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Bizarre Smartphone App Lets You Take Photos, Talk with the Dead

In an effort to help people cope with the loss of their loved ones, a South Korean tech company is developing an app that lets them take photos and converse with digitally-rendered models of deceased friends and family.

Called “With Me”, the controversial app was developed by ELROIS, a Korean firm that specializes in creating realistic 3D avatars, and requires the featured person to sign up for an avatar while they are still alive. Currently, they have to visit a special booth where their bodies are scanned using special technology, but ELROIS hopes that smartphones will soon come with built-in 3D-scanning technology to streamline the process. The company then proceeds to create a “realistic” 3D avatar based on the scanned images, followed by reshaping and auto-rigging to make it animated.

Not only can users of the With Me app take selfies with these digital avatars of their loved ones, but thanks to artificial intelligence, they can also converse with them, or have them react to certain commands or information uploaded to the app. “When a user puts personal information in the app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognize if there’s some changes in the of users as well,” an ELROIS spokesperson said. “For example, if there is a change in appearance or an emotional change and the avatar will mention something about it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?'”

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Architect Turns Old Cement Factory into Awe-Inspiring Work/Living Space

Covered by climbing plants and surrounded by a garden of eucalyptus, palms, olive trees and cypresses, this old cement factory on the outskirts of Barcelona looks like an abandoned industrial complex reclaimed by nature. In reality, it’s a bustling work/living space designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.

Bofill discovered the closed down World War I cement factory in 1973, and was immediately drawn to it. He and his team bought the entire complex consisting of over 30 silos, subterranean galleries and huge machine rooms and convert it into the head of office of Taller de Arquitectura. They spent two years demolishing dilapidated structures and remodeling those worth converting. When the dust settled, only eight silos remained, which became offices, a models laboratory, archives, a library, a projections room, a gigantic exhibition space known as “The Cathedral” and a residential space for Bofill.

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This International Store Chain Only Sells Rubber Ducks

From eBay to toy stores and gift shops, there are plenty of places to look for rubber ducks, but if you’re searching for a brick-and-mortar store that only caters to rubber duck enthusiasts, there’s only one place to go – The Duck Store.

It all started a few years ago in Amsterdam, when the owner of a small toy store on Oude Leliestraat, noticed that visitors, most of which were tourists, were particularly interested in rubber ducks. The adorable bathtub toys seemed to always draw people’s attention and put a smile on their faces. Then, one day, the owner read the words of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman – famous for his giant rubber duck art installations – and was inspired to get rid of the other toys and focus solely on rubber ducks. And that’s how the Amsterdam Duck Store was born.

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Man Spends $50,000 on Plastic Surgery to Transform Himself into Genderless Alien

Vinny Ohh, a makeup artist and part-time male model from Los Angeles, California, has so far invested over $50,000 into 110 cosmetic procedures in an effort to turn himself into an asexual alien.

People have many reasons for turning to plastic surgery, but becoming an alien is definitely not the most common one. Vinny Ohh claims that he doesn’t identify as either male or female and this ongoing process of transforming into an alien being is meant to mirror how he feels inside. He began his unusual project at age 17, when he got his first lip fillers, followed by two rhinoplasties, several cheeks and brow bone fillers, and many more after that. But the most extreme procedures are yet to come, as Vinny plans to spend $160,000 having his genitalia, nipples and bellybutton removed and his forehead realigned.

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Raw Cookie Dough Shop Proves Big Hit in New York

We all loved eating raw cookie dough when we were children, but apparently a lot of adults like it too. DO Cookie Dough Confections, a small shop in Greenwich Village, New York, sells roughly 1,500 pounds of safe-to-eat raw cookie dough every day to people willing to spend over an hour in line for a chance to relive their childhood fantasies.

28-year-old Kristen Tomlan, the founder and CEO of DO Cookie Dough Confections never outgrew her craving for raw cookie dough. She always wondered why there wasn’t a place where people could enjoy their favorite treat, and started contemplating the idea of opening up her own business on a vacation, when she and a few friends stopped at a cookie shop, but instead of buying baked treats, they opted for a tub of raw cookie dough, which they ate in the car.

In 2014, Tomlan almost died after an allergic reaction to an antibiotic left her in a medically induced coma for three weeks, just a couple of months before her wedding. This near-death experience made her realize that life is short and she should follow her dreams. She first started her raw-cookie dough business online, and after getting coverage on a couple of popular websites, she and her husband had to rearrange the furniture in their apartment to accommodate commercial freezers. She soon quit her job in branding to focus solely on her business.

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Entrepreneur Sells World’s Most Expensive Mountain Air at $167 per Bottle

If you’ve ever been to Switzerland you already know that pretty much everything is expensive there, and the fresh mountain air is apparently no exception. Well, most of it is actually free, but if you want to order a liter of Swiss mountain air collected from a secret location in the Alps, you’ll have to cough up a whopping $167. This is not a joke!

