People CAN Fly: Man Takes Off with Custom-Made Bird Wings

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How many times have you wished you could soar through the sky like a bird, only to remind yourself that it wasn’t possible? For me, it must have been a million times. But now it doesn’t seem like such a remote possibility, not after watching this video of a man flying with a pair of custom-made wings.

Flying is something humans have been obsessed with, the one form of movement that we’ve never been able to master. Several attempts have been made over the centuries to invent the perfect set of wings that could enable man to fly independently. Now, it appears that this has finally happened, if the claims of Jarno Smeets are to be believed. The authenticity of a video he created of himself flying is being questioned, but it sure does appear like he’s doing it for real. And he looks like he’s having a hell of a time.

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Real-Life Flintstones House Can Be Yours for Just $3.5 Million

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Are you a die-hard fan of the Flintstones and have an extra $3.5 Million to spare? If the answer is yes, then you actually have the chance to live in a house styled in the theme of the popular cartoon. If not, well then you can just make do with looking at the pictures.

The house, located in Malibu, presently belongs to TV and Radio legend Dick Clark and his wife, but is up for sale and pretty fresh on the market. Apart from being the perfect place for a ‘Modern Stone-age Family’, there’s several other good things going for the house. For instance, the property has a 360 degree ocean and mountain view. Now, that’s probably a luxury that even Fred and Wilma wished they could enjoy. From the 23-acre estate’s glass windows, one can comfortably view the Pacific Ocean, Boney Mountains, Channel Islands, Serrano Valley and also Los Angeles. Sounds awesome, but that’s not all. The place is only minutes away from the beach, has a wine cellar, and the living and dining rooms have vaulted ceilings that open up the space. Surprisingly, there are only two bathrooms and one bedroom in the sprawling mansion. I suppose it is the ultimate place for a romantic getaway for two. Two Flintstones-lovers, that is.

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Euthanasia Coaster – The Roller Coaster Designed to Thrill You and Kill You

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“You are hereby sentenced to death by rollercoaster.” Sounds strange for a death sentence, I know, but it could very well be a reality. That is, if Lithuanian engineer Julijonas Urbonas’ invention – the Euthanasia Coaster – is ever created. For now, he only has a prototype of the amusement ride with the ultimate thrill, death itself.

Yes, you ride it, you die. That’s pretty much the concept of the Euthanasia Coaster. What could be scarier than this – a ride that lasts 3 minutes, the first two of which are spent slowly climbing a very steep slope. Once at the top, you still have a chance to make the ultimate decision of your life, to live or to die. Choose the latter, and you will be dropped at a high speed and then made to travel through a quick succession of loops. The spinning motion would create a centrifugal force that makes all the blood rush away from the brain, and insufficient oxygen would ultimately lead to death.

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German Fashion Designer Makes Shoes from Real Hooves and Dead Animals

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These are some of the freakiest shoes I’ve ever set eyes on. Made by German designer Iris Shieferstein, the footwear is actually created from body parts of dead animals. She uses horse hooves and skin, snake skin and even whole dead birds as decorations.

I really doubt there are a lot of people out there willing to walk around with a pair of stuffed birds on their feet, but that isn’t stopping 45-year-old Iris Shieferstein from using all sorts of dead animal parts to make unique shoes. She agrees her creations aren’t exactly as comfortable as trainers, but she still wears them around the house. The designer says that her footwear is mainly meant for ‘aesthetic pleasure’. The animal shoes have been displayed at exhibitions around the world and Dolce & Gabanna have even created a range based on her designs. But so far, no company has had the courage to produce them for the general public.

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Sweden’s Classroom-Free School – The Future of Education?

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It’s news like this that makes me wish I could become a kid and go back to school again. I mean, just look at the pictures. If school was like this, who wouldn’t want to go? To me, the school looks like it’s come out of the future, or from a sci-fi movie. It’s definitely surreal. But a closer look shows that it isn’t very different from, say, a Google office. Kids seem to be working independently on their laptops, in a place that’s comfortable and convenient for them. I do wonder if all that lounging around is good for their posture, though.

