If You Need a Question Answered and Google Is Down, There’s a Number You Can Call

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Ever wonder what life was like before internet search engines like Google? How did people get answers to all-important questions like ‘what’s the average life expectancy of a frog’, or ‘is there a full moon every night in Acapulco?’ Many of them turned to the ‘ask a librarian’  phone service of the New York Public Library, and, believe it or not, some of them still do it today.

They are called the “human google”, a team of real-life people whose main purpose while on the job is to search 120-years worth of archives and provide answers to some of the strangest, most complicated questions available. Set up during the 1940s, when search engines and the internet weren’t even ideas yet, the Ask NYPL department is made up of nine librarians and information assistants who cater to the needs of people who don’t have access to modern technology or simply prefer to interact with another human being.

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Would You Change Your Name to ‘iPhone Seven’ for an iPhone 7?

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A brand new iPhone 7 costs as much as four and a half average salaries in Ukraine, but a local retailer is giving Apple fans the chance to get one for free, by simply changing their names to “iPhone Seven”.

Allo.ua, Ukraine’s largest mobile phone retailer, is currently running a very unusual iPhone 7 giveaway. The company is asking people to legally change their first name to ‘iPhone’ and their last name to ‘Seven’ for the chance to win Apple’s latest handheld. Participants must first visit their State Registry of Civil Status Acts and fill out an application to officially change their name. Once their new ID is issued, they have to take a selfie with it and send the photo to Allo.ua as confirmation of the name change. If they are among the first five people to have successfully changed their name to ‘iPhone Seven’, they qualify to receive an actual 32GB iPhone 7, and will be invited to visit by an Allo store, show their official ID, and pick up their prize.

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Man Tries to Surprise Wife with Pokemon Plush Toys, Almost Destroys His Marriage

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A thoughtful husband in Singapore recently ended up fighting to save his marriage after buying three Pokemon plush toys as a surprise for his wife, a big Pokemon Go fan.

The poor guy, known only by his handle – featherlit – on online marketplace Carousell, posted an ad on October 12, pleading with people to get three Snorlax plushies off his hands and help him save his marriage. In the item description section, he wrote how he decided to buy the adorable plush toys for his wife, as she was always talking about how “cute and dumb” the Pokemon character looked. So without giving the much thought, he went online and ordered three plush Snorlax figures.

Featherlit was expecting to receive miniature versions of the Pokemon that they could set on the living-room coffee table as decorations, but to his great surprise, the three Snorlaxes tuned out to be life-sized, with each one measuring around 1.5 meters tall. But that was nothing compared to the shock he got when his wife flew into a rage, after seeing most of their living space taken up by the huge plush toys. He was forced to put them up for sale, after the spouse threatened “to move back to her mom’s home” if he didn’t get rid of them.

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Brewers Legally Change Their Names to Elvis to Avoid Legal Action from Presley Estate

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The two founders of Scottish brewery BrewDog have both legally changed their names to ‘Elvis’ after being threatened with legal action by the Presley Estate over their grapefruit and blood orange IPA, called Elvis Juice.

Formerly known as James Watt and Martin Dickie, the two Elvises sought to prove that their new name is not exclusive, so they went ahead and got their birth names legally changed, by deed poll. In a witty response to the King of Rocks and Roll’s estate, the two write:  “We’re caught in a trap and suggest the grey-suited hound dogs at the Presley Estate recognise that the name Elvis is not exclusive. So in an effort to patch it up, we’ve changed our names to highlight our burning love for the best grapefruit IPA out there. From this point forward, Elvis Juice is named after us, the brewers formerly known as James and Martin. We may even file a case against Mr Presley for using our names on all his records without our written permission.”

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Japan’s “Poop Man” Teaches People How to Not Give a Crap

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For the past five years, Akihiko Koseki, has been putting on his bright yellow spandex suit and trademark poo-shaped hat, and going out on the streets of Tokyo to put a smile on people’s faces and teach them to be happier by not giving a crap.

In the beginning, Poop Man was merely a cheap marketing tool. Akihiko Koseki is an experienced mobile game developer who a few years ago came up with an idea for a game called Poo Pride. He had no money to promote it and decided that turning himself into a walking billboard for his game was the cheapest and at the same time most effective way of raising awareness about his game. So he had a yellow spandex suit and poop-shaped hat made, plastered the Poo Pride logo on his chest and started walking around as Poop Man. He’s been doing it for the last five years.

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Scented Candle That Smells Like New Apple Mac Computer Sold Out in Two Hours

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Twelve South, an American company that specializes in Apple product accessories, recently launched a scented candle that it claims captures the specific smell of a newly-opened Apple computer.

