This Ordinary-Looking House Is Actually a Renaissance Palace in Disguise

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From the outside, this house in Newport, Oregon, looks pretty ordinary, with yellowed brick walls, white cladding, and a two-car garage. But you’ll be surprised to learn that inside it’s actually an opulent Renaissance-era palace complete with hand-carved doors, stained-glass windows, and centuries-old antique decor.

The unique house belongs to a member of the British nobility – the Right and Honorable Dowager Countess of Shannon, Almine Barton – apparently has excellent reason for maintaining the striking contrast between the spectacular interior and rather drab exterior – taxes.

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Norwegian Girl Says She Is a Cat Trapped in a Human Body

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20-year-old Nano, from Oslo, Norway, claims that that she isn’t human at all, but a cat born in the wrong species. Her ‘feline tendencies’ include a superior sense of hearing and sight, a hatred of water, and the ability to communicate in ‘meows’. She even tries to hunt mice in the dark!

Her story was first revealed in a video report published by the Norwegian YouTube channel NRK P3 Verdens Rikeste Land. In the interview, Nano is seen wearing a pair of pointed ears and an artificial tail as she talks about her condition. She explains that she has been displaying cat-like behavior since childhood, but only realised it when she was a teenager. 

“I realised I was a cat when I was 16, when doctors and psychologists found out what was “the thing” with me,” the translation on the video reads. “Under my birth, there was a genetic defect. It’s also obvious that I’m a cat when I start purring and meowing. And walking around on four legs and stuff like that.”

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New Startup Has Gas Delivered to Your Parked Car

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WeFuel, a new Silicon Valley startup, is the latest to join a host of ‘Uber for Gas’ type services. It’s an app-based refuelling service that promises to have a gas truck reach users at the location of their choice within 30 minutes of placing the order. The app can currently be used in Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

The launch of WeFuel last week kicked up several debates online; those in love with the idea are quick to point out its obvious advantages – if you run out of gas, you can get it delivered to your car at the touch of a button. Pumping gas is a waste of time, according to many, and WeFuel addresses that problem beautifully.

Obviously, this premium service comes with an added cost, so WeFuel does not appeal to those who want to save money. They argue that the only time you’ll want gas delivered is in an emergency, which isn’t likely to happen very often. Also, it’s lazy, wasteful and hazardous to the environment to have a gas truck come to you all the time, because of all the extra gas needed to transport fuel. 

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America’s Longest-Standing Protester Passes Away after Spending 35 Years Outside the White House

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Last week, Washington, D.C. mourned the death of Concepcion ‘Connie’ Picciotto, a legendary peace activist who had been camping in front of the White House since 1981. She was a well-known personality in the U.S. Capital, having manned the peace vigil tent for three-and-a-half decades, suffering the worst of both weather and humanity, all in an attempt to “stop the world from being destroyed.”

Orphaned in Spain and raised by a grandmother, Connie arrived in New York in 1960, where she worked as a receptionist for a Spanish government commercial attaché. She married an Italian immigrant a few years later, and they adopted an infant daughter, Ogla, in 1973. But she claimed that things started to turn sour when her husband, in an attempt to conceal his criminal dealings, sent her to a mental institution. She lost her daughter in a custody dispute after her release, and ended up in Washington, where she naturally gravitated towards larger causes.

Connie joined the anti-nuclear White House Peace Vigil a few months after it was started by another activist, William Thomas. They camped out together outside the White House for 25 years, and when he passed away in 2009, she kept the vigil going with the help of other activists who joined her from time to time. Picciotto’s peace vigil is considered the longest in the history of the United States.

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People Keep Showing Up at This House Looking for Their Lost Phones

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Since February last year, a host of strangers have been showing up uninvited at Christina Lee and Michael Saba’s suburban Atlanta home, for the weirdest reason – they’re all looking for their lost phones!

Much to the young couple’s surprise, smartphone tracking apps all over the city have been directing phone owners to their house. It all started when an angry family came knocking at their door last February, demanding that Lee and Saba return their stolen phone. The bewildered couple had no idea what they were talking about. Then same thing happened two months later, this time with a group of friends looking for a lost phone.

Soon the problem got worse, with four such visitors showing up within the span of a month. People would call on them morning, noon, and night, all with the same, bizarre question – “where the heck is my phone?” Of course, Lee and Saba had no clue about the missing phones – some Android, some iPhones – with a variety of carriers. They even developed a standard response: “I’m sorry you came all this way. This happens a lot.”

