ART: Amazing wood chip artwork by Sergei Bobkov

“It’s not very interesting to do what others can. To create something out of nothing in a completely new way is far more inspiring” - Sergei Bobkov

Sergei Bobkov (55 this year) is an artist who possess a unique technique of creating amazingly lifelike animal sculptures out of Siberian cedar wood chips. Sergei focuses on wildlife creatures and studies their anatomy for months before starting work on his amazing animal sculptures.

Sergei Bobkov Artwork from Wood

Sergei says many people compare his artwork to taxidermy, because most of his artwork looks so much like the animals they replicate. Sergei, however, believes they are as different as light and dark. While taxidermy is all about death, his wood chip art symbolises life.

Sergei Bobkov wooden animal sculptures

Sergei Bobkov is a resident of Kozhany, Russia, where he has developed his very own technique that prevents wood chips from falling apart over time. After creating about 100-150 chips from 2-3 inch long cedar branches, Sergei soaks them in water for several days. Thereafter, Bobkov carves the wood chips into any shape he needs with surgical precision.

Sergei Bobkov Wood Chip Artwork

Sergei has been crafting his amazing wood chip animal sculptures for some time now, but admits that the work really is tedious. Just one of his incredible wooden animal sculptures takes around 6 months to complete. That's not to mentioned that he works at a rate of 10-12 hours a day with no days off. Now that's dedication.

More wood chip animal sculptures by Sergei Bobkov

- uncredited photos by Reuters via Daylife

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BRAIN JUICE: Interesting Facts About Salt and Water

Simple table salt has a great number of uses other than simply seasoning your food. The following list will give you 50 uses of and facts about salt, many of which you probably didn't realise. I can't verify that all of these are 100% true so best to take them with a pinch of salt.

1. Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting
2. Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away
3. Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing
4. Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker for easier pouring
5. A tiny pinch of salt with egg whites makes them beat up fluffier
6. Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick
7. Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come off easier
8. Soak wrinkled apples in a mildly salted water solution to perk them up
9. Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs sink; bad ones float.
10. Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a cracked egg will stay in its shell this way.

Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out of their shells whole. Just tap the end of the shell with a hammer to break it open easily

11. Use salt to clean your discoloured coffee pot
12. Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys
13. Mix salt with turpentine to whiten your bathtub and toilet bowl
14. Soak toothbrushes in salt water before first use; they will last longer
15. Boil clothespins in salt water before using them. They will last longer
16. Clean your iron by rubbing some salt on the damp cloth on the ironing surface.
Interesting Facts About Salt17. Pour a mound of salt on an ink spot on your carpet; let the salt soak up the stain.
18. Add a little salt to the water in which your cut flowers will stand and they will last longer.
19. Clean brass, copper and pewter with paste made of salt and vinegar, thickened with flour.
20. Adding a little salt to water when cooking foods in a double boiler will make the food cook faster.

To fill plaster holes in your walls, use equal parts of salt and starch, with just enough water to make a stiff putty

21. Use salt for killing weeds in your lawn
22. Rinse a sore eye with a little salt water
23. A dash of salt enhances the taste of tea
24. Salt improves the taste of cooking apples
25. Eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt
26. A dash of salt in warm milk makes a more relaxing beverage
27. Before using new glasses, soak them in warm salty water for awhile
28. Dry salt sprinkled on your toothbrush makes a good tooth polisher
29. Mildly salted water makes an effective mouthwash. Use it hot for a sore throat gargle.

Soak your clothes line in salt water to prevent your clothes from freezing to the line; likewise, use salt in your final rinse to prevent the clothes from freezing

30. Clean greasy pans with a paper towel and salt
31. Freshen sponges by soaking them in salt water
32. Milk stays fresh longer when a little salt is added
33. Sprinkle salt in your oven before scrubbing clean
34. Gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added
35. Add raw potatoes to stews and soups that are too salty
36. Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not discolour
37. Rub wicker furniture with salt water to prevent it from yellowing
38. Soaked discolored glass in a salt and vinegar solution to remove stains
39. Soak enamel pans in salt water overnight and boil salt water in them next day to remove burned-on stains.

If a pie bubbles over in your oven, put a handful of salt on top of the spilled juice. The mess won't smell and will bake into a dry, light crust which will wipe off easily when the oven has cooled

40. Salty water boils faster
41. A dash of salt improves the taste of coffee
42. A pinch of salt improves the flavor of cocoa
43. Sprinkle salt in milk-scorched pans to remove odor
44. Salt and soda will sweeten the odor of your refrigerator
45. Cover wine-stained fabric with salt; rinse in cool water later
46. Sprinkle salt between bricks where you don't want grass to grow
47. Add a pinch of salt to whipping cream to make it whip more quickly
48. Mix 1 part salt to 4 parts alcohol to remove grease stains in clothing
49. Remove odors from sink drainpipes with a strong, hot solution of salt water.

Now you know everything there is to know about salt. They even made a movie about it ;)

Related Post: Cooking tips and household tricks

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QUITE INTERESTING: Facts from long ago (not so general knowledge)

Quite Interesting Facts: Why do men's clothes have buttons on the right while women's clothes have buttons on the left?

