French Homeless Man Becomes Bestselling Author after Writing Book on Being Homeless

After being homeless for nearly three decades, Jean-Marie Roughol’s life is about to change for the better. The 47-year-old’s memoirs about begging on the streets of Paris has become a national bestseller this holiday season, selling nearly 50,000 copies and earning him cult status.

The 176-page book, titled Je tape la manche: Une vie dans la rue (My Life as a Panhandler: A Life on the Streets), tells Roughol’s story from his rough childhood to winding up on the streets of Paris. He recalls how he was abandoned by his mother and brought up by an alcoholic father, ending up on the streets in his early twenties after losing his job as a waiter.

Roughol started writing the book two years ago, sitting on park benches, making notes in school exercise books. He got help with writing and editing from a long-time friend, former French Minister of Interion, Jean-Louis Debré. The two met many years ago when Roughol offered to look after Debre’s bicycle as he shopped on the Champs-Élysées, a sweet tale that is also included in the book. He compares meeting Debré to winning the lottery.

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Utah Neighborhood Is Using Decoy Packages to Confuse Thieves This Holiday Season

Residents of the Daybreak community, in South Jordan, Utah, have come up with a brilliant strategy to ward off thieves this Christmas. They’ve taken to placing fake Amazon packages filled with junk on their front porches, in order to keep the real stuff safe.

According to realtor Kroger Menzer, Daybreak is a tight-knit community of about 4,000 homes and 15,000 people who all know each other very well well. For the past few years, many of them faced the same problem during the holidays – thieves would steal the packages that were delivered to their front door. So when a resident named Jeff posted the fake-package idea on Facebook, it caught on pretty quickly.

“When Jeff came up with the idea, it spread like wildfire,” Menzer said. “The post spread to Riverton and Herriman. That’s why it’s going to work, because it’s not just a half a dozen homes doing it. It’s a whole community.”  The contents of the decoy packages will vary.  Menzer says some people plan to put in old electronics while others are going with rocks. A few altruistic folks want to throw in some clothes, which might eventually be donated to the needy. And some people want to use the idea to actually catch thieves, so they’re installing tracking devices on the boxes.

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Vitality Air – A Startup Selling Canned Canadian Fresh Air

A couple of Canadian entrepreneurs are capitalising on the lack of fresh, clean air in polluted cities by shipping out some of theirs. They’ve come up with a way to can fresh air from the Canadian Rocky Mountains and are now selling it all over the world under the brand ‘Vitality Air’.

“Essentially, we’re selling air,” said Troy Paquette, one of the co-founders, adding that the idea originated as a joke during a random discussion with his friend Moses Lam. They were discussing pollution when they thought it would be neat if they could just send some of their own fresh air to people who didn’t have any. And then they decided to do just that.

The first prototype was a Ziploc bag filled with Banff air, which sold on eBay for 99 cents. So they made a second bag and started a bidding war, and it went for a whopping $168. Inspired by their success, Paquette, 37, and Lam, 30, created a legitimate business in 2014. They started packaging air from the Rockies in canisters of various sizes, priced between $15 and $46. The $15 can contains about 150 inhalations worth of air.

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Nature’s Photoshop – Venus the Two Face Cat

Meet Venus, a five-year-old tabby who’s become an internet sensation for her strikingly unusual appearance – half of her face is orange while the other is black!

The divide, right down the center of her face, seems too perfect to be true, so much so that you’ll be tempted to dismiss it as fake. It doesn’t help that her eyes are different of different colors as well, one green and the other blue. But on her website, Venus insists that she is 100 percent natural.

“No makeup at all,” she says. “Not even eyeliner. In the salon where I get my pedicures done Photoshop and spray paint aren’t even allowed.” And she also dismisses the idea that she’s a Chimera – a mythical lion-goat-snake creature. “It’s appalling, but hey, I didn’t invent the English language.”

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11-Year-Old Skips Rope 108 Times in 30 Seconds, Sets New World Record

11-year-old Cen Xiaolin can move his legs faster than most people can count. The boy recently set a new rope skipping world record by completing a whopping 108 skips in just 30 seconds!

That’s so fast that you can’t even see the rope. In fact, judges at the first World Inter-School Rope Skipping Championships, in Dubai, simply couldn’t keep up with him. They were unable to count Cen’s steps while he was skipping, as it was all a bit of a blur. They had to rewatch the footage in slow-motion eight times to verify the exact number of steps. Later, he broke another record by skipping 548 times in three minutes.

