Japanese Artist Transforms Ordinary Rocks Into Highly Realistic Animals

Japanese artist Akie Nakata, who simply goes by Akie, has a unique way of looking at the world. While many would simply pass over a rock or a stone, Akie is able to see their potential. For the past nine years, she’s taken ordinary stones and transformed them into something magical using paint. Under her watchful eye, these rocks become highly realistic animals that fit into the palm of your hand.

Using only acrylic gouache—no pen—and working with tiny brushes, Akie carefully brings each animal to life. In reality, the creative process begins from the moment she spots a rock. Its natural shape helps inspire what animal it will become.

Dog Show Judge Makes Little Girl With Autism's Day By Letting Her Show Her Stuffed Animal Dog

The judge inspects the stuffed dog like it's really in the show. He then instructs the girl to run the dog around the showing area. It's adorable how her face lights up at the thought that her dog is just like all the others.

More Animal Tricks [via Nina Reznick]

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards revels in that bridge between humans and animals.

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Coronavirus: Deserted Italian street rings out with song as people lean out of windows to sing together during lockdown

As life in Italy grinds to a halt amid a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, one street was filled with song as the community banded their voices together in solidarity.

A video of people singing out of their windows on a neighbourhood street in Siena, Tuscany, went viral on social media, with many calling it a “beautiful” act of humanity.

“People of my hometown Siena sing a popular song from their houses along an empty street to warm their heart during the Italian Covid-19 lockdown,” wrote a Twitter user who posted the video.

The song, titled ‘Canto della Verbena’ (‘And While Siena Sleeps’), is a popular folk song in the city typically sung to express local pride.

It focuses on the Piazza del Campo, the main square of the city, and is traditionally sung by members of a contrada, districts set up in the Middle Ages to supply troops.

Social media users were deeply touched by the communal singing, with some admitting it brought them to tears.

“People breaking out in song, lifting each other’s spirits during this tragedy, is an act of striking beauty,” said one person.


Animal Tricks [via Nina Reznick]

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards revels in that bridge between humans and animals.

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No Stone Unturned [Via Nina Reznick]

Land Artist Surprises Beach Goers By Leaving Striking Stone Arrangements Along the Coast

Land artist Jon Foreman finds comfort in arranging stones in eye-pleasing formations on the beach. His practice, which he calls Sculpt the World, showcases rocks fashioned into swirling patterns as well as giant circles containing an array of rainbow-esque hues. “This process is therapy to me,” Foreman tells My Modern Met. “The simple act of placing stone upon stone in the sand is very therapeutic. I’m sure we all enjoy a walk on the beach but this process I find to be more immersive; being there in nature, losing myself in the work, having left behind all the stresses of day to day life.”

Flowering Mantis [via Nina Reznick]

The other day, Margaret Neville was strolling through the garden on her farm in South Africa when something remarkable caught her eye.

There, on a branch in her lavender bush, was an insect unlike any she’d seen before: “I was amazed at first sight,” Neville told The Dodo.

And it’s easy to see why.

The beautiful bug almost looked like a delicate glass sculpture. Her wings of white and green were accentuated with an elegant swirl, while the rest of her body was adorned with tiny, purple flower-like structures.

Neville shared the photo with her friend, Kerri Martinaglia. She was equally impressed.

“When I saw her, I thought she was an exquisite work of art,” Martinaglia told The Dodo.

Neville and Martinaglia came to learn that the insect she’d found was aptly called a “Flower Mantis,” a type of praying mantis perfectly suited to camouflaging themselves in floral settings.

And thanks to that trick, the mantis Neville happened upon was clearly thriving. Before placing her back in the lavender bush, Neville gave her a name: Miss Frilly Pants.

“She has spent the entire month of September living on my lavender,” Neville said. “She is still there now.”

After Martinaglia shared photos of her online, the remarkable mantis has earned plenty of admirers from people stunned to learn such an animal is real. But not all of her new fans are human.

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Street View: New York City's Doors

A photographic series of New York City's doors, from the Roy Colmer collection at the New York Public library

Roy Colmer/New York Public Library
This post is a Special Research Project of NPR History Dept.

