Downsize Fitness – The Gym That Only Accepts People Who Are At Least 50 Pounds Overweight

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Have you been wanting to join a gym, but hesitated because it feels weird to work out among all those super-fit people? Well, what you need is a place exactly like Downsize Fitness, the gym chain that only accepts clients who are at least 50lbs overweight. With branches in Chicago, Las Vegas and Dallas, the gym chain was inspired by the hit TV show The Biggest Loser, and aims to reduce the insecurities that larger people go through at regular gyms. So the only skinny people allowed at Downsize Fitness are the trainers.

And it doesn’t stop just there. The gym has gone a great length to ensure that its clients do not feel bad about themselves and stay motivated to come back every day. The facility has no mirrors lining the walls, and the windows are frosted so that passers-by cannot look inside. The machines are also specifically designed to suit those who are chronically overweight and obese. 39-year-old Francis Wisniewski, the owner of Downsize Fitness, was once overweight himself, so he knows exactly what it feels like to enter a gym filled with trip and super-fit people. When he finally shed his extra pounds, he identified the gap in the market. He is now the perfect ambassador to promote the business, having lost 60 lbs in the past year with the help of his team at Downsize Fitness. “Large clubs make you feel on display,” he said in an interview. “I’ve been big my whole life, and small incidents probably make it seem worse than it really is. But at the gym, it’s all out there for everyone to see. I was embarrassed to go the gym myself, it’s intimidating to go in when you can’t do all the exercises, when you feel like people are going to be staring at you and people are going to be judging you. And I know if I’m feeling it, overweight women feel worse. ”

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Family Is Literally Living under a Rock in the Mexican Desert

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For the last three decades, Benito Hernandez and his wife have been living under a huge rock, in Mexico’s Coahuila Desert, 80 kilometers from the US border.

Benito Hernandez started visiting the 40 meter diameter rock that now serves as a roof for his sun-dried brick home when he was just eight years old. He liked it so much that he decided to one day make it his home. Many 8-year-olds have crazy dreams, but Benito’s followed him into adulthood. 55 years ago, when he and his family first discovered the remote rock formation, a man could claim a piece of land by settling on it for long periods of time, so during the many years they spent working in the area harvesting the Candelilla plant, he beat off other who would claim the rock for themselves and 20 years later he finally became its legal owner. He could finally build his dream house under the boulder that fascinated him all this time.

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French Company Offers Thrill-Seekers the Chance to Be Kidnapped

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A basic abduction package in France will cost you about $1,300. No, not the ransom, but actually getting yourself kidnapped.

If you’re looking for an experience straight out of a Hollywood movie, Eastern France is the place you need to be, where a small company called Ultime Realite provides the unique service. The basic package consists of being seized by strangers, bound, gagged and bundled into a car, and kept in a dark cellar for four hours. Advanced packages include tailor-made services such as boat chases, helicopter escapes, and being kept for longer periods of time.

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Brazilian Company Offers Fake Facebook Girlfriends for $20

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Do you want to make your ex-girlfriend by hooking up with a hot chick on Facebook? Are your parents pressuring you to go out and get a date? Are you tired of being teased about not having a girlfriend? If any of this sounds familiar, know that there’s hope for you yet. It’s called Namoro Fake, and it’s a Brazilian company that offers fake Facebook girlfriends, for a fee.

Just because you couldn’t get a girlfriend if your life depended on it, doesn’t mean all your friends have to know about it. What if you could make it seem like you’re dating this beautiful woman, who seems crazy about you that she leave romantic comments on your profile every single day? That would probably make you look cool in front of your friends and maybe even score some points with the ladies in real life, right? Well, that’s probably all the guys that are using Namoro Fake’s services are thinking, anyway. The Brazilian company offers guys the chance at a fake virtual relationship for as little as $10. The relationship may not be real, but the girls behind the profiles certainly are. Namoro Fake hires female Facebook users to act as girlfriends, and apparently splits the proceeds with them. Since you’ll be sending them the exact messages you want posted on your Wall, all they have to do is paste the messages and keep their profiles active to make them seem more real. If you purchase the expensive packages, they’ll even list you in their relationship status. Users can choose their girlfriend from various Facebook profiles listed on the company’s website.

