Meet Philly Jesus – The Former Drug Addict Who Became a “Walking Billboard for the King of Kings”

Once a heroin addict, young Michael Grant managed to turn his life around and become Philly Jesus, one of Philadelphia’s most iconic characters. Since April last year, the 28-year-old has been hanging out at LOVE park, in Center City, dressed as Jesus Christ. “I’m not the real Jesus,” he admits upfront. “I’m just a huge fan. I’m doing it as a walking billboard for the King of Kings.”

Every day, Grant walks seven miles to LOVE Park, carrying with him a 12-foot wooden cross with wheels at the bottom that he made himself. “This is my way of letting my light shine, by carrying a cross in the ‘hood’,” he explained. “This is my way of sharing Jesus without preaching a blow horn and condemning people. It’s like making a statement. When they look at me, I don’t want them to see Michael, I want them to see Jesus.”

Grant, who was raised in a Catholic family, is the older of two brothers. His mother says that he was always a creative child, did theater and loved drawing. He even went to a clown school, where he learned to juggle knives and torches. “He liked people’s reactions, so he always liked reaching people that way,” she said.

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Iranian Designers Create Salt Restaurant That Filters Polluted Urban Air

The aptly named Salt Restaurant in Shiraz, southern Iran, is completely made of salt. The walls, bar, tables and chairs are entirely made of the white mineral; even the stairs have a smooth, salty coating.

The unique restaurant is the brainchild of Iranian firm Emtiaz Designing Group, who used salt as the main construction material in order to promote the concept of green construction. They created the building using environmentally sustainable, locally sourced, affordable salt, powder and rock. “In this particular case, the walls, structural sculptures and ceilings are made from salt sourced from the nearby salt mines and salt lake of Shiraz which was mixed with natural gum to harden it,” said a spokesperson of the firm.

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Guy Quits Office Job to Become Professional Zombie

When 26-year-old Alex Noble realied that his job in finance was taking the life out of him, he decided to quit and pursue a career with the undead. The horror fan from Cardiff now works as a professional zombie – in case you’re wondering, that is a real job.

Alex explained that he has always been interested in zombies. For five years, he worked as a zombie extra in films, TV, and games. He mostly worked for free, but the experience finally paid off when he was offered a position at Slingshot, the company that runs the zombie chase game ‘2.8 Hours Later’.

“People started noticing me, because I was doing things differently,” he said. “I had a niche look and I was doing the movements and noises differently.”

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At China’s Most Hardcore High-School Teachers Employ Army-Style Tactics to Best Educate Students

Tucked away in the mountains of China’s Anhui province, in the sleepy little town of Mao Tan Chang, is one of the world’s most intense educational institutions. Over 20,000 students (that’s four times the local population) at Mao Tan Chang High School study day and night with very little rest to prepare for the gaokao, a highly competitive national college entrance exam.

Most of these students come from rural areas as their parents know that acing the dreaded gaokao could open up a host of opportunities, allowing them to escape a farmer’s life. Mao Tan Chang helps them achieve their goals by creating an environment that encourages serious study, and little else. The school’s strategy is simple – everything that isn’t related to academics is banned.

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Japanese Company Fills Offices with Cats to Help Employees Unwind and Improve Productivity

In a cramped city like Tokyo, where owning a pet is a luxury and most apartments have strict no-pets policies, it’s hard for cat lovers to spend quality time with their favorite animals. In response, cat cafés have cropped up all over the city, where people get to sip delicious beverages while petting a purring kitty. But even that doesn’t come close to having a cat in your own home, because the time spent with the furry creatures is quite limited.

That’s why a Japanese company has come up with a great idea to get its employees to interact with pets more often – a cat-populated workplace! The offices of Ferray Corporation, an internet solutions business, is filled with nine lovable rescued cats that are allowed to roam freely all through the day. The cats are so adorable that employees of Ferray are reporting considerably lowered stress levels.

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Indian Man Finally Gets Fired after Skipping Work for 24 Years

An employee of India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has been found guilty of ‘wilful absence of duty’ – believe it or not – for the past 24 years! Assistant executive engineer A.K. Verma went off sick from work one morning in 1990, and he simply never returned.

“He went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned, and defied directions to report to work,” the department told the media last Thursday. Verma is said to have joined the CPWD in 1980, and risen to the rank of executive engineer in 1990.

Although he came under investigation in 1992, he was only fired this month. Formal proceedings to dismiss him did not start until 2007, and it took seven more years for the department to actually reach a decision to sack him. Ultimately, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu ordered his dismissal, in order to ‘streamline the functioning of the CPWD and to ensure accountability’.

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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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