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Modern Tower of Babel Made of Books Appears in Buenos Aires

Popular Argentine artist Marta Minujin has created a 25-meter-high spiraling Tower of Babel made from 30,000 books written in various languages.

This modern version of the Tower of Babel was designed in celebration of Buenos Aires’ designation as World Book Capital 2011, by UNESCO, and local authorities say it represents the ideas of pluralism and diversity which also characterize the Argentine capital city. This isn’t Minujin’s first experience with book installations; in 1983, when democracy was restored in Argentina, she built a replica of the Parthenon from books banned by the former military dictatorship.

The tower consists of a spiraling metal frame and around 30,000 books written in most of the world’s languages and dialects. You can find all kinds of books, from dictionaries and encyclopedias to software manuals and classic novels, arranged on six levels. The bottom level features a collection of books from around the world, the first and second levels are for American books, the third and fourth are reserved for Europe, the fifth for Africa and the sixth for Asia. 16,000 of the books were donated by 52 embassies in Buenos Aires, while the rest were provided by Argentine readers.

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Tragedy: Owner Plans to Close Down Topless Coffee Shop

Donald Crabtree opened the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop, in Vassalboro, Maine, so he, his employees and his customers could have a laugh. Now, two years later, he claims he is forced to close it down due to sabotage.

Ina town with fewer than 4,500 residents, you wouldn’t expect a controversial venture like Donald’s topless coffee shop to succeed, but it did. Back in 2009, crowds were pouring in to the only place they could be served hot coffee by topless waiters and waitresses, and the owner described his business as “fantastic”. He had hired ten women and five men, out of the almost 200 applications he received, from skinny to big boned people.  With the economy so bad at the time, the coffee shop put a smile on people’s faces and took their minds off problems.

But that was back then. These days, the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, and Donald Crabtree had to make some staff cuts and reduce their hours, just to keep his business alive. He says locals have been against his innovative idea from day one, and even though he managed to hold out against their sabotage this long, enough is enough. The final straw was a series of violations reported by the town, regarding two billboard he set up, one advertising a benefit topless car wash and the other said “Boobies wanted”. Authorities say it’s not about what’s on the billboards, but their size – they’re larger than what’s permitted under his local permit and the adult-only ordinance.

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Young Crafter Makes Original Prom Dress from 4,000 Pull Tabs

16-year-old Maura Pozek, from Reed Springs, Missouri, created her own prom dress from 4,000 pull tabs and 400 yards of pink ribbon.

Looking at the beautiful gown, you wouldn’t guess it was created by a high-school junior, let alone that she did it using only ribbon and aluminum pull tabs. But it’s true, Maura actually spent 100 hours working on her unique prom dress, surrounded only by her laptop, cellphone and a Netflix subscription. I bet there was a lot of sweat and tears involved in all that intricate weaving, but the final result is truly mind-blowing, and she can rest assured no one else will be wearing the exact dress on prom night.

For last year’s prom, Maura made herself a dress from around 60 bags of Dorito chips. You can check out a couple of photos of it, at the bottom.

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Indoor Swimming Pool Hosts Underwater Opera Show

Aquaria Palaoa is a different kind of opera performance, where the protagonists sing in, out and under the water of a swimming pool, in Berlin, Germany.

Claudia Herr, a former swimming champion before turning to a music career, is the mastermind behind the unique Aquaria Palaoa project. In an interview with news agency AFP, Herr said she first got the idea for hosting an opera show at an indoor swimming pool the first time she visited the art nouveau Stadtbad Neukölln pool, in Berlin, 10 years ago. The large hall, complete with neo-classical pillars made her feel like she was at the opera.

Playing the lead role in Aquaria Palaoa, the former swimmer turned opera performer dives into the pool in a green evening dress, telling the story of a woman looking for the elixir of eternal youth. She sings both above and under the clear water of Stadtbad Neukölln, with the help of oxygen tanks. Special microphones transmit underwater sounds to speakers set up around the hall. Claudia’s voice, and those of other singers also singing underwater (but without oxygen tanks) are mixed with sounds recorded 100 meters under an ice shelf, in Antarctica. Meanwhile, the orchestra stays dry and accompanies them from the side of the pool.

