French Bakers Hide Two Diamonds in Their Pastry to Boost Sales

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In a bid to attract more customers and boost sales, a husband-and-wife baker duo in France have decided to hide diamonds in their pastry products. Nicolas Lelut, 35, and his wife Julie, 30, are expecting a mad rush outside their bakeries – ‘Délices de Belleville’ in Paris, and ‘L’Amandine’ in Custines, where the two diamond-containing pastries will go on sale among 800 ‘plain’ ones.

The promotional sale is all set to take place on January 6, on the occasion of The Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the incarnation of God the Son as Jesus Christ. Customers who visit either Délices de Belleville bakery on the day will have a 0.25 percent chance of winning a 0.20-carat diamond worth 600 euros. The pastry at Délices de Belleville will contain a white diamond, while the one at L’Amandine will carry a blue one. Both the rocks have been provided and certified by a reliable local jeweler.

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Bar Themed After Seinfeld’s George Constanza Opens in Melbourne

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A new bar in Melbourne is dedicated entirely to the balding and temperamental Seinfeld character George Costanza. ‘George’s Bar’, located in the north-east suburb of Fitzroy, features Costanza-inspired decor, including posters and quotes. A sign outside the bar even encourages patrons to ‘Be more like George’.

The owners came up with the idea because they like Seinfeld and couldn’t get over how perfect George was as a bar theme. “I think he is probably the most suited of any of the characters,” explained co-owner Dave Barrett. “His humour is fairly dark and dry and fits in with a bar, it probably works more than any of the other characters would.”

“Also, when we were developing this new venue, one of the names we came up with was George’s, and we to some extent worked backwards on ways to market that and so to some extent that is where George Costanza came into it as well,” he added. Their marketing strategy has apparently worked – barely two weeks after opening, stories about the quirky theme have gone viral online.

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Kamikatsu – Japan’s Aspiring Zero-Waste Town

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We’ve heard many stories of individuals across the world who’ve adopted a zero-waste lifestyle, but it’s not often that we come across an entire community that is trying to become waste-free. The residents of Kamikatsu, Japan, take recycling so seriously that they actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.

Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks – so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins. It apparently took some time for the residents to get used to this rule, but they eventually managed to adapt to the drastic changes and  are now seeing them as normal.  

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Meet the ‘Detanglers’ – A Community of People Who Love Untangling Yarn Disasters

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If tangled headphone and charger cords irritate you, you’re never going to understand this group’s passion for knotted yarn. These devoted ‘detanglers’ are part of an online community called ‘Knot a Problem’, dedicated to untangling the most complicated yarn disasters. They love untangling so much that some are actually willing to pay money in exchange for your knottiest balls of yarn.

Daphne Basnet, from Melbourne, once spent $50 on eBay for a 25-pound box of hopelessly twisted string, just for something fun to do. That was before she even knew of the existence of the Knot a Problem. It took her five long weeks to ‘detangle’ the 120 balls of yarn-worth of knotted mess, a time that she looks back on fondly. “I was so happy, I can’t tell you,” she recalled.

Later, Basnet found out about a whole community of knot-lovers like herself formed within an online group of knitters and crocheters called Ravelry. Frustrated knitters post messages calling for help with their messed up and often expensive yarn, and Knot a Problem always comes to the rescue. They willingly offer to untangle the mess for free, just so long as shipping costs are covered. Sometimes the competition for tangled yarn projects gets so crazy that detanglers check for posts multiple times a day. “People will jump in and say, ‘Send it to me!’” said Mary Enright, a 56-year-old detangler and Knot a Problem member.

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The Chinese Hospital That Became a Permanent Home for Its Patients

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What started off as a hospital in the 1960s in eastern China’s Wuyi County has, over the years, transformed into a self-sufficient commune where patients and their families live with the medical staff in perfect harmony. 36 patients have made Yangjia Hospital their permanent residence, working alongside their family members to grow their own crops and cook their own food, while receiving medical treatment for their illnesses.

The hospital was founded nearly five decades ago by the state-run Dongying quarrying company for its workers, who ended up with an occupational lung disease known as pneumoconiosis. When the company went bankrupt in 2000, the local government took over its administration and continued to pay the doctors and staff. But funds were tight and many of the 400-odd patients ended up moving to other hospitals. The number of patients continued to dwindle until only 36 remained. Some of their family members live with them, at an additional cost of 6 yuan ($1) per night.

