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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Meet Hyperion, the World’s Tallest Tree

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Up until August 2006, the tallest known tree in the world was a 369-foot California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) nicknamed ‘Stratosphere Giant’, located somewhere in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California. To give you some idea about its massive size, that’s twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, minus the foundation.

But the Giant lost its status when two naturalists, Chris Atkins and Michael Taylor, stumbled upon group of trees in California’s Redwood National Park that were taller than any they’d ever seen before. They made preliminary measurements using professional laser equipment based on goniometry, and found not one, not two, but three trees that were taller than the Stratosphere Giant.

The tallest of the lot, named Hyperion, was found to be a good 10ft taller than the Giant, standing at a whopping a 379 ft. When Atkins and Taylor announced their discovery, a team of scientists led by Humboldt State University ecologist Steve Sillett arrived at the park to measure it again in September 2006. They were aiming for more accuracy, so they actually used a tape this time. They actually climbed to its very top and dropped the tape to the ground. The epic stunt was filmed for National Geographic.  

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Hiware Bazar – India’s Miracle Village

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The residents of Hiware Bazar, a remote village in the Ahmednagar district of the state of Maharashtra, India have managed to turn their fortune around in the span of just a few years – they’ve gone from being a drought-stricken populace in the mid-1990s to the richest village in the nation today. Their story is a truly inspiring one.

Hiware Bazar currently boasts of having the highest GDP among all the villages in India. Its 1,250-strong population enjoys an average income of INR 30,000 ($450) per month, also highest in the nation, up from a paltry INR 830 in 1995. 60 of the 235 families in the village are millionaires. Every year, their fields yield bountiful crops of millets, onions, and potatoes that make it hard to imagine that only a few years ago they were barren stretches of land that no one cared about.

Yet, up until the mid 90’s, Hiware Bazar was indeed a poverty-stricken village reeling in the aftermath of a severe drought in 1972. “The peace was shattered,” recalls Raosaheb Rauji Panwar, an 82-year-old villager. “People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger-off bitter quarrels, as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin.”

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Japanese Professionals Put on Full-Body Lycra Suits to Escape Pressure of Everyday Life

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In a bid to de-stress and break free from the tensions of daily life, Japanese students and professionals are taking to a bizarre trend called ‘Zentai’. It’s a community consisting of people of all ages and walks of life, donning full-body lycra suits and meeting on internet forums, in clubs, at barbecue parties, and sometimes just on the street.

It’s ironical, but the tight suits are actually able to help stressed individuals loosen up, because such behavior is probably frowned upon in genteel circles. Many of the Zentai perceive the trend as a welcome break from the pressures of living in Japanese society that values conformity to tradition over individual desires.

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Thrill-Seeking Hairdresser Leaves Family Behind to See the World and Cut Hair in Extreme Locations

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Cutting hair can be a boring, repetitive task, but this globetrotting Russian hairdresser has found a unique way to add some zest to his job. Denis Yushin calls himself a ‘motobarber’, giving extreme haircuts as he rides his motorcycle across the globe.

It all started last year, when Yushin announced that he would be touring the world for six years, leaving behind his wife and five-year-old daughter in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk. His plan was to fund the trip by giving people haircuts along the way, and it’s been working very well for him so far. He’s been riding a special motorbike across international borders, equipped with special pockets and power sockets for his hair-dressing equipment. These are really important because Denis has to give plenty of haircuts in exchange for fuel, food, and thrilling experiences.

As a close friend put it: “He’s passionate about hairdressing, travelling, and his motorbike. Some may think he’s bonkers leaving his wife and daughter for six years, but they understand.” Yushin’s daughter will be 11 years old when he sees her next.

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World’s Most Prolific Patent Holder Wants to Beat His Own Cancer by Inventing a Cure

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Meet Yoshinari Nakamatsu, aka Dr. NakaMats, a prolific inventor and Japan’s very own ‘Patent King’. With over 3,500 patents to his name, the 87-year-old had no plans to retire – his dream was to live to the ripe old age of 144 and eventually produce at least 6,000 patents. Sadly, there’s a serious obstacle to that goal now – he’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer and isn’t expected to be around much longer.

