The Androgynous Lionesses of Botswana

Moremi Game Reserve, located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, is home to a pride of butch lionesses with deep roars and bushy, luxurious manes. They look so much like male lions, they easily fool competing prides into believing that they’re actually males.

The maned lionesses are regularly spotted by visitors to the Mombo Safari Camp, an area within the Reserve where these wild beasts reside. Wildlife experts believe that the lion population in the area might have a genetic condition that causes the phenomenon. The seasonal flood waters of the delta could have isolated these lions for decades, forcing them to inbreed their way to a genetic mutation causing a hormonal imbalance.

When National Geographic contacted Luke Hunter, president of the big-cat conservation group Panthera, for answers, he explained that masculine females are likely to occur when the embryo is disrupted – either during conception or while in the womb. “If the former case, the genetic contribution of the sperm – which determines the sex of the fetus in most mammals – was probably aberrant, giving rise to a female with some male characteristics,” he said.

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Artist Born without Hands Draws Stunningly Realistic Portraits

We’ve seen a lot of hyper-realistic art here on OC, but the works of Polish artist Mariusz Kedzierski are especially stunning and awe-inspiring. That’s because he’s able to draw like a complete pro despite the fact that he has no hands. Each piece takes him at least 20 hours to complete, while his most complicated work to date required a whopping 100 hours. In seven years he has put in about 15,000 hours of work, completing over 700 drawings.

For some unknown reason, the 23-year-old from Świdnica city, in southwestern Poland, was born without hands. “There is no logical explanation,” he says.  “In the past I have asked myself and God, ‘why me?’ many times. But when I accepted myself, I realized that if I would not be born without arms, I might not do what I do.”

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Self-Filling Fontus Bottle Converts Air into Drinkable Water

Producing water out of thin air used to sound like magic, but thanks to modern technology, this ‘spell’ is becoming available to everyone. Fontus, a $100 solar-powered device can pull moisture from the air and condense it into potable water.

Fontus is the brainchild of Vienna-based designer Kristof Retezár. It works on the simple principle of condensation, just like the droplets of water that collect on the sides of a cold soda can when you take it out of the fridge. But the Fontus can collect a lot more water than that, because it uses thermoelectric cooling. A condensator in the device is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. So when it takes in air, these surfaces get cold, leaving behind condensation.

“Because they’re hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle],” Retezár explains.

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Young Woman Travels the World for Free by Getting Men to Pay for Dates in Exotic Locations

Most people would love nothing more than to quit their jobs and travel the world, but they simply lack the courage, and most importantly, the funds to do so. A young woman from Alabama has managed to do it though, by meeting rich men on the internet and having them pay for dates in some of the most exotic places on Earth. She’s now in a serious relationship with one of them, and he might just turn out to be ‘the one’.

It all started in December 2014, when 25-year-old Monica Lynn decided that her life was too boring and lacked adventure. So she quit her high-flying job as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in order to find something more interesting. Soon, she stumbled upon MissTravel, a website where people search for partners to go on holidays with.

“I came across Miss Travel in an article about weird websites,” Lynn explained. “I thought, ‘Yes, that sounds weird – but also kinda cool. This website attracts very successful men who don’t have the time to date in the normal way, so this allows them to accelerate the whole thing. They’re going on trips anyway, and they can afford to search through profiles and afford to bring one they like with them.”

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Retired Doctor Sells Her Properties to Take Care of Stray Cats and Dogs

Weng Xiaoping, formerly a renowned doctor in China, is spending her retirement caring for stray animals. In what may seem like an unthinkable act to most people, Weng sold two of her properties for 1.8 million yuan (almost $300,000) immediately after she retired and decided to use all that money to fund her new mission in life.

With the money in hand, Xiaopang moved to the mountainous village of Taipingqiao, near Huzhou city, to build a sanctuary for unwanted dogs and cats. In the past eight years, she has adopted and cared for hundreds of animals. She has also hired two assistants, using her pension of 7,000 yuan per month to pay them.

