Santa Claus Runs for North Pole City Council

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Turns out Santa Claus is real, and he actually lives in North Pole! Don’t get too excited though – North Pole is a suburb in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Santa Claus is the legal name of one of its residents, although he definitely looks the part.

At North Pole, the atmosphere is festive all year. The streets are always decorated in holiday spirit, the light posts look like candy canes and the streets have names like ‘Snowman Lane’ and ‘St. Nicholas Drive’. So it’s only befitting to have a ‘Santa Claus’ live there. According to his Facebook page, Claus is “the only man legally named Santa Claus ever to live in North Pole, Alaska.”

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Extreme Phone Pinching – Probably the Most Nerve-Racking Internet Trend of 2015

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Move over extreme sports, ‘extreme phone pinching’ is guaranteed to deliver an adrenaline rush like never before. Warning: It’s not for the faint-hearted.

The nerve-wracking new challenge has people dangling their expensive smartphones over all sorts of dangerous places like toilets, drains, balconies and even high cliffs. There’s only one rule – they’ve got to ‘pinch’ their gadgets using only their thumb and forefinger!

The bizarre, rather pointless trend was apparently started by Twenty One Pilots, an American indie pop band. They posted a YouTube video of them performing the phone pinch stunt and it spread like wildfire across various social networks, garnering over 300,000 views. Before long, the hashtag #extremephonepinching became a thing and people began tweeting videos and pictures of their own attempts.

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Japan Is All Set to Introduce Robot Taxis Next Year

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Robot Taxi Inc., a Tokyo-based company, is gearing up to bring self-driving robot taxis to Japan’s roads early next year. They’ve invited residents to try out the taxi service in Fujisawa, in Kanagawa Prefecture. 50 people are all set to take part in the experiment.

According to Robot Taxi, the new cabs will take residents to pre-decided supermarkets about three kilometers from their homes. A company attendant will be present in the driver’s seat for safety reasons. The self-driving cars will be equipped with GPS, millimeter-wave radar, stereo vision cameras, and image analysis technologies.

The local government is fully supportive of the firm’s initiative, given that they’ve already tested automated cars on expressways before. But this will be the first time on local roads with residents. “This time, the robot taxi experiment will be conducted on actual city streets,” said government official Yuji Kuroiwa.

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Taiwan’s Betel Nut Beauties – Scantily-Clad Girls Peddling Nuts on the Side of the Road

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If you ever happen to visit Taiwan, you might be greeted to the sight of scantily-clad women in neon-lit glass kiosks by roadsides, waiting for men to pull over. Well, they’re not what you think!

These women are ‘Betel nut girls’ who peddle small snacks of tasty, stimulative betel nuts wrapped in betel leaves. They dress provocatively to attract potential buyers, but nuts is pretty much the only thing they sell.

The main roads are filled with around 60,000 such phone booth-style kiosks; they’re so much a part of the nation’s identity that they’re actually featured on old tourist guides. The women who operate the stalls are usually from poorer families, but according to news reports, the job pays more than housekeeping, waiting tables and other conventional jobs.

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Woman Has Ingenious “Robot” Standing in Line at an Apple Store in Australia

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Believe it or not, the day has finally come when people can have their iPads wait in line every time a new iPhone is released! A woman named Lucy Kelly was the first to try it out – she sent an iPad robot to stand proxy for her at an Apple store in Sydney, just before the launch of the new iPhone 6s.

The robot, also named Lucy, consists of an iPad attached to a Segway-type device. Created by Californian company Double Robotics, it allows a person to be virtually present anywhere without actually having to be there. And the company that Kelly works for – Atomic 212 – happened to order six of these robots to play with at their office.

“We use them for everything, just to show new technology,” Kelly said. “It is a cool demonstration of what the future of technology will be. We are obsessed with them.” So on the eve of the iPhone 6s release in Sydney last Thursday, Lucy the robot arrived to take the fourth place in the long line of Apple fans.

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23-Year-Old Takes Welding Art to a Whole New Level of Awesomeness

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Fusing bits of metal together hardly qualifies as art, unless it’s the handiwork of a welding master like Richard Lauth. The 23-year-old professional welder from Chicago creates beautiful portraits, themed sculptures, decorations, and models using nothing but metal and a welding machine

Lauth is an Operating Engineer and member of the trade union Local 150 by day, but he likes to spend his free time using his welding skills on artistic pursuits. Or as he writes on Instagram, he loves making “cool s***” out of metal. Some of his pieces include metal portraits of popular characters like Stormtroopers and Minions, animal faces, and small metal sculptures of everyday objects.

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Russian Teen Has Detailed Skull Tattooed on Side of His Face

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This Russian teenager is turning heads in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk for looking like a walking, talking X-Ray. The entire right side of his face is covered with a skull tattoo, complete with gaping eye sockets, blackened nose, and perfectly traced bones and teeth. He’s even colored his right eyeball black for a hollow effect!

Nikita Lesnoy was fascinated by tattoos as a child, ever since he saw one made by his father. As he grew older he began to research the subject more, eventually getting his first tattoo at age 15. And now at 18 years, half of his face is inked with a skull. He works at a tattoo parlour himself, so his bizarre face hasn’t affected his career.

“Nobody worries about my look too much in my line of work, because I also have my dream job working in a tattoo studio,” he said. But he admitted that people on the streets are often shocked by his appearance. Nearly everyone gapes at him, some in admiration, others in disgust.

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Korean Couple’s Five-Month Body Transformations Will Blow Your Mind

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A Korean couple are taking Instagram by storm with their phenomenal body transformation photographs. In a short span of five months, they have gone from ‘somewhat chubby’ to super-lean workout machines!