Buttoned coatWhen buttons were first invented they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid's right. And that's where women's buttons have remained since in several buttoned outfits worn today.

Quite Interesting: Why do X's at the end of a letter signify kisses?

XO'sIn the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called 'passing the buck' ?

Poker BuckIn card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would pass the buck to the next player.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

ToastIt used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host's glass with his own.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why are zero scores in tennis & squash called 'love' ?

In France, where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called "l 'oeuf", which is French for "egg". When tennis was introduced in the U.S. Americans mispronounced it "love" as in Squash as well.

Cloud 9Interesting Facts: Why is someone who is feeling great 'floating on cloud 9' ?

Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above all worldly cares.

limeQuite Interesting Facts: Why are people in the public eye said to be 'in the limelight' ?

Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer in the limelight was the centre of attention.

Piggy BankQuite Interesting Facts: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?

Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay the jars became known as "pygg anks". When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig, and it soon caught on.

Now you know everything.

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ULTIMATE QUESTION: What happened before the Big Bang?

What happened before the Big BangTen years ago cosmologists embraced the theory of the Big Bang. Over the past few years however, physicists, scientists and philosophers have begun to challenge and change their beliefs radically. There are now at least six theories that aim to address the question of what happened before the Big Bang. Some contend that it never even happened in the first place.

What we do know to be true is that the universe is cooling and expanding at an exponential rate. If this process is reversed in time, we end up with all the stuff of the universe condensed into an incredibly hot and incredibly dense ball. However, if we continue to reverse time, we arrive at the idea that everything somehow sprang from nothing — the so-called singularity. This is the biggest issue regarding the Big Bang.

Knowing what happened immediately after the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, but nothing of what happened before, has become the most significant question in science and human discovery. What it has done is brought together some of the greatest minds from around the world who offer the following theories in an attempt to address the ultimate question.

Professor Michio Kaku (City College of New York)

Professor Michio Kaku addresses the problem of everything coming from nothing by suggesting that there are different notions of nothing. Nasa has constructed the biggest vacuum chamber in the world, which pumps and freezes out all the atoms over two days. The objective is to create a state of nothing that can be observed.

However, Kaku points out that this state of nothing still has properties. It has dimensions and light can pass through it so that it can be observed. A state devoid of such properties, with no space or time, is termed “absolute nothing”. What has been observed is that in a perfect vacuum energy­ still exists, in which matter temporarily pops in and out of existence. Kaku theorises that the universe may have evolved from this pre-existing state.

Professor Andrei Linde (Stanford University)

Professor Andrei Linde agrees that the universe emerged from a pre-existing state; an energised vacuum devoid of time. However, he firmly believes that the Big Bang is a flawed concept. He contends that it cannot account for the similarity of different parts of the universe.

Linde proposes a theory called “eternal inflation” — an eternal and exponential expansion of the universe. He believes the Big Bang can be cut out of the picture altogether or was, at the least, the end of something else. Theories of inflation appear very elegant in mathematical terms and accounts for the size of the universe and its rapid growth. It also suggests that there are multiple universes. The idea of a multiverse has been widely accepted, yet the theory of eternal inflation has been met with criticism.

Doctor Param Singh (The Perimeter Institute)

Doctor Param Singh believes that notions of the Big Bang are impossible, that it is impossible for everything to come from nothing. Singh believes that that our universe owes its existence to a previous one that collapsed in on itself. Before Singh, there was always a problem of marrying quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity at the mathematical level. They simply clashed.

However, Singh has made progress towards combining the two systems. Recently, he discovered that his new maths predicted a very peculiar phenomenon: that attractive gravitational force becomes repulsive at the level of the very small. Therefore, the point of everything being nothing can never be reached. Rather, everything expands in the opposite direction when the point of the supposed Big Bang is reached. This has been termed “The Big Bounce.”

Singh supports his theory by pointing to cycles found in nature, such as the seasons and the fact that planets orbit around stars. This cyclic nature may be true of the universe too, but it fails to address the ultimate question of what started the infinite bouncing in the first place.

Professor Lee Smolin (The Perimeter Institute)

Professor Lee Smolin takes his inspiration from Charles Darwin and asserts that our universe has an ancestor. He strongly believes that there was something before the Big Bang, but suggests that general relativity is an incomplete theory with more to understand.

Smolin supports the idea of a multiverse­ and suggests that our universe may have been born inside a black hole. When a star runs out of fuel and supernovas, its particles begin to move towards a centre of gravity called a black hole. The star essentially collapses in on itself as more matter gets sucked into an infinitely dense black hole.

Smolin theorises that within a black hole, matter contracts to the point where it explodes and expands, creating a Big Bang type explosion. This natural selection theory of the universe reproducing may either create new regions of our universe, or create an entirely new one on the other side of a black hole. In other words, what we think of as the Big Bang may have been the other side of a black hole in another universe.