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Feline Photographer Offers a Cat’s-Eye View on Life

Cooper, a normal house cat from Seattle, has recently become one of the world’s most talked-about photographers after his owners tied a timer-controlled camera around his neck, which takes snaps of his day-to-day adventures.

His brilliant career began last year, when his owners, Michael and Deirdre Cross decided to attach the tiny camera in order to answer the question that plagues all cat owners – “where does my cat go all day?” It started out as a fun geography experiment, but when Cooper came home the first day, and they saw the amazing photos they were completely blown away. Michael and Deirdre realized it wasn’t about where their furry pet went all day, but about how beautiful and lush their neighborhood looked from a feline’s perspective.

The mini camera around Cooper’s neck takes photos every two minutes, revealing everything that he sees. Whether it catches other cats, one of his many hiding places, his owners, or the big blue sky, the camera revealed some pretty amazing shots and practically made Cooper a star. It also helped his owners understand more about their pet, for example, they noticed Cooper spent a lot of time looking at the back door, and realized a lot of his time was spent looking for a way to get inside. So they got a cat flap and noticed he was much happier.

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Cuban Hand-Rolls the World’s Longest Cigar

The world’s longest cigar measures 81.80 meters and was rolled by cigar-maker Jose Castelar Cairo, better known as “el Cueto”.

Jose Castelar and his assistants started working on the giant Cuban cigar at the end of April and finished on Tuesday, May 3rd. British representatives from the Guinness Book of Records acknowledged that the 67-year-old cigar rolling master has set a new world record, beating the previous one (also set by el Cueto) of 60 meters.

Castelar began rolling cigars at the age of 14, in his native province of Villa Clara, and admits he never though he’d end up making cigars almost the size of football fields. He first made cigar history in 2001 when he rolled a 11.04-meters-long cigar, followed by a 14.86-meter one (2003), then 20.41 meters (2005) and 45.38 meters in 2008. For his next project Jose Castelar Cairo will make a cigar measuring 100 meters, and says that as long as el Cueto is alive, the longest cigar will always be found in Cuba.

Just in case you were wondering what “el Cueto” means, apparently it translates as “someone whose achievements cannot be surpassed”.

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Germany Hosts Big Nose World Championship

Ever since 1961, the German town of Langenbruck has hosted the Big Nose World Championship, a competition where “nosy” people from around the world compete for the title of world’s biggest nose.

The history of this wacky contest dates back 40 years, when a group of hops growers and the town minister sat down at the Lagenbruck pub and started making fun of each other’s big noses. “We could actually create a big nose club and you with your nose, could make the board” one of them said, while another replied “If I should be on the board then you would have to be nose king!” It was all in the spirit of fun, but Max Reichart and Wilhelm Höfler actually began thinking about establishing an “Association of Big Noses”, and a few weeks later they had actually done.

Everyone could join, as long as their nose was at least 60-mm-long or 40-mm-wide, and it numbered 40 members in the first hour since sits official inauguration. The Big Nose Club currently has 330 registered members and uses a modern nose gauge to measure the nose size of contestants during the Big Nose World Championship, held every five years. The judges measure the length and width of the noses, and contestants are allowed to frown or make faces in order to enlarge their noses, but they aren’t allowed to use any illegal substances.

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Kiss Transmission Device Lets You Kiss over Long Distances

This revolutionary kiss transmission device is still under development at the Kajimoto Laboratory, at the University of Electro-Communications, and its creators hope it will soon be able to effectively transmit the feeling of a kiss over long distances.

A kiss is really a complex thing, if you think about it, and there are a lot of things to consider in order to truly replicate it using a device. So far, the researchers at the Kajimoto Laboratory have only come up with a gadget that replicates the movement of the tongue. “If you take one device in your mouth and turn it with your tongue, the other device turns in the same way. If you turn it back the other way, then your partner’s turns back the same way, so your partner’s device turns whichever way your own device turns.” says one of the bright minds working on the project.

