Pay to Pray – Guy Makes Over $7 Million Charging People for Prayers Online

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Between 2011 and 2015, Seattle “businessman” Benjamin Rogovy made millions of dollars by taking advantage of people’s religious beliefs. Through his website, ChristianPrayerCenter.com, he led people to believe that ministers and religious leaders would pray for them if they paid between $9 and $35 for the service. He managed to convince hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the scam, becoming the sole recipient of all their donations.

To make the internet scam seem genuine, Rogovy posed as Pastor John Carlson, a fictitious character with a professional-looking LinkedIn profile. He created other fake profiles for ministers who could provide private consultations and perform religious ceremonies through ChristianPrayerCenter.com and its Spanish version, OracionCristiana.org. Both websites contained fake testimonials of people who, with the help of his prayers, had been able to avoid home foreclosures, win the lottery, have healthy babies, and even be cured of HIV.  The scheme worked perfectly for four very profitable years, and at the height of its popularity, Rogovy’s pay-to-pray service had a whopping 1,289,120 likes on Facebook. People posted all their prayers online and sent money in hopes that it would lead to small miracles.

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Compassionate Store Manager Offers Shoplifter a Job Instead of Calling Police

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After catching a shoplifter trying to steal from a Tesco hypermarket in Malaysia, the store manager chose not to turn the man in to the police, but actually offer him a job at the very same store!

It turns out that the shoplifter, a 31-year-old father of three, had stolen food worth RM27 (about $7) out of sheer desperation, to feed his hungry children. “I had quit my job as a contract worker after my wife fell into a coma during a birth complication last week,” he told the local media. “She is still warded at the Bukit Mertajam hospital.”

The man, who is currently living with his relatives in the city, said he was walking back home after visiting his wife in the hospital, when he happened to pass by the Tesco hypermarket. His two-year-old son was hungry and tired, so they decided to go inside. “After walking for more than an hour, we went to the food section and I grabbed the pears, apples, and a few bottles of drinks.” Unfortunately, he was caught while leaving the store, and later interrogated by general manager Radzuan Ma’asan.

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Law Graduate Sues Former School after Failing to Find Job as a Lawyer

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Despite having graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in the top tier of her class, in 2008, Anna Alaburda still hasn’t been able to find work as a lawyer. The disgruntled 37-year-old is now blaming her alma mater for the unfortunate situation, claiming that the school manipulated the employment statistics of its graduates in a bid to lure students. She’s suing them, hoping to recover the $170,000 she still owes in student loans.

In an ideal situation, working as a lawyer would have more than made up for the cost of Alaburda’s law degree. But since her graduation in 2008, she claims that she’s only served part-time positions and temp jobs reviewing documents for law firms. In her lawsuit she mentions that if she’d known what was in store for her after graduation, she would have never attended the school. Anna also pointed out that the average student debt at Thomas Jefferson was about $137,000 in 2008, but the school’s bar passage rate has been consistently lower than 50 percent.

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Seeded Massage Bar Is Causing Plants to Grow in Users’ Showers

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This seeded soap bar from UK-based cosmetic company Lush is as organic as it gets – some of its the ingredients are so natural, they can actually sprout plants in your shower!

The ‘Wiccy Magic Muscles’ massage bar produced by the company contains several aduki beans, which are obviously still alive and able to germinate. So when customers use the bar, and some of the beans fall away from it, they sometimes get lodged in nooks and crannies of the shower where they get enough water to start sprouting little shoots.

Lots of users have been tweeting about finding tiny plants growing in their shower ever since they started using the soap. “One of the coffee beans from my Lush massage bar fell into the sink and a PLANT GREW FROM IT,” one woman tweeted.

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Greek Man Provides Free Wi-Fi to Thousands of Refugees Near His Home

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Thousands of refugees set up in a camp near the Greek village of Idomeni now have free access to Wi-Fi, thanks to an enterprising electrical engineer named Ilias Papadopoulos. Concerned that these people had no means of communicating with their loved ones either at home or waiting for them in other countries, he built a Wi-Fi station inside an old trailer, in September last year.

Papadopoulos got the idea for providing the refugee camp with free Wi-Fi when he first visited Idomeni in August to see if he could be of any help. The village is an hour’s drive away from the city of Thessaloniki, where Papadopoulos lives. When he arrived at the camp, he realised that most refugees had smartphones, but none of them had access to SIM cards or an internet connection. He realised that communication was very critical for the refugees, so he set about building a Wi-Fi station from scratch.

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Nike Unveils Self-Lacing Sneakers Inspired by Back to the Future

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In 1989, when shoe designer Tinker Hatfield created the futuristic, self-lacing Nike Air Mag for Back to the Future II, he probably didn’t think they would become a reality during his lifetime. But 15 years after the film’s release, they’re finally here! 

The hype began on Back to the Future Day, in October 2015, when Nike teamed up with Michael J. Fox to release a teaser of the self-lacing Mags. Fans still weren’t sure of what to expect, but at the Nike Innovation Summit last week, the company finally announced that they will indeed be mass producing shoes featuring real-life adaptive lacing. They will be called the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0.

