Researcher Creates Necklace That Counts Calories By Listening to You Chew

A computer scientist from the University at Buffalo, New York, has come up with a unique way of keepting track of consumed calories. Instead of writing down every single meal you’ve eaten, you just put on a choker-style necklace that can determine your calorie intake based on the sounds you make when you chew!

The wearable tech device, known as AutoDietary, works on the simple idea that different foods make different sounds when chewed. So Wenyao Xu – the brains behind the innovative gadget – is currently creating a library that catalogs the biting, grinding, and swallowing sounds of different types of food. This library will be included in the app that supports the necklace Xu is developing in collaboration with researchers at China’s Northeastern University.

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Pay to Pray – Guy Makes Over $7 Million Charging People for Prayers Online

Between 2011 and 2015, Seattle “businessman” Benjamin Rogovy made millions of dollars by taking advantage of people’s religious beliefs. Through his website, ChristianPrayerCenter.com, he led people to believe that ministers and religious leaders would pray for them if they paid between $9 and $35 for the service. He managed to convince hundreds of thousands of people to participate in the scam, becoming the sole recipient of all their donations.

To make the internet scam seem genuine, Rogovy posed as Pastor John Carlson, a fictitious character with a professional-looking LinkedIn profile. He created other fake profiles for ministers who could provide private consultations and perform religious ceremonies through ChristianPrayerCenter.com and its Spanish version, OracionCristiana.org. Both websites contained fake testimonials of people who, with the help of his prayers, had been able to avoid home foreclosures, win the lottery, have healthy babies, and even be cured of HIV.  The scheme worked perfectly for four very profitable years, and at the height of its popularity, Rogovy’s pay-to-pray service had a whopping 1,289,120 likes on Facebook. People posted all their prayers online and sent money in hopes that it would lead to small miracles.

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Animal Lover Offers $30,000 Reward for Information on His Six Missing Cats

Steve Rosen, a cat lover from Davie, Florida, is prepared to do whatever it takes to recover his six missing pet cats. Seven of his feline have mysteriously disappeared in the last year and only one has returned to him so far. Despite hiring a private investigator and offering a hefty reward of $30,000, he has been unable to find out what happened to them.

Rosen, a retired dentist and skin care entrepreneur, claims that his cats first started disappearing in March 2015, one at a time. “They’re like my children,” he said, speaking to NBC 6. “Imagine one of your children disappears and then a month or two later, another one disappears. Granted, I know they’re not human beings, a lot of people can’t relate to it, but those of us in animal rescue would know what I mean.”

All the cats were microchipped and had radio collars, so Rosen tried looking for them himself. When that didn’t work, he hired a private investigator and also set up a $10,000 camera system to catch the thief. Those options didn’t generate any leads either, so out of sheer desperation, he decided to announce a reward to anyone who could bring his cats back or supply information to their whereabouts. At first he offered a $20,000 prize, but later increased the amount to $30,000. “I’m relying on greed,” he said.  

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Compassionate Store Manager Offers Shoplifter a Job Instead of Calling Police

After catching a shoplifter trying to steal from a Tesco hypermarket in Malaysia, the store manager chose not to turn the man in to the police, but actually offer him a job at the very same store!

It turns out that the shoplifter, a 31-year-old father of three, had stolen food worth RM27 (about $7) out of sheer desperation, to feed his hungry children. “I had quit my job as a contract worker after my wife fell into a coma during a birth complication last week,” he told the local media. “She is still warded at the Bukit Mertajam hospital.”

The man, who is currently living with his relatives in the city, said he was walking back home after visiting his wife in the hospital, when he happened to pass by the Tesco hypermarket. His two-year-old son was hungry and tired, so they decided to go inside. “After walking for more than an hour, we went to the food section and I grabbed the pears, apples, and a few bottles of drinks.” Unfortunately, he was caught while leaving the store, and later interrogated by general manager Radzuan Ma’asan.

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This Man Wants to Launch Himself over ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’ in a Steam-Powered Rocket

‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, a stunt-lover from Los Angeles, is planning to attempt the longest and possibly the most dangerous rocket jump in history. He’s going to launch himself in a rocket across the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, hopefully breaking his own previous record of jumping 1,374 feet.

Hughes, who calls himself the ‘Current King of the Daredevils’, will perform the stunt on April 2 at The Palo Duro Zipline Adventure Park, located 25 miles from Amarillo. He’ll be using the steam-powered X-2 Steam Rocket, powered by pressure rather than rocket fuel. The tank is expected to build up sufficient pressure to launch him off a steel ramp and set him sailing across the Park area and over the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Texas. Hughes will finish the stunt by deploying a parachute to land safely on the ground. Tickets to view the highly dangerous stunt will be sold at the Park on the day of the event itself.

