The Concrete Cowboys of Philadelphia

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In a bid to help young men stay out of trouble, southwest Philly resident Malik Divers has come up with his own brand of therapy – horse riding. He allows the kids of a run-down neighborhood to hang around and even ride horses from his own stable, and has them offer $5 rides to local residents in exchange.

By teaching kids to ride and care for horses, Malik has introduced them to empathy, compassion, and responsibility. His teenage horsemen are now part of a unique group called ‘Concrete Cowboys’ – an unlikely yet familiar sight on the neighborhood’s concrete pathways, trotting leisurely alongside cars, buses, and bikes.

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Researchers Create Transparent Wood That Could One Day Replace Glass in Windows

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It may seem inconceivable, but believe it or not, there really is such a thing as transparent wood. After decades of work, scientists at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have finally managed to create a viable material that, if mass produced, holds the potential to revolutionize architecture and solar technology.

According to researchers, transparent wood is a low-cost, renewable resource, which can help reduce the cost of indoor lighting and can even be used to make solar-cell windows. It can also be used to make ‘privacy windows’ that let the light in while maintaining semi-transparency.

“Transparent wood is a good material for solar cells, since it’s a low-cost, readily available and renewable resource,” said Lars Berglund, a professor at KTH’s Wallenberg Wood Science Center. “This becomes particularly important in covering large surfaces with solar cells.”

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The Inspirational Story of a 545-Pound Man Running 5K Races Like There’s No Tomorrow

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Meet Derek Mitchell, an inspiring 35-year-old race runner who weighs a whopping 545 pounds. Despite his heavy frame, he’s spent the past year walking and running a total of 21 5k races and two 10k events. He even made it halfway through a muddy, 10-mile obstacle course!

Mitchell, a Kansas City native, was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor on his pituitary gland five years ago, a condition that slows down his metabolism and is the primary cause for his obesity. Although he was put on medication to shrink the tumor, Mitchell felt that “at one point, I was using that condition as a crutch, telling myself, ‘I’ll wait for the pills to start working before I start working out or change my eating habits.’”

But he realised that wasn’t a very good plan in November 2014, when his body weight reached an all-time high of 625 pounds. “That’s when I knew I needed to make a change, and decided to start with a new year’s resolution.” So in the beginning of 2015, he cut soda from his diet, switched to more nutritious food options, and tried switching to a healthier lifestyle.

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Restaurant Owner Installs Outdoor Fridge for the Homeless to Pick Up Free Food From

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Minu Pauline, a restaurant owner from Kochi, in southern India, recently made news headlines not for her culinary expertise but her awe-inspiring generosity. She maintains a fully stocked, unlocked refrigerator outside her restaurant, filled with free fresh meals for the homeless.

Minu, whose popular food joint Pappadavada has been operating since 2013, was struck by the sight of homeless people digging for food from the garbage bins behind her kitchen. “I have often seen the homeless and the hungry, especially the aged, rummage through garbage scouring for food,” she told The Hindu. “They are looking for some leftovers or stale food to quell their hunger, and it disturbs me.”

So when she opened a second branch in another part of the city last week, she also installed a fridge outside and named it ‘Nanma Maram’ (the tree of goodness). The fridge is always stocked with about 50 packets of freshly cooked food from the restaurant, for people to reach for when they are hungry. “I was asked, ‘What if someone, not necessarily needy, took the food?’” she said. “My answer was, ‘I’ll just put my faith in the goodness of the folks.’”

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Airbnb Is Giving You the Chance to Sleep Surrounded by 35 Full-Grown Sharks

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A contest organised by Airbnb is offering three lucky winners the chance to spend a night in the company of full-grown sharks. The winners and their guests will get access to a transparent glass bedroom submerged in the 33-foot deep Paris Aquarium inhabited by 35 sharks.

Interested applicants, who must be 18 years or older and in good health, can apply for the contest through the Airbnb website. “On the 11, 12, and 13 of April, the Paris Aquarium opens its doors for a night of total immersion in a room full of sharks,” the website states. “And not just any room: you will sleep in a circular bed, with a breathtaking view of the world of sharks.” If it’s any reassurance, the unique bedroom was apparently tested for durability in the waters of the Mediterranean.

