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The Chinese Town Where Crickets Are Worth Much More Than Gold

Cricket fighting has been popular in China for thousands of years, and with the country in full economic boom, fans of the “sport” are investing more money into it than ever before. One town in particular has built an entire industry around the genetically-superior crickets living in the surrounding fields, and for good reason, as the best specimens can reportedly sell for up to 50,000 yuan ($7,661).

The tradition of cricket fighting can be traced back to the Tang dynasty (618-904), and the crickets found in the fields around the town of Sidian, in China’s Shandong province, have long been renowned for their large size and aggressiveness, both very important features among enthusiasts of the sport. It is said that several of China’s emperors favored Sidian’s crickets for their high win rate, and today’s rich spend absurd amounts of money for exceptional specimens that can give them an edge against their rivals.

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Russian Family Comes Home to Find Asphalt Road Where Their House Used to Be

A family of migrant workers from Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region, recently returned to their native village of Zavod after a month of work to find their house partially demolished and an asphalt road passing through their property.

The Udalov family spend most of their time away from home, working in the nearby city of Nizhny Novgorod, but they always look forward to spending their short vacations at their quaint property in Zavod. Unfortunately, they no longer have a house to come back to, after authorities took the liberty to tear down part of it in order to make room for an asphalt road. No one contacted them about the project, so they just came back after a month to a partially demolished house and their belongings spread on the side of the new road traversing their yard.

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23-Year-Old Woman Memorizes IKEA’s New 328-Page Catalogue in a Week

Most people could probably spend a whole year just looking at IKEA’s 2018 catalogue and still not remember all the details in its 328 pages. But then again, Yaanja Wintersoul is not most people, she is a two-time World Memory Champion so she only needed one week to accomplish the seemingly impossible task.

23-years-old Yaanja Wintersoul says that there’s no such thing as a photographic memory, and that it’s all about training your brain to memorize tiny details that most of us forget almost instantly. She knows what she’s talking about, too. Not only has she won the World Memory Championship twice, set a the world record for the the largest number of names and faces ever memorized by a person, but she’s also become IKEA’s “human catalogue”, memorizing most of the details in the company’s 328-page 2018 catalogue in only a week.

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Peruvian Diver Left Looking Like a Balloon After Rising From the Depths Too Fast

Alejandro Ramos Martínez, a seafood diver from Pisco, Peru, recently made international headlines after a terrible accident left him looking like a human balloon. He apparently rose from a depth of 30 meters too fast, which caused the nitrogen in his blood to form giant bubbles that adhered to his muscles, leaving him looking deformed.

Martínez’s unusual case was featured on Peruvian TV show “Cuarto Poder”, where doctors were left stunned by the horrifying effect of the nitrogen pods on the man’s physical appearance. Decompression sickness, also known as ‘the bends’, causes nitrogen to come out of solution and form bubbles in the blood and tissues. In mild cases, symptoms include unusual fatigue, dizziness, nausea and joint pain, but in rare cases it can also cause paralysis or even death. The deforming effects it has had on this Peruvian diver are believed to be unique

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Thai “Runaway Bride” Cons at Least 8 Men by Marrying Them and Disappearing with the Dowry

Police in Thailand are looking for a serial scammer who has apparently married at least eight men in the last two years, disappearing from their lives completely right after collecting the dowry money from their families.

The real-life “runaway bride”, 32-year-old Jariyaporn “Nammon” Buayai, had apparently been called out as a scammer on social media a long time ago, but she only appeared on the radar of law enforcement a few days ago, after one of her victims filed a formal complaint against her. Prasarn Tiamyam, 32, claims that he recently saw a Facebook post warning Thai men to stay away from Nammon, and recognized her as the woman he married two years ago, after she told him she had gotten pregnant. She had disappeared days after the wedding, with a dowry of THB 200,000 ($6,000) and never came back.

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UCLA Researcher Grows Colony of 200-Plus Hummingbirds Outside Her Office

Melanie Barboni, an assistant researcher at UCLA’s Earth, Planetary and Space Science department, is known as an expert in geology and volcanic activity among her colleagues, but those who haven’t worked with her before know her only as the “hummingbird whisperer”. She has always been fascinated by the tiny birds, and after moving to Los Angeles, she has nurtured a colony of over 200 hummingbirds right outside her office window.

