Startup Lets You Share a Hotel Room with a Stranger to Save Money

A new startup called The Winston Club is offering travelers the opportunity to book hotel rooms at just 50 percent of their cost. Obviously, there’s a catch – they have to be willing to share the room with complete strangers.

“We started Winston Club because we felt there should be an easy way for people to connect when they’d like a low-cost way to access the comfort and convenience of a hotel,” said founder Byron Shannon. “We wanted a safe, reliable, economical solution that provided a better experience than hostels or CouchSurfing alternatives.”

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The Artistic Water Tanks of Punjab

The state of Punjab, in northern India, is well known for its rich, vibrant culture, including great food, music, and dance. But what most people don’t know is that the Indian state is also home to some of the most extravagant water tanks in the world.

The concrete structures that the people of Punjab use to store water on the roofs of their houses are hardly ever ordinary-looking or boring. Instead, these ‘designer’ tanks come in a variety of unlikely shapes and sizes inspired by people’s interests and experiences. It’s not uncommon to see water tanks modeled after airplanes, army tanks, ships, birds, animals, and even humans!

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Millionaire Lends His Luxurious Mansions for $1 a Month to People Left Homeless by Tornadoes

A benevolent businessman from Texas has opened up two of his mansions to help house and rehabilitate the victims of the recent tornadoes that devastated the state. Ron Sturgeon, who is reportedly worth $75million, told affected families that they could live in his mansions for three months, at a meagre rent of $1 a month.

The two houses, reportedly worth $3.5million, are currently unoccupied and up for sale. Sturgeon himself was in Jamaica on vacation when the tornadoes struck north Texas last week. When he returned, he decided to put the mansions to good use.

“Does anyone have friends or relatives that lost their home in Garland or other city that needs housing?” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have a 10,000sf home in Colleyville (empty for sale) that I will loan to someone to stay in for up to three months. And an extra car they can use. No charge. The home is big enough for two families. The home is pet friendly with a 10 car garage to store belongings in.”

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Japanese Fashion Designer Has Her 93-Year-Old Cool Grandma Model Her Creations

Meet Emiko, a supercool granny taking the Japanese fashion industry by storm. At age 93, she’s got the spunk and energy of a six-year-old, and she’s positively adorable as she models her granddaughter Chinami Mori’s colorful creations.

Chinami is a fashion designer from Osaka, who specialises in Saori – a freestyle hand-weaving technique that produces playful, unpatterned garments. She uses lots of bright, colorful fabric and yarn to create whimsical clothing and accessories like hats, scarves, bags, tops, and more at her studio. Saori is based on the idea that anything goes and what’s important is heart. “There are no rules,” she explained. “I can weave as freely and colorfully as I want.”

Emiko, who Chinami describes as her “favorite person in the world,” would stop by at the studio every day just to spend time with her. Eventually, she started trying on a few of the clothes and accessories that her granddaughter made. And Chinami realised that she’d found her perfect model for her designs. So she got Emiko to pose and took a few photographs, later posting them on Instagram. The response of her fans was overwhelmingly positive and the 93-year-old grandmother has become a regular feature on the designer’s Instagram account, attracting new followers with each new photo she posts.

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This Tiny Gadget Could One Day Replace Your Washing Machine

Washing machines could soon become obsolete, thanks to this tiny, portable washing device. It looks like a harmless little bar of soap, but ‘Dolfi’ is a high-tech gadget that uses ultrasonic technology to convert a bucket or a sink anywhere in the world into a dirt-busting washing machine.

To use Dolfi, all you’ve got to do is fill a sink with water, add dirty clothes and detergent, and drop the device in as well. Switch it on and stand back as it emits powerful ultrasonic waves that travel through water, creating, high pressure bubbles. The bubbles implode creating strong jets of water that push the detergent through the fabric removing dirt and stains. The entire process lasts just 30 minutes.

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French Bakers Hide Two Diamonds in Their Pastry to Boost Sales

In a bid to attract more customers and boost sales, a husband-and-wife baker duo in France have decided to hide diamonds in their pastry products. Nicolas Lelut, 35, and his wife Julie, 30, are expecting a mad rush outside their bakeries – ‘Délices de Belleville’ in Paris, and ‘L’Amandine’ in Custines, where the two diamond-containing pastries will go on sale among 800 ‘plain’ ones.

