Meet the Plus-Size Male Dancer Challenging Ballet Stereotypes

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American ballet dancer Erik Cavanaugh is proving to the world that plus-size performers can be just as agile and graceful as their slim counterparts. His Instagram is filled with photographs and videos of himself performing ballet and other contemporary dance routines. He hopes to appear in music videos and on the Ellen Show, and his ultimate goal is to “change the mind and shape of dancers”.

Erik, 23, works at a pizza parlor by day and spends all his spare time dancing and choreographing. He learned the basics of dance at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School when he was much younger, and was encouraged to post videos of his performances online by his dance coach at his alma mater, Slippery Rock University.

Some of his short video clips feature him pulling off incredibly difficult and impressive moves, like multiple pirouettes, set to contemporary music like Justin Bieber’s Purpose and Jordan Smith’s Settle. The New York Post featured a compilation of Erik’s moves in a Facebook video, which went viral, inspiring millions around the world.

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Chinese Man Uses Single Bamboo Stick as a Raft to Cross Large River on His Way to Work

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Who needs a boat when you’ve got incredible core strength and balance? Two simple bamboo poles will do if you’re anything like this 51-year-old Chinese man who is able to cross a large river standing on one pole and rowing with the other!

A video of Fang Shuyun’s unique commute has recently gone viral on Chinese social media and millions were left baffled by the ease with which the middle-aged man navigates the waters of Fuchun River, sailing smoothly and swiftly on a 23-foot bamboo cane. He was reportedly traveling at a speed of 100 to 164 feet per minute.

Fang, a native of Hangzhou city, first tried out the feat one night in 2014 after he missed the last boat ride home from work. He spotted a bamboo pole floating in the river and decided to use it to get to the other side. He failed in that first attempt, but came away with the feeling that he could complete the ride if he worked on his sense of balance. So Fang spent the past two years practicing, and it appears that he has finally managed to master the skill. “The leg you put forward carries the center of the body weight so you should use it to step on the bamboo pole evenly,” he explained, speaking to local media. “Then you use the big toe of your other leg to stop the stick from rolling in water. As long as you achieve a balance and stop the bamboo from turning, it’s possible to cross a river on a single bamboo pole given you’re fit enough.”

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Startup Is All Set to Launch Special Ink That Makes Permanent Tattoos Temporary

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Temporary tattoos have been around for a long time, but as any inking enthusiast would agree, they’re nothing compared to the real deal. And yet, there are times when tattoos don’t end up like you wanted them to, or you just get bored with them after a while. In such cases, getting a tattoo removed involves laser treatments that are both expensive and painful. But not anymore. It might soon be possible to temporarily get a permanent tattoo, thanks to this new type of tattoo ink developed by a group of engineering students.

The special ink has a huge advantage over regular tattoo ink – it can be removed from your skin through an extraordinarily simple and inexpensive process. You simply visit your tattoo artist and have them trace over the tattoo with a removal solution. Voila! It’s all gone. Or, you can just erase the part of it that you don’t like and turn it into a whole new artwork. The choice is yours.

The product is named ‘Ephemeral’, after the team of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering students who took part in the recent $200,000 Entrepreneurs Challenge held by NYU Stern’s Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The team comprised of five School of Engineering students and a sixth one from Stern won the grand prize of $75,000 for their unique invention.

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World’s Least Romantic Couple Spends Wedding Night Copying Chinese Constitution

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In a blatant display of patriotism, a Chinese newlywed couple spent their first night of wedded bliss copying parts of the Communist party’s constitution, by hand. Most people would find this incredibly unromantic, but for Li Yunpeng and his bride Chen Xuanchi, there couldn’t have been a better way to kick start their married life. In fact, they viewed the task as a way of creating “beautiful memories” of their wedding night.

Both Li and Chen are government employees from China’s Jiangxi province. On Monday, photographs of their wedding night appeared in online newspapers, along with a brief account by their employers, the railway bureau of Nanchang city. “Laying down a sheet of paper and neatly copying down out the Party Constitution left blissful memories of their wedding night for these newlyweds,” the report read.

