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Buddhist Robots to Perform Cheaper Funeral Services in Japan

When experts predicted that robots will take most of our jobs in the next few decades, priests were probably among the least concerned humans on the planet. After all, machines and spirituality don’t exactly go hand in hand. But one Japanese company is showing everyone that no job is safe, with a line of “Buddhist robots” that can perform funeral services at a fraction of the cost demanded by human priests.

Pepper, a humanoid robot developed by SoftBank Robotics, has taken on several jobs since it hit the market two years ago. Advertised as the first robot capable of reading human emotions, Pepper has been deployed to banks, sushi shops and nursing homes, where it acts as a receptionist, identifying visitors with its facial recognition software, offering information, or just chatting to people. But Pepper’s creators have recently come up with another job for the big-eyed robot – Buddhist priest for clients looking to cut down on funeral costs.

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Artist Plays Dead at Popular Tourist Spots to Protest Selfie Craze

Selfies have become such a huge part of our lives that it’s hard to believe that they only became popular only a few years ago. People are snapping pics of themselves virtually everywhere, from the top of skyscrapers to their bathrooms, and we even gadgets and accessories designed around selfies. Things have gotten so bad that one artist has decided to take a stand against the selfie craze in a very unique way. Meet Stephanie Leigh Rose, the creator of “stefdies”.

What are “selfdies”, you ask? Well, Stephanie describes them as “anti-selfies”, but more specifically it is just the artist playing dead in random places, many of them popular tourist attractions. She just drops to the ground, face down, and pretends that she’s dead for a few moments, while someone takes her photo. She chronicles her unusual series on Instagram, where you can see her playing dead in a variety of places, from the Eiffel Tour and Louvre Museum, in Paris, to the Golden State Bridge, in San Francisco.

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Woman Loses Engagement Ring on Her Farm, Finds It 13 Years Later, Wrapped Around a Carrot

It was September of 2004, when Mary Grams, of Alberta, Canada, lost her diamond-encrusted engagement ring, while working on her family farm. She spent days looking for it, but to no avail. Last week, nearly 13 years later, her daughter in law plucked a weird-looking carrot from the garden, with a diamond ring tightly wrapped around it.

“I went to the garden for something and I saw this long weed. For some reason, I picked it up and it must have caught on something and pulled [the ring] off,” 84-year-old Mary Grams recalls about the day she lost her engagement ring, in 2004. She had worn it on her finger since 1951, a year before she married her husband, Norman. “We looked high and low on our hands and knees. We couldn’t find it. I thought for sure either they rototilled it or something happened to it.”

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Super Robot Wolf – Japan’s High-Tech Crop Guardian

Japan’s fascination with robotics and all things high-tech is legendary, but did you know thy make robot scarecrows now? Well, Super Robot Wolf is meant to scare a lot more than crows, but still, Japan may be taking their love for technology a bit too far.

When I was growing up, farmers kept birds and other wild animals away from their crops with old fashioned scarecrows. You know, some rags hanging on a cross structure made of sticks with some chimes or small bells for added effect, and that worked ok. But those things couldn’t hold a candle to this Japanese robot scarecrow with the coolest, most over-the-top name imaginable – Super Robot Wolf. They say ii can scare away any wild animal, from deer to bears, and it definitely looks terrifying enough to do it.

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Roman Opalka – The Polish Artist Who Spent Half His Life Painting from 1 to Infinity

Roman Opalka was a Polish conceptual artist who spent almost his entire career painting a progression of numbers design to symbolize the passing of time. He began with the figure “1” in 1965, and spent every day after that painting about 400 consecutive numbers. At the time of his death, in August, 2011, Opalka’s decades-long count had reached 5,607,249.

Called “1965/1-∞”, Roman Opalka’s epic artistic project is “a philosophical and spiritual image of the progression of time and of life and death”, according to the artist. He got the idea for it one day in 1965, while sitting at the Café Bristol in Warsaw, waiting for his wife to arrive. Somehow the thought of painting a progression of numbers for the rest of his life appealed to Roman, and upon entering his studio the very next day, he started mapping out what would eventually become the largest numerical painting in history.

