The Asparamancer – Woman Claims to Predict the Future Using Asparagus

Jemima Packington, from Bath, UK, claims to be the world’s only ‘asparamancer’, a term coined by one of her friends to reflect her unique talent of telling the future using asparagus.

The asparamancer says she started practicing asparagus fortunetelling when she was just eight years old, after seeing her grandmother practice with tea leaves. She tried using other plants, including broccoli, but none worked as well as asparagus, which she describes as the most accurate. Jemima is aware that most people see her fortunetelling technique as silly, or plain stupid, but she claims that her rate of success has been quite impressive over the years.

“I was the first person to predict that Gordon Brown – former British Prime Minister – would leave high level politics some twelve months before anyone else!,” 61-year-old told The Telegraph last year. “Last year my predictions were 99 per cent accurate, with four coming true within the first week of the New Year.” That does sound impressive, but as some people have already pointed out, her predictions are generally, well, very general.

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The Krispy Kreme Black Market of Juarez

Up until a few years ago, the Mexican border city of Juarez was considered one of the most dangerous in the world due to the violent drug trafficking cartels operating in the area. Today, Juarez is a much safer place, but there’s still some trafficking going on, involving something just as addictive as illegal drugs – Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Let’s face it, the whole of the United States is obsessed with glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and things are apparently not much different south of the border. The American company first started operating in Mexico in 2004, setting up shop in virtually every major city, Juarez included. People absolutely loved them, so when Krispy Kreme decided to shut down its operations in Juarez due to the violent drug war that was taking place in the city, they had to come up with alternative ways of getting their hands on their favorite sweet treats. When boarding a plane out of Mexico City, it’s not uncommon to see people holding boxes of Krispy Kreme boxes for family and friends in places that don’t have their own shops. But what if you don’t have anyone to bring you such gifts, or if you need a constant supply of delicious glazed doughnuts? You turn to the local doughnut black market, of course.

Yes, there is such a thing as a Krispy Kreme black market in Juarez, and it’s apparently booming. Local entrepreneurs with U.S. visas drive to El Paso, Texas and buy dozens of boxes of doughnuts, which they later sell to doughnut junkies back home at a slightly higher price. Whereas most Krispy Kreme fans saw the closing of the local shop as a tragedy, these people saw it as an opportunity to fill a void, and supplement their income while making many people happy.

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Indian Engineer Spends the Last Five Years Collecting over 50 Kilograms of Nails from City Road

Benedict Jebakumar is a man on a mission. Ever since 2012 he has dedicated his free time to sweeping Bangalore’s Outer Ring Road of metal nails deliberately put there by nearby tire puncture shops to boost their profits. In the last five years, the Indian engineer claims to have collected over 50 kilograms of metal nails from the road.

It all started when Benedict Jebakumar realized that he would often have to deal with a punctured car tire when taking the Outer Ring Road from his home in Banashankari to his office, or vice-versa. He didn’t think much of it at first, but then he noticed the many tire repair shops lining the roads, most of which were often busy fixing the tires of seemingly unlucky motorists. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that whenever he got a flat tire it would always be because of metal nails conveniently located close to one of these puncture repair shops. He went to the local authorities to report his findings and ask them to take action, but they didn’t seem to eager to help. That’s when he decided it was up to him to keep the roads clean for himself and other drivers.

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Family Looking for Nanny to Join Them on Trip Around the World Receives over 19,000 Applications

M’Kenzie and Derek Tillotson, of Utah, USA, are planning to embark on an epic trip around the world with their three young children, and are looking for a travel nanny to assist them on their journey. They posted a Facebook video hoping to get a few dozen applications, but ended up with messages from nearly 20,000 people hoping to get the job.

The couple runs a family travel blog called ‘Five Take Flight’ and recently decided to sell their home in Utah and go on an unforgettable adventure around the world.  They plan to leave in July, flying from their home in Utah to New York City, then to Iceland, and the rest of Europe. They’ll return to their home city for a two weeks over Christmas, before flying to Hawaii, New Zealand, and finally Asia. It sounds like an incredible experience, but it’s also going to be pretty tough to manage with three kids, which is why they’ve decided to take someone to travel with them and lend a hand when necessary.

