African Pop Star Becomes Ghostly White after Using Controversial Pigment-Altering Cosmetics

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It’s a little sad to see that in this day and age, people are still trying to change their skin color. The transformation of Nigerian and Cameroonian pop star Dencia is particularly disturbing. If the photographs are to be believed, she has gone from a healthy brown to a sickly pale white by using her own brand of skin whitening cream called Whitenicious. The controversial cosmetic product has brought her much criticism because of what it stands for, but Dencia has just one reply to silence her critics: “I don’t even care because they are bringing me business.”

Whitenicious is said to remove dark spots and effectively lighten skin in just seven days. The cream has become quite popular in West Africa, where some women are believed to be obsessed with the color of their skin. And according to Dencia, she doesn’t think she’s encouraging people to change, she’s just giving the girls what they want. “These girls are not trying to bleach their skin. They’re just trying to get rid of these little things that is making them feel uncomfortable, you know?” she said, referring to dark spots.

Dencia also tried to justify herself by explaining that many of her customers were African-American, not African. “Because the white man doesn’t even like light Africans. They like Black Africans,” she said. “Look at all the Africans that are successful in the world. They are as black as Alek Wek. And if I was as Black as Alek Wek, I would never use anything on my skin.” I’m not sure what she’s saying makes much sense.

Denicia-Whitenicious

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Guy Quits His Job to Upload Minecraft Videos on YouTube, Makes a Fortune

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Now this is what you call a modern-day fairy tale. The internet can do wonderful things for you, if you can wield the magic of  making content go viral. Like university graduate Joseph Garrett, who has earned a small fortune by simply filming himself playing video games and uploading the clips on YouTube. His clips have become an internet sensation and Joseph is well on his way to becoming a millionaire.

Joseph’s YouTube channel ‘Stampylonghead’ has received more hits than One Direction and Justin Bieber. It is one of the top 10 most viewed channels in the world, raking in a whopping 10,000 subscribers and 170 million views a month. “I’m essentially just playing and commentating while I play,” he said. “It ended up snowballing and that’s how I got to where I am now.” Joseph has a degree in TV and video production, and used to work as a barman. He quit his job last year to play games like Minecraft and share tips with fellow players, full time. “I decided to leave when I was earning the same amount as I was there.”

Joseph currently lives with his parents near Portsmouth, Hampshire, in the UK. “My parents were happy to let me stay rent free so I could develop this into a full-time living,” he said. “My family and friends think it’s great,” said Joseph. “They don’t fully understand what I do but my parents and sister are over the moon for me.” I must say, his parents sound incredibly supportive. At 23 if I’d have told my parents I was quitting my job to play games all day, they certainly would not have taken it very well. Of course, I don’t think I could have made any money out of gaming back then. At least, not the kind of money that Joseph’s making.

Joseph-Garrett

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Two New York Artists Living in Human Hamster Wheel for 10 Days

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Performance artists Ward Shelley and Alex Schweder are currently roommates – not in an apartment, but in a large hamster wheel. Alex, who is afraid of heights, lives on the inside of the wheel, at the bottom. Ward, who has no such reservations, stays put at the very top, on the outside (180 degrees from Alex). They came into this unique living arrangement last Friday and plan to continue until March 9th.

Ward and Alex are actually in the middle of an art project that they like to call ‘In Orbit’. They are on display at The Boiler, a performance space at a New York’s Pierogi gallery. It took them four weeks to construct the 30-foot tall, 60-foot in circumference hamster wheel themselves, with a little help from engineer friends. The gigantic structure is suspended from the ceiling and has furniture fastened to it on the inside and the outside. Ward and Alex each have a bed, a desk, a kitchen-bathroom combo, a chair, lamps and a dresser to use.

Every piece of furniture is aligned to its counterpart, so both inhabitants of the wheel have to use the bathroom at the same time, work at the same time and go to sleep at the same time. To change the furniture setting, they simply walk on the wheel in opposite directions, moving it until the next station arrives. For safety reasons, they walk very, very slowly.

life-size-hamster-wheel

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Toddlers Drop the Beats at Brooklyn’s Baby DJ School

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In another bizarre case of super parenting, some toddlers are being put through classes at the Baby DJ School in Brooklyn. The program was designed by composer and performance artist Natalie Weiss. She started off last September with six students aged between 9 and 20 months.

31-year-old Weiss said she got the idea when she took her DJ equipment to a friend’s house. “I was babysitting a little boy named Rider. He’s one-and-a-half. And I had my laptop and my midi trigger with me because I had a gig after. I asked him, ‘Do you want to see how it works?’ And he loved it! Seeing him have that enthusiasm and innocence and joy talking about pieces of electrical equipment, that’s when I said like, it’s time to educate kids about this stuff.”

