Researchers Create Transparent Wood That Could One Day Replace Glass in Windows

It may seem inconceivable, but believe it or not, there really is such a thing as transparent wood. After decades of work, scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have finally managed to create a viable material that, if mass produced, holds the potential to revolutionize architecture and solar technology.

According to researchers, transparent wood is a low-cost, renewable resource, which can help reduce the cost of indoor lighting and can even be used to make solar-cell windows. It can also be used to make ‘privacy windows’ that let the light in while maintaining semi-transparency.

“Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells, since it’s a low-cost, readily available and renewable resource,” said Lars Berglund, a professor at KTH’s Wallenberg Wood Science Center. “This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells.”

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Costa Rica’s “Land of the Mixed Breeds – A Natural Paradise for Dogs and Dog Lovers Alike

‘Territorio de Zaguates’ (Land of the Mixed Breeds) is probably as close as it gets to a real-life doggy heaven. Located in a beautiful part of Costa Rica where the sun shines all year round and the average temperature is a pleasant 22 degrees C, this unique canine haven is home to 900-odd stray dogs with bizarre breed names like ‘Chubby-Tailed German Dobernauzer’ and ‘Fire-Tailed Border Cocker’.

The privately funded, volunteer-run organisation takes in strays from across the country, and and gives dog lovers a chance to spend time with them and hopefully give one of them a forever home. The dogs get to run around all day in a green, grassy, well-maintained outdoor space, but they also have access to a modern indoor facility with cozy bedding and designated feeding and bathing stations. To keep the dogs hydrated, troughs of fresh flowing water are installed at various points on the property.  

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Artist Specializes in Free-Hand Artistic Haircuts for Horses

British artist Melody May has a very interesting job – she gives horses free-hand artistic haircuts at JMC Equestrian Driving & Custom Clipping in Bury, Greater Manchester. For the past three years, she has been using her unique talent to clip their body hair into beautiful works of art.

At first, Melody started by carving simple patterns – like stars, hearts, and bees – into her clients’ shiny coats. But as the popularity of her designs grew, she started doing more elaborate, full-coat designs, all freehand, without the use of stencils. The unusual haircuts not only help the horses stand out of, but the frequent clipping is supposedly also good for them because it helps prevent the fur from matting.

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The Inspirational Story of a 545-Pound Man Running 5K Races Like There’s No Tomorrow

Meet Derek Mitchell, an inspiring 35-year-old race runner who weighs a whopping 545 pounds. Despite his heavy frame, he’s spent the past year walking and running a total of 21 5k races and two 10k events. He even made it halfway through a muddy, 10-mile obstacle course!

Mitchell, a Kansas City native, was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor on his pituitary gland five years ago, a condition that slows down his metabolism and is the primary cause for his obesity. Although he was put on medication to shrink the tumor, Mitchell felt that “at one point, I was using that condition as a crutch, telling myself, ‘I’ll wait for the pills to start working before I start working out or change my eating habits.’”

But he realised that wasn’t a very good plan in November 2014, when his body weight reached an all-time high of 625 pounds. “That’s when I knew I needed to make a change, and decided to start with a new year’s resolution.” So in the beginning of 2015, he cut soda from his diet, switched to more nutritious food options, and tried switching to a healthier lifestyle.

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Restaurant Owner Installs Outdoor Fridge for the Homeless to Pick Up Free Food From

Minu Pauline, a restaurant owner from Kochi, in southern India, recently made news headlines not for her culinary expertise but her awe-inspiring generosity. She maintains a fully stocked, unlocked refrigerator outside her restaurant, filled with free fresh meals for the homeless.

Minu, whose popular food joint Pappadavada has been operating since 2013, was struck by the sight of homeless people digging for food from the garbage bins behind her kitchen. “I have often seen the homeless and the hungry, especially the aged, rummage through garbage scouring for food,” she told The Hindu. “They are looking for some leftovers or stale food to quell their hunger, and it disturbs me.”

So when she opened a second branch in another part of the city last week, she also installed a fridge outside and named it ‘Nanma Maram’ (the tree of goodness). The fridge is always stocked with about 50 packets of freshly cooked food from the restaurant, for people to reach for when they are hungry. “I was asked, ‘What if someone, not necessarily needy, took the food?’” she said. “My answer was, ‘I’ll just put my faith in the goodness of the folks.’”

