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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Sport Scientist Loses 24 Pounds in 24 Hours, Proves Rapid Weight Loss Is Possible

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Ross Edgeley may become everyone’s new best friend after he recently demonstrated that gaining weight doesn’t have everything to do with fat. The 28-year-old sport scientist and writer did an experiment to prove that “your nutrition and self esteem shouldn’t be governed by the weighing scales if you’re on a diet. So many people are slaves to the scales and have their self-esteem and nutrition governed by them. I hope this experiment will create a healthier relationship between people and the weighing scales and people will realize weight can fluctuate based on many factors, not just fat”.

The scientist’s extreme experiment had him trying to lose 14 kilograms in no more than 24 hours. Keep in mind that this was a dangerous experiment that was done under the doctors’ strict supervision, so DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Edgeley’s main goal was that of losing as much water as possible. “As much as 50 per cent to 70 per cent of our body weight is made up of water. So weighing 95kg that means in theory 47.5kg of my body is water weight. Cutting too much water could be fatal since it’s needed for your vital organs to function and even maintain a healthy blood volume, but cutting a lot of water from the body through sweat suits, diuretics and not drinking any that day would dramatically reduce my weight”, he explains. To force the water out of his system, he began his 24-hour experiment by taking a very hot bath with Epsom salt baths. He drank a bit of water spiced with diuretics (vitamin C, dandelion root, caffeine), he didn’t include carbs nor salt in his diet (salt is known to retain water), he took saunas and went to the gym. By doing that, he managed to lose the 12 kilograms and feel a little light-headed as a result. Since the lost weight was just water, he put it back in just a couple of hours after he had reached his target.

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Living in the 18th Century – Woman Shuns Modern Technology for Victorian-era Lifestyle

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While some people want to make the most of technology by adding more and more fancy gadgets to their daily lives, others simply prefer going back to the basics. Meet Sarah Chrisman, a 33-year-old Seattle resident who decided to ditch almost every aspect of modern life, from cooking to clothing, and embrace a Victorian-era lifestyle.

Although she has liked the stories from the Victorian age ever since she was a little girl, the big change took place just 4 years ago, when Sarah received a unique birthday present from her husband. “I have always loved the Victorian era, ever since I was a little girl. My first corset was given to me by my husband on my 29th birthday, and unexpectedly, I really thoroughly enjoyed it.” The feeling she had when wearing the corset determined her to change her lifestyle entirely: Sarah now wears custom-made Victorian clothes, tries not to use any appliances that didn’t exist in the Victorian age (such as the now mundane washing machine), gave up her car for a 100-years-old bike, she uses old fashioned cleaning methods instead of modern detergents and cooks using the recipes found in 19th century women’s magazines. That’s right, this modern-day Victorian woman enjoys the 1889 edition of Cosmopolitan, and because she considers her lifestyle very exciting, she even wrote a book, “Victorian Secrets. What a Corset Taught Me About the Past, the Present and Myself”.  She also studied the Victorian age etiquette.

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Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Cold Hard Cash – Chinese Man Offers Baskets Full of Money as Engagement Gift

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A wealthy Chinese suitor has attracted accusations that he is buying a wife rather than marrying one, after he gave his future bride 18 baskets full of money, as an engagement present. According to Chinese media, the baskets were stacked with 8.88 million Chinese yuan ($1.45 million) and weighed over 102 kilograms.

When it comes to romance, nothing says “I love you” like stacks of beautifully-decorated money. At least that’s what Meng Huang, the son of a rich construction magnate in China, seems to think. The 27-year-old filled 18 traditional gift baskets with cash and employed 18 people to deliver them to his bride-to-be’s home, as a token of his love for her. “This is how we do things here,” Huang said. “She is worth the whole world to me and I wanted to prove that with a world gift of cash”. The eccentric gift arrived at its destination in a fleet of luxury vehicles lead by a Maserati sports car, where it was gladly accepted by the bride’s family. The stacks of red 100 yuan bills depicting Communist founding father, Mao Zedong, were decorated with red ribbons and neatly arranged in the gift baskets for everyone to see. The sum, 8.88 million yuan was obviously not accidental, but carefully chosen, as the word for “eight” is linked with the meaning “wealth” in Chinese.

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Mystery Surrounding Death of Man Who Opened Pandora’s Box

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The death of 37-year-old Jason Airey is wrapped in mystery, as the man fell unconscious after allegedly opening a box with “Pandora’s Box” written on it. In Greek mythology, Pandora’s Box was actually a jar that contained all the evil in the world, and hope.

