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Submarine Enthusiast Converts Small Barge into U-Boat Replica

Richard Williams may be 51 years old, but he still has the dreams of a young boy. Sure, he’s not the only one, but unlike others he set out to fulfill them. I guess it’s true what they say, better late than never.

As a child, Richard was a big Star Trek fan, but never got the chance to be on the bridge of the Enterprise, so ten years ago he converted one of the rooms in his apartment into the bridge of the iconic spaceship. It wasn’t the best Star Trek replica ever created, but it made our man happy. “Every boy wants a spaceship, but I got to 40 before I could have mine”, he says, but that’s not the only childhood dream he managed to fulfill. The idea for his U-boat replica, came around his 50th birthday, when his father bought him a barge, so he could enjoy life at a more relaxed pace. But as soon as he laid eyes on it, the former mobility scooter salesman began devising a plan to turn it into something more exciting.

At first, he wanted to transform his barge into The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, but after he finished converting the hull, he learned the specialist yellow paint would cost him £4,000 ($6,500), so he settled for black, which was considerably cheaper. When it was finished, his wife Laurel said it looked a lot like a German U-boat, and since he had always been interested in naval history, he decided to take it to the next level. With the help of a company that supplies props for the Star Wars and James Bond movies, Richard Williams decided to turn his U-boat into a floating museum.

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Chinese School for Gold Diggers Proves Big Hit

Why bother building a successful career, when you can just marry yourself a rich guy that will pamper and take care of you, forever? A Chinese school, ironically named the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women, claims it can teach single ladies how to get their hands on a billionaire. I know, it sounds like new you’d expect to read on The Onion, but this one’s for real, folks.

According to a popular Chinese saying “Marriage is a career. A good marriage is the most successful career for a woman”. So, considering many Chinese women rate a marriage by how rich the husband is, it comes as no surprise that the courses offered by the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women have been pretty popular. Since the school first opened its gates, in August 2010, over 3,000 students, aged between 21 and 36 have attended its courses, hoping to find Mr Rich Right. Most of them are middle class women who can apparently afford to pay around 20,000 yuan ($3,100) for 10 to 30 husband-hunting classes.

But what does a gold-digger study at one of these schools, you ask? Well, instead of acquiring skills that would help them make a living, these young ladies study the art of being charming. Teachers at the Beijing Moral Education Center for Women are all top-class professionals in their fields; for example, one of them is a Beijing Radio host, and he teaches the girls how to speak with a soft and charming voice. Others teach the art of applying the perfect make-up, and tea-pouring techniques, in short everything a Chinese woman has to know in order to snag a rich husband.

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Mom Celebrates Divorce by Tattooing 85% of Her Body

Jacqui Moore, a 41-year-old mother of two, covered 85% of her body with tattoos, in celebration of her divorce and the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

When Jacqui, from Oxford, England, divorced her husband Martin, in 2003, was so happy about her new found freedom that she decided to get a tattoo in celebration of the event. But as soon  as she walked through the door of the tattoo parlor and met Andreas “Curly” Moore her life changed once again. The two fell in love on the spot and that one tattoo she had in mind turned into a gigantic piece that spanned over eight years. The only parts that aren’t covered with ink are her left armpit, her right leg and most of her face.

Curly, who also sports an impressive full-body suit tattoo, is responsible for every one of the tattoos on Jacqui’s body. Her back is covered by a swarm of dragonflies, a giant spiderweb with tarantulas coming out of it is etched on her stomach, and her right leg features Indian and Tibetan flowers. He didn’t charge her for his services, of course, but it’s estimated the epic tattoo would have cost a mind-blowing $22,000.

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Students Take Ice-Cream Making Courses at Italy’s Gelato University

I thought making ice-cream was pretty easy, but it seems that if you really want to get it right you have to take courses at the Gelato University, in Bologna, Italy.

