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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Danish Artist Travels the World Building Thousands of Scrapwood Birdhouses for Urban Birds

Thomas Dambo, an artist from Denmark, is using his sculpting skills to help thousands of urban birds around the world. Fueled by the belief that humans should coexist peacefully with other species, he makes use of scrap wood to build houses for birds everywhere he goes.

“Over the last 7 years I have made more than 3500 birdhouses in various projects all over the world,” Dambo wrote on Bored Panda. “Birds are some of the few animals still living in our cities, and I began this project because I thought that it was important to make sure that they can continue living here. It’s about creating a shelter for birds and also about reminding us that it’s important to leave room for birds in the urban world.”

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Swedish Scientists Want to Find Out if Cats Meow with an Accent Based on Where They Live

A cat with an accent sounds like a character in a whimsical children’s tale, but Swedish scientists are trying to figure out if domestic cats actually do have differing ‘dialects’ based on their geographical location. They also want to understand if the owner’s voice might have a role to play in the way cats’ meow. If they’re successful, the team of scientists from Lund University hope to put together a ‘dictionary’ of cat sounds.

“It seems that cats can consciously vary their intonation or melody constantly, perhaps to convey a certain message, perhaps to alter or increase the urgency of a message, or emotions,” said Susanne Schötz, a reader in phonetics and head of the project. “We want to find out to what extent domestic cats are influenced by the language and dialect that humans use to speak to them, because it seems that cats use slightly different dialects in the sounds they produce.”

The project, titled ‘Meowsic’ (short for ‘Melody in Human-Cat Communication’), will be carried out over the next five years. Schötz explained that she and her team will use phonetic analysis to compare cat sounds from two parts of Sweden – Stockholm and Lund – with differing human dialects, and figure out if the cats from these regions also have different dialects. They will focus on intonation, voice, and speaking style in the human speech that is addressed to cats, and also cat sounds that are addressed to humans.

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Dog Owner Dyes Dogs to Look Like Pandas, Sparks Controversy

A dog owner from Singapore has stirred up controversy by dyeing her three pure-bred Chow Chows to resemble pandas. The white fur dogs now have dyed black patches around their eyes, on their ears, and all over their bodies, making them look more like mini pandas than canines.

and her dogs began to gain popularity after many Singaporean residents spotted them around town and posted photographs of them online. About a month ago Jiang decided to make the most of the publicity and started a service called Panda Chow Chows that allows people to rent out her dogs for photo shoots. A Facebook post made by her husband reads: “Meet the cutest and most adorable dogs in Singapore. The Panda Chow Chows! Toudou (Potato), Yumi (Sweetcorn) and DouDou (Bean). Very proud of my wife Meng Jiang launching her new venture.”

The couple revealed that they brought the three dogs with them from London, when they moved to Singapore in October last year. They started by dyeing only one of the dogs, Yumi, because they thought the puppies were looking more and more like pandas as they grew older. “Yumi loved it and TouDou and DouDou were really jealous of her, so we tried it with them and they all had a new level of energy after it was done,” Jiang told Channel News Asia.

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Canadian Cyclist Rides His Bike around Town to Create Artistic GPS Doodles

Stephen Lund, a cyclist from Victoria, Canada, follows a rather unusual method while deciding his biking routes. Instead of going for the shortest route on the map to get from point A to B, he charts a complicated course that traces out brilliant doodles on street maps and records his artworks with a GPS app.

Some of Lund’s GPS doodles include simple messages like ‘Happy Birthday’, while others feature more complex drawings of animals, fictional characters, and pop icons. He’s been doing this for the past one year, creating a bizarre collection of GPS art work on an app called Strava.

Lund started the extraordinary project on January 1, 2015, as a way to wish people a ‘Happy New Year’. But he kept going after that first doodle, creating a total of 85 works over the course of the year – all of which are posted on his website, gpsdoodles.com. He begins each project by creating a doodle on a map of Victoria that he’s built into Photoshop. He then uses Google maps to find the best route that would follow the shape of his drawings.

