Black and Blond – The Origin of Blonde Afros in Melanesia

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About a quarter of the Melanesian population in the Solomon Islands archipelago has an extremely unusual trait – dark skin with blond hair. The archipelago, located east of Papa New Guinea in Oceania, consists of a thousand islands inhabited by over half a million Melanesian people. They have the darkest skin in the world outside of Africa, but strangely, about one-fourth of the inhabitants sport blond afros.

This rare Melanesian characteristic has baffled scientists and genetic experts for years. Up until now, they have attributed the trait to inheritance – from the Europeans, especially the British, German and Australians, who have been associated with the island for hundreds of years. Several of the islands were under German jurisdiction in the 19th century. In 1893, the UK took southern Solomon Islands under their wing, declaring the region a protectorate. The rest of the islands were added to the protectorate at a later stage. And in the early 20th century, Australian and British companies set up coconut plantations on many of the islands.

So it isn’t entirely unbelievable that the dark-skinned Melanesians got their blond hair from the growing influx of ‘outsiders’. The locals, however, prefer not to go by that theory. They have been insisting for years that their blond hair is a result of a diet rich in fish and constant exposure to the sun. As it turns out, both theories are quite far from the truth. According to a recent investigation, random mutation might actually be the answer to the mystery of the Melanesian blonds.

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Pizza Chain Advertises Rabbit Pizza for Easter with Billboards Made of Real Dead Rabbits

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Eating rabbits isn’t a real Easter tradition, but that hasn’t stopped Hell Pizza from adding rabbit pizza to their menu this year. And that’s not even the strange part of this story. What’s really unusual is their marketing strategy. The New Zealand based pizza chain has put up billboards completely covered with real rabbit hides. The posters read: ‘New for Easter. Rabbit Pizza. Made from Real Rabbit. Like this Billboard’.

If you find that gross, you aren’t alone. The restaurant has been receiving severe backlash from locals ever since the billboards went up at multiple locations. But the folks at Hell Pizza are totally unapologetic. They’ve defended their PR stunt on their Facebook page: “As well as being a delicious meat, and even quite cute, rabbits are unfortunately also a noted pest that is damaging to the New Zealand environment, particularly in the South Island.”

General manager Ben Cumming called rabbit meat one of the healthiest meats in the world. “Eating rabbit meat isn’t just environmentally sustainable – it’s actually helping to reduce pests,” he said. “It has a beautiful, subtle flavor and is a great match for the other ingredients on the pizza. You get chunks of the smoky rabbit flavor complimented by sweet and slightly spicy beetroot and horopito relish, then bursts of cream cheese and toasted pine nuts which linger on the taste buds afterwards. We think it’s going to go down really well.”

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Chinese Businessman Tries to Hide Rooftop Villa with Trees and Bushes

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When this wealthy Chinese businessman purchased an 18th floor penthouse apartment in Guangzhou city several years ago, he appeared quite contented with it. But soon, he began to make changes that the neighbors thought were weird. At first, he planted all kinds of huge trees and thick bushes on the roof, which neighbors assumed were meant to protect his privacy. But then he took it one step further, by surrounding the property with camouflage nets filled with plant foliage, which was very unusual.

That’s when the neighbors began to worry for his sanity, but it turns out the businessman wasn’t insane at all. He was actually using all the camouflage as a cover up for the additional two floors that he was secretly adding to his apartment. While he told everybody that he renovating, he was actually adding a 19th and 20th floor to his already massive apartment. And he did this in secret to work around the local planning laws.

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Guy Wears a Different Band T-Shirt for 1,000 Days in a Row. Why? Because He Could!

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Isac Walter from Echo Park, Los Angeles, loves his band T-shirts so much that he wore nothing else for 1,000 days straight. Well, there were a few exceptions, but for more or less 1,000 consecutive days he wore the tees without repeating a single band. Walter also created a Tumblr project to document the process – it’s called ‘Minor Thread’.

The home page of the Minor Thread blog states: ‘Click through and you can see Isac’s torso several hundred times, each time draped with a bit of fan memorabilia. He only revealed what he looked like from the neck up after the project was completed.’ And after the project, he also took a photograph with each of the 1,000 T-shirts placed neatly on a photo studio wall, just to show people what 1,000 blog posts look like in reality. It actually took him four days to arrange all the shirts and take the picture.

