App Gives Japanese Drivers Free Coffee for Not Checking Their Phones at The Wheel

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In a bid to convince drivers in Aichi Prefecture to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, a new Japanese smartphone app offers free coffee coupons to drivers who don’t check their phones for at least 100 km.

For the last 13 years, Aichi Prefecture has recorded the highest rate of traffic fatalities in Japan. Last year, there were 443,691 accidents that resulted in injuries or deaths, and 50,101 arrests involving the use of smartphones while driving. With handhelds becoming such a big part of people’s lives, there appears to be an increase in violations of this nature, and authorities have yet to come up with an effective plan to combat the problem.

Interestingly, a trio of Japanese company seem to think that an ingenious new app could incentivize drivers to restrain themselves from checking their phones at the wheel and reduce the number of traffic accidents. Toyota Motor Corporation, Komeda Co Ltd and KDDI Corporation have teamed up to create Driving Barista, an app that uses the phone’s gyro sensor to sense the tilt of the device, and the GPS to determine the distance driven. This allows it to calculate the number of kilometers a driver has traveled with the smartphone facing down.

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Mother Forces Toddler Son to Sit in a Parking for 20 Minutes to Save Her a Spot

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A photo showing a young boy sitting in a busy Kuala Lumpur parking lot has been doing the rounds online, causing controversy. According to the original Facebook post, the boy had to wait all alone in the hot sun for 20 minutes, to save the empty spot for his mother, while she went to bring the car.

The incident took place in a business area on Jalan Kuchai Lama road, in Kuala Lumpur, where it is usually difficult to find a parking spot during peak hours. The mother allegedly had the bright idea to leave her young son sitting in a free parking space, to save it,  while she went back to where she originally left the car. According to a Facebook post that has so far been shared over 8,000 times, the young boy was left unattended for 20 minutes.

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Activist To Wear All The Trash He Creates in a Month

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Environmentalist Rob Greenfield wants to change the way Americans think about their trash footprint by wearing every piece of trash he creates over 30 days.

“For one month, Rob Greenfield is going to live like the average American. He’ll eat, shop, and consume just like the average American which produces 4.5 pounds of trash per day. The catch? He has to wear every piece of trash he creates,” an announcement on his website states. “That’s over 30 pounds of trash on his body by the end of the first week and nearly 140 pounds by the end of the month (almost his body weight)! Every coffee cup, plastic bag, pizza box, every single piece of trash he creates will be on his body, everywhere he goes.”

The idea behind Rob’s “TrashMe” project is to show people the cumulative effects of trash. Most people never think about how much waste they are producing every month. They just seal their garbage bags, put them in the bin and wait for someone to pick it up. But what if they came face to face with a walking, talking display of overconsumption? That might get them thinking about the world’s growing trash problem and maybe even get them to limit the amount of trash they generate.

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Meet the Man with the World’s Best Memory

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He has won the World Memory Championship eight times in a period of ten years, can memorize a full deck of cards in a few seconds and is banned from casinos all across the world. He is Dominic O’Brien, the man with the world’s best memory.

Looking back at his childhood, 59-year-old Dominic O’Brien admits that he is probably the world’s most unlikely mnemonist. That’s because as a young boy, he had “severe attention problems” and “never listened to anything the teacher said.” Although the term ‘Attention Deficit Disorder’ (ADD) had not yet been coined in the 1960s, it is speculated that some sort of attention disorder may have been a likely diagnosis for Dominic during his childhood. He also used to write backwards and suffered from dyslexia.

“I had a knock to my head as a baby. I collided with a train and was actually dragged off onto the railway line,” O’Brien recalls. “There was severe bruising to the top of my forehead so they think there may have been some damage there.”

The eight-time World Memory Champion believes that if he has been able to become an accomplished mnemonist, despite his childhood problems, anyone can do it. All it takes is creative thinking.

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Son of China’s Richest Man Buys Eight iPhone 7s for His Dog

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In case you needed any more proof that life is unfair, a dog managed to get his paws on an iPhone 7 before you. In fact, she got eight of them, as a gift from her wealthy owner, the son of China’s richest man.

Photos doing the rounds on Chinese social media show Coco, a gorgeous Alaskan Malamute, posing with a stack of brand new iPhone 7s that her master, 28-year-old Wang Sicong bought just for her. You’d think she’d be happier about getting such an expensive gift on the day Apple’s iPhone 7 went on sale, but Coco doesn’t seem to impressed. Too bad she can’t read all the comments from users complaining that their lives are so much worse than hers. Maybe then she could appreciate these “little” gestures more.