The shoes, which automatically tighten once you out them on, were developed over several years by Nike senior innovator Tiffany Beers and her team. She began by meeting with Hatfield, who first dreamed of making adaptive lacing a reality, and he told her to figure out the technology from scratch instead of trying to replicate his Back to the Future idea. So Beers brainstormed with a group of engineers, testing out a wide range of theories before coming up with the technology for HyperAdapt.

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Brazilian Company Launches Maternity Clothing Imbued with Mosquito Repellent to Combat Zika Virus Scare

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Megadose, a Brazilian company that designs maternity clothes, has released a new line of anti-Zika apparel. These clothes are made of a special fabric that is infused with a natural mosquito repellent called citronella and are designed to help pregnant women avoid contracting the dreaded Zika virus.

Ever since the Zika outbreak spread across the Pacific to the Americas and reached pandemic levels in 2015, people in these are being regions are being asked to cover up well and use mosquito repellents at all times. There is no vaccine or medication to prevent getting infected, so the only way to stay safe for now is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.  

While Zika fever itself has mild symptoms and is treated by rest, it can cause birth defects to the fetus if contracted by pregnant women. In fact, the governments of some countries like Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador have recommended that women postpone getting pregnant until more discoveries are made about the risks. But for those who are already pregnant, Megadose is trying to provide a viable solution.

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Grieving Mother Dedicates Her Life to Planting Millions of Trees in Memory of Her Son

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Meet Yi Jiefeng, a Shanghai woman who has helped plant millions of saplings in Inner Mongolia, over the past 12 years. Her goal is to reforest the arid Alashan Desert while keeping alive the memory of her son who passed away 16 years ago.

In the year 2000, Yi’s only son, Yang Ruizhe, was killed in a road accident in Japan, and the tragic incident left her a shattered woman. But she eventually found a way to deal with the grief by devoting her own life to fulfilling her son’s dream. Ruizhe had told her about his plans to plant trees in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous region in order to stop the advancing desert, so Yi decided to fulfill his dream herself. “He was fond of nature since he was a little boy,” she said. “He was concerned about natural things such as wind, rain, plants, and animals.”

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Couple Quit Successful Careers to Operate Pizza Boat in the Caribbean

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Plenty of people have quit their jobs to start a career in the food industry, but Tara and Sasha Bouis are a bit different. The young couple abandoned their successful careers to set up a food boat called ‘Pizza π’ – the marine equivalent of a food truck – and serve pizza in the middle of the ocean!

“Pizza speaks to everybody,” said Tara, 32, who used to be an elementary school teacher. “Food trucks had become a part of everyday life – food boats had not. We knew that the concept was strange but we thought it could work, because the food is very recognisable.”

Sasha, 38, an MIT graduate who worked as a computer programmer at Standard & Poor’s, was fed up with his job and was looking for other interesting careers even before he met Tara. “I thought I was living the dream but quickly got tired of it,” he told Bloomberg Business. “I was walking farther and farther away from my office on my lunch break, and I walked past a sailing school and thought, I wonder if I could get a job there?”

That was 10 years ago, in 2005, and Sasha ended up quitting his job and moving to Puerto Rico to work on sailboats. Then he moved to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) to teach sailing at a summer camp. That’s when he met Tara, who happened to be working there as a special-education elementary school teacher that summer. The couple fell in love, settled in the Virgin Islands, and married in 2012.

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Man in a Wheelchair Travels 2,800 Km in Epic Journey Across China

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While most people view wheelchairs as a symbol of disability and confinement, this young man from China is proving the opposite – over the past couple of years he has been using his wheelchair to fulfill his lifelong dream of backpacking across the country.

29-year-old Quan Peng began his epic journey from Beijing on August 31, 2014, spending a whopping 566 days on the road before reaching Fuzhou city last Thursday. So far he’s traveled a total of 2,800 km spanning the length and breadth of the nation, but his trip is far from over. He still plans to cover another 1,700 km to Sanya, in China’s southernmost province of Hainan, before calling it a day.

“This is the fifth province and 22nd city I’ve passed through during my trip,” Quan told local media after reaching Fuzhou. “My fate deprived me of my freedom. I have to get it back by any means necessary. Along with wanting to see the world with my own eyes, I also am making this trip so that people will see the importance of having barrier-free facilities.” In each of the cities he has visited, Quan made it a point to document the type of facilities available for disabled people like himself. Sadly, he reports that in most places such conveniences are non-existent.

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Roadside Education – Indian Factory Worker Opens Street School to Teach Slum Kids

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For the past 15 years, factory owner Kamal Parmar has been running an after-school program for slum kids in Ahmedabad, India, helping them with basic skills like reading and writing and even preparing for their school tests. 

Parmar’s story begins one afternoon 15 years ago. He was standing outside his metal fabrication workshop, near the slums of the Bhudarpura neighborhood, when he met a few kids returning home from the local municipal school. They were ecstatic about the end of their exams, which they claimed to have aced, so he decided to stop them and ask them a few questions. That’s when he made a shocking discovery – the students, even the older ones, did not know how to read.

