You Know China’s Smog Issue Is Serious When People Line Up to Sample Free Bags of Fresh Air

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It’s no secret that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. But things have gotten so bad that a few cities actually have free ‘fresh air stations’, stocked with individual bags of fresh air that users can breathe out of. These stations have become so popular that they are crowded with visitors lining up for just a whiff of fresh, clean air.

One of the stations is located in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province. According to sources, Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 158. In comparison, Bakersfield (the most polluted city of America) has an AQI of just 45. The air at Zhengzhou’s station is sourced from Laojun Mountain, a scenic spot in Luanchuan County consisting of 80 percent green land. Photographs show large crowds of locals waiting patiently at the station. When it’s their turn, a uniformed air hostess hooks them up to oxygen masks.

Feng Lin, a 75-year-old user, said: “The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.”

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” said one pregnant woman. “I would love to walk in the mountain’s forests after my child is born.”

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Chinese Woman Has Been Wearing Her Wedding Dress Every Day for the Last Ten Years

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A 47-year-old Chinese woman is so happy to have found true love that she hasn’t taken off her wedding dress for the past ten years. You might think that’s crazy, but wait till you hear everything she’s been through. At age 18, Xiang Junfeng was kidnapped from her hometown and sold to an elderly man. She was forced to marry him and lived for 15 years in captivity before she found the courage to run away.

A native of Jimo, in China’s Shandong Province, Xiang was sold to a man in the neighboring city of Linyi. He ended up using her as a slave, putting her to work in the fields. After several years of living in captivity, she managed to escape by running to Liujiazhuang village where a local woman helped her. Eventually, the woman turned out to be Xiang’s savior in more than one way. She introduced Xiang to her own brother, Zhu Zhengliang, and the couple tied the knot in 2004. This event made poor Xiang so happy that she’s refused to wear anything but her wedding attire ever since.

Although she got married with just the one dress, Xiang later had three more made – one for each season. “I bought one and made the other three,” she said. “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell and treated me so differently. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”

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French Artist to Live inside Grizzly Bear Carcass for Thirteen Days

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Abraham Poincheval, a performance artist from France, specializes in confining himself to the smallest possible spaces for long periods of time. A couple of years ago, he spent a whole week buried in a tiny underground hole in a bookstore, with just a pile of books for company. Now he has fashioned a new task for himself – he’s spending nearly a fortnight (1 to 13 April) crammed inside the carcass of a grizzly bear, in a space measuring only half a square meter. He won’t be coming out at all, not even to eat, drink, sleep or relieve himself. Two cameras will be on him at all times, recording the whole experience.

The bear itself was excavated by Abraham and has been partly reconstructed to support the project, using plywood, plaster, foam and polystyrene tubes. The bizarre installation is completely covered with the bear’s original skin and fur. When empty, the entire structure weighs 115 pounds. Inside it is a semi-upright chair on which the 42-year-old artist will be spending all his time. Rubber exercise bands will help him get some movement and he has some room by his feet for a stretch. There’s also a kettle and an odd assortment of foods that only a bear could appreciate – frozen dried fruits, insects and worms. Too bad the bear isn’t Winnie the Pooh, or Abraham could have had some honey as well.

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New York Man Turns Line Sitting into a Prosperous Business

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They say good things come to those who wait. But here’s the loophole: what if you could pay someone to do the waiting for you? Same Ol Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.) is a new service in New York that helps people get in line for the latest, hottest and trendiest new products. At $25 for the first hour and $10 for every half hour after that, I think it’s pretty legit. If I could avoid waiting in line and still get to buy the new iPhone or enjoy a cronut, I’d definitely be willing to pay for it.

The idea for the business came to Robert Samuel after he made $325 selling two spots in a line for the iPhone 5 launch last year. That’s when he realized that he could cash in on people’s fear of missing out on new things. “It’s a phenomenon,” he said. “I did an interview with German Public Radio a while ago and I explained FOMO: fear of missing out. Especially in New York, you have friends and you’re hanging out and it’s like, ‘Did you see that new exhibit at MoMA? Do you know what a cronut is?’ People want these things like it’s the end of the world. When I show up to their offices with a sleeping bag in one hand and the cronuts in another, they know they’re getting their money’s worth.”

There have been services like this in the past, but they weren’t exactly ethical. Like these guys who would buy cronuts in bulk and sell them on Craigslist at a higher price. But Robert makes sure he plays by the rules. He has a few super-rich clients. When one of them wants cronuts for his out-of-town guests, Robert gets to the bakery hours ahead of time. He’s always properly equipped – a portable charger, two iPhones, an iPad mini and handwarmers are always at his disposal. A lawn chair, the MetroCast and HBO Go make sure that waiting in line is never a boring experience.