Walter’s challenge began in July 2011, when he sought out to wear a different band’s T-shirt every day for 500 days. When he accomplished that, he decided to just keep going. And on 7 April this year, he managed to reach the 1,000 mark. In an interview with a T-shirt company in 2013, he said: “T-shirts are like an analog version of social media and social networking. It’s amazing how I can wear a certain t-shirt out and immediately connect with people I’ve never met before. A band shirt alone can initiate new conversations and new friendships.”

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Brazilian Woman Gets Mugged While Giving Interview About Rising Crime Rate

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When this Brazilian woman stopped on the street to speak to a reporter about the rising crime rate in the area, I bet she didn’t expect to give him live demo! As she was complaining on live TV about the incompetent police force, a thief ran up to her and attempted to snatch her gold necklace. The whole thing was recorded on camera – I’d call it downright hilarious if only it wasn’t so appalling.

The incident took place in broad daylight on a busy street in Rio de Janeiro. The video clip shows the woman speaking to an interviewer from RJTV. Just a few seconds into the interview, a young boy hurls himself at the woman, snatches her necklace and runs across the busy street. The woman yells in shock; the reporter’s reaction is instantaneous – he yells too, pushes the woman aside with his fist and attempts to chase the thief down.

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Thriving Bottle Garden Hasn’t Been Watered in Over 40 Years

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David Latimer is one of the world’s few proud owners of an entirely self-sustaining bottled garden. Looking at pictures of the lush green bottle, you’d think that growing it involved a lot of hard work. But the truth is that David hasn’t even watered it in over 40 years. It’s just been sitting under the hallway stairs in his home and it’s doing extremely well on its own.

The story of his this amazing experiment began in 1960, on Easter Sunday, when David decided that it would be fun to start a bottle garden. Since they were a bit of a craze back then, he wanted to see for himself what the fuss was all about. So out of idle curiosity, he got himself a 10-gallon globular bottle, poured some compost at the bottom and used a piece of wire to carefully lower a seedling in. Then he put in just about a quarter of a pint of water, and believe it or not, he only watered the plant once more in 1972. Never again after that. It has been alive and kicking for the past 54 years.

The plant that David placed in the bottle is an indoor variety of perennial spiderworts that also go by the Latin name of Tradescantia. The bottle itself is tightly sealed; David only needs to rotate it around often so it grows evenly towards the light. “Otherwise, it’s the definition of low-maintenance,” he said. “I’ve never pruned it, it just seems to have grown to the limits of the bottle.”

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Chinese Farmer Builds Realistic Space Shuttle Replica on Top of His House

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We’ve heard so many stories about the Chinese building temples, mountain villas and even entire farms on their rooftops that we’ve honestly lost count. And now we have a new one for you – a crazy man in Guangdong province who put a replica of a spacecraft on the roof of his home.

63-year-old Meng Ni had dreamed of becoming an astronaut ever since he was a little kid. But growing up in the remote village of Xiapu, Jiexi County, he realized early-on that there was little hope of his dream coming true. So he quickly decided to follow in his family’s footsteps and take up farming. Eventually, his farmlands grew in size and he sold them to the government for a small fortune.

But over the years, Meng never gave up on his dream. After considerable success as a businessman, he decided sell a part of his estate to build a life-size replica of a space shuttle on his roof. Although the structure does not have the NASA logo, it does carry an American flag on the side for an authentic appearance. And it’s possible to enter the craft as well; it offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside.

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8-Year-Old Brazilian Miracle Worker Allegedly Cures People of Cancer and HIV

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8-year-old Alani Santos is a special little girl – she claims that she can channel the power of Jesus Christ to cure people of various illnesses. Hundreds gather at the San Gonzalo church just to get a glimpse of the miracle child and be healed by her touch. Incidentally, Alani’s father is a pastor at the same church. Pastor Aduato Santos, a reformed car thief, has fondly given his daughter the name ‘missionarinha’ or ‘little missionary’.

Some of Alani’s healing sessions have been taped and uploaded on YouTube. One of the videos shows her healing a man who had been suffering from HIV for seven years. As the man stands with his head bowed, the pastor tells him: “You’re next. When the little missionary touches you, something will happen. You will be cured. You will feel the warmth.” As soon Alani puts her hand on the man’s head, he collapses on to the floor. The healing is then complete.

