Kazakh Village Affected by Mysterious Condition That Causes People to Suddenly Fall Asleep for Up to Six Days

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Residents of the almost abandoned Soviet town of Krasnogorsk and the areas around Kalachi village, in Kazakhstan, are prone to a mysterious ‘sleeping beauty’ syndrome. The bizarre condition has people suddenly dozing off for as long as six days at a time. It’s like a bad horror film – the illness has gripped these regions and no one knows the reason behind it. Scientists and experts are truly perplexed by the phenomenon.

The weird sleeping illness isn’t prevalent all the time. Instead, it comes in waves – the first one occurred in March 2013 and the second in May 2013. There have been three more since then – around New Year 2014, just after the winter holidays this year, and now again in May. A total of 40 to 60 people have suffered in the scarcely populated region. In most of the cases, the sleep is accompanied by temporary memory loss.

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For Some Strange Reason the Nurses at This Chinese Hospital Dress Like Flight Attendants

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A hospital in eastern China has decided to do away with plain white nurse uniforms. Instead, they have their nurses dressing up like flight attendants. The new initiative began earlier this month at the Lianshui Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital in Huai’an city. Their idea is to glamorize the otherwise thankless profession of nursing, and also provide patients with superior customer service.

Bu Haijuan, head of the hospital’s nursing unit, came up with the idea as a way to remind her nurses to improve their bedside manner. “If you think of all the professions of the world, which one comes to mind when you think of good customer service?” she asked. “It’s airline stewardesses, isn’t it? Nurses learn all sorts of technical skills at college but customer service can be easily overlooked. But flight attendants are specifically trained to have a good attitude and manners.”

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Japanese Actor Who Specializes in Getting Killed by Samurai Has Died More Than 50,000 Times on Screen

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If you’re a Japanese samurai movie buff, you know that there’s always at least one guy who dies in the most peculiar manner. He’s stabbed, or slashed, or sliced with a Samurai sword, and then he twists into weird shapes before he keels over and dies. Well, now you get to know the man himself – Seizo Fukumoto. He’s been dying in Japanese cinema for over 50 years now, and he’s one of the top ‘kirareyaku’ actors – stuntmen who specialize in being killed by the hero samurai.

Being the bad guy who always gets might not sound like much, but Fukumoto says that it’s a crucial part in the movie. “The way my characters die has a huge impact on the impression the lead character gives in a film.” The more ‘cringe-worthy’ the death, the better the hero looks. According to the 71-year-old thespian, a true kirareyaku is “the one who can make them ask, ‘Is he okay?’”

He deliberately adds an awkward grotesqueness to his movements while dying; this is called ‘buzama’ in Japanese. “Whenever we die, we have to do it in a way that is unsightly or clumsy, not graceful,” he explained. “In this buzama, we find beauty. To die in an uncool way is the coolest.”

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Chinese City Tries to Create Artificial Lake Ends Up with Sahara-Like Desert Instead

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Zhengzhou, the capital city of north-central China’s Henan Province, is currently a sandy mess. Officials wanting to create an artificial lake on the outskirts of the city have botched things up so bad that it’s turned into a sprawling desert instead. The sand is everywhere – about 10 meters high and covering an area as large as four football fields. Naturally, Zhengzhou’s residents aren’t pleased.

The idea was nice to begin with – the officials planned to make a beautiful lake on the outskirts of the city by tapping a natural water source called Dragon Lake and removing hundreds of thousands of tons of sand around it. Unfortunately, nature did not play along with the plan. The underground water source dried up and all the dug-up sand began to spread. It has now resulted in a large wasteland of parched earth in the area.

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In South Korea People Check into Prison to Reduce Stress

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Prison would probably be the last place I’d think of checking into to relieve stress, but that’s exactly what hundreds of South Koreans are doing these days.‘Prison Inside Me’ is a stress-reduction center with a penal theme, located on the outskirts of Hongcheon, about 58 miles northeast of Seoul.

Prison Inside Me is the brainchild of 47-year-old Kwon Yong-seok, who was previously a lawyer. “I didn’t know how to stop working back then,” he said. “I felt like I was being swept away against my will, and it seemed I couldn’t control my own life.” That’s when he decided to spend time behind bars. He asked his old acquaintance – a prison governor – if he could spend a week locked up in jail. Although he said it was for ‘therapeutic reasons’, his bizarre request was rejected.

So Kwon decided to take matters into his own hands, and began to make plans for his  prison-like spiritual center. It was ready in June last year, after a year of construction that cost about 2 billion won ($19 million). Kwon managed to cover the cost through loans and donations from friends and relatives. The facility, he said, was not built for profit.

