Controversial ‘Wall of Shame’ in Peru Separates the Rich from the Poor

Everyone talks about the gap between the rich and poor, bit nowhere is this barrier more clear than Lima Peru, where a 10-kilometer concrete wall topped with barbed wire separates one of the cities richest communities from one of the poorest.

Located on the outskirts of Lima, the Wall of Shame’, also nicknamed ‘Peru’s Berlin Wall’, was erected to provide protection to the wealthy by preventing the poor from entering their neighborhood to commit crimes. It is so long that it can actually be plotted as a line on a satellite view of the area. The line separates Las Casuarinas, home to some of the nation’s richest citizens, from the suburb of Vista Hermosa, where the vast majority lives in poverty, without even the most basic amenities.  “The wooden houses illuminated by candles and the broken roofs are contrasted by multi-million pound houses within a few kilometers,” a local media news station recently described the situation.

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New World’s Most Expensive Material Costs $150 Million per Gram

Platinum, gold, silver, and diamonds are going to seem dirt cheap when you hear how much this new man-made carbon-based material costs – an eye-watering £100 million ($150 million) per gram!

Created last year by British scientists in an Oxford University lab, ‘endohedral fullerene’ is a cage of carbon atoms containing nitrogen atoms. Carbon atoms exist in many forms like diamond and graphene, distinguished by the number of atoms they contain. This fullerene, with 60 carbon atoms, is also called Buckminsterfullerene or ‘bucky-ball’ because of its unusual shape.

It has several important applications apparently – it’s being used to create a small, portable atomic clock that will be the most accurate time-keeping system in the world. It could also help make GPS navigation more accurate to 1mm in self-driving cars.

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Russian Scientists Develop Quadcopter That Can Be Controlled By Thoughts

Thanks to the hard work of a few Russian scientists, everyone might soon be able to use the power of telekinesis. They’ve created a special quadcopter that doesn’t need external controls as it can be operated with the power of thought. The user needs to put on a special helmet that can read human thoughts and translate them into machine-readable instructions, telling the copter how high and far to fly.

The project was financed by Russia’s Foundation for Advanced Research, an organisation that supports research programs in the interest of national defense. Neurobotics, a Zelenograd-based company, worked on the copter’s design for many years before developing a successful prototype. “Commands, or ‘conditions’ as we call them, are generated by the sensors on the head of an operator,” Neurobotics director Vladimir Konyshev explained. “The person thinks about certain actions at right moments which the system then recognises and identifies.”

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Fruit-Scented Plastic Cup Makes Drinking Water More Enjoyable, Helps You Lose Weight

The ‘Right Cup’ is a new weight loss device designed to trick dieters into enjoying a drink of plain water. The cup has a scented inner lining that emanates the aroma of sugary fruit, satiating cravings for flavored drinks like juice or soda without having to consume the calories.

The cup works on the basic premise that 80 percent of the flavor and experience of food comes from its smell. The material of the cup is BPA-free and has a proprietary Encapsulated Aroma Release technology on the inside, so when users tilt the cup towards their face to take a sip, the aroma floods the senses, making them forget that they’re actually drinking bland water.

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Chinese Shoppers Go Crazy for Apples Kissed by Flight Attendants

An insane new trend in China has online stores selling apples kissed by air hostesses at jacked-up prices. The ads for these apples show photographs of women dressed like stewardesses – thought to be trainees at Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation – holding up the apples against their red lips. Some listings even have videos of the women actually kissing the apples.

The marketing strategy is obviously targeted at men, with lines like “take home the kisses of an air hostess.” Some sellers claim their apples have been kissed by as many as 500 stewardesses. Others are offering custom orders, based on buyers’ preferences. The apples are priced between 9.9yuan and 129.9yan ($1.53 to $20) per fruit, depending on the variety, while some shops are putting together ‘kiss hampers’ with apples and Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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These “Walking Trees” in Ecuador Can Allegedly Move Up to 20 Meters per Year

The Socratea exorrhiza is perhaps the world’s only mobile tree. They say its complicated system of roots also serves as legs, helping the tree constantly move towards sunlight as the seasons change. Walking trees can apparently move up to 2-3 cm per day, or 20 meters per year. That may not sound like much, but it’s pretty much a marathon by tree-standards.