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This Tiny Frog Is the World’s Most Poisonous Animal

The golden poison dart frog is a very deceptive creature – despite its tiny two-inch frame, it happens to be the most poisonous creature on Earth. A single amphibian packs enough venom in it to kill over 10 adult men in about 3 minutes. In fact, the species gets its name from the native Emberá hunters of Colombia, who once used the frogs to make lethal blowgun darts.

The bright yellow frogs can only be found in small rainforest on the Pacific coast of Colombia, and their coloring can sometimes vary between yellow, orange, or pale green. The glamour of their appearance is a deliberate ploy, a tactic called aposematic or ‘warning’ coloration, to ward off potential predators. As proven by a 2001 study by Kyle Summers of East Carolina University in Greenville, the brightest frogs are always the most toxic.

Simply coming in contact with a golden poison dart frog doesn’t necessarily put you in mortal dangers, as the amphibians only produce and excrete the potent toxin through their skin only when they feel threatened. But picking up one of these tiny creatures and holding it in your hand for more than a few seconds without gloves is suicide. The frog’s skin quickly becomes covered in alkaloid poison (batrachotoxin) that has the ability to ‘freeze’ nerves, stopping them from transmitting impulses. Within minutes, the victim experiences uncontrollable muscle contractions and eventually heart failure.

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Airbnb Is Giving You the Chance to Sleep Surrounded by 35 Full-Grown Sharks

A contest organised by Airbnb is offering three lucky winners the chance to spend a night in the company of full-grown sharks. The winners and their guests will get access to a transparent glass bedroom submerged in the 33-foot deep Paris Aquarium inhabited by 35 sharks.

Interested applicants, who must be 18 years or older and in good health, can apply for the contest through the Airbnb website. “On the 11, 12, and 13 of April, the Paris Aquarium opens its doors for a night of total immersion in a room full of sharks,” the website states. “And not just any room: you will sleep in a circular bed, with a breathtaking view of the world of sharks.” If it’s any reassurance, the unique bedroom was apparently tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean.

The unusual event will be hosted by free diver, photographer, and shark enthusiast Fred Buyle, and a marine biologist will provide the winners with an exclusive course on sharks – their mysterious lives and their role in the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.

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San Francisco Man Pays $500 a Month to Live in a Wooden Box

Unable to afford the soaring apartment prices in San Francisco, 25-year-old illustrator Peter Berkowitz built himself a box to serve as his bedroom. Living in the 8×3.5×4.5-foot ‘bedroom pod’ now costs him less than $500 a month.

Berkowitz had originally planned to share a two-bedroom apartment with a friend in the city, but later realised that he wasn’t going to be able to afford it. “I was far too optimistic at first that we could find a place that wouldn’t cost a fortune,” he told Business Insider. “It didn’t take long to realise that that wasn’t a feasible plan though.”

After a bit of brainstorming, Berkowitz recalled his experience of climbing into a model of a Japanese ‘capsule’ hotel at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. That memory led him to a unique solution to his housing problem – he decided to share a one-bedroom apartment with his friend instead, and build a wooden box in the living room to be used as the second bedroom. “Two people looking for a one-bedroom apartment makes the city a lot less scary,” he explained.

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World’s Tackiest Apartment Where Everything Is Golden Goes Up for Sale in Russia

An apartment that recently went on sale in Magadan city, in northeastern Russia’s Magadan Oblast region, has caught the attention of more than a few prospective buyers. Located on the second floor of a rather ordinary-looking four story building, the apartment is entirely decked up in gold. Well, not real gold, but shiny golden tint designed to give nearly every surface of the interior, including the walls, furnishings, and even bathroom fittings an expensive look!

According to real estate agent Roman Vikhlyantsev, the current owners are well traveled businessmen with a taste for the fine arts. He explained that the design and layout of the home was made according to their vision of the perfect apartment. “The owners are intellectuals,” he said. “They travel the world and bring exotic decorative items back to their home, which is now reflected in this property.”

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The Sisters of the Valley – California’s Famous Pot-Growing Nuns

The Sisters of the Valley is a highly unusual ‘order’ of cannabis-growing nuns, made up of only two members – Sister Kate and Sister Darcy. Their ‘abbey’ is a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Merced, California, where they actually cultivate weed in a garage.

Although they aren’t members of any religious order, Sister Kate and Sister Darcy call themselves nuns. They dress modestly – in long denim skirts, white collared shirts, and nun’s habits – and for the past one year, their self-determined spiritual quest has been to heal illnesses with the help of marijuana. Using cannabinoids (CBD, the medicinal component of weed that is not psychoactive), they have been making tinctures and salves in their kitchen and selling the products through their Etsy store.

