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Become Spartacus at the World’s Only Traditional School for Gladiators

Roman Gladatorial games may have been banned almost two millennia ago, but you can still train to become a modern-day Spartacus at Italy’s Scuola Gladiatori Roma, the only genuine school for gladiators in the world.

Following the success of box-office hits like Gladiator, starring Russel Crowe, or HBO’s Spartacus: Blood and Sand series, the popularity of ancient gladiators has reached record highs. But few fans of these ancient warriors know they can do more than build their own gladiator armor and read-up on their history on obscure websites. At the Scuola Gladiatori Roma, in Rome, they can actually train to fight in the arena like their lives depended on it. Students have to go through rigorous physical training that tests their agility, coordination, speed and strength, before moving on to the actual weapons training and finally facing their experienced instructor in the arena. True wannabe gladiators attend courses for several months, even years, and become specialized in certain weapons and combat techniques, according to their physique. But for those with less free-time on their hands, the Scuola Gladiatori Roma offers a “Gladiator for a Day” experience that puts participants through a crash course on gladiator training in ancient Rome.

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The Amazing Pencil-Drawn Illusions of Ramon Bruin

Netherlands-based Ramon Bruin is a mostly self-taught artist with a gift for creating amazing optical illusions. He is well-versed in airbrushing and painting, but his most impressive works require only a pencil and a few pieces of paper.

The best word I can think of to describe Ramon Bruin’s art is “mind-blowing”. “The art I make is what I like to call optical illusionism,” the gifted artist says. “It appears the drawings are 3D and actually leap off the page. It’s of course all optical illusions.” He uses a variety of methods to achieve the desired result, including the anamorphic technique – drawing detailed yet distorted images which looks incredibly realistic only when photographed from the right angle. “The main thing about my art is they are photographs of drawings. It’s all about the photograph,” Bruit told The Huffington Post. “I draw out of perspective and when I’m done I take a photograph from one particular angle and the whole image appears to leap off the page. It can only be seen on the photograph – you can’t see it live.” To make his 3D wonders even more impressive, he often draws them on multiple pieces of paper and adds props like pencils and his own hands.

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Playing with Lightning – Chinese Band Uses 1-Million-Volts Tesla Coil in Its Electrifying Concerts

If you’re ever passing through China’s Fujian province, make sure to stop by Dacuo Village and catch a performance by local band Lightningfan. The group specializes in producing electric arcs from Tesla coils that are charged with 1 million volts of electricity, and are in sync with the music they play.

31-year-old Wang Zengxiang, founder and leader of the 10-strong band Lightningfan, is a huge fan of the Tesla coil invented by geek hero extraordinaire Nikola Tesla. “When I was young, my family opened an electrical appliance repair shop. I have loved to study semiconductors and electrical equipment since I was a child,” Wang told the local press. But it was in 2001, when he enrolled in the school of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University that he discovered his first Tesla coil. He was so fascinated by the electrical device that he spent nearly all of his free time studying it. In 2007, he managed to build his very own 1.2-meter coil above his house, quit his comfortable job with an electrical company and dedicated himself to combining his passion for music with electricity. Together with a few like-minded friends, Wang founded Lightningfan, which started entertaining fellow villagers with its electrifying performances.

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Meet the Breatharian Who Lives on Energy and Only Eats a Few Times a Year

Kirby de Lanerolle is a breatharian who gets his nourishment from light, wind and the “vibrations of God”. He claims to eat regular food as rarely as ten times a year, and is the only known person to have completed a marathon having only consumed water for 3 months.

Many people have died trying to give up food for a breatharian lifestyle, but Kirby de Lanerolle claims he has survived without eating for the last five years. A former Gold medalist at the Junior National Level Championship for Rifle Shooting 1995, winner of several boxing medals, the founder of Warehouse Project, Executive Advisor to the Ministry of Social Services in Sri Lanka and Working Director of the National Volunteering Secretariat, as well as a successful entrepreneur, Kirby is what many people would call an accomplished individual. But all this success came after he assumed a new level of consciousness, he says. At just 16 years of age, Kirby was a drug-addicted thug who liked nothing better than knocking guys around. His life was going nowhere fast, but one day he just asked himself if it was possible to assume the thoughts of a successful person, like an entrepreneur, or a professional boxer, and just like that, through the power of thought, his life took a completely different turn. Kirby de Lanerolle says the same thing happened with his bizarre eating habits.