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The Mysterious “Binary Bandits” of Philadelphia

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In what has been described as one of the most bizarre strings of petty crimes ever recorded, dozens of people in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood have been reporting the theft of their house numbers. Interestingly, in all cases, only the “1” and “0” have been taken, which has earned the yet-to-be-identified thieves the nickname “binary bandits”.

You might not notice what’s missing from dozens of houses in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, but for those living there, it has been the main topic of discussion for the past two weeks. Someone is stealing the “1” and “0” from people’s house numbers and nobody seems to know why. There has been speculation about artists planing to use the numbers as part of an installation, or someone trying to send a message, but as for actual explanations, everyone, including the police, is drawing a blank.

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Chinese Couple Have Been Living in a Cave for the Past 54 Years

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Unable to afford a proper home after getting married, a Chinese couple moved into a mountain cave near the city Nanchong, and have been living there for the past 54 years.

81-year-old Liang Zifu and 77-year-old Li Suying found the cave three years after their wedding, and since they couldn’t afford to buy a real house, decided to make it their home and start a family there. In the beginning, they shared the unusual abode with three other families, who have since moved out, as have the couple’s four children, but the two elderly cave-dwellers won’t even consider leaving. After their story went viral in Chinese media, local authorities tried to persuade them to move out and even offered to provide them with a more comfortable house, but they flat-out refused.

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English Engineer Performs Surgery on Himself After Being Put on Waiting List

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Graham Smith, an engineer from Lancashire, England, was recently in the news for performing surgery on himself to remove eight millimeters of stitches left by surgeons inside his body years ago, after operations to correct it were cancelled twice.

Smith had underwent bowel surgery 15 years ago, and was left with stitches protruding through the skin on his abdomen. He first brought up the issue with the hospital where he had the original surgery in 2011, but he was put on a waiting list and an operation to fix the problem was cancelled twice. Rather than waiting for his turn and risk of dying of septicaemia, the crafty engineer decided to operate on himself, using modified titanium instruments he sourced from a dentist friend.

“I tried to do it through the normal channels… but I had septicaemia,” Mr. Smith told the BBC. “I didn’t make the decision lightly – I was desperate, but I had to take control of it and I was not prepared to sit and die on a waiting list.”

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Tiny Device Claims to Heat Your Room for 10 Cents a Day

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Egloo is a clever little terracotta heater that harnesses the power of tealights to heat spaces up to 20 square feet for as little as 10 cents a day, without using any electricity.

Developed by Marco Zagaria, a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, Egloo is both cheap to use and eco-friendly. Made up of two small terracotta domes and a metal tray, the device takes advantage of the natural heating ability of these materials, drawing heat from just four tealights placed inside it and releasing it in your living space. As the candles burn inside, the distinct dome shape of the innovative heater allows it to gradually heat up and radiate the heat, while the small hole on top keeps combustion going and and also releases some of the heat, allowing it to spread throughout the room.

“Egloo is conceived for contrasting continuous waste of electricity used for warming domestic rooms, offering, as an option, a candle-powered way that provides a cheaper and more ecological energy,” the product’s website states. “It takes advantage of features of terracotta that stores the heat and slowly and gradually releases it by radiation, even after it blows out.”

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Meet the Japanese Cheerleader Troupe with an Average Age of 70

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Japan Pom Pom is a unique cheerleading troupe made up of 28 vivacious members whose ages range from 55 to late 80’s. These energetic grandmas have been engaging in their glamorous hobby for the last two decades and show no sign of stopping anytime soon.

84-year-old Fumie Tanako is the founder of Japan Pom Pom and an active member of the group. She says that she would not have had the confidence to pick up cheerleading in her youth, but became emboldened by major life changes that occurred during middle age. When she was 53, Fumie decided to travel to Texas to study. It was against her dying mother’s wishes, but her children supported her decision. Then, in her early 60’s, her relationship with her husband began to fall apart, and ultimately ended. It was around this time that she found her calling in life – cheerleading. Mesmerized by the impressive array of moves performed by professional American cheerleaders, she immediately rounded up five elderly girlfriends and started practicing. Two decades later, their troupe is still going strong.