“We’re looking for somebody who’s going to love our children as much as we do, even when they’re acting like this,” M’Kenzie says in the video, while two of their children goof around in front of the camera. “You’ll be an honorary member of the family and will be treated with respect and be able to voice your opinion.” The travel nanny will be required to handle most of the homeschooling for the couple’s two boys, while also looking after their baby sister and also handle some of the cooking and cleaning.

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New York Restaurant Serves $2,000 Pizza Covered in Edible 24K Gold

Pizza has long been regarded as the food of the people; It’s cheap, easy to make and tastes amazing. But that doesn’t apply to all pizzas. For example, a restaurant in New York City serves a pizza that only the 1% can afford. It’s priced at $2,000 and comes covered in strips of edible 24K gold.

The Industry Kitchen restaurant in New York’s South Street Seaport was inspired by the nearby Financial District, which attracts the wealthy from all over the world, to create the “epitome of decadence” pizza. It’s officially called ‘the fance’za’, but epitome of decadence sounds much more appropriate. This outrageously expensive treat consists of a black pie made with squid ink, Stilton cheese imported from England, Foie Gras and truffles from France, Ossetra caviar harvested from the Caspian Sea, edible flowers, and lost of edible 24K gold strips and flakes from Ecuador.

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Woman Tries to Smuggle Boyfriend Out of Prison in a Suitcase

A Venezuelan woman was caught trying to get her detained boyfriend out of Puente Ayala prison by packing him in a large suitcase. They almost got away with it too, but guards became suspicious after seeing the woman struggling with the suitcase.

25-year-old Antonieta Robles Souda arrived at the Puente Ayala prison in Barcelona, Venezuela, last week, to visit her boyfriend, José Antonio Anzoátegui, who serving a sentence of 9 years and 8 months for car theft. She had brought their six year-old daughter and a large pink suitcase, which is not at all uncommon for overnight stays by family members in South American prison. Little did the guards know that Souda and Anzoátegui were planning to leave the prison together the next day, as a big happy family.

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World’s First Vibrating Jeans Act as a Wearable GPS

French company Spinalli Design has recently unveiled a collection of smart vibrating jeans that connect to your smartphone to provide directions to your destination. Equipped with sensors on each side, the Essential jeans vibrate every time you need to turn left or right.

Recently featured at the 2016 CES show in Las Vegas, the Spinalli Design Essential jeans have been dubbed the dumbest ‘smart’ invention out of the consumer electronics show. Essentially, what it tries to do is eliminate the need to constantly check your phone when trying to use satellite navigation in an unknown neighborhood. All you need to do is pair the jeans with your smartphone, turn on the GPS feature, and let the jeans guide you to your destination. They do this via a couple of sensors located on each side, which vibrate alternatively every time you need to turn left or right. If you’re going the wrong way, both sensors vibrate at the same time. “This technology provides an easier, and above all more intuitive option to help you find your car or your meeting place, for example,” the Spinalli Design website explains.

The Essential jeans have a built-in, non-removable battery that the French company claims should last four years if you use the GPS feature once a week. If you use it less than that, it should last more.

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Startup Creates Stain and Odour-Resistant Cotton Shirts

Let’s face it, red wine and sweat are the bane of stylish clothing. No matter how careful you try to be, you can only dodge wine stains for so long, and there’s really no escaping those yellowish sweat stains around the armpits. They’ll make you throw away an otherwise perfectly good shirt, but there’s really no other way around it. Or is there?

Amsterdam-based startup Labfresh claims to have come up with a range of cotton shirt and ties that make all sorts of problematic stains a non-issue. Not only that, but it supposedly prevents any smells from adhering to the fabric and is wrinkle resistant, requiring only minimal ironing. It sounds too good to be true, but Labfresh founders Kasper Brandi Petersen and Lotte Fink claim that their innovative INDUO technology can do all that and more, while preserving the cotton shirts’ natural feel.

