The Man Who Tastes Sounds

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Meet James Wannerton, an Englishman with an incredibly rare ability to taste sound. That might seem absurd, but it is very much a reality for people with a condition called synaesthesia, which causes senses that are usually separate to intermingle.

Even as a young boy, James always experienced an involuntary taste on his tongue every time he heard a sound. Hearing the name Anne Boleyn in History class, for example, gave him a strong flavor of pear drops. He associated most of the British monarchs with a specific taste, making it easy for him to remember facts and events. His word-taste associations always helped him do better in school.

As he grew older, James found that his unique ability helped him in other aspects of life too. His relationships were all too delicious – he chose his companions not because of their looks or personality, but based on how their names felt on his taste buds. His schoolmates often had a strong essence of sliced potatoes and strawberry jam, while his dates’ names tasted like slices of rhubarb and melted wine gums.

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Indian Librarian Has Been Donating Every Penny Earned to Charity for 35 Years

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Meet Kalyanasundaram, an Indian librarian with a heart of gold. During his 35 years of service, he donated almost all the money he earned to orphanages and children’s welfare funds. Now that he is retired, Kalyanasundaram donates his entire pension to those who need it more than he. Although he has no material possessions to his name, he considers himself one of the richest people in the world.

The 73-year-old retiree, from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, started to think about helping the poor and underprivileged at a very young age. He lost his father at the age of one, and his mother struggled to raise him all by herself. As he grew older, his shrill, high-pitched voice troubled him to such an extent that he became depressed and suicidal. But his life turned around when he met a local motivational writer, who told him, “Don’t bother about how you speak. Strive to make others speak well about you.”

Kalyanasundaram took the advice seriously, and decided to dedicate his life to the service of others. The humble man insists that the reason he started helping people was to make himself happy.

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Chilean Woman Adopts Abandoned Dead Babies So She Can Bury Them

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We’ve seen lots of stories of kind people who adopt children, but this is a first – a Chilean woman who adopts dead babies! Fueled by the strong belief that every baby deserves a proper goodbye, she officially adopts abandoned babies that are found dead so she can organize funerals for them.

It all started 12 years ago when Bernarda Gallardo read a story in a local newspaper about an abandoned baby in Puerto Montt. “They killed and dumped a newborn baby on the rubbish heap,” the article read. Bernarda, who was in the process of adopting a child at the time, was horrified by the report. She realised if the baby had lived it might have come to her for adoption. So she decided to do something about it.

“If you get a baby that is alive, you clothe it and feed it and put it in a cot,” she explained. “If your baby arrives dead you have to get a coffin and give it a decent burial.”

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Hong Kong Toddlers Take Special Classes to Make Sure They Get into the Best Nurseries and Kindergartens

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Believe it or not, the kindergarten scene in Hong Kong is so fiercely competitive that tiny toddlers are expected to take special classes to get prepped for nursery interviews!

You might wonder what the big deal is about nursery school – kids just play and take naps, right? But parents in Hong Kong actually view it as an important phase that could determine their child’s future. They strongly believe in the cascading effect – admission to the best kindergartens will lead to the best primary schools, best secondary schools, and eventually, the best universities.

“It’s the only topic that comes up when you go out for lunch, which school your kid got into, which school are you applying for and how are you preparing your child for it?” one mother revealed. “My friends have sent me spreadsheets with a detailed timetable of when schools are available for applications and how to apply.”

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Dr. Pimple Popper – Dermatologist Films Herself Popping Zits, Becomes Internet Sensation

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How would you like to watch a big, fat, juicy pimple pop and ooze pus and gunk? Sounds revolting? But you’ll be surprised at how satisfying it can be. And thanks to YouTube sensation Dr Sandra Lee, you can watch tons of such videos online. Nearly 60,000 people subscribe to her channel, where she regularly posts videos of herself popping her clients’ zits.

Lee is a California based dermatologist and a regular guest on a talk show called The Doctors. But on the internet, she is popular as Dr Pimple Popper – a nickname that she chose for herself when she first started posting clips of blackhead and whitehead extractions. Apart from her massive YouTube following, she has a loyal fan base on Reddit as well.

“I find this little subculture fascinating,” Lee said, in a recent interview. “I pop these things, and yeah they kind of make me feel good, they’re satisfying, but it’s not like I seek them out.” But every time a client walks in to her office, she offers to pop their zits for free, if they’ll allow her post it online. Interestingly, no one has ever refused the offer.

