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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Man levitates outside the White House

By staff writers

October 23, 2007




Up there ... Ramana levitates in front of the White House / Reuters



01:23pm

DUTCH magician Ramana has been doing his best to freak out American people by levitating in Times Square and in front of the White House.

The illusionist, real name Wouter Bijdendijk, hovered several feet above the pavement with apparent ease. His only "prop" was a stick that he held with his left hand.

Watch a video of Ramana levitating and talking outside the White House here.

A household name in his native Netherlands, Ramana has performed for Queen Beatrix and has been honoured in India with the Golden Cloth award, the highest cultural honour ever given to a westerner, metro.co.uk reported.

"This is an art," he said.

"And in India, they see it also as a science. I hope I make people wonder," Ramana said.

Ramana's repertoire also includes "flying" up to 10 metres above ground, mind reading and other forms of Indian street trickery.

Watch him hover outside a building here:

xtreme UniCycle

10 of The World’s Most Unique Restrooms: Understanding the New Toilet Culture

Next to eating, drinking and sleeping, going to the restroom is something that we all do quite frequently. Most of the time, we tend to forget that the design of a restroom, especially public bathrooms, have an impact on the individual and on society as a whole. Come witness a worldwide initiative designed to educate society and to improve the designs and structures of public restrooms.

In shaping a good toilet culture among today's society, there are initiatives underway to improve the design and structure of public restrooms.

THE JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER ARTS CENTER RESTROOM, USA

The Kohler art centre houses arts exhibits in Sheboygan, WI, USA. The Kohler fund sponsored six artists to design artwork using the facilities and sources from Kohler- a company that sells bathrooms and accessories. One of the restroom units entitled "The Social History of Architecture" features the development of architecture from ancient Egypt until the current time. One restroom unit features "The Many Uses of Water" using beautiful ceramics in blue colours.

SOCCER BALL SHAPED RESTROOM, KOREA


In 2002, both South Korea and Japan became the hosts for the football World Cup finals. A former Korean mayor came up with the idea of having soccer ball shaped restrooms around the football stadium as part of a campaign to develop clean and comfortable public restrooms in Korea during the big event.

“POP UP” RESTROOM, UK



This is actually a “pop-up” urinal for use during the nighttime. The durable, cylindrical stainless steel urinal, which is called the Urilift will be lowered into the ground during the day or when it is not needed. Healthmatic, a Wiltshire, UK based company has been given rights to distribute the Urilift in the UK. The Urilift can be used by 3 persons simultaneously.

SEMI-TRANSPARENT TOILET, UK



This public toilet was built in front of London's Tate Britain Gallery as an art exhibit by an Italian born artist. What is special about this restroom is that it is made up of semi-transparent glass. The "visitors" of the public toilet (who need to defy their own fear and embarrassment) can see through the one-way mirrored glass but passers-by can't see the person inside the restroom.

THE “TOILET BAR” RESTROOM, AUSTRIA



The "toilet bar" of Vienna is actually a public restroom situated in an underpass near the Austria National Opera. The restroom features several units of urinals shaped like thick lipsticked lips with teeth and a tongue. Patrons were charged 75 cents for each visit. Eventually, the urinals were removed after facing public and political pressures as they were said to be offensive and sexist objects.

WORLD'S LARGEST RESTROOM, CHINA

Quite recently in July 2007, a Southwestern Chinese city in Chongqing opened up a free of charge, four-story public restroom. There are more than 1,000 toilets in this 30,000 square foot restroom. It features an Egyptian-themed interior with soothing music playing in the background. Some of the urinals are uniquely shaped, including crocodile's mouths and busts of women. The government officials in Chongqing are currently preparing to submit an application to list this facility as the world's largest public restroom in the Guinness World Records.

3-D GOLDSTORE, HONG KONG RESTROOM, CHINA


The gold store owner in Hong Kong was inspired by Lenin's vision of building public restrooms made of gold. Everything in the restroom including the toilet, sink, tiles and doors are all made of solid gold.

THE CHAMBER POT GALLERY RESTROOM, USA


The Chamber Pot gallery is a public restroom located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, USA. What's special about this restroom is that it acts as a showcase for art works by local artists. The paintings will hang for a year in the restroom and there is a log book in the office that highlights the artists and their art work as well as contact information.

SINGAPORE ZOO RESTROOM, SINGAPORE


This spacious and airy restroom has won many awards locally and internationally for its cleanliness and practical design. A big section of the restrooms are located outdoors, resembling a beautiful garden.

THE JUNGLE JIM'S RESTROOM, USA


The Jungle Jim's restroom is located in the Jungle Jim's International Market in Ohio, USA. The Jungle Jim's is actually a shopping initiative which provides all sorts of products from international cuisines to pet supplies. The entrance to the restroom is rather unique, as it looks like "port-o-lets" or "porta-potties" and may confuse new customers. The walls inside are decorated and the restroom units are spacious and clean.

Neutron Beams Search for Da Vinci's Lost Masterpiece


FLORENCE, Italy -- Art diagnostician Maurizio Seracini has waited 30 years to get to the bottom of his biggest mystery yet: whether Leonardo da Vinci's greatest lost fresco lies behind a wall in the Palazzo Vecchio here.

Seracini's team of 30 will scan the palazzo's 177-foot-long wall in mid-November, looking for the Battle of Anghiari, a work so magnificent it has been called the "school of the world." The $1.5 million search expedition will jump-start a multidisciplinary conservation program at the University of California at San Diego's Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology.

Since founding the art- and architectural-diagnostic center Editech in 1977, Seracini -- a fourth-generation Florentine -- has synced studies in engineering, art history and medicine to examine more than 2,000 buildings and artworks. He augments standard archival work with the use of ultrasound, X-rays, infrared, thermography and ultraviolet devices.

Editech's notable discoveries include the original positions of the Three Graces in Botticelli's Allegory of Spring and the hasty cover-up by a lesser hand of Leonardo's Adoration of the Magi, which earned Seracini a mention as the only real-life character in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

Wired News caught up with Seracini at his office. From behind a no-nonsense desk in a historic palazzo with high ceilings ribboned with frescoes, he talked about the relationship between technology and art.

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