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14-Year-Old’s Simple Idea Could Save US Government $400 Million on Official Documents

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Suvir Mirchandani, a 14-year-old student from Pittsburg, has figured out a way to do something that financial experts have been struggling with for decades – substantially reduce Government spending. And we’re not taking about a few dollars here and there, we’re talking millions. $400 million, to be precise. To save all that money, Suvir suggested that the US government simply switch fonts from Times New Roman to Garamond when printing official documents. Because each character is printed lighter and thinner in Garamond, it uses 25 percent less ink, saving a lot of money in the process.

Suvir came up with the brilliant idea while working on a science fair project at his school – Dorseyville Middle School. He was looking for a way to use computer science to promote environmental sustainability. After a lot of research, he decided to figure out if there was a way minimize the use of paper and ink. “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” the whiz-kid pointed out. So he collected random samples of teachers’ handouts at his school and studied the most commonly used letters: ‘e, t, a, o and r’.

The study included four different typefaces: Garamond, Century Gothic, Times New Roman and Comic Sans. Suvir measured how often the letters were used in each of these fonts. Then he used a commercial tool called APFill Ink Coverage Software to figure out how much ink was used for each letter. He printed out enlarged versions of the letters, cut them out on cardstock paper and weighed them to verify the data. He performed three trials per letter and graphed the ink usage for each font. The results of the analysis were astounding – he found out that Garamond’s thinner strokes could help his school district reduce ink consumption by 24 percent, saving about $21,000 a year.

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Norwegian Teen Tattoos McDonald’s Receipt on His Arm as a Dare

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When 18-year-old Stian Ytterdahl’s friends dared him to get a tattoo, they gave him only two options to choose from – Barbie on his buttocks or a McDonald’s receipt on his arm. They’re both terrible, but I suppose you can’t blame Stian for choosing the latter.

“Some of my mates thought I had been a bit too active on the ladies front recently and wanted to punish me,” he said. “When we were in the restaurant on Monday, they said I had to tattoo a Barbie doll on my bum, or the receipt on my arm.” Incidentally, this is the teenager’s first tattoo ever, covering most of his lower right arm. There’s a large McDonalds logo at the top, followed by a list of items he ordered off the menu – a cheeseburger and four added toppings.

Stian, from Lørenskog in Southwest Norway, also said that his parents were not at all pleased with the turn of events. “I got an email from my dad that wasn’t entirely positive, saying: ‘What on earth have you done?! Do you think you are coming home with that!? Your mother has had a break down.’” Stian’s parents got to know about the tattoo from a report in the local newspaper and they were devastated.

Lørenskog: Stian tatoerte McDonaldskvittering på armen.

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Indian Student Jumps into Zoo Enclosure to Challenge Full-Grown Tigers, Walks Away Unscathed

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College students are known to do the stupidest things at times, but this one just takes the cake. Yashonandan Kaushik, a 23-year-old student of Engineering from Madhya Pradesh, India, actually jumped into a tiger’s enclosure at Gwalior Zoo. The bizarre incident that took place around 5pm on Monday stunned spectators and zoo staff alike. Kaushik completely ignored their cries to come out. He took off his shirt, challenged the tigers to a fight and tried to chase one of the beasts into its cave. Surprisingly, he made it out of the enclosure unharmed.

Someone caught the whole thing on video – the clip shows Kaushik trying to provoke Luv and Kush, the two tigers in the enclosure. But the tigers just look plain scared and run in the opposite direction. Kaushik continues to dance and behave irrationally (for about 45 minutes, according to news reports). When one of the tigers runs into its cave, he follows it and appears to call for it to come out and fight. At one point he can even be seen sitting in a yoga posture while the tigers stand merely feet away. Lucky for him, security staff arrived and locked the tigers away, before escorting Kaushik to safety.

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Japanese Man Spends $150,000 on Plastic Surgery to Look Like Michelangelo’s David

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Alan, a 20-year-old kid from Japan, spent $150,000 on plastic surgery in a span of just one year. After being teased throughout school for his effeminate looks, he wanted to permanently change his face. And he chose to model it after Michelangelo’s masterpiece Renaissance sculpture, David. Alan wanted to make himself look ‘foreign’ and have an ‘ageless face’ so he felt like ‘the ideal is the Statue of David’.

