Doctor Claims Rare Condition Allows Him to Feel Patient’s’ Physical Pain

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People often use the phrase “I feel you pain” when trying to comfort somebody, but usually it has a figurative meaning. That’s not the case with Joel Salinas, a doctor suffering from a rare condition called mirror-touch synesthesia which actually allows him to feel the physical pain of his patients.

Salinas, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that he has had the condition since childhood. Whenever he would observe other people hugging, for instance, he would feel hugged as well. And when he saw people get hit, he felt the discomfort too. “When I see people, I have the sensation of whatever touches their body on my own body, and it’s kind of reflected as a mirror,” he explained.

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Belgian Man Shuns Civilization to Live as a Hunter-Gatherer in Slovenia

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Angelo Valkenborg had it all – a good job, a marriage, and a nice home, but at one point in his life, he realised that none of that made him truly happy. So the 31-year-old Belgian left his old life behind and moved to a forest in Slovenia to live like a hunter-gatherer.

Angelo had always been fascinated by the great outdoors and started getting into survival techniques in the wild. But his work and family life didn’t exactly go hand in hand with his favorite pastime. It was after returning from a three week expedition in the wilderness of Northern Sweden that he learned his marriage had failed. His “intense passion for the outdoors” was apparently too much for his wife to handle. “Who can blame her?” he wrote on his blog. “I went fr’om a salesperson who cared a lot about going out and having a good time to a always dressed in outdoor gear geek.

Angelo-Valkenborgh

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It’s Late Summer but This Everlasting Pile of Snow in Buffalo Still Hasn’t Melted

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The residents of Buffalo, New York, are baffled by a 12-ft pile of snow that hasn’t melted in eight months. The giant pile, located near Central Terminal on the Queen City’s east side, has been around since the ‘Snowvember’ storm last year, and seems unaffected by the summer heat.

According to New York state climatologist Mark Wysocki, the “original problem started back in November.” After the storm, city workers had no place to put all the excess snow so they decided to dump it in a vacant lot. Then they used bulldozers to flatten and compact the pile. By doing that, they created insulation, effectively producing a very slowly melting snow pile.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s weird when you think about it,” said Storm Team 2 meteorologist Patrick Hammer. “That pile of snow is like a glacier. It’s very dense and it’s covered in dirt and garbage, which acts to insulate the snow from the sun’s rays. That’s what melts the snow, not just the heat but the sun’s rays, and it’s protected.”

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Staffless Pay-What-You-Will Bookstore in China Actually Works

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A peculiar outdoor bookstore recently opened in Nanjing, China. There is no cashier desk and no working staff to keep an eye on the books. Instead, visitors are invited to peruse the reading material on offer and pay whatever they want for books by dropping the money in a lock-box.

Organizers say the aptly named Honesty Bookstore is a social experiment meant to raise awareness of honesty and integrity. Believe it or not, so far, people have been doing the right thing. With no staff around, there is absolutely nothing stopping people from just taking the books they like and leaving without paying anything for them. Well, nothing but their conscience, that is. According to several news reports from China, people have actually been dropping money inside the box of their own free will, and Honesty Bookstore organizers claim that the raised money is enough to cover costs.

Honesty-Bookstore

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MC1R – The World’s First Magazine for and About Redheads

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Over the years, redheads have borne the brunt of many jokes, enjoying very little appreciation in the fashion world. Changing all that is MC1R – the first and only magazine dedicated to gingers.

In scientific lingo, MC1R is a protein that regulates skin and hair color in mammals. A mutated MC1R protein is believed to cause red hair. So it happens to be a befitting title for the magazine, which exclusively caters to people with red hair. It features content on a wide range of topics, including contemporary art and fashion editorials, interviews with musicians and designers, and current events. Every story is related to red hair.

MC1R-Magazine

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Moss Viewing – A Strange Yet Increasingly Popular Japanese Pastime

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A lot of people walk by moss all the time, without even giving the time of day, but in Japan, they actually have this thing call moss viewing that involves going on trips to damp places and staring at moss for hours, as a means of relaxation.

According to Takeshi Ueno, a plant ecology expert at Tsuru University, the activity is particularly popular among women, because “they are rich in emotions”. “They can innocently enjoy changes in the shapes and colors of leaves, for example, so they are well-suited to moss viewing,” Ueno, who usually leads the moss viewing trips near Lake Shirakoma, added.

