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Stuck in Time – Meet the Man Who Lives Like It’s 1946

35-year-old Ben Sansum isn’t very impressed with high-tech gadgets, modern appliances or the internet. Instead, he prefers the old-world charm of the 1940s. So when he purchased a small four-room Victorian cottage in Godmanchester a few years ago, he worked very hard to transform it into the perfect period house. Now, he lives surrounded by furniture and appliances that are all from the forties or older, and even adopts a 1940s-style dress code.

Ben’s strange interest in the forties began at the age of 12, when his Great Uncle Stan gave him a 1940s radio. “I guess I was always the funny boy at school that had this strange interest,” he said. “Gradually, as I grew older, I loved the music and the fashion. I’m 35 now, my parents probably think I’ve grown out of it, but I will always live by this now. I know I will never grow out of it. I shall probably die living like this. But that’s fine, because I’m ensuring that their way of life isn’t forgotten.”

“I couldn’t live in a modern house now with modern interiors,” Ben admitted. “I like this period, I like the community spirit. I don’t want to glorify the war, I like all the things that took people’s minds away from the war, the music and the fashions and the cars. Things were British-made and built to last.” And he’s filled almost ever corner of his house with these old objects that look as good as new. Right from an Aga that heats a large white kettle, to the several tea tins and boxes of war time food stacked up on his shelves, everything in his house serves as a reminder of the good times. He makes his tea in a period kettle, and serves them in 1940s tea cups.

Ben-Sansum

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World’s Fastest Talking Woman Speaks 11 Words Per Second, Can Read ‘Three Little Pigs’ Story in 15 Seconds

‘Motor mouth’ Fran Capo is a fast talker – the woman can churn out over 600 words a minute, or 11 words per second! At such high speeds, you might not always be able to understand what she’s saying. I just watched a video of her telling the story of The Three Little Pigs in 15 seconds flat, and I was totally lost.

But comprehensibility is obviously not what she’s aiming for when she’s trying to break a record. The ‘Fast Talker Extraordinaire’ holds the Guinness World Record for being the fastest female talker in the world – she actually broke this record twice. She was also featured in the Ripley’s Believe it or Not – Planet Eccentric Book and in the Book of Alternative Records.

A native of New York, Fran has always been a fast talker. “Ever since I was a kid, I started doing it,” she said. “I didn’t say, ‘One day I’m going to grow up and be a fast talker,’ you know.” She started her career as a stand-up comic and sort of stumbled into breaking records along the way.

Fran-Capo2

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Teqball – An Awesome Combination of Football and Table Tennis

What do you get when you combine Table Tennis and Football, and throw in a dash of technology? The answer is Teqball, an addictive new sport that’s becoming more popular every day. The sport involves the bouncing of a ball between opponents, off a highly sophisticated table designed to keep things fair.

To play a game of Teqball, all you need are a Teqboard and a ball. According to the official website, the Teqboard is a sporting equipment, very similar to a ping-pong table, that’s been designed keeping in mind the rules of mathematics and physics. So a ball will bounce off any point on the board, making it easy to reach and control. Although you can’t touch the board, it can withstand a great amount of pressure, making it durable and safe to use.

The ‘net’ at the center of the board is made of polycarbonate/plexiglass, ensuring that the ball bounces off it in a fair manner. Thanks to the unique design of the Teqboard, the only thing that matters in the game is talent; there’s no room for luck. The ball used for playing is a regular football, preferably a FIFA size 4.

Teqball

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The Indian Strongman Village Where All the Men Train to Become Bouncers

For centuries, farming was the main source of income for the people of Asola-Fatehpur Beri, twin villages in northern India. But in recent times, the men of Asola have managed to completely reinvent themselves – from poor farmers to strong, well-built bodyguards. Today, almost 90 percent of the men from the 50,000-strong village are employed as bouncers at night clubs in nearby cities like New Delhi.