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Norwegian Rocker Forced to Serve on Local Council after Accidentally Winning Election

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Gylve Nagell, a member of a Norwegian rock band, only agreed to run for local councilor in his hometown of Kolbotn only as a backup, thinking it would help boost voter turnout. He never wanted to win, and to make sure he didn’t, Nagell’s campaign posters showed him holding his pet cat, with the caption “Please Don’t Vote for Me”. It didn’t work the way he had planned.

Gylve, better known as Fenriz, half of Norwegian heavy metal band Darkthrone, will be required to attend important council meetings and listen to his constituents’ complaints, after winning a seat on the Kolbotn local council. The news came as a huge surprise to the young musician, as he claims he only agreed to run after officials in Kolbotn asked him to do it in an effort to boost voter numbers. “Basically, they called and asked if I wanted to be on the list [of backup representatives]. I said yeah, thinking I would be like 18th on the list and I wouldn’t really have to do anything,” he told music site Clrvynt.

He never made any effort to win, but as the actual election approached, Fenriz says he started to get a feeling that he might actually end up a councilor against his will. So he tried to very openly sabotage his own campaign by using a photo of himself holding his pet cat with the caption “Please Don’t Vote for Me” as a poster. But his hometown was apparently so impressed by his lack of interest for the official position that they voted for him overwhelmingly. “People just went nuts,” as he puts it.

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Teen Sues Parents for Posting Embarrassing Childhood Photos of Her on Facebook

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An 18-year-old girl from Austria is taking her parents to court for posting over 500 photos of her on Facebook since 2009, without her permission.

The unnamed girl from Austria’s Carinthia state has apparently become fed up with her parents refusal to take down intimate and embarrassing photos of her dating back to when she was a toddler, and is now seeking justice in court. She told Ganze Woche magazine that even though she was 11 years old when her parents started sharing photos of her with several hundreds of Facebook friends, they went as far as to post pics of her as a toddler, without ever asking if it was alright with her. “They knew no shame and no limit – and didn’t care whether it was a picture of me sitting on the toilet or lying naked in my cot – every stage was photographed and then made public,” the young plaintiff said.

Referred to as Anna Meier (name changed by magazine editors under Austrian privacy laws), the girl added that she was only able to see the photos posted on Facebook by her parents when she was 14, after setting up her own account on the world’s most popular social network. Angry and upset, Anna asked her mother and father to remove the over 500 photos of her immediately, but they refused. She kept asking them over the years, but faced with constant refusal, she felt that she had no other way to coerce them than taking them to court. Which she did as soon as she turned 18, this year. “I’m tired of not being taken seriously by my parents,” she said.

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Chinese Schools Crack Down on Trendy Haircuts with Barbers at the Gates

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Faced with the adoption of trendy foreign hairstyles by a growing number of students, Chinese schools are coming up with desperate measures to enforce their strict haircut policies. The latest of these measures involves posting barbers at the school gates to trim long or dyed hair on the spot.

Chinese students returning from their summer break with new haircuts to show off to their colleagues were greeted with a really nasty surprise right at the school entrance – a barber ready to trim any hairdos that didn’t comply with regulations. Photos posted by students of the Qinhan Secondary School, in Xi’an, China’s Shaanxi province, show kids walking by piles of freshly cut hair and a scissors-wielding barber working his magic on an offender.

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The People Walker of Los Angeles

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A young Los Angeles actor in need of a second job to pay his bills has come with a brilliant way to supplement his income – people walking.

Chuck McCarthy originally considered becoming a dog walker to earn some extra cash, but soon realized that the job required more than walking canines on a leash. “I didn’t want to pick up dog poop, and that’s kind of what you’really being paid for, for dog walking,” he said. But people don’t usually poop when they’return out on walks, so after taking dogs and leashes out of the equation, Chuck realized there was money to be made waking people around Los Angeles instead.

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People Are Paying to Get into This Indian Jail and Live Like a Prisoner for a Day

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The colonial-era District Central Jail in Sangareddy, India, is giving people the chance to live like an inmate for a day, in exchange for a small fee.

“Feel the Jail” is an innovative initiative created by the the Prisons Department of Telangana district that allows people to experience the feeling of being under detention for a period of 24 hours. During their stay, voluntary inmates are provided with prison uniforms, steel meal plate and glass, soap as well as other facilities according to the prison manual, and are expected to follow the day-to-day routines of regular prisoners, including spending time in their cells and eating prison food.

Although there is no official work schedule for visiting inmates, they have to earn their keep during their stay, so when they are allowed to leave their grated cells, they are required to clean the barracks and plant saplings.

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