The unusual event will be hosted by free diver, photographer, and shark enthusiast Fred Buyle, and a marine biologist will provide the winners with an exclusive course on sharks – their mysterious lives and their role in the ocean’s delicate ecosystem.

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San Francisco Man Pays $500 a Month to Live in a Wooden Box

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Unable to afford the soaring apartment prices in San Francisco, 25-year-old illustrator Peter Berkowitz built himself a box to serve as his bedroom. Living in the 8×3.5×4.5-foot ‘bedroom pod’ now costs him less than $500 a month.

Berkowitz had originally planned to share a two-bedroom apartment with a friend in the city, but later realised that he wasn’t going to be able to afford it. “I was far too optimistic at first that we could find a place that wouldn’t cost a fortune,” he told Business Insider. “It didn’t take long to realise that that wasn’t a feasible plan though.”

After a bit of brainstorming, Berkowitz recalled his experience of climbing into a model of a Japanese ‘capsule’ hotel at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. That memory led him to a unique solution to his housing problem – he decided to share a one-bedroom apartment with his friend instead, and build a wooden box in the living room to be used as the second bedroom. “Two people looking for a one-bedroom apartment makes the city a lot less scary,” he explained.

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World’s Tackiest Apartment Where Everything Is Golden Goes Up for Sale in Russia

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An apartment that recently went on sale in Magadan city, in northeastern Russia’s Magadan Oblast region, has caught the attention of more than a few prospective buyers. Located on the second floor of a rather ordinary-looking four story building, the apartment is entirely decked up in gold. Well, not real gold, but shiny golden tint designed to give nearly every surface of the interior, including the walls, furnishings, and even bathroom fittings an expensive look!

According to real estate agent Roman Vikhlyantsev, the current owners are well traveled businessmen with a taste for the fine arts. He explained that the design and layout of the home was made according to their vision of the perfect apartment. “The owners are intellectuals,” he said. “They travel the world and bring exotic decorative items back to their home, which is now reflected in this property.”

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The Sisters of the Valley – California’s Famous Pot-Growing Nuns

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The Sisters of the Valley is a highly unusual ‘order’ of cannabis-growing nuns, made up of only two members – Sister Kate and Sister Darcy. Their ‘abbey’ is a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Merced, California, where they actually cultivate weed in a garage.

Although they aren’t members of any religious order, Sister Kate and Sister Darcy call themselves nuns. They dress modestly – in long denim skirts, white collared shirts, and nun’s habits – and for the past one year, their self-determined spiritual quest has been to heal illnesses with the help of marijuana. Using cannabinoids (CBD, the medicinal component of weed that is not psychoactive), they have been making tinctures and salves in their kitchen and selling the products through their Etsy store.

“We make CBD oil which takes away seizures, and a million other things,” said Sister Kate, who originally set up the business and later took on Sister Darcy as an apprentice. “And we make a salve, that’s a multipurpose salve… and we found out that it cures migraines, hangovers, earaches, diaper rash, toothaches. We spend no time on bended knee, but when we make our medicine it’s a prayerful environment, it’s a prayerful time.”

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Smell Dating Service Matches People Based on Solely on Their Odor

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Smell undoubtedly contributes to a person’s attractiveness, but could it be the sole deciding factor in choosing a partner? Well, the creators of this New York matchmaking service decided to find out. At ‘Smell Dating’, the world’s “first mail odor dating service”, single people are paired up based on their reaction to each other’s body odor.

Created by Tega Brain, artist and teacher at New York’s School for Poetic Computation, and Sam Lavigne, an editor and researcher at New York University, Smell Dating is described more as an art project than a business. They based the project on the science behind pheromones, which are chemical signals that different species send out to attract mates. “Unlike sight and sound, smell is interpreted first in terms of memory and emotion before being mapped to language,” the project website reads. “When it comes to long-term romantic partnership, it may actually be riskier to ignore the powerful signal of scent than to rely on it.”

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‘Blackout’ Tattoo Trend Has People Blacking Out Large Areas of Their Bodies

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A bizarre new tattooing trend has people covering large patches of their skin with solid black ink. These ‘blackout tattoos’ are all the rage in Singapore, with an increasing number of youngsters getting their arms, legs, and even portions of their torso, inked black.

Chester Lee, a tattoo artist at Oracle Tattoo studio in Singapore, is apparently an expert of sorts in blackout tattoos. His Instagram page features several photographs of completed works, earning him thousands of likes. Some of them are entirely black, while others consist of intricate black drawings of everyday objects or Gothic symbols on the negative space between black patches.

