The Photo-Like Pencil Portraits of Shinichi Furuya

It never ceases to amaze me the kind of amazing things talented people can create using only the simplest of materials. Case in point, artist Shinichi Furuya, who uses pencils and paper to make these stunningly-realistic portraits of Japanese celebrities.

The level of detail in Shinichi Furuya’s artworks is so breathtaking that it’s hard to believe they are only pencil drawing. But even more unbelievable is the fact that Furuya is just an amateur artist. He describes himself as a “middle-aged businessman who wasn’t able to become a professional illustrator” and says that creates these masterpieces in his free time. So this guy couldn’t find a job as an illustrator?!? There must be something very wrong with the world…

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This Tasty New York Doughnut Is Made with Bone Marrow

The last ingredient you would expect to find in a delicious doughnut is bone marrow, but that’s apparently the secret behind this popular treat served at a New York doughnut shop.

The doughnut market has become very competitive in recent years, and businesses have to come up with something really special to get an edge. Some rely on crazy combinations to create hybrids like the popular Cronut, others cover their doughnuts with extravagant decorations like edible gold and sugar diamonds – see Donutopia, the $100 doughnut – and a few go the bizarre route. The treat we’re talking about today falls in the latter category.

The Doughnut Project, a fancy bakery in New York city, partnered with local butcher shop Hudson & Charles to create what we believe is the world’s first bone marrow doughnut. That sounds pretty disgusting, but the experienced bakers claim that bone marrow actually makes their hand-crafted, yeast-raised doughnuts more delicious. The chocolate pastry cream filling is whipped with roasted bone marrow that apparently enhances its richness and gives it a velvet-smooth texture. The unique treat is also glazed in clementine and sprinkled with orange-infused chocolate shavings.

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Panama’s Eco-Friendly Plastic Bottle Village

‘The Plastic Bottle Village’ is just the sort of innovative idea that might eventually save the Earth from drowning in plastic. It’s a planned 83-acre community in Panama that, as the name suggests, is going to be entirely built out of discarded plastic bottles.

Located on Isla Colón, in the Bocas del Toros province, The Plastic Bottle Village will include approximately 120 homes of varying sizes. The design process begins with building frames of rebar and steel mesh, which are then filled with used plastic bottles. Once this step is complete, and various electrical and plumbing lines are inserted, the plastic walls are covered by concrete – both inside and out.

So the finished homes look just like conventional ones, and no one will actually be able to tell that the walls are made of plastic. What’s more, the unusual choice of construction material will keep the house a considerable 17°C  cooler than the temperature outside. The homes also come equipped with a septic tank system, standard windows, doors, and an exterior sidewalk.

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This Helium Filled Edible Balloon Is a Dessert at a 3-Michelin Star Restaurant in Chicago

Popping and sucking a candy balloon is probably a sight you’d expect to see at a kid’s party, but it’s what all the adults are doing at this Michelin three-star restaurant in Chicago. They come dressed in their finest for an evening of elegant dining, but once they arrive at ‘Alinea’, patrons are encouraged to embrace their inner child with their latest dessert offering – the Edible Helium Balloon.

The dish, created by head chef and Aliena co-owner Grant Achatz, is now being touted as one of the coolest desserts ever produced in the US. Achatz recently released a video on how the balloon is made – the process starts off with making a green apple taffy base, which is then blown up using a tube connected to a helium tank. The result is a transparent balloon that is tied with a ‘string’ made of dehydrated granny smith apple. The entire confection is then sprinkled with a dusting of green sugar.

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Turkish Tailor Creates the World’s Smallest Pair of Jeans

A tailor from Turkey is in the news for making the smallest machine-sewn pair of jeans in the world, measuring a mere 0.9 cm in length. Kasim Andaç, 34, is now hoping that his liliput jeans will earn him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Tailoring has been in Kasim’s family for generations, and he now manages the family business in Konya city, in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region. “I was bored by the profession at first, but after working on being a tailor with my father, I learned to love it and to love the opportunities for innovation and creativity,” Kasim said.

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Disturbing Trend Has Teens eating Garden Plant Seeds for Their Hallucinogenic Effects

In a disturbing new trend, teens across America are ditching common party drugs for easily accessible garden plant seeds like Hawaiian Baby Woodrose, Sleepy Grass, and Blue Morning Glory, which are believed to replicate the hallucinogenic effects of LSD. One of the main advantages of this move is that it’s very easy to get your hands on a packet of seeds from any garden store without raising suspicion.

