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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The Most Connected Man in the World Uses 700 Sensors and Systems to Record Every Detail of His Existence

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They say meditation can make you self-aware, but it looks like technology can do the job too! 45-year-old American software developer Chris Dancy, the world’s most connected human being, uses a range of sensors, devices, services and apps that gather real-time data about his activities and the environment around him. A total of 700 systems monitor his every mood and move, and being ‘the most quantified human’ has helped him know himself better than ever before. “I spent the last four years connecting all the devices that I wear to all the smart technology in my home, and piping all that data through to a single online platform, so I can search my entire life. I call it my ‘inner-net’,” he said.

Dancy doesn’t just stay connected for fun, he puts all the data to good use. By constantly monitoring his movements and eating habits, he has managed to lose 100 pounds. “I now know what to drink, what to eat, when to sleep and when to actually make myself get up. Very simple things like that,” he said. “It’s body and mind hacking. Just like we hack computers and any type of data, your body and your mind is the greatest information system humanity has ever known and understanding it makes it hackable.”

“When I touch something, I try to make sure it’s a something that I can get information out of so I can track, then search it, visualize it and share it with people who might want that piece of it,” Dancy added. He got the idea to stay connected after realizing that he was putting a lot of information online and if one of these services went out of business, relevant information would be lost. “It really started with me having a desire to digitally collect what I was creating.”

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Zombie-Inspired Beer Is Brewed with Actual Brains

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As the season finale of the popular TV show The Walking Dead approaches, Philadelphia’s Dock Street Brewing Co. is celebrating with its own version of a ‘zombie’ beer brewed with actual brains. Don’t freak out just yet, though, those are smoked goat brains, not human.

The brewery’s website reads: “Presenting the Brainy Dock Street Walker: Quite possibly the smartest beer you’ll ever drink. Get a taste and watch the finale at Dock Street on March 30th, 7pm.”

“More often than not, monotonous Monday cleaning rituals (labors of love for brewers everywhere) were spent recapping the previous nights’ twists, turns, narrow escapes, or untimely goodbyes,” said the brewery in a press release. “Dock Street wanted to brew a special tribute to the show. Dock Street Walker’ (7.2 percent ABV) is an American Pale Stout, brewed with malted wheat, oats and flaked barley for a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Fuggle hops provide delicate, earthy notes, while the cranberries create a sinister, bloody hue and a slight tartness. The pre-sparge-brain-addition provides this beer with intriguing, subtle smoke notes. In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever.”

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Teenager Claims Selfie Addiction Nearly Ruined His Life

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19-year-old Danny Bowman is England’s and perhaps the world’s first self-confessed selfie addict. It might seem funny, but this addiction is every bit as serious and dangerous as any other. In fact, the young boy almost lost his life over his obsession of taking the perfect selfie photograph.

Danny used to spend about 10 hours taking over 200 selfies on his iPhone, every single day. At one point, his addiction got so bad that he stopped going to school and didn’t leave his house for six months. He even lost almost 30 pounds trying to make himself more photogenic. When his parents tried to stop him, he turned aggressive. And in a final, drastic attempt to cure himself of his disease, Danny overdosed on drugs.

“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die,” he said. “I lost my friends, my education, my health, and almost my life.” Fortunately, Danny was saved by his mother Penny, before the his selfie addiction claimed his life. He is now being treated for technology addiction, OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is an excessive anxiety about personal appearance.

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Flight of the Living Dead – The Tiny Fly That Turns Bees into Zombies

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Human zombies might be a figment of the imagination, but ‘zombie bees’ actually exist. They are ‘created’ when regular honeybees get infested with a particular type of parasite. The bees begin to display highly erratic and bizarre behavior that’s very zombie-like. These infested bees were first discovered in 2008 in California by John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University.

Ever since the initial discovery, zombie bee-sightings have been reported in Oregon, Washington State, California and South Dakota. According to Professor Hafernik, “They fly around in a disoriented way, get attracted to light, and then fall down and wander around in a way that’s sort of reminiscent of zombies in the movies. Sometimes we’ve taken to calling it, when they leave their hives, ‘the flight of the living dead.’”

The culprit here is the Apocephalus borealis, a parasitic fly that is known to implant its eggs in ants. The fly larvae live off the ants’ brains, dissolve their connective tissues and eventually finish off the ants. Researchers now have reason to believe that the flies have found a new home for their eggs – European honeybees that are common in the United States. The flies lay their eggs in the bees that eventually hatch, wreaking havoc in their hosts’ bodies.

