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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Heartbreaking: Thai Man Marries Dead Girlfriend

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In this tragic love story from Thailand, a man decided to  go ahead with the wedding he and his girlfriend had planned, even though she sadly died in a car crash, just day before the big event.

29-year old Sarinya Kamsook and her 28-year-old boyfriend, Chadil Deffy, were to be married this year. A wedding is considered the most special event of a woman’s life and it was no different for Sarinya. She was eagerly counting the days to the moment when she would finally say ‘I do’, along with the love of her life, but fate had other plans for the young couple. Merely days before the wedding, Sarinya was involved in a car crash, leaving her severely injured. She still could have been saved with timely medical attention. However, the doctors made her wait for 6 hours due to an overcrowded ICU instead of transferring her to another hospital. During this time, she succumbed to her injuries and passed away.

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New Zealand Woman Wants Your Tattoo on Her Backside

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The things people would do for money. Would you believe it if I told you a woman is willing to have anything you like tattooed on her bottom? Unlikely story, but it’s true.

Through her profile on trademe.co.nz, Tina Beznec is auctioning off a 9×9 cm space on her buttock to be tattooed according to the winner’s choice. In her own precise words, “You might think I am crazy for doing this! But yes, the winner of the auction gets ANYTHING they like tattooed on my bum!” Tina’s innovative plan to raise money has garnered quite a bit of attention in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, where she lives. If you’re still finding it hard to believe that a person would do something like this, let me tell you that she’s pretty hard pressed for cash right now. She has been made redundant twice in the past one year and has been unemployed for four months. Tina promises to donate 20% of the highest bid to a charity of the winner’s choice, but she would be keeping the rest because she ‘deserves it’. She plans to use the money to pay all her bills and visit her mother in Australia.

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Who Needs Privacy: 5 People Live in Paris Subway Station Apartment

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Here’s another example of a bizarre business promotional strategy. This time it’s by IKEA and they actually took over a Paris subway station.

In a bid to prove that with IKEA furnishing you can make any living space comfortable, the company erected an apartment right in the middle of the Auber station in Paris. It was only 581 sq ft. in size and five people lived in it for five days (Jan 9th to 14th). The company tried a similar event around two years back when they decked subway platforms with IKEA furnishings, but this took things a step forward. Or maybe a giant leap. The apartment mainly consisted of IKEA storage products, clearly aiming at space management. Plain to view through huge clear-glass windows for the hundreds of thousands of people who use the subway, their publicity stunt sure didn’t miss any eyeballs. Time-lapse videos have been made of the construction of the apartment. Videos documenting the experiences of the five people living there have also been put up by the company.

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New York Subway Workers Run “Rate My Rat” Photo Contest

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For those of you who have used the subway in New York, the sight of rats must be quite common. Those pesky rodents are spotted quite frequently on subway tracks and platforms. Apparently, subway workers have had enough of this and want their workplace to be completely free of rats. And they’ve come up with a totally unique idea to accomplish this – a rat photo contest.

New York subway workers are holding a photo contest – for the “nastiest” shot of a rodent. Subway commuters are being urged to click pictures of the rats they see every day and upload them to the website http://www.ratfreesubways.com. The grand prize is a monthly transit pass. The site was created by the largest union in the city, the Transport Workers Union Local 100. The winning photograph is to be selected by popular opinion. Visitors to the website are able to vote for the most repulsive picture on the ‘Rate my Rat’ section. They have five options to choose from – Handsome, Cute, Plain, Ugly and Beastly. Most of the rat-pictures have been rated between 3 and 5, while a few actually have been called cute.

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Meet the Man Who Only Owns 15 Things

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There are a lot of people who make the news for their extravagant lifestyles, lavish homes, large collections of cars or shoes, and other such things. But Andrew Hyde is someone who’s become popular for just the opposite – owning very few things. 15, to be precise (not counting socks and underwear).

No, he’s not homeless, he’s not poor, and he’s definitely not unemployed. In fact, Hyde is a technology mogul. He works as a consultant and mentor for young companies, he’s the founder of Startup Weekend, and an organizer of TEDxBoulder conference. Constantly shuttling between New York and Silicon Valley for work, Hyde doesn’t live in a house or an apartment. When he’s not working, he’s traveling extensively, taking his worldly possessions of 15 things everywhere he goes. Andrew Hyde says that he has always been interested in the concept of minimalism, starting out by seeing if he could make do with just 100 items. But in August 2010 he took the concept even further, selling all of his belongings but for 15 things.

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Coolest Finds of the Week #24

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7 Creepiest Abandoned Japanese Love Hotels (Environmental Graffiti)

The Cockiest Shrine Bangkok (Asia Obscura)

A Cheap Way to Turn Your Room into a Shrine to Star Trek (Facebook)

Woman Treats Pet Kangaroo Like Her Child (Huffington Post)

No Pants Subway Ride 2012  (Laughing Squid)

Unicorn Poop Cookies (Geekologie)

Braille Burgers for the Visually Impaired (Global Post)

Improbable Reptile-Insect Relationships (Environmental Graffiti)

Italian Photographer Launches Penis Calendar (Business World)

Animal Lover Keeps Horse in Living Room (Daily Record)

Saudi Father Tries to Sell Son for $20 Million, on Facebook

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A Saudi man was all over the news a few days ago for putting up his son for sale on Facebook – for a whopping $20 million. Now he says that he did it only to bring attention to his poverty, and he didn’t really intend to sell his son.

In a country where the male child is regarded precious, it came as a shock when Saud bin Nasser Al Shahry did the unthinkable. He was under serious attack and criticism, especially from religions leaders of the nation. A prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Mohammed Al Nujaimi said that Al Shahry had violated Islam by offering to sell his child despite his financial problems. Al Shahry responds that he never did want to sell his son. Facing bankruptcy, and with no one else willing to help him, he had to resort to such an extreme measure. “Of course I never intended to sell my son. I only made this announcement to attract the attention of decision makers in the country to my tragedy after I became jobless and started to beg for food and clothes,” he told local newspapers.

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