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UK Company Is Growing Furniture by Molding Trees into Chairs, Tables or Lamps

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Money might not grow on trees, but it seems that furniture does! Gavin Munro, a UK-based designer, has come up with a brilliant alternative to chopping beautiful trees and converting them into furniture. He simply molds young saplings to take the shape of any piece of furniture he wants. Once matured, the trees are ready to be harvested and used with no cutting, sawing, or assembling required.

Munro, who runs a company called ‘Full Grown’, said he wants to “rethink our relationship with trees and time.” His idea is to get rid of environmentally unfriendly practices involved in the mass manufacture of furniture, and replace it with a much easier process.

“When you look at it from a manufacturing point of view and from a design point of view, it actually makes total sense. Why would you grow trees, chop them down with all the faff?” he questioned. “Why don’t you just grow the shape you want and it is eminently scalable? You can make thousands of these in the same way as you can make 10, but each one is unique.”

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Meet India’s Moonwalking Traffic Cop

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Kunwar Ranjeet Singh, a self-confessed Michael Jackson fan, is also India’s most fascinating traffic cop. Drawing inspiration from his idol, he ‘moonwalks’ his way through his daily duties in one of the busiest intersections of the city of Indore, in central India.

The ‘dancing cop of Indore’ has actually come up with several routines to help manage traffic on the often chaotic streets, and the moonwalk is one of them. “Instead of walking back I do the moonwalk which sometimes amuses commuters,” he said. “That, in a way, encourages people to follow traffic rules.”

Singh apparently wanted to be a dancer, but chose to become a traffic cop after he lost two close friends to road accidents. He’s been controlling Indore’s traffic for the past six years now, and he’s found a way to incorporate his love of dancing into the job. He believes it’s is a great way to remain stress-free in the midst of chaos, and to really make a difference. “One should leave an impact in whatever he or she does and I bring the same while I am signalling people on the roads,” he said.

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Family Builds Glass Greenhouse around Their Home to Warm It Naturally

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Even though the average temperature in Stockholm, Sweden, is at a frigid 27 degrees Fahrenheit, Marie Granmar, Charles Sacilotto and their young son enjoy a cozy atmosphre all year round. The young couple have managed to harness the power of the sun by encasing their home in a giant glass greenhouse.

Aptly named ‘Naturhus’ (Nature House), the unique abode is located on the Stockholm archipelago and consists of an old summer house encased in glass. Marie and Charles were originally looking for an empty lot to build a house from scratch, but they eventually settled on repurposing this old summer house for year-round living, by building a greenhouse around it.

“This is a summer house,” Marie explained. “It was not really made for year-round living, but that was part of the idea, that you could actually put the greenhouse around the summer house and actually live in it with nice comfort all year round.” Charles, an engineer by profession, designed and made the necessary modifications himself, drawing inspiration from the work of Swedish eco-architect Bengt Warne, who just happens to be his mentor.

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Japanese Company Wants to Sell You These Awesome Levitating Bonsai Trees

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Bonsai – the art of growing miniature trees in shallow pots – is pretty cool in itself, but a Japanese company is taking it to the next level with ‘Air Bonsai’an invention that has the miniature trees levitate and rotate about half an inch above their pots.

Considering how mindblowing the effect is, it’s easy to mistake Air Bonsai for an optical illusion, but it is in fact quite real. Hoshinchu, the company developing the product, apparently wanted to incorporate elements of our galaxy into the idea of miniature plants. So their creation consists of two main components – ‘little star’ and ‘energy base’.

The little star is a levitating moss ball that you can transplant any bonsai plant into. It also has a rotating mechanism that runs on an AC adaptor. The energy base is made of Imari, a traditional Japanese porcelain art. It conducts magnetic energy that makes the plant float. The system is similar to the one used in OM/ONE speakers. “Each Air Bonsai is unique,” the page states, “ranging from elegant flowering plants, bold ‘matsu’ (pines), to delightful mosses.”

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Japanese Taxi Drivers Report ‘Ghost Passengers’ in Area Hit by 2011 Tsunami

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In a chilling turn of events, some taxi drivers in Japan are claiming to have picked up ‘ghost passengers’ in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated the nation in March 2011. As many as seven of the 100 drivers interviewed by Yuka Kudo, a student of sociology at Tohoku, admitted to having encountered phantom fares.

Kudo conducted the interviews as a part of her graduation thesis, traveling to the coastal town of Ishinomaki every week for a year to speak to taxi drivers waiting for fares. She asked over 100 drivers the same question: “Did you have any unusual experiences after the disaster?” Many of them ignored her, some even got angry, but seven drivers agreed to describe their strange encounters.

