South Koreans Use Bedroom Tents to Keep Warm This Winter

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Indoor tents are all the rage in South Korea this winter. Apparently they keep you really warm and save electricity as well. In fact, some tent-users say their heating bill has been reduced by half. While the temperature in rooms gets as low as 19 degrees Celsius, the 40,000 won (US$37) tents are quite cozy at 23 degrees.

Given their multiple benefits, these tents are flying off shelves in South Korea. One tent maker claims to have sold 4 million in just a couple of weeks. Thousands of tents are on back order, and manufacturers are rushing to make more. We don’t know who came up with the ingenious idea, but it looks like almost everyone has caught on.

This winter has been pretty harsh for the South Koreans; they are facing power blackouts and surging energy costs with six of 23 nuclear reactors being shut down. People have been looking for cheaper heating methods that save electricity, and the tent is apparently working wonders for them. Families are sleeping in tents setup within their homes to keep themselves warm. Some of them have placed tents on top of beds for extra warmth.

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Say What? The Clicking Languages of South Africa

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I had heard of African names with clicks before, like ǂXóõ, ǂHõã and !Kung, but I thought they were limited to just a few words. Now, after some research, I’ve realized that clicks are used quite extensively in many South African languages.

If you’re having trouble understanding the click and its use, think of it this way – it’s just like any other consonant used in the English language.

The credit for introducing clicks to a worldwide audience goes to singer Miriam Makeba, whose life has been celebrated on Google’s Doodles this year. In her 1957 hit single, Pata Pata, you can clearly hear clicks in the lyrics. “Everywhere we go, people often ask me, ‘How do you make that noise?’” she said during an interview in 1979. “It used to offend me because it isn’t a noise. It’s my language,” she clarified.

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Israeli Restaurant Offers 50% Discount to Patrons Who Turn Off Their Phones

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Restaurant owner Jawdat Ibrahim is making his patrons an offer they cannot refuse – switch off your mobile, reduce your bill by half.

Ibrahim thinks smartphones have completely destroyed the dining experience. “Technology is very good. But just when you eat, just especially when you are with your family and your friends, you can wait for half-an-hour and enjoy the food and the company,” he says. “A lot of people, they sit down and they don’t enjoy their food.”

I must admit he does have a point there. These days, almost everyone looks more at their phones than the people beside them. Ibrahim is dismayed when he sees married couples or friends sitting in silence, staring at their screens and finally asking for their food to be reheated.

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Woman Has Her Leg Cut Off So She Can Wear High Heels

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21-year-old New Yorker Mariah Serrano was born with a painfully twisted club foot, and had never worn high heels in her life. She’d attended her high school prom in golden trainers, insanely jealous of her friends who wore heels.

Like many other girls from New York, Mariah dreamed of a job in fashion, but it seemed like her leg-situation was going to get in the way of that too. “When I was told I’d never be able to wear high heels and I should give up my dream career, I was devastated,” she said.

So when a specialist told her in 2009 that she had another option – to have her leg amputated, she seriously considered it. “Mum was horrified but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. I had to give it some serious thought.”

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The Inspirational Story of a Paralyzed Surgeon who Continues to Operate

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Dr. Ted Rummel thought his life was pretty much over when he was left paralyzed from the waist-down in 2010. The exceptional surgeon had been diagnosed with a cavernous hemangioma – a blood filled cyst – in the middle of his spinal cord a year earlier. Neurologists told him the cyst couldn’t be surgically removed, as the procedure would paralyze him instantly. Instead he was told to rest, wait, and pray the cyst never ruptured.

Unfortunately for Dr. Rummel, the cyst did burst in September 2010, just a week after he performed a rotator cuff surgery on his wife Kathy – his last surgery for the next two years. He suffered a terrible back ache, followed by numbness and weakness in his legs. Within days, “a wave crashed over his lower body and took all feeling and mobility with it.” Dr. Rummel was paralyzed for life.

It’s sad that something so terrible should have happened to him, after he cured thousands of people in St. Charles County of pain and stiffness in their joints. In his best days, he had practiced over 1,000 surgeries per year in O’Fallon, Missouri.

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Detroit Homeowner Uses Dummies Dressed as Gang Members to Deter Real Criminals

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Who needs live security guards when a pair of dummies can do the job? A Detroit homeowner from the city’s west side has been putting this theory into practice for the past few weeks, with excellent results.

Detroit’s news channel Local 4 reported the story in detail. While the homeowner preferred to remain anonymous, we do get to hear snippets of his voice during the video coverage. “This is my home, my castle,” he says. And he’s converted his castle into a fortress of sorts with a security system, sensor lights, bars on windows, double screen doors and two dogs. The icing on the cake: two security guards stationed at the front door 24/7. If you look closely, you’ll realize they’re just dummies (the kind used for CPR training) dressed as gang members.

The man says he got the idea after several break-ins occurred and he couldn’t afford insurance premiums. His insurance company actually told him that they see risk all around his home – vacant homes and constant crime. So he has been making efforts to minimize that risk. In perfect Home Alone style, he’s doing his best to outsmart burglars.