The school you’re looking at is the brainchild of Swedish Free School Organization, Vittra. They operate 30 schools around Sweden, with an aim to ensure that learning takes place everywhere on campus. So, they’ve eliminated classrooms all together. This particular school is the latest, called Telefonplan, and it was opened last August. It was designed and built by the architecture firm Rosan Bosch. At Vittra, students are free to work independently, and if they find the need to collaborate with peers on a project, they have a few options for that too. The ‘village’ is a tiny house meant for group work, and ‘organic conversation furniture’ allows the kids to interact with each other as well. Each student receives a computer from the school too, which is used as a major tool for learning.

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Billion Euro Home Is Made from Shredded Remains of 1.4 Billion Euros

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Unemployed Irish artist, Frank Buckley, has built an entire apartment from the shredded remains of 1.4 billion euros he borrowed from the national mint. He says the Billion Euro Home is a monument to the madness the single currency brought to Ireland.

In 2002, when Ireland adopted the euro, a wave of cheap credit flooded the country, fueling a huge property bubble that eventually led to the country’s economic downfall. People were spending billions of euros on buildings, but when the bubble burst in 2007, the country plunged into the deepest recession of the industrialized world, and those buildings quickly lost their value. Frank Buckley was one of the many Irish who was given a 100% mortgage by the bank, to buy a home with an estimated cost of €365,000, despite the fact he had no steady income. Now his house on the far reaches of Dublin’s commuter belt has lost a third of its value, and the artist is stuck with the credit.

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Awesome Joan of Arc Armor Made of Bicycle Tubes and Paper Mache

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Did you ever find yourself wondering what Joan of Arc would have worn if she lived in modern times and rode a bicycle instead of a steed? Well, Grace Duval obviously did and she came up with an awe-inspiring upper-body armor made entirely of paper mache and bicycle inner tubes. Judging by how cool and detailed this thing looks, it’s clear the artist put a lot of work into this project, but the end result is simply incredible. I’ve see a lot of things made from tires, from crisis shoes to intricate sculptures, but this rubbery armor has to be the coolest thing yet. My hat’s off to Grace!

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The Beautiful Steampunk Cell Phones of Ivan Mavrovic

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Croatian artist Ivan Mavrovic turns modern technology into steampunk gadgets that still retain their functionality.

In a world where everyone seems interested only in getting their hands on the latest futuristic designs when it comes to gadgets, some, like Ivan Mavrovic, prefer to look back in history, to the time of the Victorian era, when brass, copper and wood were the main ingredients that made things cool. But interlacing modern tech with steampunk design isn’t easy, especially if you want to maintain functionality, but Croatian steampunk enthusiast Ivan Mavrovic does a fantastic job. Not only do his retro-cell phones look incredibly cool, but they also work as well as normal modern-day phones. They may not be as feature-full as today’s smartphones, but his sturdy converted Nokia phones work perfectly and make gorgeous accessories.

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Design Student Creates Fashionable Dress from Condoms

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Apparently, women can now wear condoms too! Thanks to a Vietnamese student, Nguyen Minh Tuan, who created a dress entirely made of condoms.  He made the dress for his graduation project at Van Lang University in Ho Chi Minh City. The dress is called “Breaking the Condom Taboo” and contains 700 condoms.

Tuan says he created the dress with a purpose – to raise awareness of the use of condoms among the Vietnamese people. According to Tuan, the attitude of the Vietnamese towards sex and safe sex practices needs changing. So he decided to make the dress a part of World AIDS Day on the 1st of December. He hopes that the dress will encourage people to use condoms and protect their loved ones against STDs. The dress itself is quite pretty, and has been getting compliments from designers and models worldwide. In fact, unless the dress is looked at up-close, it’s hard to tell that it has been made from condoms. The dress is being described as quite versatile, designed to suit different body types.

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Japanese Jeweler Creates Solid Gold Christmas Tree Worth $2 Million

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For those of you who love Christmas but can’t stand falling needles and cheap plastic, Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka has created the ultimate Christmas tree –  made of pure gold and worth a whopping $2 million.