So Weiss began to write songs that teach kids about disc jockeying and electronic music. One of the songs goes: ‘The midi-trigger’s connected to the laptop, the laptop’s connected to the PA’ set to the tune of ‘Dem Bones’ – a baby song about dancing skeletons. There’s one like a little baby rap: “I always, always pre cue, before I play in front of you!”

Baby-DJ-school

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Minnesota Farmer Single-Handedly Builds 50-Foot Snowman

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Greg Novak, a farmer from Gilman, Minnesota, spent hundreds of hours building a gigantic snowman. He calls the towering 50-foot structure ‘Granddaddy’. While some neighbors have seriously questioned Greg’s sanity, he hopes that the snowman will shake onlookers out of their winter blues. “If you can’t beat the winter, embrace it,” is his motto.

Novak came up with the idea for Granddaddy in late January, when he had to move great mounds of snow to prevent the roofs of his greenhouses from collapsing. “As long as you’re moving it, might as well do something practical with it,” he thought. So he set to work with all his farming equipment. Novak began by piling the snow on to skid loaders. He then used a silage blower to direct the snow into stacked cylinders – Granddaddy’s body and head. The base cylinder is 45 foot wide, while the others are smaller but still impressive in size.

“Granddaddy’s arms are a 61-foot grain elevator. An augur they used to be. The eyes are plywood – 4 foot wide by 6 foot high. The nose is a 55-gallon barrel, the smile is like, 10 foot wide. The scarf is about 80 foot long, the broom is about 35 foot high, the buttons are garbage can covers,” Novak describes his creation.  Snow storms, frigid temperatures and other weather-related setbacks often hampered Novak’s progress. “The weather wasn’t cooperating. The higher I got, it seemed like the more weather-related issues I got. Like too warm, you couldn’t blow the snow. Too cold or too windy, you couldn’t blow the snow because it wouldn’t stay up there. But we got it up.”

Granddaddy-snowman

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New Jersey Cheerleader Is Suing Her Parents for Not Paying Her College Tuition

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In one of the most sensational courtroom dramas in recent American history, a teenage cheerleader tried to sue her parents for refusing to pay her college tuition. Unfortunately for her, a New Jersey family court judge ruled on Tuesday that the parents are not obligated to do anything of the sort. In fact, all of 18-year-old Rachel Canning’s requests were denied – weekly allowance, high school and college tuition, living expenses and her attorney’s fee.

It isn’t for lack of money – Rachel’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth, have put aside a college fund for her. But they’ve taken the extreme step of withholding those funds because of her bad behavior. “We’re heartbroken, but what do you do when a child says, ‘I don’t want your rules but I want everything under the sun and you to pay for it?’” said Sean Canning.

According to the parents, Rachel has always been a troublesome child. She routinely gets into trouble and refuses to follow simple rules like doing chores and keeping a curfew. She also bullies her sister and has been suspended from school twice so far. But when she refused to stop seeing her boyfriend, who they think is a bad influence on her, it was the last straw. They gave her only two options – either dump him or get out. Rachel chose the latter.

Rachel-Canning

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Real-Life Forrest Gump Walks 34,000 Miles in 14 Years Spreading a Simple but Powerful Message

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14 years ago, Steve Fugate took it upon himself to walk across America, as therapy after losing his son. Since then, he has achieved his goal 6 times, and is currently on his seventh attempt. Through his extraordinary journey, he hopes to spread just one simple message – ‘Love Life’. He started his latest walk on March 23, last year and is still going strong. He has already passed through 21 states and has 27 more to go. “My feet swell, my knees hurt, my legs hurt. I do not like walking. But I do it specifically for a reason,” he said. It’s estimated 67-year-old Steve has walked over 34,000 kilometers since he first set out on his legendary treks.

Fugate, a native of Florida, had never really been a fan of walking, but he found it to be a great way to spread love after he lost his children. 1999 was a particularly tough year for him. He was going through a failed marriage and his business had taken a hit. To make matters worse, his son Stevie, 26, was convicted of drunk driving. It was all getting a bit too much to handle, so Fugate decided to go trekking on the 2,167 mile Appalachian Trail, leaving his son in charge of the business.

Unfortunately, young Stevie was also dealing with several serious issues at the time and committed suicide. Fugate received the tragic news as he was trekking through Pennsylvania. “When he put a gun to his mouth and pulled the trigger, he ended my life too,” said the heartbroken father. After a brief period of grieving, he made up his mind to finish the trek. This turned out to be a life-altering decision. “When I was out there, something happened to me. I couldn’t imagine any other human being going through what I did. It’ll change your whole life.”

