Private School Alumnae Raise $185,000 as Gift for Retiring Security Guard

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30 years of dedicated service have finally paid off for Kifleab Tekle, a retiring security guard at an elite all-girl’s school in Dallas. While most people in his position would retire quietly, he’s going out with a bang – a $185,000 check gifted to him by members of the school’s alumnae.

When they first got to know of Tekle’s retirement, many of the staff members and former students of Hockaday School started reminiscing over his unwavering service to the school and a few members of the class of 2005 even decided to raise $2,000 for him as a small token of their appreciation. So they started a GoFundMe campaign, which got so popular that it surpassed the original goal in no time at all.

“We know how much Kief means to everyone!” the campaign page reads. “It wasn’t an April fools joke, he is really retiring. We would love to collect money for a retirement gift for him. We are so excited that alumnae, current students, and parents are all donating.” The original plan was to hold a private meeting with Kief in the school grounds on Monday, April 11, and present him with whatever money they had managed to raise. But the amount turned out to exceed everyone’s expectations – a whopping $185,000. Kief was obviously beside himself, not only because of the generous gift, but also the fact that over 200 people turned up on Monday to wish him well. “I was not expecting such a big farewell,” he said, in a statement. “It means stability for my family.”

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Identical Twin Brothers Who Married Identical Twin Sisters to Get Plastic Surgery So They Can Tell Each Other Apart

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Problems in identifying identical twins makes for excellent comedy, but in real life it can be quite frustrating, especially if you have two pairs of identical twins married to each other. That’s why these newlywed twins from China have decided to get plastic surgery in a bid to make themselves less identical and thus avoid the undesirable complications that could arise from failing to tell each other apart.

Zhao Xin and his twin brother Zhao Xun, from Yuncheng in China’s Shanxi Province, have been confounding relatives and friends ever since they started dating twin sisters Yun Fei and Yun Yang from a neighboring village. Although they went to the same high school in Shanxi, they only got together last year after being introduced by a matchmaker. A month later, the four of them were engaged.

Both pairs of identical twins look so alike that it’s apparently impossible to tell them apart, even by their voices.  On their wedding day, their guests and even their own parents had a tough time identifying them, checking and double checking that they weren’t marrying the wrong partners.

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Smart Umbrella Lets You Know It’s Going to Rain Half an Hour in Advance

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Giving Mary Poppins’s magic umbrella some serious competition is the all new high-tech ‘Oombrella’ – not only can it predict the weather, it’s also impossible to lose. The smart umbrella syncs with a smartphone app, sending users updates about weather conditions 30 minutes in advance, and reminders if they happen to leave the device behind. And here’s the added bonus – it won’t ever flip inside-out.

Designed by French company Wezzoo, the rainbow-colored Oombrella comes in two versions – classic and modern. The classic is 3.1-ft long with a curved handle, while the modern version is 0.8-ft long with a straight handle. The company describes the device as a ‘portable weather station’, made of a reflective surface with built in sensors that record real-time data such as light, humidity, pressure, and temperature. The Oombrella collects and processes this data as well as information from a social media community before sending out alerts about when it’s going to start raining.

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The Amazing Story of a Gambler-Turned-Conservationist Who Spent $90 Million Saving Nature

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Former gambler and businessman M.C. Davis placed the biggest bet of his life about 20 years ago when he decided to spend a considerable chunk of his fortune on nature. Over the past two decades, he spent $90 million purchasing thousands of acres of land all over Florida. And the risk paid off – he managed to revive forests and swamps across the state, saving several wildlife species in the process. Although he tried to do his conservation work without attracting too much attention, the positive effects of Davis’ efforts could not go unnoticed forever. Last year, he was featured in Smithsonian Magazine and on the National Public Radio website, and his story went viral.

Having grown up in a cramped trailer on a dirt road in the Florida Panhandle, Davis set out to make a fortune at a very young age, becoming a self-proclaimed gambler and hustler. He made hundreds of millions of dollars, but it took a simple traffic jam to bring about the epiphanic moment that would change the course of his life forever. “It’s drizzling rain, and I was just sort of frantic with exasperation,” he told NPR. “Stuck in traffic, and I looked up, and I saw on the marquee of the high school, ‘Black Bear Presentation’. Intrigued, he decided to pull over and attend the event.

At the time, Davis didn’t even know that Florida had black bears, but the lecture made by two women of the Defenders of Wildlife piqued his interest – the very next day he donated enough money to keep the Defenders campaign alive for two years. He also began to read more books written by environmentalists, and kept in touch with Laurice MacDonald, one of the Defenders that had oipened his eyes. “He had the steepest learning curve,” MacDonald later said. “We would begin with little debates. They were a little testy but fascinating.”  

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Ukraine’s ‘Land of the Twins’ – Unique Village Boasts 61 Sets of Twins

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Velikaya Kopanya village is better known as Ukraine’s ‘Land of the Twins’ because of its record-breaking 61 pairs of twins among the less than 4,000 inhabitants. The village is soon expected to be included in the Guinness Book of World Records, having already made its way into Ukraine’s record book.