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Indian Student Invents Electrifying Alarm Clock that Shocks You Out of Bed

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Tired of waking up very late and missing his university lectures, Indian student Sankalp Sinha decided to do something about his problem – he invented a special alarm clock that “rewards” the owner with an electric shock if he tries to press the snooze button.

19-year-old Sankalp Sinha came up with the idea for his shocking alarm clock a couple of years ago, when he was having trouble getting up in the morning to attend university classes. He had developed a habit of hitting the snooze button and going back to sleep, so he started thinking about a solution that would force him out of bed. A student of automobile engineering at Sharda University in Uttar Pradesh, India, Sinha came up with an idea for an alarm clock that administers a small electric shock via the very popular snooze button. “The shock it administers is harmless but is enough to energize you”, the young inventor says, adding that users will be able to adjust how strong the electric shock they get is. He added that the power of his Good Morning Sing N Shock clock will be a fraction of the 50,000 volts delivered by the standard Taser gun. Pretty weak, but you want the thing to wake you up, not put you to sleep, right?

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Dog Attends Daily Mass at Church Where Dead Owner Used to Go

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Ciccio, a 12-year-old German shepherd, whose owner passed away two months ago, visits the church she used to frequent and where her funeral was celebrated, patiently waiting for her to return.

The people attending the church of Santa Maria Assunta in San Donaci, Italy have received a lesson in love and loyalty from a dog that for the past two months has been coming in for the daily mass, hoping his beloved owner would return. Local Maria Margherita Lochi, 57, had adopted Ciccio years ago, after she found him abandoned in the fields near her home. She was an animal lover who had taken in several stray cats and dogs, but her connection with Ciccio was special. Apparently he felt the same way, as even though Maria died two months ago, the dog keeps coming back to the place he last saw her. She would walk with him to the church, for the daily Mass, and the priest would allow him to wait patiently at her feet. He was even there with Maria’s loved ones at her funeral. But Ciccio seems to have a tough time letting go, and he comes back into the church each day, as soon as he hears the bells calling in the faithful for the Holy Mass. He just sits by the side of the altar, quietly, hoping Maria will come back…

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Ugly Model Agency Redefines Fashion Business Standards

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Every model agency has strict criteria based on which they select their workforce, and so does the Ugly Models Agency. As the name suggests, of course, you have to be ugly. Well, ‘unusual-looking’, to be more specific. Ugly Models is one of the world’s biggest character model agencies based out of London. The bold and unique company has managed to place its models in some top assignments, including James Bond films and Marks and Spencer ads. Literally anyone can apply at Ugly Models, ranging from size 6 to 30, and 18 to 100 years old.

Case-in-point is Dell, one of the top models at Ugly Models. He got into the modeling business only a few years back, totally by accident. He was actually delivering a package at the agency when owner Marc French spotted him and asked for a few test shots. And everything just snowballed from there. According to Marc, “Dell is not a conventional good-looking boy, you know, he’s got buck teeth, sticking out ears, he’s not what people say is normal-looking, because he’s quite ugly, really. But ugly in a great way and I love his features. I mean, I think he’s quite striking.” Sure enough, Dell is not the kind of guy you would expect to see on a catwalk. “I don’t see myself as ugly,” he says. “I see myself as tall, dark and handsome. I’m a model, innit? When I was growing up, I never thought I was going to be a model. People just made fun of me when I was young and all that.”

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Milagros Caninos – A Haven for Mexico’s Disabled and Tortured Dogs

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Milagros Caninos, or Miracle Dogs, is a very special canine shelter in Mexico City. For years it has been a true paradise for dogs suffering from terminal illnesses, are blind, paralyzed or have been tortured and abandoned on the streets of Mexico’s capital.