Steve-Fugate

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Man Sets New Guinness Record for Typing Sentence with His Nose in the Shortest Time Possible

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For the likes of Mohammed Khurshid Hussain, from Hyderabad, India, having just one Guinness World Record isn’t good enough. The 23-year-old already held the title of fastest typist of the English alphabet on a keyboard – just 3.43 seconds –  but that was set using his fingers. Now he’s gone and done it with his nose.

Mr. Hussain set out to break the world record for nose-typing last Thursday. His mission: to type the sentence ‘Guinness World Records have challenged me to type this sentence using my nose in the fastest time’. The previous record holder was another Indian, Neeta, who finished the task way back in 2008, in 1 minute and 33 seconds.

That seems like a tough record to beat, but Mr. Hussain did it with a lot of time to spare. He typed the sentence in just 48.62 seconds, way ahead of Neeta. “If you want to set a record, every millisecond counts,” he said. “This time I typed with one eye closed, as it is difficult otherwise to locate the keys. This is my second attempt to break the record. Earlier last month, I typed the sentence with my nose in 53.44 seconds, for which I am yet to receive the certificate.”

nose-typing

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Marksman Paralyzed from the Neck Down Fires a Rifle with His Tongue

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Being paralyzed from the neck down doesn’t stop 53-year-old Victor Morris from doing what he loves – firing his rifle. He had a special rig designed that allows him to fire using one of the only parts of his body that still move on command – his tongue! A native of Aberaeron, in West Wales, the quadriplegic had a rugby accident 24 years ago that left him in his current state. In spite of this, he hasn’t lost his spirit. In fact, he has even managed to beat other able-bodied shooters in international competitions.

“I was desperate to shoot again but never thought I would. After the accident, the thought (that) I’d never be able to use the rifle again was always in the back of my mind,” he said. “It was a difficult thing to come to terms with. I’m so happy to be back doing something I love.” Victor’s love for shooting began when he was only 12 years old. He was competing by the age of 15, and represented Wales for 10 years in clay pigeon shooting contests. He was 29 when the tragic event occurred – while playing rugby for Lampeter against Llandarcy.

“I went into the scrum and the next thing I knew I heard a horrible sound – three cracks – then I blanked out for a second,” recalled Victor. “I came around and I remember being stretchered off. That was it. I was paralyzed from the neck down. It wasn’t painful, I just felt numb. I couldn’t feel a thing.”

Vic-Morris

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Hipster Wannabes Resort to Facial Hair Transplants to Get Coveted Look

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In a bid to keep up with the hipster beard trend, New York men are opting for a bizarre form of plastic surgery – facial hair transplants. I didn’t even know this was possible, but apparently, the procedure results in a real-looking beard. You can crop it, shave it, or let it grow out, just like you would a natural beard.

Doctors in New York City who specialize in the surgery say that the number of male patients is growing by the day. These men are willing to shell out up to $7,000 for a full, pumped up beard. Dr. Jeffery Epstein, who has performed the procedure for over a decade, said that earlier he would see just a handful of patients a year, but now he’s doing three to four per week. “Whether you’re talking about the Brooklyn hipster or the advertising executive, the look is definitely to have a bit of facial hair.”

It’s not just beardless hipsters doing the rounds at plastic surgery clinics, according to Dr. Yael Halaas. Most of her patients are young, hip and fashionable, but she also gets men who have struggled to grow beards all their lives. Some of them are undergoing a gender transformation, a few have facial scarring, and others are Hasidic Jews who want denser side locks. “I get a lot of detail oriented people – artists, architects,” said the doctor. She also notes that the most beard-centric areas in the city are Williamsburg, Bushwick and Park Slope.

beard-transplant

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Japanese Attend Crying Seminars to Improve Physical and Mental Health

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I’ve heard of laughter therapy for relieving stress, but I didn’t know the reverse existed as well. In Japan, people gather in groups to let the boo-hoos out. These ‘crying seminars’ are conducted by Takashi Saga, who calls himself a ‘tears sommelier’. “Selecting wines that matches food is similar to my job,” he said. “I introduce books, movies and videos that touch the people’s emotion.”

“Crying doesn’t have a good image in Japan,” Saga added. “People believe you should not cry in front of people, that it’s weak.” So twice a month, Saga organizes a ‘ruikatsu’ – a crying for joy seminar. When people get emotional and cry, he believes that life’s burdens, tensions and frustrations melt away. “Laughing can only release stress at that moment. But studies show the stress release from crying lasts for a week. Crying is better for your physical and mental health.”