One driver recounted a particularly unsettling story – in the summer of 2011, a woman dressed in a coat climbed into his taxi near Ishinomaki station. She said, “Please go to the Mianmihama Station.” When he pointed out that there was nothing left standing in the district, she asked him in a shivering voice, “Have I died?” The driver immediately turned around, only to find the back seat empty.

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This Photo of a Potato Sold for over $1 Million

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If you thought spending money on painted firewood logs was ridiculous, you’re not going to be able to wrap your head around this: a man in Paris recently spent a whopping €1,000,000 (over $1 million) on a photograph of a potato, making it one of the top 20 most expensive photos ever sold!

To be fair, it wasn’t any ordinary potato portrait – it was clicked by Kevin Abosch, the hottest photographer in the world right now, according to Business Insider. His claim to fame includes photographing major Silicon Valley bigwigs like Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt, and Jack Dorsey. Some of his other famous subjects include Johnny Depp, Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Hopper, and Malala Yousafzai.

Irish-born Abosch is also apparently obsessed with potatoes – he’s taken tons of photographs of the starchy tuber set against his trademark black backdrop. “Kevin likes potatoes because they, like people, are all different yet immediately identifiable as being essentially of the same species,” his studio said in a statement. “He has photographed many potatoes. This is one of his favorites.”

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Bionic Filmmaker Replaces One of His Eyeballs with a Small Camera

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Rob Spence, a Toronto-based filmmaker, is so dedicated to his craft that he’s replaced one of his eyeballs with a camera-eye. Before you become too horrified, you should know that he hasn’t taken out a real eyeball, just a fake one that he’s had since he was a kid.

43-year-old Spence – who calls himself an Eyeborg – lost sight in one eye in a freak accident at age nine – he was shooting a pile of cow dung and badly injured his eye when he held the shotgun incorrectly. Since then, he’s lived with a fake eyeball in his right socket. But he recently thought it would be more interesting to remove it and replace it with a camera of his own invention.

The camera-eye looks like a regular prosthetic, but it isn’t connected to an optic nerve so Spence cannot actually see with it. It is equipped with a micro radio-frequency transmitter and whatever the eye can ‘see’ is played on a handheld monitor. The camera can be switched on and off with a push of a button.

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Bizarre Skin Condition Turns Man into ‘Human Suction Cup’

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Jamie ‘Canhead’ Keeton, a.k.a the ‘human suction cup’, can stick cans, bottles and other inanimate objects on to his skin. And he does it without using any external adhesives, because his skin’s pores are magically able to “suck up things” and make them stick!

Things have always been sticking to Keeton, but as a kid living in Florida he used to climb pine trees, so everyone thought it was because of the pine sap. He first discovered his sticky ability about 20 years ago, after shaving his head for the first time. “It was a hot day, and I was trying to cool my head down by holding a soda pop to it,” he said. “But then the team hit a home run and I let go of my soda to try and grab the ball, but I missed. Then I was like, ‘Where’s my drink?’”

The can, it turned out, was stuck to the back of his head horizontally, and the drink was pouring out of it. “Everyone was laughing,” he recalled.

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Japanese Researchers Creates Electric Fork That Alters the Taste of Food

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Did you know electricity can alter the way we taste food? Proving this fact is a revolutionary electric fork designed by Japanese researchers that can make any dish taste salty, thus acting as a substitute for the popular seasoning.

According to Hiromi Nakamura, a Post Doc Research Fellow at Tokyo’s Meiji University, the technology can be very useful for people on special diets. Patients with low blood pressure, for instance, can easily go on a low-salt diet and still enjoy delicious food. And with the fork, there’s absolutely no risk of over-salting your food. Luckily, the voltage is so small that there is no risk of electrocution either.

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The World’s Smallest Nightclub Is the Size of a Phone Booth

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‘Teledisko’, the world’s smallest disco, is probably the most exclusive party place you can find. Started by German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom, the nightclub – a repurposed phone booth located in the Berlin’s trendy Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district – can only accommodate two people at a time.

The coin-operated entry ensures that no one but you and your chosen friends can  access the bright yellow party booth. Inside, Teledisko has all the trimmings of a proper nightclub – a smoke machine, stroboscope, light effects, a disco ball, dry ice, and a touchscreen that lets you select and play your favorite music. The cramped interiors might prevent you from taking selfies, but the booth comes with a built-in camera that takes pictures and records videos of your unforgettable night.

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