Ice-cream making was one of the last thing I would have imagined required attending a university, but in reality thousands of students from all over the world study the art of making quality ice-cream at the Carpigiani Gelato University, in Bologna., every year. Gelato lovers, and entrepreneurs who want to learn the secrets of making great ice-cream and take it back to their homelands pay around €800 ($1,138) for a week of courses and accommodation at a nearby hotel. They attend technical lectures on traditional gelato-making techniques by veteran ice-cream makers, and take part in practical courses where they learn to use the world famous Carpigiani gelato machines.

Believe it or not, the Carpigiani Gelato University has been around for a long time, and as more people around the globe fall in love with the Italian gelato, it gets more students with each passing year. In 2011, the number of students has gone from 9,000 to 12,000 and for the first time in history, the number of foreign tourists has surpassed that of Italians.

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Pretend Guitarists Compete at US Air Guitar Championships

22 of America’s best air-rockers gathered at Chicago’s legendary Metro, where they pulled out their best pretend-guitar-playing tricks, hoping to take home the title of US Air Guitar Champion.

Most people only practice air-guitar moves in the privacy of their own homes, away from prying eyes, while listening to their favorite rock song, but for the guys competing in the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships, it was all about putting on a show for others. And what they lacked in musical instruments they made up for in sheer craziness, performing the most outrageous air-guitar tricks, including the ever-popular drop to the knees, the behind-the-back and teeth picking.

The competition took place last weekend,and even though it featured air guitar legends like New York’s Airistotle, Washington’s Tommy Fretless or Tony Tapatio, from Portland, the title of US Air Guitar Champion went to local pretend musician Nordic Thunder. Also known as Justin Howard, the Chicago-based viking lookalike kick-started his air-guitar career five years ago, with a regional competition win. He suffered a ruptured disk in one of his hardcore performances, but has come back with a vengeance and has just proved he’s ready to take the pretend-guitar-playing world by storm.

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100-Year-Old Crowned Ms. Alabama Nursing Home

Felma Schrimshire, 100, was named the winner of the 2011 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home pageant, out of 75 grey-haired contestants from across the state.

They may have more grey-hair than your average pageant participants, but the ladies who competed in the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home contest proved they have just as much style and grace. The top ten finalists gathered at the Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, for the last stage of the competition. Here, the judges and an enthusiastic crowd evaluated the senior beauty queens on their outlook on life, as well as poise and personality. After a 15-minute interview in front of a panel of judges, contestants were asked to answer a surprise question. In case you were wondering, this particular pageant didn’t include a swimsuit competition.

100-year-old Felma Scrimshire won the judges’ votes with her incredible life story. She has traveled to every one of 50 of the US states, seen the Canadian provinces and much of Europe, served in the army for a year, during World War 2, and retired from a civil service job in 1976. A resident of the Andalusia Manor nursing home, Felma will serve as spokesman for nursing home residents throughout Alabama.

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Chinese Couple Sell Their Three Kids to Play Online Games

A young couple, from Dongguan, China, have reportedly sold all their three children for money needed to keep playing online games at Internet cafés.

According to Chinese newspaper Sangxiang City News, Li Lin and Li Juan, both under 21, first met back in 2007, in an Internet café. It was their obsession with online gaming that fueled their relationship, and a year later, the two welcomed their first baby. Actually, “welcomed” is a bit of an overstatement considering that just days after they brought him home, the couple left him alone and went to play video games at an Internet café 30 km away.

In 2009, the irresponsible couple had another child, a baby girl, whom they decided to sell in order to fund their online gaming obsession. They managed to get RMB 3,000 ($500) for her, which they spent in a matter of days. Having run out of cash they proceeded to sell their first born as well, this time for ten times as much, RMB 30,000 ($4,600). At this point they probably decided having kids could be pretty profitable so they had a third baby, a boy, that got them another RMB 30,000 ($4,600). They would have probably continued like this for years, if the boy’s mother hadn’t learned of their deeds and alerted the authorities.

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Girl Has Half of Brain Removed, Now Paints Like a Pro

The human brain is a remarkable thing, and the incredible story of Taisia Sidorova, who gained an amazing artistic talent after having the left side of her brain removed, is proof of that.

