This High-Tech Travel Suitcase Follows You Around Like a Puppy

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Thanks to this new hands free suitcase, carrying around heavy luggage may soon become a thing of the past. Designed by Israeli company NUA Robotics, this ‘smart’ suitcase is the technological equivalent of Mary’s little lamb – it’ll follow you everywhere you go.

The carry-on suitcase, currently a prototype, connects to a smartphone app via bluetooth. It has a built-in camera sensor that can ‘see’ you and follow you around on flat surfaces like airport floors. It comes with an anti-theft alarm to prevent someone snatching it away when you’re not looking, and, for the icing on the cake, it has a backup battery that you can use to charge all your devices.

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Making a Difference: 12-Year-Old Collects Thousands of Coats for the Homeless

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12-year-old Makenna Breading-Goodrich is showing the world that you’re never too young to have social conscience. In a bid to help the homeless people in her community, she’s spent the past three winters collecting and giving away thousands of coats. She calls her initiative ‘Makenna’s Coats for a Cause’.

It all started three years ago, when Makenna watched a TV show about the hardships faced by the homeless during the cold winter months. Deeply disturbed by their plight, she soon came up with a simple solution – to go around her neighborhood, asking people to donate all the coats and jackets they could spare. All she had to do was find a way to spread the word, collect the coats, and get them to the less fortunate. Fortunately, her parents were very supportive and willing to help anyway they could.

“She said, ‘I think I can really do something to help,’” Makenna’s mother Jennifer recalled. “Any parent would look at their 9-year-old daughter with pride and tell her they’d be thrilled to help her in any way.”

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Glasgow-Based Artist to Be Given $22,000 to Live in Glasgow for a Year

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In a controversial move, the Scottish Government has decided to grant Ellie Harrison, a Glasgow-based academic, £15,000 ($22,000) just to continue living in the city for a whole year.

The generous amount is a grant for an ‘art project’ during which London-born Harrison will not leave the city unless she’s unwell or a close relative dies. The goal, according to her, is to find out how “your career, social life, family ties, carbon footprint, and mental health will be affected” by not being able to leave a city. To figure that out, she’s also being given 12 months off work.

Harrison, a lecturer in contemporary art-practices at Dundee University, won the jackpot offer – funded by the National Lottery – after she pitched the idea for an “experiment” called The Glasgow Effect that would “challenge the demand-to-travel” placed upon her as a “successful” artist. Her idea is to explore sustainability by traveling less and focusing more on local opportunities.

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The Indian Village That Took Up Chess as an Alternative to Drinking

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The people of Marottichal, a sleepy little village in the state of Kerala in southern India, have a rather unusual passion for chess. Believe it or not, they’re all chess enthusiasts. Their love for the game is such that even when they’re not playing, they’re talking strategy all the time.

But villagers weren’t always interested in the checkered board game. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, their passions lay elsewhere – mainly in the local liquor that they made for a living. Many of the residents were addicted to the cheap brew, with disastrous consequences for the whole community. Things got so bad at one point that a few villagers actually requested government authorities to raid the village and get rid of some of their liquor stock.

But things began to change when one villager – a 10th grade student named C. Unnikrishnan – decided that he wanted to learn chess. Inspired by a news report about American legend Bobby Fischer, a grandmaster at age 16, Unnikrishnan traveled to a nearby village to attend classes and learn the game himself. And once he got the hang of it, he made it his mission to get everyone in the village hooked.

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Ukrainian Man Has Been Walking Barefoot for the Last 10 Years, Regardless of Weather

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Despite the region’s sub-zero winters, a Ukrainian man from Kiev has been walking around barefoot since February 2006.

Andrzej Novosiolov apparently began the bizarre practice on a whim – his feet felt unusually hot one evening, so he tried walking on fresh snow without footwear and found the sensation surprisingly pleasant. Although his feet began to ache from the cold within a few minutes, he made a habit of walking barefoot on snow, going longer and longer each time. Eventually, in April, he stepped out of his house without shoes and was able to spend the whole day outdoors that way.

It still wasn’t easy for him, though, as Andrzej often injured himself stepping on broken glass and other sharp objects. But reading about Olga Gavva, a manager from St. Petersburg who had also adopted a barefoot lifestyle, he decided not to let these accidents keep him from doing something he genuinely enjoyed. Over time he taught himself to walk intuitively, learning where he should step and where not to. This way he slowly got to the point where he didn’t need to invest in footwear any more. He claims to be able to walk barefoot in temperatures down to seven degrees below zero and when it gets colder than that he just runs to keep his feet from freezing.  