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Controversial Hangover Clinic Opens in Australia

Sydney’s new ‘Hangover Clinic’ promises to instantly take care of terrible hangovers through a “revolutionary treatment” that involves an IV drip. Depending on how bad their night was, customers are hooked to the drip for 30 to 45 minutes and are given saline infused with headache and anti-nausea medication, along with vitamins B and C. Antioxidants and oxygen are also included in treatment, priced between $140 and $200.

“Sometimes we just overdo it. Might be a BBQ at a mate’s place, or a drink with the girls, but since time began we’ve all been known to overindulge on the drinks, or our hectic schedules just run us down,” the clinic’s website states. “In as little as 30 minutes, we’ll have you off the couch feeling fresh and ready to tackle the day ahead, so you can feel like the best version of yourself.”

The clinic offers three types of ‘Hangover Remedies’.  ‘Jump Start’, the basic package, costs $140 and includes one liter of IV hydration, Vitamins B and C, and your choice of headache or anti-nausea medication. ‘Energise’ provides an extra jolt at $165, with the addition of oxygen treatment. And ‘Resurrection’ is for the truly hopeless cases – at $200 it includes an antioxidant boost along with the rest of the basic medication.

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The Real Santa – Oil Tycoon Gives $100,000 Christmas Bonus to Each of His 1,400 Employees

Hilcorp, a private oil and natural gas exploration and production company based in Texas, is in the news for its unprecedented generosity towards employees. To celebrate an excellent year, CEO Jeff Hildebrand gave the entire company staff huge bonuses – $100,000 to each of the 1,381 workers! It seems Santa is real after all.

“It’s just a true gift,” said receptionist Amanda Thompson, who has worked at Hilcorp for the past 10 years. “And I think myself, as long as everyone else is not going to give any less than one hundred percent each day.” With this kind of rewards, it’s really no wonder that the company was included in the FORTUNE list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, for the third year in a row.

“Mr. Jeff Hildebrand, and our president Greg Lalicker, they are such amazing motivators,” Thompson added. “Somedays I just kind of look down the hall and say I can’t believe these are my bosses and they’re the best.” She explained that Hildebrand and Lalicker had promised their employees a sizable bonus if Hilcorp’s size could be doubled in five years, and they kept that promise once that goal was reached.

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Chinese Barber Uses Leftover Hair to Create Insanely Realistic Portraits

Li Hailing, a barber from Lingbao, in central China’s Henan province, uses leftovers from his day job to fuel his real passion – art. He collects the hair that he cuts at his salon and, in his spare time, arranges the thousands of strands to create stunningly-realistic celebrity portraits.

Li, whose inspiration comes from sand painting, uses the same techniques for his hair paintings – he sprinkles hair onto a canvas with his hands and arranges them until recognizable portraits emerge. There is no glue involved, so the hair can all be blown off with a simple swift wave of the hand, leaving nothing behind on the canvas. Li photographs each piece of hair art before he destroys it and moves on to the next. It takes him a minimum of two hours to finish each hair painting.

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Entrepreneurs Inspired by Tinfoil Hats Create Stylish Headgear That Protects Against Harmful Signals

If you’re genuinely concerned that wi-fi or other electromagnetic signals might slowly but steadily be hurting you, then you will be glad to learn that tinfoil hats are no longer your only option. A couple of Slovakian entrepreneurs have created the “world’s first signal proof headwear” designed to protect your brain by reflecting electromagnetic waves.

According to the Kickstarter campaign by Shield Apparel, the hats are stylish and comfortable, while also effectively protecting the wearer from signals emitted by cell phones, wi-fi routers, and microwaves, and all waves transmitted from electric devices. “It is the most comfortable and functional headwear you have ever worn,” the makers claim.

The founders of Shield Apparel are a couple of Slovak cousins who stayed up late one night talking about how their lack of sleep was probably caused cell phone or wi-fi signals. They started to wonder if signals really affect our well being a lot more than we realise, and then decided to do something about it. Inspired by tinfoil hats, they wanted to create something similar to shield humans from these potentially-harmful waves.

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Bitwalking – Potentially Game-Changing Digital Currency Pays People to Walk

In a bid to make people walk more, a London-based startup is introducing a new app that pays people in digital currency based on the number of steps taken per day. ‘Bitwalking’ will soon be available on Android and iOS users in the UK, Kenya, Malawi, and Japan.

Bitwalking’s currency units are called ‘Bitwalking dollars’ or BW$. Users need to walk a total of 10,000 steps (five miles) to earn BW$1, equivalent to $1. The maximum money that can be earned per day is BW$3. The money earned can only be spent in the app’s inbuilt marketplace, or exchanged for real money.