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Australian Family Set New Guinness Record with 502,165 Christmas Light Installation

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We love it when the holidays are around the corner; there are just so many odd stories to talk about! Our first Christmas story this season is here: an Australian family who put up over half a million Christmas lights in their Canberra home and set a new Guinness World Record.

This isn’t the first time father-of-three David Richards and his family have done this. In 2011 they set the record after putting up 331,038 lights. Last year a New-York family beat them with a whopping 346,283. The Richards wanted their title back so badly that this year they’ve installed 502,165 lights – that’s 31 miles of wire. They also have a glowing reindeer and loud music to boot.

Some of the Richards’ neighbours are very upset and haven’t spoken to the family since 2011. But most of them love the dazzle and come to visit from several miles away. David says, “I have always loved Christmas. Having the Christmas lights with the community coming in and sharing it is a time when you get to know people you probably should know better, I guess.”

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China’s Best Mao Zedong Impersonator Is Actually a Woman

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57-year-old Chen Yan used to be an average, run-of-the-mill homemaker. The only noticeable thing about her: her striking resemblance to Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong. Chen was teased mercilessly for this as a child, reducing her to tears. But in 2006 she made a decision that would completely change her life –  to embrace herself and her appearance. Chen is now a full time Mao impersonator, an extremely popular one.

Impersonating Chairman Mao isn’t exactly a piece of cake. It’s a demanding and controversial job, because female impersonators of Mao aren’t very common in China. To look the part, Chen has to touch up her face, wear a Zhongshan suit and arrange her hair like Mao’s trademark style. She has to walk on specially made 26cm stilts, camouflaged to look like a larger shoe size. A typical performance is about 40 minutes long – Chen waves to the crowds, smokes and stares solemnly into the distance. I must say, she does a damn good job of it. It’s almost impossible to tell there’s a woman behind the costume.

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The Cotton Ball Diet – A Dangerous Weight-Loss Trend

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I thought the Tapeworm diet was as bad as weight loss fads could get, but I was mistaken. Desperate dieters keep coming up with new, innovative methods to shed pounds. The latest trend is to eat cotton balls soaked in orange juice, lemonade or smoothies.

It’s all over the internet. Chat rooms, YouTube videos and blogs are describing to young women how the cotton ball diet is done. The trend is said to have caught on after model Bria Murphy (Eddie Murphy’s daughter) admitted to seeing models subjecting themselves to this diet. “I’ve heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice. They dip it in the orange juice and then they eat the cotton balls to help them feel full,” Murphy told her interviewer on Good Morning America.

The idea behind the cotton ball diet is to feel full without having to gain weight. Some practitioners stick to just eating cotton all day. Others chow down on these fillers before a meal, so they can eat less. Dieters are able to swallow as many as five juice-dipped balls in one sitting, before they feel completely full.

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Innocent People Getting Punched for no Reason in Dangerous Knockout Game

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The Knockout Game is a disturbing trend emerging among teens in the US. A group of teens, get together and punch random passersby on streets. Their aim is to knock people out cold in a single punch. The singular move is termed the ‘one-hitter-quitter’.

Incidents of the Knockout Game have been reported throughout the US, mostly from the New York metro area and Washington. Media reports suggest that the elderly and women with children are not exempt from this brutal game. Some reporters think that the crimes have a motive; almost all the victims seem to be white, Asian, Jews, homosexuals, and sometimes even vegan. Earlier this month, CBS covered the Knockout Game in detail. One teen told reporters, “You just knock them out. You hit them with a blow and you take their belongings.” While some say that they participate simply for the fun of it, others are wannabe tough guys who want to test their strength.

One of the most recent victims of the game was Phoebe Connolly from Washington D.C. As she was riding her bike in the Columbia Heights section, a teen rushed up to her and punched her face with brute force. “My whole head went flying to the side,” she said. “One kid came from the side and pretty much cut me off. He threw a hook with his left hand and got me right in the face and he said, ‘Wapow!’”

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Woman Gets Platinum Jewel Implanted in Her Eye to Make Herself Unique

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Lucy Luckayanko is perhaps the only New Yorker to have an eye-stud. She spent $3,000 on a one-minute procedure to have a heart-shaped piece of platinum inserted into the white of her right eyeball.

Harvard and NYU-trained Dr. Chynn performed the procedure. Interestingly, he has been featured here on OC before. He made news last August as a love-crazed doctor desperate to find his soul-mate. He spent thousands of dollars on high-end matchmaking services and charity donations in exchange for dates. When nothing worked out, he began to offer free cosmetic procedures to anyone who would introduce him to the girl of his dreams. Going by this, we don’t know if Lucy has had to pay for her treatment or got it free in exchange for setting up Dr. Chynn on a date. In any case, she went ahead with it and now she looks like she has a piece of dirt stuck in her eye forever.

It seems doctors have done this procedure several times in Europe and Los Angeles, but this was New York’s first. To perform it, Dr. Chynn first injected an anesthetic into Lucy’s eye. Then he made a tiny incision to “try to divide a pocket in between the sclera (the white part) and the conjunctiva (the clear part)” of her eye. Using forceps, he placed the 3.5mm platinum stud in a drop of water on Lucy’s eye membrane. Since the stud is so small, it had to be floated into position. It was all over in a matter of minutes and Lucy went home with her new bejeweled eye soon after.

