The Tragic Story of Rebecca Méndez Jiménez, ” La Loca de San Blas”

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Mexican rock band Maná released a hit single in 1997 – En el muelle de San Blas (In the Wharf of San Blas). The song is based on the true and tragic story of Rebeca Méndez Jiménez, the woman who waited for her love for 41 long years. She died in September last year, at age 63. Local authorities are planning to erect a statue in her honor at the San Blas Port.

I read Rebeca’s story in bits and pieces across various Spanish websites. No one seems to know exactly what happened to her; she was suffering from several mental disorders during her final years.

Local legend states that in her youth, she fell in love with a fisherman named Manuel. He went out to sea, promising to return to her soon and marry her. Rebeca was so excited that she put on her bridal clothes and waited for his return. Unfortunately, Manuel fell victim to a hurricane, never to return to his love. Since then, Rebeca had been spotted roaming the streets at the port of San Blas. Locals have seen her wandering without any direction, sometimes sitting before the lighthouse and listening to seagulls. She always wore a white dress, with a veil covering her head.

en-el-muelle-de-San-Blas

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Scientists Create Candy That Doesn’t Cause Cavities

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Dentists have always warned us that too much candy will cause cavities. But all that could be a thing of the past, thanks to a new experiment by scientists from the Berlin biotechnology firm, OrganoBalance.

It turns out that candy doesn’t cause cavities at all. The bad guys are actually the bacteria that remain on our teeth after we eat sugary treats. So the scientists’ logic was simple – reduce the amount of ‘bad’ bacteria in candy, and the chances of cavities should naturally decrease.

After you eat a normal piece of candy, the bacteria on your teeth slowly release an acid that eats into tooth enamel. When the enamel wears down, it causes cavities to develop. One of the most common strains of bacteria responsible for cavities is mutans streptococci. When you chew candy, this bacteria is released into the saliva. If you swallow or spit, some of the bacteria is removed, but the remaining sits on your teeth and causes them to rot.

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Rare Condition Causes Woman to Cry and Sweat Blood

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19-year-old Delfina Cedeno has been suffering from a rare disorder for the past four years – she has been crying and sweating blood. Occasionally, blood also seeps out of her fingernails, belly button and nostrils.

Doctors at Delfina’s home town of Vernon, in the Dominican Republic, were baffled for a long time. Even after hundreds of tests, they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. In fact, no one believed Delfina until they actually saw her bleeding.

“At first, no one could help me and they looked at me like a crazy person when I told them what was going on,” the teenager said. “It was only when I started bleeding in front of a doctor one day that they began to take me seriously.” Things got totally out of hand when she bled for up to 15 days and was in such a critical condition that she needed a blood transfusion.

Delfina herself was scared to death and extremely stressed out with her horrifying condition. “When this started happening, I didn’t know what to think. I was terrified and in complete shock.” She also felt ashamed to leave home.

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Chinese Restaurant Allows Patrons to Pay What They Want, Is Obviously Losing Money

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A small, self-service restaurant in China’s Fujian province runs on a unique concept – no bills! The owner expects diners to pay whatever they think is the true price of the meal. Predictably, many people don’t pay anything at all.

The restaurant, called Five Loaves and Two Fish, opened this August in downtown Fuzhou. It is named after the story of Jesus feeding 5,000 people by multiplying fish and bread. Patrons are required to wash their own plates and bowls after eating, and place money in a drop-box before leaving.

50-year-old interior designer Liu Pengfei, the majority investor, said he got the idea for the restaurant after heard about the ‘suspended meals’ projects in some countries. These projects allow people to pay in advance for a beverage or meal, for someone who really needs it. “Hearing about it, I was deeply moved,” Liu said. “I felt a heartwarming sense of trust because of it.” And that’s the concept Five Loaves is based on – trust.

While the concept sounds really amazing, things aren’t exactly going as expected for Liu and his team. According to Peng Yong, chef and co-investor, around 20 percent of diners walk out without paying anything. The restaurant has been running losses – 250,000 yuan ($41,170) – even though it is packed every day. Just maintaining the place, which is located in a central location, costs 60,000 yuan a month.

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Meet Erik Weihenmayer, the World’s Most Accomplished Blind Adventurer

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Erik Weihenmayer became blind at age 13, but he has never let this life-altering event limit him in any way. He is one of those rare individuals who have not just managed to overcome a disability, but live like it never happened. He is also the only blind person in the world to have scaled Mount Everest, among other achievements.

