Artist Creates Tree Able to Grow 40 Different Kinds of Fruit at Once

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In a bid to reintroduce Americans to long-forgotten native fruit, a New York sculptor has created an incredible tree that can produce 40 varieties of stone fruit at once.

Sam Van Aken, who is also an art professor at Syracuse University, grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania where grafting was a common practice. However, to him, it always seemed magical. “When I’d seen it done as a child it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic,” he said during a Tedx talk last year.

Van Aken has been growing multi-fruit trees since 2008, through a technique called ‘chip grafting’. He starts by taking a slice of a fruit tree that includes buds, and inserts it into a matching incision in a host tree that is at least three years old. He uses electrical tape to hold the pieces together. Soon enough, the “veins” of different trees flow into each other, sharing the same life energy.



Doctor Claims Rare Condition Allows Him to Feel Patient’s’ Physical Pain

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People often use the phrase “I feel you pain” when trying to comfort somebody, but usually it has a figurative meaning. That’s not the case with Joel Salinas, a doctor suffering from a rare condition called mirror-touch synesthesia which actually allows him to feel the physical pain of his patients.

Salinas, a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, says that he has had the condition since childhood. Whenever he would observe other people hugging, for instance, he would feel hugged as well. And when he saw people get hit, he felt the discomfort too. “When I see people, I have the sensation of whatever touches their body on my own body, and it’s kind of reflected as a mirror,” he explained.



Belgian Man Shuns Civilization to Live as a Hunter-Gatherer in Slovenia

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Angelo Valkenborg had it all – a good job, a marriage, and a nice home, but at one point in his life, he realised that none of that made him truly happy. So the 31-year-old Belgian left his old life behind and moved to a forest in Slovenia to live like a hunter-gatherer.

Angelo had always been fascinated by the great outdoors and started getting into survival techniques in the wild. But his work and family life didn’t exactly go hand in hand with his favorite pastime. It was after returning from a three week expedition in the wilderness of Northern Sweden that he learned his marriage had failed. His “intense passion for the outdoors” was apparently too much for his wife to handle. “Who can blame her?” he wrote on his blog. “I went fr’om a salesperson who cared a lot about going out and having a good time to a always dressed in outdoor gear geek.



It’s Late Summer but This Everlasting Pile of Snow in Buffalo Still Hasn’t Melted

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The residents of Buffalo, New York, are baffled by a 12-ft pile of snow that hasn’t melted in eight months. The giant pile, located near Central Terminal on the Queen City’s east side, has been around since the ‘Snowvember’ storm last year, and seems unaffected by the summer heat.

According to New York state climatologist Mark Wysocki, the “original problem started back in November.” After the storm, city workers had no place to put all the excess snow so they decided to dump it in a vacant lot. Then they used bulldozers to flatten and compact the pile. By doing that, they created insulation, effectively producing a very slowly melting snow pile.

“It’s not unprecedented, but it’s weird when you think about it,” said Storm Team 2 meteorologist Patrick Hammer. “That pile of snow is like a glacier. It’s very dense and it’s covered in dirt and garbage, which acts to insulate the snow from the sun’s rays. That’s what melts the snow, not just the heat but the sun’s rays, and it’s protected.”

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Staffless Pay-What-You-Will Bookstore in China Actually Works

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A peculiar outdoor bookstore recently opened in Nanjing, China. There is no cashier desk and no working staff to keep an eye on the books. Instead, visitors are invited to peruse the reading material on offer and pay whatever they want for books by dropping the money in a lock-box.

Organizers say the aptly named Honesty Bookstore is a social experiment meant to raise awareness of honesty and integrity. Believe it or not, so far, people have been doing the right thing. With no staff around, there is absolutely nothing stopping people from just taking the books they like and leaving without paying anything for them. Well, nothing but their conscience, that is. According to several news reports from China, people have actually been dropping money inside the box of their own free will, and Honesty Bookstore organizers claim that the raised money is enough to cover costs.



Fowling, a Quirky Sport That Combines Football and Bowling

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A new sport that combines football and bowling is taking Michigan by storm. Fowling is the brainchild of entrepreneur Chris Hutt who’s so confident the hybrid sport is going to be huge that  he  has converted a 34,000-square-foot industrial site into what he calls the Fowling Warehouse.

