Hiware Bazar – India’s Miracle Village

The residents of Hiware Bazar, a remote village in the Ahmednagar district of the state of Maharashtra, India have managed to turn their fortune around in the span of just a few years – they’ve gone from being a drought-stricken populace in the mid-1990s to the richest village in the nation today. Their story is a truly inspiring one.

Hiware Bazar currently boasts of having the highest GDP among all the villages in India. Its 1,250-strong population enjoys an average income of INR 30,000 ($450) per month, also highest in the nation, up from a paltry INR 830 in 1995. 60 of the 235 families in the village are millionaires. Every year, their fields yield bountiful crops of millets, onions, and potatoes that make it hard to imagine that only a few years ago they were barren stretches of land that no one cared about.

Yet, up until the mid 90’s, Hiware Bazar was indeed a poverty-stricken village reeling in the aftermath of a severe drought in 1972. “The peace was shattered,” recalls Raosaheb Rauji Panwar, an 82-year-old villager. “People became irritable and restless as the struggle to stay alive became severe. Petty reasons were enough to trigger-off bitter quarrels, as there was so much despair and frustration. Villagers started consuming liquor and it added to our ruin.”

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Japanese Professionals Put on Full-Body Lycra Suits to Escape Pressure of Everyday Life

In a bid to de-stress and break free from the tensions of daily life, Japanese students and professionals are taking to a bizarre trend called ‘Zentai’. It’s a community consisting of people of all ages and walks of life, donning full-body lycra suits and meeting on internet forums, in clubs, at barbecue parties, and sometimes just on the street.

It’s ironical, but the tight suits are actually able to help stressed individuals loosen up, because such behavior is probably frowned upon in genteel circles. Many of the Zentai perceive the trend as a welcome break from the pressures of living in Japanese society that values conformity to tradition over individual desires.

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Giant Lion Sculpture Carved from Single Redwood Tree Trunk Took 20 People 3 Years to Complete

A majestic new attraction at the Fortune Plaza Times Square in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei Province, is being hailed as one of the city’s swankiest landmarks.

The massive redwood lion was carved out of a single giant tree trunk by renowned sculptor Dengding Rui Yao and a team of 20 sculptors in Myanmar, over a period of three years. Once complete, it was transported 5,000 kilometers, arriving in China in December 2015. At 14.5m long, 5m high, and 4m wide, the ‘Oriental Lion’ now holds the Guinness Record for the world’s largest redwood sculpture.

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Thrill-Seeking Hairdresser Leaves Family Behind to See the World and Cut Hair in Extreme Locations

Cutting hair can be a boring, repetitive task, but this globetrotting Russian hairdresser has found a unique way to add some zest to his job. Denis Yushin calls himself a ‘motobarber’, giving extreme haircuts as he rides his motorcycle across the globe.

It all started last year, when Yushin announced that he would be touring the world for six years, leaving behind his wife and five-year-old daughter in his hometown of Krasnoyarsk. His plan was to fund the trip by giving people haircuts along the way, and it’s been working very well for him so far. He’s been riding a special motorbike across international borders, equipped with special pockets and power sockets for his hair-dressing equipment. These are really important because Denis has to give plenty of haircuts in exchange for fuel, food, and thrilling experiences.

As a close friend put it: “He’s passionate about hairdressing, travelling, and his motorbike. Some may think he’s bonkers leaving his wife and daughter for six years, but they understand.” Yushin’s daughter will be 11 years old when he sees her next.

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Man Spends 1,000 Hours and $200,000 Turning a Cave into His Dream Home

In search of a simpler life, a corporate honcho from Australia decided to give up his career and become a caveman. But not before spending an eye-watering £160,000 ($230,848) to renovate a 250-million-year-old cave in England to suit his tastes!

Angelo Mastropietro, 38, was inspired to make the change after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007. The condition led him to become temporarily paralyzed, and he spent that time reflecting on the things that really mattered to him.