Patricia Ruiz, the founder of Milagros Caninos lost her pet dachshund, Clavo (Spanish for “Nail”) in 2004. She knew the meaning of his life – to love her and her family, to play with her children, to bring joy to their lives – but she couldn’t understand the meaning of his death. Like she would have done for any lost member of the family, Patricia posted a eulogy in the newspaper as a symbol of the love and respect she had for Clavo. After that, she started getting all these emails from like-minded people, who shared her pain at the loss of their four-legged companions, and that motivated her to become involved in rescuing animals. She first rescued one dog, then another, and so on, to the point where she needed a place to keep them all. Her eyes and ears were always focused on pain, so she ended up with a number of animals suffering from severe illnesses like cancer, were paralyzed, or had been tortured or drugged by humans who didn’t share her compassion. So she founded Milagros Caninos, a haven for dogs in extreme situations, in need of special care and attention. That’s when she understood the meaning of Clavo’s passing…

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The Fattening Farms of Mauritania – Force-Feeding Young Girls in the name of Beauty

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While the whole world is obsessed over getting thin, it seems there are far-flung places in the world today where fat is still considered a thing of beauty. Not in a good way, though. In the West African nation of Mauritania, it is so important for girls to be fat that they are sent away to fat camp – the opposite of the western version – during school holidays, to put on oodles of weight.

According to women’s rights campaigner Mint Ely, girls as young as five are subjected to the tradition known as Leblouh each year. Leblouh is an attempt to groom young girls for potential suitors, involving the consumption of gargantuan amounts of food; even vomit, if it refuses to stay down. Ely says that in Mauritania, a woman’s size indicates the space she occupies in her husband’s heart. So to make sure no other woman can ever have room, girls are sent away for Leblouh at special farms where older women will administer the necessary diet. It’s rather appalling to know that 5, 7 and 9-year-olds are expected to consume a daily diet of two kilos of pounded millet mixed with two cups of butter and 20 liters of camel’s milk. Their daily consumption comes up to a whopping 16,000 calories.

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Japan’s “Infidelity Phone” Keeps Extramarital Affairs Private

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These days, the world is going crazy over smartphones, but in Japan, people who engage in extramarital relations remain faithful to a seemingly outdated mobile phone which does a great job of keeping their affairs private. It’s even been nicknamed the “uwaki keitai” or “infidelity phone”.

The Fujitsu ”F-Series” flip-phones are not coolest-looking or most feature-full mobiles you can buy in Japan, but they remain very popular thanks to some very efficient stealth privacy features that help people cheat on their partners without being caught. According to a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, not even the latest smartphones come close to the aging Fujitsu, when it comes to keeping their private business private. Apparently, the F-Series “private mode” is a layer of invisible security that does a perfect job of hiding incoming calls and messages from contacts marked as private. The only visible signal that lets users know they’ve been contacted by one such contact is a subtle change in the color or shape of the battery or antenna icons. The changes are practically undetectable by the untrained eye, and even if someone might get suspicious, the private mode can only be turned off by a secret combination of keys, to make concealed calls, text messages and voice mail available.

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Meet the Guy Who Built a Train in His Basement

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Canadian Jason Schron loves VIA trains so much that he actually spent four and a half years and $10,000 building his own genuine replica of a 1980s VIA train cart, accurate down to the tiniest details, right in the basement of his home, in Vaughan, Ontario.

“The train is where I feel most at home,” Schron says. It’s where I feel most at peace. Especially when it’s hurtling along at 85mph with the snow and rain pelting down outside – it’s the perfect place to be.” But since he could’t really ask his family to live in a real train, he settled for the next best thing – building his own VIA train cart replica in the basement of their house.  ”I’ve always wanted to have a VIA train in my basement since I was a kid,” the Canadian rail-geek admits, so when it was time for him and his wife to buy a house. he would always say no if the place didn’t have a basement big enough to accommodate his dream replica. And after they found a suitable space, he dedicated around 2,500 hours over the course of four and a half years to getting every detail of the 1980s VIA cart just right. Making it look authentic was as difficult as you can imagine, and Jason says he had to scrap everything and start over three times, but it was all worth it for the model train company owner. Now he’s known as the “the guy with the train in his basement” and he even posted a video on YouTube showcasing his impressive replica.

