Sleep as a Hobo at Sweden’s Homeless Experience Hotel

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It costs money to be homeless in Sweden. Well, only for a night though, at the Faktum Hotels. Located in Gothenburg, the hotel has no rooms but instead offers the complete homeless experience. Once you make a booking online, the hotel will lead you to a pre-determined place where the real homeless might spend their nights, one of 10 extraordinary locations they’ve handpicked for their guests.

A ‘room’ at the Faktum Hotels costs $10 a night and customers are free to choose their location from 10 options, including a spot under a bridge, in a derelict factory, a park bench, in forests, or even under seats at a football stadium. High quality images of all these places are available on the hotel website that actually make the experience look tempting. The descriptions accompanying the images are quite enticing and entertaining to read as well. Where else would you find an underpass described as: “Feel the city’s pulse from dawn to dusk at Gullbergsvass. This delightful dwelling is just a stroll from the romantic Dreamer’s Quay: a source of inspiration to musicians and artists alike. And all under the noble eye of the Skansen Lion from his centuries old fortress.”

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Ultimate Freedom – The Unlikely Story of a Man Who Chooses to Be Homeless

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It’s not the first time we’re hearing about someone who is homeless by choice. A while ago, we wrote about a man who lives with only 15 possessions and a college student who chooses not to live in a house. Minimalism is a concept that several people around the world are embracing, and Richard from England is one of them. What makes Richard’s story unique is how happy his homelessness has made him, in a world that sees it as a pitiable condition.

I found out about Richard from a video on Vimeo. Although it’s only about 4 minutes long, the video tells quite a powerful story, depicting Richard’s life in his own words. The young piano tuner says he used to live in an apartment with all the modern comforts, and yet that didn’t really make him happy. He had student loans and other debts that he hadn’t been able to clear for several years. And then one day, he realized how pointless it all was. “I remember specifically one afternoon I looked around my flat, looked at my LCD TV and I thought, ‘When was the last time I had time to watch that?’ And then I looked at my Playstation I had never even played. I still had this mountain of student debt, of bank loan debt which I was still scratching the surface of. And in the end, I just thought that the only thing I really value in the flat is the hot shower. Everything else, I can do without.”

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Homeless Man Has Been Living in a Grave for the Last 15 Years

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Bratislav Stojanovic, a 43-year-old homeless man from Serbia, has been living with the dead in a cemetery in Nis. He has made a grave his home and says he is more scared of starving and of the living than of his dead neighbors.

A former construction worker, Stojanovic has never had a regular job, and lost his home many years ago, after running up debts. For the last 15 years he has been sharing a tomb with the ashes of a family who died over 100 years ago, in Nis. He tried to make the place as cozy as possible, and claims he feels at home in it. “It is dry and it is warm,” Bratislav says. It isn’t a palace but it is more comfortable than the street.” He admits life in the cemetery was hard in the beginning, but now he’s more afraid of the living than he is of the dead. Most of Bratislav’s time is spent foraging for candles and cigarette buts around the cemetery grounds, but things have been pretty tough since the burial place went out of use and hardly anyone goes there anymore.

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Die-Hard Fan Covers Her Body in Twilight-Related Tattoos

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Remember Cathy Ward, the woman who made the news back in 2011 for getting a full-back Twilight tattoo honoring the popular vampire movie which had helped her lose weight? Well, the avid fan of the Twilight trilogy didn’t stop there, and now her upper body is almost completely covered with Twilight tattoos.

51-year-old Cathy Ward, from Reading, England, got her first Twilight tattoo as a way to show her appreciation for the movie that helped her lose six dress sizes, in 2008. The supermarket worker says she started watching the movies and reading the books, which provided a distraction from eating. Then she started exercising on her cross trainer while watching the vampire flick, and soon she was back in shape. But the tattoos didn’t stop with the weight loss. After the full-back tattoo featuring Bella, Edward and Jacob, the woman moved on to her arms, which are now covered with portraits of Carlisle Cullen, Jasper Hale and Renesmee Cullen, as well as a quote from Taylor Lautner’s werewolf character, Jacob, from Eclipse: “it would be as easy as breathing with me”. She also has the Cullen crest tattooed across her chest. So far, Cathy has spent around 83 hours and £7,000 ($10,900) on tattoos, and doesn’t plan on stopping until she is covered head to toe in Twilight ink, except for her face and hands.