After making a 24-karat gold horse for Japan’s newborn prince, and creating another tree worth $850,000, Ginza Tanaka decided to step it up even more and came up with a solid gold Christmas tree for this holiday season. Measuring 2.4 meters high and weighing around 12 kilograms, the luxurious tree is decorated with golden plates and around 60 heart-shaped ornaments, and covered with ribbon. It’s the most expensive thing Ginza Tanaka has ever made, but while I do appreciate the craftsmanship and the effort that went into it, I’m not sure gold is right for such an important symbol. After all, what kind of presents are you supposed to put under such a tree, anyway?

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Japanese Student Creates Leg Hair Font

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A student from Japan’s Tama Art University came with the idea for a leg hair font, after his teachers asked him and his colleagues to create new typefaces without the help of computers.

Creating original letters without the use of digital design seems almost impossible in this day and age, and 20-year-old Mayuko Kanazawa started scratching her head for ideas the minute she heard about the challenge. She remembered seeing all kinds of letters, words and designs shaved into people’s heads, so she knew she wanted to work with hair, but she came up with the ultimate crazy idea only after a friend complained about a pain in her leg. Somehow she found the inspiration she needed in her friend’s leg hair, and the rest is history…

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Chinese Pharmaceutical Factory Looks More Like the Palace of Versailles

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This is what you’d expect to see in the lavish Palace of Versailles built by Louis the XIVth, but it’s actually the inside of a pharmaceutical company in Harbin, northeast China.

Citizens of Harbin were outraged to see what the state-controlled Harbin Pharmaceutical Group spent their funding on rather than solving more pressing issues, like the factory’s sewage problems, but representatives of the company said the recently emerged photos are part of a smear campaign. They claim the photos show the museum, which takes up three floors in the same building as the factory, where the company showcases local art. Now I’m not an expert on Chinese art, but those gold-tinted walls and lavish chandeliers look pretty European, and some of those rooms look an awful lot like conference halls…In fact, photos of the museum on the company’s website showed white-painted walls, brown wooden floors and none of the opulence in the photos.

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Artist Turns Dull Buildings into Fairytale Settings

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Ukrainian artist Daria Marchenko and her team were commissioned by a night-time delivery company to turn their dull-delivery points into something truly special, and the results are just fantastic.

Night Express, a courier service operating in the Ukraine, decided to remind their clients about their favorite fairytales, cartoons and childhood dreams, by turning delivery points in various Ukrainian cities into mind-blowing optical illusions. The fact that Night Express operates at night, when people dream, was the inspiration behind this amazing project carried out by Daria Marchenko and her team of gifted artists.

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Designer Creates Modern Persian Rugs Using Google Earth

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Using images from Google Earth, German designer David Hanauer was able to give a contemporary twist to the ancient craft of Persian carpet making.

Hanauer first began working on his “Worldwide Carpets” project in 2008, after finding himself fascinated with Las Vegas’ uniform, top-down suburban planning. After he got the idea of using aerials images of the city as prints for a modern Persian carpet, he needed to find the best aerial views, and what better alternative than the free-to-use Google Earth? And since our eyes are used to a horizontal view, rather than seeing things from above, at first most people assume it’s just an abstract pattern, instead of a Las Vegas building block.

Persian rugs are arranged around a central point and are always symmetrical, so after David Hanauer finds the right sections from the 3D satellite maps, all he has to do is mirror the images in four directions, which automatically gives the carpets a Persian look. But instead of being hand-knotted, like the original carpets, these contemporary interior design accessories are printed on polyester using colorfast dyes.

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Tokyo’s Baby Café – Where the Cool Japanese Kids Hang-Out

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Tokyo – probably the only city in the world where toddlers have their own hang-out spot, where no childless adults are allowed.

Japan may have one of the lowest birth rates in the world, but that apparently only means the few babies that are born here are given everything – even their own exlclusive café. Located in the Omotesando neighborhood of Tokyo, the Nendo-designed Baby Café is the perfect place for children under seven to chill out, and play in a safe environment, while their parents socialize over a cup of coffee. No more having to listen to mommy telling them to “sit up straight”, “don’t play with your food”, “don’t run through the restaurant”, at the Baby Café kids can do as they like. But there are monitors all over the place so parents can keep their eyes on children while giving them the illusion they’re free to do as they please.

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