The photos later went viral on social media. The couple can be seen seated next to a double bed decorated with balloons, but they appear oblivious to the romantic decor, completely engrossed in transcribing parts of the 17,000-word, 11-chapter text. They apparently did it as a part of a government-backed challenge called ‘Copy the Communist party constitution for 100 days’.  The initiative was launched in March in a bid to raise awareness of party’s rules, its constitution, and the speeches of general secretary Xi Jinping. As reported by the Global Times, the challenge meant to target party members whose confidence in communism and socialism is beginning to crumble, and those who “advocate western values, violate party rules, work inefficiently, or behave unethically.”

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Young Indian Beggar Has Several Bank Accounts, Gives Loans to Local Traders

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He may not look it, but this young Indian beggar is actually richer than most of the nation’s middle class. Pappu Kumar has managed to make a small fortune during eight years of begging on the streets of Patna, in the state of Bihar. He reportedly has 500,000 rupees ($7,500) stashed away in four bank accounts, and property worth 1.25 crore rupees ($185,000). He even lends money to local businessmen on the side and earns money from the interest charged. But the 33-year-old still doesn’t want to quit begging.

Pappu was not exactly destined for the life of a beggar – he went to high school and even had plans to study engineering in college, but sadly, he suffered an accident that left him partially paralyzed. His father passed away soon after, and he was disowned by the rest of his family. Pappu was then left with no choice but to beg for his survival.

“I passed my intermediate examination with 57 percent marks and a major contributor to this was my mathematics subject where I obtained 72 marks, which was the maximum of all subjects,” he told local media. “My dream was to pursue an engineering course. I was even trying for this, but, in the meantime, I met with a serious accident leaving me paralyzed. I had no option but to turn to begging to eke out my living as my family disowned me after the incident.”

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World’s First Underwater Music Band All Set to Make a Splash

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‘Between Music’, the world’s first aquatic music band, are all set to perform their very first underwater concert – ‘Aquasonic’ – at Rotterdam on 27 May. The Danish ensemble will be playing specific instruments and even singing inside water tanks, using special techniques that they developed over 10 long years of experimentation.

The story of this unique musical group began when lead singer and composer Laila Skovmand decided to find a way to sing underwater. Her first experiment involved singing while submerging her mouth in a kitchen bowl filled with water. While she was able to produce sounds, she was also generating a lot of bubbles that added ‘pop’ sounds to the music. But she was determined to find a way to sing underwater, so she kept trying new things.

After a lot of trial and error, Laila finally came up with a technique that involves holding an air bubble in her mouth and singing through it while submerged in water. She has to rise to the top once every minute to breathe in fresh air and start with a new bubble, but otherwise, she claims it works. “There is also a technique where I switch between singing on the exhale and inhale,” she says. “But it can be hard to control.” Due to the small amount of air in a bubble, the underwater singer can only produce short tones, preferably high ones, because lower tones tend to sound nasal. 

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Rare Genetic Condition Allows 53-Year-Old to Run 350 Miles without Stopping

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Most athletes would agree that lactic acid build-up in the muscles is the bane of all long-distance runners – but not American jogger Dean Karnazes. The 53-year-old has a rare genetic condition that rapidly flushes lactic acid from his system, allowing him to run indefinitely without ever experiencing a cramp or a seized muscle. The extreme runner has completed a marathon to the South Pole at -25C, and completed 50 back to back marathons in 50 days. He’s also jogged a whopping 350 miles in just 80 hours and 44 minutes, without any sleep!

When people exercise, glucose is converted into energy and a by-product of this reaction is lactic acid. As it builds up in the muscles, it causes cramps and fatigue, and signals the brain to stop. But in Dean’s case, he never receives those signals because lactic acid never builds up in his muscles. So he’s able to run for long distances over very long periods of time, giving him an edge in some of the toughest endurance competitions in the world.

