Employee-Free Coffee Shop Trusts Customers to Pay for Their Order

‘The Vault’ in Valley City, North Dakota, serves coffee, tea and pastries, just like any other coffee shop. But here’s the difference: there’s no one there to do the serving! The owners have complete faith in the honesty of the people who walk through their doors, so they haven’t hired any employees.

“The Vault is self-serve,” declares the official website. “Everything is priced by hand, there are no price scanners. Just keep a track of your purchases and pay before you leave the counter area. There is a credit card reader and a deposit slot for checks and cash.” Customers simply walk in, make their own coffee, pay for it, and hang out for as long as they like.

It sure is a big gamble, but owners David Brekke and his wife Kimberly don’t seem to be too worried. When they opened the shop last October, it made complete sense to have people serve themselves and rely on the honor system. They have yet to break even, but that’s not because people are stealing.

self-serve-coffee-shop

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Artist Specializes in Sculpting Nature with a Chainsaw

Mark Tyoe is a talented chainsaw artist and the co-owner of Wintergreen Knoll Chainsaw sculptures in the Adirondack Mountains of Upstate New York. He runs the business along with his wife Linda; together, they sell Mark’s unique chainsaw carvings that he’s been making since the 1990’s. Mark is really good at transforming a solid block of wood into a beautiful sculpture, using nothing but a chainsaw.

“Everything I do on my carvings is with a chainsaw,” he said. “I’m kind of a purist about using one tool.” A chainsaw is hardly the ideal tool for artists, so it’s really a wonder that Mark manages to use one to create such delicate details. He doesn’t grind or sand, and he doesn’t use screws, nails or paint.

Mark-Tyoe-sculpting

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Only Girls – A French All-Female Garage for Women Tired of Getting Ripped Off

‘Only Girls’ is a new garage designed to make women feel comfortable, especially those who are tired of being shortchanged by deceitful mechanics. It recently opened in the Saint-Ouen-l’Aumone suburb of northwestern Paris.

The garage opened just a month ago and it has already had around 40 customers, two-thirds of which were women. The concept of an all-female garage stands to be a big hit because Only Girls aims to offer women motorists exactly what they need – respect. Many women claim to have a tough time getting their cars fixed at regular garages, because mechanics do not take women seriously and quote higher prices than they would for male customers.

“When you’re a woman, it’s like you’ve got ‘sucker’ tattooed on your forehead,” said Sandrine Hautenne, 42. “One time, I went round to three different garages, and got three different estimates. Since then, I’ve sent my uncle to get estimates and guess what? The prices have dropped!”

Only-Girls-Garage

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World’s Strangest Job? Man Impersonating a Woman Plays Fox-Human Creature for 12 Hours a Day at Pakistan Zoo

One of the top attractions at Karachi Zoo in Pakistan is ‘Mumtaz Begum Africa Wali’ – a mythical half-fox, half-woman chimera. With the body of a fox and the head of a woman, this bizarre creature manages to delight visitors more than any other animal in the zoo. Her witty conversation and fortune-telling talents make her an instant hit with any sort of crowd.

Once you enter Karachi Zoo, it’s hard to miss Mumtaz Begum – the organizers announce their bizarre attraction on a megaphone. When you get inside Mumtaz Mahal, the building that houses her, all you can see at first is a fox’s hide placed on a table-like arrangement. Suddenly, a woman’s head appears out of nowhere, exactly where the fox’s head is supposed to be.

The woman wears heavy make up with bright lipstick, and small children in the crowd are immediately captivated by her presence. Then she begins her story: “I was born like this in Africa 35 years ago, and I live on cake, juice, and fruits…” After a short monologue, she engages with visitors and answers their questions in several languages.

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19th Century Artist’s Amazingly Detailed Sand Art Will Blow Your Mind

Andrew Clemens (1857 – 1894) was an extraordinary self-taught artist from Iowa who created unbelievably intricate art using tiny grains of colored sand, with tools and techniques that were way ahead of his time. Although the man was completely deaf and nearly mute for most of his life, he managed to nurture his passion and make hundreds of bottles of beautiful sand art.

Clemens was born to German and Prussian parents who met and fell in love on their way to the United States. After living in various cities, his father finally moved the family to McGregor, Iowa, to take advantage of the gold-rush and the settlement of the American west. It was here that, at the age of five, Clemens was struck with ‘brain fever’ (or encephalitis as we know it today). Although he was lucky to survive, he permanently lost his hearing and speech to the disease.

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9-Year-Old Basketball Player Gets Recruited by Miami University Because She Is That Good

While most fourth graders in the United States are grappling with the basics of the sport, nine-year-old Jaden Newman is already playing basketball like a pro. In fact she’s so good that she’s been approached by Miami University – they’ve asked her to keep them in mind when the time comes for her to make her college choice. Getting recruited by a college-level team is no mean feat, and it’s really astonishing that Jaden has managed to achieve it at such a young age.