According to the parents of the deceased, nothing seemed out of the ordinary on the day of the tragedy, May 2nd 2013. Their son came back to their house in Carlisle, Cumbria, after he had gone shopping. As Jason Airey’s father, Dennis, recalls, “he was just his normal self. I think he had enjoyed himself in town. He had been shopping and said he was going upstairs to get changed”. As Jason never returned downstairs, his mother, Anne, went to his room to see if everything was alright and found him lying unconscious. Dennis remembers that his wife ” went upstairs and came back down saying something was wrong. She couldn’t wake him”. He rushed to his son’s room and every parent’s worst nightmare materialized before his eyes. “I got hold of him and his shirt was clammy. His face was blue. I could feel a faint pulse on his neck”. The grieving parents, both in their 60s, did everything they could to save their son’s life. Dennis performed CPR and the paramedics spent an hour doing everything to keep Jason alive before taking him to the hospital. Unfortunately, he died 2 days later at the Cumberland Infirmary.

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Pensioner Has Been Drinking Nothing but Coca Cola for Over 40 Years

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A promise made to his mother determined 75-year-old Pero Ajtman to drink only Coca Cola for the last four decades. The Croatian gave his word not to drink alcohol ever again, so he replaced wine and spirits with the popular fizzy drink.

“My mum didn’t like me drinking when I was a young man as she was very religious. She made me promise never to drink again and Coca-Cola was the only thing that tasted as good as wine so I started drinking that”, Pero Ajtman explains. The pensioner from Croatia’s Karanac village told reporters that drinking several glasses of the sugary soft drink every day has kept him from going back to his boozy ways. “Now I have a glass in the morning, before and after lunch, with my dinner and then before I go to bed. I never drink anything else,” the man swears. Doctors generally advise against drinking large quantities of carbonated sugary drinks on a regular basis, as it can have a devastating effect on our health, but 75-year-old Pero says he has yet to experience any serious problems. He does admit to being hooked to it now, saying “Coke is my drug now, and I’ll drink it till I die”.

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Real-Life Magneto Claims to Use Telepathic Powers to Manipulate Metal

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Superpower or just super-sticky skin? Miroslaw Magola, from Germany, claims he can manipulate metal objects with his telepathic powers. The 55-year-old says that he began to master the ability of manipulating objects with his mind after he studied the phenomenon of psychic energy. “I found out I could train myself to manipulate lifeless objects as I studied for my degree in the early ’90s,” Magola says. “I have since spent years perfecting the technique and exploring further into human magnetism.”

Magola doesn’t want to stop at simply making objects stick to his body as if they were glued onto it, because he believes he can use his powers for the benefit of humankind. “I am determined to develop my unique powers further in the future and I’m currently working with telepathy and healing to see how psychokinetic energy can be put to a use that will benefit mankind.” This real-life Magneto doesn’t claim he is one of a kind. On the contrary, he says there are many others who can control this kind of power. “Magnetic people prove with mind power they are capable of lifting objects of different materials off the floor without aid. This can be done with the head or palms of the hands to hold objects vertically, horizontally or in circular movements. Some magnetic people are also capable of lifting objects from the floor with the palm of a gloved hand or even with talcum powder on the skin.” As expected, people are either plain skeptical or too inquisitive when it comes to Magola’s powers, but his answer to either of them is that what draws the line between a person with real magnetic powers and a fake one is the ability to defy the laws of gravity.

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Taxi-Driving Pastor Offers Confessions on the Go

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Great news, you no longer have to go to church to confess your sins. Thanks to pastor Joseph Djan, who also happens to work as a cab driver, the confessional has been moved from the church into a New York taxi.

The 52-year-old taxi driver and Evangelical pastor sees cab-driving as running a “church on wheels”. Why? “It allows me to meet a lot of people and sometimes interact with them and it gives me the flexibility to attend to (the) ministry when it’s needed,” Djan says. He has Christian hip-hop playing in his cab and he sometimes lets his passengers know that he is a minister. Usually, after finding out about him being a man of Faith, people open up to him. This is what happened to one of his clients, a gay man who was afraid of coming out of the closet. “He heard my Christian hip-hop and while talking about it, it slipped out that I was a pastor. His mood changed instantly. He told me he wanted to tell me something that had never told anyone before”, the New York cabby says . The client confessed that he was feeling guilty about not telling the truth about his homosexuality, but Djan comforted him. “I told him that we all keep secrets. We all have to come out of the closet in some way or another. He was so relieved.” After stepping out of the cab, the passenger also stepped out of the closet and lived his life without hiding who he was.