John Green, a British expat living in Basel, Switzerland, is the brains behind “Genuine Mountain Air from Switzerland”, a fledgling online business that promises to ship fresh, high-quality Swiss air anywhere around the world, if you can afford it. Green claims to collect the air from a “secret location” near the town of Zermatt, then bottles it up in glass containers, labels it and ships it to buyers.

Described as “the ultimate present for the man or woman that has everything,” the bottled mountain air also comes with a certificate of authenticity and the exact GPS collection of the place it was collected from.

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Semi-Permanent Freckle Face Tattoos Are Apparently a Beauty Trend Now

While some women cover their faces with thick layers of foundation to cover up natural freckles, others are apparently getting them tattooed. Yup, freckles are in, and some people would even go under the needle to get them.

Freckle tattooing is reportedly one of the fastest growing beauty treatments available today. Similar to microblading, an eyebrow enhancing procedure, freckle tattooing involves the use of pigments to ink freckle-like dots onto a person’s face that eventually blend in with the client’s skin tone. As with any tattoo, there is some inevitable swelling, but it subsides after a few months, and the initial dark coloring of the freckles fades to a light brown.

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Turkish Feline Lover Installs Tiny Window Ladder to Help Stray Cats Escape the Cold

Winter in the Turkish town of Terkirdag has been particularly cold this year, but a local cat lover has come up with an ingenious solution that allows stray cats in her neighborhood to escape the chill – installing a tiny metal ladder leading up into her cozy apartment.

Sebnem Ilhan couldn’t just sit by and let the stray cats freeze to death, so she decided to open up her home to them. But since inviting them in through the front door wasn’t going to work, she had to come up with a more practical solution. The window seemed like the best choice, but even though her apartment is on the ground floor of an apartment building, the window is still to high for cats to jump on to. So she had a tiny metal ladder made that the strays could climb to reach her window.

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Lonely Teen Robbed of a Childhood by Leukemia Advertises for Friends Online

Jordan Kosovich developed leukemia when he was just seven years old. He battled the disease for the next four years, and even though he eventually beat it, the experience took a heavy toll on his social life. Now, the 19-year-old is so desperate to find some friends that he advertised for them on a classifieds website.

The Australian teen from Perth says that leukemia robbed him of a normal childhood. He was forced to quit school for two years until the end of Year 3, while undergoing hellish chemotherapy treatment. When he was finally able to return to school, he became the target of bullies, as the drugs he had taken made him overweight. He describes the whole school experience as “hell” and claims that he wouldn’t go back to it for all the money in the world.

“It’s the worst thing to have happen to you because the drugs they give you are so strong you lose all your hair, and you get really overweight because one of them makes you eat a lot,” Jordan said. “I was too weak to defend myself, being overweight due to the cancer, plus I was a really shy, quiet kid which made me the perfect target.”

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At 68, Berlin’s Famous “Techno Grandpa” Still Hits the City’s Hottest Clubs

If you thought your grandpa was cool for his age, you’ve probably never heard of Bernhard Enste, the legendary “techno grandpa” of Berlin. When other 68-year-olds turn in for the night, he’s just getting ready to hit the hottest techno clubs in the German city and party until dawn with kids young enough to be his grand-children. They worship him, by the way, as he represents their hope for a happy old age.

Bernhard Enste wasn’t always the techno grandpa. He was born into a Catholic family in Mainz, and grew up dreaming of one day becoming a priest and converting the Eskimos to Christianity. That didn’t work out as planned, and he became a carpenter instead. At age 40 he got tired of working with wood and became an artist. Ten years later, his only son succumbed to cancer and his marriage fell apart. He felt that he needed to get out of Mainz, so he moved to Berlin, where he discovered the techno scene.

Growing up with The Beatles and Santana, techno always sounded more like noise than music to Bernhard, but all that changed when some friends invited him to a rave one night. The bass, the flashing lights and the energy of the crowd appealed to him instantly and clubbing became his thing. Today, he spends most his nights in Berlin’s many techno clubs, where he dances until the late hours of the morning.

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Meet FORPHEUS, the World’s First Robot Table Tennis Tutor

An advanced robot developed by Japanese electronics company Omron has recently been certified by Guinness World Records as the world’s first robot table tennis tutor. FORPHEUS (Future Omron Robotics Technology for Exploring Possibility of Harmonized Automation with Sinic Theoretics) used machine learning to asses the skills of a human player, adjust its game accordingly and provide tips to help opponents improve their technique.

