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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Indian Barber Cuts Hair Holding the Scissors in His Mouth

Ansar Ahmad, a young barber from Varanasi, has become somewhat of a national celebrity after a video of him cutting hair with the scissors in his mouth recently went viral online.

From barbers using samurai swords and hot metal tongs to cut hair, to others practicing their trade blindfolded or sitting on their heads, we’ve featured some pretty bizarre hair-styling talents on Oddity Central, but Ansar Ahmad’s skills are new, even to us. The Varanasi-based barber holds the scissors in his mouth to cut hair, and does such a good job that customers line up his shop to get what some describe as “the perfect haircut”.

Ansar has been cutting hair since childhood and first mastered the art the old fashioned way, using his hands. But an accident 15 years ago pushed him to come up with an alternative way of practicing his trade. He soon discovered his mouth was just as able as his hands, when it came to cutting hair. “As I couldn’t work with one hand, I used to face a lot of problem that time. It took me three years to learn the art. Now, I can easily cut hair holding scissors in my mouth,” he told ANI News.

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Finger Lickin’ Good – KFC Launches Chicken-Flavored Nail Polish

If you can’t seem to kick that awful nail-biting habit, you might as well get some flavor out of it with KFC’s new chicken-flavored edible nail polish. It comes in two different flavors – ‘Original’ (beige), and ‘Hot & Spicy’ (red), and is quite literally “Finger Lickin’ Good”!

The product was developed by marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather for KFC Hong Kong, in collaboration with the company that provides KFC’s blend of herbs and spices. “Yes, it’s actually a real thing,” confirmed Ogilvy & Mather employee Anna Mugglestone. “It takes like chicken. It’s crazy.”

Each ‘flavor’ of nail polish comes packaged in a “designer bottle and box” (no bucket, sadly). Customers can paint their nails with the product and proceed to lick their fingertips “again and again and again,” to enjoy the flavors of KFC anytime, anywhere. And if you’re worried about safety, the chain claims that the product is “sourced from natural ingredients”.

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Woman Uses Her OCD to Become Professional Wardrobe Organizer for the Wealthy

Proving that every cloud has a silver lining is 24-year-old Deng Mei, a young entrepreneur from China who is making the most of her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She has managed to leverage the frustrating condition to her advantage, using it to set up a successful business that helps wealthy people organise their wardrobes.

Deng Mei recently made headlines in Chinese media for her job as a professional wardrobe organiser for wealthy clients in the city of Chengdu, China’s Sichuan Province. Although she credits her previous jobs as salesperson at a fashion boutique and as a nanny as inspiration for her unusual business, the young entrepreneur admits that her obsession with tidiness also helped a lot.

She first came up with the idea for the unique service towards the end of 2014, during a babysitting job. “I have a little bit of OCD,” she said. “I love cleaning my room. I can’t bear to see a mess. I was helping a client organizing her wardrobe out of my paid hours because I couldn’t stand it. Then my client said: ‘Why don’t you turn this into a business?’”

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Dangerous Freeway Skateboarding Trend Is Picking Up Steam in California

The latest trend among thrill-seekingCalifornia teenagers involves riding a skateboard on the freeway during rush hour and performing all sorts of stunts. The ‘Freeway Challenge’ made its online debut last week, with skater Nakel Smith posting footage of himself skating down the 110 freeway in LA. Since then, several skateboarders have tried copying the idea, giving rise to the trending social media hashtag #FreewayChallenge.

While most of the copycats are trying Smith’s original stunts, some are pulling off their own, like dropping down a shoulder ramp and riding directly out into oncoming traffic, or hanging on to the back of large trucks. California Highway Patrol officials are obviously concerned, and have tried warning these skaters about the dangers involved with the challenge. “This isn’t a joke to us,” said officer Edgar Fugeroa, speaking to KTLA 5 News. “A person puts themselves out there (on a freeway) – that is a deadly trick.”

“You don’t know what the other cars are going to do or if a motorcycle is going to come into one of your lanes. They could strike you and kill you, and that’s not what we want.”

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Mummified Buddhist Monk Gets Covered in Gold and Turned into a Statue

In accordance with his wishes, revered Buddhist monk Fu Hou was mummified upon his death in 2012. But his companions at Chongfu Temple, in southeastern China, felt the need to do something more in order to commemorate his devotion to Buddhism. So they made the decision to cover his body in gold, an honor reserved for the holiest of men.

Born in 1919, Fu Hou began practicing Buddhism at the age of 13 and devoted his whole life to it, until his death at age 94. His peers and disciples remember him as a quiet, compassionate person who meticulously practiced his beliefs until the very end. Shortly before his death, he had expressed the desire for his body to be preserved. And after his passing, two mummification experts were brought in to wash, treat, and place his body in a sitting position inside a large pottery jar. Preservatives like Crushed charcoal and sandalwood were stuffed into the jar before being sealed shut.  

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Parents Choose to Break Daughter’s Leg Three Times a Day for Four Months to Avoid Amputation

Parenting is tough at the best of times, but it has been nothing short of harrowing for Jackie and Matt Moravek, from Kalamazoo, Michigan. The young couple had to make the awful decision to have their four-year-old’s leg broken a total of 300 times over four months – that’s three times a day – just to save her from amputation.

Little Elsie Moravek was born with a rare disability known as proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), which caused her left leg to be deformed and much shorter than her right leg. The two treatment options presented to the Moraveks were amputation and prosthesis, but they managed to find a third way that could potentially lengthen Elsie’s leg by just over four inches. Sadly, the gruesome procedure involved breaking her leg three times a day for four months.

“A few local doctors suggested amputation, and we considered it because the leg lengthening process is so difficult to endure,” said Jackie. “We asked ourselves if we were being cruel to put our daughter through this and whether it was worth it. But we knew it was the right decision. We wanted Elsie to have the best life possible.”