“It is achieved only by motor rotations, and you control the rotation positions via PC. It is called a bilateral control, and the turn angle information is sent reciprocally by both devices to maintain the same position. Right now the values are handled by one PC, but if a system is put together to handle the values over a network, then it would be easy for this operation to be conducted remotely.” One of the top YouTube comments said it best: Imagine using this over the internet and you hit a lag spike. It stalls for 10 seconds, and then all the motions comes at once and rips your tongue out.

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Teacher Ends Shaving Strike Following Bin Laden’s Death

Garry Weddle, a 50-year-old science teacher from Washington has finally been able to shave the beard he vowed to let grow until Osama bin Laden was captured or killed.

Nearly 10 years ago, during the terrorist attack of “9/11”, Gary remembers he couldn’t take his eyes off the television coverage. “When the twin towers came down, I was horrified and I was glued to that television set for several days,” he said in an interview with KOMO News, back in 2003. He soon realized he not only wasn’t taking showers, but he wasn’t shaving either, so he vowed not to touch his beard with a razor until bin Laden was captured or reported dead, so the people around him would remember the tragedy of September 2001 every time they looked at him.

When President Obama made the announcement that the Al Qaeda leader was finally dead, Gary cried for about five minutes and couldn’t wait to shave off the beard he had been growing for the last 10 years. By the time the commander-in-chief said “I can report to the American people and to the world, that the US has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden”., he had already cut off most of the beard and was shaving the stubble. It was the first time in 3,454 days that Gary Weddle shaved.

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Korean Girl Removes Make-up after Two Years

Doctors recommend women remove their make-up every night before they go to sleep, in order to prevent damage to their skin, but a young South-Korean girl chose to wear her make-up mask full-time, for the last two years.

20-year-old Bae Dal-mi first discovered make-up when she was just 14. You could say it was love at first brush, and ever since then, the young Koream developed her make-up talents to the point where she became so dependent on it that she didn’t want to remove it anymore. As she kept applying ever-thicker layers of make-up on her face, the mirror became the most important item in Bae’s life and she declares “I wanted to look perfect at all time, I even slept with the make-up on.” Shae wasn’t satisfied with her appearance, and said she wanted to have plastic surgery in 10 different places.

For the last two years, the young girl never used make-up removers, so her mother, exasperated by Bae’s behaviour, contacted a TV station and told them Bae’s incredible story. During a variety show, dermatologists managed to convince Bae Dal-mi to finally remove the layers of make-up, and after a specialized check-up they found her skin was two times older than her actual age. All because of an obsession with beauty…

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Spanish Gym Offers Naked Workouts

A gym in Spain’s Basque region has begun offering naked workouts, in order to beat the economic recession.

When Merche Laseca, owner of the Easy Gym, in Arrigorriaga, noticed fewer people were attending his gym because of the crisis, he knew he had to come up with something new to keep his business afloat. He did some research and discovered the area was a popular destination for naturists. In fact, two local swimming pools were already offering popular monthly nude swimming sessions, and since he discovered there are at least 12 nudist beached in the Basque region, and a mass naked run organized yearly in the nearby town of Sopelana, he figured a naturist gym wasn’t a bad idea.

“We’re always interested in new activities” and “doing sports without clothes is natural and much more comfy” argues Maite Vicuna, president of the Basque Naturist Association, but there are skeptics who are less than thrilled with the idea of a nudist gym. They claim clothes are important when working out, as they retain most of the sweat, whereas doing it naked means the swat goes on the machines, the floor and even on the people around you. Read More »

Mom Spends Six Years Making a Prom Dress from Candy Wrappers

High-school senior Tara Frey, from Wisconsin, won’t have to worry about having the same prom dress as other girls, as her mother has made her a unique outfit from thousands of Starburst candy wrappers.