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Chinese Companies Are Asking Female Employees to Get Pregnant on Schedule

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While couples in China are welcoming the end of the nation’s decades-long one-child policy, private companies seem to be reacting to the news with ludicrous new policies regarding maternity leave. They’re actually asking female employees to submit an application of pregnancy, seeking the company’s approval to become a parent up to a year in advance.

It seems that these companies are introducing ‘reproductive schedules’ to avoid too many maternity leaves arising from ‘simultaneous pregnancies’. A woman who recently applied for a job in northeast China’s Jilin Province was told that if recruited, she’d have to apply for pregnancy approval at least a year in advance, and wait for her turn to become a mother.

“It’s out of helplessness that we regulate this,” she quoted the company’s HR department as having told her. “After the easing of the one-child policy, many of our working staff say that they want a second child. But from the management side, we need to take the interest of the company into consideration.”

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Mr Plastic Fantastic – Guy Has 1,497 Valid Credit Cards

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Working up a credit score for Walter Cavanagh has got to be a mathematical nightmare – the man has nearly 1,500 valid credit cards to his name and holds the Guinness record for the most credit cards.

‘Mr. Plastic Fantastic’ – a title conferred on him by Guinness World Records – is also the proud owner of the world’s longest wallet. It stretches 250 feet, weighs 38 pounds, and can hold 800 cards. But he uses it only to carry a few cards, while the rest are safely stowed in bank safe-deposit boxes.

Cavanagh started collecting credit cards in the late 1960s. “Me and a buddy in Santa Clara, Calif., made a silly bet: the guy who could collect the most credit cards by the end of the year would win dinner,” he recalled. “I was fresh from the Peace Corps and I got 143 cards by the end of the year. My friend gathered 138.”

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Startup Lets You Share a Hotel Room with a Stranger to Save Money

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A new startup called The Winston Club is offering travelers the opportunity to book hotel rooms at just 50 percent of their cost. Obviously, there’s a catch – they have to be willing to share the room with complete strangers.

“We started Winston Club because we felt there should be an easy way for people to connect when they’d like a low-cost way to access the comfort and convenience of a hotel,” said founder Byron Shannon. “We wanted a safe, reliable, economical solution that provided a better experience than hostels or CouchSurfing alternatives.”

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Millionaire Lends His Luxurious Mansions for $1 a Month to People Left Homeless by Tornadoes

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A benevolent businessman from Texas has opened up two of his mansions to help house and rehabilitate the victims of the recent tornadoes that devastated the state. Ron Sturgeon, who is reportedly worth $75million, told affected families that they could live in his mansions for three months, at a meagre rent of $1 a month.

The two houses, reportedly worth $3.5million, are currently unoccupied and up for sale. Sturgeon himself was in Jamaica on vacation when the tornadoes struck north Texas last week. When he returned, he decided to put the mansions to good use.

“Does anyone have friends or relatives that lost their home in Garland or other city that needs housing?” he wrote on his Facebook page. “I have a 10,000sf home in Colleyville (empty for sale) that I will loan to someone to stay in for up to three months. And an extra car they can use. No charge. The home is big enough for two families. The home is pet friendly with a 10 car garage to store belongings in.”

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Japanese Fashion Designer Has Her 93-Year-Old Cool Grandma Model Her Creations

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Meet Emiko, a supercool granny taking the Japanese fashion industry by storm. At age 93, she’s got the spunk and energy of a six-year-old, and she’s positively adorable as she models her granddaughter Chinami Mori’s colorful creations.

Chinami is a fashion designer from Osaka, who specialises in Saori – a freestyle hand-weaving technique that produces playful, unpatterned garments. She uses lots of bright, colorful fabric and yarn to create whimsical clothing and accessories like hats, scarves, bags, tops, and more at her studio. Saori is based on the idea that anything goes and what’s important is heart. “There are no rules,” she explained. “I can weave as freely and colorfully as I want.”

Emiko, who Chinami describes as her “favorite person in the world,” would stop by at the studio every day just to spend time with her. Eventually, she started trying on a few of the clothes and accessories that her granddaughter made. And Chinami realised that she’d found her perfect model for her designs. So she got Emiko to pose and took a few photographs, later posting them on Instagram. The response of her fans was overwhelmingly positive and the 93-year-old grandmother has become a regular feature on the designer’s Instagram account, attracting new followers with each new photo she posts.

