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Designer Creates “Substitute Phone” to Help People Battle Smartphone Addiction

Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger has created a therapeutic replacement for smartphones called Substitute Phones. The Vienna-based designer made a series of five of these non-devices which feature a row of stone beads to imitate various motions typical to smartphone use, such as scrolling, zooming, and swiping.

By using stone beads to emulate interaction with a phone’s touchscreen, Schillinger aims to create therapeutic tools that can provide the physical simulation that frequent smartphone users crave, and help them cope with the withdrawal symptoms of being away from their phones for long periods of time

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Kihnu – The Estonian Island Where Women Are in Charge

There is a piece of Estonian land where men are a very rare sight. The island of Kihnu, located in the Baltic Sea, seven miles off the country’s west coast, is a domain ruled by women. This quaint place of pastoral tranquility and just 400 inhabitants is one of the world’s last matriarchal societies.

It’s not that the women of Kihnu have anything against men; it’s just that they have no choice but hold the social and administrative reins. That’s because the male population is away for months on end, providing for the small community by fishing. This leaves the ladies responsible for running things and they have been doing so for centuries – raising the kids, working in the fields, and handling matters of governance.

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German Town Is Slowly Falling Apart Due to Geothermal Drilling Gone Wrong

The German town of Staufen is falling apart at the seams. The town of 8,100 residents, located on the edge of the Black Forest, decided to invest in geothermal energy back in 2007, aiming for a green energy future. Unfortunately, the decision backfired when the underground drilling went wrong causing hundreds of buildings to begin cracking apart.

The town rests on a layer of soft anhydrite, below which is a layer of groundwater confined to an aquifer. It was this combination which proved to be fatal for the Baden Württenburg hamlet. When the drills hit the groundwater, it poured into the anhydrate, which soon formed gypsum and expanded by about 50 percent. Over 270 buildings have suffered fractures in the ten years since and things don’t appear to be getting any better.

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Double Bionic Hands Aim to Prove That Four Hands Are Better Than Two

Bionic limbs used to be restricted to the realm of fiction, but the technology, first released in 1993, has been making massive leaps in the past few years. Now, one Italian Robotics company called Youbionic has taken the next significant leap forward by releasing a 3D printed and customizable bionic appendage consisting of two robotic hands.

The 3D printed device, designed by Federico Ciccarese, is made from nylon dust and consists of an Arduino micro-controller, actuators, and three electrodes that are activated by nerve impulses in the same way that muscles move when neurons send signals from our brains.

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Brown Bear Armed with Two Guns Is Apparently on the Loose in Siberia

What comes to mind when you think of Siberia? Maybe vast expanses of snow-covered land, teeth-chattering cold, Lake Baikal, and the Tunguska meteorite mystery. How about gun-totting brown bears? One such animal recently gave a hunter quite the fright, but more importantly, took off with the man’s bag, which happened to contain two firearms.

The incident took place in the Irkutsk region of Siberia, where an unnamed 57-year-old hunter stopped at a cabin in the woods, miles away from the nearest human settlement. He left his belongings there and went to get some water, only to find a brown bear prowling around the cabin. The man panicked and ran into the woods, leaving his guns behind. He only notified the local police about the incident after several days of searching for the weapons to no avail. For all we know, the furry offender may now be roaming the taiga with a Vepr carbine and an IZH shotgun in tow.

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Human Piggy Bank – Doctors Remove 263 Coins from Man’s Stomach

There’s strange eating habits and then there’s crazy eating habits. Sometimes the latter can be life-threatening, as in the case of 35-year-old Maksud Khan. The Indian man was recently admitted into hospital on suspicions of having severe food poisoning, but as it turned out, his three months of stomach pains were the result of having seven kilos (15.4 pounds) of foreign objects in his belly, including 263 metal coins.

The doctors who took Khan’s case got a massive shock when an endoscopy revealed that food poisoning had nothing to do with the problem. The surgeons at Satna’s Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in the state of Madhya Pradesh rushed Khan to the operating room and proceeded to extract 263 coins, 100 nails, a hefty piece of rusted iron shackle, dozens of razor blades, glass shards, and stones from his stomach.

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Chinese App Allows Celebrities to Sell Their Time by the Second, Fans to Buy It and Investors to Trade It

A new Chinese app called Miao A or “Seconds” allows celebrities and socialites to sell their time to fans, by the second. The unusual service has recently come under scrutiny, however, as investors are also able to buy and trade celebrity time, causing the app to operate as an illegal stock exchange.

The Beijing-based app describes itself as the first time-trading platform that helps fans get access to their favorite celebs. The company buys time in bulk from stars or their agents and then sells it in one-second packets to the public. The platform charges a 3% service fee on all exchanges, and all transactions managed through the Chinese online payment platform NetEase. An average month sees an exchange of 300 to 400 million yuan ($45-60 million) worth of celebrities’ time.

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Picturesque Swiss Mountain Village Wants to Offer Families $70,000 to Move There

Emigration is a big problem nowadays, and even breathtakingly beautiful mountain villages in Switzerland are not immune to its bite. But that doesn’t mean they are willing to give up without a fight. Just look at Albinen, where the local council will vote soon on proposals that could save it from extinction.