But the eccentric mastermind and self-professed polymath doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. He’s been spending his last days doing the one thing he does best – inventing. Best known for licensing the floppy disk to IBM corporation in the 1970s, Dr. NakaMats has spent the past two years trying to invent a cure for his deadly disease.

The rare ductal prostate cancer was discovered in 2013, and his doctors told him he only had around two years left. However, Nakamatsu has been fortunate to make it into 2016 and he is still “investigating all kinds of therapy so people could live longer.” He is determined to continue doing so until the very end. “I’m going to discover a new treatment,” he asserted in a 2014 interview.

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Japan Railways Allegedly Keeps Train Station Running for Just One Passenger

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Last Friday, China’s CCTV News posted a heart-warming story on Facebook about how Japanese railway authorities are keeping a train station in a remote village open for the sake of only one passenger – a high school student.

“The Kyu-Shirataki-Shirataki train station is located in Japan’s north island of Hokkaido,” the post read. “Three years ago, due to its remote location and ending of freight trains, the Japan Railway (JR) decided to close it down. However, they changed their minds after they discovered a young girl used the station to go to high school every day.”

According to the report, the only two trains that stop at the station now are just for this girl, with a “unique timetable depending on when the girl needs to go to school and back.” Japan Railway apparently intends to keep the station open until March this year, when she will finally graduate.

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Making a Difference: 12-Year-Old Collects Thousands of Coats for the Homeless

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12-year-old Makenna Breading-Goodrich is showing the world that you’re never too young to have social conscience. In a bid to help the homeless people in her community, she’s spent the past three winters collecting and giving away thousands of coats. She calls her initiative ‘Makenna’s Coats for a Cause’.

It all started three years ago, when Makenna watched a TV show about the hardships faced by the homeless during the cold winter months. Deeply disturbed by their plight, she soon came up with a simple solution – to go around her neighborhood, asking people to donate all the coats and jackets they could spare. All she had to do was find a way to spread the word, collect the coats, and get them to the less fortunate. Fortunately, her parents were very supportive and willing to help anyway they could.

“She said, ‘I think I can really do something to help,’” Makenna’s mother Jennifer recalled. “Any parent would look at their 9-year-old daughter with pride and tell her they’d be thrilled to help her in any way.”

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Glasgow-Based Artist to Be Given $22,000 to Live in Glasgow for a Year

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In a controversial move, the Scottish Government has decided to grant Ellie Harrison, a Glasgow-based academic, £15,000 ($22,000) just to continue living in the city for a whole year.

The generous amount is a grant for an ‘art project’ during which London-born Harrison will not leave the city unless she’s unwell or a close relative dies. The goal, according to her, is to find out how “your career, social life, family ties, carbon footprint, and mental health will be affected” by not being able to leave a city. To figure that out, she’s also being given 12 months off work.

Harrison, a lecturer in contemporary art-practices at Dundee University, won the jackpot offer – funded by the National Lottery – after she pitched the idea for an “experiment” called The Glasgow Effect that would “challenge the demand-to-travel” placed upon her as a “successful” artist. Her idea is to explore sustainability by traveling less and focusing more on local opportunities.

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The Indian Village That Took Up Chess as an Alternative to Drinking

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The people of Marottichal, a sleepy little village in the state of Kerala in southern India, have a rather unusual passion for chess. Believe it or not, they’re all chess enthusiasts. Their love for the game is such that even when they’re not playing, they’re talking strategy all the time.

But villagers weren’t always interested in the checkered board game. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, their passions lay elsewhere – mainly in the local liquor that they made for a living. Many of the residents were addicted to the cheap brew, with disastrous consequences for the whole community. Things got so bad at one point that a few villagers actually requested government authorities to raid the village and get rid of some of their liquor stock.

But things began to change when one villager – a 10th grade student named C. Unnikrishnan – decided that he wanted to learn chess. Inspired by a news report about American legend Bobby Fischer, a grandmaster at age 16, Unnikrishnan traveled to a nearby village to attend classes and learn the game himself. And once he got the hang of it, he made it his mission to get everyone in the village hooked.

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