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Chinese Grandmother Carries Handicapped Granddaughter on Her Back Every Day So She Can Attend School

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There’s nothing quite like a grandparent’s love, and this sweet story from Yibin City in China’s Szechuan province proves it. Even though 14-year-old Fang Mei Qiu is handicapped, she doesn’t miss a day of school. And she’s always on time! All thanks to her 66-year-old grandmother who actually gives the girl a piggy back ride every morning. Together, they cover four kilometers of mountain roads on foot each day to and from school.

Fang Mei was born with abnormal kneecaps that aren’t able to support her weight. So she can’t stand for more than a few minutes without excruciating pain, let alone walk to school. She is constantly in need of help to move around. Sadly, her father left when she was just a baby and her mother remarried soon, leaving Fang Mei in the care of her grandparents. And what loving grandparents they’ve turned out to be! While the grandfather is too old and sick to do much, the grandmother takes care of the small family’s needs.

Grandma wakes up at 5 am each morning and prepares for the day ahead. At 7 am, they begin their journey to school with Fang Mei on grandma’s back, stopping to rest at least five times during the trek. It takes them one-and-a-half hours to cover the two-kilometer journey on foot. And they are never late – grandma makes sure they reach school by 8.30 am every single day. They’ve been doing this for five years now, covering over 4,000 kilometers so far.

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The Harmless Far East Eses – Thai Men Dressing Up Like Mexican Gang Members

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In an interesting new trend in Thailand, young men are choosing to dress themselves as Mexican gangsters. Their clothes (or lack thereof), hairstyles, and tattoos are all inspired by criminal gangs in Mexico and the US. They have even formed their own gangs – Balcony Pain, Fratez, and D Sixty, to name a few. But of course, copying dressing style won’t really make criminals out of decent men. None of these young copycats actually appreciate the brutal violence associated with real-life Latino gangs, they are just really big fans of the gangs’ fashion style and brotherhood mentality.

More than anything else, these men appreciate the ‘clean and simple’ gangster aesthetic because it suits the Thai weather very well. You’d actually be surprised to know that most of them hold nine to five jobs as teachers, policemen and bureaucrats. Some are family men who ask their wives’ permission before getting inked. Needless to say, they don’t fight, shoot each other or deal in drugs. They’re more like this large brotherhood of style-conscious men who bond well over their passion for gangster lifestyle and clothes.

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Pastor Jokingly Offers to Sponsor Congregation’s Cross Tattoos, Now Has to Pay Up

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When Pastor Zack Zehnder flippantly offered free tattoos to his congregation, little did he expect people to actually take him up on it. During a recent sermon about acceptance at the Cross Mount Dora church in Mount Dora, Florida, the pastor had said: “If anybody would like to go out and get a tattoo of the logo of the cross that we have for this church we will find money and pay for that.” I suppose he didn’t realize exactly how popular tattoos are – at least a dozen church members have already inked themselves with the church cross logo.

Jeremie Turner, one of the congregation members who got inked, said: “We definitely took him up on his offer because if he’s going to hand out free tattoos, he’s got a crowd of people that’s going to accept them.” When pastor Zack realized what was happening, he graciously stuck to his word and personally paid for the tattoos at Bill Gold’s Tattoo Shop. “If I wasn’t so dang sarcastic in my sermons, I don’t know that we would be here,” he said, while overseeing a church member getting inked at the shop. “But we got some crazy people that have said they wanted to do it so I kinda gotta, I made the promise. I kinda gotta back it up.”

It’s nice to see  pastor Zack standing by his promise, instead of making excuses to try and get out of the deal. He even hopes that the new tattoos will serve as conversation starters and get more people interested in the church. “People’s perception of church has probably never been as negative as it is today and so if we can do something to kind of flip that script and interact with them and do something in a unique and creative way, we’re going to do that,” he said.

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Chinese Contestants Stand on One Leg for Hours on End to Win Brand New BMW

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Wu Deqi is the proud owner of a brand new swanky BMW. Nothing special so far, I know, but that’s because you don’t yet know how he got it. Instead of money, he had to pay for it with a lot of pain. In a promotional contest held last Sunday in the Shapingba District of Southwest China, Wu stood on one leg with one hand touching the coveted car alongside 20 other participants. After a grueling 7 hours and 26 minutes, Wu was the last man standing – automatically winning possession of the 300,000 yuan BMW X1.