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French Bakers Hide Two Diamonds in Their Pastry to Boost Sales

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In a bid to attract more customers and boost sales, a husband-and-wife baker duo in France have decided to hide diamonds in their pastry products. Nicolas Lelut, 35, and his wife Julie, 30, are expecting a mad rush outside their bakeries – ‘Délices de Belleville’ in Paris, and ‘L’Amandine’ in Custines, where the two diamond-containing pastries will go on sale among 800 ‘plain’ ones.

The promotional sale is all set to take place on January 6, on the occasion of The Epiphany, a Christian feast day that celebrates the incarnation of God the Son as Jesus Christ. Customers who visit either Délices de Belleville bakery on the day will have a 0.25 percent chance of winning a 0.20-carat diamond worth 600 euros. The pastry at Délices de Belleville will contain a white diamond, while the one at L’Amandine will carry a blue one. Both the rocks have been provided and certified by a reliable local jeweler.

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Bar Themed After Seinfeld’s George Constanza Opens in Melbourne

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A new bar in Melbourne is dedicated entirely to the balding and temperamental Seinfeld character George Costanza. ‘George’s Bar’, located in the north-east suburb of Fitzroy, features Costanza-inspired decor, including posters and quotes. A sign outside the bar even encourages patrons to ‘Be more like George’.

The owners came up with the idea because they like Seinfeld and couldn’t get over how perfect George was as a bar theme. “I think he is probably the most suited of any of the characters,” explained co-owner Dave Barrett. “His humour is fairly dark and dry and fits in with a bar, it probably works more than any of the other characters would.”

“Also, when we were developing this new venue, one of the names we came up with was George’s, and we to some extent worked backwards on ways to market that and so to some extent that is where George Costanza came into it as well,” he added. Their marketing strategy has apparently worked – barely two weeks after opening, stories about the quirky theme have gone viral online.

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Back-Hair Art – Man Uses Bushy Back as a Canvas for Art

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Meet Mike Wolfe, the man who has not only embraced his bushy back, but also uses it as a means of creative expression. He comes up with quirky designs and gets his old friend Tyler Harding to ‘manscape’ them into his back hair every few months.

Up until a few years ago, Mike, like millions of other men, was embarrassed by the thick overgrowth on his back and felt compelled to get rid of it. In fact, he was actually afraid to admit it to his wife on their first date 16 years ago.

“He said, ‘I have to tell you something,’” recalled Jamie, Mike’s wife. “And I’m kind of getting nervous, my heart’s beating a little bit. He leans over and whispers, ‘I’ve got back hair.’”

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Kamikatsu – Japan’s Aspiring Zero-Waste Town

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We’ve heard many stories of individuals across the world who’ve adopted a zero-waste lifestyle, but it’s not often that we come across an entire community that is trying to become waste-free. The residents of Kamikatsu, Japan, take recycling so seriously that they actually hope to become the nation’s first zero-waste community by 2020.

Kamikatsu has no garbage trucks – so residents need to compost their kitchen scraps at home. They also have to wash and sort the rest of their trash into 34 different categories, and bring it to the recycling center themselves where workers make sure that the waste goes into the correct bins. It apparently took some time for the residents to get used to this rule, but they eventually managed to adapt to the drastic changes and  are now seeing them as normal.  

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Meet the ‘Detanglers’ – A Community of People Who Love Untangling Yarn Disasters

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If tangled headphone and charger cords irritate you, you’re never going to understand this group’s passion for knotted yarn. These devoted ‘detanglers’ are part of an online community called ‘Knot a Problem’, dedicated to untangling the most complicated yarn disasters. They love untangling so much that some are actually willing to pay money in exchange for your knottiest balls of yarn.

Daphne Basnet, from Melbourne, once spent $50 on eBay for a 25-pound box of hopelessly twisted string, just for something fun to do. That was before she even knew of the existence of the Knot a Problem. It took her five long weeks to ‘detangle’ the 120 balls of yarn-worth of knotted mess, a time that she looks back on fondly. “I was so happy, I can’t tell you,” she recalled.

Later, Basnet found out about a whole community of knot-lovers like herself formed within an online group of knitters and crocheters called Ravelry. Frustrated knitters post messages calling for help with their messed up and often expensive yarn, and Knot a Problem always comes to the rescue. They willingly offer to untangle the mess for free, just so long as shipping costs are covered. Sometimes the competition for tangled yarn projects gets so crazy that detanglers check for posts multiple times a day. “People will jump in and say, ‘Send it to me!’” said Mary Enright, a 56-year-old detangler and Knot a Problem member.

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