“At a certain level of intensity, I do feel like I can go a long way without tiring,” Dean said, speaking to The Guardian. “No matter how hard I push, my muscles never seize up. That’s kind of a nice thing if I plan to run a long way. To be honest, what eventually happens is that I get sleepy. I’ve run through three nights without sleep and the third night of sleepless running was a bit psychotic. I actually experienced bouts of ‘sleep running’, where I was falling asleep while in motion, and I just willed myself to keep going.”

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Guy Builds Giant Portrait of His Crush with 840 Rubik’s Cubes, Gets Rejected

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In a bid to get the attention of his crush, a young man from China spent three nights arranging 846 Rubik’s cubes to create a giant 2.6m x 1.3m pixelated portrait of her. Sadly, the grand gesture got him nowhere – the gift was eventually rejected by the girl of his dreams and he now has no idea what to do with it.

Tong Aonan, a 27-year-old mechanic from Shenyang, spent two whole months mapping out the portrait design before he actually got to work on the project. He also spent $460 on the Rubik’s cubes, and solved each one of them to fit his design. He then stacked the cubes in a wooden frame one by one to make the actual portrait, which he gifted to his crush. And she refused to accept it.

Surprisingly, Tong isn’t taking the rejection too seriously. “I’m not giving it too much thought,” he said. “I simply wanted to surprise her and tell her I like her… but I was rejected.” Not everyone is able to share his nonchalance though – lots of people online are leaving comments about ‘feeling his pain’ and questioning her for rejecting him.

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Indian Man Spends 40 Days Digging a Well after His Wife Is Denied Access to Drinking Water

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Determined to provide his family with drinking water after they were refused access to a local well, this Indian man spent 40 days digging up a 15-ft well in his hometown of Kalambeshwar village, in the state of Maharashtra. Under normal circumstances it would have taken four or five people to complete such a task, but Bapurao Tajne managed to do it all by himself.

Tajne, a daily-wage laborer, is a member of the village’s Dalit community, which has long since been discriminated against by people from ‘upper’ castes. In this case, Tajne’s wife Sangita went to draw water from a well in the village, but was insulted by the owner of the well and asked to stay away from it. Incensed by the incident that took place in the midst of the severe water crisis Maharashtra, Tajne decided to dig Sangita her very own well, so she would never have to suffer this kind of humiliation.

Using tools that he bought from the nearby Malegaon city, Tajne started digging and kept at it for six hours a day – four hours before his regular job and two hours after. Given that three existing wells had already gone dry in the village, it seemed like a foolhardy initiative, and the other villagers discouraged him and even made fun of his stubbornness. No one stepped forward to help him and even his wife stayed away for fear of being ridiculed. But Bapurao didn’t give up – he kept on digging until, on the 40th day, he finally struck water.

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Awesome Dad Builds DIY Artificial Pancreas for His Diabetic Son

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When little Andrew Calabrese’s pancreas gave out at age three, leaving him with a lifelong diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, his parents Heidi and Jason wanted to do everything possible help him through the life altering disease. While Heidi set-up a support group to connect with other families battling the illness, Jason, a software engineer, devoted his time to building a device that could help regulate his son’s insulin levels.

He eventually succeeded in building an artificial pancreas system using OpenAPS (Open Artificial Pancreas System), a free online project that makes APS technology widely available to anyone who wants to save lives and reduce the burden of Type 1 diabetes. Developed by 27-year-old Type 1 diabetic Dana Lewis in December 2014, OpenAPS provides “a safety-focused reference design, a toolset, and an open source reference implementation that can be used by any individual – or any medical device manufacturer.”

Using these instructions, Jason spent two months learning how to hack an old insulin pump to automatically keep blood glucose (BG) levels in a safe range – both overnight and in between meals. He added a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that would provide BG data to the pump, and command it to adjust the temporary basal rates accordingly. After ensuring the device’s safety, and getting their doctor’s approval, Andrew finally began using OpenAPS to keep his insulin levels in check. In fact, the third-grader even carries it to school in his backpack. “OpenAPS is there when I can’t be,” Jason said. “It’s cut the time Andrew spends below 80 mg/dL in half.”

