Parents Keep Child’s Sex Secret for Five Years, to Raise Him Gender Neutral

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Ever looked at a baby and wondered if it was a boy or a girl? I’ve been there. It’s a dicey situation because most parents take offence if you blurt out the wrong gender. Beck Laxton and Keiran Cooper are exceptions, though. They raised their kid for five years without revealing the gender to anyone, until recently. Only when things were getting difficult at school did they tell the world that their baby is actually a boy.

This might sound real crazy to a lot of people out there, and Laxton is quite aware of that too. The 46-year-old mom does admit that several people had branded the couple as “loony” and they had to suffer some amount of ostracisation due to their choices. “I discovered that I’d been described as ‘that loony woman who doesn’t know whether her baby is a boy or a girl’. And I could never persuade anyone in the group to come around for coffee. They just thought I was mental,” she says.

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Man Devises Aerobic Exercises Based on House Cleaning

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If you’ve been wanting to get into shape but haven’t had the time to exercise, Aerobic House Cleaning might just be the thing for you. The fitness program was devised by Steve Markovich, who has been following it for the past 16 years.

The 57-year-old from Crescent Springs, Ky., has managed to make a heart-pumping workout out of ordinary chores such as vacuuming and washing windows. According to Markovich, the vacuum cleaner is the most versatile exercise machine ever. He’s found a way to combine squats, lunges and hip twists while he’s getting the floors clean. He says that he burns so many calories through house chores that he can afford to allow himself a few treats once in a while. A vanilla ice cream topped with peanut butter, for instance. He seems pretty fit for his age, although he does sport a tiny little paunch.

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Man Wants to Live Like Bear Grylls for a Year, Dies in Less than a Month

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Nature has always been about the ‘survival of the fittest’, but sometimes even the fittest cannot survive its harsh conditions. What happened with David Austin is a classic example of how merciless the outdoors can truly be. He had embarked upon a year-long survival challenge in the Scottish wilderness, but was found dead within a month.

The 29-year-old from Derby was on a mission inspired by English adventurer Bear Grylls. Sadly however, his body was discovered on December 31st by a track worker in a remote mountain hut located in Corrour, Highland Perthshire. The condition in which the body was found suggests that it had been lying there for several weeks, unnoticed. According to post mortem reports, the most plausible cause for death was hypothermia.

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Gardener Claims Viagra Makes Plants Perkier

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Celebrity TV Gardner David Domoney has made a startling revelation. The drug that has helped so many men spruce up their love-life apparently works wonders for flowers as well. And only 1/50th of a regular sized pill of Viagra is all that’s required.

Cut flowers that are placed in a vase end up wilting in no time at all. But now with Viagra, the life and freshness of flowers can actually be doubled. Although men might not find this piece of information very amusing, I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who would love to try out this simple, yet excellent tip. According to Domoney, “you only need a tiny amount of Viagra to stiffen things up nicely.” By ‘things’, I’m assuming he means the flowers.

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Meet the Man Who Gets Paid to Break Up with Other People’s Girlfriends

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If you can pay someone to help you get a date, then who says you can’t do the same when you want to dump them? Meet Jonathan Kiekbusch from Brighton, U.K., the 21-year-old who has managed to make a living out of breaking-up for others. Not surprisingly, he’s single himself.

Jonathan doesn’t charge the sun and moon for his services. You can avail them at a flat fee of £5 ($8) plus expenses. If he puts in more time, it’s at £20 an hour. Not so bad when you consider the prospect of facing your girlfriend/boyfriend, having to tell them you’re not so in to them anymore. Again, not surprisingly, most of Jonathan’s clients are male.

Of course, this isn’t his only job. Marketing executive by day, and relationship-breaker by night, Jonathan got into the profession when he realized his potential by helping a few friends. His first time was with a friend called Stuart, who was always fighting with his girlfriend. One night he spoke to the two of them during a fight, making them see that they weren’t really suited for each other. The couple parted ways on amiable terms. After a few more of such incidents, Jonathan had to break up with his own girlfriend, and it ended pretty badly. He wished he could have had someone else intervene and make things easier, and that’s when he realized the opportunity that lay before him. He instantly grabbed it.

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Preacher Stages ‘Sexperiment’ to Encourage Worshipers to Make Love More Often

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This one is definitely going in the file as one of the most bizarre church stories ever. I mean, we’ve seen ministers rapping the nativity story and also starting tattoo parlors at church. But putting a bed on the roof of a church to encourage couples to have sex? That’s just taking it a bit too far.