“In this village, there is not a single boy who does not go to the gym,” said Vijay Pahelwan, head trainer at the local ‘akhada’, or gym. “All boys exercise. They are very careful towards their body. No one drinks and no one consumes tobacco.” Most boys take up wrestling at a very young age in the hopes of making it to the Olympics. But they always have the option of becoming a bouncer to fall back on.

Young wrestling student Keshav Tewar, for instance, spends most of his time at the gym. “No matter what other job I get when I grow up, I’m going to be a bouncer,” he said. “Bouncers have fit bodies and I want to make my body fit too.”

Asola-village-bouncers

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Chinese Financial Regulator Works Himself to Death, Gets Praised by Chinese Authorities as an ‘Example to Everyone’

When Chinese banking regulator Li Jianhua sat down to work on the night of April 22, he probably had no idea that he was writing his last report. The 48-year-old simply collapsed the next morning, having overworked himself through the night. His sudden death elicited mixed reactions from various sections of Chinese society. While his employers – the Chinese Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) – are calling him ‘a model for party members and cadres’, many people are taking to social media to express outrage over the incident.

Li, who joined the Communist Party in 1985, worked for the government in securities and banking regulation. He was brought into the CBRC in 2005, to improve the standards of trust financing – one of the most sensitive areas of China’s financial sector. Li was personally responsible for overseeing investments worth at least $6 trillion. His colleagues remember him as a busy man who never discussed his personal problems, and had very little time for his family.

According to news reports, Li had little regard for his health and always chose work over personal well-being. He had once suffered a terrible outbreak of shingles, but he still chose to carry on with an inspection tour to Hunan province. In early April, his doctor noticed a few disturbing symptoms and advised him to visit the hospital for a checkup. In response, he simply smiled and said he didn’t have any time. A few weeks later, he was dead.

li_jianhua

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Death Metal Band to Play in Air-Tight Box until They Run Out of Oxygen

Most musicians like to perform so that others can hear their music. But one British death metal band is doing the exact opposite – they’re currently playing in an airtight, soundproof box where no one can hear them. They play until the oxygen runs out, and they run the risk of dying from asphyxiation.

The cube is an art installation by Portuguese artist João Onofre, called ‘Box Sized DIE’. According to the event organizers, Box Sized DIE has toured several European cities before, including Palais de Tokyo in France and MACBA in Spain. This is its first appearance in London. “Inspired by Tony Smith’s pioneering minimalist sculpture Die (1962), the steel box serves as a mobile location for the performance,” said the organizers. “In each location the sculpture travels to, Onofre invites a local Death Metal band to play, on this occasion, Unfathomable Ruination. The box is soundproofed, determining and restricting the performance’s duration to the length of time in which the oxygen is expended.”

box-size-DIE

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Indian Man Claims He Can Help People Lose Weight with Ultrasounds He Emits from His Vocal Cords

A lot of people want to lose weight quite badly, but is there anyone desperate enough to try this Indian man’s weird technique? Jigar Shah, from the city of Ahmedabad, claims that he can induce weight loss in a person just by using his vocal cords to emit ultrasounds. He also says that he’s helped cure several people suffering from hypertension, depression, asthma, aches, kidney failure and even cancer, using the same technique.

According to Jigar, his vocal cords are capable of emitting ‘ultrasound’, which he describes on his website as a ‘very high frequency massage that can penetrate up to 5 inches below the skin’s surface’. Conveniently, the frequency is not audible to the human ear. So when Jigar opens his mouth and says that he’s emitting ultrasound waves, there is really no way to tell if he’s just pretending.

His website also tries to explain how the technique works: “Leaving the surrounding tissues untouched, ultrasound therapy for spot fat reduction and weight loss targets the fat layer of the skin, forcing fat cells to release triglycerides which are then processed by the body’s natural fat burning process. The empty fat cells shrink and are expelled as body tissue waste. The results are less fat in the treatment area with visible inch loss and reduction in body circumference.”

Jigar-Shah-ultrasound

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Drinking Blood Bags – The Latest Vampire Craze in China

Drinking red blood-like drinks has been a growing trend in China for a few years now, but it really became a social phenomenon among teenagers after the launch of the fifth season of American TV drama, The Vampire Diaries.