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Women-Only Sleeping Cafe Opens in Tokyo

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Power naps – those short periods of sleep during the day – have been known to boost brain activity and increase productivity at the work place. Now a sleeping cafe in Tokyo’s Akasaka business district is offering hard-working Japanese women the chance to enjoy the benefits of the power nap, for a fee.

Stress and fatigue at the office are real issues in Japan, but for the women workaholics of the Asakara business district, in Tokyo there is a place where they can go relax and restore their energy – the Quska Sleeping Cafe. This ingenious concept offers patrons the chance to get a quick shut-eye either during their lunch breaks or in between their constant hours of overtime. It charges ¥150 ($1.60) for ten minutes of sleep in their comfortable facilities, but have even more affordable rates for clients looking to buy four-hour slots (¥3,120, around $33) or more. Now, you may think 10 minutes makes no difference if you’re ready to drop to the floor from fatigue, but various studies have shown that brief naps (10 -15 minutes) improve a person’s alertness and overall performance without the negative effects of sleep inertia associated with longer sleeping periods. Japanese companies are well-known for their productivity, and one of the reasons for this may be the power nap. For years, they’ve actually been encouraging their employees to take naps during work hours, and sleeping cafes like Quska provide the perfect environment.

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Dad Agrees to Pay Daughter $200 if She Stops Using Facebook for Five Months

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A Boston father and his 14-year-old daughter have recently made the headlines after the man posted a photo of a Facebook Deactivation Agreement that states the girl will receive 200$ if she doesn’t log into her Facebook account for the next five months.

Facebook addiction is one of the most talked-about issues of the moment, and when it comes to teens, the problem is even bigger. But one Boston parent may have found the perfect way to convince his daughter to take a nice long break from the popular social media platform – he’s paying her $200. The enterprising young girl has managed to strike a deal with her father, Paul Baier, that involves him paying her $50 in April and an extra $150 in June, if she respects her part of the agreement. “It was her idea, which I fully support,” Paul told the Daily Dot. “She wants to earn money and also finds Facebook a distraction and a waste of time sometimes.”

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Chinese Grandma Spends All Her Life Savings Taking Care of Stray Dogs and Cats

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Grandma Bai, a 64-year-old animal lover from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 15 years taking care of stray dogs and cats, and has exhausted all her life savings in the process.

American humorists Josh Billings once said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”, and we’ve featured a few heartbreaking stories that prove this to be right. Remember Capitan, the German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave six years after he died, or Ciccio, the faithful dog who attends the daily Mass at the church where his master used to go? I’ve written a lot of impressive stories about dogs’ loyalty and love even beyond the grave, so it’s always nice to see some humans showing them some kindness in return. Case in point, Grandma Bai, a native of Leshan, China, who has spent all her savings and the last 15 years of her life taking care of over 100 stray dogs and 30 cats. Her love for these abandoned creatures and the sacrifices she has had to make have melted the hearts of millions, since the story broke out in China.

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This Is How They Harden Kindergarten Children in Siberia

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The kids at the No. 317 kindergarten in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia are making themselves immune to flu viruses and winter colds by walking outside naked at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius and pouring buckets of freezing cold water over their bodies.

Ever since photos and videos of the extreme hardening process were exposed in the media, the Siberian kindergarten has come under fire from parents worried about the children’s well-being. But caretakers like Margarita Filimonova insist the practice is totally safe, as the children are only allowed to go outside in the freezing weather after three years of slow training and medical testing. It might seem extreme, but the staff insist the practice makes the children fitter and improves their health significantly. Kindergarten No. 317 has been hardening its children for the last 13 years, and some of the kids who went here went on to become Olympic champions in various sports. It’s the only institution of its kind in the region which uses this kind of extreme exercises.

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Japanese Company Offers Valentine’s Day Insurance for the Lonely

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Valentine’s Day, the most romantic celebration of the year, is fast approaching, and while some people can’t wait to declare their love and shower their partners with gifts, flowers and chocolate, for others it’s just a day of painful loneliness. However, Japanese bachelors no longer have to worry about being the only ones at the office who never gets anything on Valentine’s, thanks to a new service called Valentine’s Day Insurance.