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Vietnamese Artist Carves Bamboo Roots into Beautiful Statuettes

For the past seven years, Vietnamese artist Huynh Phuong Do, from Hoi An, has been making a name for himself by carving beautiful portraits of Buddhist deities and historical figures out of bamboo stumps and roots.

Huynh Phuong Do relaunched his artistic career completely by accident. He had been carving wood since he was 15-years-old, but living in Hoi An, famously known as Vietnam’s Bamboo Village, it was hard for him to stand out among dozens of other talented craftsmen and sculptors. But one day, seven years ago, floods in the upper reaches of the Thu Bon River brought bamboo stumps to the river bank in front of his house. The debris stirred something in Do’s mind, and he took a few stumps to make sculptures out of them. Little did he know this was the beginning of a very successful business. Today, Huynh Phuong Do has his own sculpture showroom, and his works can be found in over 20 Hoi An souvenir shops. He spends all his days contemplating bamboo roots, thinking of ways to give them a realistic human appearance, and struggles to make between 200 and 300 pieces a month to keep up with demand from tourists.

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The Future of Music – Japan’s New Robot Rock Band

They are called Z Machinese and they are about to take the Japanese music world by storm. This unique rock band is made up entirely of futuristic automatons able to play guitar, drums and keyboards better than any human.

Z Machines is the brainchild of Yoichiro Kawaguchi, an IT professor at the University of Tokyo, and mechanical designer Naofumi Yonetsuka, who wanted to liven up the music scene by creating something futuristic and exciting. So they created Ashura, a six-armed drummer who can actually play 22 drums simultaneously and sounds like four people playing the drums at the same time, Mach, a metal-and-wire guitarist who uses 78 fingers and 12 picks allowing him to challenge even the most gifted human guitar players, and Cosmo, who is literally wired into his keyboard and shoots lasers from his eyes. Z Mazhines certainly sounds like a very impressive band, but can they really play a gig? They answered that question on Monday, when they teamed up with Japanese human duo Amoyamo, for an electrifying performance at one of Tokyo’s most popular night clubs.

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The World’s Most Expensive Car Wash Costs a Staggering $150,000

Some people prefer to wash their cars with a hose in order to save a few bucks, but for car owners with money to burn The Ultimate Shine, a car cleaning company based in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, is offering the ultimate car cleaning experience for the unbelievable price of £100,000 ($150,000).

You’re probably thinking “this can’t be true”, right? That’s more than a brand new luxury vehicle! But apparently, for many of the world’s rich and famous, $150,000 is a fair price to pay to have their exclusive rides looking squeaky-clean. Paul Wilkins, who owns and runs The Ultimate Shine says his service isn’t aimed at the average driver who keeps his Ford Fiesta parked on the side of the road, but at rich car collectors who keep their rare and expensive vehicles in temperature-controlled showrooms and want them to look perfect. Although he doesn’t want to reveal the identities of his high-profile clientele, 34-year-old Wilkins says he cleans about three cars at the price of £100,000 per year. He also assures interested clients that they’ll be getting their money’s worth.

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Artist Creates Amazing Tree Troll Inspired by Her Father

Seattle-based artist Kim Beaton enlisted the help of 25 volunteers to build an awe-inspiring 12-foot-tall tree troll exclusively out of non-toxic materials. The kind face of this forest giant was inspired by her late father, a lumberjack from Montana.

In 2006, Kim Beaton and a team of volunteers spent 15 days creating a unique tree troll out of papier mache, wood, metal plates and other non-toxic materials. Although the entire sculpture looks unbelievably realistic, it’s friendly face and beautiful blue eyes immediately grab the viewer’s attention. Trolls are not exactly known as friendly creatures, but Beaton’s is special. The artist explains: “[My father] had died a few months prior at 80 years old. On June 2nd, at 3am, I woke from a dream with a clear vision burning in my mind. The image of my dad, old, withered and ancient, transformed into one of the great trees, sitting quietly in a forest. I leaped from my bed, grabbed some clay and sculpted like my mind was on fire. In 40 minutes I had a rough sculpture that said what it needed to. The next morning I began making phone calls, telling my friends that in 6 days time we would begin on a new large piece. The next 6 days, I got materials and made more calls. On June 8th we began, and 15 days later we were done. I have never in my life been so driven to finish a piece.”

