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Ice Boats Are Good Just in Theory

BBC science show Bang Goes The Theory set out to test inventor Geoffrey Pyke’s claim that ice boats could be used during World War 2, in case steel supplies ran out.

Geoffrey Pyke suggested suggested it was possible to build unsinkable boats using a special material called Pykrete – a mixture of ice and wood pulp. In theory, the icy material could be moulded into any shape and because of its slow melting rate, could carry troops and vehicles for long distances. The idea was first mentioned during the early 1940s, but it sounds like a good idea for modern times, as well, so the guys at Bang Goes The Theory decided to test it out.

The team mixed 5,000 liters of water with the hemp-like wood pulp, moulded the mixture into the shape of a boat and froze it in one of England’s largest ice warehouses, in Tilbury, Essex. It took three weeks to freeze the boat, before it was transported to Portsmouth Harbor. The crew prepared for a trip to Cowes, on the Island of Wight, but son after the boat was launched on the water, it began taking water. Before they even got comfortable in their icy boat, the crew had to abandon ship and swim to the rescue craft.

But this test wasn’t enough to disprove Pyke’s theory. According to experts there are several explanation for the recent Pykrete failure, and they include water temperature and size. Geoffrey envisioned his revolutionary material used to create 1,000-ton carriers, not half-a-ton boats, because a large ice surface requires a lot more energy to start melting. Also the waters of Solent Bay are far warmer than the Atlantic, where the carriers were meant to be used.

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The Bikini Track Sprint – A Horse Race for Women

An Australian horse race arena has caused great controversy when it announced it will be hosting an annual horse  race for women dressed only in bikinis.

When they came up with the idea of a women’s horse race, the guys at The Gold Coast Turf Club in Queensland, Australia probably thought something like “if guys come to the race track to see horses run, just imagine how many of them will come to see beautiful women dressed in skimpy bikinis  do the exact same thing.” The Bikini Track Sprint is scheduled to take place on December 4, with over 150 girls racing for the prize of 5,000 Australian dollars.

Believe it or not, in a poll conducted by a local tourism website, just 27% percent of voter said they find his kind of event degrading for women, while the other 73% were perfectly alright with it. Even the members of Women in Racing, a Gold-Coast group that promotes racing, said they can think of better ways of marketing races, but they’ll back anything that has something to do with racing.

The chairman of The Gold Coast Turf Club agrees there will be a few raised eyebrows at the event, but that the club will do everything in its power to attract really competitive girls and give the audience a real race.

The Bikini Track Sprint isn’t really an original idea. The American horse track Hollywood Park, in California has been organizing similar events for quite some time, and their success probably inspired the Australian race track to come up with their very own horse race for beautiful women in bikinis.

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The Great Gorilla Run in London

Hundreds of people running through the streets of London, dressed in gorilla suits, may sound like monkeying around, but it’s actually pretty serious.

While the annual Great Gorilla Run is a pretty fun event, the reason behind the event is very serious. The number of Mountain gorillas around the world is declining rapidly, and if something radical isn’t done soon, our children will probably know them as an extinct species. Through the Great Gorilla Run, the Great Gorilla Organization is trying to raise money for saving the endangered primates.

The seventh edition of the Great Gorilla Run saw 700 fake gorillas (about as many Mountain Gorillas are in the wild today) line up at the starting line, for a 7 kilometer run through London. The wacky race started in central London, in front of the Minister Court, went on along the Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral, past Tower Bridge, and all the way to the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

Participants were dressed in various gorilla outfits, from Scottish gorillas, to businessmen gorillas and even a gorilla impersonating Che Guevara.

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Scientists Discover the World’s Largest, Toughest Spider Web

Scientist have recently discovered that the web of Darwin’s Bark Spider is the largest in the world, and is also ten times more resistant that Kevlar.

Igni Agnarsson, from the University of Puerto Rico, first discovered Darwin’s Bark Spider and their giant webs, back in 2001, and knew he had to return to Madagascar and study these little creatures further. He did just that in 2008 and 2010, and his research revealed some pretty incredible data.

While it isn’t exactly the largest spider known to man (the female is larger than the male, and it only measures 3-4 cm, with its legs outstretched), Darwin’s Bark Spider spawns giant webs that reach up to 25 meters in length, with a main core of around 2.8 square meters. With webs this size, it’s now wonder the silky substance can withstand twice as much force as a normal spider’s, which makes it 10 times stronger than a similar piece of Kevlar, and thus, the strongest biological material ever found.

How, and why Darwin’s Bark Spider creates these giant webs is still a secret, but the fact that they are usually found across rivers and lakes suggests they mean to capture big insects that spent their young lives in a water environment, trapping them right when they take to the air. Birds and bats also pass right above the water, but there’s yet no evidence the spider web could trap such large prey.

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Chinese Man Loves to Eat Live Scorpions

For the last thirty years, Li Liuqun has spiced up his meals by eating live scorpions. He literally just picks them up, shoves them into his moth and eats them whole.