Ed Young is a Baptist minister at the Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas. He recently co-authored a book with his wife Lisa, called ‘Sexperiment – 7 days to lasting intimacy with your spouse’. Through the book, the minister and his wife encourage couples to go on a 7-day sex challenge. They say that this is what is needed to put the zing back into marriages. The Reverend even conducted the experiment among members of his congregation and says that the couples came back with some highly positive results.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #25

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Chaiten – The Chilean Town Engulfed by Volcanic Mudflow (Environmental Graffiti)

World of Warcraft Addicts Pee in Bottles to Stay Glued to Computers (The Register)

1,000-Pound Butter Sculpture to Power Farm for Three Days (Huffington Post)

Impressive Boat Made from Thousands of Donated Items (Daily Mail)

Real-Life Milka Purple Calf Born in Croatia (You Kidding Me!?)

The World’s Most Expensive Quad Bike (BBC)

Man Lost in Blizzard Burns Money to Survive (The Star)

The Beautiful Geometry of Suburbia from Above (Environmental Graffiti)

16-Year-Old Sails Around the World (The Guardian)

Man Shoots Nail in Brain, Doesn’t Notice (Chicago Tribune)

Woman Travels the World to Meet All Her 325 Facebook Friends

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ArLynn Presser is a 51-year-old woman who lives in Winnetka, Illinois. It’s normal for ArLynn to stay indoors all the time. In fact, for most of her adult life, she hardly ever left the confines of her home, and most certainly did not venture out of her home town. Her career as a writer ensured that she could spend her life indoors and still get things done. If this sounds strange to you, you must know that ArLynn suffers from agoraphobia – the fear of crowded places or enclosed public spaces.

Like most introverts, ArLynn interacts with people online and she has 325 friends she chats with on Facebook. Last year, she went and did something that no one could have ever expected. On 31st of Dec, 2010, she made a resolution to meet all 325 of her Facebook friends in person, the following year. She wrote a blog post about it and then set about achieving her goal. She called her project “Face to Facebook”. For a person who was terrified of flying and could never get on a plane before, this was certainly a daunting task. In the end, she did a great job, traveling over 13 countries and taking over 39 flights. By the end of 2011, she had met 292 friends, about 90% of what she had intended to. ArLynn had been to Taiwan, Korea, Philippines, Dubai, Italy, Malaysia, Ireland, England, Germany and four other countries.

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Singaporean Woman Lives on Toilet for 932 Days

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A 58-year-old Singaporean woman lived on the toilet for over two years, before she was forced to undergo treatment. She felt that someone was holding her down and preventing her from leaving the toilet.

Quite understandably, she had been suffering from depression for a long time. According to her 64-year-old husband, Ong Kean On, the woman hadn’t left the toilet since the 25th of May, 2009. She ate, drank and slept on the toilet since then. Her complaint was that there was someone throwing stones at her, and water was dripping on her from somewhere. A few days ago, Ong was successfully able to get his wife out of the toilet with the help of ambulance staff and the police. She was then sent to the Institute of Mental Health to receive treatment, after which she has returned home. Her condition is now reported to be stable and she hasn’t returned to the toilet ever since she came back.

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Calligrapher Works Five Years Making 500 Kg Qur’an

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The world’s largest copy of the Qur’an was recently unveiled in Kabul, Afghanistan. It was created painstakingly by calligrapher Mohammed Sabir Khedri and his 9 assistants, over five long years. The massive project was undertaken by Khedri in an attempt to prove that the rich traditions and heritage of the nation have certainly not been destroyed by war.

The giant Qur’an is made with beautiful gold scripting that also combines millions of tiny colorful dots to create symbolic decorations around the pages. Khedri said he wanted to use as many tasteful colors as possible to make the holy book look beautiful. Interestingly, he had actually completed the project in 2009, and kept it a secret for two whole years. This was because the binding and the room to house the book weren’t ready yet. Khedri’s masterpiece is now stored in a cultural center in Kabul that was founded in the 1980s. The final copy consists of 218 pages and measures 2.28 x 1.55 m. It weighs a whopping 500kg and the skin of 21 goats was used to create the cover. It’s estimated cost is around £300,000 ($465,000).

