Whiz Kids Use Imaginary Abacus to Solve Complex Math Calculations

In a highly impressive display of mental prowess, young South Asian children are able to solve complex math calculations within seconds simply by flicking their fingers through thin air. Their secret tool –  an imaginary abacus.

News reports on the Mind Mathlon 2014 program held at the Robotics Lab of the Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship in March described young children raising and flicking their fingers to keep track of long series of numbers and solve calculations with mind-blowing accuracy.  They were apparently taught to use their hands as the beads of an abacus – an ancient calculating tool – to add and subtract at the speed of a calculator.

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See the World through Animal Eyes with These Bizarre Metal Helmets

It’s easy to assume that there’s only one way to view the world, but in reality, different species perceive their surroundings very differently, based on the shape of their heads and the positioning of their eyes. We may never know if they see things that we can’t, but with this new range of immersive helmets, humans can finally get a glimpse of what it’s like to be in an animal’s shoes. Or head!

The fascinating aluminium helmets were created by Irish artists Anne Cleary and Dennis Connolly, from the architecture firm Cleary Connolly. Inspired by the pioneering experiments of psychologist George Malcolm Stratton in the early twentieth century, the duo spent several years trying to invent a device that could explore ‘the mysteries of visual perception’.

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Homeless Bodybuilder Uses the Streets of Paris as His Gym

50-year-old Sayagh Jacques has a rather unusual hobby for a homeless man – bodybuilding. Although he’s been living on the streets of Paris for years, he hasn’t let his homeless status stop him from training harder than most people, and maintaining his six pack abs. I suppose it goes to show that if you’re really passionate about something, you can make it happen under any circumstances.

Jacques has no qualms about working out right in the middle of the street. When people give him money, he doesn’t use it to smoke or drink. Instead, he tries to eat specific foods that will help him gain muscle. He’s also managed to procure a few pieces of makeshift equipment – a cable and a few ropes – that he ties to lamp poles and park fences. He uses these to do basic bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups, pullovers and rows.

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Professional Dog Food Taster Is Actually a Real Job

Pet owners sneaking a nibble or two out of their pets’ bowls, out of curiosity, is completely understandable. But eating dog food for a living? Now that’s pretty hard to digest!

But ‘professional dog food taster’ is a real job, and it apparently pays quite well. An entry level position in the quality department would typically pay about $30,000 a year, while an ‘experienced professional’ could draw up to $75,000.

So what exactly does the job entail? Well, as the name suggests, it pretty much involves tasting dog food to make sure it meets a premium brand’s exacting quality standards. Tasters regularly open sample tins of each freshly made batch of dog (or cat) food, and then proceed to smell it, and eat it.

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Chinese Zoo Puts Visitors in Metal Cages, Lets Animals Roam Free

The Lehe Ledu Wildlife Zoo in China’s Chongqing City has put a spin on the usual zoo visit experience – people pay to be locked in cages, while hungry lions and tigers roam free around them. The thrilling experience is meant to show visitors what it’s like to come face-to-face with predators, instead of just viewing them from a safe distance.

The service has proved to be hugely popular, and tickets have been sold out for the next three months. Visitors are apparently forking over their cash just to be caged in the back of a truck as it ambles around the park. To make the experience more exciting, huge chunks of raw meat are tied to the bars of the cage on the outside, just to catch the attention of the beasts and draw them closer.

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Child Spas Make Girls as Young as 7 Look Even Younger

Only a generation ago, little girls had to beg their moms just to put on make-up for a special occasion. But things have changed quite drastically since then. Moms these days are actually pampering their daughters at kiddy spas with custom-made packages to suit their needs. And believe it or not, some of these girls are as young as seven!

Whoever heard of a seven-year-old needing a massage, right? But the demand is apparently so great that the spa industry has really begun to target children in a big way. Adult spas are adding separate menus of services for little girls, and most major cities in the US have day spas that are meant exclusively for children. Manicures, pedicures, hairdos, makeup, oil rubs and even custom-sized robes are made available to clients, who are often too young to have had their first pimple.