Rainforest guides in Latin American countries like Ecuador have been telling tourists about the amazing walking trees for decades now. The most common version of the story is that the tree slowly ‘walks’ in search of the sun by growing new roots towards the light and allowing its old roots to die. The unusual roots, split from the trunk a few feet above the ground, add to the illusion of the tree having legs.

“As the soil erodes, the tree grows new, long roots that find new and more solid ground, sometimes up to 20m,” explained Peter Vrsansky, a palaeobiologist from the Slovak Academy of Sciences who lived for a few months in the Unesco Sumaco Biosphere Reserve, about a day’s journey from Ecuador’s capital Quito.

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Justin Bieber Fan Legally Takes His Name, Sleeps with a Cardboard Cutout of the Singer

Gabrielle Newton-Bieber is possibly the world’s biggest Justin Bieber fan – she has five Bieber-tattoos, a wardrobe filled with Bieber clothes, and all of his records and merchandise. She also likes to pretend that she’s married to the Canadian singer so she has legally taken his last name and sleeps with a life-size Bieber cardboard cutout.

“I always call Justin my husband when I talk to people,” the 22-year-old supermarket worker said. “I say ‘I’ve got to go, my husband is just on the TV. They find it a bit weird because we’re not really married – if only we were. Just maybe, one day.”

Gabrielle has been obsessed with Justin Bieber since the very beginning, when his debut single ‘One Time’ released in 2009. “Justin released his first single ‘One Time’ when I was aged 16 and straight away I was obsessed,” the young woman said. “He was so cute with his floppy hair and riding his skateboard. I fell for him instantly. He makes us all so happy – Justin Bieber is my world.”

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Welcome to Santa University – Where Professional Santas Go to Hone Their Skills

Believe it or not, being a professional Santa is hard work. It’s not just about putting on a red suit and a fake beard and doing the best ‘ho-ho-ho’ you can muster. Some Santas actually take their job very seriously, so much so that they go to a university to sharpen their skills.

Yes, Santa University is a real thing. It’s a four-day training program that takes place every summer at ‘Noerr Pole’, the corporate office of Noerr Programs in Colorado. The company is a digital event imaging provider that recruits and trains its own 70-member Santa Claus team. “We cover every single aspect you can think of when it comes to being the consummate Santa,” said Ruth Rosenquist, public relations director at Noerr.

So prospective Santas are taught how to pose for pictures, how to deal with social and mainstream media, how to sit with a child on their lap, what to do if a child asks for something intangible for Christmas, and how to stay healthy and hydrated during the holidays. The Santas interact with each other over two BBQ sessions that promote goodwill and an atmosphere of support.

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26-Year-Old Hacker Builds Self-Driving Car That Teaches Itself to Drive Like a Human

While companies like Google, Tesla, and Mercedes are spending millions on research and development of self-driving cars, a 26-year-old hacker from San Francisco believes he might just have nailed the technology all on his own. George Hotz, previously known for his legendary iPhone jailbreaking skills, says he has developed autonomous car technology that actually works. What’s more, the technology only costs a few thousand dollars, and can be implemented on any car in the world.

Hotz, who at age 17 became the first person in the world to unlock an iPhone, also hacked a Sony Playstation 3 a few years later. He’s worked briefly at Google, SpaceX, and Facebook, but after studying artificial intelligence at Carnegie Mellon University, he decided to work on his own self-driving car technology. Once perfected, he plans to sell the system directly to customers through his startup, comma.ai.

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Bet on Your Marriage – Company Pays Couples $10,000 to Get Married, Charges Money Back with Interest if They Get Divorced

A Seattle startup is in the news for investing in divorce – its business model is based on the fact that nearly 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the US end up parting ways. SwanLuv offers to pay couples for their dream wedding, but the money will have to be returned with interest if they ever get divorced.

So if you’re about to get married and you apply to Swanluv, they’ll run your profile through an algorithm, study your relationship, and select you if you meet their criteria. Then, they’ll offer you a loan of up to $10,000. You don’t have to return the money, ever, as long as you stay together. But the moment you decide to get a divorce you’ve got to cough up the original amount, plus interest. And stronger relationships are assigned higher interest rates, so the longer couples stay together, the more they’ll stand to lose if they split.

When you think about it, that’s kind of like the opposite of how insurance works. You’re supposed to get paid when things go wrong, but with SwanLuv, it’s the other way round. 