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Japanese Collagen-Infused Beer Claims to Make You Prettier

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In a bid to cash in on the latest beauty trend of consuming collagen, Japanese company ‘Suntory Holdings Ltd’ has released a special brew of collagen-infused beer.

The trend has Japanese women believing that eating copious amounts of collagen – the structural protein of connective tissues – will lead to beautiful, younger-looking skin. The seemingly innocuous trend has caught on rapidly – stores are filled collagen-laced beauty products, and women are willing to gulp spoonfuls of powdered collagen mixed into protein shakes. They also flock to restaurants that serve foods naturally high in collagen – pig trotters, chicken skin and shark fin.

But the collagen-infused beer, called ‘Precious’, is a stroke of marketing genius – now women can get drunk and beautiful at the same time! Suntory announced the new product on April 7 – it is a light beer, containing 2 grams of collagen and 5% alcohol per can. Their tag declares: “Guys can tell if a girl is taking collagen or not.”

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Chinese Cab Driver Brightens Up Passengers’ Day with Adorable Selfies

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Taxi driver Teng Jiazhi, from Shenyang city in north China, is probably the world’s greatest selfie enthusiast. He was taking photos of himself with his passengers long before selfies became a social phenomenon, simply as a way to brighten up their day. Fondly known as “Uncle Teng”, the friendly cab driver has amassed a collection of over 30,000 selfies in the last 5 years.

Teng revealed that he came up with the unique idea ten years ago, when he picked up a couple of tourists on a winter day. “They had been standing in the cold for more than an hour for a taxi,” he recalled. “When they got in my car, they kept thanking me and offered tips. But I could not take the extra money. Before they dropped off, they wanted to take a photo with me. The gratitude they had was very comforting and that photo was the first selfie I took with my passenger.”

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Guy Celebrates His Toddler Son with Massive Face Tattoo

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A young father from Texas is making headlines for getting a tattoo of his son’s face, on the left side of his face! 20-year-old Christien Sechrist said that the inking was a way of paying tribute to his toddler son, whom he had almost lost. And in spite of all the negative comments, he says he doesn’t regret it and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

Christien’s picture first appeared on Imgur last week, from where it was picked up by the media. It shows the tattoo, featuring a black-and-grey portrait of his son Perseus, taking up almost the entire left side of his face. According to news reports, he got the tattoo done last July, after he had almost lost his son.

Not everyone is happy with his decision of getting the tattoo, though. He had posted a message on Facebook shortly after getting inked, thanking the artist: “Thanks Cody Gibbs for doing awesome work on me. Looks just like my son.” Within minutes, he started to receive negative comments from friends.

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Chinese Student Carries Disabled Best Friend on His Back for 3 Years

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This heartwarming tale of friendship is proof enough that there is still hope for the world. Chinese social media is abuzz with the story of a high school kid who has been carrying his disabled best friend at school – for the past three years!

When teenagers Xie Xu and Zhang Chi met for the first time at Daxu High School in Xuzhou, in northern China’s Jiangsu province, they made an instant connection. Soon, they were inseparable – to the extent that when Zhang found it difficult to navigate between classrooms, Xie decided to carry him around campus every single day.

“The story of the two students is so inspiring and touching,” said vice-principal Guo Chunxi. “They aren’t family, but Xie has been doing this for three years.”

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Woman Hits Venezuelan President on the Head with a Mango, Gets Rewarded with New Home

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While the rest of the world relies on petitions to get in touch with elected officials, it seems that things are done differently in Venezuela. A woman recently got quick results on a housing issue after she got the president’s attention by hitting him on the head with a mango!

The incident occurred last week, in the state of Aragua. President Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver, was driving a bus through a crowd when, out of nowhere, a ripe mango hurtled towards him, aimed straight at his head. The 52-year-old Venezuelan president managed to duck in time, but his ear took the blow. He then casually picked up the mango and displayed it to the crowd.

Upon closer inspection, the mango revealed a message, “If you can, call me,” along with a name and phone number. It turns out that the mango was thrown by a local woman named Marleny Olivo, who had been facing housing problems for a long time. Tired of filing endless petitions with the government, she decided to adopt a more ‘direct’ approach.

