Germany’s “Village of the Damned” Where Almost Every Household Has a Cancer Sufferer

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Cancer epidemics are practically unheard of. That’s why I was quite shocked when I read about this small village in Germany where almost every household has been hit by the deadly disease. Wewelsfleth, located near the Elbe River in northwest Germany is now being called the ‘village of the damned’. With a population of only 1,500, the spread of cancer in the area is about 50% above average. What makes the condition of these villagers even more pathetic is that they feel abandoned by authorities, who are unable to provide any explanations.

The cancer situation in Wewelsfleth is not a new one. In fact, several cases have been reported as early as 1998, steadily rising over the years. The phenomenon is not limited to any particular part of the body. Cases of cancer affecting the breast, lung, womb, stomach and esophagus have been observed. It is not surprising in the least to note that there are three nuclear power plants in the vicinity and also a shipyard where vessels were sprayed with highly toxic paint. Quite understandably, the villagers are upset and do not intend to give up on their demands for a serious enquiry into the situation.

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Man Proposes to Girlfriend with Dress Made from 9,999 Red Roses

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This is just the stuff that fairytales are made of. The beautiful princess walks off into the sunset with her prince charming, dressed in a gown made from thousands of roses. You’d never think it could happen in real life, but it has. In an incredibly romantic gesture, this guy in China had a dress out of 9,999 deep red roses made for his girlfriend. After she put on the dress, he proposed.

Initially Xiao Fan considered proposing with only the roses, but realizing his girlfriend’s love for fashion, he decided to go a step further and get them sewn onto a dress. So the flowers were stitched together carefully to make a sweeping floral gown, fit for a bride. Several dressmakers worked round the clock on the project to get it completed on time. I think it’s pretty amazing how they managed it, keeping the flowers so fresh and lovely.

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Russian Tattoo Artist Has His Pet Cat Tattooed

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Timur, a 24-year-old tattoo artist from Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, caused a lot of controversy after he posted photos and a video of him tattooing his pet cat, a hairless Sphynx, on the Internet.

Apparently, Timur wanted his beloved cat, Coco, to have a similar tattoo as the one he had done on his chest. So he just put the hairless feline to sleep for an hour and unleashed his artistic talent on her little chest. Proud of his crazy idea, he videotaped the whole process and took some photos of the finished artwork and posted them on his VKontakte (Russian Facebook) profile. As you can imagine, animal rights activists weren’t very impressed with his achievement, and began accusing Timur of animal cruelty. Although the young artist tattooed Coco under the supervision of a veterinarian, animal lovers claim the Sphynx was still abused for no reason because every time a cat is put under she loses about a year of her life, and because the healing process for the tattoo is very painful. Also, if any paint got into her blood she could get very sick, and even die.

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Ultra-Resistant Kevlar Socks Make Your Feet Hobbit Tough

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Vibram Fivefingers have been around for quite some time now, but frankly, I find the sight of those ‘toe shoes’ really weird. They have been pretty popular though. and now there’s a company making socks along the same lines. They’re called Swiss Protection Socks, ant they’re part of a new range from the Swiss Barefoot Company. But it’s not just the toes that make these socks unique, it’s the fact that they don’t need to be worn with shoes. Yep, you simply put them on and go for a stroll, a run or even hike up a mountain.

The Swiss Protection Socks are being marketed by the company as the best way to get the complete barefoot experience. Apparently, there are people who love being barefoot, but can’t always do that due to the possibility of injuries. With these socks however, your feet stay well protected without the need for shoes. The special socks are made of 50% Kevlar, 32% polyester, 8% spandex, and 10% cotton. Eco friendly PVC is also used, and it provides resistance to cuts. But the big question is, are the socks puncture resistant? I seriously doubt they’d offer protection against something as sharp as broken glass.

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Drive-Through Funeral Home Is Convenient Yet Creepy

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A funeral is something people generally make time for out of their busy schedules – to mourn and also to offer their condolences. So when I first heard of drive-through funerals, I was quite surprised. I mean, do people not have time to even grieve anymore? I wondered if the concept was even appropriate, so I decided to find out more.

