Google Engineer Turns His Bathroom Mirror into Futuristic High-Tech Device

When you’re an engineer at Google, you really don’t need to wait around for someone else to invent the products you want to use. Max Braun, for instance, went ahead and made a smart-mirror for his bathroom, using simple, easily available supplies. The otherwise rudimentary accessory has now become a notification center of sorts, displaying the time, date, weather forecast, and latest news headlines.

Remember the smart mirror that greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger and showed him his daily schedule in the 2000 sci-fi flick The 6th Day? Well, like other futuristic inventions showcased in movies, it has become a real thing. And it turns out that all there is to it is the smart use of a two-way mirror, a display panel and a controller board among a few other secondary components and arts & crafts supplies. Braun has provided links to all the supplies he used, and also a brief description of the build process, but in a nut shell the display behind the two-way mirror is connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick, using a mini controller board. The Fire TV Stick runs the software, while the board is also connected to a power button and green LED.

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Woman Crashes Own Funeral to Confront Husband Who Tried To Have Her Killed

Noela Rukundo is one of the few people in the world who can claim to have attended their own funeral. That might sound funny, but her story is actually rather chilling, involving a vengeful husband, assassins with a conscience, and a trip halfway across the world.

It all started a year ago when Noela, a resident of Melbourne, travelled to her native country, Burundi, in East Africa to attend her step mother’s funeral. She was accompanied by her husband, Balenga Kalala, a refugee from Congo whom she had met 11 years ago. She used to translate for him when he first arrived in Melbourne, and they eventually fell in love, got married, and had three children. Over the years, Noela learned that her husband had suffered a violent past that had brought out an abusive streak in him. “I knew he was a violent man,” she told the BBC. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”

But that’s exactly what Kalala did, or had planned to at least. Suspecting that Noela was going to leave him for another man, an accusation that she now denies, he hired hit men in Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital city, to have her killed. As she rested in her hotel room after the funeral, Kalala called Noela and asked her to step out for some fresh air. And when she did, she found herself face-to-face with a man pointing a gun at her.

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Indian Girl Has Ants Crawling Out of Her Ears Every Day

12-year-old Shreya Darji, from the state of Gujarat in western India, is suffering from a bizarre case of ants. Giant ants crawl out of her ears every single day, much to the bafflement of her parents and doctors. They have no idea where the ants are coming from or how to make them stop.

The problem started in August last year, when Shreya complained of ear pain and her parents noticed ants coming out of both her ears. They rushed her to the hospital where doctors conducted scans and found a large number of insects living in her drum canal. They’ve removed hundreds so far, but to no avail – the ants just keep multiplying at a faster rate.

Dr. Jawahar Talsania, a leading Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeon in Gujarat, tried suffocating the ants with ear drops, but they’ve continued to breed anyway. He also used a camera inside the ear to check for an egg chamber, but didn’t find anything. A video filmed using an endoscopic camera shows him removing dead ants from Shreya’s ear.

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Chef Says He Lost 101 Pounds in 7 Months Eating Pizza Every Day

If you’ve been trying to lose weight forever, you’re definitely going to be interested in how this New York chef shed a whopping 101 pounds eating pizza every day for seven months. It probably goes against every single bit of dieting advice you’ve ever been given, but hey, the proof is right there in the pudding. Or in this case, the pizza.

Chef Pasquale Cozzolino revealed that he put on a colossal 370 pounds after he moved to the US from Italy. “I discovered the Oreo, which we never had in Italy,” he confessed. “It was like an addiction. I’d eat 10 or 12 Oreos, one time I even ate the whole box. It was like a drug for me.” He was also drinking two to three cans of soda a day at one point.

These habits made Cozzolino so overweight that he could no longer do the things he loved, like playing with his son in the park. He was wearing pants with a 48-inch waist and his doctors warned him that he was at high risk for heart disease. “I had knee problems, back problems, three ulcers in the stomach,” he said. The time was ripe for him to shed the excess pounds.

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The World’s Longest-Running Experiment Started in 1879 and Will End in 2100

Since the late 19th century, botanists at the Michigan State University have been collaborating on a single seed-germination experiment. Now in its 137th year, it is turning out to be the world’s longest recurrently monitored scientific study. It will end in the year 2100, which means most of us won’t even be around for the final result.