Song Jin Yoo and Shin Ji Hoo been exercising together at the gym for the past five months – spending three hours a day on aerobic exercise and one-and-a-half hours lifting weights twice a week. They have recently shared their amazing results on a Korean Facebook pace titled ‘Dieting is the Best Plastic Surgery’. Their before-and-after simply left everyone speechless and soon went viral in Korea.

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Tiny Bird Mimics Other Birds’ Warning Calls to Confuse Predators

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Despite its tiny size, the brown thornbill is quite capable of protecting itself in the wild. Its survival strategy is simple yet effective – it scares other birds away by ‘crying hawk’!

It seems that most birds use certain calls to warn their kin of impending danger, especially when hawks and other birds of prey are approaching. The thornbill is not only aware of this fact, but can reproduce the danger signals of several species, including the much larger pied currawong. Predators are fooled by the false alarm, and the thornbill earns its chicks a few extra seconds to escape.

The thornbill’s talent for mimicry was discovered by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU). “I am amazed that such a tiny bird can mimic so many species, some much bigger than itself. It’s very cunning,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Branislav Igic.

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Landscaping Company Carves Live Trees into Beautiful Artworks, Sparks Controversy

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A landscaping company in China recently angered nature lovers by carving dragons and other art forms on live camphor trees. Workers apparently cut off all the branches and stripped the top layer of bark before carving intricate figures into the soft wood underneath. The sculptures were then painted in gold.

About a dozen such trees are currently located on a roadside plot of land in Xiangshan county, in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province. The owner of the company, who prefered to remain anonymous, said it took 100 days to carve each tree. He also admitted that most of the trees couldn’t withstand the carving process and died soon after. As pretty as the carvings are, not many people are impressed with the cruelty involved.

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Curvy Yogi Proves You Don’t Have to Lose Weight to Stay in Shape

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Busting the myth of the perfect-bodied yoga poster girl is San Francisco plus-sized yogi Valerie Sagun. For the past three years, she has been photographed performing a range of complicated yoga poses, including headstands and handstands.

Valerie has a massive Instagram following of over 80,000 people, with whom she regularly shares videos of her yoga journey. “I just want to make sure that people don’t feel like they have to be scared or intimidated by learning yoga from someone who doesn’t look like them,” she wrote on her Tumblr page. “All of us have body issues whether you are big or small, but it’s good to just take the time to look at yourself and just love it as it is now.”

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New Service Saves and Frames Tattoos of Loved Ones after They Die

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Thanks to a new service called ‘Save My Ink’, your tattoos can now last forever. Launched by American tattoo artist Charles Hamm, the bizarre service involves slicing inked skin off dead people and preserving it through a bunch of chemical processes.

Hamm, 60, said he got the idea for Save My Ink – a.k.a National Association for the Preservation of Skin Art (NAPSA) – when he realised how much time and money people put into their tattoos. “You would never burn a Picasso or any piece of art you invested in and had a passion for,” he explained. “Your tattoo is also art with a unique story, just on a different canvas. It’s just like a house, wedding ring, or any other cherished possession.”

“I have over 150 hours of tattoo work on me, and I have almost covered my entire upper-body, excluding my neck and face,” Hamm said. “When I was getting more tattoo work completed on my back piece, a 10,000 dollar investment, I began considering all of the money I had put into my tattoos. I had also read an article in which Johnny Depp stated his intent to have his tattoos preserved, and it all inspired me to begin fully developing Save My Ink.”

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Australian Couple Experience Life with Almost No Money for a Year

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In this day and age, living without money sounds almost impossible, but that’s exactly what this Australian couple has been doing for almost a year. It’s been anything but easy, but they’ve somehow made it work.

Rachel Newby, 24, and Liam Culbertson, 26, have come up with innovative ways of making it through the year without any cash. They built themselves a new home on a friend’s plot in West Gippsland, a rural region in Victoria. The house is made entirely out of scrap timber and recycled materials. They grow their own food, and at times, don’t hesitate to dive into dumpsters for leftovers. They also help out local farmers in exchange for fresh produce and yarn.

“We enjoy the feeling of being able to choose what we do regardless of money,” said Rachel. “We don’t have to worry about rent or plane tickets or food or fancy clothes. Effectively, all of our time is free time because we get to decide how we spend it.”

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80-Year-Old Amateur Fashion Designer Creates and Models His Own Dresses

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It seems like the elderly are embracing fashion like never before. After Gunther Krabbenhoft, who charmed the internet with his sense of style, and Baddie Winkle, the coolest-dressing grandma online, we now have 80-year-old Liao Dezhong – an amateur designer who models his own eccentric dresses.

Dezhong, a widower from Sichuan Province, has designed over 10 garments so far, including a long white dress and a cotton print dress that went viral. His tryst with design began after he lost his cellphone to a pickpocket. He then tried to stitch additional pockets and zippers into his outfits, and eventually started designing clothes himself. Loose, flowing dresses with plenty of pockets are now his trademark style.

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59-Year-Old Fashion Model Is Still Giving Young Girls a Run for Their Money

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At age 59, the lovely Yasmina Rossi is breaking all the rules of the fashion world. Despite her age, she is a highly sought-after model, working for several international brands.

French-born Yasmina had an unusual start to her career – she began modelling in her late twenties, which is when most professional models retire. She got her big break at age 45, when she relocated to New York. That’s when she starred in ad campaigns for Macy’s, AT&T, and Mastercard. Eventually, she landed a job modelling for Marks & Spencers in Europe.

Everyone is naturally curious to know the secret behind her everlasting beauty, but Yasmina says there is none. “All I have ever done is eat organic food – long before it became trendy,” she told the Sunday Times’ Style Magazine. She also gets a bit of exercise, a healthy diet, and plenty of rapeseed oil for her hair and skin.

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