According to locals, the number of twins born in the village is higher than anywhere else in the country. “The ultimate baby boom came in the year 2004,” said local councillor Maryana Savka. “But ever since then we are having at least between two and three sets of twins born every year.”

Maria Chorba, the town’s oldest twin with three pairs of twins among her own grandchildren, said the town’s twin-phenomenon is not a recent one. “When we were growing up we had some friends who were twins, so we are definitely not the first ones here,” she said, recalling her twin sister Anna who died in 2007. “No one could tell us apart. Later Anna moved to live far away and we met only once a year. But if she would get sick I would know that straight away. And then I felt that something really bad had happened to her – at the very moment she died.”

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Successful Executive Has Been Living Out of His Car for Over a Year

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When they hear about someone living out of their car, most people assume they’re either homeless or having domestic problems. But 26-year-old Edward Mjelde doesn’t have financial problems nor is he married. The high-earning regional sales manager has been living out of his 2014 Ford Escape for the past 12 months simply because he enjoys the minimalist lifestyle.

Edward used to live in a conventional home up until two years ago, when he wento on a 5,000-mile backpacking adventure across America. He loved the new-found freedom so much that he decided to keep on living on the open road. So he moved out of his old home and into his SUV. He kept his new minimalist lifestyle a secret for the past year, but recently took to Reddit to post some photos of his humble abode and show other like-minded people that living out of a car was not only doable, but quite practical as well.

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Indonesian Singer Performs for 45 Minutes after King Cobra Bite, Dies on Stage

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In a bizarre turn of events, Indonesian singer Irma Bule was bitten by a king cobra while performing on stage last Sunday. She chose to go on with the show, ignoring the enormous risk she was exposing herself to, and ultimately died within the hour.

Bule, 29, was a performer of Dangdut – a traditional folk music genre in Indonesia, very popular for its melodious vocals and instrumentation. It is precisely because of this popularity that the Dangdut scene is oversaturated and highly competitive in the island nation, forcing artists to employ all sorts of gimmicks to stand out and attract crowds. Bule was well known for performing with snakes on stage, and on this occasion, she was performing in the company of a king cobra – still venomous and not even defanged.

Video footage of her past performances indicate that Bule was very comfortable in the company of snakes, but something went terribly wrong on Sunday. According to eyewitnesses, she accidentally stepped on the snake’s tail early on during the concert, and it turned and bit her in the thigh. But instead of cancelling the performance, as most people bitten by a king cobra surely would have, the dedicated artist chose to continue with the show, and even refused an antidote that the snake handler offered her.

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Feline Hachiko Has Been Waiting for Its Owners in the Same Spot for Over a Year

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Cats are generally perceived as independent, but they’re also capable of displaying undying loyalty, a quality that is usually characteristic of dogs. Proving the point is this poor Russian cat that has been waiting for its owners for over a year at the exact spot where they abandoned him.

The cat was first photographed sitting on a manhole cover in Belgorod city, in the summer of 2015, by a man named Ostap Zadunayski. He then noticed the cat sitting at the same spot day after day, and curious to know more about this unusual behavior, he asked local residents for more information.

That’s when he discovered that the cat’s owners used to live nearby, but they sold their apartment last year and moved away, leaving the poor creature behind . Eyewitnesses told Ostap that they actually saw the cat run after the car as the owners drove away. Since then, it has been patiently waiting at the same spot for their return, living off the food offered to him by kind locals.

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Vietnam’s Bikini Airline Proves Unsurprisingly Profitable

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VietJet Air, Vietnam’s only privately-owned airlines, has worked up quite a stir in the aviation industry with its young, attractive, bikini-clad flight attendants. Female VietJet employees don colorful bikinis and even put up an inflight performance for their customers, mostly during inaugural flights to beach locations. The marketing gimmick has earned the company huge profits, and plenty of criticism to boot.

These ‘bikini performances’ are not a standard practice on all flights – they’re more like a featured bonus on certain routes. One of the earliest shows was staged on a 2012 flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal city of Nha Trang. As reported by ABC News, “Clad in vaporous string bikini tops and sarongs that flaunted the company colors of red and yellow, young, beautiful women filed down the plane’s aisles for a bikini show.”

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Hong Kong Designer Creates Functional Scarlett Johansson Robot

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Graphic designer Ricky Ma is making headlines for creating an incredibly realistic life-sized robot that resembles the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. The homemade cyborg can mimic a limited set of human movements using it’s head and limbs, and even respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone. He’s even taught it to wink and say “thank you” when complimented on its looks.

Having grown up watching animated films featuring robots, Ricky had always dreamed of building one of his own. And now, at age 42, he’s managed to do just that, working from the balcony of his Hong Kong home. He had to teach himself everything about robotics from scratch, and spent over $50,000 building his first female prototype.

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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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