Now you can find red “Blood type energy potions” pretty much everywhere. They can be ordered online, or enjoyed in the company of fellow would-be vampires at themed cafes. One such establishment recently opened in Liaoning, and quickly became a hit with youths fascinated by Dracula and other popular blood-suckers. The staff is dressed as doctors and nurses, drinks are only available in plastic blood bags inscribed with different blood types, coffins adorn the walls and vampire-themes music plays in the background.

blood-bag-drink

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Meet the NASA Expert Who Smells Things for a Living

George Aldrich isn’t an expert on space travel and building shuttles, yet, he holds one of the most important jobs at NASA. The agency doesn’t send any object to space unless he’s smelled it first! The master sniffer, also known as ‘Nostril-damus’, has protected hundreds of astronauts just by smelling the stuff that will be put into spacecrafts.

Aldrich can smell anything and everything, even the things that most of us find disgusting. He has had a superior sense of smell since childhood, but his special talent was discovered only around 40 years ago. He was a firefighter in White Sands back then, and NASA had started to look for sniffing volunteers. So Aldrich applied and he did exceedingly well at their calibration test in which he had to identify the seven primary odors – musky, minty, floral, ethereal, camphoraceous, pungent and putrid.

Since then, Aldrich has worked for NASA at their White Sands test facility, where his nose reigns supreme. The job might seem comical, but just how important is it? As it turns out, very. “Astronauts could actually get sick from being subjected to obnoxious odors,” said Aldrich. And it’s really true – the Russians had to abort a mission in 1976 because their astronauts couldn’t tolerate a hideous stench inside their shuttle. Too bad they didn’t have their own ‘nasal-naut’ like the Americans do.

George-Aldrich-NASA

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Woman Experiences Life with a Celebrity by Living with a Life-Size Cardboard Cutout of Bradley Cooper

A lady from New Jersey is currently living every woman’s dream – she is actually spending every moment of her day with Hollywood star Bradley Cooper. Well, not with the actual guy, but a life-size cardboard cut-out of the actor. She says that she’s fulfilling her desire of a life with Bradley Cooper in the only way she knows how – by making it up!

39-year-old Danielle Davis has designed a unique life for herself and her ‘cardboard Cooper’, who is by her side 24×7. She shops with him, cooks with him, eats with him, mows the lawn with him, and even takes him to bed. You’d think that Danielle is a spinster who lives alone with her cats, but no, she’s married and has two children. Her family is strangely supportive of her Cooper experiment.

Bradley-Cooper-cutout

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Croatian Man Can Allegedly Perform Miracles Just by Gazing at People

Braco the Gazer has a special talent in the realm of alternative spirituality. He can heal people by just by gazing at them for a few minutes. Hundreds claim that their aches and ailments have all vanished after they looked into his peaceful eyes. The 46-year-old Croatian is now immensely popular in Europe and is a growing phenomenon in the United States.

He doesn’t call himself a healer, guru or teacher. In fact, Braco (pronounced Brah-tzo) leads a pretty normal lifestyle; he smokes, eats meat and lives with his wife and child. But none of that gets in the way of his gazing powers. According to his followers, Braco has connectivity with the Sun, which makes him a conduit for the transmission of divine energy, and a portal to oneness or the quantum field. Apparently, the power of his gaze is so strong that pregnant women are forbidden to attend his gazing events…

That might sound like a whole lot of spiritual mumbo-jumbo to the uninitiated. But it makes perfect sense to those who have been ‘touched’ by Braco’s gaze. He does not speak in public or give interviews; the only time people have heard his ‘loving’ voice is on DVD. Some people say he hasn’t actually spoken to anyone outside his inner circle since 2002. It’s almost as though he might lose his special powers if he utters more words than strictly necessary.