Experts are now warning that the seeds mentioned contain LSA (lysergic acid amide), which is a hallucinogenic substance. They can easily put anyone on a high when swallowed whole or crushed and added to tea, affecting the user’s vision and sense of time. Extreme euphoria and extreme fatigue are the other symptoms involved. In extreme cases, consumption can also trigger flashbacks, psychotic episodes, vomiting, and overwhelming paranoia.

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15-Year-Old May Have Just Discovered a Lost Mayan City in the Mexican Jungle

The world’s most brilliant minds might have missed it, but this 15-year-old Canadian kid has managed to accurately locate a previously unknown ancient Mayan city, hidden deep in the Yucatan jungle of southeastern Mexico, without having to leave his house. William Gadoury, a high-school student from Quebec, has now named his discovery ‘K’aak Chi’, which means ‘Mouth of Fire’.

It all started three years ago, when William read about the Mayan calendar predicting the end of the world in 2012. That obviously didn’t happen, but his interest in the subject didn’t wane and he soon realised that the ancient Mayan people always built their cities far away from rivers, in inhospitable mountain ranges. Wanting to find the reason behind this, he looked up to the sky for answers, because he knew that the Mayans had worshipped stars. And it wasn’t long before he recognised a pattern – all their cities were built to line up with star constellations.

By analysing 23 Mayan star constellations, William figured out that when connected, the 142 stars indeed corresponded to the locations of 177 Mayan cities. No one had pieced together such information before. But he was stuck on the 23rd constellation because he could only find two cities to match its three stars. That’s when he realised that there had to be a Mayan city that had not yet been discovered. His research now had a new mission – to find that lost city.

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World’s Most Expensive Tea Is Worth over 30 Times Its Weight in Gold

$10,000 for a pot of tea sounds excessive, but that’s the kind of price that wealthy tea-collectors are willing pay for a few sips of original Da Hong Pao, perhaps the world’s rarest tea. With a single gram priced at a whopping $1,400, this famously pricey tea is actually worth over 30 times its weight in gold!

So what make Da Hong Pao tea so valuable? According to Chinese tea master Xiangning Wu, it’s mainly its rarity. There are hardly any original Da Hong Pao trees left, and the antique varieties that grow in Wuyi mountains, China’s Fujian Province, are so rare that they’re considered almost priceless. In fact, generations-old tea makers have a special yearly ritual to  Da Hong Pao – they go into the mountains every spring to pray to tea god Lu Yu for new shoots. Some reports suggest that the leaves are wiped with goat’s milk as they grow, and after harvest, they’re baked and then left to gain flavor for up to 80 years.

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Ottawa Homeless Shelter Is Helping Alcoholics by Giving Them Free Booze

Quitting cold turkey is one of the toughest things to do, which is why this homeless shelter in Ottawa is helping chronic alcoholics by handing out measured quantities of alcohol by the hour. Miraculously, the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) has not only improved the overall health of its participants, but also reduced their average alcohol intake and helped them refrain from criminal activity.

The existence of the MAP is a miracle in itself, given that most other homeless shelters have a strict no-alcohol policy. But at the Oaks shelter for the homeless, five ounces of white wine are handed out in coffee cups every hour between 7.30 am and 9.30 pm, seven days a week. That’s a calculated amount, just enough for each resident to be able to shake off the symptoms of alcohol deprivation. No alcohol is handed out to anyone who comes in intoxicated. The routine began in the early 2000s, and continues to this day, with several residents lining up every single day for their share.

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The ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ Will Zap You Awake if Nothing Else Works

If the loudest, most annoying alarm clocks have failed to separate you from your beloved bed, ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ might be just the thing for you. This wearable alarm clock will literally shock you awake every morning, if beeps and vibrations don’t do the trick.

Pavlok, the company behind Shock Clock, is a wearable-device startup founded by entrepreneur Maneesh Sethi, who first rose to internet fame after hiring a woman to slap him every time he opened Facebook. Having had previous success with his ‘Pavlok Breaks Bad Habits’ device that helped people quit bad habits like nail biting and smoking, Sethi based the new Shock Clock on the popular concept of classical conditioning that Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov used to train dogs to respond to a stimulus. He claims that the device’s ‘sensory inputs’ have the potential to create permanent behavioral changes. It is apparently world’s first device that “uses effective, tested sensory inputs to wake you up and keep you alert.”

