Artisanal Currency, a Refreshing and Totally Legal Way to Pay

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Have you ever seen currency notes so beautiful that you’d actually hesitate to spend them? Well, they’re called ‘artisanal currency’, and they’re all the rage in several parts of the world, including London, Amsterdam, and New York. The concept is quite similar to artisanal coffee, cheese, or chocolate that is handmade, not mass produced.

According to The New York Times, “these are small-batch currencies designed by locals and lovingly handled by millennials, who came of age during the rise of the Internet.” Interestingly, this local currency is not meant to be a collectible, but is legally accepted at cash-only community businesses so that the money stays within the town or district.

London’s Brixton district, for example, has its own artisanal currency designed by award-winning artist Jeremy Deller. His £5 notes feature a “fuzzy, psychedelic image of an androgynous face surrounded by rainbow clouds and swirling etchings.” Deller said that he wanted to create “something old-fashioned looking, something almost pre-currency.” And the people of Brixton are quite pleased with their own special pound notes. “I’d be more inclined to save money if it all looked like that,” said Ewan Graham, a 31-year-old architect.

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Manipur, the Indian State Ruled by Korean Pop-Culture

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Despite being a part of India, the northern state of Manipur can culturally be described as Korean. Ever since local authorities banned Bollywood movies and Hindi TV channels in a bid to “stamp out Indianisation”, a vast majority of the local population have turned to Korean pop-culture. They are now big fans of Korean films and music, and have adopted various elements of Korean culture. 

It all started with Airarang TV, a 24-hour network from Seoul, being broadcast in Manipur. As the channel grew in popularity, so did the demand for more programming from Korea. It wasn’t long before Korean cinema caught on as well, with pirated DVDs flooding Manipur’s markets.

To understand the Manipuri fascination with Korean pop culture, it make sense to first look at why the ban on Indian cinema was imposed in the first place. “Since the late ’90s, the people of Manipur are facing a cultural forbiddance imposed by a radical, fringe institution in the name of preserving the local culture,” writes Mahitha Kasireddi, in an opinion piece in the Indian online publication, Youth Ki Awaaz.

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Chinese Millionaire Gives Up Fortune, Lives in Isolation for Two Years to Become Buddhist Monk

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We thought Indian millionaire Bhanwarlal Raghunath – who gave up his fortune to become a monk – was one of a kind, but we were wrong. Meet Liu Jingchong, a rich Chinese businessman who has also renounced his wealth for monkhood.

Jingchong, 39, was bitten by the spiritual bug in 2012, after a freak car accident. “It is true that I earned a lot of money and I can’t say I hated my life,” he told the media. “I would say that I even loved it, but all that changed when friends of mine and I had a car accident in a remote part of the country in northwestern China’s Qinghai province.”

“We needed to get a new car and not all of us were fit to travel immediately,” Jingchong recalled. “But as I was relatively okay, I stayed in a hotel where about the only thing to do was read a book on Buddhism. I have to say it changed my life.”

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Turkish Couple Spend Wedding Day Feeding 4,000 Syrian Refugees

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Instead of splashing out on a fancy wedding last week, a Turkish couple chose to share their special day with 4,000 Syrian refugees instead. After exchanging vows in their hometown of Kilis, near the Syrian border, they went on to feed thousands of refugees through the Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu (KYM).

KYM has been offering hot meals to Syrian outcasts who fled the nation’s bloody civil war and are now struggling to fulfill their basic needs. Having seen these people suffer at close quarters, it only made sense for Fethullah Üzümcüoğlu and Esra Polat to allocate a portion of their wedding budget to the charity. The thoughtful couple contributed to the cost of the food being served that day, and arrived at the venue to help serve the food themselves with their guests in tow.

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Man Celebrates His Birthday for 46 Hours by Flying Back in Time

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Time travel is technically possible, by just hopping on flights and traveling across time zones. A German man recently decided to take advantage of this fact to bag the Guinness Record for the world’s longest birthday. Of course, the longest birthday isn’t necessarily the most fun, given that he spent almost all of it sitting in a plane seat, eating airline food!