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These Floating Trashcans Could be the Answer to Cleaning Polluted Oceans

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A couple of Australian surfers have come up with a creative solution to clean up polluted oceans – they’ve designed an automated trashcan that can suck up floating garbage, right from plastic bottles, to paper, oils, fuel, detergent and more.

Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, who spent their childhood around the ocean, said they were frustrated with the increasing amount of rubbish they encountered in the water. So they quit their jobs to design a prototype bin in Perth, with the help of seed investors Shark Mitigation Systems. Once ‘Seabin’ was ready, they introduced it in Mallorca, Spain, the marina capital of Europe. They’re now trying to raise more money through crowd funding for commercial production. The idea’s been very well received – they’ve already raised over $70,000 and a Seabin promo video has attracted over 10 million views.

So how does it work? Seabin, a cylinder made from recycled materials, is fixed to a dock with a water pump running on shore power. It floats upright with the open end level with the water’s surface. The pump creates a flow of water into the bin, sucking in all the floating rubbish into a natural fibre bag and then pumping clean water back out. “It essentially works as a similar concept to a skimmer box from your pool filter,” explained Richard Talmage, a spokesperson for ‘Seabin’. “But it’s designed on a scale to work and essentially attract all that rubbish within a location within a marine harbour.”

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Outfitter Donates High-End Suits to Men in Need to Help Them Get Back on Their Feet

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Recognising the importance of first impressions, a Baltimore-based charity is hooking up men in need with “gently worn” suits, just so they can have a fighting chance at a better life.

‘Sharp Dressed Man’ was started in 2012 by local businessman Christopher Schafer and his son Seth, the owners of custom clothing store Christopher Schafer Clothier. They make high end-suits for a living – usually priced at $1,200 and up – and many of their customers always bring back old suits to be donated. When one client gave them $10,000 worth of used custom suits a few years ago, they began thinking of ways to make a difference.

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Controversial ‘Wall of Shame’ in Peru Separates the Rich from the Poor

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Everyone talks about the gap between the rich and poor, bit nowhere is this barrier more clear than Lima Peru, where a 10-kilometer concrete wall topped with barbed wire separates one of the cities richest communities from one of the poorest.

Located on the outskirts of Lima, the Wall of Shame’, also nicknamed ‘Peru’s Berlin Wall’, was erected to provide protection to the wealthy by preventing the poor from entering their neighborhood to commit crimes. It is so long that it can actually be plotted as a line on a satellite view of the area. The line separates Las Casuarinas, home to some of the nation’s richest citizens, from the suburb of Vista Hermosa, where the vast majority lives in poverty, without even the most basic amenities.  “The wooden houses illuminated by candles and the broken roofs are contrasted by multi-million pound houses within a few kilometers,” a local media news station recently described the situation.

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New World’s Most Expensive Material Costs $150 Million per Gram

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Platinum, gold, silver, and diamonds are going to seem dirt cheap when you hear how much this new man-made carbon-based material costs – an eye-watering £100 million ($150 million) per gram!

Created last year by British scientists in an Oxford University lab, ‘endohedral fullerene’ is a cage of carbon atoms containing nitrogen atoms. Carbon atoms exist in many forms like diamond and graphene, distinguished by the number of atoms they contain. This fullerene, with 60 carbon atoms, is also called Buckminsterfullerene or ‘bucky-ball’ because of its unusual shape.

It has several important applications apparently – it’s being used to create a small, portable atomic clock that will be the most accurate time-keeping system in the world. It could also help make GPS navigation more accurate to 1mm in self-driving cars.

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Fruit-Scented Plastic Cup Makes Drinking Water More Enjoyable, Helps You Lose Weight

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The ‘Right Cup’ is a new weight loss device designed to trick dieters into enjoying a drink of plain water. The cup has a scented inner lining that emanates the aroma of sugary fruit, satiating cravings for flavored drinks like juice or soda without having to consume the calories.

The cup works on the basic premise that 80 percent of the flavor and experience of food comes from its smell. The material of the cup is BPA-free and has a proprietary Encapsulated Aroma Release technology on the inside, so when users tilt the cup towards their face to take a sip, the aroma floods the senses, making them forget that they’re actually drinking bland water.

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Chinese Shoppers Go Crazy for Apples Kissed by Flight Attendants

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An insane new trend in China has online stores selling apples kissed by air hostesses at jacked-up prices. The ads for these apples show photographs of women dressed like stewardesses – thought to be trainees at Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation – holding up the apples against their red lips. Some listings even have videos of the women actually kissing the apples.