I’m not sure how much Alan resembles the chiseled face of David, but he certainly looks nothing like his former self. He was on a Japanese TV show recently, where he spoke about his various surgeries – two on the nose, one on the eyes, four lift-and-tucks to remove and prevent wrinkles, and injections to alter the shape of his chin. Alan left home and moved to Tokyo at the age of 16. There, he got involved with at least five older women who have sponsored all his beauty treatments.

But he was quick to point out that he didn’t share sexual relationships with any of these women. He said: “If I do that once, the money flow will stop as that companion will be satisfied.” It appears that Alan’s income from his lady-friends is quite regular – he visits his plastic surgeon every morning to get a special IV (worth $3,000 a month) loaded with supplements that keep him looking young.

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Zombie-Inspired Beer Is Brewed with Actual Brains

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As the season finale of the popular TV show The Walking Dead approaches, Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Co. is celebrating with its own version of a ‘zombie’ beer brewed with actual brains. Don’t freak out just yet, though, those are smoked goat brains, not human.

The brewery’s website reads: “Presenting the Brainy Dock Street Walker: Quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink. Get a taste and watch the finale at Dock Street on March 30th, 7pm.”

“More often than not, monotonous Monday cleaning rituals (labors of love for brewers everywhere) were spent recapping the previous nights’ twists, turns, narrow escapes, or untimely goodbyes,” said the brewery in a press release. “Dock Street wanted to brew a special tribute to the show. Dock Street Walker’ (7.2 percent ABV) is an American Pale Stout, brewed with malted wheat, oats and flaked barley for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Fuggle hops provide delicate, earthy notes, while the cranberries create a sinister, bloody hue and a slight tartness. The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes. In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.”

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Teenager Claims Selfie Addiction Nearly Ruined His Life

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19-year-old Danny Bowman is England’s and perhaps the world’s first self-confessed selfie addict. It might seem funny, but this addiction is every bit as serious and dangerous as any other. In fact, the young boy almost lost his life over his obsession of taking the perfect selfie photograph.

Danny used to spend about 10 hours taking over 200 selfies on his iPhone, every single day. At one point, his addiction got so bad that he stopped going to school and didn’t leave his house for six months. He even lost almost 30 pounds trying to make himself more photogenic. When his parents tried to stop him, he turned aggressive. And in a final, drastic attempt to cure himself of his disease, Danny overdosed on drugs.

“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die,” he said. “I lost my friends, my education, my health, and almost my life.” Fortunately, Danny was saved by his mother Penny, before the his selfie addiction claimed his life. He is now being treated for technology addiction, OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is an excessive anxiety about personal appearance.

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Controversial Device Lets Users Inhale Alcohol, Become Intoxicated Much Faster

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The ‘Vaportini’ is a controversial new device that promises a ‘revolutionary way of consuming alcohol’. People can to use it to speed up the effects of alcohol consumption, without the calories, carbs or impurities that usually come with drinking. The device heats up alcohol to 140 degrees F and allows users to breathe in the vapor through a straw. The crazy contraption can be purchased for just $45 from an American website.

Needless to say, inhaling alcohol is just as bad as it sounds. Professor Chris Day of Newcastle University and advisor to Drinkaware (a charity that promotes responsible drinking), said: “Inhaling alcohol is a very new trend so there isn’t yet any scientific data of the effects but it has the potential to be a very dangerous phenomenon and as such, we would advise people to be cautious if indeed they do decide to try it.” The professor also pointed out that the vapor bypasses the body’s natural defence mechanisms, so it has to be unsafe.

Professor Jonathan Chick, a psychiatrist from Edinburgh, was in agreement. “There is a greater ‘hit’ on the brain than when alcohol is taken by mouth, because some of it has not already been broken down on its way through the liver and this will increase the risk of damage to brain cells. So the method cannot be called safer to the body organs,” he said. He pointed out that there is an added risk of inhalation which is due to the direct impact on the brain – that is, risk of unsteadiness, falling or impulsive behavior. The vapor also bypasses the stomach (which limits alcohol intake through vomiting), making it dangerous and unsafe.

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Flight of the Living Dead – The Tiny Fly That Turns Bees into Zombies

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Human zombies might be a figment of the imagination, but ‘zombie bees’ actually exist. They are ‘created’ when regular honeybees get infested with a particular type of parasite. The bees begin to display highly erratic and bizarre behavior that’s very zombie-like. These infested bees were first discovered in 2008 in California by John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University.