“It is like cotton, but better!” Labfresh claims. “The INDUO technology blocks out all fluid and bacteria before it enters the fabric. Therefore you can rinse off almost any substance with ease. To achieve this we work on every aspect of the fabric – from the cotton selected to the way the yarns are spun and then woven. Our cotton is also treated so that the fibers are transformed to their very core, unlike other existing technologies, which can remain on the surface and wash off.”

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Adult Adoption – The Secret to Preserving Centuries-Old Japanese Family Businesses

Japan has one of the highest adoption rates in the world, with over 80,000 legal adoptions recorded every year. Yet when it comes to adopting children, the Asian country is lagging way behind most developed countries. That’s because around 98% of Japanese adoptees are bright young men in their 20s and 30s.

At the same time, while studies have shown that family-controlled businesses are generally unsustainable over long periods of time –  mostly due to the fact that business acumen and intelligence are only partially inherited – it’s interesting to see that not only are a third of Japanese corporations family-run, but they are also clearly outperforming professionally managed companies in almost every way. Statistics show that family firms are more profitable, have a higher market valuation and increased sales compared to their rivals. Even more curious is that giants like Suzuki, Toyota or Matsui Securities have managed to keep it all in the family for over a hundred years, and other family businesses for even longer than that.

But what does the remarkable success of family business have to do with the high rate of adult adoption, right? Well, in Japan at least, these two curiosities are very closely linked. Prior to the Second World War, civil code in Japan decreed family wealth could only be passed down through male lines, traditionally to the first born son. So families with no male heirs or with sons deemed unsuitable to take over the family business turned to adoption, but not the kind most of us are used to. Instead of simply adopting a baby or a young boy, they adopted young men who displayed the intelligence and knowledge of business required to ensure that their name and legacy endured until the next generation. And while the law no longer prohibits people from passing down their fortune to female heirs, the age-old tradition of electing a ‘mukoyoshi’ (or ‘adopted son-in-law’) is still very popular in Japan.

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Body Marbling Turns Your Arms into Temporary Psychedelic Works of Art

Body Marbling stations have been popping up at festivals across the United States and people are already calling it the future of body art. It’s based on a centuries-old technique called marbling, which involves applying colors to the surface of water and imprinting the designs on various surfaces, from paper and fabric to metal. But one company has figured out a way to make it work on human skin, and the results are visually stunning.

Body Marbling is the brainchild of College for Creative Studies (CCS) alumni Brad Lawrence. Diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in his wrists at the age of 23, he could no longer practice his biggest passions, drawing and sculpting, but he didn’t let that stop him from expressing his artistic talent. Motivated by his friend and Purple Heart Marine, Michael Zach, Brad got into abstract painting as a form of therapy, and started experimenting with marbling. Together, they started Black Light Visuals, a company that relies on marbling to create all kinds of “trippy” looking products, from hats and shirts to bags and backpacks. In 2013, they introduced body marbling at the Electric Forest Festival, which allowed people to turn their arms into psychedelic artworks for a few hours. Everybody loved it, and since then Body Light Visuals marbling stations have become popular at festivals all across the U.S..

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Singapore Woman Has Spent the Last 8 Years Living in an Airport While Renting Out Her Own Apartment

A 50-year-old woman has apparently been living in Changi Airport, Singapore, for the last eight years, despite owning her own three-room apartment, which she rents out for about $1,000 a month.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Singapore newspaper Lianhe Wanbao that she moved into Changi Airport in 2008, after being hit hard by the global financial crisis. “At the time, I was stuck in a rut and had no other choice,” she said, adding that in the beginning she was terrified by the idea of living in an airport, and only planned to do it for a short period of time, until she got back on her feet. She rented out her three-room apartment and leaned to survive in an environment that she quickly learned provides a person with pretty much everything they need. She apparently became quite comfortable with her new home, as those few nights she originally planned for turned into eight years.