Li Liuqun discovered the “delicious” taste of raw scorpions, thirty years ago, when he was stung by a scorpion, while hiking on a hill, near his home village, in Henan. The angry Li simply picked up the insect and ate it as revenge. This crazy act made him realize he actually liked the taste of scorpion, and he has since then eaten thousands of creepy crawlies.

The 58-year-old scorpion eater says he keeps the insects in a big porcelain jar, and every time he gets a craving for scorpion, he just reaches down, grabs a few of them and puts them in his mouth. When asked to describe the taste of scorpion flesh, Li Liuqun said it tastes a little like fried soya beans.

As you might expect, some of the live scorpions have stung Li in the mouth, as he bit down on them, but the says he is immune to their poison. All it does is cause a little swelling that goes down in a few hours, and their delicious taste is well worth that much.

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Nailympics – The Olympic Games of Fake Nails

Every year, teams from various countries around the world gather in Britain to compete in the Nailympics – the ultimate fake nail showdown.

For the last six years, the world’s top manicutists have been coming to Britain to show their skill in the art of fake nail making. Everyone knows everyone, but because of the accumulated  tension before every event, they don’t even talk to each other. After all, their personal egos and national pride are at stakes so there’s no place for courtesy, just focus and the desire to prove they’re number one.

Most people think of fake nails as the basic acrylic pieces glued as extensions to natural nails, but the competitors in the annual Nailympics create regular masterpieces, using  methods like airbrushing and the embedding of jewels and other trinkets. An explosion of creative madness, the fake nails entered in the “fantasy nail art” event range from fairies, pagodas and complete forest landscapes to flashing lights and revolving designs powered by small batteries strapped to the wrist.

Few people outside the nail industry has heard about the Nailympics, but it’s popularity is definitely on the rise, as the 30,000 visitors, this year, clearly show. With the manicure business still as flourishing as ever, despite the recession, the interest in over-the-top nail style is comparable to the impractical clothes showcased in fashion-shows around the world.

Some of the designs featured in the Nailympics may look ridiculous, and they may not be the perfect for doing the dishes, but to the people in the industry they “display the mastery of the nail technician’s craft.”

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Twinkle Dwivedi – The Girl Who Cries Blood

For the last three years, doctors have been trying to figure out what makes Twinkle Dwivedi‘s body ooze blood through her eyes, feet and even her head, but she remains a medical mystery.

When Twinkle’s case first appeared in the international media, many hurried to call her a fake, but after countless tests and procedures, including blood transfusions, doctors are still baffled by her strange bleeding. A group of medical specialists, led by dr. George Buchanan, recently traveled to North India to investigate the 14-year-old Twinkle, but all they have been able to say was that “she really suffers from a condition we have never seen before.”

The young teen remembers her disorder first appeared when she was just 11, and her classmates started mocking her and calling her disgusting. Although her bleeding didn’t hurt at all, she felt scared and alone, because no one would come near her. At first she would cry when she saw her clothes soaked with blood, but now she just keeps quiet, and prays she will eventually get better.

Despite her parents efforts, who took her to see the best doctors, Twinkle Dwivedi still bleeds from her eyes and pores, up to 14 times a day. Read More »

Chinese Man Builds His Very Own Plane

24-year-old Zeng Qiang spent the last year working on a home-made airplane, in his home village of Sifang, Southwest China.

Zeng, who makes a living by performing at weddings and funerals, in his neighborhood, suddenly became interested in airplanes 10 years go, and has since then spent most of his spare time studying model airplanes. About a year ago, he set out to build his very own flying machine, and believe it or not, he’s almost done it. His 6-meter-long, 9-meter-wide, 150-kg-heavy airplane just needs an engine, and Zeng Qiang says he’ll have it installed in time for the big unveiling, on September 25, during an airshow, in Chongqing.

The young builder has recorded the building process in a notebook, and says he’s already got a big fan: his 2-year-old son, whose toys are all model airplanes.

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Pumpkin Lovers Compete in Giant Pumpkin Boat Race

The Pumpkin Boat Race of Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival has people racing each other in hollowed out pumpkins, across Ludwigsburg Lake.

Known as the biggest pumpkin related event in the world, the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival draws in pumpkin enthusiasts from all around the globe, every year. They travel to the small German town to see over 500,000 pumpkins, from 450 different varieties, arranged in all kinds of different shapes, from animals to abstract sculptures.

One of the most eagerly awaited events of the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival is the pumpkin boat race. Giant pumpkins, some of them over 90 kg heavy, are hollowed out and launched onto Ludwigsburg Lake, and contestants have to paddle their way to the finish line, in the cheers of onlookers. I’m not sure what the prize is for winning such a bizarre boat race, but I could swear it’s something related to pumpkins.

If you’re a pumpkin lover yourself, you’ll be happy to know the Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival continues until early November.

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Farmer Creates Amazing Spitfire Shaped Maze

To mark the 70th anniversary of The Battle of Britain, farmer Tom Percy created a giant maze, shaped like a Spitfire fighter plane.

