Unique ‘Human Library’ Project Lets You Check Out People Instead of Books

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Books allow us a glimpse into the mind of the author, but what if we could make a direct connection instead? What if we could ask specific questions about their experiences, receive instant answers, and hear their story first-hand? A library in Denmark is trying to achieve just that, by having people check out and read ‘human books’. 

At the Human Library, readers go through a catalog of titles and pick an experience they’d like to know more about. When they decide on a title to check out, they are taken to a discussion area to meet their human book who will narrate the story cover to cover over the next 30 minutes. Your ‘borrowed’ human could be anyone – a prostitute, funeral director, politician, or even a child – with an incredible story to tell. Some of the titles from the past have included The Gypsy Tale, Iraq War Veteran, Orphanage Boy, Child of The Holocaust Survivors, Olympic Athlete, Fat Woman, Biking Agoraphobic, and Questioning Christian.

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Meet Grace Neutral, a Body Modification Enthusiast Redefining Beauty Standards

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Social media sensation Grace Neutral is famous for creating her own unique definition of beauty. Using dramatic body modification techniques, the British woman has transformed herself into a ‘pixie dream girl’ with purple eyes, pointy ears, forked tongue, and a heavily tattooed body. Her fearless experiments with her body have earned her over 300,000 followers on Instagram, a modelling assignment with designer Ashley Williams, and a clothing line that reflects her personal style.

Grace, 26, is primarily a hand poke tattoo artist. She calls the job her “bread and butter,” adding that she’d lose her mind if didn’t do it for more than a couple of days. Having experienced a lonely childhood, she now believes that body modification is a way to make the outside reflect her soul. “I felt outcast for so long growing up that it’s only now that I really feel myself,” she says. “It’s terrifying, yes, but I know I’d be more unhappy looking how I looked before.”

While she doesn’t have anything against conventional, mainstream beauty, Grace doesn’t think that it defines who she really is. “It’s not that I don’t think someone like Kim Kardashian is beautiful – she is, but there’s nothing in that ideal that reflects me. I appreciate it but I wouldn’t want it – just in the same way that I’m sure she wouldn’t want to look like me.”

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New Startup Lets You Buy Shares of a Cow Before It’s Slaughtered

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Seattle-based startup Crowd Cow has introduced crowdfunding to the meat industry in a bid to promote the idea of sustainably raised meat. Through Crowd Cow, customers get to place their orders on specific cuts of a cow in the exact quantities they need. The cow is finally slaughtered only when it has ‘tipped’, which means that at least 67 percent of it has been claimed online. It sounds rather brutal to be placing bids on parts of a live cow, but according to co-founders Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry, this system actually promotes responsible and sustainable meat harvesting.

The duo hit upon the idea for the startup when they realised that the average grocery buyer has no real idea of the origins of store-bought packaged meat. “People want to know where their meat comes from and how it’s raised and they want to explore it like wine,” Heitzeberg said. “There’s genetics, how it’s raised, all these aspects. Beef is a complex thing, it’s the centerpiece of the meal and people want to buy local.” But if they were to purchase grass-fed beef from a ranch instead, most people would have to get large quantities of meat that would be very difficult to store.

Heitzeberg and Lowry, both seasoned entrepreneurs, realised that they could use their experience and knowledge of crowdfunding to solve this problem. By having 50 or more people contribute to the purchase of one cow, everyone could have access to high-quality meat at an affordable price. So they set up Crowd Cow, a startup that purchases a head of cattle from independent ranches across Washington. The cows are made available on the website one at a time, and customers are invited to place claims to various shares.

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Unique Community Kitchen Is Set Up Like a Restaurant So Homeless People can Dine with Dignity

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Although it’s a soup kitchen for the homeless, Kansas City Community Kitchen is set up to resemble a real restaurant, complete with greeters, waiters, and fancy restaurant-quality meals. The idea is to treat the homeless with respect and allow them to enjoy their meal with dignity.

The kitchen, run by Episcopal Community Services, has been around for 30 years, but it re-opened on Feb 5 with a complete makeover. In its new avatar, volunteer staff at the kitchen serve the homeless every weekday, from 11am to 2pm. A host greets them at the entrance, seats them at a table, and presents a menu created by executive chef Michael Curry. A waiter then asks them what they would like to eat and brings them freshly prepared plated lunches. The new restaurant-style initiative is meant to allow the less fortunate to dine with some dignity.

“We are trying to flip the photo of what a soup kitchen looks like,” explained Mandy Caruso-Yahne, directory of community engagement at Episcopal, adding that everyone is welcome in the kitchen, homeless or not.

