Beach Space Separators – A Polish Tradition

If you’re planning a vacation on the shores of the Baltic Sea, in northern Poland, you’d better buy or build yourself a space separator if you want to fit in. The bizarre accessory is apparently a must on Polish beaches, at least if you want to fit in with the crowd.

I was recently browsing through obscure Eastern-European pic dumps and news aggregators, as I usually do, when I came across a collection of strange beach photos where everyone had a cloth wall surrounding their little patch of sand. These things were everywhere, I had never seen anything like it before, and I was intrigued. Unfortunately apart from the title, “Polish Beach Introverts”, which hinted at a privacy-related purpose, there was no explanation as to why everybody was using them. So I started Googling all sorts of phrases that I hoped might shed some light on the mystery of Polish beach separators.

At first, I only found duplicates of the same collection of photos I had originally found, with no other information, but eventually I found a Russian site on Poland affairs that actually covered this “phenomenon” quite extensively.

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Too Many People Are Taking Selfies with Bears, US Forest Service Warns

Apparently, the temptation to click a selfie with a large, furry (and dangerous) bear in the background is simply too hard to resist for some people. An alarmingly large number of tourists at South Lake Tahoe in California are taking in this latest craze despite warnings from the US Forest Service to leave the animals alone, or risk facing a gruesome end.

Most people don’t seem to realize that while bears are normally timid creatures, they are also quite unpredictable. “Bears are unpredictable, wild animals and may attack if threatened,” said Forest Supervisor Nancy Gibson. “We can’t have visitors creating dangerous situations for themselves and others. People are risking serious injury or death if they get too close to a bear.”


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Chinese Teacher Can Draw Amazingly-Accurate World Map on Blackboard from Memory

Currently trending on Chinese social media is this uber-cool history teacher who obviously doesn’t need a map or a textbook to teach his students. The man is so good at his job that he can draw the map of the world freehand on a blackboard, without referring to a real map even once.

The teacher, whose last name is Zhao, became an internet sensation after one of his students uploaded a series of photographs on the Chinese website Sina Weibo. According to the student, who goes by the handle @xuxuxuermao, it barely took Zhao a few minutes to finish drawing the map. The student also revealed that Zhao does this on a regular basis.


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Tennis Ball-Size Hail Leaves Nebraska Town Looking Like a War Zone

Earlier this month, a ferocious hailstorm wreaked havoc throughout the American Midwest. Several cities were badly affected, but perhaps none as much as Bray, a small town in Nebraska. The hailstones that hit Bray were unbelievably large, roughly the size of tennis balls. Naturally, the town was completely battered – the storm left it looking like a war zone with houses and vehicles almost completely destroyed.

Large chunks were ripped out of houses and the paint was torn off the walls. The cars in the town looked as though they had been through a gang war – with the windscreens and windows completely smashed in. Although tornadoes were reported in the region, the hailstones did the most of the damage, wreaking havoc among the locals. Over 20 people from Bray were injured as well; they were rushed to the emergency room, but none were seriously hurt.


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New Pay-by-Picture Restaurant Lets Patrons Pay for their Food with Photos

I always thought people taking pictures of their food was kind of silly, but at this new pop-up restaurant in the UK, I’d probably do it too. ‘The Picture House’ is the world’s first pay-by-photo restaurant – you order, click a photo of the food, share on Instagram and eat for free!

The restaurant belongs to frozen food giant Birds Eye, who came up with the idea to cash in on people’s obsession with photographing food and sharing the pics online. They conducted a survey and found out that more than half of the Brit population regularly took pictures of their meals, nine percent of them on a daily basis. So they realized, what better way to advertize their new dining range than with hashtags?

The pop-up eatery was open in Soho, London for three days in May, and is now moving to other major UK cities. They serve two-course meals that customers don’t have to pay for, if they snap and Instagram it. “We wanted to tap into this social media trend and create a new reason for people to talk about and sample our inspirations range,” said marketing director Margaret Jobling.


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Meet Penelope Popcorn, the Most Fashionable Pig on the Internet

You’d expect any pig named ‘Penelope Popcorn’ to be adorable. And this one-year-old from California does not disappoint. The stylish swine has become an internet sensation after her owner posted photographs of her posing in a range of interesting outfits. Penelope is very popular online, especially on Instagram, where she has over 40,000 followers.

