French Chocolatier Creates Floating Chocolate Boat

George Larnicol, a 55-year-old French chocolatier, managed to create and sail a 3.5-meter-long boat made of chocolate.

On Saturday, September 25, the walled city of Concarneau, in north-western France, hosted an event unique in the world – the launch of a full size chocolate boat. George Larnicol, the mastermind behind this crazy creation, first attempted to sail a chocolate boat on August 15, but the boat crumbled to pieces when turned over from where it was mounted. But one small failure wasn’t enough to make Larnicol quit, and on Saturday, he returned to Concarneau port, with a new chocolate boat named “Bateau Chocolat II” (French for Chocolate Boat II)

The 1.2-ton-heavy boat had a sugar framework, while the rest of it was made entirely of pure chocolate. It took Larnicol and his team one and a half months to complete, working eight hours a day, which adds up to a total of about 400 hours.

George Larnicol and a friend got in the chocolate boat and sailed in it for a bout an hour, waving proudly to the audience, and smiling the whole time. The attached electrical motor allowed the Bateau Chocolat II to reach a top speed of 15km/h.

Chocolatier George Larnicol, who owns a chain  of chocolate shops in western France, promised to build a giant 12 meter-long yacht, with two masts, made of 6 to 8 tons of chocolate, sometime in 2012. That’s going to be a sight to be hold, and you can bet you’ll read about it on Oddity Central.

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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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Artists Create World’s Largest Sand Sculpture

Measuring a total of 22.43 meters in height, this detailed sand sculpture, created at the Zhoushan Sand Sculpture Festival, in China, has been acknowledged as the world’s tallest sand sculpture.

Officials from the Guinness Book of Records arrived in Zhoushan, on Wednesday, September 29, and after careful measurement, confirmed the sand masterpiece will be going into the record books. Depicting a Nigerian story of how a hummingbird managed to become the king of all animals, the 22.43 meter-tall sand sculpture was created by over 30 artists, during 75 days.

This year, the Zhoushan Sand Sculpture Festival gave sand artists the opportunity to express themselves on the theme of a trip to Africa.

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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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Castellers – The Human Towers of La Merce

Every year, towards the end of September, the Spanish town of Barcelona hosts its largest street party – the “La Merce” Festival. One of the highlights of the event is the building of impressive human towers, by acrobats known as “castellers”.

Translated as “castle builders”, castellers are the people that take part in the building of the human towers, in the middle of Placa de Jaume. Surrounded by thousands of people who come to see them at work, the teams of castellers create impressive tower formations, several meters high. As you might imagine, this kind of exercise requires quite a deal of practice and planning, but if successful, their human structure is truly a sight to behold.

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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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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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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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Headis – Table Tennis Played with the Head

A hybrid of football and table tennis, headis is a fun, easy-to-play sport that’s becoming more and more popular with each passing day.

As you probably already guessed, headis is pretty similar to table tennis, only you have to hit the ball with your head. All you need to play headis is a regular tennis table and a special rubber ball with special bouncing properties, and that is probably the main reason why the sport is played by more people every day.

Headis was invented in 2006, by René Wegner, a sports science student at the University of Saarbruecker, in Germany. Because the football field was occupied, Wegner started hitting a football back and forth on a tennis table, with a fellow student. That’s when he got the idea for a new sport that soon spread throughout Germany.

While it may seem very similar to table tennis, headis is actually more comparable to badminton. Since players have to get behind and underneath the ball, they workout all parts of the body, at all times.

 

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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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Belarus Hosts Phone Throwing Championship

Hundreds of odd sports fans gathered in Minsk, Belarus, for the 8th edition of the country’s Cell-phone Throwing Championship.

It may not be the only competition of its kind in the world, but the phone throwing championship of Belarus is definitely the most important, at least for Belorussians. They take so much interest in this wacky event that they actually film and televise it.

The 8th edition of the Cell-phone Throwing Championship took place last Saturday, and consisted of several phone throwing events, including long distance throwing and precision tossing, where contestants had to throw their mobile devices into plastic buckets. Throwers received scores from a group of judges, and although prizes were not revealed, I’m pretty sure winners got a new phone.

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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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The Bizarre Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival

Every March, the Wat Bang Phra temple of Nakhom Pathom, Thailand, becomes the scene of a weird celebration, known as  the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival.

While in most western countries tattoos are viewed as an art form, in Thailand, a country with a culture deeply rooted in superstition and spirituality, tattoos are considered more than just skin deep artworks. The traditional Thai tattoos, known as “Sak Yant”, are believed to have magical powers, and people get them done at temples, for protection against evil spirits, and as good luck charms. Many members of Thai police, army, and the underworld think some tattoos have the power to stop bullets and blades from piercing their skin.

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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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