Tom Percy has made a name for himself, after creating a series of incredible corn field mazes, just outside Yorkshire town, in Britain. In previous years, he designed mazes shaped as an astronaut, the Statue of Liberty, the Flying Scotsman, Big Ben and a Viking longship. This year, he really outdid himself, creating one of the biggest mazes in the world, the size of 8 football fields.

Using GPS technology, Tom completed his giant Spitfire plane in just one week. And what’s even more amazing is that he managed to create an intricate maze, from over one million corn plants, inside the shape of the fighter plane.

Measuring over 1,000 feet in length, Tom Percy’s maze is the largest image of the famous World War 2 fighter.

 

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Chinese Environmentalist Sails 1,000 Km in Plastic Bottle Boat

Xia Yu, a man who really believes in the concept of recycling, has built a functional boat out of 2,010 plastic bottles.

The 37-year-old boat builder gathered all the plastic bottles at a tea-house he manages in Xiangtan, central Hunan Province, China. Every time a customer left behind a plastic bottle, he just added it to his supply, until he got the number he needed to start construction on his boat.

This is not Xia Yu’s first plastic bottle boat. Last year, he built hos first one out of 1,500 plastic bottles and sailed 35 miles in it. This experience gave him the confidence to built a second, larger boat, to sail in all the way to Shanghai, for the World Expo. His second creation is seven meters long, features 5 sails ( the tallest of which las a special message that reads “Low carbon emission, beautiful world”) and has room for a six man crew.

Although when he began his journey to the Shanghai World Expo, in May, he expected it to last only 45 days, Xia Yu only arrived at the event on September 15, after sailing over 1,000 miles. He hopes his achievement will raise awareness to the environmental problems afecting our lives every day.

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Indian Toddler Plays with Deadly Snakes instead of Toys

It’s not everyday that you get to see a six-months-old girl playing with full frown pythons, but for Sidhi Siddharth Sinune this kind of snakes are everyday toys.

Because he can’t afford to buy his young daughter any toys, Sidhi’s farmer father, who tries to make ends meet as a snake catcher, admits he brings the dangerous reptiles home and lets her play with them. So while he and his wife are working in the fields, Sidhi spends her days in the lovely company of a creature that could kill her by constriction, or by swallowing her whole.

Sidhi’s father says she develops an unusual bond with the snakes, and that the reptiles love to play with her just as much as she loves playing with them. They let her squeeze them and even bithe on their tails with her gums .

While I completely understand how costly children’s toys can be, couldn’t this man carve or make something for his young daughter, instead of leaving her with a deadly python? Read More »

Man Spends Five Days in the Bathroom to Fight Internet Addiction

Mark Malkoff, a comedian and filmmaker from New York City, decided to spend five days in his tiny bathroom, as a sort of detox from Internet addiction.

Just like many other New-Yorkers, Mark spent most of his day online, browsing and checking his Twitter and Facebook pages, every other minute. He confesses he would sometimes be online from the moment he woke up until he went to sleep, and that interfered with pretty much all other aspects of his life. His addiction got so bad that he would excuse himself just to go to the bathroom and check his online accounts, when going on dates with his wife.

But unlike most people in his situation, the Queens-based comedian decided to do something about it, and since his bathroom was the only place he could think of where he wouldn’t have any distractions or temptation, he set his goal on spending five days in there. It might not seem like such a big deal, but Mark Malkoff‘s bathroom is smaller than an Alcatraz jail cell, and it’s pink…

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Chinese Student Builds Boat Out of Paper

Wang Luyao, a junior student at the Commercial Service College in Wuhan, has built a perfectly functional boat out of sheets of paper.

In an attempt to raise awareness about recycling, and green living in general, Wang used his paper boat to cross from one side of the Hanjiang River to the other. Escorted by two normal canoes, the young student jumped in his paper boat and rowed the 800-meter distance in just seven minutes, proving that boats made of recycled paper really are an environment-friendly solution.

Wang Luyao’s paper boat is 1.9 meters long, 1.2 meters wide, weighs 45 kg, and is made out of raw sheets of paper that the young student collected, himself.

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Armenians Make World’s Biggest Chocolate Bar

Switzerland and Belgium may be the world’s most famous chocolate-making countries, but tiny Armenia has just stolen some of their spotlight by creating the largest chocolate bar, ever.

The sweet event took place in Armenia’s capital of Yerevan, and was organized by the Grand Candy Factory – a local chocolate making company – as a way to celebrate to celebrate its 10 years of existence. Guinness Book representatives were invited to take part in the unveiling of the chocolate monster created, and to make sure this event goes into the record books.

The giant chocolate bar weighs 4,400 kilograms, is 224 inches long, 110 inches wide, 10 inches thick and is made from cocoa beans from Ghana. In the following weeks, the world’s biggest chocolate down will be chipped into pieces and handed out to freely around Yerevan.

The previous record for the world’s biggest chocolate bar was set in 2007, in Italy.

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