Between November 1975 and September 1976, a man named Roy Colmer decided to photograph New York City's doors. Not all of New York City's doors. No doors in particular. And in no real particular order. But his aptly named Doors, NYC project amounted to more than 3,000 photos, which now live with the New York Public Library.

If you're like me and want to obsessively look at every single one, the best way to do that is here. But then, I did that so you don't have to. Firstly, note the door on the bottom left. For every dozen-ish non-descript door, you'll find a little treat — like a poster of a cat ...

... or a great store name like "Clogs Of Course" (also bottom left).

See more Doors here

Gravity-Defying Photos of Determined Dogs Catching Frisbees in Mid-Air

Photographer Claudio Piccoli makes otherwise ordinary pups look like superheroes. In his mesmerizing series called Dogs in Action, four-legged friends soar through the sky like Superman. They make the greatest leaps and bounds with ease—and often while having their eyes trained on catching a colorful frisbee. Piccoli’s frozen moments in time remind us that dogs, in addition to being loyal companions, are incredible athletes, too.

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Freaky Fotos [via Nina Reznick]

Our world is filled with captivating and intriguing elements. If we sit back and take a closer look at even the most mundane thing, we might be surprised at how fascinating it might turn out to be.

A transparent fish also called the Sea Salp

Source: Subtle_Omega
Sea Salps are one of the most remarkable creatures of Earth. This barrel-shaped fish has a gelatinous body and feeds on phytoplankton (marine algae). Sea Salps are not just unique because of their transparent bodies. They are rare creatures that exist both as individuals and part of a larger organism.

These aren't broken shards of glass. This is a frozen Lake Michigan

Source: Bored Panda

Ice formation on Lake Michigan usually begins in January and reaches its peak in late February or early March. During the peak winter season, temperatures sometimes reach -30°C (-23°F), resulting in ice shelves forming on the lake.

Baikal Dzen formation on Lake Baikal

Source: Елена Вторушина

Lake Baikal is located in the Russian region of Siberia. This freshwater lake is witness to the most unique phenomena known as the Baikal Zen. It happens when stones brought by the wind to the ice of the lake are warmed and the day sun melts the ice under them. This causes the rock to remain balanced on a pedestal of thin ice.

A Bashkir Curly Horse

Source: Bored Panda

The origin of this fascinating horse is a mystery. The Bashkir Curly is known to be a calm breed of horse with a mild temperament. Its other characteristics include a thick bone, strong, round hooves, intelligence, and exceptional memory. What makes it stand out from other breeds of horses, however, is its distinctive curly coat.

 The extremely rare Albino Buck, also called the 'White Deer'.

Source: eru_dite

Sightings of albino deer are very uncommon and they are considered as mystical ghosts of the woods because of their fairytale-like appearance. The chances of an albino deer being born are only 1 in 20,000, as the recessive gene that causes albinism in whitetail deer is extremely rare. The stories of these unusual animals have been a part of several ancient Native American legends and folklore.

No, these aren't street craters. They are dinosaur footprints in France.


These giant footprints belong to a large sauropod dinosaur and were discovered in Plagne, France. These extraordinary traces of the now-extinct dinosaur were found by geologists and biologists from the Société Des Naturalistes d'Oyonnax (SDNO). The footprints measure almost 155 meters in length and are more than 145 million years old.

A 500 kg dinosaur bone found in France.

Source: Georges Gobet

A giant 500 kilogram (1102.31 pounds) dinosaur thigh bone was uncovered by scientists in south-western France at an excavation site in 2019. The femur is two meters (6.6 ft) long and is believed to have belonged to a sauropod. This plant-eating dinosaur was found in the late Jurassic era and was one of the largest land animals that ever existed.

That's not a ball. It is a single living cell

Source: Bored Panda
While this may be hard to believe, the picture above is of a living cell. Known as Valonia ventricosa, or “bubble algae”, this species of algae is one of the largest single-celled organisms in the world. They are found in oceans, and their color mostly varies from grass green to dark green.