“She has been dressed up and had her nails painted since she was a baby, so she doesn’t mind wearing outfits and posing for pictures,” said the owner. “She is very patient.” Penelope lives with a mother and her two kids and has truly become one of the ladies. The purebred Juliana pig apparently enjoys playing dress-up. She’s also potty trained and can perform a variety of tricks.

In the photographs, Penelope is often seen dressed in a range of swanky headgear shaped like flowers, bows, butterflies, angel wings, and even party hats. One of her most adorable pictures shows her dressed like a little pink bunny – I can see why people are going crazy over this stuff. There’s another one where she’s dressed like a bumblebee. She can be seen sporting sweatshirts too, but the animal disguises are the most popular.


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University Lecturer Claims to Have Photographed Tiny Fairies Flying in English Countryside

This could be one of the most significant discoveries in human history. Or one of biggest hoaxes. John Hyatt, a 53-year-old professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, claims to have taken photographs of tiny fairies in the English countryside. His pictures show tiny winged humanoid creatures floating flying in swarms. The professor is now on a mission to get more and more adults to believe that the fairies are real, and ‘bring a bit of a magic into their lives’.

Hyatt is the director of the Manchester Institute of Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) at the Metropolitan  University. He is believed to have snapped the pictures while he was out photographing the Lancashire landscape over the past two years. The photographs are now on display in a special exhibition called Rossendale Fairies at the Whitaker Museum in Whitaker Park, Rossendale. Hyatt insists that they are 100 percent real and not Photoshopped. The pictures have gone viral ever since he released them to the public. People all over the world are quite baffled over his claims, and some are beginning to believe him.

“It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take,” he said. “I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don’t look the same. People can decide for themselves what they are.” Hyatt, a former member of The Three Johns punk band in the ‘80s and ‘90s, said that the message to people is to approach these creatures with an open mind. “I think it’s one of those situations where you need to believe to see,” he admitted.


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Outrageous Korean High-School Yearbook Photos Yield Hilarious Results

Let’s face it – no one’s particularly proud of their high school yearbook picture. Or are they? We just found out that South Korean schools are allowing kids to get away with all kinds of bizarre poses. The phenomenon is not just limited to one school – these pictures from several yearbooks are doing the rounds on the internet.

You really have to hand it to these kids, they are absolutely hilarious. In some of the pictures from Jeonju Haesung High School, the students appear to be posing in costumes of their future professions. So you can spot a diver, a farmer, a fisherman, an archer and a barber, all sporting weird expressions. But soon they begin to lose the plot. There’s Ironman, followed by The Joker, and a boy dressed like a nun.


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Russian Photographer’s Photos Reveal the Unique Beauty of Snowflakes

Alexey Kljatov is a photographer with a difference – he takes incredibly breathtaking shots of snowflakes with equipment that he developed at home, eliminating the need for cameras and lenses worth thousands of dollars.

It’s hard to believe that Moscow-based Kljatov is an amateur. Take a look at these close-up snowflake photographs and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The amount of precision and clarity he has achieved with just a home-made rig is amazing.

Kljatov used parts from old cameras and attached them to wooden boards using a bunch of screws and some tape. Doesn’t sound like much, but this set-up is really working wonders for him. The close-up views of the snowflakes are enchanting.


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Overcrowded Japanese Subway Inspires Original Photo Series

Tokyo Compression is an ongoing photo series by German-born artist Michael Wolf that shows daily commuters with their faces pressed against the steamy windows of Japan’s overcrowded subway trains.

Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world. Tokyo, its capital city, and the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of over 35 million, living in an area just 8,000 square kilometers in size. As you can imagine, the cost of living in such a densely populated metropolis can be considered astronomical, and that forces a lot of people into neighboring areas, where housing is more affordable. The result of this phenomenon is a large number of commuters traveling into Tokyo for work and back home, on a daily basis. Although Japan’s capital is famous for its advanced transportation infrastructure, not even its punctual subway trains can handle the large number of people using them during rush hours. In order to fit them all in, the subway even has “passenger arrangement staff”, commonly known as “people pushers”, main goal is to cram as many people as possible into the subway tram. The white glove-wearing personal actually pushes people into the train, so the doors can shut. Seeing commuters’ faces pressed against the windows like sardines inspired Hong Kong- based photograph Michael Wold to create his Tokyo Compression photo series.

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Cecelia Webber Uses Naked Bodies to Create Human Flowers

Los Angeles-based Cecelia Webber takes nude photos of the human body and assembles them in the shape of flowers and butterflies, to create some of the most stunning images you’ve ever seen.