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University Lecturer Claims to Have Photographed Tiny Fairies Flying in English Countryside

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This could be one of the most significant discoveries in human history. Or one of biggest hoaxes. John Hyatt, a 53-year-old professor at Manchester Metropolitan University, claims to have taken photographs of tiny fairies in the English countryside. His pictures show tiny winged humanoid creatures floating flying in swarms. The professor is now on a mission to get more and more adults to believe that the fairies are real, and ‘bring a bit of a magic into their lives’.

Hyatt is the director of the Manchester Institute of Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD) at the Metropolitan  University. He is believed to have snapped the pictures while he was out photographing the Lancashire landscape over the past two years. The photographs are now on display in a special exhibition called Rossendale Fairies at the Whitaker Museum in Whitaker Park, Rossendale. Hyatt insists that they are 100 percent real and not Photoshopped. The pictures have gone viral ever since he released them to the public. People all over the world are quite baffled over his claims, and some are beginning to believe him.

“It was a bit of a shock when I blew them up, I did a double take,” he said. “I went out afterwards and took pictures of flies and gnats and they just don’t look the same. People can decide for themselves what they are.” Hyatt, a former member of The Three Johns punk band in the ‘80s and ‘90s, said that the message to people is to approach these creatures with an open mind. “I think it’s one of those situations where you need to believe to see,” he admitted.

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Man Shuns Solid Food to Live on Beer for 40 Days

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For many Christians, Lent is a time to abstain from the things they love. But for people like Chris Schryer, it’s just the opposite. He’s giving up everything else except what he loves most – beer. The 33-year-old web designer from Toronto has shunned all solid food  and has been living on beer since March 5. In fact, he believes that what he’s doing is a real test of spiritual discipline.

“Without being dramatic, it definitely is not fun,” said Chris. “It’s challenging. Every meal time there’s a challenge. I look pretty healthy now, but by the end of the 40 days my wife figures I’ll look like a castaway on account of my bushy beard.”

For the past few weeks, Chris has been having a bottle of strong beer for breakfast. At lunch, he guzzles another beer and dinner consists of a large 650 ml bottle. He also has a mid-afternoon ‘work beer’. To avoid getting dehydrated, he keeps up a steady intake of watered down juice and other clear liquids. His rules are simple: ‘No dairy, no ‘nectars’, no protein shakes or smoothies.” He takes a multivitamin and his health is constantly being monitored by his family doctor.

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You Know China’s Smog Issue Is Serious When People Line Up to Sample Free Bags of Fresh Air

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It’s no secret that China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. But things have gotten so bad that a few cities actually have free ‘fresh air stations’, stocked with individual bags of fresh air that users can breathe out of. These stations have become so popular that they are crowded with visitors lining up for just a whiff of fresh, clean air.

One of the stations is located in Zhengzhou city in central China’s Henan province. According to sources, Zhengzhou is one of the most polluted cities in China, with an AQI (Air Quality Index) of 158. In comparison, Bakersfield (the most polluted city of America) has an AQI of just 45. The air at Zhengzhou’s station is sourced from Laojun Mountain, a scenic spot in Luanchuan County consisting of 80 percent green land. Photographs show large crowds of locals waiting patiently at the station. When it’s their turn, a uniformed air hostess hooks them up to oxygen masks.

Feng Lin, a 75-year-old user, said: “The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.”

“I felt my baby move right when I breathed in,” said one pregnant woman. “I would love to walk in the mountain’s forests after my child is born.”

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Chinese Woman Has Been Wearing Her Wedding Dress Every Day for the Last Ten Years

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A 47-year-old Chinese woman is so happy to have found true love that she hasn’t taken off her wedding dress for the past ten years. You might think that’s crazy, but wait till you hear everything she’s been through. At age 18, Xiang Junfeng was kidnapped from her hometown and sold to an elderly man. She was forced to marry him and lived for 15 years in captivity before she found the courage to run away.

A native of Jimo, in China’s Shandong Province, Xiang was sold to a man in the neighboring city of Linyi. He ended up using her as a slave, putting her to work in the fields. After several years of living in captivity, she managed to escape by running to Liujiazhuang village where a local woman helped her. Eventually, the woman turned out to be Xiang’s savior in more than one way. She introduced Xiang to her own brother, Zhu Zhengliang, and the couple tied the knot in 2004. This event made poor Xiang so happy that she’s refused to wear anything but her wedding attire ever since.

