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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Innovative Wearable Chair Lets You Sit While You’re Standing

If your job involves standing for several hours at a time, then this innovative Archelis chair is just the productyou’ve been waiting for. The strap-on wearable chair effectively enables you sit while you’re standing.

Technically, Archelis isn’t really a chair. It’s more like a leg brace that wraps around your buttocks and legs, helping you choose a stance that’s more comfortable than standing upright. You can lock the device at various positions to adjust the angle of your ankle and knee joints. Once you select the position of your choice, you’ll experience the relaxation of sitting without actually being seated. The device distributes the pressure over your shin and thigh, reducing overall muscle and joint fatigue.

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This Ordinary-Looking House Is Actually a Renaissance Palace in Disguise

From the outside, this house in Newport, Oregon, looks pretty ordinary, with yellowed brick walls, white cladding, and a two-car garage. But you’ll be surprised to learn that inside it’s actually an opulent Renaissance-era palace complete with hand-carved doors, stained-glass windows, and centuries-old antique decor.

The unique house belongs to a member of the British nobility – the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almine Barton – apparently has excellent reason for maintaining the striking contrast between the spectacular interior and rather drab exterior – taxes.

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Norwegian Girl Says She Is a Cat Trapped in a Human Body

20-year-old Nano, from Oslo, Norway, claims that that she isn’t human at all, but a cat born in the wrong species. Her ‘feline tendencies’ include a superior sense of hearing and sight, a hatred of water, and the ability to communicate in ‘meows’. She even tries to hunt mice in the dark!

Her story was first revealed in a video report published by the Norwegian YouTube channel NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land. In the interview, Nano is seen wearing a pair of pointed ears and an artificial tail as she talks about her condition. She explains that she has been displaying cat-like behavior since childhood, but only realised it when she was a teenager. 

“I realised I was a cat when I was 16, when doctors and psychologists found out what was “the thing” with me,” the translation on the video reads. “Under my birth, there was a genetic defect. It’s also obvious that I’m a cat when I start purring and meowing. And walking around on four legs and stuff like that.”

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New Startup Has Gas Delivered to Your Parked Car

WeFuel, a new Silicon Valley startup, is the latest to join a host of ‘Uber for Gas’ type services. It’s an app-based refuelling service that promises to have a gas truck reach users at the location of their choice within 30 minutes of placing the order. The app can currently be used in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

The launch of WeFuel last week kicked up several debates online; those in love with the idea are quick to point out its obvious advantages – if you run out of gas, you can get it delivered to your car at the touch of a button. Pumping gas is a waste of time, according to many, and WeFuel addresses that problem beautifully.

Obviously, this premium service comes with an added cost, so WeFuel does not appeal to those who want to save money. They argue that the only time you’ll want gas delivered is in an emergency, which isn’t likely to happen very often. Also, it’s lazy, wasteful and hazardous to the environment to have a gas truck come to you all the time, because of all the extra gas needed to transport fuel. 

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America’s Longest-Standing Protester Passes Away after Spending 35 Years Outside the White House

Last week, Washington, D.C. mourned the death of Concepcion ‘Connie’ Picciotto, a legendary peace activist who had been camping in front of the White House since 1981. She was a well-known personality in the U.S. Capital, having manned the peace vigil tent for three-and-a-half decades, suffering the worst of both weather and humanity, all in an attempt to “stop the world from being destroyed.”

Orphaned in Spain and raised by a grandmother, Connie arrived in New York in 1960, where she worked as a receptionist for a Spanish government commercial attaché. She married an Italian immigrant a few years later, and they adopted an infant daughter, Ogla, in 1973. But she claimed that things started to turn sour when her husband, in an attempt to conceal his criminal dealings, sent her to a mental institution. She lost her daughter in a custody dispute after her release, and ended up in Washington, where she naturally gravitated towards larger causes.

Connie joined the anti-nuclear White House Peace Vigil a few months after it was started by another activist, William Thomas. They camped out together outside the White House for 25 years, and when he passed away in 2009, she kept the vigil going with the help of other activists who joined her from time to time. Picciotto’s peace vigil is considered the longest in the history of the United States.

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People Keep Showing Up at This House Looking for Their Lost Phones

Since February last year, a host of strangers have been showing up uninvited at Christina Lee and Michael Saba’s suburban Atlanta home, for the weirdest reason – they’re all looking for their lost phones!

Much to the young couple’s surprise, smartphone tracking apps all over the city have been directing phone owners to their house. It all started when an angry family came knocking at their door last February, demanding that Lee and Saba return their stolen phone. The bewildered couple had no idea what they were talking about. Then same thing happened two months later, this time with a group of friends looking for a lost phone.

Soon the problem got worse, with four such visitors showing up within the span of a month. People would call on them morning, noon, and night, all with the same, bizarre question – “where the heck is my phone?” Of course, Lee and Saba had no clue about the missing phones – some Android, some iPhones – with a variety of carriers. They even developed a standard response: “I’m sorry you came all this way. This happens a lot.”

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UK Company Is Growing Furniture by Molding Trees into Chairs, Tables or Lamps

Money might not grow on trees, but it seems that furniture does! Gavin Munro, a UK-based designer, has come up with a brilliant alternative to chopping beautiful trees and converting them into furniture. He simply molds young saplings to take the shape of any piece of furniture he wants. Once matured, the trees are ready to be harvested and used with no cutting, sawing, or assembling required.

