America’s Longest-Standing Protester Passes Away after Spending 35 Years Outside the White House

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Last week, Washington, D.C. mourned the death of Concepcion ‘Connie’ Picciotto, a legendary peace activist who had been camping in front of the White House since 1981. She was a well-known personality in the U.S. Capital, having manned the peace vigil tent for three-and-a-half decades, suffering the worst of both weather and humanity, all in an attempt to “stop the world from being destroyed.”

Orphaned in Spain and raised by a grandmother, Connie arrived in New York in 1960, where she worked as a receptionist for a Spanish government commercial attaché. She married an Italian immigrant a few years later, and they adopted an infant daughter, Ogla, in 1973. But she claimed that things started to turn sour when her husband, in an attempt to conceal his criminal dealings, sent her to a mental institution. She lost her daughter in a custody dispute after her release, and ended up in Washington, where she naturally gravitated towards larger causes.

Connie joined the anti-nuclear White House Peace Vigil a few months after it was started by another activist, William Thomas. They camped out together outside the White House for 25 years, and when he passed away in 2009, she kept the vigil going with the help of other activists who joined her from time to time. Picciotto’s peace vigil is considered the longest in the history of the United States.

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People Keep Showing Up at This House Looking for Their Lost Phones

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Since February last year, a host of strangers have been showing up uninvited at Christina Lee and Michael Saba’s suburban Atlanta home, for the weirdest reason – they’re all looking for their lost phones!

Much to the young couple’s surprise, smartphone tracking apps all over the city have been directing phone owners to their house. It all started when an angry family came knocking at their door last February, demanding that Lee and Saba return their stolen phone. The bewildered couple had no idea what they were talking about. Then same thing happened two months later, this time with a group of friends looking for a lost phone.

Soon the problem got worse, with four such visitors showing up within the span of a month. People would call on them morning, noon, and night, all with the same, bizarre question – “where the heck is my phone?” Of course, Lee and Saba had no clue about the missing phones – some Android, some iPhones – with a variety of carriers. They even developed a standard response: “I’m sorry you came all this way. This happens a lot.”

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UK Company Is Growing Furniture by Molding Trees into Chairs, Tables or Lamps

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Money might not grow on trees, but it seems that furniture does! Gavin Munro, a UK-based designer, has come up with a brilliant alternative to chopping beautiful trees and converting them into furniture. He simply molds young saplings to take the shape of any piece of furniture he wants. Once matured, the trees are ready to be harvested and used with no cutting, sawing, or assembling required.

Munro, who runs a company called ‘Full Grown’, said he wants to “rethink our relationship with trees and time.” His idea is to get rid of environmentally unfriendly practices involved in the mass manufacture of furniture, and replace it with a much easier process.

“When you look at it from a manufacturing point of view and from a design point of view, it actually makes total sense. Why would you grow trees, chop them down with all the faff?” he questioned. “Why don’t you just grow the shape you want and it is eminently scalable? You can make thousands of these in the same way as you can make 10, but each one is unique.”

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Meet India’s Moonwalking Traffic Cop

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Kunwar Ranjeet Singh, a self-confessed Michael Jackson fan, is also India’s most fascinating traffic cop. Drawing inspiration from his idol, he ‘moonwalks’ his way through his daily duties in one of the busiest intersections of the city of Indore, in central India.

The ‘dancing cop of Indore’ has actually come up with several routines to help manage traffic on the often chaotic streets, and the moonwalk is one of them. “Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters,” he said. “That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules.”

Singh apparently wanted to be a dancer, but chose to become a traffic cop after he lost two close friends to road accidents. He’s been controlling Indore’s traffic for the past six years now, and he’s found a way to incorporate his love of dancing into the job. He believes it’s is a great way to remain stress-free in the midst of chaos, and to really make a difference. “One should leave an impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signalling people on the roads,” he said.

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Japanese Taxi Drivers Report ‘Ghost Passengers’ in Area Hit by 2011 Tsunami

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In a chilling turn of events, some taxi drivers in Japan are claiming to have picked up ‘ghost passengers’ in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the nation in March 2011. As many as seven of the 100 drivers interviewed by Yuka Kudo, a student of sociology at Tohoku, admitted to having encountered phantom fares.

Kudo conducted the interviews as a part of her graduation thesis, traveling to the coastal town of Ishinomaki every week for a year to speak to taxi drivers waiting for fares. She asked over 100 drivers the same question: “Did you have any unusual experiences after the disaster?” Many of them ignored her, some even got angry, but seven drivers agreed to describe their strange encounters.