According to the International Spa Association, industry trends indicate that 25 percent of the approximately 20,000 spas in the US now offer services that are specifically meant for the under-13 set. They offer kid-friendly music, banana-scented facials, and age-appropriate vocabulary – customers are ‘princesses’ and toes are referred to as ‘pigglies’.

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Guy Travels 5,000 Miles to Meet Total Stranger That Facebook Suggested He Would Like

While most people tend to ignore Facebook’s friend suggestions, this Belgian student actually traveled all the way to Austin, Texas to meet up with a stranger just because the social network’s algorithm suggested they become friends!

24-year-old Victor Van Rossem was intrigued when Facebook displayed 49-year-old as a ‘suggested friend’, because they obviously had no connection other than a mutual acquaintance. “Facebook suggested we become friends, and I thought that was pretty absurd,” Victor said.

But as he spent time looking through Neal’s pictures, he became more and more interested in the artist’s life. “I became fascinated by him. He had a long beard and looked a little unusual. He did art performances and paintings of mythical creatures and strange beasts which only made me more interested in him.”

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Amsterdam Crane Gets Converted into Luxury Hotel

Ambitious architects in Amsterdam have converted an old beast of a crane into a luxury hotel, complete with swanky rotating suites, spa pools and a TV broadcasting station.

The 250 ton, 50-meter high, decades old maritime crane is actually one of the world’s oldest and highest mechanical structures. It was almost in ruins, doomed to a life of decay, when a group of daredevil architects from various Dutch companies decided to get together and give it a new lease on life. 

Despite being dismissed as ‘technically impossible’, they decided to take on the task of converting the old crane into a world class luxury hotel. The project was not easy – they had to lay new foundations to withstand the weight of the massive structure, because the quay of the old wharf was simply not strong enough. Developers splurged nearly a million dollars on constructing each room. They even fitted the structure with a thrust bearing made of gold, allowing each suite to rotate with the wind.

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Hospital Creates Fake Bar to Test New Anti-Drinking Drug

Believe it or not, the hospital at National Institutes of Health in Washington now has a fully stocked bar! Well, don’t worry, the bar is fake and all the bottles are actually filled with colored water. The whole setup is a part of an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new anti-drinking drug. The dimly lit replica bar is designed to amplify the alcohol craving of test participants in order to determine if the pill is able to counter the urge to drink.

“The goal is to create almost a real-world environment, but to control it very strictly,” said Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, lead researcher of the project. He revealed that the pill contains a hormone called ghrelin that is believed to increase appetite for food and perhaps inhibit the desire for alcohol.

NIH’s bar lab is one of about a dozen other versions in the US that are focused on experimenting with ghrelin. The hormone is produced by the stomach, and controls appetite via receptors in the brain. Researchers have discovered an overlap between receptors that fuel overeating and those that encourage alcohol cravings in the body. Dr. Leggio is now involved in testing whether blocking ghrelin’s actions also blocks those cravings, using an experimental drug that was originally developed for diabetes but never sold.

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UAE Company Creates Compression Suits for Camels

If high quality sportswear can improve performance in human athletes, then it technically should work for animals as well. Testing this theory is UAE-based camel and horse luxury products company Al Shibla. They recently launched a line of lycra-style outfits for camels, and they claim that the bizarre product has already garnered tremendous interest among stable owners in the Middle East.

It’s true that compression suits are worn by race horses around the world to improve performance, but the owners of Al Shibla believe that camels deserve the very best in comfort clothing as well. “If it’s fitting the horse, why we don’t do it for the camel?” asked Anne Wolter, co-founder and head of research and development.

Made of soft, thick material that covers the body, the suits improve blood circulation by slightly constricting blood vessels. Worn before and after training, it increases blood and oxygen supply to the muscles, reducing the lactic acid build-up that causes cramping. The animal is covered entirely, except for the head and neck.