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Team Fighting Championship – Team Version of UFC Is Probably the Most Brutal Sport on Earth

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Team Fighting Championship (TFC) is a new, rather brutal sport that originated in Latvia and is gaining popularity in other European countries as well. Two four or five-member teams face each other in a ring, beating the living daylights out of each other until all the members of a team are down.

The fights are held in a 40×40 ring set up in an empty 30,000-sq.ft. warehouse, in an undisclosed location in Latvia, with no audience present. Five referees stationed inside the ring supervise the fight, but the rules are so relaxed that the refs can’t really stop fighters from inflicting serious damage. Players use moves from various fighting styles, they get kicked when they’re down, and at times two or more men gang up against one opponent. The fights are so vicious that they only last a few minutes, with most participants leaving the ring bleeding or unconscious.

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French Noodle Maker Is Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Insect Pasta

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When artisanal pasta maker Stephanie Richard added insects to her pasta on a whim, she had know idea what a huge hit it would become. The demand for her ‘protein-rich’, crunchy noodles is now so huge that she’s struggling to keep up with orders!

Richards, who strongly believes that insects are “the protein of the future”, said she got the idea for adding them to pasta in 2012, while trying to develop a high-protein version for athletes. That’s when an insect distributor in eastern Lyon contacted her about adding bugs to her pasta, and she was completely sold on the idea. She started producing insect flour pasta around Christmas that year, and the product pretty much started flying off the shelves. Her shop launched the unusual pasta just before the winter holidays, and sold around 500 bags in a matter of days.

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How India’s “Menstruation Man” Changed the Lives of Millions of Women

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Meet Arunachalam Muruganantham, an award-winning social entrepreneur from Coimbatore, India, better known as the nation’s ‘Menstruation Man’. Deeply disturbed by the unhygienic menstruation practices among women in rural India, Muruganantham took it upon himself to find a solution to the problem. After several years of hard work, he invented a machine that women can use to produce their own sanitary napkins, at less than a third of the cost of commercial ones.

Born in 1962 to handloom weavers in Coimbatore, Muruganantham was forced to drop out of school at age 14 to provide for his family after his father’s death. For years he lived in poverty, working a number of jobs – machine tool operator, farm laborer, welder, and sales agent – just to make ends meet. But things were about to change soon after his marriage to a woman named Shanthi, in 1998. He discovered that his wife used filthy rags during her menstrual cycle because they couldn’t afford to buy sanitary pads, and this troubled him greatly.

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Unconventional “Rage Yoga” Involves Screaming, Swearing and Beer

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‘Rage Yoga’ sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s actually all the rage in Calgary right now thanks to unconventional yoga instructor Lindsay Istace. During her classes, she combines regular yoga poses with swear words, offensive gestures, and beer, as a way for participants let go of their rage!

“Rather than doing the namaste (at the end of the class), we do a really big ‘f*ck yea,’” Istace told Metro News. “It was pretty awesome because I had a whole room of people turning to one another saying ‘F*ck yea, f*ck yea’. It was good.”

If you’re really into yoga you might find this blasphemous, but Istace claims that it’s really therapeutic. A trained contortionist and fire eater, she says she came up with the idea while going through a painful breakup. She started swearing and screaming during her yoga practice, and that helped her get over her issues with addiction and anger.

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Cattle Rancher’s Vegan Wife Turns Ranch into Animal Sanctuary

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For four generations, Sonnen Ranch, in Angleton, Texas, was a place where cattle were raised for dairy and eventually for slaughter, but that tradition ended a few months ago when the place became an animal shelter where cattle and other domestic animals can live out the rest of their lives in peace and comfort.

The story of this unusual transformation – believed to be unique in the country – began six years ago, shortly after owner Tommy Sonnen remarried his wife Renee. She started hanging out with the livestock, naming the cows, talking and even singing to them. Despite Tommy’s warnings not to get too attached to the cattle, she didn’t listen, and soon she became his worst nightmare – a vegan who couldn’t stand to live in the same house with a cattle rancher.

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California Couple Invents Spiked Vest That Protects Small Dogs from Coyotes

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After having one of their pet canines attacked and killed by a coyote, Paul and Pamela Mott, of Scripps Ranch, California, set out to create an anti-coyote vest that could save their dogs’ life in a future attack.