“My life before I became a caveman was really quite different,” the former recruitment boss said. “Like most people I had aspirations to work in the corporate world. I had a lapse that left me essentially paralysed, which was a catalyst to review where I was, where I was going with my lifestyle. I wanted to be in a place where I had a happier and healthier life.”

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This ‘Hole in the Wall’ Is Actually a Secret Restaurant Serving Home-Cooked Caribbean Food

Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood is home to a mysterious restaurant that serves delicious home-cooked Caribbean Food through a hole in the wall. That’s actually what the owner, a man named Papa who moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica eight years ago, and his patrons call the unique eatery.

The name ‘Hole in the Wall’ isn’t just clever wordplay, it’s as literal as it gets – from the outside, the restaurant is just a rectangular hole cut out from a storefront grate located on Kingston Avenue. There’s no sign, no hours, no menu, and not even a door to walk through. Papa simply opens up the hole each morning when the food is ready, and closes it when the stock for the day is sold out. His Caribbean dishes are fresh, tasty, and best of all, free from sales tax.

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World’s Most Prolific Patent Holder Wants to Beat His Own Cancer by Inventing a Cure

Meet Yoshinari Nakamatsu, aka Dr. NakaMats, a prolific inventor and Japan’s very own ‘Patent King’. With over 3,500 patents to his name, the 87-year-old had no plans to retire – his dream was to live to the ripe old age of 144 and eventually produce at least 6,000 patents. Sadly, there’s a serious obstacle to that goal now – he’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer and isn’t expected to be around much longer.

But the eccentric mastermind and self-professed polymath doesn’t plan on going down without a fight. He’s been spending his last days doing the one thing he does best – inventing. Best known for licensing the floppy disk to IBM corporation in the 1970s, Dr. NakaMats has spent the past two years trying to invent a cure for his deadly disease.

The rare ductal prostate cancer was discovered in 2013, and his doctors told him he only had around two years left. However, Nakamatsu has been fortunate to make it into 2016 and he is still “investigating all kinds of therapy so people could live longer.” He is determined to continue doing so until the very end. “I’m going to discover a new treatment,” he asserted in a 2014 interview.

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Japan Railways Allegedly Keeps Train Station Running for Just One Passenger

Last Friday, China’s CCTV News posted a heart-warming story on Facebook about how Japanese railway authorities are keeping a train station in a remote village open for the sake of only one passenger – a high school student.

“The Kyu-Shirataki-Shirataki train station is located in Japan’s north island of Hokkaido,” the post read. “Three years ago, due to its remote location and ending of freight trains, the Japan Railway (JR) decided to close it down. However, they changed their minds after they discovered a young girl used the station to go to high school every day.”

According to the report, the only two trains that stop at the station now are just for this girl, with a “unique timetable depending on when the girl needs to go to school and back.” Japan Railway apparently intends to keep the station open until March this year, when she will finally graduate.

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This High-Tech Travel Suitcase Follows You Around Like a Puppy

Thanks to this new hands free suitcase, carrying around heavy luggage may soon become a thing of the past. Designed by Israeli company NUA Robotics, this ‘smart’ suitcase is the technological equivalent of Mary’s little lamb – it’ll follow you everywhere you go.

The carry-on suitcase, currently a prototype, connects to a smartphone app via bluetooth. It has a built-in camera sensor that can ‘see’ you and follow you around on flat surfaces like airport floors. It comes with an anti-theft alarm to prevent someone snatching it away when you’re not looking, and, for the icing on the cake, it has a backup battery that you can use to charge all your devices.

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Making a Difference: 12-Year-Old Collects Thousands of Coats for the Homeless

12-year-old Makenna Breading-Goodrich is showing the world that you’re never too young to have social conscience. In a bid to help the homeless people in her community, she’s spent the past three winters collecting and giving away thousands of coats. She calls her initiative ‘Makenna’s Coats for a Cause’.

It all started three years ago, when Makenna watched a TV show about the hardships faced by the homeless during the cold winter months. Deeply disturbed by their plight, she soon came up with a simple solution – to go around her neighborhood, asking people to donate all the coats and jackets they could spare. All she had to do was find a way to spread the word, collect the coats, and get them to the less fortunate. Fortunately, her parents were very supportive and willing to help anyway they could.

