Bizarre “Death Experience” School Helps Depressed Koreans Appreciate Life by Locking Them in Coffins

A new treatment for suicidal patients in South Korea involves locking them up in wooden coffins.  The fake “death experience” apparently helps students appreciate life better after confronting a simulated version of their last moments. 

The rate of suicide in Korea is on the rise, with about 40 people killing themselves every day. Experts believe that the nation’s super-competitive atmosphere is responsible for so many cases of depression and suicide. And according to the Seoul Hyowon Healing Center, the solution to this crisis lies in their ‘death experience’ therapy. 

Participants at the centre come from all walks of life, including teenagers who struggle with pressure at school, older parents experiencing isolation, and the elderly who are afraid of becoming a financial burden on their families. They all don white robes and get into coffins arranged in rows. Beside each coffin is a small desk with pens and paper. Students sit inside the coffins and listen to a short talk by Jeong Yong-mun, a former funeral worker who is now the head of the healing centre. He explains to them that they should accept their problems as a part of life and try to find joy in the most difficult situations.

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Japanese All-Boys School Crowns Its Prettiest Students in Annual Beauty Pageant

Every year, the prettiest student at Komaba High School, in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, is crowned the winner of their annual beauty pageant. That doesn’t sound so odd, but here’s the catch – it’s an all-boys institution so the title of ‘Miss Komaba High School’ actually goes to a boy!

The pageant is a part of ‘Culture Day’ festivities held in schools across Japan around this time of year. The festival happens over a three-day weekend, with art installations, music recitals, movie screenings, and even haunted houses on display at every school. And for the past few years, Komaba High School has also included a one-of-a-kind beauty contest for boys. Students style their hair, don wigs and makeup, and slip into skirts for the contest, and they’re all judged on how well they can pull off the ‘cute girl’ look and attitude.

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Marathon Runner-Up Faces Fraud Charges for Only Running Half a Mile of 26 Mile Race

In a bizarre turn of events, the second place winner at the Nairobi International Marathon last Sunday was arrested for blatant cheating. Julius Njogu apparently stayed hidden among the crowd for most of the 26-mile race before joining the other runners for about half a mile, on the last stretch and laying claim to the $7,000 prize money.  

Unfortunately for him, race officials caught on rather quickly – they noticed that he showed no signs of fatigue or sweat as he breezed passed the other runners to the finish line, despite having supposedly run 42 miles. The 28-year-old was spotted jogging effortlessly as he crossed fellow runner Shadrack Kiptoo to come in second. When they investigated the issue, they realised that he hadn’t run the race at all.

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Iconic “Tree of Life” in Kalaloch Is a Monument to Resilience

Located on an eroded, partially caved in cliff on Kalaloch beach, within Olympic National Park in Washington, the Tree of Life is stubbornly hanging on to the eroding soil with just a few of its roots. Some call it magical, others immortal, I just think it’s resilient. 

The roots in the middle are exposed and spread out, making it look like the tree is hanging on for dear life. And what’s truly surprising is that it has managed to survive this way for years, sprouting fresh green leaves despite its roots having very little contact with soil. It hasn’t toppled over, not even during the worst of storms that regularly hit the coast. While many other healthy trees in the area have succumbed to the unpredictable weather, the Tree of Life manages to survive, year after year.

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Indian Cook Can Dip Hands in Boiling Oil without Pain or Injury

Prem Kumar, from New Delhi, India, regularly shocks people with his high tolerance to heat – the man can fry fish with his bare hands, dipping them into and out of a wok of boiling oil. The 65-year-old runs a street food stall in Karol Bagh, where he serves fried fish to thousands of customers each day. Most of them come just to watch him perform the rare feat of nonchalantly plunging his fingers into hot oil.

Kumar sells about 150 kilograms of deep-fried fish every day, along with other north-Indian delicacies like seekh kabab, mutton tikka, paneer tikka, and tandoori aloo. But a trip to his eatery is incomplete without witnessing Kumar prepare fish with his now-famous heat proof fingers. “I do not fry fish with hands all the time, it’s only when customers ask me for it,” he said. “I normally use kitchen utensils like tongs, but with people coming from all across India and requesting me to do hand frying, I cannot say no.”

Kumar claims to have inherited his special skill from his father, who opened the roadside eatery in 1960. Miraculously, the father-son duo have never suffered a single burn or blister during all these years of business. But Kumar says there’s no magic involved and attributes it to years of practice. “This is no miracle or gift of God,” he insisted. “As a child, I saw my father doing it and got curious how he could pull off that feat. I started with dipping my one finger in the boiling oil, then two, and so on. I realised that it did not cause any burns or injury whatsoever. Over the years, I built up confidence and now it as is easy for me as breathing.”