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French Restaurants Seat Guests by How Good-Looking They Are

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Looks are undoubtedly very important, but some people make too much of physical appearance. A group of restaurants in Paris is accused by two of their former employees of seating clients according to their good-looks. “The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen”, claim the former employees, and “as for the non-good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room”.

The restaurants accused of having such a shallow policy are strategically situated near popular tourist attractions: Le Georges is in the the famous Centre Pompidou, while Cafe Marly is located near the Louvre museum. Apparently, this marketing strategy has a lot to do with the way in which the two restaurants are perceived by those passing by them. In fact, the staff members in charge of placing the guests at their tables were allegedly confronted for seating less attractive people at the best tables. “What are these ugly mugs doing at this table? Everyone can see them when they come in. It’s very bad for our image,” the employees were allegedly reprimanded when they broke the rule.  The only exception to this rule are celebrities, who, regardless of their looks, are automatically offered the the best seats in the house.

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Gender Test Demanded for South-Korean Women’s Soccer Player Who Scored 19 Goals in 22 Games

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Here’s something that doesn’t happen every day: the coaches of five of South Korea’s seven women soccer league teams have threatened to boycott the national competition if Seoul City Amazons striker Park Eun-Seon does not have a gender test. The 26-year-old was named best forward this season, with 19 goals in 22 matches.

At 1.80 meters tall and weighing 74 kilograms, park Eun-Seon really does have a physique worthy of her team’s name, and could probably even secure a place in a men’s soccer team, which is exactly why several coaches of rival squads are threatening to boycott South-Korea’s women’s soccer league if she isn’t required to take a gender test. But according to Seoul City Amazons officials, Park’s manly physique isn’t reason enough to humiliate the player by forcing her to pass yet another gender test. They claim the whole thing is part of a “conspiracy” because she has shown such remarkable form this last season, after a long career slump. Seoul Sports Council general secretary Kim Joon-Soo seems to agree. “We have no intention of accepting the gender verification test just to stop the boycott,” he said. “This is a serious violation of human rights that she’s suffering for a second time. The question regarding Park’s gender identity shall never be raised again. The city of Seoul will take all necessary measures to protect our player’s human rights.”

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Indian “Lady Tarzan” Talks to Elephants and They Listen

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14-year-old Nirmala Toppo is the heroine of Rourkela, an industrial city located in the Indian state of Odisha, after she talked the elephants that had invaded the settlement into returning to the forest.

The Catholic girl from Jharkland claims she began talking to elephants after her mother was killed by some pachyderms. “I then decided to learn the techniques to drive them away”. The technique Nirmala refers to involves praying and literally talking to the elephants. “First I pray and then talk to the herd. They understand what I say”. By using these simple “tricks”, the girl helped the authorities of Rourkela deal with a herd of elephants that had settled in a residential area of the city. “When the herd entered the city, we tried our best to contain its movement. We managed to make the herd go into the local football stadium, but we were not sure how we could drive them back to the forest. It was a difficult task,” forest official P. K. Dhola said. Out of options and pressed for time, they remembered that there was someone who could help them. “We knew of a tribal girl who lived in Jharkhand, who talked to elephants and was able to drive them back. We called up her father and she arrived along with some other tribal people from her village”.

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Hamburger Harry – The World’s Biggest Burger Fan

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For 57-year-old Harry Sperl of Daytona Beach, Florida, burgers are not only a tasty fast-food treat, but also representations of American popular culture that deserve a shrine. “They taste good, they look good and the hamburger is an icon of the United States of America”, explains Sperl. This is the reason why for the last 23 years, this burger enthusiast has been adding hundreds of items to the “Burgerbilia”, the world’s first (and, so far, only) burger museum, located in Sperl’s own home.