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Meet the Human Punching Bag Who Makes a Living by Getting Punched in the Stomach

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Thankfully, I’ve never been beat up, but I imagine it must be a horrible thing to go through. Which is why I find this 48-year-old Chinese man’s choice of career strange, to say the least. Xie Shuiping actually volunteers to take punches from random strangers, for a fee. Surprisingly, taking a beating is a rather decent source of income, earning him about $3,500 a month.

Xie, who is also known as the ‘human punching bag’, hangs around streets, bars and nightclubs, just waiting to get punched. Each person who comes forward is allowed to punch him three times in the stomach, as hard as possible. The ‘performance’ lasts about 20 minutes, and those who beat him or shake him can receive free drinks at the bar. Financial rewards aside, the human punching bag also likes to think he helps people let off some team as well. “If you are upset by your boss or your wife, don’t blame them. Vent your anger on me. Let society be harmonious,” he said.

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Man Tries to Find Love on Facebook Gets Rejected by 5,000 Women

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Some people just can’t seem to catch a break. Predrag Jovanovic, a single man from Serbia trying to find love online, hasn’t gotten a single positive response after contacting 5,000 different women on Facebook.

Desperate for love, the 34-year-old Serbian had turned to Facebook to find his soulmate. He sent individual messages to 5,000 different women, asking if they would consider being his girlfriend. Unfortunately, none of the responses were favourable. “I got only 15 responses and they were all negative,” he said. “All 15 politely refused to be my girlfriend, while the rest of them simply ignored me. When someone ignores you, that’s the worst thing of all.”

But Jovanovic hasn’t lost hope yet; he vows to continue his mission to find his perfect woman online. Well, he actually doesn’t have any other options, as most of the women in his tiny village (near Belgrade) are either married or grandmothers. He also said that he finds speaking to women online easier, owing to his shy nature. He admitted that he doesn’t laugh much, and that his behavior towards strangers can be stiff at times.

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Students Across the Country Are Brokering Deals to Get Out of Exams if They Get Enough Retweets

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I never thought I’d live to see the day when Tweets could replace a student’s academic performance. But it’s actually becoming a popular trend. Teachers all over the United States are promising to cancel final exams if their students manage to get a sufficient number of retweets. I’m not sure the teachers always mean it, but it appears that the students are their deals quite seriously.

It all started with one opportunistic student – Andrew Muennink of Round Rock High School in Texas – who struck a sweet deal with his art teacher. Andrew is quite popular on Twitter, with over 2,300 followers. “I try my best and the final is supposed to be so hard, so I was like, ‘I have lots of followers on Twitter’”.

So he decided to leverage his vast following to his benefit. He approached his art teacher on 7 May and succeeded in striking a deal – if he could get 15,000 retweets by 12 p.m. on May 23rd, his class would be excused from taking the art final. His post spread quickly all over the internet, and he achieved his goal long before the deadline.

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Forget Facelifts, Engagement Ring Selfies Spark New Hand-Lift Craze

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It’s stories like these that make me truly worried for the future of the human race. First we heard of people getting plastic surgery for the picture perfect selfie, and now, in a bizarre new trend, engaged women are getting hand jobs (no pun intended), to achieve the perfect ‘engagement ring selfie’.

It’s the latest thing on social media – as soon as the man pops the question, women click pictures of the ring on their finger, posting it online for the world to see. But not all women are happy with shape of their hands, so they turn to image altering tools like Photoshop to make them look better. Only now they have a new solution – cosmetic hand-lifts.

The procedure involves an anti-aging treatment called Juvederm, which is an injectable form of hyaluronic acid. Doctors use it to convert aging hands with visible tendons and veins into youthful, plump hands worthy of showing off a stunning diamond ring. Usually used on the face to fill in lines and wrinkles, Juvederm works wonders on the hands too, if the ‘before’ and ‘after shots are to be believed.

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Mother’s Day Event in China Lets Men Experience Pain of Childbirth

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Of all the Mother’s Day events this year, I think this one was the most befitting – putting men through the pain of childbirth. A local TV station in Nanchang City, in south China’s Jiangxi province, had about 20 men volunteering to put themselves through the excruciating pain of labor . They were hooked up to a special machine that simulated the pain using electric shocks. Needless to say, the men couldn’t even last 30 seconds.

The theme of the TV show was to have men submit to the pains that women endure during childbirth. The challenge consisted of 10 levels of pain, with an agony scale ranging from 50 to 500. Electric shocks were sent into the abdomens of the male volunteers in order to achieve the desired effect. Predictably, the men were writhing in pain within seconds, begging to stop the experiment.

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Iowa Distillery Wants to Raise Pigs That Taste Like Rye Whisky

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The Templeton Rye Distillery, in Templeton, Iowa, is trying to create a revolutionary pork flavor. The founders of the distillery realized that since alcohol is used in meat marinades all the time, why not have meat that comes ‘pre-cured’? So they’re raising 25 pigs that will, hopefully, end up tasting like rye whisky. This is the first experiment of its kind, so there’s really no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out.