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This Japanese Restaurant Serves the World’s Most Outrageous Dishes

Even if you’re into weird foods and like trying new and exciting things, you’ll still probably find the menu at this Japanese restaurant too hardcore. With dishes like cooked crocodile feet, grilled piranha and battered, deep-fried whole salamander, this place makes frog legs seem like baby food.

Located in Yokohama’s Noge district, Chinju-ya (rare meat monger) Restaurant is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In the six years he has been running the place, chef Fukuoka has taken pride in serving customers the rarest and most unusual meats from across the world. using his international connections, he can apparently get his hands on anything from axolotls and isopods to black scorpions and even camel meat. Their twitter feed [email protected]_chinjuya’ is frequently updated with their latest and greatest imports.

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India’s Love Commandos – The Vigilantes Protecting Young Couples Against Prejudice

Marrying for love is still taboo in many parts of India, especially outside the boundaries of caste or religion. But there are people who do sympathize with young couples, like the Love Commandos, a four-man activist organisation based in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. Their mission is to help couples elope and start a new life together, safely away from the wrath of their families.

“The main function of the Love Commandos is to allow people to do this in safety and in accordance with the laws of India, and to prevent honor killings happening to young couples,” Belgian author Hans Theys wrote in the introduction to photographer Max Pinckers book Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty on India’s Love Commandos, a project that won him first prize in the Photographic Museum of Humanity competition in 2014.

And that’s exactly what the Love Commandos are all about. They encourage lovers to reach out to them via a telephone helpline, or their website, for any kind of assistance – including accommodation in safe rooms and shelters across India. They’ve even sent out rescue teams to protect newly-weds running away from enraged relatives. The group boasts of having helped over 40,000 couples in nearly six years of existence. Of course, they couldn’t have done it without the help of hundreds of volunteers and priests who agreed to organize and perform the clandestine marriage ceremonies and getaways.

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Meet Tanu, the Japanese Raccoon Dog Taking the Internet by Storm

The internet is going crazy over photographs of Tanu, an adorable dog that belongs to a canine species called tanuki, also known as ‘Japanese raccoon dog’. Most Westerners mistake the tanuki for a raccoon or badger, but it is in fact a canine breed.

Tanu became an internet celebrity after his owner, Twitter user @chibi_tori, started posting photographs of him. The pictures, which mostly show Tanu eating or sleeping next to a warm stove, were thousands of times over before Buzzfeed picked up the story. Chibi_tori told the popular entertainment website that he found the dog abandoned in June last year and has been raising it as a pet ever since.

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Dutch Police Trains Eagles to Tackle Pesky Drone Problem

The Dutch are using an ingenious, low-cost, totally organic solution to the country’s increasing drone problem – they’re having eagles trained to attack the flying machine as they would their usual prey.

Drones are becoming a major problem all over the world – they block airspace and interfere with official operations like emergency air ambulance landings. Despite regulations, drone operators are able to get away with misuse. They’re often hidden from view, making it very difficult for authorities to detect their exact position and take action against them.

The Dutch police were looking at tech-based solutions like remotely taking control of drone operating systems, but forcing a drone to autoland could backfire as it could go completely out of control. Thankfully, raptor training company ‘Guard From Above’ came up with a much better idea – to make use of eagles’ natural hunting instincts.

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Couple Who Have Never Met in Person Before Marry at Ontario Airport

Mere minutes after meeting in person for the first time, a California woman and a New York man got hitched at the Ontario International Airport on Friday. They’re now calling their meeting an ‘insta-engagement’ and ‘insta-wedding’, paying tribute to the fact that they first got in touch on Instagram in March last year.

After three days of wedded bliss, Erica Harris and Arte Vann claim they are still madly in love. “I didn’t realise how much I love this man,” Erica, a mother-of-three. “Now we’ve they’ve spent three days together, I can’t believe how much I love him.”

The decision to marry was premeditated; reporters from CBS News were waiting at the airport to film Erica Harris and Arte Vann tie the knot. In fact, Erica was the one who informed CBS about her wedding plans and invited them to record it, so that her new mother-in-law could watch it on TV. “I believe this man deserves a lot of love, and I want to give him the love he gives me,” she said. “[Calling CBS] was a present to his mom, because she wouldn’t be at the wedding since we were eloping.”