Sperl has been using burger memorabilia to decorate his house: he has a hamburger phone, a cheeseburger lamp and even a custom-made hamburger bed with little hamburger pillows. He also has custom carpets with hamburger designs, hamburger-shaped music boxes, erasers, clocks, trays and lots of magnets. Sperl’s passion began when he purchased some hamburger items from a toy store. From that moment on, not only did he start collecting items for the Burgerbilia from flea markets and garage sales, but he also designed his pride and joy – the Hamburger Harley, a unique hamburger-shaped tricycle, with onion wheels and pickle handles. He originally thought of using a Volkswagen Beetle, but he decided he didn’t like the sound of the air cooled flat 4 engines. Sperl then considered a hamburger dragster or a cheap go-cart, but in the end his love for Harley Davidson got the best of him.

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21-Year-Old Woman Has Never Eaten a Piece of Vegetable or Fruit

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Faye Campbell, of Suffolk, UK, has been exclusively eating junk food for the last 16 years. While most women would probably have serious weight problems by sticking to this eating habit, Faye is actually regular-sized and weighs just 9 stones and 12 pounds (a bit over 62 kilos).

The woman doesn’t just avoid eating fruit and vegetables, but also avoids thinking about it, as the mere thought of putting produce anywhere near her mouth makes her nauseous. “The thought of eating vegetables or any sort of fruit makes me physically sick,” Faye says. Well, actually, she is more tolerant to fruit, as long as it comes in the form of a juice or soft drink.  Without any fruit, vegetables or homemade meals, Faye’s daily diet consists only of chips, pizza, toast, cheeseburgers and basically any type of junk food you can imagine.This affects her family life the most. “It’s got to the point where I’d be happy to sit in the lounge with a pizza, while they sit in the kitchen with their roast – it has become a normal routine for us now,” the English woman complains. Apparently, even the smell of vegetables and homemade meals is intolerable for this fussy eater, who admits that “if mom is cooking a roast dinner with vegetables, I have to go in to a different room because I can’t stand the smell. Sometimes I have to open all the windows to get rid of it”. Faye’s love life has also been affected by her strange eating habits, as romantic dinners can only take place in fast-food restaurants. “Once, a guy booked a lovely Italian place but we ended up in McDonalds because I couldn’t face eating anything on the menu,” she says.

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Seeing Double in Nigeria’s Land of Twins

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It may seem like you’re seeing double, but what you’re really looking at is twins, and lots of them! Welcome to Igbo-Obra, a farming community in the southwestern part of Nigeria, which proudly calls itself “the Nation’s Home of Twins”. The name is very appropriate because, as community leader Olayide Akinyemi states “there is hardly a family here without a set of twins.” The man knows what he’s talking about: he himself had 3 sets of twins and his own grandfather had 10 sets.

West Africa has the highest incidence of twins in the world, and this is especially true for the Yoruba people of Igbo-Obra, 5% of births being twins. It may not seem like a lot, but considering that the percentage is 1.2 in Western European countries and just 0.8 in Japan, it really is pretty unusual. Are they doing something special that makes women give birth to twins? Well, not really, except maybe eat lots of yams, like most other West Africans. It’s believed that yams contain a herbal equivalent of estrogen, called phytoestrogen, that may stimulate the ovaries to each produce an egg. Despite many people being skeptical about this theory, Akin Odukogble, gynecologist, claims that there are studies supporting the yam theory. However, there is no medical evidence to connect eating yams to having twins. The chief nursing officer at the Muyibi Yomi hospital believes that the explanation for so many birth twins is genetics: “if a family has a history of multiple births, this will continue from generation to generation”.

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Guy Finds the Best Money Saving Method Ever

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Many people have tried to make money in less conventional ways, but most of them failed, or worse, ended up committing fraud. Gary, on the other hand, is just a nice man who found a legal and incredibly ingenious way of saving/making money.

The 60-year-old Phoenix retiree uses a simple and unique way of making money literally return to his pocket: he hand-writes the following message on every dollar bill he uses : “Please return this bill to me, I am very poor”followed by his home address. To make sure his message is noticeable enough, he writes everything with a red marker. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, what he’s doing is not illegal because the bills, though marked with his hand writing, are still usable and are not used for criminal purposes. Gary is simply asking people for money without forcing them in any way. Surprisingly, his money-saving method turned out to be a very successful one: more and more people are sending back his bills, so he keeps putting more money into circulation.To maximize his chances of actually getting his money back, Gary mainly spends $1 bills, because people are more likely to part with those than with $10, $20 or larger bills. His system is pretty profitable, considering it doesn’t really take much effort on his part. Everyday, the guy receives about $2, which makes an average of $60 per month, but thanks to generous people who sometimes put a financial bonus in the envelopes they send, he can make close to $100 a month.

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