Of course, Wu’s feat is nowhere near the Guinness World Record for standing on one leg. That distinction belongs to Suresh Joachim, who balanced himself on one foot for a whopping 76 hours and 40 minutes. But you have to hand it to Wu for his extraordinary effort. I mean, I couldn’t do it for over 5 minutes even if they offered me two BMWs.

The actual event began on 1 March and attracted hundreds of participants. About 140 people entered into three elimination rounds, and 20 shortlisted candidates made it to the final competition on Sunday. This last round was the toughest; some of the contestants actually dropped to the ground in agony. The competition began at 9:30 am and by 1:30 pm, the going got really tough. That’s when the organizers asked participants to stand on tip of their support foot. Flour was spread under each person’s foot to make sure they didn’t cheat and rest their heels.

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New Zealand Campaign Offers Students Free Beer for Dead Rats

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Gareth Morgan, a philanthropist from Wellington, New Zealand, has come up with a unique initiative to get rid of the city’s rats. He’s offering university students a free beer for every rat they manage to catch and kill. He’s even giving away rap traps. According to Morgan, rats are a common urban pest that are ruining the native ecology of the country. In fact, he’s so passionate about preserving New Zealand’s wildlife that he’s willing to personally sponsor all the free beers. “We’re trying to make an offer that students just can’t refuse, and we’re trying to get them to be our army,” he said.

Morgan is currently running the campaign in association with Victoria University’s Science Society. According to the Science Society president Jonathan Musther, “There are obviously people who get behind it for the drinks, but then there are a lot of ecology students who are very passionate about trapping and very passionate about New Zealand native flora and fauna.”

“The lure of freebies usually gets people along,” said one student. “But when they find out what they have to do they might be a bit deterred.”

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Brazilian Popeye Pumps His Biceps Full of Oil and Alcohol

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I always thought Popeye was adorable, but I find this Brazilian real-life version to be kind of grotesque. Arlindo de Souza, a.k.a. Arlindo Anomalia, has bulked up his arms by following a dangerous trend among body builders in Brazil – injecting themselves with a potentially lethal combination of oil and alcohol. He has 29-inch biceps, which are currently the biggest in the country. The most odd thing about his muscles is that they are bulged even when he isn’t flexing them, like great, big lumps of flesh hanging off his arms and shoulders.

Arlindo says that he’s stopped using the injections, now that a friend’s death made him realize how dangerous they are. “My friend Paulinho, he passed away from doing these things,” he said. “I felt his death a lot. He took it, I took it, but he went beyond the limit. I advise no-one to take this oil. I’ve stopped taking it, and other things as well, but there is always that will to start again. But I’m managing to control myself, to this day.”

Older pictures reveal that 43-year-old Arlindo was once a handsome man with his ‘natural’ muscles. But the Arnold Schwarzenegger fan became so obsessed with body building that he took steroids, hormones and horse vitamins to bulk up. And then, two years ago, a gym buddy offered him a ‘site enhancement oil’ to help things along. “The guy gave it to me,” said Arlindo. “He said, ‘Take this, it will make you grow in days.’ I loaded the syringe, put it in my arm, injected it and it swelled me up right there and then.”

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New York Church Plans to Give Away Semi-Automatic Rifle as Raffle Prize

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It’s the perfect irony: an upstate New York church is giving new meaning to the biblical passage ‘My peace I give unto you’, by giving away a piece. The Grace Baptist Church in Troy, a few hours north of Manhattan, will be gifting an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle later this month during an event honoring hunters and gun owners. ‘Win a Free AR-15’ is the actual slogan being displayed on the church website, followed by the line from the New Testament.

A raffle will be conducted on the church premises on March 23, and the winning ticket will receive the AR-15 modified for sale in New York State. The special service on that day will be dedicated to ‘hunters and gun owners who have been so viciously attacked by the antichristian socialist media and antichristian socialist politicians the last few years’. New York Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin is scheduled to speak at the service. He confirmed to the media that the event did comply with the state’s gun laws. He even said that many New York pastors upstate carry guns, but they are law-abiding, church-going citizens.

