.

Every one of his chalk artworks takes hours to complete, but Cong feels that his pastel technique is of relatively low difficulty, and his biggest dream is to study painting in oil, watercolor and ink. Well versed in the art of chalk drawing (he has drawn Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” more than 300 times), Cong feels the need for a new challenge.

After the earthquake of Sichuan, even though he could barely afford to survive, Cong Langui insisted that all the money people gave him, for his amazing street art, be donated to the Hubei Red Cross.

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The Ledger Paper Buildings of Jill Sylvia

Artist Jill Sylvia uses ledger paper sheets to create amazing replicas of famous buildings, like the US capitol or the White House. One thing is for sure, you don’t have to like accounting to fall in love with her art.

Usually used to compile accounting information, ledger sheets become a very original art medium, in the hands of Jill Sylvia. Using a drafting knife, she removes the spaces where numbers are supposed to be, by hand, leaving only the grid separating the boxes. She then uses the resulting lattice to create intricate artworks, including models of American structures. I’d say it’s a great way of reusing a now obsolete material to create timeless artworks.

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