The drive-through service is currently being offered at the Robert L. Adams Mortuary funeral home, located in Compton, California. True to its name, the service allows the casket containing the body of the deceased to be placed behind a display window, while visitors simply drive by, signing a book of condolences as they leave. Mourners are free to leave their cars and come in if they would like to, but it’s not required. It’s quite interesting to note how drive-through funerals came into existence. According to owner Peggy Scott Adams, in the 1980s there was a sudden spike in cemetery shootouts. So gang members preferred this kind of a service, since they were protected by the drive-through corridor made of bullet proof glass.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #27

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10 Incredible Airplane Graveyards (Environmental Graffiti)

Eagle Dad Makes 10-Year-Old Boy Run through Snow Naked (CNN)

Judge Sentences Man to Date with His Wife (MSN)

Identical Twins Are Totally Different (The Sun)

Dad Shoots Daughter’s Laptop to Teach Her a Lesson (Bit Rebels)

Sewage Plant Offers Valentine’s Day Tours (Huffington Post)

Teenagers Rob Hotel to Buy Girlfriends iPhones (China Hush)

House-Sized Optimus Prime Snow Sculpture (Geekologie)

Fractal Patterns of Landscapes Damaged by Drought (Environmental Graffiti)

Three Indian Sisters Cursed with Werewolf Syndrome (Mirror)

Meet the Man Who Lived on His Bicycle for 382 Days

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It’s difficult to imagine someone living, eating, sleeping and even washing clothes on a bicycle for over a year. But that’s exactly what French artist and copyeditor Guillaume Blanchet from Montreal has done. He even cooked his own food and flirted with women, while perched on the narrow bicycle seat. And that’s not all.

A three-minute film depicting Blanchet’s life on the bicycle, starts off with a dedication to his 64-year-old father who rode his bike for over 120,000 km. Going by the film, Blanchet does everything on the go, and he never stops pedaling. As he rides hands-free, he is occupied with the various mundane activities of life. Numerous items make an appearance, such as frying pans, shaving kits, laptops, telephones, Rubik cubes, and even musical instruments. It’s pretty amazing how he’s able to handle all these things with ease, as though he were sitting on a couch.

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Quick and Cheap: Divorce Hotel Opens in the Netherlands

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Couples on romantic weekend getaways tend to make a spur-of-the-moment decision to get married. And it is for this reason that several hotels, especially in places like Vegas, provide wedding chapel services. If getting married could be that easy, then why the long-drawn out process for a divorce? Well apparently, not anymore. It is now possible to get divorced over a weekend getaway too, thanks to the Divorce Hotel.

The concept of Divorce Hotel was developed by entrepreneur Jim Halfens, in the Netherlands. In a country where the average divorce settlement could be very heavy on the pocket and take months to complete, Halfens spotted a great business opportunity that could make things easier for parting couples. So all they need to do is check in at the Divorce Hotel over a weekend and all the necessary legal documentation to end their marriage is arranged for them. The service includes a mediator and a series of lawyers who help the couple split assets, arrange visitation rights and agree on alimony payments, all at a fixed fee.

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Canadian Company Invents Scratch-and-Sniff Jeans for Men

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When I was a kid, scratch-and-sniff stickers were the rage. We had all kinds of flavors and odors back then. While I have no idea if kids these days are still into such things, it does seem the in-thing for grown men, not with stickers, but jeans! Last week, a Canadian company launched a brand new line of scratch-and-sniff jeans.

Naked & Famous Denim, a company based in Montreal, has introduced the jeans at a price of $150. What’s special about them is that they smell like raspberry candy, when scratched. Unfortunately, the smell does fade over time, and you’ll be left with just a regular pair of denim pants. According to designer and company founder Brandon Svarc, the scent will last through at least five washings. But he says it shouldn’t be much of a problem since many of their male customers don’t wash their jeans very often, and some never wash them at all.

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Man Spends 25 Years, $10,000 Making Himself an Egyptian-Style Coffin

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People making their own coffin isn’t new to us here at OC. But the story of Fred Guentert sure is. Because he’s been building himself a coffin that’s fit for an Egyptian pharaoh – for the past 25 years.

Guentert, who is now 89 years old, has kept himself occupied for about a quarter of a century with his unusual hobby. And he sure does have something to show for it. The coffin he is to be buried in someday is 7 feet long and weighs 300 pounds. It is made of cedar and hand-painted in royal colors like gold, red, green and black. A hand-carved image of the Egyptian god Osiris adorns the lid. Near the base, you can see a colorful image of Isis. The interior has been decorated with a full-size painting of Nut – the sky goddess. On one side of the box is the Eye of Horus, looking on intently.

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Sweden’s Classroom-Free School – The Future of Education?

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It’s news like this that makes me wish I could become a kid and go back to school again. I mean, just look at the pictures. If school was like this, who wouldn’t want to go? To me, the school looks like it’s come out of the future, or from a sci-fi movie. It’s definitely surreal. But a closer look shows that it isn’t very different from, say, a Google office. Kids seem to be working independently on their laptops, in a place that’s comfortable and convenient for them. I do wonder if all that lounging around is good for their posture, though.