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Thai Students Caught Cheating with “Mission Impossible” Spy Glasses

Three Thai students caught cheating during a medical college entrance exams made headlines this week for their elaborate high-tech cheating equipment. Supervisors discovered wireless cameras embedded in the frames of the students’ glasses which were connected to smartwatches on their wrists. They used the cameras to send images of questions to an external group, who then replied with the answers via the smartwatches.

That’s quite a clever setup, but sadly, the students were caught when instructors noticed that their glasses had unusually thick frames and decided to have a closer look, which led to the discovery of the hidden cameras. The story went viral on social media after Rangsit University director Arthit Ourairat posted pictures of the cheating equipment on his Facebook page.

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Pakistan’s ‘Solar Kids’ Live Normal Lives by Day, Become Mysteriously Paralyzed at Night

Pakistani brothers Shoaib Ahmed and Abdul Rasheed are suffering from a mysterious condition that has left doctors in Islamabad scratching their heads. The so-called ‘Solar Kids’, aged 13 and nine, are normal and active throughout the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they descend into a vegetative state that renders them unable to move or talk.

Shoaib and Abdul wake up with the first rays of the sun, filled with energy and life. They tend to their house chores, attend school, but they are on a clock to get everything done by late afternoon, because as the sun travels west, their energy levels drop and by the time it sets, they are completely paralyzed until the next day. Their parents say that the boys appeared to be dependent on the sun this since the day they were born, and in their home village they are known as the “solar kids”.

“I think my sons get energy from sun,” the boys’ father, Mohammad Hashim, says. But his simplistic theory has been dismissed by doctors after they tried keeping the boys in a completely darkened room during the day, but noticed no bizarre symptoms. The idea that the sun plays a role in the siblings’ mysterious condition is also contradicted by the fact that they remain active when it’s cloudy and even during rainstorms.

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Amazing 7-Year-Old Born without Hands Wins National Hand-Writing Competition

7-year-old Anaya Ellick was born without hands, but she’s mastered the art of writing by holding her pencil in between the ends of her arms, as she stands over her desk at a comfortable angle. The adorable first-grader could have used prosthetics, but she chose to practice using her own arms instead and got so good at it that this year she actually won  the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship for beautiful writing.

Anaya’s parents, Bianca and Gary, were naturally shocked and worried sick when they first found out she didn’t have hands. But Anaya proved to be a precocious child, learning early on to tie her shoes, dress herself, and attempting to do other things by herself before asking for help. Her ambitious nature was also mentioned by the principal of her school, Tracy Cox. “There is truly very little that this girl cannot do,” the Greenbrier Christian Academy principal told ABC News. “She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady.”

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India’s ‘Child Bride Saver’ Has Stopped Over 900 Child Weddings in the Last 4 Years

At just 29 years of age, Kriti Bharti has managed to single-handedly stop over 900 child marriages in India’s northern state of Rajasthan. She has also annulled 29 marriages  conducted between underage boys and girls, and has worked towards the rehabilitation of over 6,000 children and 5,500 women.

“My work means so much to me,” said Kriti, who carries out her work through her charity organisation Saarthi Trust. “I dedicate my life to helping these defenseless children from their families who force them into the most barbaric circumstances because of tradition.”

Although child marriages have been deemed illegal a long time ago, statistics show that over 40 percent of the world’s underage unions take place in India. The practice is especially rampant in Rajasthan, where Kriti does everything she can to rescue young girls and give them a better chance at life. “After you stop a child marriage, the girl child is treated like a social outcast,” she explained. “It becomes important to rehabilitate her and help her become part of the society again.”

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Meet the Middle-Aged Cholitas Conquering the Highest Mountains in South America

Most mountaineers wouldn’t venture out on an expedition without the proper gear and attire, but a group of Bolivian women have shocked the world by climbing some of South America’s highest mountains – all while wearing their traditional attire of colorful, layered skirts. Dressed in ‘cholita paceñas’ outfits complete with Andean ‘aguayo’ shawls and knitted cardigans, they look like typical grannies albeit on a serious mission.

These women, belonging to the indigenous Aymara people of the Andes, would normally stay at home while their husbands worked as mountain guides in the worst of conditions. They would cook at base camps or work as porters, never actually scaling the treacherous peaks themselves. But all that changed a couple of years ago, when Lydia Huayllas, wife of a mountain guide, wanted to know what it felt like to scale the steep, glacial slopes of the 19,974-foot Huayna Potosi mountain.

“What do you do up there, how does it feel?” she asked her husband, Eulalio Gonzalez. In response, he told her to find out for herself. So she did just that.

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