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World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup – How to Turn Slaughtering Thousands of Snakes into a Yearly Festival

For the past 59 years, the residents of Sweetwater, Texas, have been coming together during the second weekend of March to celebrate the ‘World’s Largest Rattlesnake Roundup’, a four-day event that features the beheading and skinning of thousands of rattlesnakes in front of a live audience.

Annual rattlesnake roundups are common in several areas of the rural Midwest and Southern United States, but the event at Sweetwater is considered by far the largest of them all. Launched in 1958 by the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), it used to be the most effective way to control the region’s heavy snake population responsible for the death of cattle and humans alike.

And while the festival’s original premise might not be relevant anymore, the event still manages to draw up to 30,000 visitors each year, including out-of-state snake hunting teams and tourists from other countries. Just last year , a whopping 3,780 pounds – that’s tens of thousands – of rattlesnake were netted and thrown live into a pit, from where they were taken out and killed, one at a time.

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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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Forget Protein Shakes, ‘Barbell Brew’ Contains as Much Protein as a Sirloin Steak

You don’t need to give up six-packs to get a six-pack anymore, thanks to ‘Barbell Brew’, a new alcoholic beer that contains over 21.8 g of protein per serving. That’s roughly the same amount of protein you would get out of a sirloin steak, so you can happily swap those disgusting protein shakes for this new, delicious brew!

If you suspect that Barbell Brew might be just another health drink hidden in a beer can, worry not. With an alcohol content of 3.6 percent, it’s perfect for a beer buzz while also getting your share of muscle-pumping proteins. What’s more, it tastes great, it’s gluten free, and it only has 92.4 calories – that’s 33% less than what you’d get from regular beers, and even less than most light beers.

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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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Kindhearted Woman Converts Home into Retirement Home for Old Unwanted Dogs

House With a Heart is an animal sanctuary in Gaithersburg, Maryland, that’s exclusively dedicated to the care of elderly dogs and cats. Founded in 2006 by Sher Polvinale, the shelter regularly rescues senior animals abandoned by their owners, and cares for them until the very end.

Sher and her husband had been working with rescued cats and dogs for nearly 20 years before they had the idea for House With a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary. Over the years, they had received several calls from people who could no longer care for their aging pets. These animals almost never got adopted again, so they eventually decided to convert their home into a haven dedicated to their care.

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Chewable Coffee Cubes Offer a New Way to Kickstart Your Day

San Francisco entrepreneurs Geoffrey Woo and Michael Brandt have come up with a revolutionary way for coffee lovers to get their early morning caffeine fix – chewable caffeine cubes. Each 35-calorie bite-sized ‘Go Cube’  is the equivalent of drinking roughly half a cup of coffee. So if you’re running late with no time to brew a fresh cuppa joe, just pop two cubes and you’re good to go.

Go Cubes are 100 percent vegan, made of a special blend of compounds that improve memory and alertness. With a texture similar to gum drops, each cube contains 50 mg of caffeine, 10 mg of Vitamin B6, and 100 mg of L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea. B6 helps aid cognitive function, while theanine helps reduce the anxiety associated with a pure caffeine buzz. They also contain about six grams of sugar per cube, and come in three different flavors – pure drip, latte, and mocha.

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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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This Unique Record Label Specializes in Music for Dogs

Since 1999, The Laurel Canyon Animal Company has been producing music exclusively for animals – particularly dogs. The Los Angeles company regularly collaborates with animal communication experts and even psychics to get dogs directly involved in the music making process and the tunes they release are all chosen by the animals.

“We’ll take whatever the dog says and turn it into a song,” said co-founder Skip Haynes. “We’re probably the only people in the world to involve animals in the creative musical process. We’re trying to create a bridge between animals and human beings using music, because that’s what we do.”

“Each CD we produce is devoted to a particular kind of animal or species. Each track is devoted to a unique concern, situation, or shared experience of the people who love those animals or the animals themselves. We utilize the writing, production, and conceptual talents of animal loving writers, producers, artists, communicators, musicians, poets – and of course, animals from all over the world.”

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