Growing up in Switzerland, a country with an almost non-existent population of hummingbirds, Melanie Barboni admired the colorful birds in books, but dreamed of one day seeing them up close, so when she learned that her next job assignment would lead her to Los Angeles, California, where hummingbirds live all year round, she was overjoyed. She has spent the two years since developing a colony of 200-plus hummingbirds right outside her office window, by hanging four nectar-filled feeders for them. Melanie has gotten so close to her hummingbirds that she “cannot go to a place where they are not there”.

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Vietnamese Woman Has 3-Meter “Hair Snake” Growing Out of Her Scalp

We’ve seen people grow their hair ridiculously long before, but what sets 81-year-old Trinh Thi Nghien is that her 3-meter-long locks are bundled together in a thick mass that looks like a snake curled on her head. She claims it just started growing like this 22 years ago, and it hasn’t stopped since.

Trinh Thi Nghien’s “dragon hair” recently went viral on Vietnamese social media, with people asking how the 81-year-old woman could bare living with what looks like a pile of unkempt hair for so long. But the woman claims that it wasn’t by choice. Her hair was perfectly normal until 1995, when she noticed a bun of tangled up hair on the back of her head. She tried untangling it with a comb, but to no avail, so she just cut it off. However, it started growing back the same way, and the longer it got, the thicker it became. After cutting it off several times, she decided to just let it grow, and today, 22 years later, her dragon hair measures a whopping 3 meters long.

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21-Year-Old Woman Controlled Ex-Boyfriend’s Life for Two Years by Impersonating Police Officers

A jealous woman was somehow able to control her ex-boyfriend’s life – forbidding him from seeing other women and even going to certain bars – for two years, by posing as police officers and convincing him that he was part of an investigation.

21-year-old Lauren Adderley and Mitchell Lloyd, 22, both from Shrewsbury, UK, were in a romantic relationship for only two months, in 2014, but even though Lloyd made it clear he wanted nothing more to do with her after that, the young woman spent the next two years making his life a living hell. She put together a sophisticated blackmail plan that was put into motion right after the breakup. Lauren told her ex that she had been the victim of a crime and asked him to provide a statement to the police. He accepted, and was soon contacted by a certain Robert Hay, supposedly a police officer and a friend of Adderley’s family, asking for the statement by email. Little did Mitchell know that Robert Hay was actually an online alias of Lauren’s, and that he would become his biggest nightmare.

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Meet Derek Rabelo, the World’s Only Blind Professional Surfer

Derek Rabelo is not the only surfer to conquer Hawaii’s famous Pipeline big wave break, but whereas others use their sight to do it, this young professional surfer must rely only on his other senses. That’s because he is completely blind.

When Derek was born, over 24 years ago, his father Ernesto had already decided to name him after Derek Ho, the first Hawaiian surfing world champion. A surfing enthusiast himself, Ernesto dreamed that his son would go on to honour his namesake and inherit the talent of his uncle, a professional surfer. Unfortunately, Derek was born completely blind from congenital glaucoma, but this didn’t stop his family from believing that he could do anything he wanted, even if that meant becoming a surfer.

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Female Tech Entrepreneurs Invent Male Co-Founder to Beat Industry Sexism

After noticing that many of the male developers and graphic designers they approached were either condescending or vaguely disrespectful, two female tech entrepreneurs decided to invent a male partner to handle communications. They claim that the difference was “like night and day”.

A year ago, Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer decided to create an online marketplace for bizarre and dark-humored art, as an alternative to big sites like Etsy, which they believe have too much limitations and excessive censorship. With minimal tech skills and a very limited budget of a few thousand dollars of their own money, getting “Witchsy” off the ground was never going to be easy, but one thing the two ladies didn’t expect was to be treated differently simply because of their sex. Some of the people they contacted to work on the site either took a condescending tone with them, like opening an email with “Okay, girls”, while others took it even further, like a developer who tried to delete their site because Penelope refused to go on a date with him. But everything changed when a certain “Keith” took over communications.