The CoyoteVest designed by the Mott’s may make their pooches look like members of a canine punk band, but Paul says it will give him time to intervene in case of an attack. It is made of Kevlar, has plastic spikes around the collar, spikes down the length of the torso and long plastic quills shooting up along the center from the neck to the rump. Since the threatening-looking spikes are just hard plastic, they won’t actually hurt the coyote, but they will make it difficult and painful for it to bite down on a small dog and run off, giving the owner time to react. “I just know that that coyote is not going to be able to kill my dog instantly. I’ll have a chance to go intervene,” the inventor says.

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Indian Army Applicants Take Exam in Underwear to Prevent Cheating

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In an extreme attempt to  prevent cheating during a written exam, Indian Army in the state of Bihar has asked over 1,000 applicants to strip to their underwear and take the test outdoors.

Images published by Indian media show the naked men in an open field trying to complete the test by holding the sheets of paper on their thighs or on the ground, under the watchful eyes of uniformed supervisors. “We were frisked and then ushered into an enclosure. Then the army officers asked us to remove all clothes except our underwear,” said 21-year-old Harishambhu Kumar. “I felt awkward, but the army people told us it was to check cheating, so I got used to it.”

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Russian Man Faces a Year in Prison For Denying the Existence of God Online

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After expressing his lack of belief in God on social media, a Russian man was arrested and charged with “offending the feelings of believers”. Victor Krasnov is now on trial and facing up to a year in prison for writing things like “there is no God” and “the Bible is a collection of Jewish fairy tales” during an online discussion on the Russian social networking website Vk.com.

Shortly after the discussion in 2014, Krasnov and his mother began to receive anonymous threats. Then, in the fall of 2015, a couple of his friends who were part of the discussion – Dmitry D., 24, and Alexander K., 23 – pressed charges against him, claiming that they were representing the interests of all Orthodox Christians in Russia. The Investigative Committee (similar to the FBI) interrogated Krasnov for over a month, during which he was also subjected to psychiatric evaluations. He was declared sane, but the Committee decided that although he did not directly insult any individual, his comments did hurt the feelings of religious people.

Offending the feelings of believers was made a criminal offence in the nation in 2012, after punk band Pussy Riot’s blasphemous performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. For this reason, Krasnov is now being tried in court in his hometown of Stavropol in southern Russia.

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Harry Potter Themed Coffee Shop Opens in Nevada

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It’s been nine years since the last Harry Potter book and five years since the last movie, but Potter mania is still as strong as ever. The instant popularity of a new Harry Potter-themed cafe in Henderson, Nevada is proof of that. When ‘Bad Owl’ first opened its doors on February 13, hundreds of muggles were already waiting to get in, and it has since then been receiving worldwide attention for its delightfully rich Potter-themed decor and menu.

“There was a line outside even before they opened,” said Harry Potter fan Shelby, speaking to Mugglenet.com. “They were opening late because they were on the local news this morning. We waited in line for about an hour to order. The ambience was perfect with a thick velvet curtain darkening the room and little Harry Potter details everywhere.”

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UK Beggar Sparks Outrage after Getting into $70,000 Audi at the End of His ‘Shift’

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Matthew Brinton, a beggar in England’s Cornwall county, has earned the wrath of locals after he was spotted getting into an Audi TT in a parking lot near Bank Street. Brinton is a familiar face in the area, having begged there for several years. Footage of him getting into the $70,000 luxury car was uploaded on Facebook, and Brinton has been receiving death threats ever since.

The 35-year-old beggar, who lives with a friend, claims to have received the car as inheritance from his grandmother. He also says that the Audi has since been stolen, and he’s now fearing for his life. “I have not seen any of the social media posts because I do not have access to the internet but according to the police I’ve had lots of death threats,” he said. “People are assuming too much and I’m getting a lot of abuse. This has been going on for years.”

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California Homeless Man Refuses to Beg for Money, Hands Out Resumes Instead

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Although he’s been homeless for two years, this Sacramento man refuses to accept money from anyone. Instead, Frederick Callison gives people copies of his resume in crisp white envelopes outside Smart & Final store at Watt Avenue and Arden Way, asking them to help him find a job if they really want to help him.

Callison, a former line cook with years of experience at several restaurants, also carries a Food Handlers certificate and Social Security card, in a bid to show people that he’s serious about wanting to work. “I don’t like to beg,” he told CBS Sacramento reporters. “And I won’t. I am handing off my presentation of myself of what I’m trying to achieve and what I’m trying to do. Because I don’t want to be out here.”

A nearby business apparently allowed him to use their supplies to print copies of his resume, which he hands out to people willing to help. Apart from a list of restaurant he has worked at in the past and his various qualifications, the 52-year-old’s resume also reveals his work ethics. “I am a firm believer in proactive productivity rather than reactive,” the piece of paper mentions.

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