A Dream on Two Wheels – Man Rides Bicycle from Shanghai to London

Zheng Sheng, a 23-year-old college graduate from Shanghai, has fulfilled his dream of cycling across Eurasia, traveling 14,000 kilometers all the way to London.

When Zheng tried to convince sponsors to finance his daring dream, they all thought he was crazy, but he wasn’t about to let something as meaningless as money stand before him and his goal. With the help of his sister and a few friends, he managed to raise 13,000 yuan ($2,000), which he used to buy all the necessary gear for a bike ride from his home city of Shanghai to London. Before setting out on March 5, he posted on his microblog: “A journey 14,000 kilometers is the goal – here I go!”. He went though all kinds of challenges throughout the 136 days he spent cycling across 11 countries, but believe it or not, this ambitious young man reached his destination on July 18.

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China Converts Aircraft Carrier into Luxury Hotel

Just days after the Varyag, China’s first aircraft carrier was taken out for sea trials, a second carrier, the Kiev is stirring up interest as the first aircraft carrier hotel in China.

The Kiev, a retired former Soviet aircraft carrier was sold to a Chinese company back in 1996, and was used as part of a military theme park in the Tianjin Province, since 2004. But since the acquisition of a working carrier, the Varyag, people have begun looking at these mighty ships as symbols of their country’s military might, so the owners of the Binhai Aircraft Park decided to cash in on their interest. They spent over $15,5 million restoring the old attraction and converting it into a luxury hotel.

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Indian Optometrist Creates Gold Plated, Diamond Encrusted Contact Lenses

Inspired by the jewels in his wife’s teeth, Chandrashekhar Chawan, an optometrist at India’s Shekhar Eye Research Center has created gold plated, diamond encrusted contact lenses that will bring that special twinkle in your eyes.

If you’re looking for the most extravagant trend in eyewear, look no further than the over-the-top contact lenses of Chandrashekhar Chawan. His wife had diamonds planted on her teeth recently and that made the optometrist realize people love jewelry everywhere and anywhere, so he decided to develop a series of diamond encrusted, gold plated contact lenses. He uses Boston Scleral lenses to hold the jewelry in such a way that it doesn’t touch the cornea, thus making the fashion accessory “very safe”.

Chawan says his invention got mixed responses; some people thought it was scary, but most of them loved it, and the optometrist believes this will be the next big thing in Bollywood. He admits his jewel-studded lenses are an accessory, not a necessity, but thinks they’re a must-have for people who want to attract attention. “We always talk eye to eye,” he told TODAY.com, “and if your eyes are sparkling with diamonds, no one can look away; their eyes will be glued to you and  your personality.”

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Chinese Craftsman Builds Functional Bicycle from over 10,000 Popsicle Sticks

A craftsman from Kaiyuan, northeast China, has created a rideable bicycle using more than 10,000 wooden popsicle sticks.

It took him four long months to finish it, but 35-year-old Sun Chao doesn’t regret one second of the time he put into the world’s first popsicle stick bicycle. At 1.5m long, 0.55m wide, 0.95m high and 25 kg heavy, it’s smaller than the average bicycle, but works just as well. Sure, those wooden wheels don’t provide the comfort of air-inflated ones, but Sun Chao rode it for 20 minutes, when he unveiled it in the city square, on June 1, and he didn’t complain. It’s worth noting he is 90 kg heavy, but the popsicle stick bike easily handled the weight. The only metal parts used on this unusual bicycle were the chain and bearings.

Sun Chao says he first became interested in working with wooden popsicle sticks 12 years ago, after seeing a guy make a ship model from them and giving it to his girlfriend, on TV. He was so inspired he started making a small desk lamp from popsicle sticks. Since then he’s made all kinds of stuff from them, including photo frames, building models, tissue boxes, but nothing nearly as impressive as this working bicycle. Just in case you were wondering, he didn’t actually buy 10,000 ice-creams, only the sticks.

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Zoo Owner to Spend Five Weeks Caged with Lions

Alexander Pylyshenko, 40, owner of his own private zoo, in the Ukrainian city of Vasylivka, will be spending 35 days caged with two lions, in a stunt he hopes will raise awareness to the poor treatment of lions held in captivity.

The brave zoo owner says he will live like a lion from the moment he enters the cage. That means he will sleep on hay on the floor and eat from the meat that will be given to the lions through the cage bars. As for personal hygiene, Pylyshenko has built a toilet and shower inside the enclosure, but he’ll have to restrain from using shampoo, shower gel or deodorant, as big cats hate sharp odours. While lioness Katya and her mate Samson seem to get along just fine with their caretaker, things might not be as peaceful when they share a living space 24/7, especially since the female is expected to give birth during the five week period, and lionesses are known to be quite over-protective of their cubs.

But Alexander Pylyshenko, who has studied lions his entire life, is confident he will survive this dangerous test, and draw attention to the problems of big cats in captivity. He also plans to paint portraits of the lions while living with them, and sell them to raise money for charity. His 35-day experience living with two lions will be recorded via four webcams, which will broadcast it on the Internet, here.

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Couple Get Married in Geeky Ceremony Conducted by Computer

A couple who found each other through an online social network called “Sweet on Geeks”, decided to geek out their wedding by having a computer program called Reverend Bit perform the ceremony.

Miguel Hanson and Diana Wesley had one of the most unusual yet appropriate weddings in human history. Hanson, a Houston web developer and IT consultant, got the crazy idea after they couldn’t find a friend to serve as minister at their wedding. He decided he was going to write his own minister, and while she acknowledged it would make them the target of nerd jokes, Diana agreed because it just fit who they are – geeks. They met on Sweet on Geeks, they both love science fiction and fantasy, and since the maid of honor was going to make the bride’s cake with Nerds candy as icing, they agreed to geek out their wedding completely.

The unique wedding ceremony took place on Saturday, in Hanson’s house, where the 30 or so guests were greeted by a mechanical, robotic voice. It was Reverend Bit, a program created by Miguel Hanson himself, who treated the audience to a short story about how the couple met, before beginning the actual ceremony. His square animated face appeared on one side of the 30 inch monitor, while the other side showed the text of what he was saying. His voice came over a sound system.

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Chinese Men Turn to Pole-Dancing to Tone Their Physique

After noticing the positive effects pole-dancing has on the bodies of female practitioners, a growing number of Chinese men decided to get past their inhibitions and started practicing pole dancing as a way to strengthen their muscles.

China is the home country of popular martial arts like Kung Fu and Tai Chi, and engaging sports like dragon boat racing, but young Chinese men seem to prefer more modern activities that, until recently, have been considered a feminine activity. According to Yan Shaoxuan, a young instructor at a pole-dancing school in Beijing, pole-dancing is a really effective workout that strengthens the muscles and helps define men’s chest and abdomen.

Until recently, pole-dancing was a taboo topic in Chinese society, associated with sex and nightclubs, but as more and more men take up these classes, general perception is starting to change. Some gyms have even started offering pole-dancing classes to attract clients. All around the world, pole-dancing experts are trying to change people’s minds and get them to see their passion for what it really is – a sporting activity that requires great skill and years of practice to master.

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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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