Munro, who runs a company called ‘Full Grown’, said he wants to “rethink our relationship with trees and time.” His idea is to get rid of environmentally unfriendly practices involved in the mass manufacture of furniture, and replace it with a much easier process.

“When you look at it from a manufacturing point of view and from a design point of view, it actually makes total sense. Why would you grow trees, chop them down with all the faff?” he questioned. “Why don’t you just grow the shape you want and it is eminently scalable? You can make thousands of these in the same way as you can make 10, but each one is unique.”

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Neft Dashları – A Once Bustling City Built on Oil Platforms in the Caspian Sea

People have been temporarily living on oil platforms ever since they were created, in the early 20th century, but Neft Dashlari, a giant oil platform complex in the Caspian Sea, roughly 40 miles east of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, serves as a permanent residence to around 1,000 souls. Known as the largest and oldest offshore city in the world, the Soviet-era structure was built in 1949, after engineers found vast resources of oil in the region, thousands of feet beneath the sea floor.

The original foundation consisted of pillars mounted on seven sunken ships, including Zoraster, the world’s first oil tanker. The poles were erected around a central hub, a 17,300-acre artificial island where the main oil wells were located. Between 1952 and 1958, the city grew in size to include 2,000 drilling platforms, joined by a 300-kilometer network of bridge viaducts, spread in a 30-kilometer circle.

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La Colonia Tovar – A Picturesque German Alpine Village in Venezuela

Venezuela is one of the last places you would expect to find a picturesque German alpine village, and yet… La Colonia Tovar, also known as ‘The Germany of the Caribbean’, is conspicuous for its white houses with timbers and red roofs surrounded by flower gardens, carefully tended fields and creeks with water mills, and its hearty German cuisine of sausages and sauerkraut and large slices of black forest cake followed by a cold pint of beer.

It’s hard to imagine such a place actually exists in a South American country with a predominantly tropical climate, like Venezuela. But travel north to the state of Aragua, about 1,800 meters up in the forests of the Cordillera de la Costa, and you’ll reach this quaint little town reminiscent of alpine Germany. Founded in 1843 by a group of 300-odd immigrants from the Schwarzwald (the Black Forest) of the Grand Duchy of Baden, on the eastern bank of the Rhine River, the town still maintains the original cultural imprint of this centuries-old community.

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Meet India’s Moonwalking Traffic Cop

Kunwar Ranjeet Singh, a self-confessed Michael Jackson fan, is also India’s most fascinating traffic cop. Drawing inspiration from his idol, he ‘moonwalks’ his way through his daily duties in one of the busiest intersections of the city of Indore, in central India.

The ‘dancing cop of Indore’ has actually come up with several routines to help manage traffic on the often chaotic streets, and the moonwalk is one of them. “Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters,” he said. “That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules.”

Singh apparently wanted to be a dancer, but chose to become a traffic cop after he lost two close friends to road accidents. He’s been controlling Indore’s traffic for the past six years now, and he’s found a way to incorporate his love of dancing into the job. He believes it’s is a great way to remain stress-free in the midst of chaos, and to really make a difference. “One should leave an impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signalling people on the roads,” he said.

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Family Builds Glass Greenhouse around Their Home to Warm It Naturally

Even though the average temperature in Stockholm, Sweden, is at a frigid 27 degrees Fahrenheit, Marie Granmar, Charles Sacilotto and their young son enjoy a cozy atmosphre all year round. The young couple have managed to harness the power of the sun by encasing their home in a giant glass greenhouse.

Aptly named ‘Naturhus’ (Nature House), the unique abode is located on the Stockholm archipelago and consists of an old summer house encased in glass. Marie and Charles were originally looking for an empty lot to build a house from scratch, but they eventually settled on repurposing this old summer house for year-round living, by building a greenhouse around it.

“This is a summer house,” Marie explained. “It was not really made for year-round living, but that was part of the idea, that you could actually put the greenhouse around the summer house and actually live in it with nice comfort all year round.” Charles, an engineer by profession, designed and made the necessary modifications himself, drawing inspiration from the work of Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, who just happens to be his mentor.

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Indonesian “Iron Man’ Allegedly Builds Brainwave-Controlled Robotic Arm from Scrap

Wayan Sutawan is being hailed as Indonesia’s very own Iron Man after building a robotic device that he claims can read signals from his brain allowing him to control his paralyzed left arm.

This literally unbelievable story started six months ago, when Sutawan suffered a stroke that left him with a paralyzed arm. Having studied a bit of mechanical engineering in high school, the father-of-three spent the next couple of months working on a robotic arm using spare parts that were just lying around in his garage. He finally created a strap-on mechanism for his paralyzed limb connected to a headband that he claims reads his brainwaves and transmits commands.

In a video report by Indonesia’s Kompas TV, Sutawan is seen strapping the device on to his left arm and covering his left hand with a thick rubber glove. He then puts on the headband, and after a moment’s concentration, the arm miraculously jerks to life. He is then able to use the paralyzed hand to perform delicate tasks. He’s also able to lift up to 10 kilograms of weight with the device on his left arm.

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