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This Amazing Seattle Preschool Also Doubles as an Elderly Nursing Home

A facility in Seattle has come up with an innovative way of caterung to both the very young and the old.  They’ve paired up a preschool with an elderly nursing home, so that the children and the 400-odd residents at the home have an amazing time with each other.

The preschool, called the Intergenerational Learning Center, is located within Providence Mount St. Vincent senior care center in West Seattle. For five days a week, the kids interact with the residents in fun activities like dancing, art, music, lunch, storytelling, or sometimes just visiting.

According to Evan Briggs, a filmmaker and adjunct professor at Seattle University, who is planning to make a film about the unique center, the elders undergo a “complete transformation in the presence of the children.” She noticed that just moments before the kids came in, some of them seemed half alive. “It was a depressing scene. As soon as the kids walked in for art or music or making sandwiches for the homeless or whatever the project that day was, the residents came alive.”

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Google Engineer Saves 90% of His Salary by Living Out of a Truck in the Company’s Parking Lot

In a bid to save money, Google employee Brandon S. has made the company’s vast parking lot his home. The 23-year-old software engineer lives out of a box truck parked near the search engine giant’s campus in Mountain View, California.

Brandon started work at Google as a summer intern in 2014 – he rented a two-bedroom apartment with three roommates at the time. It cost him about $65 a night, or roughly $2,000 a month, to live there. “I realised I was paying an exorbitant amount of money for the apartment I was staying in – and I was almost never home,” he told Business Insider.

So when he signed on as a full-time employee, he decided to opt out of spending on sky-high rents in the Bay Area. Inspired by the story of software programmer Ben Discoe, who lived for 13 months out of a conversion van in the Google parking lot, he bought a $10,000 used Ford E350 and started living in it. It’s now less of a home and more like a place to sleep and store his stuff – he showers, bathes, charges his gadgets, and eats all his meals in the Google buildings. All he spends is $121 a month on insurance for the truck.

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Israeli Restaurant Gives 50% Discount to Jews and Arabs Who Share a Table

32-year-old Kobi Tzafrir has come up with the perfect peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – bonding over hummus! He’s offering a 50 percent discount to Arabs and Jews who choose to share the universally popular middle-eastern dish at his Tel Aviv restaurant, ‘Hummus Bar’.

“Afraid of Arabs? Afraid of Jews?” his Hebrew poster on Facebook reads. “We don’t have Arabs here, we don’t have any Jews either… BUT we have humans here! And we have excellent real Arabic hummus! And fine Jewish falafel!” He’s also offering “free refills for all hummus dishes, whether you’re “Arab, Jewish, Christian, Indian, etc.”

Kobi revealed that lots of Arabs and Jewish people have stopped by his restaurant ever since he rolled out the chick-‘peace’ offer last Tuesday. “If there’s anything that can bring together these peoples, it’s hummus,” he said. But he admitted that his patrons were more supportive of what the promotion stood for, rather than the discount itself. He told Al Jazeera that he wants to show the world not all Arabs and Jews support violence in the region.

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11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Sells Secure Account Passwords for $2 Each

11-year-old Mira Modi is cashing in on her knowledge of strong, easy-to-memorize passwords. She started her own online business earlier this month, selling hand-generated cryptographic passwords for $2 each!

“I’m a sixth-grade student in New York City,” Mira writes on her website. “This is my first business (other than occasional lemonade stands!). But I’m very excited about it and will be very responsible.” She also explains how Diceware, a decades-old password generating system, works: “You roll a die 5 times and write down each number. Then you look up the resulting five-digit number in the Diceware dictionary, which contains a numbered list of short words.”

The result, apparently, is a combination of five to eight words in a non-sensical string that is so random that it’s extremely difficult to crack. While a five-word string is breakable with “a thousand or so PCs equipped with high-end graphics processors,” an eight-word string “should be completely secure through 2050.”

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This Woman Can Actually Smell if Someone Has Parkinson’s Disease

Meet Joy Milne, a woman with a peculiar sense of smell. Scientists in Scotland recently learned that she can actually sniff out people with Parkinson’s disease!

“I could always smell things other people couldn’t smell,” Milne, 65 from Perth, said. But it wasn’t until much later that she began to correlate a particular ‘musky’ odor with Parkinson’s disease. She first got a whiff when her husband Les, an anesthesiologist who worked long hours, began to emit the peculiar smell. She brushed it off as sweat, but six years later, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  “His smell changed and it seemed difficult to describe,” she said. “It wasn’t all of a sudden. It was very subtle – a musky smell. I got an occasional smell.”