It all started in 2013, when Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel in Aomori Prefecture introduced a one-night program that included an observation tour of the moss colonies in a riverside forest. It was an unsuspected success, and after the Bryological Society of Japan named the area around Lake Shirakoma a ‘precious moss-covered forest’, moss-viewing became a regular affair. The event has become so popular among female travelers that it is held about eight times a year.

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India’s Medicine Baba Takes Prescription Medicine from the Rich, Gives It to the Poor

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Omkarnath, a retired blood-bank technician from New Delhi, is a modern-day medical Robin Hood. For the past three years, the 79-year-old has been collecting unused prescription drugs from the wealthy and distributing them among the less fortunate. His efforts have earned him the nickname ‘Medicine Baba’.

‘Baba’ is a term used in India to describe a wise, elderly man. New Delhi’s very own Medicine Baba walks over seven kilometers each day, combing the city and stopping at almost every door, asking for unused medicines. He’s also set up dozens of collection boxes in private clinics around the city, where people can make donations. According to Omkarnath, “Every bungalow in Delhi has extra medicines, but they are throwing them in their dustbins.” But the best neighborhoods, he insists, are the middle-class and lower middle-class ones. “One morning, I got a strip of anti-cancer medication worth 35,000 rupees ($545),” he recalled.

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Japanese Anti-Suicide Crusader Has Saved over 500 People in the Last 11 Years

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Yukio Shige, a retired police officer from Japan, has devoted the past decade of his life to preventing suicides. After foiling hundreds of suicide attempts in little over a decade, the 70-year-old has come to be known as ‘chotto matte man’. In Japanese, ‘chotto matte’ translates to ‘hold on, wait!’

In the last 11 years, Yukio Shigehas has managed to save over 500 lives – a significant number even in Japan, a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. He patrols the Tojinbo cliffs, in Fukui Prefecture – a popular tourist site that is also notorious for suicides. He goes there every single day, with three other volunteers. Together they use binoculars to spot people who might be contemplating suicide, and try to talk them out of it.

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Guy Wins French-Language Scrabble Championship, Doesn’t Even Speak French

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Nigel Richards is a beast when it comes to the game of Scrabble. He’s so good that he recently won the French Language Scrabble Championship without even speaking the language. ‘

“He doesn’t speak any French at all – he just learned the words,” Nigel’s friend Liz Fagerlund told the media. “He won’t know what they mean, wouldn’t be able to carry out a conversation in French, I wouldn’t think.” No wonder they call him the ‘Tiger Woods of Scrabble’.

French journalist and self-confessed Scrabble lover Jean-Baptiste Morel wrote: “He doesn’t speak French, but he learned to play in our language by reading the words of the ODS (Official Scrabble Book) as if it were a sequence of letters to learn. The man, as well as having a perfect command of the vocabulary, possesses an impressive game tactic that allows him to leapfrog the competition.” Morel added that Richard had managed to win in spite of a “pretty rotten” draw of letters.

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This Woman Lets Self-Proclaimed Vampires Suck Her Blood

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28-year-old Blut Katzchen, from Shreveport, Louisiana, recently made a shocking revelation – she allows self-proclaimed vampires to suck blood directly from her body!

There’s actually a term for people like Blut – they’re called ‘black swans’. Blut herself revealed that she’s been “entranced” with the whole vampire culture since she was very young. “I found a book on vampires in my sister’s collection and became completely entranced with it,” she said. “It takes a very specific type of mindset to enjoy being a swan – you have to be more submissive and enjoy giving.”

Blut’s latest admirer is 43-year-old Michael Vachmiel, from Houston, who claims that sucking her blood gives him a boost of energy. The duo met at a Vampire Ball two years ago, and have been meeting a few times a year ever since. “You have to have a very strong connection to the person who is feeding off you,” Blut explained.

Blut-Katzchen

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Kidney Valley – The Nepalese Village Where Almost Everyone Has Sold One of Their Kidneys

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Believe it or not, the villagers of Hokse, Nepal, are so poor that they’re forced to sell their own organs in order to make ends meet. The practice is so common there that the place has been nicknamed ‘Kidney Village’.

Organ brokers regularly visit the village and its surrounding areas and convince cash-strapped locals to part with one of their healthy kidneys. These agents are notorious for tricking innocent villagers into traveling to Southern India to have their operations. They cook up all sorts of tales, telling the poor villagers that humans only need one kidney for survival or that the organ, once removed, will grow back! That particular trick was used to fool Geetha, a mother-of-four who sold her kidney for only $2,000.