Playing basketball alongside older players isn’t new to Jaden – she’s already been through two seasons on the girl’s high school varsity team at Downey Christian School, a private school in Orlando, Florida. Her stats are mind blowing; at just 4 foot 5 inches tall, she’s averaged 14.5 points and 7.5 assists per game while playing against teenagers this past season. Her performance gained her national prominence, and now that she has the offer from Miami University, she’s believed to be the youngest female player to ever get recruited by a Division I program.

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World’s Youngest Alcoholic Is Only Two Years Old

Toddler Cheng Cheng, from eastern China’s Anhui province, got his first taste of wine when he was only 10 months old. His father put wine-dipped chopsticks into his mouth just to get him to stop crying, and the boy developed a taste for it instantly. As he grew older, he started to consume alcohol in increasing quantities. Now, at age two, he is probably the world’s youngest alcoholic. He’s been dubbed the ‘Little Winebibber’ because he prefers alcohol over milk.

At first, Cheng Cheng’s parents and relatives joked about his affinity towards alcohol. They found it funny and cute as he guzzled an entire bottle of beer without any side effects – something highly unusual and unexpected of a child. He didn’t experience any of the symptoms of alcohol consumption, not even an increased heart rate. Cheng Cheng simply emptied the bottle without batting an eyelid, and then asked for some more! “At that time, all of us in the family have already thought that this child can really drink a lot when he grows up,” said his aunt, Cai Teng.

But now that the toddler’s story is out, the family has been severely criticized for encouraging such behavior. The local media has displayed outrage, while doctors have urged the parents to immediately put a stop to Cheng Cheng’s drinking habit. Several pediatricians have warned that since children of his age do not have well developed body organs, even a little bit of alcohol can seriously damage their health.

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Philippines University Has Its Own Real-Life Zorro

Roaming the campus at the University of Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City, is a real-life masked superhero. Everybody knows him as ‘Zorro’ – he can be seen wandering around UP at various times of the day, dressed a lot like his fictional namesake (cape, toy guns and mask included). Going by eye-witness accounts, ‘Zorro’ comes across as an incredibly sweet guy with impeccable manners.

No one knows the man behind the mask very well; some believe he’s just having some fun, while others think he’s schizophrenic. He’s harmless though, he just appears to be in living in a world of his own creation. A few students who have interacted with him say that he’s actually quite the gentleman. He greets students everyday and reminds them to take care of their belongings.

UP-Diliman-Zorro

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Meet Hitchbot, the Robot Hitchhiking His Way Across Canada

While picking up hitchhikers is generally considered unsafe, Canadian motorists are going to find it difficult to refuse this cute, fun-loving robot. His name is Hitchbot, and he’s about the size of a six-year-old child. Equipped with a GPS, 3G wireless connectivity, a camera, and a built-in child booster seat in its bum, he will soon try to catch rides all the way across Canada – from Nova Scotia to British Columbia.

Throughout the coast-to-coast journey that starts on July 27, Hitchbot will be completely by himself. He is expected to find rides by signalling with the only movable part of its tiny body – his arm. He can talk too; researchers are expecting him to be able to charm his way into getting the rides that he needs. Along the way, he will even share all his adventures via social media. “It’ll sort of be like having an out-of-control teenager in your car, taking pictures of you and posting them on Facebook,” said David Harris Smith, the brains behind the project.

“Simply put, I am a free-spirited robot who wants to explore Canada and meet new friends along the way,” Hitchbot declares on his website. According to Smith, “Hitchbot can ask people if they have a story they would like to share with others and this would be posted as video to Hitchbot.me. We will moderate posts to avoid inappropriate content.”

hitchbot

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Cinderella Surgery – Bizarre Toe Shortening Procedure Is Latest Bizarre Beauty Trend

After the alarming ‘engagement ring hand lift’ and ‘picture perfect selfie’ surgeries, cosmetic foot surgery is now the latest bizarre trend in the beauty enhancement industry. Also known as ‘Cinderella Surgery’, the controversial procedure involves altering the size and shape of women’s toes to perfectly fit into high-heeled designer shoes.

The surgery promises to shorten or lengthen toes, shave off excess bone to remove lumps and bumps, and even suck off excess fat from big toes. It first gained popularity in the United States, but the trend is now catching up rapidly in the UK and other countries around the world. Cosmetic clinics offering this kind of surgery are capitalizing on the deep yearning that women seem to have for perfect feet.