Sven Hagemeier enjoyed a 46-hour long 26th birthday last year, by flying from Auckland, New Zealand, to Brisbane, Australia, gaining two hours. Then he took a flight to Honolulu, Hawaii, which is 20 hours behind. He actually only spent 13 hours and 10 minutes in the air, but his birthday lasted 46 hours, if you add the time he gained by flying across the International Date Line.

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Obsessed Cristiano Ronaldo Fan Spends Thousands to Look Like His Idol

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Star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has millions of fans all around the world, but none as dedicated as 17-year-old Shanta. The Danish teenager has spent thousands of dollars in a bid to emulate his idol.

For starters, Shanta goes by the last name ‘Ronaldo’. He copies the ex-Manchester United player’s fashion sense, wearing clothes as similar to Ronaldo’s as possible, buying all his football shirts and getting the same haircuts. He has also made five trips to Madrid this year alone, just to meet Real Madrid’s star.

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Bubble Fingernails – The Crazy Fashion Trend Taking Over the Internet

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Some fashion trends are so odd that they leave you wondering how they ever caught on. Take this latest ‘bubble nails’ craze – bulbous acrylic fingernails painted in a variety of colors and patterns.

The technique has apparently been around since 2009, but has only gained popularity recently, after a series of photos went viral on Instagram. Due to the growing demand, beauticians are having to teach themselves the art, through trial and error. They start by placing a ball or multiple balls of acrylic at the center of the nail, and builds it out by adding layers. Then, they paint it as per the customer’s choice.

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Indian “Road Doctor” Has Been Using His Own Pension Money to Fix Potholes

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Meet Gangadhara Tilak Katnam, the man who single-handedly fixed over 1,000 potholes in his hometown of Hyderabad, India. The 66-year-old pensioner has made it his mission to fix the city’s roads, earning himself the nickname ‘road doctor’.

Since 2011, the former railway engineer has been driving around the city every single day, looking for abandoned tar and gravel on roadsides. He collects the unclaimed material and uses it to fill potholes, at times spending his own pension money to do it. Tilak, who calls his work ‘Shramadaan’ (offering physical help), doesn’t confine himself to his neighborhood – he patches up every pothole he can find in the city.

“After working for the South Central Railway for 35 years, I retired in October 2008 and spent some time off in 2009, also traveling to the US to meet my son,” Tilak told the local media. “In January 2010, I came back and settled down in Hydershakote, in Hyderabad and took up a job as a consultant in a software agency.” It was during the course of commuting to this job that Tilak found his calling.

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Legendary Oakland Biker Gang Regularly Holds Fight Club-Style Events

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The East Bay Rats, a legendary motorcycle club in Oakland offers an innovative solution to barroom brawls – Fight Parties. Since 1996, the club has organised Friday Fight Nights – putting potential troublemakers (and anyone else who volunteers) in a boxing ring at the clubhouse and giving them a chance to work the violence out of their system.

According to East Bay Rats founder Trevor Latham, everybody has a violent streak in them and Fight Nights give people a safe space to test the limit of their courage. “Why not?” he asked. “The worst that can happen is you get a bloody nose.”

Over the years, Friday Fight Nights have become insanely popular, with the courtyard around the ring jam packed with spectators. Everyone who wants to fight gets a chance – it’s usually guys vs. guys and women vs. women, but you don’t have to be a professional fighter to get into the ring.  Participants range from bartenders and photographers, to bodybuilders, college students, lab technicians or musicians. That’s what this tradition is all about – real fights between real people.

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Swedish Airport Installs Climate Simulator of Cities Around the World

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Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport offers a weather service quite unlike any other. Instead of doling out boring reports, it actually lets people feel what the weather is like in various cities around the world before actually flying there.