“For ten years people came to our village trying to convince us to sell our kidneys but I always said no,” Geetha said. But as her family grew, her desire to provide them with a house got stronger. “I have always wanted my own house and a piece of land, and with more children, I really needed it.” So she traveled with her sister-in-law, an organ broker, to India, and underwent the operation.

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Doctors Save Man’s Severed Hand by Attaching it to His Leg

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Chinese surgeons recently performed a bizarre surgery in order to save a man’s severed hand. They grafted it on to his ankle for a month, before reattaching it to his arm!

The innovative surgery was carried out on factory worker Zhou, from Changsha, China’s Hunan province. Zhou’s left hand was accidentally severed from his arm during an accident involving a spinning blade machine. He was immediately rushed to Xiangya Hospital, where Dr. Tang Juyu and his team realised that the damaged nerves and tendons needed time to heal. If they tried to attach the hand to his arm immediately, its cells would die from lack of blood supply.

“Under normal temperatures, a severed finger needs to resume blood supply within 10 hours, but that time is even shorter for a separated limb,” Tang explained. “If a limb is short of blood for too long, its tissues die and it will be unsalvageable.”

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Silicon Valley Tech Companies Turn to Wiccan Witch to Deal with Pesky Computer Viruses and Demons

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Modern technology doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with witchcraft, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping Silicon Valley companies from employing the services of a Wiccan witch to help them deal with hackers, computer viruses and demonic possessions.

Reverend Joey Talley is a witch of the Wicca faith with more than four decades of experience in dealing with the occult and three master’s degrees under her belt. Based in Marin County, just outside Silicone Valley, the Wiccan witch is the-go-to person for computer programmers, software designers, and engineers facing problems that they feel are supernatural in nature. The fact that Talley has absolutely no background in technology or IT, or that she often refers to the tech industry as the “techno industry” doesn’t bother them one bit.

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Meet “Miss Farewell”, the Most Beautiful Undertaker in Germany

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In an effort to brighten up the image of undertaking, a profession often regarded as joyless, a German online portal for burial price comparisons recently held a unique beauty contest for female undertakers. 36-year-old Rachel Merks got the most votes and was pronounced Miss Farewell.

Merks, who runs an undertaking firm with her husband, in Lachheim, Baden-Württemberg, said she first heard about the Miss Farewell beauty contest from her brother-in-law. Intrigued by the idea, she submitted a few photos of herself along with a short description. Little did Rachel know that she would actually beat 46 other female undertakers from all over Germany and win the coveted title of Germany’s most beautiful undertaker. “It is wonderful to show this depressing taboo theme in another light for once,” the proud winner said.

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Meet Ladybeard, the Bearded Crossdressing Australian Man Taking Japan by Storm

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When you think “kawaii” and “J-pop” the first image that comes into your head is probably not of a fit, hairy Caucasian dude wearing pony tails and tiny women’s clothes. Which is exactly what makes “Ladybeard” so unique and popular in Japan.

Richard Magarey hails from the Australian city of Adelaide, but moved to Hong Kong in 2006 to pursue a career in martial arts stunt career. Drama had been the only thing he was good at in school, and because he also practiced martial arts, he decided to pursue a career as a stunt actor. He worked as ‘Mirrorball Man’ for a while, a persona that required him to put on a giant mirror ball, go to clubs and get patrons grooving to dance music. As weird as that may sound, Magarey claims the gig changed his notion of what a performance could be. “I was in a costume and environment that stripped me of my usual physical, vocal and emotional expression,” he said, in an interview with Japan Today.

But it wasn’t until he got involved in wrestling and adopted a truly bizarre persona that the Australian entertainer discovered what destiny had in store for him. After training in a wrestling gym for over two months, Richard showed up for his first match wearing a skimpy Lolita dress and his hair tied in two childish ponytails. He still had his fuzzy beard and hadn’t bothered to shave his hairy body either. He remembers sitting backstage and thinking to himself “What am I doing? I’m wearing a dress, about to go do this thing that I’ve been doing for two months, in front of a bunch of people. What is wrong with me? Why did I make this decision?” But he eventually did it anyway, and everyone loved it. Ladybeard was born that night, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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