Braco-gaze

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Guy Buys Hundreds of Cinema Tickets to New Transformers Film to Show Ex-Girlfriend How Rich He Has Become

A jilted man impulsively purchased hundreds of IMAX tickets to the latest Transformers film, last week, and posted photos of the receipts online. Even as his bizarre move shocked movie-goers across Beijing, the crazed gentleman gave the tickets away for free to everyone who shared his post on social media. It turns out it was all just a desperate ploy to prove to his ex-girlfriend that he is no longer poor.

The woman in question had dumped our man, Wang, seven years ago. That’s a long time in terms of break-up years, but it looks like Wang still hasn’t gotten over her. He wrote on his Weibo microblog that she had ditched him when he couldn’t afford to take her to the cinema. To add insult to injury, she moved away from him, from their hometown of Nanjing to Beijing.

Clearly stung by the break-up, Wang spent the past seven years working hard to make his Shanghai-based business a success. And he was finally able to afford not just one, but hundreds of cinema tickets worth 250,000 yuan (US $40,000). He claimed that the amount is only half of his present monthly income. He booked all the seats in four of the six IMAX theaters in Beijing, for last Friday’s screening of Transformers: Age of Extinction.

chinese-cinema

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Employee-Free Coffee Shop Trusts Customers to Pay for Their Order

‘The Vault’ in Valley City, North Dakota, serves coffee, tea and pastries, just like any other coffee shop. But here’s the difference: there’s no one there to do the serving! The owners have complete faith in the honesty of the people who walk through their doors, so they haven’t hired any employees.

“The Vault is self-serve,” declares the official website. “Everything is priced by hand, there are no price scanners. Just keep a track of your purchases and pay before you leave the counter area. There is a credit card reader and a deposit slot for checks and cash.” Customers simply walk in, make their own coffee, pay for it, and hang out for as long as they like.

It sure is a big gamble, but owners David Brekke and his wife Kimberly don’t seem to be too worried. When they opened the shop last October, it made complete sense to have people serve themselves and rely on the honor system. They have yet to break even, but that’s not because people are stealing.

self-serve-coffee-shop

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World’s Strangest Job? Man Impersonating a Woman Plays Fox-Human Creature for 12 Hours a Day at Pakistan Zoo

One of the top attractions at Karachi Zoo in Pakistan is ‘Mumtaz Begum Africa Wali’ – a mythical half-fox, half-woman chimera. With the body of a fox and the head of a woman, this bizarre creature manages to delight visitors more than any other animal in the zoo. Her witty conversation and fortune-telling talents make her an instant hit with any sort of crowd.

Once you enter Karachi Zoo, it’s hard to miss Mumtaz Begum – the organizers announce their bizarre attraction on a megaphone. When you get inside Mumtaz Mahal, the building that houses her, all you can see at first is a fox’s hide placed on a table-like arrangement. Suddenly, a woman’s head appears out of nowhere, exactly where the fox’s head is supposed to be.

The woman wears heavy make up with bright lipstick, and small children in the crowd are immediately captivated by her presence. Then she begins her story: “I was born like this in Africa 35 years ago, and I live on cake, juice, and fruits…” After a short monologue, she engages with visitors and answers their questions in several languages.

mumtaz-begum

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9-Year-Old Basketball Player Gets Recruited by Miami University Because She Is That Good

While most fourth graders in the United States are grappling with the basics of the sport, nine-year-old Jaden Newman is already playing basketball like a pro. In fact she’s so good that she’s been approached by Miami University – they’ve asked her to keep them in mind when the time comes for her to make her college choice. Getting recruited by a college-level team is no mean feat, and it’s really astonishing that Jaden has managed to achieve it at such a young age.

Playing basketball alongside older players isn’t new to Jaden – she’s already been through two seasons on the girl’s high school varsity team at Downey Christian School, a private school in Orlando, Florida. Her stats are mind blowing; at just 4 foot 5 inches tall, she’s averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 assists per game while playing against teenagers this past season. Her performance gained her national prominence, and now that she has the offer from Miami University, she’s believed to be the youngest female player to ever get recruited by a Division I program.

Jaden-Newman

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