Tree-Troll-sculpture

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The World’s Largest Dish – Whole Camel Stuffed with Sheep Stuffed with Chicken Stuffed with Fish

Some people believe it to be just a myth, but the Guinness Book of Records has the stuffed whole camel listed as the largest single food item on any menu, and there are even a few photos of Bedouins feasting on it doing the rounds on the internet

The official name of this traditional Bedouin dish is unknown, but most people refer to it as a “camel Turducken”. According to most sources it’s sometimes prepared at wedding feasts and special parties in Arab countries like Saudi Arabia. Basically, they get a full-grown camel, take out the insides and stuff it with a few sheep or lambs which are in turn stuffed with about 20 chickens full of fish. This calorie atomic bomb has to be boiled then cooked over a pit of burning charcoal until the camel meat is brown and crispy. I can’t imagine what the pot that can hold a whole camel looks like, but apparently the entire cooking process takes about 24 hours. The camel is then served on a silver platter and the wedding guests attack it with knives or their bare hands, leaving only the clean bones.

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Mysterious Condition Causes Girl to Cry Tears of Blood

20-year-old Yaritza Oliva is living a nightmare. For the last couple of weeks the girl from Purranque, Chile, has been crying tears of blood and so far no one has been able to explain her mysterious condition.

Yaritza first noticed blood tears coming out of her eyes about two weeks ago, but due to her family’s poor financial situation, she couldn’t seek any professional help. The only ophthalmologist who attends at the local hospital in Purranque a few days a week has so many scheduled patients that he wouldn’t see her without an appointment. One of the few times she was consulted by a professional physician was when she was transferred at the hospital of Puerto Montt, where doctors were baffled by her condition, but could only give her some eye drops for the burning sensation she feels when the blood pours from her eyes. At first, Yaritza believed she suffered some kind of extreme conjunctivitis or infection, but after seeing photos and video footage of the girl crying blood, Dr.Alexander Lutz, an ophthalmologist at Las Condes Clinic, excluded those possibilities saying they have very different symptoms. He argued the mysterious condition could be caused by blood clotting problems, alterations in platelets or by the use of certain medications. An expert would have to check if there is bleeding in any other areas of Yaritza’s body, but she didn’t reveal anything of the sorts in the video interview with Chilean website 24 Horas. Read More »

The Man-Fur Coat Is Made Entirely from Male Chest Hair

English designers spent 200 hours weaving over one million strands of male chest hair to create this fashionable fur coat. The aptly named Man-Fur Coat is 100% real and it can be yours for the modest price of £2,499 ($3900).

We’ve featured some pretty strange clothing accessories in the past, but a coat made from men’s chest hair? That’s a first, even for us. Stranger still is the fact that it was commissioned by an English dairy company called Arla, to promote their new chocolate milk, Wing-Co, which is aimed at men. The drink, which contains 40 per cent more protein that other chocolate milks, is marketed as “the manly chocolate milk for men with added man.” Apparently, Arla believes British men have been “manning down” over the years, and the coat is meant to make them feel proud of their manliness, instead of repressing it. “We commissioned the Man-Fur Coat as a wake-up call for the nation’s gents. A way to encourage them to readopt the values of assured ‘men’s men’ from yesteryear who would laugh nonchalantly in the face of adversity and be proud of their abundant manliness,” a company spokesman said.

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Red Bull 400 – The Toughest 400-Meter Race in the World

Even if you’re not a professional athlete, completing a 400-meter race doesn’t sound like that big of a challenge, right? But what if that relatively short distance had to be covered up the steepest ski jumping hill in Europe? That certainly complicates things a bit, doesn’t it?

The Red Bull 400 uphill race is the brainchild of former world-class sprinter Andreas Berger. After seeing the ski jumping hill in Kulm, Austria, he got the idea to use the venue for the world’s most extreme 400-meter track and field event. Berger and his wife were the first to run up to the very top, and decided it was difficult enough but still doable. The first ever edition of the Red Bull 400 took place in 2011, and every year since then hundreds of athletes, both male and female have signed up to push their muscles to the limit in “the hardest 400 meters in the world”. Kulm is one of the steepest slopes on Earth, with an average gradient of about 45% and an angle of ascent of 37 degrees in its toughest sections. The difference in altitude from the bottom to the top is 180 meters, but it’s not just the vertical climb runners have to worry about. The grass-covered lower part of the track is very slippery, and spike or crampon footwear is not allowed, while the second stage takes place on smooth concrete, forcing participants to change their approach.