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Australian Brewery Makes Beer from Belly Button Lint

Inspired by a brewery in Oregon that used yeast harvested from a man’s beard, an Australian company is launching its own bizarre brew made using the navel fluff of employees. 7 Cent Brewery, in Gisborne South, Victoria is all set to reveal their unique beer at the 2016 Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) festival this month.

“We are really interested to see if the idea of drinking something that originated from a brewer’s belly button is too much for even the most hardened beer geek,” the company’s blog states. “Some say why? We say why not?”

To isolate the yeast strain, co-founders Doug Bremner, Brendan Baker, and Matthew Boustead swabbed their own belly buttons and streaked the collected samples out on agar plates. They allowed the plates to incubate and then “found all sorts of interesting things growing, including what appeared to be colonies of yeast.” Bremner said that the yeast strains were tested to ensure they were sterile. So the beverage might sound disgusting, but is completely safe to consume.

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French Man Sues Former Employer Because His Job Was So Boring It Made Him Depressed

While most employees complain of being overburdened at work, one Frenchman is suing his former employer for not giving him enough to do. According to Frederic Desnard, his job as a manager at perfume company ‘Interparfums’ had him suffer a “bore out” between the years of 2010 and 2014. He is now seeking €360,000 (approx. $400,000) in compensation and damages.

Desnard told Agence France-Presse that during his stint with the company he was given tasks that had nothing to do with his original responsibilities, leaving him “destroyed” with “serious depression.” He claimed that the lack of stimulation at work even triggered an epileptic fit one time, while he was driving. He was then signed off work for seven months, and the company later used his “prolonged absence” that “disturbed the smooth working” as an excuse to fire him in September 2014.

“I went into depression,” he said. “I was ashamed to be paid to do nothing. The worse part of it was denying this suffering.”

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Catterbox – A Smart Collar That Translates Cat Meows into Human Speech

Cat lovers of the world, rejoice! You finally have the chance to understand what your pet is saying thanks to a smart collar that can interpret feline meows and translate it into human speech. Aptly named ‘Catterbox’, the collar supposedly has a digital sensor that detects meows, and uses a special program to decipher the meaning behind them.

Developed by London ad agency adam&eveDDB, for Temptations cat treats, the invention comes preloaded with a dictionary of cat purrs, meows, and several other sounds to make the interpretation as accurate as possible. “We’re fascinated by cats, so we set out on a mission to get to know them better,” said Pete Simmons, global brand director of Temptations.

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Dutch Designer Grows Eco-Friendly Dress from Mushroom Root in One Week

While most fashion designers prefer to sew their creations, 41-year-old Aniela Hoitink has chosen to ‘grow’ hers in petri dishes. The Amsterdam-based textile designer recently created a 100 percent biodegradable dress – good for the environment and your skin – using nothing but discs of mushroom root.

By sticking the discs together, Aniela created a surprisingly good-looking dress that seems to fit the female figure perfectly. She needed 350 discs to make a single dress, so she spent a week-and-a-half growing them in petri dishes before they were ready to be used. Because the dress requires no cutting or sewing, there is no leftover material that needs to be discarded. The material doesn’t require hemming either, so it can be cut to suit the wearer’s requirements of length or shape. And more discs can be added to create sleeves or length. The dress can be composted when it is no longer needed, so it doesn’t actually end up in landfills.

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Fatal Familial Insomnia – A Mysterious Condition That Prevents Sufferers from Ever Sleeping Again

Can you imagine never being able to sleep, thus denying your body and brain the chance to rejuvenate? It’s a scary thought, but sadly it’s what sufferers of a rare condition known as Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) have to go through until it eventually kills them. This mysterious genetic disease affects less than one in 10 million people worldwide and has no treatment or cure.

According to a BBC report, Fatal Familial Insomina is almost unheard of because most families who carry the gene have chosen to remain silent about it. It makes sense, given that most people might not want their children to know about the cruel fate that awaits them. There’s no way to predict when or which family members FFI will strike, and since there’s no cure, they tend to avoid talking about it for fear of tempting fate.

In recent times, however, a few families have chosen to open up about the illness that has plagued their genealogical tree. Like that of Silvano, a Venetian man who lost his father and two sisters to the fatal illness and succumbed to it himself in the 1980s, at age 53. But he left his brain to science in the hope that doctors might discover more about the condition. The family’s story became the subject of the book The Family Who Couldn’t Sleep, written by DT Max, who managed to trace the disease back to a Venetian doctor in the late 18th century.

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For the Past 7 Years, 100% of Seniors at This School Have Been Admitted to College

Urban Prep Academy, an all-male charter high school in Chicago, has set the bar really high for learning institutions in the US. Despite getting most of its students from the Windy City’s lowest income neighborhoods, it has managed to achieve and maintain a 100 percent graduation rate for nearly a decade. But even more impressive is the fact that every senior in the past seven years has gone on to attended college on a scholarship.

Most recently, the entire class of 2016 celebrated ‘College Signing Day’, with each student announcing the college or university he has chosen to attend. The class has collectively received over 1,500 college admissions, with over $15 million in scholarships and grants. “It’s a great day,” said senior Rudolph Long, speaking to CBS Chicago. “I feel great. We all made it. We all come from good environments so to see us all going to college is nice.”

The all-African-American, all-male charter high school’s unprecedented success has been attributed to its unique mission – to elevate the students’ self esteem while focusing on test scores as well. While most successful schools have stringent admission criteria, Urban Prep makes no distinction between applicants. Any Chicago resident is welcome to apply. A lottery selects 450 students out of approximately 1,500 applications each year, to attend Urban Prep’s three campuses in Englewood, West, and Bronzeville.

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