Now, if you’re imagining 25 pigs in a pen getting drunk on whisky all day, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. The pigs actually aren’t being fed any whisky at all. Their diet consists of a distinct feed that is mixed with the dry distillery grain from the whiskey-making process. That’s how they plan to infuse the flavor into the pigs’ meat. The swine are currently being cared for by Nick Berry, who has a Ph.D. in Animal Studies.

According to Berry, the pigs are purebred Duroc, which have a superior meat quality and are prefect for this project. He also said that the project is a natural combination for Templeton Rye and their home state’s animal agriculture industry. “I think it really falls in line with what their roots surround – whiskey making and rural Iowa and the Midwest,” he said. “This project really fits right in line with a lot of their history and heritage.”

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Honorable Man Borrows Money from Neighbors to Save Sick Wife, Spends the Next 24 Years Paying Back Every Penny

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24 years ago, when this poor Chinese man’s wife got sick, he had no money to pay for her treatment. Mei Guanghan, 66, had no choice back then but to borrow 70,000 yuan ($11,000) from hundreds of neighbors. Since then, he’s had just one mission – to repay every neighbor, down to the last penny. And here’s the good news – after years of sacrifices and living in poverty, he has managed to achieve his goal.

A long time ago, the Gunaghans were quite the happy couple with a 15 year old daughter, but their lives changed forever in 1990. Ren Chun’ai woke up early one morning in April and rode the tractor into town to buy some food. On her way back to the village, she was involved in a horrible accident. “In the mountains, two tractors were traveling in the same direction,” she said. “I took a sharp turn, the tires slipped and I fell into the valley.” She hit a rock and slipped into a coma soon after.

The medical fees required to save her life were huge, so he went from door to door, begging people for whatever cash they could spare. He carried a little brown book with him, carefully noting down the name of each person and the amount they had loaned him. He made a promise to all the donors: “One day I will be back, knocking on your door with your money.”

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Indians Fight Public Urination by Attacking Offenders with Water Canons

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At first glance, you might mistake this large yellow tanker fitted with hoses for a fire engine. But look closer at the symbols painted on the sides, and you’ll realize that this water truck is meant to serve a different purpose. It’s called the ‘Pissing Tanker’ and it is currently roaming the streets of Mumbai, India. Its goal – to fight public urination with public urination. Well, sort of. The truck is actually full of water, but the message is pretty clear - Urinate in public and get pissed on yourself.

The idea is really quite simple an eye for an eye. I say that’s brilliant, because years of campaigns to stop public urination in India have never really had much success. Re-painting the walls, putting up sign boards, setting up public urinals, collecting large fines, and even the threat of police arrests have never worked – Indian men just aren’t able to shake the habit (pun very much intended).

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Araras, the Brazilian Village Where People Melt Away under the Sun

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The village of Araras, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, has the world’s largest population of people suffering from a rare skin disease known as xeroderma pigmentosum (XP). The condition is hereditary and makes its victims extremely sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. People suffering from XP become highly susceptible to skin cancer and are unable to repair the damage caused by the sun, leaving their skin red, raw and unsightly.

Since Araras is mostly made up of tropical farming communities, outdoor work is inevitable. Most residents have no choice but to spend long hours out in the sun, letting XP take over their lives in the most horrifying ways. Out of the 800 residents, over 20 people suffer from the condition. That’s one in 40 people, far higher than the United States, where the rate of occurrence is one in 1 million. One of the reasons for this is that Araras was founded by only a few families with several carriers of the disease, who passed it on as the villagers intermarried.

38-year-old Djalma Antonio Jardim has been an XP victim for several years. “I was always exposed to the sun – working, planting, and harvesting rice and caring for the cows,” he said. “As the years passed, my condition got worse.” For Jardim, XP showed early signs of manifestation. When he was just nine years old, he developed an unusually large number of freckles and small lumps on his face. If he had had the opportunity to protect himself from the sun back then, things could have been very different today.

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Awesome Dad Builds 50-Meter-Long Rollercoaster in His Backyard

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I’ve seen a lot of parents flatly refusing to indulge their kids’ outlandish ideas. That’s why I find 50-year-old Will Pemble’s spirit and child-like enthusiasm quite extraordinary. The father-of-two actually gave in to his son’s bizarre request – to build a rollercoaster in their own back yard.  It really makes Will a strong candidate for the title of best dad in the world, don’t you think?

Will is an e-commerce professional, living in San Francisco with his wife and two children (Lyle, 10 and Ellie, 12). He said that he took on the rollercoaster project because he wanted to show his kids that anything is possible if you’re willing to put in the effort. And he’s also a bit of a physics enthusiast, so he thought the project would be a great time to teach his children a fair bit of science.

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