Ever since the initial discovery, zombie bee-sightings have been reported in Oregon, Washington State, California and South Dakota. According to Professor Hafernik, “They fly around in a disoriented way, get attracted to light, and then fall down and wander around in a way that’s sort of reminiscent of zombies in the movies. Sometimes we’ve taken to calling it, when they leave their hives, ‘the flight of the living dead.’”

The culprit here is the Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic fly that is known to implant its eggs in ants. The fly larvae live off the ants’ brains, dissolve their connective tissues and eventually finish off the ants. Researchers now have reason to believe that the flies have found a new home for their eggs – European honeybees that are common in the United States. The flies lay their eggs in the bees that eventually hatch, wreaking havoc in their hosts’ bodies.

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Chinese Grandmother Carries Handicapped Granddaughter on Her Back Every Day So She Can Attend School

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There’s nothing quite like a grandparent’s love, and this sweet story from Yibin City in China’s Szechuan province proves it. Even though 14-year-old Fang Mei Qiu is handicapped, she doesn’t miss a day of school. And she’s always on time! All thanks to her 66-year-old grandmother who actually gives the girl a piggy back ride every morning. Together, they cover four kilometers of mountain roads on foot each day to and from school.

Fang Mei was born with abnormal kneecaps that aren’t able to support her weight. So she can’t stand for more than a few minutes without excruciating pain, let alone walk to school. She is constantly in need of help to move around. Sadly, her father left when she was just a baby and her mother remarried soon, leaving Fang Mei in the care of her grandparents. And what loving grandparents they’ve turned out to be! While the grandfather is too old and sick to do much, the grandmother takes care of the small family’s needs.

Grandma wakes up at 5 am each morning and prepares for the day ahead. At 7 am, they begin their journey to school with Fang Mei on grandma’s back, stopping to rest at least five times during the trek. It takes them one-and-a-half hours to cover the two-kilometer journey on foot. And they are never late – grandma makes sure they reach school by 8.30 am every single day. They’ve been doing this for five years now, covering over 4,000 kilometers so far.

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The Harmless Far East Eses – Thai Men Dressing Up Like Mexican Gang Members

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In an interesting new trend in Thailand, young men are choosing to dress themselves as Mexican gangsters. Their clothes (or lack thereof), hairstyles, and tattoos are all inspired by criminal gangs in Mexico and the US. They have even formed their own gangs – Balcony Pain, Fratez, and D Sixty, to name a few. But of course, copying dressing style won’t really make criminals out of decent men. None of these young copycats actually appreciate the brutal violence associated with real-life Latino gangs, they are just really big fans of the gangs’ fashion style and brotherhood mentality.

More than anything else, these men appreciate the ‘clean and simple’ gangster aesthetic because it suits the Thai weather very well. You’d actually be surprised to know that most of them hold nine to five jobs as teachers, policemen and bureaucrats. Some are family men who ask their wives’ permission before getting inked. Needless to say, they don’t fight, shoot each other or deal in drugs. They’re more like this large brotherhood of style-conscious men who bond well over their passion for gangster lifestyle and clothes.

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Pastor Jokingly Offers to Sponsor Congregation’s Cross Tattoos, Now Has to Pay Up

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When Pastor Zack Zehnder flippantly offered free tattoos to his congregation, little did he expect people to actually take him up on it. During a recent sermon about acceptance at the Cross Mount Dora church in Mount Dora, Florida, the pastor had said: “If anybody would like to go out and get a tattoo of the logo of the cross that we have for this church we will find money and pay for that.” I suppose he didn’t realize exactly how popular tattoos are – at least a dozen church members have already inked themselves with the church cross logo.

Jeremie Turner, one of the congregation members who got inked, said: “We definitely took him up on his offer because if he’s going to hand out free tattoos, he’s got a crowd of people that’s going to accept them.” When pastor Zack realized what was happening, he graciously stuck to his word and personally paid for the tattoos at Bill Gold’s Tattoo Shop. “If I wasn’t so dang sarcastic in my sermons, I don’t know that we would be here,” he said, while overseeing a church member getting inked at the shop. “But we got some crazy people that have said they wanted to do it so I kinda gotta, I made the promise. I kinda gotta back it up.”

It’s nice to see  pastor Zack standing by his promise, instead of making excuses to try and get out of the deal. He even hopes that the new tattoos will serve as conversation starters and get more people interested in the church. “People’s perception of church has probably never been as negative as it is today and so if we can do something to kind of flip that script and interact with them and do something in a unique and creative way, we’re going to do that,” he said.

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