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Company Wants to Turn the Scent of Missed Loved Ones into a Comforting Perfume

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Thanks to a French company, it might soon be possible to store the comforting scent of a loved one forever. They plan to launch their new line of perfumes made from fragrances that people leave on their clothes, in September.

The idea for the perfumes belongs to French insurance agent Katia Apalategui. She came up with it seven years ago, when she was devastated about losing her father. At the time, she wished there was a way she could store his scent in a bottle. Apparently, her mother felt the same way: “I also miss the smell and do not want to wash his pillowcase,” she had told Katia.

Intrigued by the idea of preserving odor, Katia began to investigate if she could actually make it happen. She tried researching but met with little success, until she came across an innovation agency called Seinari, in Normandy. They put her in touch with the department of organic and macromolecular chemistry at the University of Le Havre. Researchers there were able to explore the possibilities of bringing Katia’s idea to life. After much trial and error, they actually developed a technique to extract the odor out of a person’s clothes, and reconstitute it as an alcohol-based perfume in only four days’ time.

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Chinese High-School Installs Metal Bars on Balconies to Prevent Suicides

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A high school in China was recently in the news for bearing a striking resemblance to a correctional facility. When questioned, the school authorities revealed that they were forced to install ‘anti-suicide iron barriers’, after two students jumped to their deaths in the past six months.

The authorities at Hengshui No. 2 High School also insisted that although they installed the barriers “out of safety concerns,” they also added a few plants to lighten up the mood. “The pot plants are supposed to make the building feel less bleak,” a teacher explained.

While the move might indicate the authorities’ concern towards students, the question remains as to why students would choose to end their lives at school. It turns out several schools in Hengshui City, where the school is located, are notorious for their harsh and exacting approach towards education. Apparently, these schools expect students to work hard all day long, with the sole purpose succeeding at the ‘gaokao’ college entrance exam.

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Man Forms His Own European Country on the Concepts of Absolute Freedom and Peace

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31-year-old Vit Jedlicka has formed his own European nation on a three-square-mile territory located between Serbia and Croatia. The piece of land technically doesn’t belong to either country, so he decided to use the space to fulfill his own political ambitions.

Vit, who is an active member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic, has long since wanted to live in a country that doesn’t have an army, and where taxes are optional. When he realised that his ambitions may never be fulfilled in his own country, he decided to found a new one instead.

He revealed that while his initial intention was just to protest against his own country’s policies, he later realised that he and those who share his libertarian views would probably never succeed in changing things in the Czech Republic. So he founded ‘The Free Republic of Liberland’, a nation that functions with a single motto: ‘Live and let live’. The new nation has a new flag, new national anthem, and a provisional government, which is currently collecting donations to assist in drafting the constitution. They accept bitcoin, too!

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Goofy Church Of Bacon Offers Religious Services to Meat Lovers

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Founded in 2012 by Las Vegas-based ex-Marine John Whiteside, the basic premise of the United Church of Bacon is rather simple – bacon is our God, because bacon is real. Well, who can argue with logic like that?

The church claims to have over 4,000 meat-loving members, some of whom even bear quirky titles. Whiteside goes by ‘Bacon Prophet’, while member Johnny Monsarrat calls himself ‘Funkmaster General’ and ‘Institutionalised Thought Leader’. The members are mostly atheists who claim that their religion is to doubt religion.

Although the church aims to unite meat lovers, it was basically started by Whiteside to stand up for atheists’ rights. “The hatred of atheists, atheophobia and secularphobia, has no stigma, unlike homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and racism. That needs to change,” he said.

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Indian Man Is on a Quest to Date 365 Women This Year

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Most people are desperate to find ‘the one’, but this Indian man is quite the opposite. He wants date one woman… per day! He’s on a quest to go out on 365 dates this year, and has already been on 110 so far.

Although his goal might make him sound like a Casanova, Sunder Ramu’s intentions are actually quite different. It appears that he took up challenge simply as a way to meet more people. And he even has a rule – the women have to take him out and pay for the meal, or choose to cook it themselves. “I was getting too comfortable being alone, which scared me,” the fashion photographer from Chennai explained. “I decided that I was going to explore life and meet more and more people. Going to the club feels fake, and so I thought of going out on dates.”

In fact, most of the dates aren’t even romantic in nature. They’re more about having a good time and making new friends. Through his unique quest, he’s spent time with women of all ages and from different walks of life, and he’s had a wealth of experiences so far.

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