Unveiled at the Ceatec electronics show in Japan in 2014, FORPHEUS has come a long way in the last three years, especially after developers made a breakthrough in artificial intelligence. Originally designed to showcase Omron’s sensor technology, the table tennis-playing robot has now become a Guinness-certified tutor thanks to machine learning. It analyzes data like the human player’s movement, the speed of the ball and the trajectory to determine his opponent’s skill level with around 90% accuracy. FORPHEUS then uses this information to adjust its play style – slow and and easy for beginners, faster and more unpredictable for advanced players.

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Brazilian Scientists Bake Bread Out of Cockroach Flour

With food shortage expected to become a major problem in the next decades, many experts believe that insects could become a major source of nutrients for people in the future. We already have plenty of insect based recipes and restaurants have begun putting bugs on their menus, but we need an effective way of using them as replacements for staples of our current diet, like wheat. Well, a couple of Brazilian food scientists have make a breakthrough in that area after successfully turning a species of cockroaches into flour and using it to bake bread.

Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon, two engineering students at the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil, have developed a flour made from cockroaches that contains 40% more protein than regular wheat flour and can be used to make all kinds of baked goods. It also contains lots of essential amino acids, as well as amino acids and lipids. And before you start acting all disgusted, the flour is not made from bugs like tho ones crawling through your kitchen at night, but of a species called Nauphoeta cinerea. They are sourced from a specialized breeder, where they are produced according to the hygiene requirements of the ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency, and fed exclusively on fruits and vegetables.

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Chilean Police Report Paranormal Activity While Investigating Domestic Disturbance

People report cases of paranormal activity somewhere around the world virtually every day, but it’s not often that you hear police officers actually confirming these occurrences. However, that’s exactly what happened a couple of days ago in a Chilean city, when police investigating a domestic disturbance were allegedly attacked by mysterious forces.

On February 26, 2017, a group of Carabineros – Chilean police force – were called to investigate a home in Puerto Montt, after the desperate owners called the emergency number to complain that they were being terrorized by unnatural forces. When they arrived at the house in the municipality of municipality of Fe y Esperanza, they noticed several broken windows and a partially burned mattress in the yard. The owners were outside and as soon as they saw the police approaching they started telling them that there was strange paranormal activity inside the house. Obviously, the Carabineros didn’t believe them, but they quickly changed their mind once they went inside to investigate.

Second corporal Boris Olavarría González, of the Sixth Police Station in Puerto Montt, told reporters that he and his colleagues were questioning the owners inside the house when a trowel fell from the attic like somebody had thrown it down. After checking the attic and confirming that it was empty, González claims that he called out the “demon” asking it to leave. After receiving no response, he decided to go back outside, but on his way to the front door he was struck from behind by a knife.

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World’s First Cannabis Gym Wants to Get You High and Pumped

Weed and fitness apparently go well together, and the Power Plant Fitness gym, in San Francisco, wants to prove that once and for all by allowing clients to consume cannabis in various forms, while they work out. Power Plant Fitness advertises itself as the world’s first cannabis-friendly gym.

Before you get the wrong idea about this place, it’s important to mention that Power Plant Fitness “won’t be a place to get high and just screw around,” quite the opposite. Co-founders Jim McAlpine and Ricky Williams claim that they are “focused on the athletic side, not the cannabis side,” and that they want to tackle the stereotype that pot users are lazy. The new gym will use cannabis as a tool to improve members’ concentration and speed up their post-workout recovery. McAlpine says he experienced the positive effects of weed while skiing, and that gave him the idea to try it in a gym environment.

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Indonesian Woman Goes Overseas to Work, Has Kidney Removed Without Her Knowledge

For years now, international media has been reporting on the physical and psychological abuse suffered by migrant workers from poor Asian countries at the hands of rich Middle-Eastern employers, but organ theft has never been mentioned. Until now, anyway, as an Indonesian woman recently revealed that one of her kidneys had been removed without her knowledge three years ago, while she was working in Qatar.

25-year-old Sri Rabitah, from Lombok, in Indonesia, claims that in June 2014 she reached out to a local employment agency to help her find a job in the Middle East. She was originally told that she would be sent to work for a family in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but somehow ended up in the home of a Palestinian family, in Doha, Qatar. As soon as she arrived, her employers told Sri that she first had to go through a medical checkup to make sure that she didn’t have any infectious diseases and was healthy enough to work. The young Indonesian never suspected that their reasonably-sounding request was actually just a pretext to get her near an operating table.

Sri Rabitah recalls that things got really weird when she arrived at the hospital – the name of which she cannot remember – on her third day of employment. A doctor told her that she was looking weak, and that he was going to give her an injection to help her relax. “Without permission, I received an injection. How come a medical needed an injection?” Sri told Indonesian newspaper Detik. “The doctor said I was feeling weak, so I was told to relax.”

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