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The World’s Scariest Airport Is a Real Heart-Stopper

As if being situated at 10,000 feet above sea level, in the Himalayas, didn’t make it hard enough for pilots trying to land on or take off from Tenzing-Hillary Airport, in Lukla, Nepal, the short and  narrow runway ends at the edge of a precipice, making it one of the most dangerous airports in the world, and definitely the scariest.

Lukla is the gateway to the Himalayas, so despite its reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous airports, it’s actually one of the busiest in Nepal. Mountain climbers trying to conquer the world’s highest mountains have to land here before beginning their journey on foot, so small airplanes and helicopters land here every day. For most mountaineers, the landing on Tenzing-Hillary Airport is a lot more scarier than climbing Everest, and taking into account its extreme location and difficult weather condition, that’s perfectly understandable. Even on its best days, the airport is only available for takeoffs and landings for only a few hours, before the fog sets in or strong winds start to blow. And even then, a miscalculation of just a meter or two on landing can cause a plane to either hit the side of the mountain, or go through a fence and hit a rock wall.  Taking off is no walk in the park either, as failure to build enough speed before the end of the runway can lead to a crash in the abyss below.

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Pu Derong’s Exquisite Eggshell Carvings

What do you get if you combine an egg, a carving knife and a pair of able hands? In Pu Derong’s case the answer is a breathtaking work of art. The 40-year-old self-taught artist from China’s Hebei Province can guide a knife across an egg’s thin shell to create amazing three-dimensional designs.

“I had always been fascinated by eggs as a child,” Pu says. “They are so fragile. Artists use canvases; eggs are mine.” The talented artist from Dongzhuangtou village showed a great interest in painting and calligraphy from a very young age, but he didn’t have the financial resources to attend a specialized art school, so he taught himself. In his adult years he did all kinds of manual labor, worked as a repairman and as a chef, but never gave up on his passion for art. One day, he discovered eggshell carving completely by accident, and he’s been hooked ever since. He made his own carving knife, and after hundreds of failed attempts, he started to master the art of carving on a fragile 0.3 mm eggshell canvas, creating all kinds of beautiful designs, from nature-inspired patterns, to Chinese traditional motifs and architectural pieces. Today, he is recognized as one of China’s most skilled artists, and his masterpieces have won several awards in various contests and exhibitions.

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Japanese Shop Sells Perfect Fruits as Luxury Items

Tokyo’s Sembikiya Fruit Parlor looks like a luxurious jewelry store and the prices of the items on offer aren’t too far off either, only instead of diamonds and gold this place sells fruits. If you’re looking for perfectly shaped, delicious-tasting cantaloupes, apples, grapes or any other Japanese fruits, Sembikiya is where you’ll find them, but you’d better stop by the bank first, because they don’t come cheap.

In Japan, it’s customary to give high-quality fruits for formal occasions like weddings, business meetings or hospital visits. But we’re not talking about fruits you usually find at the local market or grocery store. Specialized fruit shops like Sembikiya sell only the rarest, most perfect products, grown in special conditions to ensure they look and taste as good as possible. Take the Yubari muskmelons, also known as Yubari King melons, priced at ¥15,750 ($160) for one, or ¥26,250 ($265) for two, at the exclusive Tokyo fruit parlor. That’s a small fortune for produce, wouldn’t you say? But these Japanese cantaloupes are pretty special. The Yubari King sold at Sembikiya only come from Shizuoka prefecture, where they get the most sunshine. They are grown in specially-designed greenhouses with air-conditioning and paper hats in the hot summer months, and heaters during wintertime. Farmers prune the less perfect fruits early on, leaving just one melon to ensure it gets the best flavor possible. A 12-pack of Queen Strawberries sells for ¥6,825 ($68), a box of perfect cherries costs ¥15,750 ($159), and a Senkai-ichi (Japanese for “world’s best”) apple will set you back ¥2,100 ($21). They might seem like outrageously-priced fruits to most people, but with 11 parlors opened in Japan, at Sembikiya business is booming.

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