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The Awe-Inspiring Salt Portraits of Rob Ferrel

A true artist doesn’t really need expensive tools and materials to produce something beautiful, and San Antonio artist Rob Ferrel is the perfect example. For months, he has been treating his Instagram followers with  highly realist portraits that he creates using nothing but salt, a few brushes, and a piece of cardstock.

Ferrel begins by pouring salt on a table and then moves it around with brushes until recognizable features begin to emerge. He also uses cardstock for clean, sharp lines. Once the portrait is ready, he photographs it and posts it to Instagram, and then gathers up all the salt to make his next masterpiece.

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The Country Where People Actually Like Receiving Injections and IV Drips

Cambodia is known for its rich culture and history, natural beauty, exquisite temples like the Angkor Wat, the Vietnam war, the Khmer Rouge, land mines, and more. But not many people are aware of the nation’s quirks and eccentricities – like this one particular obsession that locals have with needles.

While most people in other parts of the world would do anything to avoid getting injected, things are quite the opposite in Cambodia, where citizens have a fascination for injections and intravenous drips. The reason for this fascination is unclear, but it seems that a strong belief in needles has become ingrained in the nation’s psyche. So much so that people want IV drips or injections even in situations where they’re not needed at all.

“It’s not just in the village,” a Western doctor, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the BBC. “Everybody who goes to hospital gets an IV because they think it’s important and the doctors and nurses think it’s important. If you walk into a hospital, pretty close to every patient will have an IV. They’ll just get them, you know, ad infinitum, until they leave the hospital.”

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The Australian Canine Heroes Protecting a Colony of the World’s Smallest Penguins

Middle Island, a picturesque outcrop located off the coast of southern Victoria in Australia, is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins. Originally known as fairy penguins, these adorable little birds are no taller than a foot and weigh only about 1kg. There used to be hundreds of them at one point, but their population dwindled as they were hunted by foxes. That is, until a chicken farmer came up with an ingenious solution to use dogs as bodyguards for the penguins.  

The problem was first noticed in the year 2000, when the sea’s natural current led to increased sand-build up, encouraging a growth in the fox population. The island is uninhabited by humans, and separated from the mainland by a 30-meter stretch of water. So at low tide, it’s easy for the foxes to cross from the mainland and reach the island, and hunt the adorable penguins.

Soon, the fairy penguin population started dwindling to the point where they were in danger of being completely wiped out “We went from a point where we had about 800 penguins down to where we could only find four,” said Peter Abbott from the Penguin Preservation Project. “In our biggest bird kill, we found 360 birds killed over about two nights. Foxes are thrill killers. They’ll kill anything they can find. The colony really was on its last legs and just one more fox attack would’ve finished it off.”

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100-Year-Old Abandoned Church Gets Transformed into Awesome-Looking Skate Park

The 100-year-old church of Santa Barbara, in Llanera, the Spanish principality of Asturias, had been abandoned for over half a century,  before a group of skating enthusiasts decided to turn the old place of worship into a unique indoor skate park called Kaos Temple. Today, it is probably the most stunning community skating venue in the world.

The church was originally a private one, designed by Austrian architect Manuel del Busto for a few local businessmen in 1912. But they abandoned the area in the 1930s during the Civil War, and the church remained unused for several decades until it was purchased by a group of individuals called the Church Brigade, in the late 2000s.

After some brainstorming, the group decided that the indoor space was perfect to install a skating ramp in. And that’s exactly what they did, slowly gathering funds and getting help from friends whenever they could. In 2012, ‘Kaos Temple’ opened its doors to skating enthusiasts.

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The World’s Most Expensive Dollhouse Costs a Lot More Than a Real House

Priced at an eye-watering $8.5 million, the Astolat Dollhouse Castle is easily the most expensive dollhouse in the world. The 800 pound, 9 foot tall museum-quality miniature house, with its 29 rooms and a wizard’s tower to boot, was inspired by the fantasy castle ‘Astolat’ that features in Alfred Tennyson’s poem Lady of the Shalott, and built over a period of 13 years, between 1974 and 1987.

Miniature artist Elaine Diehl was primarily in charge of building the Astolat Dollhouse, but she collaborated with many artists all over the world. According to Wikipedia, the “interiors and adjoining areas were each constructed to the highest standards of that time,” while “the exterior took a year to sculpt to the final finish.”

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