The arm pieces usually have a large portion of the skin blacked out, fading away at the edges. While some people have had a portion of their legs covered in black, others have gone all out with the ‘legging’ effect. A few have inked their entire bodies, with only slim lines of natural skin color showing through.

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Doctor with No Legs Wears Out 24 Wooden Stools in 15 Years of Making House Calls

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Despite having had her legs amputated at a very young age, Li Juhong somehow managed to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. The 37-year-old has been treating patients for the past 15 years in her hometown of Wadian village, in southwest China’s Chongqing province.

Li was only four years old when she was involved in a tragic accident – a truck ran over her and her legs were crushed under its tires. The only way to save her life was to amputate them. But Li, an incredibly resilient child, didn’t lose hope. She was determined to stay mobile and by age eight, she taught herself to move using her hands and two wooden benches for support.

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Tough 9-Year-Old Girl Completes 24-Hour Obstacle Course Designed by US Navy SEALs

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She’s probably not done shedding her baby teeth, but 9-year-old Milla Bizzotto is tougher than most adults. The four-foot-tall, 53-pound third grader from South Florida recently shocked the world with her incredible physical fitness, becoming the youngest person in the world to complete the 24-hour Battlefrog Xtreme race, an outdoor fitness event designed by Navy SEALs.  

“I don’t want to play video games,” she explained in an interview with The Miami Herald. “I don’t want to hoverboard. I don’t want to do things to make life easier. I want to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I have one body and it’s all I want and all I love.”

“I’m fearless,” she added. “And knowing I’m inspiring people makes me more fearless. It is hard, but that doesn’t stop me.”

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Father of 35 Wants to Reach 100 Children to Secure Place in Heaven

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Jan Mohammad, a doctor from Pakistan, is on a mission to produce 100 offspring, an achievement that he believes will earn him a place in heaven. The 43-year-old already has 35 children from three wives, and is now ready to marry a fourth woman to speed up the process. 

“I want to have 100 children, as the prophet had said that those who increase the number of followers (of Islam) will never go to hell,” he said, speaking to Pakistan newspaper DAWN, from his hometown of Quetta, in Pakistan. “With the grace of God, my children will help me go to heaven.”

Mohammad’s current wives – Bibi Naz Gul, 32, Noor Bibi, 28, and Hayat Bibi, 25 – have borne him a total of 14 boys and 21 girls so far. Two of the baby girls were born only a few weeks ago to two of his wives, but the doctor has already made plans marry again. “The bigger the family, the better,” he explained. “I hope to find a fourth wife I can marry soon.”

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At This Chinese Company Every Day Is ‘Bring Your Pet to Work Day’

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A company in China is helping its employees de-stress by allowing them to bring their pets to work every single day. The internet marketing company in Shanghai has been practicing ‘Bring Your Pet to Work Day’ for a while now, and the results have been very encouraging – the staff are considerably happier and even work better as a team.

The idea of a perpetual Bring Your Pet to Work day belongs to the head of the company himself.. Worried that the highly competitive and demanding workplace was affecting his staff, Zhao Congchong wanted to do something to help them stay relaxed at work. Upon studying their profiles, he realized that most of the employees were pet owners, so he announced that everyone was welcome to bring their pets to work on a pre-decided day.

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Beirut’s Stinking River of Trash

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From afar it might look like a pathway of white pebbles snaking its way through the cosmopolitan capital of Lebanon, but it’s actually just a landfill overflowing with stinking garbage bags. Nicknamed ‘river of garbage’, this urban monstrosity stretches hundreds of meters through the Jdeideh municipality in the city’s suburbs.

The problem apparently began in July last year, when authorities closed down the main landfill site that collected the city’s garbage. Since they did not provide an alternate garbage dumping site, rising mounds of garbage started appearing on the streets of Beirut. In Jdeideh, a makeshift dumpyard was created four months ago near a few residential buildings, where people tossed all their garbage. It has grown in size since then, resulting in the unsightly ‘trash river’ that now stands testament to the city’s garbage crisis and the nation’s dysfunctional politics. “This used to be such a beautiful place, but look at it now. We can’t even walk by it,” one local told reporters, in February.

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