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From Mugshot to Head Shot: How One Young Man Went from Felon to Professional Fashion Model

Last year, 20-year-old Mekhi Alante Lucky got himself arrested in North Carolina for speeding and driving a stolen vehicle. Little did he know that this even would completely change his life for the better. The young man’s mugshot soon went viral and he recently signed with an Atlanta modelling agency.

True to his name, Mr. Lucky managed to avoid jail time when he was arrested, in May of last year, but managed to get himself in trouble several times since then, amassing quite the criminal record. Between April 2016 and December 2016, he was booked for alleged assault on a female, alleged breaking and entering plus resisting a public officer, and twice, for misdemeanor violations of his parole. But his troubled past didn’t stop Atlanta-based St Claire’s Modeling Agency from signing Mekhi to its roster, as soon as they saw his original mugshot on social media.

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Speedo-Wearing Man Protests Confiscated Marijuana and Bong, While Smoking a Bong

31-year-old Jeffrey Shaver recently became an overnight internet sensation after being photographed protesting in front of a courthouse wearing only green Speedo-style underwear, next to two signs that read “RETURN MY BONG” and “RETURN MY MARIJUANA”, while smoking a bong.

Shaver, of Cambridge, Ontario, claims that he was wrongfully arrested last October for possession of marijuana, despite having a card for medical marijuana on him at the time. Police also confiscated a small amount of pot and his bong, and now he wants them both back. He has been periodically protesting at police stations in Cambridge and Kitchener, and at the courthouse in Kitchener, hoping to get the mattered resolved. To catch people’s attention, he also researched indecent exposure and decided to wear as little as possible without breaking the law.

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Man Spends 27 Years Single-Handedly Digging a Pond for His Village

Saja Pahad, a small village in Chhattisgarh, India, has been dealing with severe water shortages for as long as anyone can remember. With only two wells available, locals were barely able to secure enough water to feed their cattle, let alone irrigate their crops. Villagers didn’t know what to do and the government ignored their plight, but one “crazy” teenager took matters into his own hands.

Shyam Lal was only 15-years-old when he took it upon himself to solve his village’s water problem. He identified a spot in a nearby forest and decided to dig a pond to collect rainfall that could then be used by the entire village. Lal shared his idea with the rest of Saja Pahad, but instead of volunteering to help, they just laughed at his crazy plan and called him a lunatic. But the young man didn’t let the people’s reaction get him down. Instead, he grabbed a spade and started digging the pond himself. He kept on digging for the next 27 years.

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How Discarded Orange Peels Brought a Costa Rica Forest Back to Life

20 years ago, a couple of ecologists fighting for the conservation of Costa Rica’s tropical ecosystems convinced a large orange juice producer to donate part of their forestland to a national park in exchange for the right to dispose of massive amounts of orange peels on a degraded plot of land within that same park. No one had any idea what an impact that would have.

In 1997, Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, a husband and wife team of ecologists working with the Área de Conservación Guanacaste national park, in Costa Rica, came up with a plan to save a piece of unspoiled, completely forested land from a big fruit juice company, by offering something very attractive in return. If the company, Del Oro, agreed to donate part of its forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste, they would be allowed to deposit massive amounts of waste in the form of orange peels on a 3-hectare piece of degraded land within the national park, at no cost. Disposing of tons of leftover pulp and peels usually involved burning them or paying to have them dumped at a landfill, so the proposal was very attractive.

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Brazilian Boy Sues Absent Father for Emotional Abandonment

A Brazilian judge recently presided over one of the most difficult cases of her career – an 18-year-old boy who sued his absent father for emotional abandonment, seeking no financial compensation, only a favorable verdict that would allow him to move on with his life.

Gabriela Jardon, a judge at Brazil’s Federal District Court, recently recounted one of the most emotional experiences of her career, the hearing of an 18-year-old trying to hold his absent father responsible for being completely absent from his life. The experience of growing up without a father apparently had such a traumatizing effect on the young man that as soon as he legally became an adult, he felt he needed to take his father to court and hold him accountable.

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