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Woman Plans To Eat and Drink Only Starbucks for a Year

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A Seattle-based woman by the name of Beautiful Existence (her legal name) has set a very strange challenge for herself this year – she plans to eat food and drink beverages only from Starbucks for all of 2013.

No, she’s not addicted to Starbucks products. Beautiful Existence just likes to set year-long challenges for herself. For example, in 2011, she only bought stuff from Goodwill stores. But there’s more to it than that. Beautiful wants to document the experience on her blog and show the world how communities benefit from Starbucks. “The company pays good benefits for part-time workers. That’s where my money is going,” she says. ”We’re really lucky and I would say actually spoiled as Americans because we have all these different eating options,” Existence adds. ”You go to all these other countries and they don’t have these luxuries. Really? Is it really going to be that hard for one year of my life to limit my menu? We’ll find out.”

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Creepy Spider Dress Protects Wearer’s Personal Space

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Don’t you hate it when total strangers invade your personal space by getting a little too close for comfort? By wearing the high-tech Spider Dress you can now send them a message in the shape of a creepy artificial spider leg pressing against their body.

Netherlands-based designer Anouk Wipprecht has designed one of the scariest garments I have ever seen. Aptly-called the Spider Dress, this piece of wearable design features animatronic arachnid limbs that react to external stimuli, in this case – nearby movement. When someone gets to close the wearer, the creepy spider legs start dancing on the shoulder pads, pushing the person away. You might just give them a heart-attack, but you’ll finally be able to enjoy your personal space in however crowded a space. Created in collaboration software engineer and hacker Daniel Schatzmayr, the Spider Dress’ robotic components use sensors to detect when someone gets too close. The scary tech-fashion design was showcased last November, at the VIVE LE ROBOTS / Cafe Neue Romance in Prague, during the EU Robotics week

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The Religious Serpent Handlers of Appalachia

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You would think that handling snakes is an activity limited to the snake-charmers of India. After all, the handling of such venomous creatures is naturally associated with the mystical cultures of the East. But you will be surprised to know that the practice exists in the U.S. as well, and has been present here for the past 100 years. ‘Snake handling’ or ‘Serpent handling’, as it is called, is a religious ritual followed in a small number of Pentecostal churches in the U.S., with origins in 20th century Appalachia. The belief behind the practice dates back to antiquity, and followers quote the Gospel of Mark and Gospel of Luke for support:

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:19)

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Quirky Calendar for Nerds Goes on Sale in Germany

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A group of three self-confessed nerds hired a photographer to create a calendar that would appeal to fellow gamers and vintage technology fans. The 2013 Nerd Dreams Calendar recently went on sale in Germany but is available to geeks worldwide.

Are you a big fan of iconic devices like the Atari ST, Commodore C64 or Steve Jobs’ NeXT Cube? Would you like to see them in the hands of attractive girls that don’t have to take off their clothes in order to attract attention, and more importantly, share your passion for nerdy stuff? Then you’re bound to appreciate the new Nerd Dreams Calendar for 2013, imagined by a group of German nerds tired of having their interests passed up by calendar makers. They created their very own company, Nerd Dreams, hired a photographer and put together the calendar they’ve always wanted, making sure every photo was “suitable for work”. ”We sub-contracted everything that had nothing to do with computers,” said Henning Schneider, one of the brains behind the nerd calendar, so the models were provided by an agency, and the pictures were taken by photographer Anna Schnauss in Frankfurt. Nerd Dreams 2013 features girls sporting geeky glasses and playing with old gadgets, as well as girls dressed as iconic video game characters like Lara Croft.

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