20-Year-Old Artist Creates the Most Realistic Colored Pencil Portraits You’ve Ever Seen

I must admit, ever since I found artist Heather Rooney’s YouTube channel, I’ve been hooked! She posts all these time lapse videos of her incredibly realistic colored pencil portraits, and, well, you have to see what she’s capable of doing with a few colored pencils. Watching her draw is just as fascinating as looking at the finished artworks, which all look unbelievably life-like. I’ve just spent a good hour watching videos of her drawing some of my favorite celebrities, and I’m definitely going back for more.

One of Heather’s most popular works is a rendition of the famous Hollywood selfie picture (featuring major stars like Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lawrence and more) taken at this year’s Oscars. The amount of detailing that she’s put into the features of each of the celebrities is simply mind-blowing. Her artwork was featured by every major art site on the internet when she first posted it, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg, believe me. This girl has dozens of incredible portraits just waiting to be discovered.

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Aviation-Themed Film Studio Opens Fear of Flying School for Dogs

For the first time ever, Air Hollywood, an aviation-themed film studio in Los Angeles, is offering a unique service for dogs – classes to help man’s best friend overcome fear of flying.

The idea for the school came to ‘Air Hollywood’ owner Talaat Captan, after he witnessed an uptight dog and an equally uptight owner struggling to pass through airport security. “There was a light bulb right on top of my head, saying, I have all these big facilities, millions of dollars’ worth of sets, why don’t I do something really useful? And that’s how it all started,” he said. So he developed the concept for the fear of flying school, and it turned out to be a big hit with pet owners.

“Getting to practice it, I would feel comfortable going on an airplane with my dog. I would know exactly what to do.” said Stacey Huckbea, one of the instructors at the school. The dogs and their owners are trained quite thoroughly on the entire aviation experience – checking in, going through the terminal, TSA screening, and boarding an airplane. The school also simulates take off turbulence and landing in a fake airplane that sits on a working sound stage used for TV and movie productions.

fear-of-flying

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This Guy Went a Year without Taking a Single Shower, Still Managed to Stay Squeaky Clean

27-year-old environment activist Rob Greenfield went a whole year without taking a shower. A man-made shower, that is. Instead, he spent the year bathing in natural water resources – lakes, rivers, rain and waterfalls. And when natural water wasn’t accessible, he used a bucket filled with water from leaky faucets and fire hydrants.

Here’s the surprising bit – while the average American consumes about 100 gallons of water a day, Rob used less than 2 gallons a day that whole year. That’s eight Nalgene water bottles. Now, that’s quite a difference. It really makes you wonder about how much water we actually need to survive. Rob said that he got the idea to live with less water during a long bike ride across America to promote sustainability and eco-friendly living.

“I set a bunch of rules for myself to follow to lead by example. The rule for water was that I could only harvest it from natural sources or from wasted sources. And I kept track of exactly how much I used, with an aim of showing just how little we need to get by.” After the 100-day bike ride without showering was over, Rob decided to continue his streak. He went ‘showerless’ for the next 6 months and then decided to extended to a year. And it turned out to be a whole lot easier than he thought.

year-with-no-shower

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Patient Artist Creates Detailed Star Wars Art with Thousands of Staples

A New York artist has been combining his love for staples and Star Wars to create stunningly intricate works of art. 40-year-old James Haggerty makes pictures of iconic Star Wars characters using tens of thousands of multi colored staples in organized patterns. Some of his most notable works are Darth Vader (made from 10,496 staples), C-3PO (33,580 staples) and Greedo (21,458 staples).

Haggerty’s work is incredible meticulous – he starts out with a thoroughly organized plan. He first creates five to ten ink drawings and picks his favorite one. He transfers that one onto a painted board, about 40 x 32 inches in size. He then patiently punches each staple on to the board. The dark background of the board fills in some of the negative spaces, while the metallic staples form the highlights, adding shine and depth to the picture.

James-Haggerty-staples

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The Brutal Yet Refined Art of Boat Jousting

In Southern France, the medieval art of jousting is still practiced by modern knights, only with a big twist – they use no horses and face each other on water The sport is officially called Water Jousting or Marine Jousting and although the practice can be traced back to the ancient Egyptian civilization (as far back as 2300 BC), the French have embraced it as their own since the Middle Ages. Back then, water jousting tournaments were staged for a royal audience at local festivals. The sport is still taken seriously today, and is played on rivers and canals all over France.

The jousters fight as they balance themselves on long wooden boats, powered by 8 to 10 rowers and a helmsman. A wooden platform, called tintaine, extends off the boat about three meters above the water. The jousters stand on this platform at the back of the boat, while carrying a 28-inch wooden shield and a 9-foot lance. The liveries worn by the rival boats and teams are always red and blue – blue for bachelors and red for the married. At the stern of each bark, an oboist and a drummer sporting flat-brimmed straw hats play medieval tunes that help the oarsmen stay synchronized.