Milne still didn’t know that’s what she was smelling. It wasn’t until she attended a meeting for the charity Parkinson’s UK, where she found other patients sharing the same musky scent, that she made the connection. When she mentioned this observation to a few scientists in passing, they decided to investigate.

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African Pastor Sells Anointed Pens That Help Students Pass Exams without Studying

A pastor in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe was in the news recently for selling hundreds of special, ‘anointed’ pens to local students. Prophet Sham Hungwe claims that the miracle pens will help students pass exams without even studying!

“It is anointed and I declare passes when your children sit for exams; when you sit for exams,” he told members of the House of Grace International Church, during a sermon. And with the ‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams coming up, he managed to sell a lot of the 15-cent pens for different prices, ranging from $1 to $20. The more you pay, the higher the chances to pass the exams.

Several believers scrambled to secure the pens for themselves or their children, especially after one of the congregants testified that he scored 14 points on his ‘A’ level last year with Prophet Sham’s special pen. The testimony boosted sales, with one woman paying over $10 for a single pen.

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Chinese Professor Suggests Men with Lower Income Could Share Wives to Solve Bachelor Crisis

You can’t solve every problem with pure logic. Learning that the hard way is Zhejiang University economics professor Xie Zuoshi. He’s on the receiving end of a nation’s wrath after he suggested wife sharing to solve China’s gender imbalance issue.

News reports say that China’s gender ratio at birth is about 1.02 to 1.07 boys born for every girl, an imbalance created because of the one-child policy and the cultural preference for male children. As a result, men, especially in rural China, are finding it increasingly difficult to get married. In fact, the nation is expected to have 30 to 40 million bachelors by the year 2020.

In the face of such alarming statistics, Prof Xie wrote an essay highlighting what he believes is the most obvious solution – that men of lower incomes should share wives. He reasoned that the huge demand for wives would increase their value, making them unaffordable to poorer men. “Men with high incomes will have an advantage in finding women, because they can afford the high price,” he wrote. “And what about the low income men? One way is for several men to band together to find a wife.”

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Vivos – The Ultimate Doomsday Community Bunkers for the Rich and Paranoid

Lots of people are obsessed with the idea of a post-apocalyptic world, and playing to their fears and fantasies is Vivos – a company that creates luxurious Doomsday bunkers. Created by California entrepreneur Robert Vicino, the bunkers at are exclusively meant for those who can afford them, and deemed worthy of Vicino himself.

The company claims to own a network of underground shelters, but the exact locations are a carefully guarded secret. “Vivos is the only co-ownership community shelter network on the planet,” reads the marketing material, which assumes that the time for evacuation is fast approaching. “Limited space is still available for those that qualify. Members are now boarding. Don’t be left on the other side of the door.”

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Japan’s Newest Fashion Craze – Realistic Cat Bags That Cost More Than a Real Cat

Japanese designer Pico has combined her love of cats and handbags to create a line of highly realistic faux feline purses. The bags are shaped like furry, adorable kitties complete with individual markings, whiskers, and tails.

Each cat-bag is priced at about $500 to $700, but buyers don’t seem to mind the steep pricing at all. In fact, the designs are taking social media by storm with thousands of admirers scrambling to buy their own.

Each bag is hand-made by Pico herself – she sews the white faux fur together and then airbrushes the completed cats with acrylic paint to give them individual markings. Her most popular design is the black, white and caramel colored cat-bag with yellow eyes and a pink nose. She sells them at 83,000 yen ($685) apiece. The grey cat-bag, resembling a British Shorthair, is slightly cheaper at 66,000 yen ($545). She is currently working on a black cat design with a masculine face.

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Noodle Fan Has Tasted Over 5,600 Types of Ramen in the Last 20 Years

In his quest to discover the perfect instant noodle, Japanese ramen lover Toshio Yamamoto has tasted over 5,600 varieties from 40 countries, in the past two decades. He reviews every kind ramen he tries on his website and scores them on a scale of 1 to 5. The best rating he’s given out so far is a ‘4’.

On, 55-year-old Yamamoto offers detailed information on each of the 5,600 varieties of noodles he’s tasted, including the country of origin, cooking time, sodium content, calories, texture, and flavor. The website is hugely popular with thousands of fans around the world, and has recorded over 1.4 million hits since 1996. Some of his fans even send him packages of noodles from overseas.

“When you finish eating the noodles, the content will be gone even though the packaging remains,” Yamamoto explained. “I want to keep records of the content.” He also produces video reviews of instant noodles that he puts up on YouTube – they’ve gotten millions of hits as well. And his book, titled ‘Sokuseki Mencyclopedia’, features info on packets of instant noodles from around the world.

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