Offbeat: The Dark Knight rises in Slovakia!

Kohari has nailed the superhero look and grit needed to fight evil in the southern Slovaktown of Dunajska Streda.

March 17, 2012

The Dark Knight rises in Slovakia!

His utility belt might not be as well-equipped as the TV version and he hasn’t had to fight Penguin’s henchmen yet, but Zoltan Kohari has nailed the superhero look and grit needed to fight evil in the southern Slovaktown of Dunajska Streda.

Dressed in his home-made, all-leather Batman costume with the bat symbol proudly displayed on his chest and pointy ears on his cowl, Kohari, 26, cleans the streets, helps old people out and instead of resorting to violence, calls the police when he sees something suspicious.

There are some slight differences in the storylines of the real-life Kohari and fictional millionaire Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask in Batman comic books, TV shows and films.

For one, Kohari is a real-life person, whose path to the side of truth, justice and a tidy neighbourhood once strayed to the wrong side of the law.

The trained house painter spent eight months in jail last year and attempted suicide after he was released, before realizing he had a mission to make life in his community better.

Lacking a full-time job, he moved into a dilapidated concrete apartment block on the edge of town where he turned an empty apartment — with no electricity or running water — into his very own Batcave from where he launches his street patrols.

So what’s next for the Slovak superhero?

After tidying up and helping the elderly, Batman’s next mission will be making sure bouncers at the local disco do not rough up visitors.


Wanna clean your room? Let’s call Mr Fungi

Just when you thought that plastic waste was never going to break down in the environment, along comes Mother Nature to solve the problem.

A group of Yale scientists recently stumbled upon a fungus in the Amazonian rainforest that appears to be happy eating the otherwise un-killable plastics.

The fungi, Pestalotiopsis microspora, has a voracious appetite for polyurethane, which is a common plastic used for many modern purposes, including shoes, garden hoses and other non-degenerating items. Not only is the fungus able to survive on a steady diet of polyurethane alone, what is even more surprising is it can do this in an anaerobic (oxygen-free) environment. Perfect for conditions at the bottom of a landfill!

Plastic garbage could last indefinitely, meaning that landfills of garbage will continue on possibly for centuries. But now there may just be the perfect solution — future trash compactors may simply be giant fields of fungi.


These hooves are made for walking

Who knew that horses, cows and camels had feet that could be so trendy?

German designer, Iris Schieferstein, 45 sure seems to agree as she as created a bizarre new range of shoes — from parts of animals long gone.

Ms Schieferstein, who designed a pair of horse hooves for Lady Gaga, sells the shoes for up to £3,900 (Rs556,192).

She collects animals from her local butcher in Berlin, and after taking requisite precautions, sets the skin around a shoe model.

“Once the shoes are made I wear them to make sure they work, although they would not be suitable to wear around the house.” She said when enquired about the practicality of her creations.


A yarn of olympic proportions

Residents of North Yorkshire have been left bemused after a mysterious ‘yarnbomber’ wrapped the town’s pier with a 50-yard scarf stretching out along the railings.

The impressive garment features woolen athletes competing in various Olympic events, from synchronized swimmers to rowers and cyclists, and has delighted young and old alike as the town discusses the yarn.

The scarf incorporates a number of Olympic disciplines. Carefully rendered knitted figures, taking in everything from cycling to synchronized swimming to gymnastics, can be found every couple of feet along the eye-catching display.

But the mysterious creator — who has struck before — remains anonymous, leaving everyone speculating on their identity and motives.

Previously the knitter had decorated lamp-posts, railings and buildings throughout the town with a number of knitted figures.


Tall guy is finally done growing

The world’s tallest man has finally stopped growing at 8 feet 3 inches thanks to a pioneering treatment at the University of Virginia Medical Center.

Sultan Kosen, a 29-year-old Turkish man who is recognized by Guinness World Records as the tallest man in the world has been suffering from acromegaly, a condition caused by a tumor in the pituitary gland, which leads to excessive growth hormone production.

Special equipment had to be flown in from Sweden to fit Mr Kosen’s larger skull, according to doctors.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Mr Kosen was placed on a new medication that could help control the production of growth hormone and stop his continued growth.

University officials now claim that Mr Kosen has stopped growing. The treatment will be noted in Guinness World Records.

“He’s done very, very well, fortunately,” said Dr Jason Sheehan, a University of Virginia Brain surgeon.


Let’s break records to make records

A New York man who holds 137 Guinness World Records, including the one for the most world records, is aiming to add to his achievements.

Ashrita Furman, 57, from Brooklyn, will this week try to beat his own underwater rope jumping record, reports the Daily Telegraph.

He will try to complete more than 900 skips in an hour while wearing scuba gear in a tank filled with manatees at an aquarium in Brazil.

Mr Furman was born the same year the Guinness Book of Records was conceived as well as the year Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile.

His record-breaking fascination began when he met Sri Chinmoy, a Bengali guru, in 1964, who challenged him to “break records”, according to his trusted collaborator Bippin Larkin.

The pair holds records, for among other things, the quickest time for a mile-long piggy back (12 minutes, 47 seconds).

The guru gave Mr Furman, originally called Keith, his new name, which means “protected by God”.

“I’m trying to show others that our human capacity is unlimited if we can truly believe in ourselves,” he said on his website.

Recent records he holds include juggling on a pogo stick the furthest distance (4 miles 30 feet), and the fastest mile while balancing a milk bottle on top of his head (7 mins 47 seconds). In all, he has set 384 official records since 1979, according to his website.

A truly “mammoth” task

After dinosaurs, woolly mammoths are probably the best known extinct animals.

We’re familiar with these huge, hairy curved-tusk beasts because our cave-dwelling ancestors liked drawing them on their walls.

10,000 years after the species went extinct, a group of South Korean and Russian scientists are planning to bring them back to life by using tissue samples from specimens recovered in Siberia after global warming thawed the region’s permafrost.

Finding well-preserved tissues with undamaged genes, such as bone marrow will be a “mammoth” task in itself.

If found, scientists will replace the nucleus of an Indian elephant egg cell with the DNA.

Sooam researcher Hwang In-Sung said: “This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals.”

The lab has successfully cloned living animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf, but using ancient DNA from a long-extinct species has never been done.

Sooam said it hoped to complete the restoration of these mammoth cells by the end of the year.

That must have been egg-stremely painful

At first glance it must have looked more like a rugby ball than an egg.

Imagine the surprise on 8-year-old Harriet Whitaker’s face when she walked into her barn and saw her hen Popples had laid an egg four times larger than normal!

A hen’s egg is typically 2.3 inches long compared to the 5 inch high supersized egg that Popples had laid.

Harriett said: “I’ve never seen an egg that size before. I thought an ostrich had been into the run overnight.”

Mum Teresa, said: “I fed the chickens some scraps from our roast dinner the day before, so perhaps the cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts gave her a boost.

“It’s the biggest chicken egg I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what we will do with it yet but it will make a very large and tasty omelette.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2012.


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