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Obsession with Plastic Surgery Leaves Japanese Idol Looking Like Creature from Harry Potter

Rina Nanase, a 25-year-old Japanese idol has put herself through so much plastic surgery that she now sort of looks like Dobby the Elf from the Harry Potter films. The resemblance is uncanny – the large eyes, long nose, and pointed chin. The weirdest part is the once beautiful girl is actually proud of her new look…

In her original photographs, Rina looks like a sweet, normal young girl with a cherubic face. But in the past year, she underwent all sorts of transformations – all of which she chronicled on her Twitter account – that she seems like a totally different person. She has made several changes to her eyes, nose and chin that left her looking strange to many of her former fans. Still, Ms. Nanase was surprised to receive such negative reactions to her facial enhancements, as she doesn’t seem to think her looks have changed that much.

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Man Single-Handedly Builds World’s Largest Balloon Sculpture

John Reid, a balloon artist from New York, built the world’s largest balloon sculpture (made by a single person) last Friday. He got to work on Thursday morning at the Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience event and spent the next several hours inflating thousands of colored balloons at his booth.

42 hours later he had put together a 50-foot tall Transformers robot, ‘Poptimus’ Prime, using 4,302 purple, green, white, black and gray balloons. It was so tall that it actually couldn’t fit upright in the convention center. Reid and 10 other volunteers had to struggle a bit to bring it into a kneeling position. The robot is said to be invincible, except for one weakness – needles!

Poptimus-Prime

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Guy Dubbed Europe’s Dirtiest Man Has Been Sleeping in Hot Ash for a Year

58-year-old Ludvik Dolezal is considered to be the dirtiest man in Europe. He’s homeless, he has no access to a shower, and he’s been sleeping in a pile of hot ash every night for the past year.

Ludvik spends his days  in an abandoned old farmhouse in Novy Bydzov, Czech Republic surrounded only by ashes of what were once his personal belongings. “A year ago I simply decided to quit my job. Since then I’ve been staying here with the fire,” he said. He burnt all his material possessions at the time, even his mattress and duvet, to achieve the perfect mound of ash to sleep in. Now, he just burns whatever he finds to create his ash-bed. “Every night I lay down with hot ash in my clothes and cover myself to keep warm. I look like hell then.”

Ludvik-Dolezal

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Man Sues Mother for Breaking Promise to Let Him Marry Her 8-Year-Old Daughter When She Came of Age

A heartbroken Taiwanese man is suing a teenage girl’s mother for breaking a promise she made 11 years ago. The man, a 32-year-old school teacher at the time, had fallen in love with his 8-year-old student. He became so obsessed that he managed to extricate a promise from the child’s mother that he could marry her when she came of age. Believing that the mother would keep her end of the deal, he spent several years supporting the girl’s family financially. And now that she hasn’t, he’s taking the family to court.

Over the years, the man has spent over 900,000 Taiwanese dollars (that’s about US $30,000) on the girl and her family. He completely covered her tuition and living expenses, and took her out on various occasions. He also paid off the mother’s outstanding debts. Some news reports also provided photographs in which the girl and the man appear to be quite close. It looks like he truly considered her to be his future wife (although they looked more like father-and-daughter). But nine years later, when the man checked the 17-year-old’s Facebook profile, he was in for a very rude shock.

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Amazing Lyrebirds Can Mimic Any Sound They Hear, from Other Birds to Chainsaws, Car Alarms or Camera Shutters

Male Lyrebirds, native to Australia, are considered the rock stars of the aviary world. These amazing creatures can imitate the sounds of at least 20 different species of birds almost to perfection as well as any other sounds they hear in their environment, from camera shutters to car alarms and chainsaws. And just like human rock stars, the lyrebirds use their best sounds to attract and impress the females.

Although beautiful in their own way, female lyrebirds aren’t exactly spectacular. They don’t take part in the imitating, nor are they particularly attractive. But the males put up an elaborate show, singing a medley of mimicry to attract the females during mating season. They even set the stage beforehand, by clearing a space on the forest floor and building a mound of earth to serve as a concert platform.

Later, they assume their positions on these mounds and the mimicry begins. As they sing, they spread out their handsome 28-inch long tail feathers, enhancing the performance a great deal. But the song is the most important part. The more varied the repertoire, the more attractive the male lyrebirds seem to their potential mates. This is important, because the females need to be persuaded to come closer to admire the pretty plumage. And what better way to do it than with a great song?

Lyrebird

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Wealthy Chinese Mother Rents Entire Mountain So Her Daughter Can Learn More About Nature

Money might not grow on trees, but it sure can buy you lots of them. Proving this point is a rich businessman’s wife in China, who has rented a whole mountain just so her her daughter can learn more about nature and the great outdoors.

33-year-old Gan Lin, a former teacher, now spends most of her time dreaming up innovative ways of spending her husband’s money. The family lives in China’s Chongqing municipality, where Yin Gan, the daughter, attends fourth grade at a primary school. Gan recently discovered just how little Yin knew about nature, so she decided to solve the problem by throwing some of her excess money at it. She paid a local council to lease a mountain, including a 1.3-hectare farm located there.