One driver recounted a particularly unsettling story – in the summer of 2011, a woman dressed in a coat climbed into his taxi near Ishinomaki station. She said, “Please go to the Mianmihama Station.” When he pointed out that there was nothing left standing in the district, she asked him in a shivering voice, “Have I died?” The driver immediately turned around, only to find the back seat empty.

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Bionic Filmmaker Replaces One of His Eyeballs with a Small Camera

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Rob Spence, a Toronto-based filmmaker, is so dedicated to his craft that he’s replaced one of his eyeballs with a camera-eye. Before you become too horrified, you should know that he hasn’t taken out a real eyeball, just a fake one that he’s had since he was a kid.

43-year-old Spence – who calls himself an Eyeborg – lost sight in one eye in a freak accident at age nine – he was shooting a pile of cow dung and badly injured his eye when he held the shotgun incorrectly. Since then, he’s lived with a fake eyeball in his right socket. But he recently thought it would be more interesting to remove it and replace it with a camera of his own invention.

The camera-eye looks like a regular prosthetic, but it isn’t connected to an optic nerve so Spence cannot actually see with it. It is equipped with a micro radio-frequency transmitter and whatever the eye can ‘see’ is played on a handheld monitor. The camera can be switched on and off with a push of a button.

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Bizarre Skin Condition Turns Man into ‘Human Suction Cup’

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Jamie ‘Canhead’ Keeton, a.k.a the ‘human suction cup’, can stick cans, bottles and other inanimate objects on to his skin. And he does it without using any external adhesives, because his skin’s pores are magically able to “suck up things” and make them stick!

Things have always been sticking to Keeton, but as a kid living in Florida he used to climb pine trees, so everyone thought it was because of the pine sap. He first discovered his sticky ability about 20 years ago, after shaving his head for the first time. “It was a hot day, and I was trying to cool my head down by holding a soda pop to it,” he said. “But then the team hit a home run and I let go of my soda to try and grab the ball, but I missed. Then I was like, ‘Where’s my drink?’”

The can, it turned out, was stuck to the back of his head horizontally, and the drink was pouring out of it. “Everyone was laughing,” he recalled.

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World’s First Caffeinated Toothpaste Jolts You Awake and Prevents Cavities

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If you find that you simply cannot start your day without a caffeine fix, but can’t stand the aftertaste of coffee, this toothpaste is just the thing for you. Invented by American entrepreneur Dan Meropol, Power Energy Toothpaste is the world’s first caffeinated toothpaste, designed to give people that much needed morning boost as well as keep their teeth squeaky clean.

Meropol, a Brown University graduate, said he was disturbed to learn that only fifty percent of Americans floss daily, and fifty percent brush only once a day. So he was trying to come up with ways to inspire people to take better care of their teeth, when his friend Ian suggested a caffeinated toothpaste.

At first, Meropol figured that a caffeinated toothpaste must already exist, but he was shocked to learn that no one had ever thought of it before. So he decided to run with the idea and started formulating a special blend of his own. He eventually came up with Power Toothpaste, which provides an instant hit of caffeine that’s absorbed through the gums and mouth.

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The World’s Smallest Nightclub Is the Size of a Phone Booth

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‘Teledisko’, the world’s smallest disco, is probably the most exclusive party place you can find. Started by German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, the nightclub – a repurposed phone booth located in the Berlin’s trendy Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district – can only accommodate two people at a time.

The coin-operated entry ensures that no one but you and your chosen friends can  access the bright yellow party booth. Inside, Teledisko has all the trimmings of a proper nightclub – a smoke machine, stroboscope, light effects, a disco ball, dry ice, and a touchscreen that lets you select and play your favorite music. The cramped interiors might prevent you from taking selfies, but the booth comes with a built-in camera that takes pictures and records videos of your unforgettable night.

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This Virtual Tour Lets People Experience Dementia

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In a bid to raise awareness about dementia, UK based healthcare training institute Training2Care has started a new initiative – the Mobile Virtual Dementia Tour.

Feared more than cancer, dementia is a general term referring to the decline in mental ability, marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. Sadly, it only receives a tenth of the funding of cancer. Which is why Glenn Knight, chief executive of Training2Care, hopes that more hospital trusts will host the tour and raise awareness about the condition.

The Virtual Dementia Tour isn’t new – it’s been in the US for a decade, and is currently available in 17 countries around the world. It’s been in the UK for two years now, but this is the first time a mobile version is being made available to the public. The tour is designed to take away all the primary senses, allowing participants to experience the troubling states that people with dementia go through every day.