The world’s longest-running experiment  started out in the fall of 1879, when Dr. William James Beal, a botanist, set-out to find a conclusive answer to the one question that farmers have been asking for centuries: How many times do you have to pull out weeds before they entirely stop growing back? Beal realised that to answer the question, he needed to work it out for real – by finding out exactly how long seeds could remain dormant in soil while still remaining viable.

So he devised an experiment that would, in centuries, provide the answer he was looking for. He put together a collection of seeds of 23 different plant types and decided to leave them dormant for years, before checking if they would still germinate. He placed 50 seeds of each variety in each of 20 narrow-necked glass bottles filled with moist sand, and buried them in a secret spot on the university campus.

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The Androgynous Lionesses of Botswana

Moremi Game Reserve, located in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, is home to a pride of butch lionesses with deep roars and bushy, luxurious manes. They look so much like male lions, they easily fool competing prides into believing that they’re actually males.

The maned lionesses are regularly spotted by visitors to the Mombo Safari Camp, an area within the Reserve where these wild beasts reside. Wildlife experts believe that the lion population in the area might have a genetic condition that causes the phenomenon. The seasonal flood waters of the delta could have isolated these lions for decades, forcing them to inbreed their way to a genetic mutation causing a hormonal imbalance.

When National Geographic contacted Luke Hunter, president of the big-cat conservation group Panthera, for answers, he explained that masculine females are likely to occur when the embryo is disrupted – either during conception or while in the womb. “If the former case, the genetic contribution of the sperm – which determines the sex of the fetus in most mammals – was probably aberrant, giving rise to a female with some male characteristics,” he said.

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Artist Born without Hands Draws Stunningly Realistic Portraits

We’ve seen a lot of hyper-realistic art here on OC, but the works of Polish artist Mariusz Kedzierski are especially stunning and awe-inspiring. That’s because he’s able to draw like a complete pro despite the fact that he has no hands. Each piece takes him at least 20 hours to complete, while his most complicated work to date required a whopping 100 hours. In seven years he has put in about 15,000 hours of work, completing over 700 drawings.

For some unknown reason, the 23-year-old from Świdnica city, in southwestern Poland, was born without hands. “There is no logical explanation,” he says.  “In the past I have asked myself and God, ‘why me?’ many times. But when I accepted myself, I realized that if I would not be born without arms, I might not do what I do.”

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Self-Filling Fontus Bottle Converts Air into Drinkable Water

Producing water out of thin air used to sound like magic, but thanks to modern technology, this ‘spell’ is becoming available to everyone. Fontus, a $100 solar-powered device can pull moisture from the air and condense it into potable water.

Fontus is the brainchild of Vienna-based designer Kristof Retezár. It works on the simple principle of condensation, just like the droplets of water that collect on the sides of a cold soda can when you take it out of the fridge. But the Fontus can collect a lot more water than that, because it uses thermoelectric cooling. A condensator in the device is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. So when it takes in air, these surfaces get cold, leaving behind condensation.

“Because they’re hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle],” Retezár explains.

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Young Woman Travels the World for Free by Getting Men to Pay for Dates in Exotic Locations

Most people would love nothing more than to quit their jobs and travel the world, but they simply lack the courage, and most importantly, the funds to do so. A young woman from Alabama has managed to do it though, by meeting rich men on the internet and having them pay for dates in some of the most exotic places on Earth. She’s now in a serious relationship with one of them, and he might just turn out to be ‘the one’.

It all started in December 2014, when 25-year-old Monica Lynn decided that her life was too boring and lacked adventure. So she quit her high-flying job as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in order to find something more interesting. Soon, she stumbled upon MissTravel, a website where people search for partners to go on holidays with.

“I came across Miss Travel in an article about weird websites,” Lynn explained. “I thought, ‘Yes, that sounds weird – but also kinda cool. This website attracts very successful men who don’t have the time to date in the normal way, so this allows them to accelerate the whole thing. They’re going on trips anyway, and they can afford to search through profiles and afford to bring one they like with them.”

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Retired Doctor Sells Her Properties to Take Care of Stray Cats and Dogs

Weng Xiaoping, formerly a renowned doctor in China, is spending her retirement caring for stray animals. In what may seem like an unthinkable act to most people, Weng sold two of her properties for 1.8 million yuan (almost $300,000) immediately after she retired and decided to use all that money to fund her new mission in life.

With the money in hand, Xiaopang moved to the mountainous village of Taipingqiao, near Huzhou city, to build a sanctuary for unwanted dogs and cats. In the past eight years, she has adopted and cared for hundreds of animals. She has also hired two assistants, using her pension of 7,000 yuan per month to pay them.