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Rooftop Agriculture – Chinese Farmer Turns House Roof into Fertile Farmland

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The curious case of the Chinese Rooftop strikes again!

First, there was the eccentric businessman who built a mountain-villa on the roof of a Beijing apartment building. Then there was that mysterious temple built on a Chinese skyscraper. Now we have the story of farmer Peng Quigen and his one-of-a-kind ‘sky-farm’. For several years, he has been growing rice, fruits and vegetables on the roof of his four-storey home in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, 40 feet above the ground.

Peng’s sky-farm is no hobby. What he has done with just 120-square-meters of rooftop is pretty remarkable. He’s actually managing to yield large quantities of produce from this small, yet fertile, patch. Just last year, Peng harvested nearly 400 kilograms of watermelon, which is a whopping 30 percent higher than ground-level yield. This year he’s trying out rice – he says that in spite of the negative impact of typhoon ‘Fitow’, he’s expecting to harvest enough rice to feed one adult for one whole year.

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Woman Marries Ferris Wheel She Has Loved for Decades

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Love knows no limits for, a woman from Florida who married Bruce the Skydiver, an amusement park ride similar to a Ferris-wheel. Although the state of Florida doesn’t even allow same-sex marriages between humans, Linda married the steel ride last year. At the beginning of this year, the two renewed their vows during a ceremony conducted by a non-denominational preacher, who tied them “flesh to steel”. As expected, Bruce had nothing to object.

The woman has a condition called “objectum sexuality”, meaning that she considers certain objects as potential lovers. In fact, before Bruce, Linda was romantically involved with a train and a helicopter, which determined her to choose jobs that allowed her to be closer to her beloved objects. Consequently, she was both a pilot and a train conductor. Unfortunately, her affection for the locomotive wasn’t appreciated, so she lost her job. As she says, “I was seen in a romantic embrace with a train and subsequently, I was fired”. The first encounter with the park ride, back in 1982, was very special for Linda. As she remembers, “I got this weird feeling I can’t explain. My heart was pounding as we went up the platform and got on the ride. I felt like I was being taken by this ride.” Just like in any great love story, the mother didn’t agree with her daughter’s relationship. “My mother’s reaction was completely off the wall; she was a very religious person. To her, I was an abomination to God and she wanted to change that … she really thought I was demon possessed.” Linda cared more about Bruce than about her mother’s opinion, so she ran away and joined the carnival, where she would cuddle the ride at night. Unfortunately, 3 years later, a storm damaged Bruce, who was taken for repairs in Wichita, Kansas.

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How Do You Stop a 400-lb Running Back? You Don’t!

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At 6’4”, (190 centimeters) and 400 lb (181 kilograms), Tony Picard, a senior at the White Swan High School in Yakima, Washington, is not only the biggest running back in high-school football, but probably the biggest in the history of pro football, as well.

Just like the famous William “Refrigerator” Perry, who played for the Chicago Bears during the 80′s and 90′s and is known as one of the biggest players to ever play pro football (6’2” and 335 lbs.), Tony “The Tone” Picard started out as an offensive lineman, but after his coach noticed his unusual speed, he was reinvented as an unlikely running back. His qualities for the position became evident at a football camp a couple of years ago, during a game of basketball. “He was so agile and making shots from way out there,” White Swans coach, Andrew Bush, recalls. “I said ‘I’ve got to use this somehow.’” He gave Picard just two instructions: average 4 yards per carry and don’t fumble. In the first 10 games of this season, the Tone has averaged 5 yards per carry. “Most teams will sacrifice five guys to stop him: four linemen and a middle linebacker. That leaves three guys on each side to stop the rest of our team,” the coach says. “Everything else opens up: our outside running, our play action, and our entire passing game. We average about 450 yards as a team offensively.”

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Over One Million Starlings Leave Rome Covered in Bird Droppings

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With nothing to scare them away, starlings are definitely leaving their mark on Rome, this year. The chirping black birds flock from northern Europe to Italy’s capital, which they prefer because of its warm Mediterranean climate. They’ve been spending their winters here for a long time, but until now, authorities have been able to keep them from covering the ancient capital in a disgusting layer of droppings. This year, financial cuts have left locals at the mercy of these tiny but numerous guano bombers.

The first documented time when starlings overwintered in Rome was in 1926. If at first they settled on the outskirts of the city, little by little they moved further into it, drawn by the heat radiating from the buildings. More than 1,5 million starlings are now nesting in Italy’s capital city and doing their business pretty much everywhere. The birds, which arrive in Rome in two waves, one in October and the other in January, have the habit of leaving the city at daybreak to fly over to the olive groves in the city suburbs. After spending the entire day eating olives, they fly back to the city, where they leave their greasy, stinky business on cars, buildings, statues and streets. Because of the heavy bird droppings, the Lungotevere, one of Rome’s greenest boulevards, had to be closed because of the high risk of accidents not only for pedestrians, but also for vehicles.

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