Three years ago, Cecelia Webber was a neuroscience graduate from USC, working in the lab all day and indulging in photography in her spare time. And then one day, it happened… “It was an accident, really,” the young artist told Modern Luxury. “I shot a nude figure against a black background and it looked so much like a petal I just went with it.” A Photoshop expert, Webber began layering hundreds of photographs she shot into a single piece to create vibrantly colored flowers made up entirely of the human body. Legs became petals, arms became stamen, and she kept finding new ways of turning instances of the human form into parts of her unique flowers.

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Stunning Flowers Are Actually Paint Splashes Photographed at the Right Time

I love splash photography, but this is the first time I’ve seen an artist using this technique to create unique flowers, some with their own liquid flower pots. The patient man behind this amazing art is Jack Long, a talented photographer who spends months planning and experimenting to create these stunning pieces.

Armed with superhuman patience, a high-speed camera and lots of paint, Jack Long set out to create a series of beautiful images called ‘Vessels and Blooms’ in which he tried to create liquid flowers out of colored paint droplets captured in mid-air. The skilled photographer spent several months planning and testing different techniques in order to achieve the best results possible, and judging by his photos, I’d say his work paid off in the end.

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Photos of Chinese Students Cramming for Exams Hooked to IVs Spark Controversy

It appears in China the saying “study till you drop” is taken quite literally by some, as photos show students receiving amino acid IV drips as they hit the books during late evening studying session for college exam.

You thought you were studying too hard? Well unless you’ve ever needed intravenous medication to keep you from passing out or collapsing due to excessive studying, you have it pretty good compared to these young students at a high school in Xiaogan, central China’s Hubei province. Photos taken late one evening, and posted on popular Chinese site Sina Weibo, show a brightly lit classroom full of students studying National College Entrance Exam, commonly known as “gao kao”. Students appear buried among piles of books, with dozens of IV bags hanging from lines traversing the classroom.

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Skywalking – Russia’s Thrilling but Dangerous Photo Craze

Skywalking is the latest photography craze among Russian teens. The idea is to be able to find a really high building, climb to the very top and stand at its very edge, imagining you’re on the top of the world. Then, you take photographs from up there to post on the internet. The teens participating in this form of skywalking do so without any sort of safety equipment. Needless to say, they enjoy it very much.

19-year-old Marat Dupri is one such teenager who engages in skywalking. He risks his life quite casually, scaling sky-high buildings and capturing photographs of the world below. It was about 18 months ago that he purchased a camera and started to take pictures from his own roof. But soon, he was aiming for bigger and better ones. Accompanied by a friend, he scaled a 33-storey building to the very top going right to the very edge of the 120 m high structure. According to him, “It was such a thrill; we couldn’t wait to do it again.” And they didn’t. One of the shots shows the group of teenagers scaling one of Russia’s seven Soviet skyscrapers, using a ladder. In another one, his friend is perched at the side of a monument to Peter I, 215 m in the air. There are even photos from atop the Moscow tower, one of the highest buildings in Europe. Dupri and his friends say they’ve taken a lot of photos by sneaking past guards and getting access to structures illegally. He thinks the risks are definitely worth it to take such amazing pictures. “When I am on the roof I have a feeling that the whole world is at my feet. All my problems and troubles are left somewhere down. The height exilarates me. I am enjoying with my home town views. It gives me energy and fills with enthusiasm to make new and great shots,” he says.

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Photographer Captures Beauty of Crystal Clear Swiss River from 50 Feet Deep

The Verzasca River, in Switzerland, is known all over the world for its clear, turquoise waters, but until now its beauty had only been captured from the surface. Photographer Claudio Gazzaroli decided to change that, so he put on a diving suit, took his waterproof camera and dived onto the riverbed to take some truly mind-blowing photos.

The 30-km-long Verzasca mountain river originates at Pizzo Barone and flows into Lake Maggiore, in Italy. The river valley is located in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland and is a popular tourist destination. People come from all around the globe to see the turquoise waters of Verzasca, do scuba-diving and admire its vibrant colored rocks. Most of them prefer to take photos of Verzasca from the mountains that surround it or from the many bridges built over it. But photographer Claudio Gazzaroli wanted to offer a different perspective on this unique wonder of nature. He dived town 50 feet to the bottom of Verzasca and managed to capture the almost unearthly clarity of its waters. ‘I wanted to show the beauty of this place in a new way,’ Gazzaroli said. Looking at his work, one wonders why wee need software like Photoshop when Mother Nature seems to do thing better herself.

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