So how does this service work, you ask? Well, it’s pretty simple, actually. All a person has to do is visit the Valentine’s Day Insurance website, purchase the ¥500 ($5.50) policy and provide an address where their Valentine’s gift should be delivered. Once they’ve done this, they’re guaranteed to receive a package on February 14, containing chocolates and a personal message from a self-professed beautiful woman called Rieko. I know what you’re thinking, having to buy your own Valentine’s Day present is pretty lame, but for some Japanese men it’s a lot better than having to cope with the uneasiness of being the only ones who didn’t get anything. Well, them and every woman in the Land of the Rising Sun, because here only men receive presents from women, usually in the form of chocolate. In fact, so much chocolate is purchased for the occasion that some Japanese chocolate companies record half of their annual sales in the few weeks before Valentine’s Day.

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Chinese Boy Has Been Living and Sleeping with a Python for 13 Years

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A family from Dongguan, China, has recently made headlines after it became known that their 13-year-old son’s best friend is a 15-foot Burmese python. The predator even looks after the boy when his parents are away.

Most grownups would turn away and run for their lives at the sight of a 220lb python, but 13-year-old Azhe Liu can’t get enough of his slithering friend. Ever since he was just a few months old, the two have been sharing the same bed, and today they are simply inseparable. Six years before Azhe was born, his father, Chen Liu, found a snake egg, brought it home and hatched it out. When the boy came, the python already weighed 20 kilograms, but having a snake around the house didn’t seem to bother the family. ”I’d always thought them the most beautiful creatures and I was interested to see what would happen when my son came along,” Chen says. ”After a while we were certain the snake wouldn’t hurt him and we began to leave them together alone. They really are inseparable.” Azhe and his Burmese python started sharing the same bed, and when he was just 9 months old, he was left alone with it, as the parents left to work. They would play and cuddle all day long, and during the hot summer months, the snake’s cold body acted as a natural air-conditioner.

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Grown Men Have Been Playing a Game of Tag for 23 Years

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23 years ago, nine boys were playing a fun game of tag around the campus of Gonzaga Preparatory School in Spokane, Washington. Fast forward to present day, they’re sill playing the very same game, but with a few exciting twists.

Playing tag is fun when you’re a child, but men in their 40s can’t really chase each other on the playground, screaming “you’re it!” So Bill Akers, Patrick Schultheis, Sean Raftis, Mike Konesky and their other five childhood friends devised a plan to keep playing their game without making people around them nervous. The last time they played the tag in their home town was on the last day of high-school. Joe Tombari remembers that day in 1982 when he plotted to tag a friend that had left school early. Little did he know that his buddy had been tipped off and was waiting for him in his parents’ car with the doors locked. There was no time to tag someone else, so Joe was “it” for life. ”The whole thing was quite devastating,” Tombari told the Wall Street Journal. But that wasn’t going to be the last tag session of their lives, not by a long shot…

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Kids Toughen Up at Brutal South Korean Winter Boot Camp

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When the South Korean Army announces its biannual boot camp for civilians above the age of 13, there are lots of people who are more than happy to attend. Held at the command base in western Seoul, the 4 to 14 day camp offers basic military training to anyone able to pay the entry fee of 40,000 won (that’s about $36). Teenage boys and young women are seen attending the camp, sometimes along with their families. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, given that military culture is quite deeply ingrained in South Korea, a country ruled by army-backed regimes till the mid 1980s.

Apart from the ones run by the army, there are privately-run boot camps as well, which have become quite popular in recent times. People from various walks of life, ranging from school kids to nostalgic war veterans, company employees to families on vacation attend this kind of events. The army says the boot camp is an opportunity to test your limits, enhance your physical ability and learn to adopt the strong spirit of ‘making the impossible, possible.’ Major Lee Joo-Ho, a boot camp spokesperson says: “Boys obviously make up the biggest part because they have the mandatory service coming up.” What he’s referring to is the two years of mandatory conscription that all able-bodied South Korean men have to attend, in order to  train themselves in case of an attack from North Korea. “But more young women are showing an interest, since they were allowed to join a college-based officer commissioning program last year.”

