The fact that the Japanese love robots is well-known. The nation of 127 million people currently employs over a quarter million robots workers, more than any other country in the world, and the number is expected to quadruple in the next 15 years. So far, most of the robots have been built for the industrial sector and therefore bear no resemblance to humans. But if some scientists have their way, the days of androids - robots that look and act like humans, are not too far away.
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Though sand sculpting festivals are fairly common, few are as majestic as the one organized by Belgium's Royal Sand Carvers Society. An annual tradition since 1997, the festival which received the 2010 Guinness World Record for the largest such event, incorporates over 150 sand masterpieces created by 30 of the world's best carvers.
Most homeless resort to panhandling to make ends meet. However an enterprising young South African man has come up with an interesting alternative - he spends his days spreading the joy of reading and selling books written by his favorite authors. Meet Philani Dladla aka 'Pavement Bookworm'.
On June 9th, even the most rushed traveler at Hong Kong's International airport paused to admire the mesmerizing sight of 1,600 pandas, each the size of a human baby, some sitting, others standing - all eager to be whisked away to the city's numerous landmarks. As you may have already guessed, they were not live animals but replicas made from recycled materials by French sculptor, Paulo Grangeon.
A month ago, only avid soccer fans knew who Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar da Silva Santos Jr. were. However, thanks to the just ended FIFA World Cup, the trio have become household names, and rightfully so - After all, Messi was instrumental in getting Argentina to the finals, and Brazil's dismal performance against Germany and the Netherlands highlighted just how important Neymar is to the country's success in soccer. Though Ronaldo did not quite live up to the lofty expectations, he did score one of the two goals in Portugal's final game against Ghana and made a crucial assist in their match against the United States.
While humans tend to shy away from people that don't quite fit their perception of 'normal', animals are different. Time and again we hear about alliances being formed between the most unusual species. The most recent heartwarming tale comes the zoo in Tbilisi, Georgia where a female rhino named Manuela has bonded with the resident donkeys.
Shanghai-based Hong Yi or 'Red' as she likes to call herself is known for her unusual and imaginative portraits. Her previous masterpieces include a sketch of Chinese film director Yimou Zhang created with 790 pairs of black, white and grey socks and one of basketball superstar Yao Ming painted with - you guessed it - a basketball! Popular Hollywood actor Jackie Chen was portrayed with chopsticks, while British singer/songwriter Adele's portrait was created with melted candles.
On June 19th, a group of animal lovers on a whale watching cruise off the coast of Sydney, were treated to a rare sight - a pod of mammals that included Migaloo, the world's first documented white humpback whale. The gorgeous 55-ton all-white humpback, was sighted with five other whales as they made their annual migration from the Antarctica to the breeding areas off Queensland and Western Australia.