It turns out that Saga might actually be right. Some scientific studies have proven that when we cry for emotional reasons, our tears contain the same kind of hormones released by the body during physical stress. Most people start his sessions with a poker face and a ‘try and make me’ kind of attitude. But the activities that Saga plans for his class always ensure that no one leaves dry-eyed.

crying-seminars-Japan

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Facing Your Fears – Guy Tattoos Spider on His Face to Combat Arachnophobia

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Now here’s a guy who literally ‘faced’ his fears. To deal with his morbid fear of spiders, Eric Ortiz got a black widow spider tattooed on his face.

You’ve got to be either really gutsy or really stupid to put something so huge and permanent on your face. I’m not sure which one Ortiz is. The 24-year-old from Deltona, Florida, said: “Everybody fears spiders. That’s why I got it. Just to, like, make me know, that that’s what I fear, but not to fear it. You know what I’m saying?”

I’m not too sure I know what he’s saying. How can putting a spider tattoo on your face make you less scared of spiders? Well, it’s his face and if it works for him, who am I to judge? But a lot of people are judging Ortiz for his rash decision. “Everybody looks at it like, ‘Damn spider’ ‘cause if you’re going around your house, you know what I’m saying, you see those spiders, you’re going to jump, so putting one on my face, I say you know what, I’m going to see what people think.”

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Homeless Man Uses His Last Few Coins to Buy Lottery Ticket, Wins $2.79 Million Jackpot

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Now this is what you call a dream-come-true. No, scratch that. It’s more like the ‘wildest’ dream-come-true. When László Andraschek used his last few coins to purchase a lottery ticket, I’m sure he had no real hope of winning the jackpot – a whopping 600 million forint (US $2.70 million) – but it actually happened. The 55-year-old Hungarian went from being a homeless tramp to a millionaire, overnight.

For seven long years, Andraschek lived in a homeless shelter in the city of Győr. “It all happened to me, I remember it, but I don’t miss it,” he said about his experience of being homeless. He was also a recovering alcoholic at the time. “I had drunk myself out of the family by the age of 31. I was the last child at home and spent all my wages on drink. I worked on-and-off as an agricultural repairman. I lived the typical life of an alcoholic and I thought it was all right.”

It came to a point where Andraschek’s siblings were fed up of him and asked their mother to kick him out. This was in 1989; at age 31, Andraschek had become completely destitute. He tried to hang himself, but the rope snapped and he ended up losing a foot. “Even losing a foot didn’t make me mend my ways because I would blame everyone around me, anyone but myself.” In 1991, he registered himself as homeless.

László Andraschek2

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No Shoes for a Year – Kentucky Man Goes Barefoot for Charity

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This winter has been one of the toughest in years, which makes this Kentucky man’s initiative all the more special. Richard Hudgins has decided to go barefoot for an entire year to create awareness about the plight of shoeless children around the world. He also hopes to raise money for the cause.

“For 365 days I’m going to wear no shoes to collect new shoes and raise money to buy shoes for children who have never had the luxury of owning a pair,” Hudgins wrote on his Facebook page ‘No Shoes for a Year’. “At the end of the year I’m going to take all of the money that I’ve raised and talk to as many shoes companies as I can. Hopefully, I can raise enough money that they really really want it and they’ll make a contribution as well.”

Hudgins, a hairstylist from Louisville, started the charity campaign in December. His first day barefoot was the hardest. “After that first hour-and-a-half, I was like no way, I can’t do this, there’s no way.” He even abandoned his workout and left the gym when he saw the manager approaching him. “It was kind of humiliating, I didn’t expect that at all,” he said. He almost gave up after that, until he saw his first $5 donation on the website. “That really inspired me and I said I’m going to keep doing it, I’m going to keep going.”

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Inmates in Thailand Can Reduce Their Sentences by Beating Foreigners in Muay Thai Prison Fights

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In a world where prisoners’ sentences are reduced for good behavior, the rules at Klong Prem Central Prison, in Thailand, come across as bizarre. They basically have it the other way around – inmates battle foreign fighters in a tournament called ‘Prison Fight’, a charity event organized by Thailand’s Department of Corrections. The organized boxing matches, held regularly across various Thai prisons, give them a shot at reducing their sentences or even gaining their freedom.

Winning inmates receive prize money as well as the chance to meet with the warden to have their sentence reduced. Needless to say, the Thai prisoners win at least 9 out of 10 fights, both because they are eager to get out of confinement and because most of them have years of experience. But they also need to have a track record of good behavior to be let off the hook.

“Prison fights are done to help the prisoners. It lets the prisoners fight so they can earn money,” said Mr. Pek, Prison Fights coordinator. “They also fight to reduce the time of their sentences. To reduce their sentence and to bring honor and fame to Thailand, if they can defeat foreign fighters and fight a lot. Some of the fighters are in for drugs, robbery or murder. There are boxers doing life or 50 years. There are boxers who can never get out.”

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