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Artist Hides $12,600 Check in Art Gallery to Raise Public Interest

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Tomas Georgeson, an artist from Buckinghamshire, England, has come up with an ingenious way of getting people to visit the local Milton Keynes Gallery – he placed an advert in the local paper informing town folk that he has hidden a blank check for £8,000 ($12,600) somewhere in the gallery and that they are invited to claim it by March 1.

There are a number of ways to get people interested in art galleries. Some people bury themselves in a tiny hole for a whole week, others give birth in front of a live audience, but probably the most effective way is to actually offer visitors financial incentives. That’s what English artist Tomas Georgeson decided to do, in a desperate attempt to raise local interest in Milton Keynes’ gallery. He has apparently hidden a blank check for £8,000 somewhere inside the small venue, which visitors are invited to look for and claim as their own. Although the bold artist says it’s pretty much all the money he has, treasure hunters can be sure it won’t bounce. He describes his unusual gesture as a statement of support for the galley, and a way to”get people through the door and change the mood of the place.”

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A Gap in Style – Front Teeth Removal Is Trendy among South African Youth

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It’s rare for fashion trends to last as long as 60 years. But this one tradition has never gone out of style among generations of youth in Cape Town and other regions of South Africa – dental modification. It sounds odd, but the South African youngsters actually like to sport toothless smiles, after getting their front teeth removed. Dressed mostly in baggy sweaters and caps drawn low over shiny sunglasses, the gummy smile is unique to these young South Africans who like to strike gangster poses. According to 21-year-old Yazeed Adams, “It is fashion, everyone has it.” The trend is often referred to as the ‘Cape Flats Smile’. The name comes from a populous neighborhood where this bizarre body modification is done by a large number of teens. But Jacqui Friedling of the University of Cape Town’s human biology department, who studied the phenomenon in 2003, says that she found fashion and peer pressure to be the main reasons for removing teeth, followed closely by medical reasons and gangsterisms. “It is the ‘in’ thing to do,” she says. “It went through a wave, it was fashionable in my parents’ time.” True enough, the practice has been around for at least 60 years now. Traditionally, dental modification such as filling of teeth and ornamentation was found only in tribal people. In modern Cape Town, it is seen as a rite of passage for teenagers, most often from the poorer families. Some stories say that the tradition started from the fisherman, who couldn’t communicate with each other on boats. So they created the ‘gap whistle’ as an effective means of communication. The men today feel their ‘gaps’ attract women, and vice versa.

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Meet Jon Gnarr, By Far the Coolest Mayor in the World

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The coolest mayor in the world never went to university, is an ex-taxi driver and used to be in a local punk rock band called ‘Runny Nose’ before he became a comedian and actor. That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as Jon Gnarr is concerned, a man whose achievements in life are so bizarre that it is truly a wonder how he became the mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city and home to over half of the nation’s population.

You’d think that a goofy guy has the chance to be President for the day only in the movies, but it seems in Reykjavik anything’s possible. Jon Gnarr, who was diagnosed with severe mental retardation and ADHD as a child, started his own political party in 2010 after refusing to join up with any of the existing parties. Funny enough, he named his party ‘The Best Party’. Simple, yet brilliant, isn’t it? It had to be, because he won his very first election to the office of mayor with 34.7% of the popular vote. According to what Gnarr told the media, his first real challenge as a politician was deciding between the names ‘The Best Party’ and ‘The Cool Party’. He ultimately settled for the first because it sounds dorkier, which was the vibe he was looking for. Called ‘Besti Flokkurin’ in the local language, the party is a motley group of artists, comedians and punk rockers, none of whom have had any prior experience in city-planning or politics. The only thing they did do well before the elections was record an Icelandic take on the Tina Turner song ‘Simply the Best’ and use it as their official campaign song. With lines like “We want a city that’s cuddly and clean and cool,” and “Tell the squatters in-charge that it’s time to leave,” the song was both silly and attention-grabbing at the same time. If the goofy mayor is to be believed, the city was being run by ‘blathering loons’ and it’s no surprise at all that the Best Party won.

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