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Offensive Osama Bin Laden-Themed Businesses Are Becoming Strangely Popular in Brazil

Downtown São Paulo isn’t the most likely place to find Osama Bin Laden lookalikes. So when bartender Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was spotted several years ago, he became an instant celebrity. His resemblance to the infamous terrorist was so uncanny that people couldn’t stop taking pictures of him. But this Brazilian Bin Laden is quite the opposite – he’s totally against violence.

“I am a man of goodwill. I can’t stand violence,” said Fernandes. But that hasn’t stopped him from using his appearance to his benefit. The 54-year-old decided to market his controversial image by dressing up as Bin Laden and even changing the name of his bar from ‘Barbas’ to ‘Bar do Bin Laden’. “This was great for business,” he said. “No one calls me Francisco anymore, it’s Osama or Bin Laden.”

Over the years, Fernandes has become a local celebrity and a tourist attraction. Al Jazeera has covered the story of his bar twice so far. Tons of visitors line up to take selfie shots with him, and when Bin Laden was killed in 2011, a Brazilian television producer actually wrapped Fernandes in a white cloth and put him on a downtown overpass, just to scare passersby. Another producer had him wear battle gear and walk on the sets of a variety TV show with a fake bomb in his hand. “I don’t usually do this stuff, but it’s what they want so I do it,” he said.

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This Guy Is on a Pointless Quest to Collect Every VHS Copy of the Movie “Speed” Ever Made

Ryan Beitz, from Moscow, Idaho, is a huge fan of the movie ‘Speed’. So huge, that he’s actually on a quest to collect every single VHS copy of the movie ever made. So far, he has over 500 VHS tapes and 26 laser discs. But it’s the tapes that he’s really after, the discs are just there to trade off for more VHS cassettes. Ryan also owns a 15-passenger that he plans to transform into the passenger bus featured in the 1994 film.

Ryan’s weird obsession started way back when he used to live in Seattle. He was super-broke and had to get Christmas presents for his family. At a pawn shop, he found six copies of Speed, so he thought it would be really funny to give them all the same gift. “I wanted to watch them open them one at a time and go, ‘Oh, Speed. Don’t we already have this?’ Somebody else would go, ‘Oh, Speed. Really funny, Ryan’. Then by the time you went around, everybody would have gotten the same gift from me. Then I could tell them that I love them all equally, you know? Just some bullshit,” he said.

But when he ended up buying all six tapes, he realized that it was ‘way too good’. “I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, copies of a thing,” said Ryan. “What really cemented it was when I went down to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, ‘I’ll take them all’. They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.” Ryan hasn’t looked back since. He said that he has about 550 now, but he hasn’t really counted them because, ‘who really cares’?

Speed-collector

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Japanese Dress Rental Business Helps Men Feel Like Princesses

Mary Mariee is a Japanese company that rents out women’s formal wear. But they’ve recently tapped into a rather new market – men who want to be princesses for a day. For only about $600, the company offers men a chance to dress up and be photographed in elegant wedding attire or ball gowns of their choice. The special package is in so much demand that the shop has dressed over 100 men so far.

The shop, located in Chubu, central Japan, boasts of an extensive collection of women’s outfits – ranging from kimonos to white wedding gowns. At first, they ran a special package for women who wanted fancy photographs of themselves. But soon, they started to receive several enquiries from men as well. The response was so overwhelming that they decided to create an exclusive package for men. “We concluded that men want to feel like princesses too,” said store manager Hitomi Iseki.

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Woman Spends $15,000 on Plastic Surgery to Make Herself Look ‘Photoshopped’

Like millions of Americans, Triana Lavey loves taking selfies. But the 37-year-old television producer from Los Angeles didn’t really like herself in her Facebook photos or during Skype chats. So in 2012, she decided to get plastic surgery to achieve the perfect selfie look. Triana spent a whopping $15,000 to change the shape of her face. And that’s just the discounted price because her plastic surgeon is a family friend.

Triana believes in presenting the best of herself online. “Your social media presence is just as important as your real life presence,” she said. But she was not always happy with the selfie pictures she took. She would use popular iPhone apps with filters that gave her the perfect airbrushed look. But over time, she began to notice flaws in her face that she felt needed more permanent fixing. Changing camera angles didn’t work anymore, so she decided to go under the knife for a nose job and a chin implant.

“Ten years ago, I don’t think I even noticed that I have a weak chin,” Triana had said before her surgery. “That darned chin bugs the living daylights out of me. It’s kind of the first thing I look for in the photos – ‘how does my chin look?’ – which is really weird.” So she had an implant inserted into her chin at  Dr. Richard Ellenbogen’s clinic in Beverly Hills. The doctor didn’t stop with the chin, though. He suggested a few other changes like fat grafting and a nose job. Triana was convinced she needed them too and ended up spending $15,000 on her face.

Changing your face just to look good in pictures might sound extreme, but Triana doesn’t think so. She’s really happy with the way her face turned out. “I now have the face that I always thought I had,” she said. “I look like myself, but Photoshopped.” And she believes that plastic surgery isn’t just about getting an ego-boost. She thinks it’s actually a necessity in today’s world.

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