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Disabled Man Spends Three Years Single-Handedly Carving a Road Through a Hill

In a story of unbelievable grit and determination, a semi-paralyzed man in Kerala, India, spent three years digging a road straight through a small hill in front of his home, using only rudimentary tools.

63-year-old Melethuveettil Sasi has never even heard the story of Dashrath Manjhi, the famous Mountain Man of Bihar, who spent two decades carving a road through a mountain with just chisels and hammers, but he managed a very similar feat. Sasi, who can barely walk and move his right hand, spent three years of his life digging a 200-meter dirt road through a hill in front of his house, so he could finally support his family again.

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Real-Life Blue Dogs Spotted in India

A number of blue dogs have been spotted near Navi Mumbai’s Taloja industrial area, in India, and initial reports that untreated industrial waste dumped into the nearby Kasadi River may be to blame.

Remember Huckleberry Hound, the adorable cartoon character created by Hanna/Barbera? He was a blue dog, but no one seem to find that weird. Then again, he was only a fictional cartoon character, whereas the blue dogs of Navi Mumbai are very real, which makes their unusual color a lot more disturbing. Photos and videos of several canines whose fur had turned bright blue went viral all around the world a couple of days ago, leaving people scratching their heads as to whether they had been doctored. Unfortunately, the Navi Mumbai Animal Protection Cell soon confirmed that blue dogs actually exist in Mumbai, and are the cause of excessive pollution.

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Crown Shyness – When Trees Avoid Touching Each Other

Crown shyness or canopy disengagement is a mysterious natural phenomenon in which the crowns of some tree species do not touch each other, but are separated by a gap clearly visible from ground level. The effect usually occurs between trees of the same species, but has also been observed between trees of different species.

The Crown Shyness phenomenon was first documented in scientific literature during the 1920s, but researchers have since not been able to reach a consensus regarding its causes. There are many theories going around in scientific circles, most of which make sense, but no one has been able to prove without the shadow of a doubt why some trees avoid touching each other. But perhaps it’s this mystery, along with its striking appearance, that makes crown shyness such a fascinating phenomenon.

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Girl Survives on Berries and Muddy Water for Nearly a Month, After Getting Lost in Alabama Woods

Lisa Theris, a 25-year-old radiology student from Louisville, was reported missing on July 23rd, and was believed to have gotten lost in the Alabama wilderness, after running away from the two men that she was with. Just one everyone had nearly given up hope that she was still alive, Lisa was spotted by the side of a rural road in Bullock County, by a woman who initially mistook her for a deer.

Judy Garner told police that was driving along Highway 82 in Bullock County, on Saturday, when she saw something moving in a bush, and thought it was a wild animal, probably a deer. The curious woman pulled her car over and went to investigate, only instead of an animal, she found a naked woman covered in scratches and insect bites. Her hair was matted, there was dirt embedded deep beneath her nails, and she looked like she had been living in the wild for a long time. The young girl told Garner that she had survived on berries and muddy water, and was so scared that she begged her not to leave her side.

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$10 “Sleepy” Body Lotion Can Allegedly Help Insomniacs Get a Good Night’s Sleep

A single night of insomnia is enough to drive some people crazy, but can you imagine struggling to fall asleep every night? A shocking one in three people suffer from some degree of insomnia, with a few forced to stare into their smartphones until morning to make the hours go by faster. But, if counting sheep doesn’t help, insomniacs are swearing by a “magic” UK-made body lotion that can allegedly help you sleep like a baby.

Aptly named “Sleepy”, this intriguing beauty product recently went viral on Reddit, with dozens of of users swearing by its sleep-inducing properties. Some of these people claim to have been suffering from chronic insomnia that no medication could cure, but then they discovered Sleepy and were able to get a good night’s sleep. The official website of Lush, the company that makes this lotion also features over 60 reviews from people going on and on about how it helped them get over their worst sleepless nights.

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Chinese Football Club Paints Stadium Gold for Good Luck

A top-tier Chinese football team recently painted their whole stadium from their traditional color, blue, to bright gold, in order to change their luck. It may sound stupid, but they don’t care, because it actually worked!