The marketing strategy is obviously targeted at men, with lines like “take home the kisses of an air hostess.” Some sellers claim their apples have been kissed by as many as 500 stewardesses. Others are offering custom orders, based on buyers’ preferences. The apples are priced between 9.9yuan and 129.9yan ($1.53 to $20) per fruit, depending on the variety, while some shops are putting together ‘kiss hampers’ with apples and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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These “Walking Trees” in Ecuador Can Allegedly Move Up to 20 Meters per Year

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The Socratea exorrhiza is perhaps the world’s only mobile tree. They say its complicated system of roots also serves as legs, helping the tree constantly move towards sunlight as the seasons change. Walking trees can apparently move up to 2-3 cm per day, or 20 meters per year. That may not sound like much, but it’s pretty much a marathon by tree-standards.

Rainforest guides in Latin American countries like Ecuador have been telling tourists about the amazing walking trees for decades now. The most common version of the story is that the tree slowly ‘walks’ in search of the sun by growing new roots towards the light and allowing its old roots to die. The unusual roots, split from the trunk a few feet above the ground, add to the illusion of the tree having legs.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” explained Peter Vrsansky, a palaeobiologist from the Slovak Academy of Sciences who lived for a few months in the Unesco Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, about a day’s journey from Ecuador’s capital Quito.

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Justin Bieber Fan Legally Takes His Name, Sleeps with a Cardboard Cutout of the Singer

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Gabrielle Newton-Bieber is possibly the world’s biggest Justin Bieber fan – she has five Bieber-tattoos, a wardrobe filled with Bieber clothes, and all of his records and merchandise. She also likes to pretend that she’s married to the Canadian singer so she has legally taken his last name and sleeps with a life-size Bieber cardboard cutout.

“I always call Justin my husband when I talk to people,” the 22-year-old supermarket worker said. “I say ‘I’ve got to go, my husband is just on the TV. They find it a bit weird because we’re not really married – if only we were. Just maybe, one day.”

Gabrielle has been obsessed with Justin Bieber since the very beginning, when his debut single ‘One Time’ released in 2009. “Justin released his first single ‘One Time’ when I was aged 16 and straight away I was obsessed,” the young woman said. “He was so cute with his floppy hair and riding his skateboard. I fell for him instantly. He makes us all so happy – Justin Bieber is my world.”

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Welcome to Santa University – Where Professional Santas Go to Hone Their Skills

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Believe it or not, being a professional Santa is hard work. It’s not just about putting on a red suit and a fake beard and doing the best ‘ho-ho-ho’ you can muster. Some Santas actually take their job very seriously, so much so that they go to a university to sharpen their skills.

Yes, Santa University is a real thing. It’s a four-day training program that takes place every summer at ‘Noerr Pole’, the corporate office of Noerr Programs in Colorado. The company is a digital event imaging provider that recruits and trains its own 70-member Santa Claus team. “We cover every single aspect you can think of when it comes to being the consummate Santa,” said Ruth Rosenquist, public relations director at Noerr.

So prospective Santas are taught how to pose for pictures, how to deal with social and mainstream media, how to sit with a child on their lap, what to do if a child asks for something intangible for Christmas, and how to stay healthy and hydrated during the holidays. The Santas interact with each other over two BBQ sessions that promote goodwill and an atmosphere of support.

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Bet on Your Marriage – Company Pays Couples $10,000 to Get Married, Charges Money Back with Interest if They Get Divorced

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A Seattle startup is in the news for investing in divorce – its business model is based on the fact that nearly 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the US end up parting ways. SwanLuv offers to pay couples for their dream wedding, but the money will have to be returned with interest if they ever get divorced.

So if you’re about to get married and you apply to Swanluv, they’ll run your profile through an algorithm, study your relationship, and select you if you meet their criteria. Then, they’ll offer you a loan of up to $10,000. You don’t have to return the money, ever, as long as you stay together. But the moment you decide to get a divorce you’ve got to cough up the original amount, plus interest. And stronger relationships are assigned higher interest rates, so the longer couples stay together, the more they’ll stand to lose if they split.

When you think about it, that’s kind of like the opposite of how insurance works. You’re supposed to get paid when things go wrong, but with SwanLuv, it’s the other way round. 

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