The church pastor, John Koletas, defended the event in a letter to his congregation: “Our country was built with the King James Bible and the gun,” he wrote. “Does the Bible need to defend my right to keep and bear arms?” Pastor Michael Collins of Brunswick Baptist Church in Troy also defended the event. “It is not something that we would do, but we have plenty of gun owners in the church, and it is our constitutional right to do so,” he said. “It is not uncommon for churches to host outdoorsman events and give away guns.”

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Mexico’s Teenage Angels Risk Their Lives in the Name of Peace

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Sometimes, all you need is a message from an angel to turn your life around. And it doesn’t really matter if that angel actually happens to be a human being; it’s the timing that really counts. Perhaps no one realizes this fact better than a group of 15 to 22-year-olds in Mexico, who are risking their lives by going out into the streets as angels, in an attempt to change their society. The ‘Messenger Angels’, as they call themselves, are young evangelical Christians who take a message of peace to public places in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most violent city.

The messenger angels are all dressed the same – hair combed back, white make up, white robes and white wings. They stand at busy intersections and places where crimes usually take place, holding up signs that display messages of peace – like ‘Looking for God’s Forgiveness’. “We get people’s attention because instead of doing bad things, like other young people, we are doing this because we want Juarez to change,” said Cynthia Gutierrez, one of the angels. The city has a population of 1.3 million and over 9,000 murders in the past three and a half years. One of the boy angels said: “In society, they’ve separated us a lot. As well as in our families. That’s why we try to share a message to drug dealers, hitmen, raiders.”

“Well, some people think we are right, others think we are wrong. I think this is right, to create more consciousness in every person that’s going down the wrong path,” added another angel. He was holding up a sign that read: ‘Chapo Guzman, Time is Short, Repent’. Some of the other signs say: ‘Police-killer: Stop it! From: Jesus Christ’, ‘Corrupt Police Officer: Seek God’ and ‘Authorities: nothing can be done without Christ’. I suppose messages from God don’t really get more direct than this.

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African Pop Star Becomes Ghostly White after Using Controversial Pigment-Altering Cosmetics

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It’s a little sad to see that in this day and age, people are still trying to change their skin color. The transformation of Nigerian and Cameroonian pop star Dencia is particularly disturbing. If the photographs are to be believed, she has gone from a healthy brown to a sickly pale white by using her own brand of skin whitening cream called Whitenicious. The controversial cosmetic product has brought her much criticism because of what it stands for, but Dencia has just one reply to silence her critics: “I don’t even care because they are bringing me business.”

Whitenicious is said to remove dark spots and effectively lighten skin in just seven days. The cream has become quite popular in West Africa, where some women are believed to be obsessed with the color of their skin. And according to Dencia, she doesn’t think she’s encouraging people to change, she’s just giving the girls what they want. “These girls are not trying to bleach their skin. They’re just trying to get rid of these little things that is making them feel uncomfortable, you know?” she said, referring to dark spots.

Dencia also tried to justify herself by explaining that many of her customers were African-American, not African. “Because the white man doesn’t even like light Africans. They like Black Africans,” she said. “Look at all the Africans that are successful in the world. They are as black as Alek Wek. And if I was as Black as Alek Wek, I would never use anything on my skin.” I’m not sure what she’s saying makes much sense.

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Jesus-Inspired Miracle Machine Turns Water into Wine

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Up until a few days ago, Jesus was the only one who could turn water into wine. Now it seems anyone can do it. All they need is one of these $499 miracle bottles, water and some special ingredients. The aptly named Miracle Machine is pretty straightforward – water goes in, wine comes out. And there’s a sachet of flavors for various types of wines, of course, as with all instant foods. Created by the founders of a California company called Customvine, Miracle Machine is currently up on Kickstarter for much needed funding.

To use Miracle Machine, all you need to do is add the ingredients sachet to the bottle, choose the type and style of wine from a menu, add water and start the machine. Then, all you need to do is wait. Thankfully, the waiting period isn’t a pain – you don’t have to keep opening the bottle to check if the wine’s ready. Instead, you can connect the bottle to your smartphone, and an app will monitor the progress for you. It will alert you when the fermentation is complete (a process that takes about three days), and the wine is ready to consume.

Kevin Boyer, CEO of Customvine, is a sommelier who also founded the Boyanci winery in Napa Valley. Miracle Machine is his brainchild, in collaboration with Philip James, a British entrepreneur and founder of the wine site Lot18. “Just like a Bible miracle, it literally turns water into wine, with just the addition of a few ingredients in a fraction of the time and cost it would normally take,” said Boyer.

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