The school you’re looking at is the brainchild of Swedish Free School Organization, Vittra. They operate 30 schools around Sweden, with an aim to ensure that learning takes place everywhere on campus. So, they’ve eliminated classrooms all together. This particular school is the latest, called Telefonplan, and it was opened last August. It was designed and built by the architecture firm Rosan Bosch. At Vittra, students are free to work independently, and if they find the need to collaborate with peers on a project, they have a few options for that too. The ‘village’ is a tiny house meant for group work, and ‘organic conversation furniture’ allows the kids to interact with each other as well. Each student receives a computer from the school too, which is used as a major tool for learning.

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Woman Has 10 Plastic Surgeries to Look Like Anime Girl

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We live in a world where plastic surgeries and beauty ‘enhancement’ procedures have become the norm rather than the exception. Even so, spending $136,000 on 10 procedures just to get a certain look seems pushing it way too far. But that’s exactly what Jacqueline Koh, a 29-year-old fashion designer fro Singapore has done to herself, in an attempt to look like a typical anime girl, with big sparkling eyes, a small chin and nose, a slim face, and larger breasts.

When I looked at pictures of Koh’s original face, I wondered why she would have wanted to change anything at all. However, she had long been unsatisfied with the shape of her chin and her protruding mouth. The trigger to actually do something about it came two years ago when she had put on weight. Gaining 6kg in 1.5 years without any change to her diet got her worried. At 1.6m tall, she weighed 48kg. I don’t think that’s a weight to worry about at all, but she thought she looked chubby. When no amount of exercise would help her lose weight, she went for corrective procedures.

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Thousands of Iranian Women Training to Become Ninjas

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Ninjutsu is considered to be one of the deadliest forms of martial arts in the world. But this doesn’t deter the 3,500 odd Iranian women who are currently receiving official training in the sport.

In fact, when I saw a video of these women in action, I was awestruck by their agility and the ease with which they performed gravity-defying stunts and back flips. I couldn’t even tell that the ninjas were female until they removed the masks from their faces.  Iran, like many other Islamic countries, has stringent rules regarding the freedom and conduct of women. The laws severely restrict them from participating freely in society; perhaps this is where they derive their quiet strength from. The Ninjustu school in Iran was started in 1989 by Sensei Akbar Faraji. This was the first time the martial art was introduced to the country. While the club now has over 24,000 members, the number of female participants is slowly on the rise. According to Faraji, in Ninjutsu, men are called ninjas, while women are addressed as kunoichi.

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Real-Life Photoshop – Model Has 20-Inch Waistline

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30-year-old Ioana Spangenberg has something some skinny female models only dream of. A 20-inch waistline and a body that doesn’t accumulate fat, no matter what she eats. Now, isn’t that a dream come true? Not for Ioana, though. In a classic case of the grass being greener on the other side, the Romanian model says she wants to put on weight in order to be able to look normal.

Ioana seems to be blessed with the much-coveted ‘hourglass’ look, quite literally in fact. She says that she was of normal weight when she was a kid, and the transformation started to occur when she was a teenager. At age 13, her waist was only 15 inches and her friends could actually put their hands completely around it. In an attempt to put on weight, she would eat Mars bars and other sweets, but nothing ever worked. Ioana blames this on the small size of her stomach, which makes her feel sick if she eats too much. Perhaps her body’s constitution is too much of a good thing, because she was never happy with herself until she married. It was her husband who encouraged her to become a model, and she is now finally comfortable in her own skin.

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Brain Tumor Survivor Has Painted Every Sunrise for the Last Seven Years

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People find unique ways of storing and recording memories of the most important days of their lives. Some save cinema ticket stubs from their first date, some like to keep home videos and photo albums of family events. The methods of storing memories – both happy and sad – are endless. But the story of Cody Cox stands out from the rest. He chose to remember the last day his nephew Justin Tyler Berry was alive in a very different manner – by purchasing a painting depicting the last sunrise his nephew had ever seen. This was possible because brain tumor survivor Debbie Wagner has been painting the sunrise every single morning since December, 2005.

56-year-old Wagner is from Bennington, Kansas. In her healthier days, the mother of three loved to read long novels, cook up complicated recipes, take care of her family’s finances and always got nine straight hours of sleep every night. When she was diagnosed with not one, but two tumors in her brain in 2002, her life changed forever. Although the surgery to remove the tumors was successful, she lost the ability to do many of the things she loved. Wagner could no longer multitask, follow recipes or novel plots, balance a checkbook, or even sleep soundly through the night.

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