Three years ago, 21-year old Taisia Sidorova, from Sankt Petersburg, Russia, suffered a severe car accident that left her with a smashed skull and bone fragments wedged in her brain. Doctors were skeptical about her chances of survival, and was even given the last rites, but even after she had the left hemisphere of her brain removed, she hung in there. The part of her brain responsible for logic and analysis was replaced with a protective metal place, but even though her family was warned that a long, painful recovery period was to follow, and that Taisia may never be the same, they never gave up on her.

Irina Sidorova, the girl’s mother, remembers she was like a vegetable in the beginning, and doctors didn’t believe she would survive. But she stayed by her bedside praying, massaging her limbs and talking to her. The miracle she was waiting for occurred on New Year’s Eve, while she was crying on Taisia’s bedside. The girl moved her arm trying to wipe away her mother’s tears. It was the breakthrough nobody expected anymore, and in two years’ time she regained her strength, started to speak and even learned to hold a pencil and paintbrush.

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Eccentric Sheikh’s Name Can Be Seen from Space

We’ve all scribbled our name in the sand, at the beach, when we were little, but whereas our writing were washed way by the first wave, sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan’s name will last a while longer.

The 63-year-old Saudi Sheikh decided he wanted his name carved into the dessert of Al Futaysi Island, so he had a team of experts working for weeks to fulfill his wish. The name “HAMAD” is 1,000 meters high, 3,000 meters long and can actually be seen from outer space. I guess this way the aliens will know what to call us… And if you thought the giant signature was at the mercy of the sea, think again; the letters form waterways and absorb the power of the tide and carry the water inland.

Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan is part of the ruling Abu Dhabi family and boasts a fortune second only to the Saudi King himself. Known as the “Rainbow Sheikh” for his collection of seven Mercedes 500 SELs painted in the colors of the rainbow, this powerful man has a taste for doing things on a large scale. He has a giant collection of around 200 cars, which he keeps in a giant pyramid, he has built the world’s largest truck, with a four-room bedroom fitted inside the cabin, and owns a custom-made motor home in the shape of our planet, which is exactly one millionth the size of Earth.

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Woman Pays $10,000 for Non-Visible Artwork

The Museum on Non-Visible Art, or MONA, houses a variety of non-visible works of art that can only be admired by reading the artist’s description. Sounds weird, but believe it or not, someone actually paid $10,000 for one of these ‘masterpieces’.

I have to admit I’ve always wondered why some people spend thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on abstract art pieces that look like the work of someone who has nothing in common with art. But then again, I’m not very art-inclined. Anyway that doesn’t seem so strange to me anymore, not since I read this article about a woman who paid $10,000 for an artwork she can’t even see. “Fresh Air” was just one of the works exhibited at the Museum of Non-Visible Art, a strange project supported by actor James Franco that tries to take conceptual art to a whole new level. There is an official website and even an explanatory video, but basically this museum hosts works of art that don’t exit in the physical world, instead they are imagined by the artist.

So when someone buys one of these unusual creations all they get is a card with a description of the artwork made by the author and a letter of authenticity. You can place the card on a blank wall in your house or an art gallery and describe it to visitors, so they may enjoy it as well. Here’s the description for Fresh Air, the recently sold artwork:

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Woman Grows Nails for 22 Years Trying to Become Famous

Jazz Ison SInkfield, 48, from Atlanta, Georgia, hasn’t cut her finger nails in the last 22 years, in the hope that they might one day bring her the fame and glory she’s always been dreaming of.

Although she has difficulties performing the easiest of household chores, Jazz claims she feels “very, very blessed”. The nail-obsessed grandmother thinks she has a talent for growing and taking care of her long nails, because it’s not something anyone can do. I’m not very sure that’s true, considering she regularly visits the nail salon, for five-hour nail care sessions and spends over $500 every time; I’d say most other people choose not to spend their time and hard-earned money like that and avoid the complications that come with such “trophies”.

Mrs Sinkfield considers her long fingernails “a girl’s best friends” and can’t even conceive ever having to clip them. “I just can’t stop loving my kids, so how can I stop loving my nails?” she asks. Her longest fingernail is 24 inches long, and all of her painted “babies” add up to 19 feet. She’s very proud of what she’s accomplished and of the attention she draws whenever she goes out, but admits that not everyone is impressed. Some women will turn their nose up to her, but according to Jazz that’s only because they’re jealous. She feels everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they don’t have to be mean about it.