According to the company’s website, Bitwalking will be most relevant in developing countries, where rural workers don’t earn more than a dollar a day. So by walking around with a tracker, they could potentially earn three times more. “We believe that everyone should have the freedom, the ability, to make money,” the website states. “A step is worth the same value for everyone – no matter who you are, or where you are. What matters is how much you walk.”

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Japanese Company Bottles the Scent of a Cat’s Forehead

Japanese online retailer Felissimo specializes in all things feline, but they really seem to be in love with cat odor. So much so that they’re releasing their second cat-scented product this year! First they came out with a cat paw-scented cream earlier this year, and now they’re introducing a special fabric spray that carries the smell of cats’ foreheads.

‘Mohu Mohu Odeko no Kaori’ (Fluffy Forehead Fragrance) Fabric Water comes in a 3.4-ounce bottle, priced at 1,293yen ($10.60). The company revealed that they developed the product after collecting extensive data through customer survey responses. Many of the respondents wrote that the smell of a cat’s forehead is like ‘the smell of sunshine’, ‘a futon that’s been dried in the sun’, and ‘sweet bread’.

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Kindhearted Man Buys Turtles from the Food Market to Release Them into the Ocean

A kindhearted man recently melted the hearts of millions after saving two majestic sea turtles from the food market and returning them safely into the ocean.Arron Culling, from New Zealand, recently posted photographs of the rescue operation on Facebook, describing how he and a co-worker purchased the turtles for about US$33, and then released them back into their natural habitat.

“Found these at the local market got them for 50 bucks drove 5km up the road and let them go,” Culling posted along with the photographs, which have now been shared over 85,000 times. He also revealed that these aren’t the first turtles he’s set free – he’s bought and released at least 10 in the past, along with his co-worker.

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Alcoholic Chains Himself Up in Room in Desperate Attempt to Stop Drinking

Staying sober is a real struggle for alcoholics, and the protagonist of this sad story is no exception. 30-year-old Zhang Rui had been trying to kick the habit for a while, but when all his attempts failed, both he and his family got desperate. After what must have been a serious intervention, he agreed to let his mother chain him by the neck in a room, to prevent him from buying or stealing booze.

Zhang, who is still locked in his attic room in Bengbu, east China, told reporters that he couldn’t think of any other way to stop himself from harming others or drinking himself to death. Despite his poor living conditions, Zhang believes that confining himself is the only way to beat the addiction that has ruined his life. In fact, he wants to stay chained up and locked in there for at least six months, until he no longer feels the need to consume alcohol.

The tiny 10-square-meter space is sparsely furnished, with only a mattress for sleeping, a laptop and a small TV to keep him entertained. He doesn’t even have a toilet – just a bucket and a large bottle of water to keep himself clean. The chain around his neck is four meters long and weighs about 22 lbs, so he can hardly stand up on his own in his current state. It allows him to walk around the room as exercise, but not much else.

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Japanese Company Launches World’s First Washable Mobile Phone

It may look all shiny and new, but your smartphone is probably one of the filthiest things you own. The amount of bacteria and germs it carries is disgustingly huge, which is probably why a Japanese company is targeting germaphobes with the world’s first washable phone.

The Snapdragon 410 processor, 5-inch android phone, called Digno Rafre, is all set to be released in Japan by tech company Kyocera Telecom this week. It’s USP is that it’s waterproof and soap resistant, so it can be thoroughly washed under running water. There’s no risk of water entering the device because it’s entirely sealed to keep water and bubbles from getting in. It doesn’t even have a speaker, relying instead on a Smart Sonic receiver that transmits sound through vibrations on the phone’s screen. The built-in 13MP camera is also waterproof.

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Russian Makeup Artist Sparks Outrage after Using Real Fish as Facial Accessories

It’s hard to imagine how putting dead fish on your face can pass off as make up, but that didn’t stop Russian makeup artist Elya Bulochka using them as facial accessories for a marine-themed photo shoot. Her original idea, however, sparked a deluge of criticism and outrage on Instagram for what is being viewed as a highly insensitive act. A lot of her 25,000 followers on Instagram called it ‘unnecessary’, saying “it’s not art, just another stupid person killing animals for nothing.”

Elya first shared a photo of her holding a bag of newly purchased aquarium captioned: ‘Guess what I’m going to be wearing today?’ She followed that first post with photos of models wearing mermaid makeup that included what were undoubtedly dead angelfish, neon tetra and other small fish. Many more of her followers asked if the fish were real and she confirmed they were ‘already dead. Same as in your dining plates.’ 

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