England’s answer to Emmett Brown

Dr Emmett Brown was the eccentric inventor of the time-travelling DeLorean in Back to the Future.

Colin Furze is an English guy who loves making weird stuff. He says of himself:

everyone seems to think i’m some some sort of mechanic/engineer person but in reality i’m just a plumber. The things i make are made with tools that proper engineers would laugh at but i’m proof you don’t need an expensive lathe and huge welder to create something amazing. What you do need though is a place to do stuff and the right people to help ask when needed and also someone to tell you you will fail as that drives you on abit more. As far as a workspace i have a good workshop at home but its not always been like that as when i lived at me parents my dad would not let me in the big shed we had there and it wasn’t until he died that i could really make stuff properly. It was quiet mad as i had to do everything in my bed room at one point i even had a lathe in there which i bought of ebay for £70 and it was the oldest mucky thing ever which resulted in oil being sprayed up the wall at one point so if you have kids for god sake let them in the shed or at least help them.

His grammar may not be the best, but you can’t fault his philosphy!

One of Colin’s inventions is a jet-powered bicycle, Norah, dubbed “The most dangerous unsafe bike EVER” by Colin himself:

What’s it like to ride? At speeds up to 35mph (56km/h) it’s “ok, rather pleasant.” Between 35 and 45mph (72km/h) “it goes where it likes and is quite hard to control.” At 50mph (80km/h) “you have been lucky to stay on during the 45mph shake, and just wait for the tyres to blow…”

Guinness World Records has rewarded Colin’s efforts – he holds records for the largest bonfire (more than 1400 cubic metres), the longest motorcycle (14m) and the fastest speed on a mobility scooter (115km/h). He’s also created the “world’s fastest pram”.

We need more people like Colin with his manic laugh!

Those daring young men on the… ferris wheel?

Last Thursday, Oddity Central featured India’s Dangerous Human-Powered Ferris Wheels:

How do you keep the fun going at fairs in a country affected by frequent power cuts and blackouts? Simple, just hire a bunch of workers to dangle from the bars of manual ferris wheels to keep it in motion.

It kind of looks more like fun than dangerous, but I imagine it gets rather tiring and boring after a while. The two videos below show some of these young guys at work. The second shows the view from one of the gondolas.

Kids with the right idea

Kids are the future, and I love hearing about kids who are making a difference – whether to their own lives or to other people’s lives. It’s even better when kids show responsibility and initiative that’s sadly lacking in a lot of adults. These street kids in Old Delhi, India, have taken it upon themselves to do what adults/authorities were either unable or unwilling to do for them.

In Child’s play: Indian street youth develop model banking system RT tells how a group of kids in a shelter for homeless children in New Delhi run a branch of the children’s development khazana (Indian for ‘treasure’) that serves around 9,000 street children across South Asia and has 77 branches. The bank provides a safe place for their earnings and allows them to take out loans. The kids have a monthly meeting where they review applications for advances; based on clients’ track records of saving and earning, they decide who will receive an advance and how long they can take to pay it back.

“In a time when many people would argue that the global financial system is on the brink of collapse and that the system itself might be fundamentally flawed, it seems like these teenagers from the streets of New Delhi have the whole thing figured out. They hold everyone from the account managers to the clients accountable for their financial decisions,” says the RT report.

An RT reader, commenting on the report, said, “We are so aware of all our flaws and all the things that could go wrong in our lives. These kids are such an inspiration. We can truly be anyone and anything we want to, if we’re ready to accept ourselves and embrace life the way these kids have. This story brought a smile through the tears.”

In a blog post, Down and out in Delhi, on UNICEF’s Voices of Youth website, Andy Brown describes a visit to the shelter and the bank.

Read more about Butterflies, the charity that runs the shelter, here.