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This Japanese Restaurant Serves the World’s Most Outrageous Dishes

Even if you’re into weird foods and like trying new and exciting things, you’ll still probably find the menu at this Japanese restaurant too hardcore. With dishes like cooked crocodile feet, grilled piranha and battered, deep-fried whole salamander, this place makes frog legs seem like baby food.

Located in Yokohama’s Noge district, Chinju-ya (rare meat monger) Restaurant is certainly not for the faint-hearted. In the six years he has been running the place, chef Fukuoka has taken pride in serving customers the rarest and most unusual meats from across the world. using his international connections, he can apparently get his hands on anything from axolotls and isopods to black scorpions and even camel meat. Their twitter feed [email protected]_chinjuya’ is frequently updated with their latest and greatest imports.

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India’s Love Commandos – The Vigilantes Protecting Young Couples Against Prejudice

Marrying for love is still taboo in many parts of India, especially outside the boundaries of caste or religion. But there are people who do sympathize with young couples, like the Love Commandos, a four-man activist organisation based in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. Their mission is to help couples elope and start a new life together, safely away from the wrath of their families.

“The main function of the Love Commandos is to allow people to do this in safety and in accordance with the laws of India, and to prevent honor killings happening to young couples,” Belgian author Hans Theys wrote in the introduction to photographer Max Pinckers book Will They Sing Like Raindrops or Leave Me Thirsty on India’s Love Commandos, a project that won him first prize in the Photographic Museum of Humanity competition in 2014.

And that’s exactly what the Love Commandos are all about. They encourage lovers to reach out to them via a telephone helpline, or their website, for any kind of assistance – including accommodation in safe rooms and shelters across India. They’ve even sent out rescue teams to protect newly-weds running away from enraged relatives. The group boasts of having helped over 40,000 couples in nearly six years of existence. Of course, they couldn’t have done it without the help of hundreds of volunteers and priests who agreed to organize and perform the clandestine marriage ceremonies and getaways.

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Meet Tanu, the Japanese Raccoon Dog Taking the Internet by Storm

The internet is going crazy over photographs of Tanu, an adorable dog that belongs to a canine species called tanuki, also known as ‘Japanese raccoon dog’. Most Westerners mistake the tanuki for a raccoon or badger, but it is in fact a canine breed.

Tanu became an internet celebrity after his owner, Twitter user @chibi_tori, started posting photographs of him. The pictures, which mostly show Tanu eating or sleeping next to a warm stove, were thousands of times over before Buzzfeed picked up the story. Chibi_tori told the popular entertainment website that he found the dog abandoned in June last year and has been raising it as a pet ever since.

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Dutch Police Trains Eagles to Tackle Pesky Drone Problem

The Dutch are using an ingenious, low-cost, totally organic solution to the country’s increasing drone problem – they’re having eagles trained to attack the flying machine as they would their usual prey.

Drones are becoming a major problem all over the world – they block airspace and interfere with official operations like emergency air ambulance landings. Despite regulations, drone operators are able to get away with misuse. They’re often hidden from view, making it very difficult for authorities to detect their exact position and take action against them.

The Dutch police were looking at tech-based solutions like remotely taking control of drone operating systems, but forcing a drone to autoland could backfire as it could go completely out of control. Thankfully, raptor training company ‘Guard From Above’ came up with a much better idea – to make use of eagles’ natural hunting instincts.

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Couple Who Have Never Met in Person Before Marry at Ontario Airport

Mere minutes after meeting in person for the first time, a California woman and a New York man got hitched at the Ontario International Airport on Friday. They’re now calling their meeting an ‘insta-engagement’ and ‘insta-wedding’, paying tribute to the fact that they first got in touch on Instagram in March last year.

After three days of wedded bliss, Erica Harris and Arte Vann claim they are still madly in love. “I didn’t realise how much I love this man,” Erica, a mother-of-three. “Now we’ve they’ve spent three days together, I can’t believe how much I love him.”

The decision to marry was premeditated; reporters from CBS News were waiting at the airport to film Erica Harris and Arte Vann tie the knot. In fact, Erica was the one who informed CBS about her wedding plans and invited them to record it, so that her new mother-in-law could watch it on TV. “I believe this man deserves a lot of love, and I want to give him the love he gives me,” she said. “[Calling CBS] was a present to his mom, because she wouldn’t be at the wedding since we were eloping.”

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