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10-Year-Old Girl Does 2,110 Sit-ups in 90 Minutes, Sets New National Record

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While most adults struggle to keep their bulging bellies under check, 10-year-old Kyleigh Bass, from Kansas City is putting grown men to shame with her rock solid abs – she recently broke the national record by completing a whopping 2,110 consecutive sit-ups in a mere 90 minutes.

Kyleigh had initially set herself a goal of 2,002 ab-crunches – one over the previous Project Fit America record of 2,001. It was no easy feat, and for a moment it even looked as though she was going to throw up, but she somehow worked through the nausea and surpassed her goal, breaking the record by no less than 109 sit-ups.

“I wanted to break this record because I am a very competitive person and I like to be at the top,” said Kyleigh, who was trained by her PE teacher Bill Lentz at Foxhill Elementary. She had worked hard all through the winter, focusing on strengthening her core muscles. But during the challenge on 7 May, she suffered severe stomach pain and nearly threw up. Her parents, who were taking turns to hold her feet the whole time, encouraged her to keep going.

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Philadelphia Library Lets Job Seekers Borrow Ties for Their Interview

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Just as a library responds to the reading needs of a community, a ‘tiebrary’ caters to people who are in dire need of a tie but can’t afford to buy one. Housed by the Paschalville Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the tiebrary stocks 48 pieces of neckwear in various colors and patterns, ranging from traditional ties to bright and trendy cravats. Anyone with a library card is welcome to checkout a tie for up to three weeks at a time.

The tie-lending initiative was started mainly to help out the vast population of unemployed men, particularly in southwest Philadelphia, where the Paschalville Branch is located. The neighborhood is marked by its high rates of poverty and unemployment, and is home to several immigrants and former inmates in dire need of a job. So this local library is trying to do its bit to help the community.

“It’s an illustration of libraries really responding to the needs of their communities,” said Nate Eddy, librarian and strategy coordinator for the Free Library of Philadelphia. “People still associate libraries with quiet places to check out a book, but we’re so much more than that.”

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The Inspiring Story of a Man Who Became a Top Bicycle Repairman after Losing Nine Fingers and Both Legs

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23 years ago, Yue Jin lost both his legs and nine of his fingers in a freak accident. He thought his life was over, but somehow found the strength to start over and today he is one of the most sought-after bicycle repairmen in Jilin City, northern China.

In 1993, while he was cutting firewood in the mountains of Jilin province, Yue Jin accidentally fell into a deep valley and almost died. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate both his legs and all but one of his ten fingers. For a man who made his living with his hands, it was almost a death sentence. And it was even more devastating considering Yue had also lost his wife just three days after childbirth, leaving him to take care of their daughter. After the accident, he couldn’t see any other way to do that than go out and beg for a few coins and some food, so he left his daughter in the care of some neighbors and ventured out on to the streets.

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Turkish Tailor Creates the World’s Smallest Pair of Jeans

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A tailor from Turkey is in the news for making the smallest machine-sewn pair of jeans in the world, measuring a mere 0.9 cm in length. Kasim Andaç, 34, is now hoping that his liliput jeans will earn him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Tailoring has been in Kasim’s family for generations, and he now manages the family business in Konya city, in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region. “I was bored by the profession at first, but after working on being a tailor with my father, I learned to love it and to love the opportunities for innovation and creativity,” Kasim said.

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Disturbing Trend Has Teens eating Garden Plant Seeds for Their Hallucinogenic Effects

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In a disturbing new trend, teens across America are ditching common party drugs for easily accessible garden plant seeds like Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Sleepy Grass, and Blue Morning Glory, which are believed to replicate the hallucinogenic effects of LSD. One of the main advantages of this move is that it’s very easy to get your hands on a packet of seeds from any garden store without raising suspicion.

Experts are now warning that the seeds mentioned contain LSA (lysergic acid amide), which is a hallucinogenic substance. They can easily put anyone on a high when swallowed whole or crushed and added to tea, affecting the user’s vision and sense of time. Extreme euphoria and extreme fatigue are the other symptoms involved. In extreme cases, consumption can also trigger flashbacks, psychotic episodes, vomiting, and overwhelming paranoia.

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