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Smart Textiles Company Creates World’s First Musical Tablecloth

If you’ve secretly been perfecting your table drumming skills, now is the time to show off. Thanks to this unique musical tablecloth developed by Swedish company ‘Smart Textiles’, you can entertain your dinner guests with your musical prowess. The one-of-a-kind fabric has a drum kit and piano keys printed on it, which actually produce musical sounds when pressed!

Li Guo and Mats Johansson, the brains behind the company, explained that making a musical tablecloth is all about using sensors. While Mats is passionate about music, Li has a doctorate in textile sensors and is studying ways to integrate them into garments. So they put their heads together to combine Li’s research and Mat’s ideas, and came up with the innovative tablecloth.

“We wanted to combine sound and textiles and visualise the possibilities of textile sensors in a fun way,” Mats said. “Since I’m interested in music, we decided to create a musical tablecloth.”

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Law Graduate Sues Former School after Failing to Find Job as a Lawyer

Despite having graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, in the top tier of her class, in 2008, Anna Alaburda still hasn’t been able to find work as a lawyer. The disgruntled 37-year-old is now blaming her alma mater for the unfortunate situation, claiming that the school manipulated the employment statistics of its graduates in a bid to lure students. She’s suing them, hoping to recover the $170,000 she still owes in student loans.

In an ideal situation, working as a lawyer would have more than made up for the cost of Alaburda’s law degree. But since her graduation in 2008, she claims that she’s only served part-time positions and temp jobs reviewing documents for law firms. In her lawsuit she mentions that if she’d known what was in store for her after graduation, she would have never attended the school. Anna also pointed out that the average student debt at Thomas Jefferson was about $137,000 in 2008, but the school’s bar passage rate has been consistently lower than 50 percent.

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Seeded Massage Bar Is Causing Plants to Grow in Users’ Showers

This seeded soap bar from UK-based cosmetic company Lush is as organic as it gets – some of its the ingredients are so natural, they can actually sprout plants in your shower!

The ‘Wiccy Magic Muscles’ massage bar produced by the company contains several aduki beans, which are obviously still alive and able to germinate. So when customers use the bar, and some of the beans fall away from it, they sometimes get lodged in nooks and crannies of the shower where they get enough water to start sprouting little shoots.

Lots of users have been tweeting about finding tiny plants growing in their shower ever since they started using the soap. “One of the coffee beans from my Lush massage bar fell into the sink and a PLANT GREW FROM IT,” one woman tweeted.

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Domino’s Debuts World’s First Pizza Delivery Robot

Domino’s is taking pizza delivery to the next level by introducing the world’s first pizza delivery robot in Australia. ‘Domino’s Robotic Unit’ (DRU) is a three-foot tall, 450-pound robot that can self-drive at 12.4 miles an hour from a Domino’s to any location within a 20-kilometer radius.

The robotic unit consists of a battery-powered heated compartment that can keep up to 10 pizzas warm, and a chilled compartment for cold drinks. The water-tight, weather-proof acrylic plastic exterior and aluminum and mild steel interior will keep food safe, while LIDAR laser-light sensors located within the unit will help the robot detect obstacles on his route. To prevent thefts, customers can only access their pizzas by entering a unique code into the pizza compartment. DRU can drive on roads as well as pavements, and is programmed to promptly return to the store for recharging after all deliveries are complete.

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Greek Man Provides Free Wi-Fi to Thousands of Refugees Near His Home

Thousands of refugees set up in a camp near the Greek village of Idomeni now have free access to Wi-Fi, thanks to an enterprising electrical engineer named Ilias Papadopoulos. Concerned that these people had no means of communicating with their loved ones either at home or waiting for them in other countries, he built a Wi-Fi station inside an old trailer, in September last year.

Papadopoulos got the idea for providing the refugee camp with free Wi-Fi when he first visited Idomeni in August to see if he could be of any help. The village is an hour’s drive away from the city of Thessaloniki, where Papadopoulos lives. When he arrived at the camp, he realised that most refugees had smartphones, but none of them had access to SIM cards or an internet connection. He realised that communication was very critical for the refugees, so he set about building a Wi-Fi station from scratch.

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Nike Unveils Self-Lacing Sneakers Inspired by Back to the Future

In 1989, when shoe designer Tinker Hatfield created the futuristic, self-lacing Nike Air Mag for Back to the Future II, he probably didn’t think they would become a reality during his lifetime. But 15 years after the film’s release, they’re finally here! 