Tara and her mother Kerrin worked on the dress for the last six years, trying to collect as many wrappers as possible before the big event. Kerrin Frey told local news station KARE-TV that she got the idea for the wacky project after seeing another mother weaving gum wrappers during a hockey game. The two started collecting Starburst wrappers, but had to go the extra mile in order to complete the outfit in time for the prom. They tried calling Starburst to ask them if they could only buy the wrappers from them, but they weren’t too keen on the idea, so they had to buy up to 9 kg of candy at a time. They handed them to neighbors and friends, but asked them to keep the wrappers and try not ot tear them.

In order to be used for the sweet prom dress, every candy wrapper had to be folded eight times, and pressed with tweezers to achieve a tight weave. Not the easiest of tasks, considering there were a lot of wrappers to prepare, so Kerrin asked for help from her friends. She doesn’t know exactly how many Starburst wrappers were used on Tara’s gown, but she does remember it took five failed attempts before the two of them agreed on the design.

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Wacky Art Lover Wants to Marry His Painting

Tomasz Urynowicz, a 37-year-old art lover from Nowa Huta, Poland, has fallen in love with a young brown-haired girl hanging laundry in one of his paintings.

Urynowicz first saw the artwork painted by Antoni Maria Kwiek in 2001, in a art gallery and was fascinated by the beauty of the girl it portrayed. He bought it on the spot and spent the last decade searching for the girl. He hoped his neighbors might know who she was or where the artist who painted her in 1955 was located. “I just wanted to meet her, sit down and have coffee and a chat – to see who she is and what her life has been like,” he explains, but says he would have been happy enough to just track down Kwiek.

After years of failure tracking down the girl who “has brown hair that shimmers in the sun”, Tomasz is now looking for a priest who will agree to marry him with the painted version of the girl of his dreams. “I don’t know what the laws on this sort of thing are in Poland. But if I can’t do it here I’ll go somewhere else and do it,” he says, and 10 years of searching tell me he means it. If he actually goes through with this unusual wedding, I’m pretty sure he’ll be the first man in the world to marry a painting.

UPDATE: After receiving a comment saying this article “ruined this man’s life”, I found a Polish article where Mr. Urynowicz claims he never said any of the words he was quoted for, and that he is already happily married and even has a son named Adam. He also has no intention of finding a priest to marry him to the laundry girl in the painting.

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Guy Changes His Name to Mountain Dew

A 21-year-old obsessed with the popular fizzy drink has recently changed his name to Mountain Dew Energy in the hopes of accumulating enough points to receive a six-month supply of the beverage.

Mountain, formerly known as Dan Grey, first tasted his favorite soft drink four years ago, during a holiday in America. He remembers it was different than anything he had ever tasted before, it had a unique taste that he still finds difficult to describe. Upon his return to Cumbria, he discovered the tasty beverage wasn’t available in the United Kingdom, so he began shipping crates of it from the US, at a cost of £400 ($655).

In the meantime, the citrus-flavored drink was released in Britain as Mountain Dew Energy, and even though it vanished off the shelves at one point, it was brought back after a few fans started a Facebook group and appealed to PepsiCo. Now, in order to secure a hefty supply of the drink, the man formerly known as Dan Grey has changed his name to Mountain Dew Energy, by deed poll.

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Viagra Laced Beer Is One Stiff Drink

A British company has brewed the world’s firs beer laced with Viagra, to commemorate the upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.

BrewDog, Scotland’s largest independent brewery is set to release a limited edition ale called Royal Virility Performance, which contains Viagra and a series of known aphrodisiacs. Apparently, drinking three bottles of this unique beer has the same effect as taking one of the famous blue pills Hugh Hefner loves so much. The company has already sent several bottles of Royal Virility Performance to Prince William via Royal Mail, just in case he needs a little help on his wedding night. James Watt, co-founder of BreDog stated: “As the bottle says, this is about consummation, not commemoration, so we hope he gets it”.

The company will initially produce only 40 bottles of the miraculous concoction, which will be available for purchase on April 29, via BrewDog.com, for £10 a bottle. In the UK Viagra is available without prescription, so Royal Virility Performance is only available for Brits, but the company announced buyers will be limited to one bottle each, because of its powerful effects. If the beer proves a success, BrewDog plans to continue production.

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