Cicada 3301 – The Internet’s Most Baffling Mystery

Cicada 3301 is often referred to as the internet’s most elaborate and mysterious puzzle, one that often leaves cryptoanalysts and hackers scratching their heads. A sort of cross between a contest, job interview and highly complex puzzle, Cicada 3301 recurs each year, but no one knows who is behind it or what prize awaits the person who solves it.

The first internet puzzle appeared online on January 5, 2012, and two subsequent rounds were released on the same day of the following years. During the first year, Cicada 3301 started with a picture on 4Chan, along with the message: “Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through.” The message was simply signed 3301.

The ensuing puzzle provided focused heavily on data security, cryptography and steganography. The clues were scattered in locations all over the world – from the US to France and Poland, within various forms of communication including the internet, telephone, bootable Linux CDs, digital images, and physical paper signs. The clues have also referenced several books, poetry, artwork and music. Clues are always signed by the same cryptic private key to confirm authenticity.

Cicada3301

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This Poor Man Wanted the Tattoo of His Dreams, Got a Permanent Nightmare

When 29-year-old Didier Jacquemin set out to get the tattoo of his dreams, little did he know that it would turn out to be a huge disaster. While the image he desired was a beautiful forest scenery complete with birds in flight, the tattoo he ultimately got was the stuff of nightmares!

Didier, a resident of Liege, Belgium, said that he found the original pattern on the internet and immediately fell in love with it. So he printed the image and took it to a local tattoo parlor on January 15, asking for a replica. The artist agreed to do the artistic tattoo, but ultimately delivered something that seems drawn by a 4-year-old.

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Chinese Prison Uses Fake Mini City to Help Longtime Inmates Adjust to Modern Life

In an attempt to make long-term inmates more comfortable with modern technology, a Chinese prison has built a fake mini city within its walls. Located in Beijing, the prison campus features a small supermarket, internet café, and even a fake subway station!

These structures are meant for inmates who have spent the last 20 years locked up and have no idea of the developments that have taken place outside during this time. “The project aims to give a micro view of the new society that now exists,” said guard Liang Chiu. “Prisoners were very often finding it difficult to adjust to life outside and now they are being taught how bank cards work, mobile phones and even computers, which most of them would have had no experience with before they ended up being jailed.”

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Drinking Breast Milk – The Latest Craze among Bodybuilders Looking to Bulk Up

Most of us find it normal to consume cow, goat and even donkey milk, but there’s something undeniably creepy about adults drinking human breast milk. Yet, it’s the latest fad among bodybuilders convinced it will help them gain muscle faster.

It’s unbelievable how many fitness fanatics out there believe that drinking human milk is the ultimate way to gaining muscle mass and are willing to go to any lengths to buy as much of it as they can. A simple Google search reveals dozens of online forums and articles this growing trend, and one thread on bodybuilding.com actually hails breast milk as the ‘greatest supplement ever’.

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At $40,000 per Teaspoon, Albino Caviar Named “White Gold” Is the World’s Most Expensive Food

A special type of caviar, made from rare albino fish eggs and laced with 22-carat gold, is thought to be the most expensive food on the planet. Priced at a staggering $300,000 per kilo (that’s about $40,000 per teaspoon), ‘White Gold’ caviar will be served to the super rich at some of the best restaurants in the world.

The powdery caviar, also called Strottarga Bianco, is the creation of Austrian fish farmer Walter Gruell, 51, and his son Patrick, 25. According to Patrick, the Strottarga Bianco comes from the white roe of the extremely rare albino sturgeon. To make just one kilo White Gold, the father-son duo use five kilos of caviar, which is then dehydrated. Older sturgeon are used because the eggs are apparently more elegant, smooth, spongier, aromatic, and they simply taste better.

The albino beluga that produces the special caviar originally lived in the Caspian Sea, but it is now almost extinct in its native environment, making it a rare delicacy. Another reason for the prohibitive price of White Gold is the age of albino belugas. While sturgeons usually live over 100 years, few belugas reach that age due to a genetic flaw that shortens their life.