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Man Has Spent the Last 40 Years Living Alone in Colorado Ghost Town Recording All Kinds of Useful Data

For the past four decades, billy barr – he insists his name be written with lower case letters only – has been living by himself in Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town deserted since the 1920s, passing the time by recording all sorts of data, from daily snowfalls, temperatures, snow melting, animal sightings, etc.. He never imagined that the results of his 40-year hobby would one day help scientists better understand global warming and earn him a cool superhero name – The Snow Guardian.

billy bar first came to Gothic in 1972 as a Rutgers University environmental science student doing water chemistry research. He liked the quiet life here so much that he completed his semester to get his degree and became a permanent resident of the mountainous ghost town. He had grown up in New Jersey, but never really liked being surrounded by so many people, so moving to this secluded ghost town was a chance to get away from social pressure. “I grew up in the city. It was too much for me,” he says.

barr began the winter of 1974 camping in a tent, which is not exactly ideal in a place where snow reaches twenty-five feet a year. Luckily, the owner of an abandoned mining shack was kind enough to let billy move in, to keep him from freezing to death. It became his home for the next eight years, and also the place where he started his impressive database on snow. The modern-day hermit claims that the sole goal behind his epic journal was to fight boredom. There’s not a lot to do in a ghost town in winter time, so he just started monitoring things like daily snowfalls, snow density, temperature, and anything else he could measure. “I didn’t have anything else to do. It was simple curiosity,” billy says.

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Woman Unknowingly Prays to ‘Lord of the Rings’ Figurine for Years

A great-grandmother from Brazil has accidentally been praying to a figurine of Elrond, and elf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, after mistaking it for Saint Anthony, the late Portuguese priest and patron saint of lost things.

Gabriela Brandão, a make-up artist from Florianópolis, Brazil, made this hilarious discovery last week, posting a series of photos of the Elrond figurine on Facebook. “My daughter’s great-grandmother prays to this figure of Saint Anthony every day, but looking more closely…,” she wrote. She had noticed that something wasn’t right about the figurine, so she started doing some online research. She managed to find an exact replica on an online store, which listed it as Elrond, an Elven character from The Lord of the Rings fantasy universe. She called it the “funniest discovery of 2016.”

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Scammer Makes Seven Figures Buying Luxury Bags Online and Returning Chinese Fakes for Full Refunds

A Thai woman living in Virgina was recently convicted for masterminding an elaborate designer purse scheme that involved buying hundreds of authentic accessories online and returning Chinese knock-offs for full refunds. She would then sell the originals on sites like eBay, for about $2,000 each.

Over a number of years, 41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, a preschool teacher in Arlington County, used an ingenious scam to supplement her day-job paycheck. She would buy high end bags like Gucci, Burberry and Fendi online, and then return fake ones she had specially made in China and Hong Kong. Court documents revealed that in order to cover her trail, she traveled to over 60 T.J. Maxx stores in 12 states, to return the bags, and used 16 different credit cards when making new purchases. Smatsorabudh’s scheme was so incredibly successful that at one point she was T.J. Maxx’s number one online client in the world.

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China’s Increasing “Bride Price” Makes Marriage Virtually Impossible for Poor Bachelors

The shortage of women caused by China’s one-child policy, combined with the country’s economic boom over the last two decades have made marriage a grim prospect for poor men in rural regions. These two factors have bumped up the “bride price” to hundreds of thousands of yuan, sometimes even millions, obscene amounts that most men can’t hope of raising without taking a bank loan.

The bride price is a a centuries-old Chinese tradition that survived and even thrived in the Communist era. It’s similar to the Western tradition of dowry, only it requires a prospective groom to pay the family of the bride for permission to marry her. In the 60’s and 70’s, the bride price was paid in modest gifts ranging from a simple thermos to bedding. During the 80’s television sets and refrigerators were popular gifts offered as bride prices, but since the economy started to grow in the 1990’s, the payment switched to hard cash and the sums demanded by the family of the bride have been rising ever since.

But perhaps the best explanation for the ever-increasing bride price is the gender inequality in China. During the days of the one-child policy, the preference for males strong enough to work and later look after their elderly parents led to a huge increase in sex-selective abortion and even infanticide of female babies. As a result, Harvard researchers claim that today there are 118 men for every 100 women in China, and the proportion is actually worse in poor rural regions.

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