Last month, after a dismal run that saw their team win a single home game in four months, the Guangzhou R&F football club made the desperate decision to repaint the whole stadium and surrounding facility gold, to improve their feng shui. The decision sounds even crazier if you consider that they had just renovated the stadium last year, painting the whole thing blue, to match their club colors. But the team had only won a single match on home turf since March 12, and they had run out of people and things to blame for their results, so, in desperation, management decided to follow the teachings of feng shui. They chose gold, because it apparently symbolizes completeness and fulfillment.

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Meet Tova Saul – The Unsung Guardian of Jerusalem Old City’s Stray Cats

Ever since she moved to Jerusalem from Toronto, in the 1980s, Tova Saul has dedicated her life to looking after the street cats of Israel. She prowls the streets of the Old City carrying bags of food for the felines, provides medical attention to any injured animals she finds by either taking them to the vet, or welcoming them into her home, and takes females to be spayed in hopes of slowing down the rate at which the street cat population of Jerusalem has been growing for several decades. Some call her the “Cat Lady of Jerusalem”, but she is more of an unofficial chief caretaker of the stray cats in the Israeli city.

The Mediterranean basin in general is home to a lot of cats, due to the favorable climate – the weather is generally warm and winters are very mild. It is estimated that there are currently over two million street cats in Israel today, and about 100,000 of them are in Jerusalem. It wasn’t always like this. though. Up until the 1930s, the cat population was small, but under the British Mandate, felines were brought in to deal with the rat problem, and they thrived. They’ve been multiplying at such an accelerated rate that, a couple of years ago, the Israeli minister of agriculture suggested that all male or female cats be deported to another receptive country. That has yet to happen, but it gives you an idea of how authorities intend on dealing with the problem. That’s definitely not how Tova Saul sees things. She believes that compassion and responsibility are key to finding a viable solution to this issue.

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Loyal Dog in Argentina Has Been Waiting By His Owner’s Grave for 10 Years

It’s been five years since we featured the touching story of Capitan, a loyal German shepherd who refused to leave the side of his owner, even though he had been dead for nearly six years. Well, believe it or not, the old dog still spends his days waiting by his deceased owner’s grave, 10 years after he passed.

Capitan’s undying loyalty for his master first made headlines in 2012, when local papers in the Argentinian town of Villa Carlos Paz reported that the dog spent every day waiting by the grave of his owner, Miguel Guzmán, who had died in 2006. The dog disappeared from the family home a few months later, and Guzmán’s widow, Veronica, was shocked to find him by her late husband’s grave, when she went to visit him at the cemetery. She and her son, Damian, tried taking him home several times, but he always ran back to be by Miguel’s side. Eventually, they understood that nothing they did could ever fill the void in Capitan’s heart, so they let him be with his beloved master.

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Designer Puts the “Suit” in Wetsuit with $3,900 Creation

If you thought business suits and surfing culture were mutually exclusive, you probably haven’t seen Thom Browne’s new wetsuit. Photos of the hand-crafted $3,900 haute couture item have been doing the rounds online ever since it was launched as part of the designer’s Spring/Summer collection, for being styled as a business suit.

Aptly called “Trompe L’Oeil” (Optical Illusion), the neoprene wetsuit showcases all the elements of a classic business suit, including trousers, jacket, top collar, lapels and even a tie. You never know when you have to look your best for a business meeting, and now a surfing break doesn’t have to be a problem anymore. All you have to do is spend $3,900 on an elegant wetsuit and you’re set.

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Man with Cerebral Palsy Spends Five Years Typing Book with Only One Toe

38-year-old Wesley Wee, from Singapore, was born with cerebral palsy, and has never had any control over most of the muscles in his body. He is stuck in a wheelchair, and is unable to dress or feed himself, so writing a book seems out of the realm of possibility. However, his physical disabilities didn’t stop this ambitious man from spending five years typing every letter in his inspiring book, “Finding Happiness Against the Odds”, with just the big toe on his right foot.

Growing up, Wesley had to deal no only with the challenges of his crippling condition, but also the abuse of his parents who were unable to deal with the hardships of raising a disabled child, and often took their frustration out on him. His mother would hit him and say things like  “You good for nothing, si geena (dead child in Hokkien), it is better you die,” to him, and his father pushed him to do difficult exercises every night, in an attempt to make him walk normally.

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