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Beware the Shadows, Ninja Day Is Coming!

If you happen to be in Japan this Sunday, chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more ninjas than usual. That’s because February 22nd is National Ninja Day in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Although not yet an official holiday, Ninja Day has been getting a lot of media attention in Japan, ever since the cities of Iga and Koka started organizing ninja-themed events to boost tourism. Both historical ninja strongholds, they feature a variety of themed attractions, like ninja villages and schools, but authorities go all out on Ninja Day, to really bring out the spirit of the skilled assassins that once thrived there.

Ninja-Day

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Woman Known as “The Bouquet Slayer” Has Caught 46 Wedding Bouquets, Is Still Single

The traditional bouquet toss at a wedding is mostly a symbolic gesture, but to 37-year-old Utah resident Jamie Jackson, it’s a sport.  She has caught 46 bouquets since 1996, earning herself the nickname ‘The Bouquet Slayer’. Ironically, she’s still single, but that doesn’t seem to bother her.

It all started out when Jamie attended her cousin’s wedding in Layton, Utah, in 1996. “I’m kind of competitive by nature, so when his new bride tossed her bouquet, I went for it,” she said. “Some single girls might shy away from it, but not me. After that wedding, I just knew that I could do it again.”

“I’ve pretty much crushed that ‘next-to-be-married’ myth,” Jamie told People magazine. “I’ve had boyfriends, sure. But I’m liking the single life. Besides, if I were married, I’d have to give up my favorite sport.”

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World’s Oldest Burger Still Looks Edible after 20 Years

A couple of Australian men claim to possess the world’s oldest burger – a 20-year-old quarter pounder with cheese that still looks remarkably edible!

Eduard Neetz and Casey Dean purchased the burger from a McDonald’s outlet in Adelaide when they were 13 and 14 years old respectively. They were out buying food for a party, when they decided to pick up an extra burger for their friend Jono, who never showed up. “It started off as a joke, you know we told our friend we’d hold his burger for him but he never turned up and before we knew it six months had passed,” Casey said. “The months became years and now, 20 years later, it looks the same as the day we bought it, perfectly preserved in its original wrapping.”

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Garbage Gone Glam – Designer Turns Everyday Trash into Fashionable Outfits

Kristen Alyce is an eco-conscious designer who converts all kinds of trash, like discarded drink cartons, leaflets and concert tickets, into fashionable outfits for women. Her quirky designs include all sorts of clothing – right from cocktail dresses to floor length gowns, made under her label ‘Garbage Gone Glam’.

Kristen said that she started dreaming about recycling garbage into garments when she was still in college, after realizing just how much trash we humans produce every single day. “I realized as a college student living with three girls, we created so much waste it was incredible,” she said. “So I started saving the mass amounts of plastic bags, magazines, boxes and packaging we went through on a daily basis.”

Garbage-Gone-Glam

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Brazilian Football Club Employs Fans’ Mothers as Stewards in Effort to Curb Violence

In a bid to curb violence among football fans, a Brazilian club employed the hooligans’ own mothers as stewards for a match held last Sunday. Sport Club do Recife hired and trained around 30 mothers for the derby against known rivals Nautico. The moms were put to work patrolling the pitch and were dressed in orange vests with the words ‘Segurança Mae’ on the back, Portuguese for ‘Security Mom’.

In recent years, the city of Recife has become one of Brazil’s footballing hotbeds, with hooligans causing problems at almost every match of their home team. “The idea was to make the most fanatical supporters aware and help in some way to bring peace to stadiums,” said Aricio Fortes, vice-president of Ogilvy, the PR company that came up with the idea. “At the end of the day, no one wants to fight in front of a mother, especially his own.”

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Meet Japan’s Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Women Are Not Attracted To

Lots of single people complain about how Valentine’s Day and other holidays are somehow designed to make them feel excluded, but this particular group of Japanese men have taken things even further – every year, they take to the streets to protest against the injustice of it all.