Exactly how does a shrinking mountain village plan to ensure its survival? Well, the 240-member community in the canton of Valais is betting that the gift of 70,000 Swiss francs (about US$71,000) will lure outsiders into settling there. The amount above is what the village will pay to a family of four willing to move to Albinen. Adults stand to receive 25,000 francs and the allotment per child is 10,000 francs.

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Man Protest Unjust Firing by Gluing His Hand to Former Employer’s Floor

A Malaysian man is protesting what he claims was an unjust termination from oil giant Chevron Malaysia Limited (Caltex) by supergluing his hand to their headquarters floor.

Fadzilah Abdul Hamid worked as a Caltex petrol station operator for the past 17 years at two sites in Kelana Jaya and Kampung Subang, Selangor, until being served an unexpected notice in May ordering him to vacate both locations within 30 days. The letter claimed that his termination was due to unpaid charges outlined on a circular regarding the Implementation of Self-Service at Petrol Stations.

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Pakistani Actress Has Spent the Last Seven Years Trying to Prove That She’s Not Married

Pakistani actress Irtiza Rubab, 40, known by her stage name Meera, has spent the past seven years entangled in a court case over whether or not she is married.

Meera is best known for her commercially successful and critically acclaimed Pakistani films, as well as making forays into Bollywood. She is also famed for her social media presence, mainly her videos and her presentation style. Recently, however, she has been making headlines for a different reason, a bizarre court battle against a man alleging to be her husband.

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Can You Spot the Mom? 40-Year-Old Mother Looks as Young as Her Teen Daughters

Photos of 40-year-old Kiyenia Booker and her two teenage daughters have recently went viral on social media, because people just can’t tell which one’s the mother.

Booker, from Nova Scotia, has been posting pics of herself and her two daughters – K’Lienya, 18, and Kolieya, 16 – on her popular Instagram account for a while now, but things got crazy a few days ago, after she shared a collage of photos from when her girls were very young compared to now. It showed just how much the girls had grown, but people couldn’t help noticing how Kiyenia didn’t seem to have aged at all in the years that passed between the two photos.

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Gun Violence in Rio de Janeiro Is So Widespread That People Are Using a Smartphone App to Avoid Dangerous Areas

Gun violence is a very serious issue on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, so much so that people have begun using a smartphone app similar to the popular “Waze”, only instead of heavy traffic, they’re trying to avoid gun fire.

Rio de Janeiro is facing a crisis of gun violence, as police raids and shootouts between drug gangs echo daily through the streets of Brazil’s second largest city. Civilians are continuously caught and killed in the crossfires, with harrowing stories, such as that of a pregnant woman being shot in the stomach, continually emerging from the beleaguered city. The hardest hit area is the Maré complex of poor favela neighborhoods, the residents of which fear even walking down the street, both at night and during the day.

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UK Water Companies Still Use Medieval-Age Divining Rods to Find Underground Water Sources

Ten of the twelve water companies operating in the UK have recently admitted to using the medieval practice of water dowsing to locate pipes or underground water sources, despite the lack of any scientific evidence proving its effectiveness. Numerous studies have, in fact, discredited dowsing as pseudoscience after multiple experiments failed to demonstrate its eficacy. The disclosure that the firms are still using the practice, and passing the cost on to their customers, has prompted calls for The Water Services Regulation Authority, or Ofwat, to intervene.

Dowsers claim that their divining rods, two bent pieces of metal – typically copper or silver – cross over each other to make an X when they detect the presence of water below ground. Despite the claim being long discredited, some water companies insist that the practice is as effective as modern methods, such as drones or satellites.

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Dutch Man Has a Collection of 1,200 Messages in Bottles Washed Up on Beaches

Dutch beachcomber Wim Kruiswijk has amassed a collection of 1200 messages-in-bottles over the course of 34 years and has responded to almost all of them.

68-year-old Kruiswijk says that his unusual hobby began in 1983 when he found three bottles on his local beach, each containing letters and return addresses. He wrote to all three addresses and was surprised to receive responses from each one. It was this experience which sparked his interest in hunting and collecting messages in bottles, and he hasn’t stopped looking for them since.

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Thai Woman Can’t Recognize Her Own Son After Plastic Surgery Drastically Alters His Appearance

A woman in Thailand was left unable to recognize her 22-year-old son after he underwent a drastic plastic surgery makeover in South Korea for a popular television show. Looking at the man’s before and after pictures, who can really blame her?

Noppajit Monlin, a 22-year-old factory worker from Thailand, had always been ashamed of his twisted jaw, blemished complexion and his other facial imperfections. At work, he avoided his colleagues as much as possible, eating his lunch alone, instead of joining them, for fear of being laughed at or having to put up with their stares. So when he got selected for the Thai edition of “Let Me In”, a popular South Korean TV show that focuses on extreme plastic surgery transformations, he knew he had a chance to drastically change his life for the better.

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