At age 44, Erik is the world’s most accomplished blind adventurer. To be honest, his accomplishments are on par with any other exceptional normal person. He is a role model even for people with normal vision. He has managed to completely disregard his blindness; it’s like he’s been everywhere and done everything. Mountaineering, wrestling, cycling, skiing, kayaking, paragliding, skydiving – the list of Erik’s activities are seemingly endless.

When he was younger, Erik focused on just one sport – wrestling – and he was brilliant at it. He represented his state in the US National Freestyle Wrestling Championships. He graduated college in 1993 with a Master’s degree and soon became a school teacher. This was when he took up rock climbing and trekking on the side. He was amazing at that too – he summited Mount McKinley (the tallest peak in the US) and then Kilimanjaro (tallest in Africa).

Erik-Weihenmayer

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27-Year-Old Woman Marries 72-Year-Old Man, Proves Love Doesn’t Have Age limits

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Zhang Feng was 23 years old when she declared her love for 68-year-old Wen Changlin. The unusual couple, now 27 and 72, have a beautiful baby boy named Tian. Although they look very odd together, their smiles show how happy they are.

The couple from Hunan province in China have been making TV headlines ever since baby Tian was born. Changlin admitted that their age makes them an unlikely pair. “Yes, I look like her grandfather, but I am used to the stares. What is important is our love and the fact that I was able to give her the child she so desperately wanted to cement our union,” he said.

The story of how they got together is a very unusual one. In 2001, Zhang and her father were suffering from a medical condition. Changlin, a Chinese doctor, moved into their home to care for them. He lived there until 2006, when Zhang’s father passed away. During this time, Zhang began to feel safe around the doctor, trusting him more than anyone else. “He took such good care of me that I began having feelings that he was Mr. Right,” she said.

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Guy Goes from Average to Ripped in Just Six Weeks

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It took Spencer Matthews only six weeks to transform himself from a lumpy, regular guy to a Men’s Health model. The phenomenal transformation wasn’t easy at all. His secrets – kangaroo diets and grueling workouts. “I’ve just managed to get to be a Men’s Health model in six weeks and I can’t believe I’ve done it,” he told the Daily Mail Online.

I can’t believe it either; the before and after pictures are so drastically different. The pictures show his progress every couple of weeks and you can really see the change. It’s truly amazing what the human body can do if you really push it hard enough.

Matthews wasn’t alone in his efforts, he had constant support from a top fitness expert from Men’s Health. The magazine had approached him in September this year and asked him to train for six weeks with them. They promised that he would be in the best shape of his life, and they would publish the results.

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South Koreans Use Bedroom Tents to Keep Warm This Winter

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Indoor tents are all the rage in South Korea this winter. Apparently they keep you really warm and save electricity as well. In fact, some tent-users say their heating bill has been reduced by half. While the temperature in rooms gets as low as 19 degrees Celsius, the 40,000 won (US$37) tents are quite cozy at 23 degrees.

Given their multiple benefits, these tents are flying off shelves in South Korea. One tent maker claims to have sold 4 million in just a couple of weeks. Thousands of tents are on back order, and manufacturers are rushing to make more. We don’t know who came up with the ingenious idea, but it looks like almost everyone has caught on.

This winter has been pretty harsh for the South Koreans; they are facing power blackouts and surging energy costs with six of 23 nuclear reactors being shut down. People have been looking for cheaper heating methods that save electricity, and the tent is apparently working wonders for them. Families are sleeping in tents setup within their homes to keep themselves warm. Some of them have placed tents on top of beds for extra warmth.

indoor-tents

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Say What? The Clicking Languages of South Africa

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I had heard of African names with clicks before, like ǂXóõ, ǂHõã and !Kung, but I thought they were limited to just a few words. Now, after some research, I’ve realized that clicks are used quite extensively in many South African languages.

If you’re having trouble understanding the click and its use, think of it this way – it’s just like any other consonant used in the English language.

The credit for introducing clicks to a worldwide audience goes to singer Miriam Makeba, whose life has been celebrated on Google’s Doodles this year. In her 1957 hit single, Pata Pata, you can clearly hear clicks in the lyrics. “Everywhere we go, people often ask me, ‘How do you make that noise?’” she said during an interview in 1979. “It used to offend me because it isn’t a noise. It’s my language,” she clarified.

Xhosa-language

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Israeli Restaurant Offers 50% Discount to Patrons Who Turn Off Their Phones

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Restaurant owner Jawdat Ibrahim is making his patrons an offer they cannot refuse – switch off your mobile, reduce your bill by half.

Ibrahim thinks smartphones have completely destroyed the dining experience. “Technology is very good. But just when you eat, just especially when you are with your family and your friends, you can wait for half-an-hour and enjoy the food and the company,” he says. “A lot of people, they sit down and they don’t enjoy their food.”