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Lose to Win – California City Motivates Locals to Lose Weight with $3,500 Cash Prize

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In a bid to get residents interested in a healthy lifestyle, municipal officials in Lynwood, California, have a yearly program in place called ‘Cash for Chunkers’. Participants are divided into teams of four, and for 12 weeks they compete to see who can lose the most weight. This year, the winning team gets to take home a cash prize of $3,500.

Lynwood has a serious weight problem – one in five adults here are obese – but instead of taking restrictive measures like banning sodas or raising taxes on fast food, local authorities decided to motivate people to shed some pounds by offering them cash prizes.

Cash for Chunkers is self-funded, with a $25 entry fee per participant, and a $1-fine per pound gained during the 12-week period. The program is meant to get the people of Lynwood to eat healthy and exercise regularly. To help participants do better, it includes motivational discussions and classes on nutrition, cooking, and exercise. The teams also meet up every Saturday for a weighing session. “If they fail, they later return because they know we’re going to help them here and we’re going to work as a community,” said Mark Flores, director of Lynwood’s Recreation and Community Services Department.

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7-Year-Old ‘Bionic’ Girl Is Immune to Pain, Hunger and Fatigue

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Meet Olivia Farnsworth, a British girl who doesn’t feel any pain and never feels the need to eat or sleep. At age seven, she’s able to go for days without sleeping and eating, and comes away from terrible injuries with nonchalance. In fact, she was recently run over and dragged down the street by a car, but she casually walked away from the accident without shedding a tear!

Olivia has doctors baffled. They know she suffers from a condition caused by something called chromosome 6 deletion, but this is the first time they’ve witnessed anyone displaying three rare symptoms at once. According to her mother Niki Trepak, the little girl has no sense of danger because she literally cannot feel pain, and neither does she feel the need to sleep or eat. Her doctors have nicknamed her ‘bionic girl’, while her mother says she’s “made of steel.”

“She got run over and dragged down the street by a car and she didn’t complain,” Niki said, shortly after the accident. “It was horrendous, I don’t think it’s something I will ever get over. I was screaming and all my other children were screaming as she ran out. But Olivia was just like, ‘What’s going on?’ She just got up and started walking back to me.”

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Posh Interior Design Shop Paints Simple Logs, Sells Them for $14 Apiece

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When Sally Bourne Interiors, a posh shop in Muswell Hill, London, decided to paint a few firewood logs for their Christmas window display, they had no idea they were actually creating the latest decor trend that would sell out in just a few days’ time. Believe it or not, they ended up selling about 60 logs of painted wood at £10 ($14) apiece!

“They were used as a window display over the Christmas period, but then we got lots of people asking if they could buy them when that finished,” the store manager said. “We didn’t want to throw them away so we decided to sell them as people thought they could make stools and side tables out of them. We had about 50 or 60 logs in total and most of them were the large ones, which were a good 50cm circumference.”

The logs were apparently sold out last Thursday, with the last one going at a whopping £30 ($40).

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This Man Is Trying to Get Popcorn Banned at the Cinema

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For most people, the cinema experience is simply incomplete without a bag of crunchy popcorn, but believe it or not, there’s actually a guy trying to get popcorn banned in movie theaters.

Mike Shotton, from Newcastle, England, says that he’s never been able to enjoy himself at the theater because his experience is always ruined by having to put up with people chomping on popcorn. His patience finally snapped when he went to watch the newly released Star Wars movie as he just couldn’t get over children rustling and chowing down on popcorn.

“The noise is something that’s always bothered me, ever since I was a little kid,” Shotton said. “I’m the kind of person that if I hear something in the background, I focus on that until that’s all I can hear. But it was the popcorn noise ruining Star Wars that really did it for me. I was really looking forward to that film. I couldn’t believe the amount of noise during the film – it completely ruined it for me.”

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Chinese Woman Dumped Because of Her Weight Threatens to Send Ex Bar of Soap Made from Her Own Fat

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The story of a woman’s revenge on her ex-boyfriend and his family has gone viral on Chinese social media. After getting dumped because of her weight, the woman from Henan province proceeded to remove all her excess fat through liposuction and used some of that fat to create a bar of soap. She now plans to avenge herself by sending it as a gift to her ex’s mother.

The woman, who goes by the online name ‘Xiao Xiao loves beauty and eating’, posted a photograph of herself holding the unique bar of soap on Weibo on January 7, along with a scathing message. “Yang Xiaolei, do you still remember last Spring Festival?” she wrote. “Since I can’t accompany you to go home this year, I used my own fat to make a soap and give it to your mother for bathing. Spring Festival is a time to give a gift to those low-class men who judge women by appearance.”

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