Called “New Mac”, the unique scented candle has notes of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin and sage, which combined closely mimic the smell of a fresh new Apple product. It is made entirely of soy wax “hand poured” in South Carolina, where Twelve South is based. New Mac will burn for 45-55 hours, constantly filling the room with its special scent, which the company claims is longer than the small of an actual new Mac lasts. And, best of all, you can simply pay $24 for a new one, instead of hundreds or thousands of dollars for a new Apple computer.

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Norwegian Rocker Forced to Serve on Local Council after Accidentally Winning Election

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Gylve Nagell, a member of a Norwegian rock band, only agreed to run for local councilor in his hometown of Kolbotn only as a backup, thinking it would help boost voter turnout. He never wanted to win, and to make sure he didn’t, Nagell’s campaign posters showed him holding his pet cat, with the caption “Please Don’t Vote for Me”. It didn’t work the way he had planned.

Gylve, better known as Fenriz, half of Norwegian heavy metal band Darkthrone, will be required to attend important council meetings and listen to his constituents’ complaints, after winning a seat on the Kolbotn local council. The news came as a huge surprise to the young musician, as he claims he only agreed to run after officials in Kolbotn asked him to do it in an effort to boost voter numbers. “Basically, they called and asked if I wanted to be on the list [of backup representatives]. I said yeah, thinking I would be like 18th on the list and I wouldn’t really have to do anything,” he told music site Clrvynt.

He never made any effort to win, but as the actual election approached, Fenriz says he started to get a feeling that he might actually end up a councilor against his will. So he tried to very openly sabotage his own campaign by using a photo of himself holding his pet cat with the caption “Please Don’t Vote for Me” as a poster. But his hometown was apparently so impressed by his lack of interest for the official position that they voted for him overwhelmingly. “People just went nuts,” as he puts it.

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Student Earns Whole Class a Perfect Score on Chemistry with Epic Paper Ball Toss

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An Ohio State University student became the most popular kid in school last week after winning his whole class a perfect score on their first chemistry quiz with an amazing paper ball toss.

Every year, Dr. Christopher Callam, an organic chemistry professor at Ohio State University, gives his whole class a chance to ace their first quiz without even studying. He’s apparently a very hands on kind of guy who likes to demonstrate how chemistry works. To help his students better understand acid base chemistry and proton donors and acceptors, he throws a paper ball in to the crowd and if the person who catches it can toss it all across the class and into the trash can, he gives everyone a perfect score on the quiz.

This year, the hopes of dozens of nervous students rested on the shoulders of Vinny Forte, from Richmond Heights, and he more than lived up to their expectations. A phone-recorded video shot by fellow student Rachel Brown shows Forte making the one-in-a-million shot and throwing the entire class into a frenzy.

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Man Literally Breaks Internet to Prevent Embarrassing Photo from Leaking Online

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Aware that once something is on the internet, it says on the internet, a man from Weifang, China’s Shandong province, actually destroyed the physical internet infrastructure in his neighborhood to prevent some embarrassing photos of himself from appearing online.

The man, only identified as Liu, had only recently arrived in Weifang in search of a job, when he attended neighborhood square dance. The popular activity is usually associated with middle-aged women, but that didn’t bother him. At least, not until he noticed bystanders laughing and taking photos of him showing his dancing skills. He quickly left the event after that, but couldn’t shake the feeling that the people who had photographed him would share the embarrassing photos online.

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Stolen Rubber Duck Returned to Family after Mysterious 5-Year-Long Globetrotting Adventure

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Five years after it was stolen from the yard of a home in the Hamptons and taken on an epic journey around the world, a large rubber duck has finally been returned to its rightful owners, although the mystery of who abducted it in the first place remains a mystery.

The large, yellow rubber duck came to the Troiano family about 10 years ago, when their daughter Alicia received as a gift from a neighbor for whom she babysat. She name it Baldie and enjoyed putting it in a makeshift pond that filled up on rainy days, as a lawn decoration. One day, five years ago, Baldie mysteriously disappeared, but the Troioanos didn’t think too much of it. At least not until a few months later when they received a postcard supposedly written by the ducky, postmarked from Kuwait City. In it, the rubber duck told the family of her travels to Amsterdam , Honduras and various other locations around the Middle East, instructing them to follow its travels on a Facebook page called “Gale Ducky”.

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Trucker Finds Love after Texting Phone Number Scrawled on Public Toilet Wall

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It may not be the classic fairy-tale romance, but the story of how a British 51-year-old trucker met the love of his live is definitely one for the books. Believe it or not, he just found her number scrawled on the wall of a public toilet.