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French Women Live in Cave to Escape Electro-Magnetic Rays

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I’ve read a lot of reports stating that the electro-magnetic radiation from mobile phones and other Wi-Fi devices are harmful to humans. But I never really believed it until I actually heard the story of these two French women who are living in a cave to escape these evil rays.

Anne Cautain and Bernadette Touloumond suffer from hypersensitive reactions to electro-magnetic radiations. The symptoms include unbearable burning and terrible headaches, so bad that they couldn’t stand to live in the outside world anymore. After trying several other options, a cave has become their ultimate refuge. Anne and Bernadette’s cave is located outside the town of Beaumugne, on the edge of the Vercors plateau range, in France. To gain access to the area, a small ladder needs to be scaled while clinging to a rope. A sign reading “Mobile Phones Prohibited” is displayed on the hillside. 52-year-old Anne says, “I can’t take any sort of electro-magnetic waves, whatever they may be: Wi-Fi, mobile phones or high-tension wires.” She was the first to settle down in the cave, and is now spending her third winter there.

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Gympact App Makes You Pay for Skipping Workouts

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Money is one of the best motivators for most people. And when money is tied to something like fitness? Well, you’re bound to get fit. Here’s a system that pays you when you workout and takes away your money when you don’t.

GymPact is an iPhone application started by a couple of young Harvard graduates – Yifan Zhang and Geoff Oberhofer. The entire concept is based on the idea that people do not like to lose money. Zhang, an economics major, says, “Behavioral economics show that if you tie cash incentives to things that are concrete and easy to achieve like getting to the gym, it’s very effective. People don’t like losing money and it’s one of the strongest motivators, much more than winning money.” The app is free to use and has a database that covers over 40,000 gyms. That’s more than 70% of the gyms in the U.S. If your gym isn’t listed, you can add it to the app. You pay money when you don’t work out and the amount that’s pooled up from the non-exercisers is divided up between those who do workout. A cut from that amount is taken by the company as profits. So let’s take a quick look at how the system works.

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36-Year-Old Virgin Man Fathers 14 Children

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This is the story of a man who has fathered 14 children without ever being intimate with a woman. How, you ask? Why sperm donation, of course.

“Donorsexual” is what 36-year-old Trent Arsenault from Freemont, California, calls himself. Since 2006, the computer security specialist has been giving away his sperm free of cost, through a one-man sperm bank he runs from home. His service is mainly for couples who are unable to conceive naturally, so they pick up sperm samples from him and use them for artificial insemination. This sure does sound weird not to mention, highly unhygienic. I doubted if this is even permitted legally. Turns out it isn’t. Sperm banks in the U.S. are regulated by the FDA, and they’ve issued Arsenault with a cease-and-desist order. The order is based on the fact that the he did not take the necessary legal precautions to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. He could face up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

 

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Random Acts of Kindness at Pay It Forward Coffee Shop

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Imagine you go into a coffee shop, have a cup, and when it comes to paying your bill they tell you it’s already been paid for. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening at the Corner Perk Cafe in Bluffton, South Carolina. It all started in 2010 with a random act of kindness.

The Corner Perk was just a regular coffee place until one day, when a customer left a $100 bill with the owner, Josh Cooke. Apparently she wanted the money to be used to pay for the drinks of all the people who came in after, until it runs out. According to Cooke it was “just to let them know, you know, that somebody was wanting them to have a great day and just to let them know to pay it forward.” Needless to say, customers who came in all afternoon were puzzled when they found they didn’t have to pay for their coffee.

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Growing Obesity Makes Oversized Caskets a BIG Hit

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Goliath Caskets is a company in Indiana that makes specialized caskets – for the obese. With dangerously rising obesity levels among Americans, who could say they didn’t see this coming?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says that one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Among the children and teens, the rate of obesity is at 17%. It’s no surprise then that several businesses have started to cater to the overweight – clothing, footwear, cars, airlines and now, as a generation of obese people begins to die, the need for extra large caskets has also become reality. Goliath Caskets was set up in 1990, specializing in large-sized caskets. However, over the years even the ‘normal’ sized casket manufactured by them has gotten larger. Owner Keith Davis says that when they first started, 36 inches was the widest one they made. But now they’re up to 52 inches wide and the casket can hold a person who weighs as much as 1,000 pounds. About half-a-dozen to a dozen of their biggest caskets are sold each year, as well as more than 200 slightly smaller ones.

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