Professor Neil Turok (Director of The Perimeter Institute)

In Professor Neil Turok’s paradigm, either time didn’t exist before the beginning and somehow sprang into existence, or, our universe originated from a violent event in a pre-existing universe.

Turok supports the brane theory or M-theory (short for membrane) which is perhaps the most radical of the lot. He believes that we live on one of many extended, three dimensional branes in space. At least two of these branes are required to create matter by colliding with each other. Picture them as two, parallel, flowing curtains in space separated by a gap in the middle. Turok suggests that this gap is the 4th dimension of space in which finite densities of matter and plasma come into existence. In other words, these membranes collide and create other parts of the universe in another dimension.

A final theory suggests that when the universe we know of reaches the end of its life, all that will be left are photons (single particles of light). This mass converts to energy creating an energised vacuum spoken of. At this point in this cyclic system, notions of time and mass disappear, leaving an endless sea of space in which anything is possible.

Or, God made it all.

  • This article was inspired by a BBC Horizon documentary called What happened Before the Big Bang? Other BBC Horizon productions include Are We Still Evolving? The Secret World of Pain and What is Reality?
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ZEITGEIST MOVING FORWARD: Your life, your world

IF you were offered an alternative society to the one we currently live within — one that could provide (not promise) a dramatic drop in poverty, a higher level of health care, a rise in education levels and a more functional society, would you fight for it? Would you fight for a self-sustainable system that supports recycling and renewable energy, and, most importantly, holds human concern in the highest regard.

Even if you currently live a relatively comfortable life at present, you’ll at least be aware of all the suffering and violence that persists in the world around us, the increasing levels of stress, illness, poverty, crime and the growing gap between the “haves” and “have nots”. You may even understand that poverty and inequality are the central causes of crime and aberrant behaviour.

Every human being does the best they can to survive and live the highest quality of life possible. The sad reality is that the highest quality of life currently achievable, in technological terms, is lived by a miniscule portion of the global population — less than one percent. This is an embarrassment for the human race which is capable of so much more. And you needn’t blame particular people for our current state of affairs, but you can certainly blame the dominant systems in place that influence such thinking and behaviour.

Zeitgeist Movement

The Zeitgeist Movement website identifies itself as ‘a grass-roots campaign to unify the world through a common ideology based on the fundamentals of life and nature’. It is a free venture that also offers ways that members can get involved. (Image: www.thezeitgeistmovement.com)

Every cultural paradigm is likely to assume that they are at the apex of civilisation. What’s more likely is that future­ generations will look back and cringe at the way we once lived.

Society is on the brink of revolutionary change, which I sincerely hope happens while I’m still alive to enjoy it. I have never been more convinced that the meaning of life is spending your time on this Earth, contributing in whatever way you can, towards improving it — creating a heaven on Earth so to speak. The attitude that “that’s just the way it is” and perhaps believing that everything will be okay when you die, is not only unhealthy, but painfully unproductive.

Every educated person should understand that we are in a continual process of social evolution; that the current state of affairs and systems in place are by no means finite. We are all simply doing our best to live within them. However, as global unrest rises, as inevitable economic collapse continues and as we grow increasingly fed up with our political systems, change, too, is inevitable.

Zeitgeist Moving Forward

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w[/youtube]

 

Zeitgeist: Your life, your world

This belief system and these radical, almost­ utopian-sounding ideas, are portrayed in a simple manner by a film that is fast becoming a global phenomenon­. Zeitgeist Moving Forward is the third film by director Peter Joseph, who has been placed in the media spotlight several times in the past few years.

The film illustrates the current global state of affairs — the systems that govern our living, thinking and behaviour. But rather than just offering a bleak outlook on life as we know it, Zeitgeist­ Moving Forward proposes practical solutions to creating a better life on Earth for all to benefit from.

The central idea is that of a resource-based economy — one where resources, sustainability, technology and efficiency are at the forefront. It proposes that global stock-takes and surveys be undertaken to assess where the greatest needs exist and then acting on this information.

There is far more to the film that can be illustrated here. I can only encourage you to watch it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It is being freely distributed on the Internet and the entire film can be watched on YouTube. Advocates are even encouraged to make copies of the film and distribute them freely.

Zeitgeist film stats and final thoughts

Since Zeitgeist Moving Forward launched on YouTube in January, it has seen over 200 000 views a day and has now passed the four million mark. Responses have been predominantly favourable and it is likely to break a world record as the most viewed film in the shortest period of time. With the amount of support that the movement is seeing, it would be erroneous to think that nothing is going to come of it.

We needn’t fear for the future. We can all collectively create a world where the relative success of a country is not measured by GDP, but happiness; a world where we do not have to worry about when out next pay cheque is coming­; where we are not divided by education or financial wealth and status­; and where self-worth is not measured by status and material gain, but rather by our contribution towards creating­ a better world in which to live.

A RESOURCE BASED ECONOMY: A possible future

  1. Part 1: The power of the planet
  2. Part 2: A world without money
  3. Part 3: Incentive to work without money
  4. Part 4: Future by Design
  5. Part 5: Smart Homes
  6. Part 6: Automated governance?
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