Although she got married with just the one dress, Xiang later had three more made – one for each season. “I bought one and made the other three,” she said. “I had only ever known a violent and abusive man and I avoided men until I met my new partner who brought me truly out of my shell and treated me so differently. I couldn’t believe it when he asked me to marry him.”

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French Artist to Live inside Grizzly Bear Carcass for Thirteen Days

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Abraham Poincheval, a performance artist from France, specializes in confining himself to the smallest possible spaces for long periods of time. A couple of years ago, he spent a whole week buried in a tiny underground hole in a bookstore, with just a pile of books for company. Now he has fashioned a new task for himself – he’s spending nearly a fortnight (1 to 13 April) crammed inside the carcass of a grizzly bear, in a space measuring only half a square meter. He won’t be coming out at all, not even to eat, drink, sleep or relieve himself. Two cameras will be on him at all times, recording the whole experience.

The bear itself was excavated by Abraham and has been partly reconstructed to support the project, using plywood, plaster, foam and polystyrene tubes. The bizarre installation is completely covered with the bear’s original skin and fur. When empty, the entire structure weighs 115 pounds. Inside it is a semi-upright chair on which the 42-year-old artist will be spending all his time. Rubber exercise bands will help him get some movement and he has some room by his feet for a stretch. There’s also a kettle and an odd assortment of foods that only a bear could appreciate – frozen dried fruits, insects and worms. Too bad the bear isn’t Winnie the Pooh, or Abraham could have had some honey as well.

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New York Man Turns Line Sitting into a Prosperous Business

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They say good things come to those who wait. But here’s the loophole: what if you could pay someone to do the waiting for you? Same Ol Line Dudes (SOLD Inc.) is a new service in New York that helps people get in line for the latest, hottest and trendiest new products. At $25 for the first hour and $10 for every half hour after that, I think it’s pretty legit. If I could avoid waiting in line and still get to buy the new iPhone or enjoy a cronut, I’d definitely be willing to pay for it.

The idea for the business came to Robert Samuel after he made $325 selling two spots in a line for the iPhone 5 launch last year. That’s when he realized that he could cash in on people’s fear of missing out on new things. “It’s a phenomenon,” he said. “I did an interview with German Public Radio a while ago and I explained FOMO: fear of missing out. Especially in New York, you have friends and you’re hanging out and it’s like, ‘Did you see that new exhibit at MoMA? Do you know what a cronut is?’ People want these things like it’s the end of the world. When I show up to their offices with a sleeping bag in one hand and the cronuts in another, they know they’re getting their money’s worth.”

There have been services like this in the past, but they weren’t exactly ethical. Like these guys who would buy cronuts in bulk and sell them on Craigslist at a higher price. But Robert makes sure he plays by the rules. He has a few super-rich clients. When one of them wants cronuts for his out-of-town guests, Robert gets to the bakery hours ahead of time. He’s always properly equipped – a portable charger, two iPhones, an iPad mini and handwarmers are always at his disposal. A lawn chair, the MetroCast and HBO Go make sure that waiting in line is never a boring experience.

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14-Year-Old’s Simple Idea Could Save US Government $400 Million on Official Documents

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Suvir Mirchandani, a 14-year-old student from Pittsburg, has figured out a way to do something that financial experts have been struggling with for decades – substantially reduce Government spending. And we’re not taking about a few dollars here and there, we’re talking millions. $400 million, to be precise. To save all that money, Suvir suggested that the US government simply switch fonts from Times New Roman to Garamond when printing official documents. Because each character is printed lighter and thinner in Garamond, it uses 25 percent less ink, saving a lot of money in the process.

Suvir came up with the brilliant idea while working on a science fair project at his school – Dorseyville Middle School. He was looking for a way to use computer science to promote environmental sustainability. After a lot of research, he decided to figure out if there was a way minimize the use of paper and ink. “Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” the whiz-kid pointed out. So he collected random samples of teachers’ handouts at his school and studied the most commonly used letters: ‘e, t, a, o and r’.

The study included four different typefaces: Garamond, Century Gothic, Times New Roman and Comic Sans. Suvir measured how often the letters were used in each of these fonts. Then he used a commercial tool called APFill Ink Coverage Software to figure out how much ink was used for each letter. He printed out enlarged versions of the letters, cut them out on cardstock paper and weighed them to verify the data. He performed three trials per letter and graphed the ink usage for each font. The results of the analysis were astounding – he found out that Garamond’s thinner strokes could help his school district reduce ink consumption by 24 percent, saving about $21,000 a year.

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