Yvonne Boe, communication manager at Swedavia – the company that manages Sweden’s airports – describes the unique Climate Portal as an “experience for all your senses which replicates the weather live from all over the planet, a direct link to the whole world. It’s also a preview of where you’re going, so you know if you need that warm sweater or an extra pair of sunglasses before boarding.”

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Desperate Suspect Tries to Chew Off His Fingerprints to Avoid Being Identified

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The Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Florida recently released one of the strangest, most disturbing video we’ve ever seen – it shows a young suspect trying to chew off his fingertips in a bid to avoid being identified by the police.

According to the video’s description, it all started on Friday, when a traffic cop on State Road 82 stopped a 2015 Mercedes that had been reported stolen. The man behind the wheel, later identified as 20-year-old Kenzo Roberts, tried using a fraudulent ID with a fake name. But the officer soon discovered a hidden firearm and took the man into custody.

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Healthy Retired Nurse Ends Her Life in Swiss Suicide Clinic Because Old Age ‘Is Awful’

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A 75-year-old Englishwoman shocked the world by opting for euthanasia over natural death from old age. In spite of being in good health, the retired nurse decided to end her life because she could not bear the thought of growing old and frail. Before her death, Gill Pharaoh stated that she did not want to burden her children with the responsibility of caring for her.

Pharaoh specialised in nursing the elderly – she apparently developed a distaste for the life of the elderly, having witnessed it in close quarters. Towards the end of her life, she had checked into a Swiss suicide clinic, and in her last interview, she revealed how she had lost interest in life. She no longer enjoyed gardening, dinner parties, and was suffering from tinnitus.

“I do not think old age is fun,” she had said. “I have just gone over the hill now. It is not going to start getting better. I have looked after people who are old, on and off, all my life. I have always said, ‘I am not getting old. I do not think old age is fun.’”

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Chinese Man Builds ‘World’s Longest Seesaw’ to Play with Son Living 730 Miles Away

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30-year-old Liu Haibin is being hailed as the world’s coolest dad after he built an innovative seesaw that allows him to play with his toddler son who lives with his mother over 700 miles away.

While Chinese media is referring to Liu’s invention as the ‘world’s longest seesaw’, in reality, it consists of two identical seesaws equipped with motion sensors. One is placed in Tengzhou City, where Liu’s wife and eight-month-old son live. The other is with Liu, who lives in Xiamen City, 730 miles away. Through wireless internet signals and remote synchronization sensor data, the seesaws are perfectly synchronized. HD monitors on both seesaws enable father and son to see and interact with each other as they play.

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Snowden 2.0: Japanese Journalist Has Been Living in Moscow Airport for Two Months

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Japanese journalist Tetsuya Abo is pulling a Snowden – he’s been living in the transit section of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for over two months now. The 36-year-old said in an interview that his stay is politically motivated – he does not want to go back home, and is requesting Russian citizenship instead.

“It has become impossible to tell the truth in Japan,” he told the media. “There is no such thing as truth in journalism, because you cannot write the truth because of a law of secrecy. The Japanese think that they live the right way and therefore do not see any problems, but you need to pay very close attention to see that something is wrong.”

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Artist Creates Tree Able to Grow 40 Different Kinds of Fruit at Once

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In a bid to reintroduce Americans to long-forgotten native fruit, a New York sculptor has created an incredible tree that can produce 40 varieties of stone fruit at once.

Sam Van Aken, who is also an art professor at Syracuse University, grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania where grafting was a common practice. However, to him, it always seemed magical. “When I’d seen it done as a child it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic,” he said during a Tedx talk last year.

Van Aken has been growing multi-fruit trees since 2008, through a technique called ‘chip grafting’. He starts by taking a slice of a fruit tree that includes buds, and inserts it into a matching incision in a host tree that is at least three years old. He uses electrical tape to hold the pieces together. Soon enough, the “veins” of different trees flow into each other, sharing the same life energy.

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