The hype began on Back to the Future Day, in October 2015, when Nike teamed up with Michael J. Fox to release a teaser of the self-lacing Mags. Fans still weren’t sure of what to expect, but at the Nike Innovation Summit last week, the company finally announced that they will indeed be mass producing shoes featuring real-life adaptive lacing. They will be called the Nike HyperAdapt 1.0.

The shoes, which automatically tighten once you out them on, were developed over several years by Nike senior innovator Tiffany Beers and her team. She began by meeting with Hatfield, who first dreamed of making adaptive lacing a reality, and he told her to figure out the technology from scratch instead of trying to replicate his Back to the Future idea. So Beers brainstormed with a group of engineers, testing out a wide range of theories before coming up with the technology for HyperAdapt.

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Brazilian Company Launches Maternity Clothing Imbued with Mosquito Repellent to Combat Zika Virus Scare

Megadose, a Brazilian company that designs maternity clothes, has released a new line of anti-Zika apparel. These clothes are made of a special fabric that is infused with a natural mosquito repellent called citronella and are designed to help pregnant women avoid contracting the dreaded Zika virus.

Ever since the Zika outbreak spread across the Pacific to the Americas and reached pandemic levels in 2015, people in these are being regions are being asked to cover up well and use mosquito repellents at all times. There is no vaccine or medication to prevent getting infected, so the only way to stay safe for now is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.  

While Zika fever itself has mild symptoms and is treated by rest, it can cause birth defects to the fetus if contracted by pregnant women. In fact, the governments of some countries like Colombia, Ecuador, and El Salvador have recommended that women postpone getting pregnant until more discoveries are made about the risks. But for those who are already pregnant, Megadose is trying to provide a viable solution.

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Drinking Plain Hot Water – The Chinese Way to a Perfect Health

Getting a cold drink might seem like the perfect way to relax after a long, hot summer day, but for most Chinese the opposite is true. They routinely consume hot beverages with their meals and all through the day irrespective of the weather. So don’t be surprised if on a balmy day, you see a Chinese person sipping hot water from a thermos!

While the western world might find this bizarre, the Chinese actually think that the Western habit of chugging ice-cold water is very strange. The idea of consuming anything at room temperature or below is, according to them, bad for your health. “In the big family I was brought up in, no one would dare to pour even room temperature water,” journalist Nicole Liu writes for the LA Times. “Doing so would risk a chorus of criticism, with parents, aunts, cousins, and grandparents chastising you almost simultaneously: ‘Cold water gives you cramps!’”

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Grieving Mother Dedicates Her Life to Planting Millions of Trees in Memory of Her Son

Meet Yi Jiefeng, a Shanghai woman who has helped plant millions of saplings in Inner Mongolia, over the past 12 years. Her goal is to reforest the arid Alashan Desert while keeping alive the memory of her son who passed away 16 years ago.

In the year 2000, Yi’s only son, Yang Ruizhe, was killed in a road accident in Japan, and the tragic incident left her a shattered woman. But she eventually found a way to deal with the grief by devoting her own life to fulfilling her son’s dream. Ruizhe had told her about his plans to plant trees in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous region in order to stop the advancing desert, so Yi decided to fulfill his dream herself. “He was fond of nature since he was a little boy,” she said. “He was concerned about natural things such as wind, rain, plants, and animals.”

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The Cat Boat – Amsterdam’s Floating Sanctuary for Cats

The Cat Boat is one of Amsterdam’s most peculiar attractions. It’s essentially a sanctuary for cats, but what makes it special is that the rescued cats all live aboard a quaint little houseboat that bobs along the Herengracht canal. Although it wasn’t intended to be a tourist attraction, Cat Boat regularly receives about 4,500 visitors a year, most of whom are tourists missing their own cats while on vacation!

The origins of the Cat Boat can be traced back to 1966, when a kind woman named Henriette van Weelde took pity on a stray feline and her kittens and allowed them into her own home. Henriette soon became well known in the neighborhood for her kindness; people would regularly drop off rescued cats at her doorstep and she wouldn’t hesitate to take them all in.

This went on for about two years, after which Henriette simply didn’t have enough room to house more cats. So she came up with a solution – she put them all on an unused houseboat on the nearby Herengracht canal. The feline sanctuary was something of a ‘pirate’ ship for about two decades, operating without the knowledge of the authorities. But in 1987, it finally got a permit and was officially christened ‘de Poezenboot’ (the Cat Boat).

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