They say love happens when you least expect it, and that was certainly the case for Mark Ellis, a trucker from Brighhouse, West Yorkshire. He was on his way to meet his friends for a drink at a pub in Garfoth when he decided to stop at a public restroom. While going about his business, he noticed a raunchy message scrawled on one of the toilet walls – “If you want a good shag call Donna on . . . [phone number]”. Mark apparently founded very intriguing, because he ended up texting the mysterious number with the message “Hi. What are you up to?” “I was curious to know if it was a real human being,” he recently told The Sun newspaper. “We still laugh about it.”

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Introducing Pooper – An Uber-Like App for Dog Poop

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If you’re too busy or squeamish to pick up after your dog, you’re going to love this new smartphone app that connects you to someone willing to do it for you, for a fee.

A service that allows you to call someone to pick up your dog’s poop sounds unreal, which is probably why the announcement of Pooper has been met with skepticism. Articles claiming that the app is most likely fake have prompted the creators of Pooper to issue a statement saying that their service is real, but they are fine with all the doubts as long as it spreads the word and attracts more investors.

Here’s how Pooper works: after installing the app on a smartphone and opting for one of the monthly payment plans, a dog owner (referred to as “pooper”) can take a photo of the dog’s excrement, pinpoint its location on a digital map and call on a nearby “scooper” to come pick it up. They are then free to leave knowing that the dog’s business will be taken care of. You can opt to pay $15 a months for two scoops a day in 15-mile scoop radius, $25 for three scoops a day in a 30-mile radius, or $35 for unlimited scoops in an unlimited radius.

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Who Needs Deodorant When You Have a Japanese Armpit Fan?

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With summers getting hotter every year, keeping your armpits dry is quite the challenge. While many of use still rely on deodorants, the quirky Japanese have come up with a high-tech alternative worthy of their reputation for crazy inventions – clip-on armpit fans.

Developed by Japanese gadget maker Thanko, the Waki no Shita Kura (Japanese for Under the Armpit Cooling Device) is a small fan that clips to your sleeve to deliver cooling blasts of air to your armpits. The device is powered by three AAA batteries and can keep your armpits nice and dry for five to nine hours, depending on which of the three speeds you use. If you want to stay cool for longer you can connect the fan to your PC or a separately purchased battery pack with the included micro USB cable. Thanko claims the armpit fans are very light (30g/1 oz) and silent enough to use even in a crowded, so you shouldn’t have to worry about attracting unwanted attention with your buzzing armpits. The fan is also very small (60 x 65 x 15mm)  and thanks to the clip-on design it can also cool your chest area: just clip it to the front of your shirt and it will keep your torso and neck dry.

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Entrepreneurs Sell Canned Ibiza Air as Souvenirs

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A pair of bold Ibiza entrepreneurs have come up with a way of making a bit of money by selling the island’s cheapest and most easily available commodity – air. “Aire de Ibiza” tin cans full of “pure and virgin” air cost just €5.90 ($6.5) and are apparently a big hit with tourists looking for special souvenirs.

Selling canned or bottled air isn’t exactly a new business idea. As far as we know, it all started in 2012, when Chinese billionaire Chen Guangbiao started selling cans of fresh air for about $0.80 a piece, as a way of raising awareness to the country’s air pollution problems. It wasn’t meant to be a real business venture, but it got people interested and before long, veritable bottled-air companies started popping out all across the globe. We even mentioned a few here on Oddity Central, like Vitality Air – a startup selling fresh Canadian air mainly to the Chinese market, Air de Montcuq – a company selling cans of fresh air from the French country side, or this group of Russian entrepreneurs selling air from Yeti’s cave.

But while the air cans sold by the companies mentioned above can be opened and savored, Aire de Ibiza tins are sealed shut on purpose, to prevent buyers from opening them. They are designed merely as souvenirs for tourists meant to bring back memories of their time on the island. While you’ll never be able to check for yourself, unless you’re willing to ruin the souvenir, the brilliant minds behind Aire de Ibiza claim that each can is filled with “100 percent pure air, no additives, made in Spain and gluten free”. The tongue-in-cheek description is a nice touch, but is it worth $6.5? Some people certainly don’t think so.

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Russian Woman Sunbathing by Hanging Out Her Apartment Window Has Neighbors on Edge

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You don’t need to go to the beach to enjoy a little sunbathing. People do it on their balconies or on top of their apartment buildings all the time, but one woman in the Russian city of Novosibirsk has managed to enrage her neighbors by exposing her bikini-clad behind at her window every day.

The woman, who lives on the city’s Kropotkin Street, sunbathes by hanging her legs and butt out the window of her second-story apartment, every day from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m., and her neighbors have had enough. They claim that the bizarre spectacle is visible to small children playing in the area, and they are criticizing police for not taking any action against the extreme sunbather.

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