They are called ‘Kakumei-teki himote doumei’, which literally translates to ‘Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Women are Not Attracted To’. Popularly known as ‘Kakuhidou’, the group was founded in 2006, by Katsuhiro Furusawa, after being dumped by his girlfriend. He returned home dejected, and began reading the Communist Manifesto. That’s when he came to realize that being unpopular with girls is an issue of class and a form of discrimination. So on Christmas Eve that year, he stood outside JR Akihabara Station and handed out flyers with the slogan ‘Kurisumasu funsai!’ (‘Crush Christmas!’).

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This Electric Thinking Cap Boosts Learning and Decision Making

Up until a few weeks ago, the proverbial thinking cap only had a figurative meaning, but apparently science has finally managed to catch up. A couple of American scientists have created a real thinking cap that could help people learn and make decisions quicker.

This unique device is the brainchild of psychology professor Geoff Woodman and Ph.D. student Robert Reinhart of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and works by sending very low electrical shocks to the brain when worn. The duo claim that the electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain could make the wearer learn new skills and make better decisions.

Indeed, studies performed on the human brain have revealed that negative voltage spikes occur in the medial-frontal cortex of the brain, milliseconds before we make a mistake. Woodman and Reinhart figured that a part of the brain can influence learning and decision making, helping us avoid the same mistakes later.

thinking-cap

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7 Siblings Who Haven’t Left Their New York Apartment in 14 Years Learned about the World by Watching Movies

Although the Angulo siblings grew up in New York, they had no idea what the city was like for almost 14 years. They spent their entire childhood confined to their parents’ four bedroom apartment, learning about the outside world solely through films. Their story is now the subject of The Wolfpack, a documentary made by filmmaker Crystal Moselle.

The siblings – Bhagavan, 23, twins Govinda and Narayana, 22, Mukunda, 20, Krisna, 18, Jagadesh, 17, and their sister Visnu – were kept indoors by their father Oscar, a Peruvian immigrant and Hare Krishna devotee. He was apparently convinced that the outside world would corrupt his children and kept the front door locked at all times. But after 14 long years, one of the brothers managed to escape, paving the way for his siblings to break free.

It was during one of those rare escapes in 2010 that Moselle spotted the six Angulo brothers on First Avenue – they were all walking in a ‘pack’, wearing sunglasses, inspired by their favorite film Reservoir Dogs. “It almost felt as if I had discovered a long lost tribe, except that it was not from the edges of the world but from the streets of Manhattan,” Moselle said.

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This Woman Has Produced Only a Jar-Full of Trash in the Last Two Years

Lauren Singer is a sustainability-conscious entrepreneur who has produced almost no waste in the past two years, proving that a trash-free lifestyle is indeed possible.

Lauren majored in environmental science at NYU, and it was during her student years that she began working towards a ‘Zero Waste’ goal. Today, the New Yorker does several things on a daily basis to reduce waste, including making her own toothpaste, deodorant and laundry detergent. She also founded her own eco-friendly company, ‘The Simply Co’, through which she plans to sell her homemade products.

Lauren regularly writes about her experiences of a Zero Waste life on her blog ‘Trash is for Tossers’. “There were two moments that brought me to a trash-free, waste-free lifestyle,” she revealed. “The first was my senior year of college when my professor Jeffrey Hollender emphasized the importance of living of living your values, and made me think about my own personal environmental impact.”

Lauren-Singer

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A True Romantic: Man Writes Love Letter to His Wife Every Day for the Past 40 Years

In the the past 40 years, New Jersey resident Bill Bresnan has written over 10,000 love letters, notes and cards to his wife Kirsten – that’s almost one for each night of their marriage. The couple’s unique love story was recently covered by the media, and Bill and Kirsten, both 74, spoke about the secrets of their successful marriage.

The couple met when Bill was teaching a class back in 1974, and Kirsten happened to be his student. “She was this beautiful Northern European woman who struck me like a bolt of lightning,” Bill said in an interview with ABC News.

“Not long after meeting in class Kirsten and I began commuting to and from Long Island, together, on the Long Island Railroad.” And that’s when the practice of writing notes began. “We exchanged notes, drawings, and little scribblings on paper napkins over coffee on the train.”

love-letters

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