Hutt said that he invented the game years ago along with a few buddies, while tailgating at the Indianapolis 500. It started off as an accident, when a couple of guys were playing catch with a football and someone made a bad pass. The ball rolled and knocked over a few bowling pins that were lying around. Inspiration struck right at that magical moment, and fowling (pronounced foal-ing) was born. Hutt and his friends quickly set up a few spare pins at the end of the lane and knocked them out with the football all day, making up the rules as they went along. And by the end of the day, they had the entire sport fleshed out.



Moss Viewing – A Strange Yet Increasingly Popular Japanese Pastime

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A lot of people walk by moss all the time, without even giving the time of day, but in Japan, they actually have this thing call moss viewing that involves going on trips to damp places and staring at moss for hours, as a means of relaxation.

According to Takeshi Ueno, a plant ecology expert at Tsuru University, the activity is particularly popular among women, because “they are rich in emotions”. “They can innocently enjoy changes in the shapes and colors of leaves, for example, so they are well-suited to moss viewing,” Ueno, who usually leads the moss viewing trips near Lake Shirakoma, added.

It all started in 2013, when Hoshino Resorts Oirase Keiryu Hotel in Aomori Prefecture introduced a one-night program that included an observation tour of the moss colonies in a riverside forest. It was an unsuspected success, and after the Bryological Society of Japan named the area around Lake Shirakoma a ‘precious moss-covered forest’, moss-viewing became a regular affair. The event has become so popular among female travelers that it is held about eight times a year.

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India’s Medicine Baba Takes Prescription Medicine from the Rich, Gives It to the Poor

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Omkarnath, a retired blood-bank technician from New Delhi, is a modern-day medical Robin Hood. For the past three years, the 79-year-old has been collecting unused prescription drugs from the wealthy and distributing them among the less fortunate. His efforts have earned him the nickname ‘Medicine Baba’.

‘Baba’ is a term used in India to describe a wise, elderly man. New Delhi’s very own Medicine Baba walks over seven kilometers each day, combing the city and stopping at almost every door, asking for unused medicines. He’s also set up dozens of collection boxes in private clinics around the city, where people can make donations. According to Omkarnath, “Every bungalow in Delhi has extra medicines, but they are throwing them in their dustbins.” But the best neighborhoods, he insists, are the middle-class and lower middle-class ones. “One morning, I got a strip of anti-cancer medication worth 35,000 rupees ($545),” he recalled.



Japanese Anti-Suicide Crusader Has Saved over 500 People in the Last 11 Years

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Yukio Shige, a retired police officer from Japan, has devoted the past decade of his life to preventing suicides. After foiling hundreds of suicide attempts in little over a decade, the 70-year-old has come to be known as ‘chotto matte man’. In Japanese, ‘chotto matte’ translates to ‘hold on, wait!’

In the last 11 years, Yukio Shigehas has managed to save over 500 lives – a significant number even in Japan, a country with one of the highest suicide rates in the world. He patrols the Tojinbo cliffs, in Fukui Prefecture – a popular tourist site that is also notorious for suicides. He goes there every single day, with three other volunteers. Together they use binoculars to spot people who might be contemplating suicide, and try to talk them out of it.

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Guy Wins French-Language Scrabble Championship, Doesn’t Even Speak French

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Nigel Richards is a beast when it comes to the game of Scrabble. He’s so good that he recently won the French Language Scrabble Championship without even speaking the language. ‘

“He doesn’t speak any French at all – he just learned the words,” Nigel’s friend Liz Fagerlund told the media. “He won’t know what they mean, wouldn’t be able to carry out a conversation in French, I wouldn’t think.” No wonder they call him the ‘Tiger Woods of Scrabble’.

French journalist and self-confessed Scrabble lover Jean-Baptiste Morel wrote: “He doesn’t speak French, but he learned to play in our language by reading the words of the ODS (Official Scrabble Book) as if it were a sequence of letters to learn. The man, as well as having a perfect command of the vocabulary, possesses an impressive game tactic that allows him to leapfrog the competition.” Morel added that Richard had managed to win in spite of a “pretty rotten” draw of letters.