The promotional sale is all set to take place on January 6, on the occasion of The Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the incarnation of God the Son as Jesus Christ. Customers who visit either Délices de Belleville bakery on the day will have a 0.25 percent chance of winning a 0.20-carat diamond worth 600 euros. The pastry at Délices de Belleville will contain a white diamond, while the one at L’Amandine will carry a blue one. Both the rocks have been provided and certified by a reliable local jeweler.

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Bar Themed After Seinfeld’s George Constanza Opens in Melbourne

A new bar in Melbourne is dedicated entirely to the balding and temperamental Seinfeld character George Costanza. ‘George’s Bar’, located in the north-east suburb of Fitzroy, features Costanza-inspired decor, including posters and quotes. A sign outside the bar even encourages patrons to ‘Be more like George’.

The owners came up with the idea because they like Seinfeld and couldn’t get over how perfect George was as a bar theme. “I think he is probably the most suited of any of the characters,” explained co-owner Dave Barrett. “His humour is fairly dark and dry and fits in with a bar, it probably works more than any of the other characters would.”

“Also, when we were developing this new venue, one of the names we came up with was George’s, and we to some extent worked backwards on ways to market that and so to some extent that is where George Costanza came into it as well,” he added. Their marketing strategy has apparently worked – barely two weeks after opening, stories about the quirky theme have gone viral online.

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Back-Hair Art – Man Uses Bushy Back as a Canvas for Art

Meet Mike Wolfe, the man who has not only embraced his bushy back, but also uses it as a means of creative expression. He comes up with quirky designs and gets his old friend Tyler Harding to ‘manscape’ them into his back hair every few months.

Up until a few years ago, Mike, like millions of other men, was embarrassed by the thick overgrowth on his back and felt compelled to get rid of it. In fact, he was actually afraid to admit it to his wife on their first date 16 years ago.

“He said, ‘I have to tell you something,’” recalled Jamie, Mike’s wife. “And I’m kind of getting nervous, my heart’s beating a little bit. He leans over and whispers, ‘I’ve got back hair.’”

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Kamikatsu – Japan’s Aspiring Zero-Waste Town

We’ve heard many stories of individuals across the world who’ve adopted a zero-waste lifestyle, but it’s not often that we come across an entire community that is trying to become waste-free. The residents of Kamikatsu, Japan, take recycling so seriously that they actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.

Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks – so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins. It apparently took some time for the residents to get used to this rule, but they eventually managed to adapt to the drastic changes and  are now seeing them as normal.  

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Meet the ‘Detanglers’ – A Community of People Who Love Untangling Yarn Disasters

If tangled headphone and charger cords irritate you, you’re never going to understand this group’s passion for knotted yarn. These devoted ‘detanglers’ are part of an online community called ‘Knot a Problem’, dedicated to untangling the most complicated yarn disasters. They love untangling so much that some are actually willing to pay money in exchange for your knottiest balls of yarn.

Daphne Basnet, from Melbourne, once spent $50 on eBay for a 25-pound box of hopelessly twisted string, just for something fun to do. That was before she even knew of the existence of the Knot a Problem. It took her five long weeks to ‘detangle’ the 120 balls of yarn-worth of knotted mess, a time that she looks back on fondly. “I was so happy, I can’t tell you,” she recalled.

Later, Basnet found out about a whole community of knot-lovers like herself formed within an online group of knitters and crocheters called Ravelry. Frustrated knitters post messages calling for help with their messed up and often expensive yarn, and Knot a Problem always comes to the rescue. They willingly offer to untangle the mess for free, just so long as shipping costs are covered. Sometimes the competition for tangled yarn projects gets so crazy that detanglers check for posts multiple times a day. “People will jump in and say, ‘Send it to me!’” said Mary Enright, a 56-year-old detangler and Knot a Problem member.

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3D Printing Foundation Pen Promises to Exactly Match Your Skin Tone

With the Adorn 3D makeup pen you will apparently no longer have to worry about the dreary mission of hunting for the right shade of foundation. This revolutionary gadget is a scanner-3D printer combo that uses its inbuilt sensors to accurately scan and precisely match the color of your skin regardless of ethnicity and skin tone, even in total darkness.