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Dangerous Railway Therapy Practiced in Indonesia

While it might look like they are protesting against something or staging a gruesome mass suicide, the people of Rawa Buaya are actually looking to cure their illnesses by laying on the train tracks.

In western countries, most people think high levels of electric energy cause cancer, but to the inhabitants of Rawa Buaya, in Indonesia’s West Java, electricity is the ultimate cure. From young children to old folk, they all lie on train tracks passing through their settlement, hoping the electric energy from them will cure their various sicknesses. Not even the potentially lethal trains passing on opposite tracks don’t seem to be scaring these Indonesians away.

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Daredevils Compete in Annual Bee-Wearing Competition

Two brave Chinese beekeepers competed in the annual bee-wearing contest, yesterday, trying to attract as many bees on their bodies, in just 60 minutes.

42-year-old Wang Dalin and 20-year-old Lc Kongjiang were the only contestants registered for the event that took place in Shaoyang City, China. Wearing only shorts, goggles and nose plugs, the two bee enthusiasts competed by each standing on a scale and using queen bees to attract as many regular buzzers on their bodies, in one hour. The queen bees were locked in small cages and tied around their bodies, and it was only a matter of time until the swarming bees picked up their scent and formed living suits around the competitors.

In the end, Wang Dalin won the bee-wearing competition, by attracting 26 kilograms of bees onto his body, while his younger fellow beekeeper only manged to attract 22.9 kilograms of live bees. Despite their valiant efforts, the two weren’t able to break the world bee-wearing record, of 39.5 kg (350,000 bees), set by American Mark Biancaniello.

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Vampire Husband Drank Wife’s Blood for the Last Three Years

Deepa Ahirwar, a 22-year-old woman from India’s Madhya Pradesh state, has recently accused her husband of drinking her blood on a regular basis, for the last three years.

Although it sounds like the story of a cheap vampire movie, young Deepa swears she’s telling the truth and even bears the scars to prove it. She and her husband, Mahesh Ahirwar, an agricultural worker, got married in 2007, in Shikarpura village. A few months later, he started drawing blood from her veins, emptying the contents of the syringe into an empty glass and drinking the contents. He threatened he would do terrible things to her if she dared tell anyone about his habit, and she kept quiet for about three years.

Mahesh claimed drinking his wife’s blood kept him strong and boosted his virility, so he didn’t stop playing the vampire even when Deepa was pregnant. After she gave birth, seven months ago, she started protesting for the first time, because she would feel weak and nauseated after each blood extraction. Every time she resisted, her husband beat her, and when she couldn’t take it anymore, she ran to her parents, who after hearing her disturbing story, alerted the authorities.

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Wanna-be Wizards and Witches Flock to Austria’s Real Life Hogwarts

Thanks to the hype created by the release of the final Harry Potter movie, an Austrian school for wizards and witches is expanding its range of courses and student base.

When IT expert Andreas Starchel decided to jeopardize his job, change his name to Grand Wizard Dakaneth and open the International School for Wizards and Witches, in 2003, most people laughed and probably called him crazy, but he proved them all wrong after students from all around the world joined his school and made him a rich and famous man. Now, with the recent release of the last Harry Potter movie, Starchel and his partner Sonja Kulmitzer are expanding the school’s range of courses and attracting new waves of aspiring wizards and witches.

Instead of mastering impossible spells and learning to fly on brooms, students at of the International School for Wizards and Witches study subjects like astronomy, potion-making, history of magic, botany, herbology, channeling of magical energy, fortune telling and so on. The two founders have managed to put a modern twist on witchcraft, which basically requires looking at basic sciences from a different perspective and perceiving information that is filtered out by most people. “I’ve learned that everything is explainable” Andreas Starchel says, “and magic is magic only until it is explained. If you understand the psychological aspects behind it, the magic disappears”.

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