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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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How India’s “Menstruation Man” Changed the Lives of Millions of Women

Meet Arunachalam Muruganantham, an award-winning social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, India, better known as the nation’s ‘Menstruation Man’. Deeply disturbed by the unhygienic menstruation practices among women in rural India, Muruganantham took it upon himself to find a solution to the problem. After several years of hard work, he invented a machine that women can use to produce their own sanitary napkins, at less than a third of the cost of commercial ones.

Born in 1962 to handloom weavers in Coimbatore, Muruganantham was forced to drop out of school at age 14 to provide for his family after his father’s death. For years he lived in poverty, working a number of jobs – machine tool operator, farm laborer, welder, and sales agent – just to make ends meet. But things were about to change soon after his marriage to a woman named Shanthi, in 1998. He discovered that his wife used filthy rags during her menstrual cycle because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary pads, and this troubled him greatly.

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Unconventional “Rage Yoga” Involves Screaming, Swearing and Beer

‘Rage Yoga’ sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually all the rage in Calgary right now thanks to unconventional yoga instructor Lindsay Istace. During her classes, she combines regular yoga poses with swear words, offensive gestures, and beer, as a way for participants let go of their rage!

“Rather than doing the namaste (at the end of the class), we do a really big ‘f*ck yea,’” Istace told Metro News. “It was pretty awesome because I had a whole room of people turning to one another saying ‘F*ck yea, f*ck yea’. It was good.”

If you’re really into yoga you might find this blasphemous, but Istace claims that it’s really therapeutic. A trained contortionist and fire eater, she says she came up with the idea while going through a painful breakup. She started swearing and screaming during her yoga practice, and that helped her get over her issues with addiction and anger.

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California Couple Invents Spiked Vest That Protects Small Dogs from Coyotes

After having one of their pet canines attacked and killed by a coyote, Paul and Pamela Mott, of Scripps Ranch, California, set out to create an anti-coyote vest that could save their dogs’ life in a future attack.

The CoyoteVest designed by the Mott’s may make their pooches look like members of a canine punk band, but Paul says it will give him time to intervene in case of an attack. It is made of Kevlar, has plastic spikes around the collar, spikes down the length of the torso and long plastic quills shooting up along the center from the neck to the rump. Since the threatening-looking spikes are just hard plastic, they won’t actually hurt the coyote, but they will make it difficult and painful for it to bite down on a small dog and run off, giving the owner time to react. “I just know that that coyote is not going to be able to kill my dog instantly. I’ll have a chance to go intervene,” the inventor says.

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Indian Army Applicants Take Exam in Underwear to Prevent Cheating

In an extreme attempt to  prevent cheating during a written exam, Indian Army in the state of Bihar has asked over 1,000 applicants to strip to their underwear and take the test outdoors.

Images published by Indian media show the naked men in an open field trying to complete the test by holding the sheets of paper on their thighs or on the ground, under the watchful eyes of uniformed supervisors. “We were frisked and then ushered into an enclosure. Then the army officers asked us to remove all clothes except our underwear,” said 21-year-old Harishambhu Kumar. “I felt awkward, but the army people told us it was to check cheating, so I got used to it.”

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Russian Man Faces a Year in Prison For Denying the Existence of God Online

After expressing his lack of belief in God on social media, a Russian man was arrested and charged with “offending the feelings of believers”. Victor Krasnov is now on trial and facing up to a year in prison for writing things like “there is no God” and “the Bible is a collection of Jewish fairy tales” during an online discussion on the Russian social networking website Vk.com.

Shortly after the discussion in 2014, Krasnov and his mother began to receive anonymous threats. Then, in the fall of 2015, a couple of his friends who were part of the discussion – Dmitry D., 24, and Alexander K., 23 – pressed charges against him, claiming that they were representing the interests of all Orthodox Christians in Russia. The Investigative Committee (similar to the FBI) interrogated Krasnov for over a month, during which he was also subjected to psychiatric evaluations. He was declared sane, but the Committee decided that although he did not directly insult any individual, his comments did hurt the feelings of religious people.

Offending the feelings of believers was made a criminal offence in the nation in 2012, after punk band Pussy Riot’s blasphemous performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. For this reason, Krasnov is now being tried in court in his hometown of Stavropol in southern Russia.

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Harry Potter Themed Coffee Shop Opens in Nevada

It’s been nine years since the last Harry Potter book and five years since the last movie, but Potter mania is still as strong as ever. The instant popularity of a new Harry Potter-themed cafe in Henderson, Nevada is proof of that. When ‘Bad Owl’ first opened its doors on February 13, hundreds of muggles were already waiting to get in, and it has since then been receiving worldwide attention for its delightfully rich Potter-themed decor and menu.

“There was a line outside even before they opened,” said Harry Potter fan Shelby, speaking to Mugglenet.com. “They were opening late because they were on the local news this morning. We waited in line for about an hour to order. The ambience was perfect with a thick velvet curtain darkening the room and little Harry Potter details everywhere.”

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UK Beggar Sparks Outrage after Getting into $70,000 Audi at the End of His ‘Shift’

Matthew Brinton, a beggar in England’s Cornwall county, has earned the wrath of locals after he was spotted getting into an Audi TT in a parking lot near Bank Street. Brinton is a familiar face in the area, having begged there for several years. Footage of him getting into the $70,000 luxury car was uploaded on Facebook, and Brinton has been receiving death threats ever since.

The 35-year-old beggar, who lives with a friend, claims to have received the car as inheritance from his grandmother. He also says that the Audi has since been stolen, and he’s now fearing for his life. “I have not seen any of the social media posts because I do not have access to the internet but according to the police I’ve had lots of death threats,” he said. “People are assuming too much and I’m getting a lot of abuse. This has been going on for years.”

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