According to podiatric surgeon Dr. Jason Hargrave, “Cosmetic foot surgery is a rapidly growing trend, fuelled by the popularity of the Sex-And-The-City-style killer heels. They’re seen as the most glamorous, desirable accessory, and not being able to wear them can be depressing.” He says that all his patients long to wear open-toed shoes, but can’t because they hate their feet.

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Talented Artist Paints Detailed Landscapes on Incredibly Small Pieces of Food

Talented Turkish artist Hasan Kale specializes in creating micro paintings on incredibly small objects, like butterfly wings and snail’s shells. In his latest project, he’s taken his micro painting skills to a whole new level – by using food as a canvas.

The list of edible objects that Kale has painted on includes peanut husks, split almonds, banana chips, fruit seeds, beans, onion peels, mini breadsticks, and even bits of chocolate. As long as it’s tiny, it appears that Kale will paint on it. He uses an extremely fine paint brush tip and a magnifying glass to paint intricate landscapes of his native Istanbul.

Through Kale’s work, you can enjoy a picturesque view of the Nusretiye Mosque and other scenes from Istanbul on a Milka Square, painted with such amazing detail. Of course, most of his work is microscopic, and therefore not very visible to the naked eye. You’d need some sort of magnification to be able to see the paintings clearly.

Hasan-Kale-painting

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Guy Travels 3,000 Kilometers Eating Only from Dumpsters to Protest Against Food Waste

Baptiste Dubanchet, from the city of Tours, in central France, is protesting against the wastage of food by only eating the stuff that people throw away. 25-year-old Baptiste is an environmentalist with a master’s degree in sustainable development. He is currently cycling 3,000 miles from Paris to Warsaw, and, throughout the arduous journey, he’s only consuming food from dumpsters, discarded by supermarkets, restaurants and bakeries.

The idea for the project came to Baptiste when he visited Colombia, South East Asia, and Tahiti; the extreme poverty in these regions had a huge impact on him. “I was rich in poor countries, I was sad these people were so poor,” he said. “These people have no choice, they did not choose to be poor, so I decided to do something to show how much good food we waste.” Incidentally, his mission coincides with the European Year against Food Waste, led by The European Parliament.

As a part of the challenge that began on April 15, Baptiste cycles at least 60 kilometers a day, passing through various cities and towns in Europe. So far, he has made stops in Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Germany. In Germany alone, he has been to Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Berlin, and Cologne. He estimates that he should reach his final destination, Warsaw, in about two weeks time.

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Color-Obsessed Real Estate Agent Surrounds Himself with Red and White

In a bid to make himself instantly recognizable, an Indian real estate agent has surrounded himself with the colors red and white. The man is so obsessed with these colors that they feature in all his clothes, in his car, and his home. He even buys his toothpaste in a red-and-white tube, with a toothbrush to match!

52-year-old Sevenraj, a real estate agent based in Bangalore, developed a fixation with red and white after he realized that it was a great gimmick to get people to notice him. His inspiration comes from Mahatma Gandhi, who was always clad in white. “Mahatma Gandhi is recognized by his glasses and bare torso with a white towel, so I had to do something similar to be recognized by one and all,” he said.

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Gold Nugget Dubbed “Devil’s Ear” Weighs 6664 Grams, Was Discovered on Friday the 13th, on a Full Moon Night

Miners in Russia’s Irkutsk region found an oddly shaped nugget of gold on Friday the 13th, this month. The discovery scared them quite badly – especially because it happened on what superstition says is the unluckiest day of the year. It was also a full moon night, and to make matters worse, they say that the rock bore an uncanny resemblance to the devil’s ear.

According to the Bodaybo town municipal administration, the gold miners (who work for the metal mining company Ugakhan) didn’t immediately realise that the rock was made of gold. The sifting machine mistook it for a regular rock and discarded it. But one worker had the good sense to take a closer look, and he realized that it was in fact a large gold nugget.

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South African Homeless Man Refuses to Beg, Makes a Living by Selling Books on the Pavement

Philani Dladla, a homeless man living on the streets of Johannesburg, is probably the last person you’d expect to be a bookworm. Yet, the 24-year-old is quite a voracious reader. And instead of begging like other homeless people, he has chosen to make a living by reviewing and selling books.

South African director and cinematographer Tebogo Malope played a tremendous part in bringing Philani’s unique and inspiring story to the world. Malope, 29, recorded an interview with Philani called the ‘Pavement Bookworm’; the videos have gone viral since he put them up online last year.

The two-part interview features Philani speaking about the books he has read and why he likes them – the man is so full of infectious joy as he discusses his love of reading. His sense of passion and appreciation of books is extremely rare, especially for someone who leads a difficult life. Philani seems unfazed by his own living conditions, he only wants to tell the world how great it is to read.

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