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Innovative Wearable Chair Lets You Sit While You’re Standing

If your job involves standing for several hours at a time, then this innovative Archelis chair is just the productyou’ve been waiting for. The strap-on wearable chair effectively enables you sit while you’re standing.

Technically, Archelis isn’t really a chair. It’s more like a leg brace that wraps around your buttocks and legs, helping you choose a stance that’s more comfortable than standing upright. You can lock the device at various positions to adjust the angle of your ankle and knee joints. Once you select the position of your choice, you’ll experience the relaxation of sitting without actually being seated. The device distributes the pressure over your shin and thigh, reducing overall muscle and joint fatigue.

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This Ordinary-Looking House Is Actually a Renaissance Palace in Disguise

From the outside, this house in Newport, Oregon, looks pretty ordinary, with yellowed brick walls, white cladding, and a two-car garage. But you’ll be surprised to learn that inside it’s actually an opulent Renaissance-era palace complete with hand-carved doors, stained-glass windows, and centuries-old antique decor.

The unique house belongs to a member of the British nobility – the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almine Barton – apparently has excellent reason for maintaining the striking contrast between the spectacular interior and rather drab exterior – taxes.

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Norwegian Girl Says She Is a Cat Trapped in a Human Body

20-year-old Nano, from Oslo, Norway, claims that that she isn’t human at all, but a cat born in the wrong species. Her ‘feline tendencies’ include a superior sense of hearing and sight, a hatred of water, and the ability to communicate in ‘meows’. She even tries to hunt mice in the dark!

Her story was first revealed in a video report published by the Norwegian YouTube channel NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land. In the interview, Nano is seen wearing a pair of pointed ears and an artificial tail as she talks about her condition. She explains that she has been displaying cat-like behavior since childhood, but only realised it when she was a teenager. 

“I realised I was a cat when I was 16, when doctors and psychologists found out what was “the thing” with me,” the translation on the video reads. “Under my birth, there was a genetic defect. It’s also obvious that I’m a cat when I start purring and meowing. And walking around on four legs and stuff like that.”

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New Startup Has Gas Delivered to Your Parked Car

WeFuel, a new Silicon Valley startup, is the latest to join a host of ‘Uber for Gas’ type services. It’s an app-based refuelling service that promises to have a gas truck reach users at the location of their choice within 30 minutes of placing the order. The app can currently be used in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

The launch of WeFuel last week kicked up several debates online; those in love with the idea are quick to point out its obvious advantages – if you run out of gas, you can get it delivered to your car at the touch of a button. Pumping gas is a waste of time, according to many, and WeFuel addresses that problem beautifully.

Obviously, this premium service comes with an added cost, so WeFuel does not appeal to those who want to save money. They argue that the only time you’ll want gas delivered is in an emergency, which isn’t likely to happen very often. Also, it’s lazy, wasteful and hazardous to the environment to have a gas truck come to you all the time, because of all the extra gas needed to transport fuel. 

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America’s Longest-Standing Protester Passes Away after Spending 35 Years Outside the White House

Last week, Washington, D.C. mourned the death of Concepcion ‘Connie’ Picciotto, a legendary peace activist who had been camping in front of the White House since 1981. She was a well-known personality in the U.S. Capital, having manned the peace vigil tent for three-and-a-half decades, suffering the worst of both weather and humanity, all in an attempt to “stop the world from being destroyed.”

Orphaned in Spain and raised by a grandmother, Connie arrived in New York in 1960, where she worked as a receptionist for a Spanish government commercial attaché. She married an Italian immigrant a few years later, and they adopted an infant daughter, Ogla, in 1973. But she claimed that things started to turn sour when her husband, in an attempt to conceal his criminal dealings, sent her to a mental institution. She lost her daughter in a custody dispute after her release, and ended up in Washington, where she naturally gravitated towards larger causes.

Connie joined the anti-nuclear White House Peace Vigil a few months after it was started by another activist, William Thomas. They camped out together outside the White House for 25 years, and when he passed away in 2009, she kept the vigil going with the help of other activists who joined her from time to time. Picciotto’s peace vigil is considered the longest in the history of the United States.

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