“She said, ‘I think I can really do something to help,’” Makenna’s mother Jennifer recalled. “Any parent would look at their 9-year-old daughter with pride and tell her they’d be thrilled to help her in any way.”

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Glasgow-Based Artist to Be Given $22,000 to Live in Glasgow for a Year

In a controversial move, the Scottish Government has decided to grant Ellie Harrison, a Glasgow-based academic, £15,000 ($22,000) just to continue living in the city for a whole year.

The generous amount is a grant for an ‘art project’ during which London-born Harrison will not leave the city unless she’s unwell or a close relative dies. The goal, according to her, is to find out how “your career, social life, family ties, carbon footprint, and mental health will be affected” by not being able to leave a city. To figure that out, she’s also being given 12 months off work.

Harrison, a lecturer in contemporary art-practices at Dundee University, won the jackpot offer – funded by the National Lottery – after she pitched the idea for an “experiment” called The Glasgow Effect that would “challenge the demand-to-travel” placed upon her as a “successful” artist. Her idea is to explore sustainability by traveling less and focusing more on local opportunities.

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South African Artist Turns Driftwood into Amazing-Looking Sculptures

Tony Fredriksson, a South African sculptor, is best known for his mesmerizing, raw, almost haunting driftwood creations. He began working with the material in 2007 and quickly learned how to use the organic knots and twists of washed up logs to bring them to life. 

Fredriksson begins by sketching out his ideas in a journal, and going through a few references for accuracy. He then begins his hunt for the perfect piece of driftwood to suit his vision. He sorts his wood collection by type, shape, and size, and prefers to use a single piece for each sculpture. So he looks for one that naturally resembles at least one element of his design.

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The Indian Village That Took Up Chess as an Alternative to Drinking

The people of Marottichal, a sleepy little village in the state of Kerala in southern India, have a rather unusual passion for chess. Believe it or not, they’re all chess enthusiasts. Their love for the game is such that even when they’re not playing, they’re talking strategy all the time.

But villagers weren’t always interested in the checkered board game. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, their passions lay elsewhere – mainly in the local liquor that they made for a living. Many of the residents were addicted to the cheap brew, with disastrous consequences for the whole community. Things got so bad at one point that a few villagers actually requested government authorities to raid the village and get rid of some of their liquor stock.

But things began to change when one villager – a 10th grade student named C. Unnikrishnan – decided that he wanted to learn chess. Inspired by a news report about American legend Bobby Fischer, a grandmaster at age 16, Unnikrishnan traveled to a nearby village to attend classes and learn the game himself. And once he got the hang of it, he made it his mission to get everyone in the village hooked.

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Serbian Dentist Spends 15 Years Living Isolated in a Forest in the Czech Republic

Aleksandar Pirivatric, a 50-year-old Serbian dentist, appeared in the city of Belgrade last Saturday, after spending the last 15 years concealed deep in the forest of Krusna Gora, in the Czech Republic.

Aleksandar used to be a renowned oral surgeon in the Czech city of Teplice, but the Serb couldn’t legally reside in either country because he had no documents. So at one point, he ended his practice and took to the forest for nearly a decade and a half, visiting the nearby city from time to time, for supplies. His bizarre story was finally discovered by Peter Silva, a Czech professor who befriended him after noticing his regular presence on the outskirts of Teplice.


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Bad with Plants? This High-Tech Flower Pot Can Keep Any Plant Alive

If you’ve always wanted to grow plants but aren’t blessed with a green thumb, the ‘Parrot Pot’ is just the thing for you. It’s a smart pot that pretty much grows plants itself, keeping them alive no matter how badly you mess up.

Priced at $99, the Parrot Pot has sensors that measure light, moisture, temperature, and the level of fertilizer, ensuring that the plant always gets what it needs. If it finds that more light, water, or fertilizer is required, it sends the user alerts through a smartphone app called Flower Power. What’s more, it can actually water your plants for you using a pre-filled water tanks. 


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