“We make CBD oil which takes away seizures, and a million other things,” said Sister Kate, who originally set up the business and later took on Sister Darcy as an apprentice. “And we make a salve, that’s a multipurpose salve… and we found out that it cures migraines, hangovers, earaches, diaper rash, toothaches. We spend no time on bended knee, but when we make our medicine it’s a prayerful environment, it’s a prayerful time.”

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Smell Dating Service Matches People Based on Solely on Their Odor

Smell undoubtedly contributes to a person’s attractiveness, but could it be the sole deciding factor in choosing a partner? Well, the creators of this New York matchmaking service decided to find out. At ‘Smell Dating’, the world’s “first mail odor dating service”, single people are paired up based on their reaction to each other’s body odor.

Created by Tega Brain, artist and teacher at New York’s School for Poetic Computation, and Sam Lavigne, an editor and researcher at New York University, Smell Dating is described more as an art project than a business. They based the project on the science behind pheromones, which are chemical signals that different species send out to attract mates. “Unlike sight and sound, smell is interpreted first in terms of memory and emotion before being mapped to language,” the project website reads. “When it comes to long-term romantic partnership, it may actually be riskier to ignore the powerful signal of scent than to rely on it.”

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‘Blackout’ Tattoo Trend Has People Blacking Out Large Areas of Their Bodies

A bizarre new tattooing trend has people covering large patches of their skin with solid black ink. These ‘blackout tattoos’ are all the rage in Singapore, with an increasing number of youngsters getting their arms, legs, and even portions of their torso, inked black.

Chester Lee, a tattoo artist at Oracle Tattoo studio in Singapore, is apparently an expert of sorts in blackout tattoos. His Instagram page features several photographs of completed works, earning him thousands of likes. Some of them are entirely black, while others consist of intricate black drawings of everyday objects or Gothic symbols on the negative space between black patches.

The arm pieces usually have a large portion of the skin blacked out, fading away at the edges. While some people have had a portion of their legs covered in black, others have gone all out with the ‘legging’ effect. A few have inked their entire bodies, with only slim lines of natural skin color showing through.

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Doctor with No Legs Wears Out 24 Wooden Stools in 15 Years of Making House Calls

Despite having had her legs amputated at a very young age, Li Juhong somehow managed to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. The 37-year-old has been treating patients for the past 15 years in her hometown of Wadian village, in southwest China’s Chongqing province.

Li was only four years old when she was involved in a tragic accident – a truck ran over her and her legs were crushed under its tires. The only way to save her life was to amputate them. But Li, an incredibly resilient child, didn’t lose hope. She was determined to stay mobile and by age eight, she taught herself to move using her hands and two wooden benches for support.

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Tough 9-Year-Old Girl Completes 24-Hour Obstacle Course Designed by US Navy SEALs

She’s probably not done shedding her baby teeth, but 9-year-old Milla Bizzotto is tougher than most adults. The four-foot-tall, 53-pound third grader from South Florida recently shocked the world with her incredible physical fitness, becoming the youngest person in the world to complete the 24-hour Battlefrog Xtreme race, an outdoor fitness event designed by Navy SEALs.  

“I don’t want to play video games,” she explained in an interview with The Miami Herald. “I don’t want to hoverboard. I don’t want to do things to make life easier. I want to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have one body and it’s all I want and all I love.”

“I’m fearless,” she added. “And knowing I’m inspiring people makes me more fearless. It is hard, but that doesn’t stop me.”

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“Useless Yet Essential” $12,000 Swiss Watch Doesn’t Even Tell Time

It might look like a wristwatch at first glance, but the outrageously expensive ‘Playground Labyrinth’ doesn’t actually tell the time. Made by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hautlence, the watch doesn’t have a dial, numbers, or hands. Instead, it comes with a maze game for the wearer to play. The game apparently serves as a metaphor for ‘taking your time’ to enjoy the finer aspects of life.

Described as a ‘useless yet entirely essential object’, the ‘Playground Labyrinth’ watch is priced at a whopping 12,000 Swiss francs ($12,300) apiece. It is available in two models – 01 (rose gold) and 02 (white gold) – as a part of a limited edition collection. The strap is made of satin-finished Louisiana alligator leather, while the 18k gold maze is equipped with an extra-hard sapphire crystal ‘crown’ to stop the tiny platinum ball from escaping.

“It is a flashback to childhood where we allowed ourselves time to let our imaginations run wild and cut ourselves off from the rest of the world,” the company’s website says.

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