“I took their exam paper and asked a few questions to some of them,” he says in a 2014 documentary titled Footpath School. “But none of them knew any answers. I thought to ask a few others. I asked them to read, but they did not even know how to read. Surprised, I asked them what did they write in their exams. All they knew was identifying the alphabet. And that left me thinking that something should be done for these children. And that is how, 15 to 17 years back I started this school.”

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Mexican Farmer Builds Aztec Pyramid, Claims Alien Instructed Him to

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Raymundo Corona, a farmer from Mexico, has gone and built a 22-foot Aztec pyramid in the desert, 74 km from the Mexico-US border. When people asked him why he went through the trouble of building a pyramid in the desert, he said he was simply following the instructions of an alien who paid him a visit three decades ago. 

Speaking to a local newspaper, Corona described the alien as a tall man with honey-colored eyes and white hair, by the name of Herulayka. He apparently came from a planet called Nefilin, which Corona says is 20 times the size of Earth and is located in the constellation of Orion.

The Mexican farmer added that Herulayka warned him that he would be taken for a drunk or a drug addict if he ever built the pyramid, but his conviction was so strong that he went ahead and did it anyway. He really believes that the alien paid him a visit in 1984, when he was 33 years old. His wife was pregnant at the time and about to give birth to their baby girl when he first saw the strange man in his dreams.

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Unique ‘Human Library’ Project Lets You Check Out People Instead of Books

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Books allow us a glimpse into the mind of the author, but what if we could make a direct connection instead? What if we could ask specific questions about their experiences, receive instant answers, and hear their story first-hand? A library in Denmark is trying to achieve just that, by having people check out and read ‘human books’. 

At the Human Library, readers go through a catalog of titles and pick an experience they’d like to know more about. When they decide on a title to check out, they are taken to a discussion area to meet their human book who will narrate the story cover to cover over the next 30 minutes. Your ‘borrowed’ human could be anyone – a prostitute, funeral director, politician, or even a child – with an incredible story to tell. Some of the titles from the past have included The Gypsy Tale, Iraq War Veteran, Orphanage Boy, Child of The Holocaust Survivors, Olympic Athlete, Fat Woman, Biking Agoraphobic, and Questioning Christian.

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Meet Grace Neutral, a Body Modification Enthusiast Redefining Beauty Standards

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Social media sensation Grace Neutral is famous for creating her own unique definition of beauty. Using dramatic body modification techniques, the British woman has transformed herself into a ‘pixie dream girl’ with purple eyes, pointy ears, forked tongue, and a heavily tattooed body. Her fearless experiments with her body have earned her over 300,000 followers on Instagram, a modelling assignment with designer Ashley Williams, and a clothing line that reflects her personal style.

Grace, 26, is primarily a hand poke tattoo artist. She calls the job her “bread and butter,” adding that she’d lose her mind if didn’t do it for more than a couple of days. Having experienced a lonely childhood, she now believes that body modification is a way to make the outside reflect her soul. “I felt outcast for so long growing up that it’s only now that I really feel myself,” she says. “It’s terrifying, yes, but I know I’d be more unhappy looking how I looked before.”

While she doesn’t have anything against conventional, mainstream beauty, Grace doesn’t think that it defines who she really is. “It’s not that I don’t think someone like Kim Kardashian is beautiful – she is, but there’s nothing in that ideal that reflects me. I appreciate it but I wouldn’t want it – just in the same way that I’m sure she wouldn’t want to look like me.”

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New Startup Lets You Buy Shares of a Cow Before It’s Slaughtered

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Seattle-based startup Crowd Cow has introduced crowdfunding to the meat industry in a bid to promote the idea of sustainably raised meat. Through Crowd Cow, customers get to place their orders on specific cuts of a cow in the exact quantities they need. The cow is finally slaughtered only when it has ‘tipped’, which means that at least 67 percent of it has been claimed online. It sounds rather brutal to be placing bids on parts of a live cow, but according to co-founders Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry, this system actually promotes responsible and sustainable meat harvesting.

The duo hit upon the idea for the startup when they realised that the average grocery buyer has no real idea of the origins of store-bought packaged meat. “People want to know where their meat comes from and how it’s raised and they want to explore it like wine,” Heitzeberg said. “There’s genetics, how it’s raised, all these aspects. Beef is a complex thing, it’s the centerpiece of the meal and people want to buy local.” But if they were to purchase grass-fed beef from a ranch instead, most people would have to get large quantities of meat that would be very difficult to store.

Heitzeberg and Lowry, both seasoned entrepreneurs, realised that they could use their experience and knowledge of crowdfunding to solve this problem. By having 50 or more people contribute to the purchase of one cow, everyone could have access to high-quality meat at an affordable price. So they set up Crowd Cow, a startup that purchases a head of cattle from independent ranches across Washington. The cows are made available on the website one at a time, and customers are invited to place claims to various shares.

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