“They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” an Adorn spokesperson said. “We like to say it’s in one clever pen. No longer will ladies have to settle for coverage that’s too light or dark. With Adorn, they can print catwalk worthy coverage, at the touch of a button.”

According to the company’s website, the device is so accurate that you’ll never be able to tell the difference. It first scans the user’s face and matches the detected shade to its database of over 75,000 tones. Once the scan is complete, it lets out a small beep, and then prints foundation of that exact color from its pre-filled foundation cartridge onto your fingertips ready to be applied.

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The Chinese Hospital That Became a Permanent Home for Its Patients

What started off as a hospital in the 1960s in eastern China’s Wuyi County has, over the years, transformed into a self-sufficient commune where patients and their families live with the medical staff in perfect harmony. 36 patients have made Yangjia Hospital their permanent residence, working alongside their family members to grow their own crops and cook their own food, while receiving medical treatment for their illnesses.

The hospital was founded nearly five decades ago by the state-run Dongying quarrying company for its workers, who ended up with an occupational lung disease known as pneumoconiosis. When the company went bankrupt in 2000, the local government took over its administration and continued to pay the doctors and staff. But funds were tight and many of the 400-odd patients ended up moving to other hospitals. The number of patients continued to dwindle until only 36 remained. Some of their family members live with them, at an additional cost of 6 yuan ($1) per night.

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Abandoned Greyhound Acts as Guide and Protector for His Blind Sister

A couple of animal shelter workers in the municipality of Navalcamero, near Madrid, Spain, recently came across the most heartwarming sight – a five-month old greyhound helping his blind sister cross the road. The two dogs were apparently moving very slowly through traffic, with the female resting her head on the male’s back. When the two women approached the dogs to help them out, they were visibly nervous, but the male greyhound stuck with his sister instead of running away to safety.

The women quickly realised that the female greyhound was visually impaired because she had thin white films over both eyes. They eventually took the canine pair to the shelter where they work and ran a few health tests, confirming that she was indeed blind. Further tests revealed that the female became blind as a result of a virus, and that her condition might be treatable. It seems that the two pups have been abandoned and have stuck with each other since then, with the male acting as his sister’s guide, never leaving her side and protecting her from danger. Caregivers at the ‘El Refugio’ dog shelter have named the female ‘Blinder’, and her brother ‘Pisper’.

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Man Turns Decade-Worth of Fingernail Clippings into What He Calls Art

45-year-old Mike Drake has been doing something bizarre in the name of art for over a decade – he’s been collecting all his fingernail clippings, stuffing them in paperweights, and selling them for $300 to $500 apiece!

The Queens resident started the strange practice 11 years ago: “I used to bite my nails, and I wondered how long they could grow,” he told The Huffington Post. “And then I wondered how much I might be able to accumulate.” So he collected his nail clippings in a Ziploc baggie for about a year, and was about to throw them out when inspiration struck. He decided to do something ‘artistic’ with them.

“I realised I went to all that effort, and I figured, in for a penny, in for a pound. I already worked with acrylics as a hobby so I decided to make paperweights.”

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These Floating Trashcans Could be the Answer to Cleaning Polluted Oceans

A couple of Australian surfers have come up with a creative solution to clean up polluted oceans – they’ve designed an automated trashcan that can suck up floating garbage, right from plastic bottles, to paper, oils, fuel, detergent and more.

Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, who spent their childhood around the ocean, said they were frustrated with the increasing amount of rubbish they encountered in the water. So they quit their jobs to design a prototype bin in Perth, with the help of seed investors Shark Mitigation Systems. Once ‘Seabin’ was ready, they introduced it in Mallorca, Spain, the marina capital of Europe. They’re now trying to raise more money through crowd funding for commercial production. The idea’s been very well received – they’ve already raised over $70,000 and a Seabin promo video has attracted over 10 million views.

So how does it work? Seabin, a cylinder made from recycled materials, is fixed to a dock with a water pump running on shore power. It floats upright with the open end level with the water’s surface. The pump creates a flow of water into the bin, sucking in all the floating rubbish into a natural fibre bag and then pumping clean water back out. “It essentially works as a similar concept to a skimmer box from your pool filter,” explained Richard Talmage, a spokesperson for ‘Seabin’. “But it’s designed on a scale to work and essentially attract all that rubbish within a location within a marine harbour.”

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