This Woman Lets Self-Proclaimed Vampires Suck Her Blood

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28-year-old Blut Katzchen, from Shreveport, Louisiana, recently made a shocking revelation – she allows self-proclaimed vampires to suck blood directly from her body!

There’s actually a term for people like Blut – they’re called ‘black swans’. Blut herself revealed that she’s been “entranced” with the whole vampire culture since she was very young. “I found a book on vampires in my sister’s collection and became completely entranced with it,” she said. “It takes a very specific type of mindset to enjoy being a swan – you have to be more submissive and enjoy giving.”

Blut’s latest admirer is 43-year-old Michael Vachmiel, from Houston, who claims that sucking her blood gives him a boost of energy. The duo met at a Vampire Ball two years ago, and have been meeting a few times a year ever since. “You have to have a very strong connection to the person who is feeding off you,” Blut explained.



For Some Reason, These Guys Have Been Eating Chipotle for Over 100 Days Straight

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Lots of people love Chipotle, but how many eat there every single day? According to recent news reports at least two. Mark Rantal and Andrew Hawryluk have been at the popular Mexican grill for over 100 days straight!

Rantal, 30, who has been eating at the restaurant for 108 days now, said he got into the practice by accident. “On Monday, I decided to get Chipotle and on Tuesday, I made the same decision, then got lunch with my friend there on Wednesday,” he told reporters. “We laughed about it at lunch and he asked how long I thought I could go. And that began the thought.”

Soon, Rantal hit one week, and then a month, and then he just kept going from there. “Every time I hit a milestone, it was very easy and convenient to imagine hitting the next,” he said. And he got the same meal every single time – a burrito bowl with white rice, pinto beans, fajitas, sofritas, mild salsa, corn, medium salsa, cheese and lettuce.

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Chinese Company Unveils Fully-Functional 3D-Printed Villas That Can Be Assembled in Three Hours

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3D-printed homes aren’t exactly new, but the rapid progress made in this new industry never cease to amaze us here at Oddity Central. Earlier this year we wrote about a Chinese company that used a specially designed 3D printer to create large ec0-friendly housing in record time. Another construction company has now perfected the process, making it possible to assemble a fully functional home in just three hours!

The revolutionary new technology was developed by Zhuoda Group, in Xi’an, central China. On July 17, they put up a two-storey sample villa built from pre-constructed components that were printed in a factory and later lifted into place using a crane. The instant villas cost only about 3,500 yuan ($564) per square meter, which is far lower than the current industry standard.



Kidney Valley – The Nepalese Village Where Almost Everyone Has Sold One of Their Kidneys

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Believe it or not, the villagers of Hokse, Nepal, are so poor that they’re forced to sell their own organs in order to make ends meet. The practice is so common there that the place has been nicknamed ‘Kidney Village’.

Organ brokers regularly visit the village and its surrounding areas and convince cash-strapped locals to part with one of their healthy kidneys. These agents are notorious for tricking innocent villagers into traveling to Southern India to have their operations. They cook up all sorts of tales, telling the poor villagers that humans only need one kidney for survival or that the organ, once removed, will grow back! That particular trick was used to fool Geetha, a mother-of-four who sold her kidney for only $2,000.

“For ten years people came to our village trying to convince us to sell our kidneys but I always said no,” Geetha said. But as her family grew, her desire to provide them with a house got stronger. “I have always wanted my own house and a piece of land, and with more children, I really needed it.” So she traveled with her sister-in-law, an organ broker, to India, and underwent the operation.

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Silicon Valley Tech Companies Turn to Wiccan Witch to Deal with Pesky Computer Viruses and Demons

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Modern technology doesn’t exactly go hand in hand with witchcraft, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping Silicon Valley companies from employing the services of a Wiccan witch to help them deal with hackers, computer viruses and demonic possessions.

Reverend Joey Talley is a witch of the Wicca faith with more than four decades of experience in dealing with the occult and three master’s degrees under her belt. Based in Marin County, just outside Silicone Valley, the Wiccan witch is the-go-to person for computer programmers, software designers, and engineers facing problems that they feel are supernatural in nature. The fact that Talley has absolutely no background in technology or IT, or that she often refers to the tech industry as the “techno industry” doesn’t bother them one bit.



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