I must admit he does have a point there. These days, almost everyone looks more at their phones than the people beside them. Ibrahim is dismayed when he sees married couples or friends sitting in silence, staring at their screens and finally asking for their food to be reheated.

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Woman Has Her Leg Cut Off So She Can Wear High Heels

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21-year-old New Yorker Mariah Serrano was born with a painfully twisted club foot, and had never worn high heels in her life. She’d attended her high school prom in golden trainers, insanely jealous of her friends who wore heels.

Like many other girls from New York, Mariah dreamed of a job in fashion, but it seemed like her leg-situation was going to get in the way of that too. “When I was told I’d never be able to wear high heels and I should give up my dream career, I was devastated,” she said.

So when a specialist told her in 2009 that she had another option – to have her leg amputated, she seriously considered it. “Mum was horrified but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I had to give it some serious thought.”

mariah-serrano

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The Inspirational Story of a Paralyzed Surgeon who Continues to Operate

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Dr. Ted Rummel thought his life was pretty much over when he was left paralyzed from the waist-down in 2010. The exceptional surgeon had been diagnosed with a cavernous hemangioma – a blood filled cyst – in the middle of his spinal cord a year earlier. Neurologists told him the cyst couldn’t be surgically removed, as the procedure would paralyze him instantly. Instead he was told to rest, wait, and pray the cyst never ruptured.

Unfortunately for Dr. Rummel, the cyst did burst in September 2010, just a week after he performed a rotator cuff surgery on his wife Kathy – his last surgery for the next two years. He suffered a terrible back ache, followed by numbness and weakness in his legs. Within days, “a wave crashed over his lower body and took all feeling and mobility with it.” Dr. Rummel was paralyzed for life.

It’s sad that something so terrible should have happened to him, after he cured thousands of people in St. Charles County of pain and stiffness in their joints. In his best days, he had practiced over 1,000 surgeries per year in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Ted-Rummel-surgeon

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Guy Steals iPhone Sends Owner 11-Page Handwritten List of 1,000 Contacts

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You’d have to agree that when you lose a phone, replacing the device isn’t as painful as rebuilding your list of contacts. That’s why this Chinese thief is so special – he copied over 1,000 contacts on to 11 pages by hand and sent them to the owner of the phone he had stolen.

The $440 iPhone in question belonged to Zou Bin, a barman from Changsha, capital of the Hunan province. Zou told local media that he was returning home wasted from his best friend’s bachelor party earlier this month, when the theft occurred. He had passed out in the taxi taking him home along with three other strangers. Zou isn’t certain which one of them was the culprit.

When Zou discovered that his phone was missing the next morning, he naturally was furious. The device contained more than 1,000 work related contacts that he could not afford to lose. So he did the first thing that came to mind – Zou sent threatening text messages to his own number from a friend’s phone.

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Detroit Homeowner Uses Dummies Dressed as Gang Members to Deter Real Criminals

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Who needs live security guards when a pair of dummies can do the job? A Detroit homeowner from the city’s west side has been putting this theory into practice for the past few weeks, with excellent results.

Detroit’s news channel Local 4 reported the story in detail. While the homeowner preferred to remain anonymous, we do get to hear snippets of his voice during the video coverage. “This is my home, my castle,” he says. And he’s converted his castle into a fortress of sorts with a security system, sensor lights, bars on windows, double screen doors and two dogs. The icing on the cake: two security guards stationed at the front door 24/7. If you look closely, you’ll realize they’re just dummies (the kind used for CPR training) dressed as gang members.

The man says he got the idea after several break-ins occurred and he couldn’t afford insurance premiums. His insurance company actually told him that they see risk all around his home – vacant homes and constant crime. So he has been making efforts to minimize that risk. In perfect Home Alone style, he’s doing his best to outsmart burglars.

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Australian Family Set New Guinness Record with 502,165 Christmas Light Installation

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We love it when the holidays are around the corner; there are just so many odd stories to talk about! Our first Christmas story this season is here: an Australian family who put up over half a million Christmas lights in their Canberra home and set a new Guinness World Record.

This isn’t the first time father-of-three David Richards and his family have done this. In 2011 they set the record after putting up 331,038 lights. Last year a New-York family beat them with a whopping 346,283. The Richards wanted their title back so badly that this year they’ve installed 502,165 lights – that’s 31 miles of wire. They also have a glowing reindeer and loud music to boot.

Some of the Richards’ neighbours are very upset and haven’t spoken to the family since 2011. But most of them love the dazzle and come to visit from several miles away. David says, “I have always loved Christmas. Having the Christmas lights with the community coming in and sharing it is a time when you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess.”

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