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German Artist Creates Photorealistic Oil Paintings

Hyperrealistic paintings are always awe-inspiring, and the works of German artist Mike Dargas are no exception. His precise paintings are so rooted in reality that it’s easy to mistake them for real-life photographs. In his artworks, the 31-year-old artist from Cologne depicts human models in a plethora of emotions – lost in thought or internal conflict, or simply relaxed and radiating a heavenly grace.

Mike has been painting since childhood, and developed his talents by later attending art school. He worked as a tattoo artist in his early twenties, and eventually opened his own studio in Cologne. Inspired by artists such as Dali, Breton and H. R. Giger, he began to experiment with surrealism and realism.

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Villa Epecuen – The Argentinian Town That Spent 25 Years Underwater

The town of Epecuen, in the Argentinian farmlands southwest of Buenos Aires, was once a bustling lakeside resort with a population of over 5,000. Over a quarter of a century ago it was flooded by the waters of a nearby lake and, until recently, it remained submerged. Now it’s finally come back up for air.

Established in 1920 along the shore of Lake Epecuen, the popular tourist destination played host to at least 20,000 visitors every season. Its main attraction was the saltwater lake, which contained 10 times more salt than the ocean. According to local legend, the lake is so salty because it was formed by the tears of a great Chief crying for the pain of his beloved. The waters of the lake were believed to cure depression, rheumatism, skin diseases, anemia, and even diabetes.

Thousands of visitors would arrive by train from the nation’s capital to relax in the town’s saltwater baths and spas. Tourists, mainly from Buenos Aires’ large Jewish community, enjoyed the floating water because it reminded them of the Dead Sea in Israel. The town had almost 300 thriving businesses – including guesthouses, lodges, hotels and other establishments centered around tourist trade.

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Kazakh Villagers Replace Guard Dogs with Domesticated Wolves

Who needs guard dogs when you have wolves, right? That’s probably what Kazakh villagers in the Almaty region thought when they decided to replace their canines with the fierce forest-dwelling beasts. According to local news reports, taming wolves is now the latest trend and a sort of hobby among rural Kazakhs.

“You can buy a wolf cub for just $500, they say, and hunters are adamant that if treated well, the wild animal can be tamed,” the KTK television channel reported. Nurseit Zhylkyshybay, a farmer from the south-eastern Almaty region, told reporters that he purchased a wolf cub from hunters three years ago, and the animal is now perfectly domesticated.

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Mac Sabbath – A Crazy McDonald’s-Themed Black Sabbath Cover Band

You would think McDonald’s and heavy metal don’t really mix very well, but a new band is actually ‘rocking’ the combination. L.A. based ‘Mac Sabbath’ is a heavy metal group made up of four rockers who dress up as McDonald’s characters – Ronald Osborne, Grimace, the Hamburglar, and Mayor McCheese – and perform Black Sabbath songs with burger-themed lyrics.

According to the band’s Facebook page, they are ‘not a joke page to sell T-shirts’. Instead, they describe themselves as “Ronald Osbourne and the whole gang in full regalia playing all their hits like ‘Sweet Beef’ and ‘Chicken for the Slaves’ in a multi-media show with video, theatrics, audience participation and sing alongs.”

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This Boulder Is Actually a Cozy Cabin in the Swiss Alps

It’s hard to believe that this rock sitting so casually on a boulder-strewn slope in the Swiss Alps is actually fake. In reality, it houses a cozy wooden cabin for one, complete with a bed, fold-out table, stool, fireplace, and a window!

The only feature giving the boulder’s secret away is the odd square window that sticks out like a sore thumb on one side. But if you were hiking past the large rock, you’re more likely to miss out on that feature and assume that it’s all a part of the landscape. Nothing else about the rock betrays the fact that it conceals a perfectly-detailed wooden cabin beneath its rough exterior.

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