Creepy Pillow-Phone Hugs You While You Talk to Loved Ones

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Hugvie, the huggable robotic pillow-phone invented by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, of Osaka University, has a heartbeat and internal vibrators meant to make it seem more human-like as you put your arm around it imagining it’s the person hundreds of miles away.

The concept of enhancing long-distance phone conversations between loved ones isn’t new. Kissinger, the long distance kiss messenger, and the kiss transmission device invented by other Japanese researchers have also tried to make long-distance conversations more personal by making the protagonists feel closer to each other. Hugvie is basically a robotic pillow with a human shape that acts as a port for your mobile phone. It’s got its own heartbeat and internal vibrators that react faster and stronger, depending on the tone of the conversation. It sounds like an interesting device, but a lot of people find it just a little bit creepy.

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Taiwanese Airline Launches New Hello Kitty Themed Airplane and Check-in

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EVA Air has recently announced the transformation of two of its Airbus A330-300 airplanes into airborne tributes to Japanese icon Hello Kitty. I’m pretty sure this proves there is nowhere to hide from the magic of Hello Kitty.

The adorable kitten created by Sanrio, in 1974, has become a powerhouse brand in Asia, worth several billion dollars. Everybody seems to love Hello Kitty so Taiwanese airline EVA Air decided to associate itself with it in an attempt to boost their struggling sector. Analysts say there is no risk in the move, and that despite having to pay Sanrio a sum of money for licensing , the company has a high chance of reaching its goal. After all, this is their third Hello Kitty plane, so they must have had some success with the previous two.

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Poo Wifi – A Machine That Exchanges Dog Poo for Free Wifi

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Stepping in dog poo is said to bring good luck, but for most people it’s one of the worst things that could happen as they walk through the city. Owners not picking up their pets’ droppings is a global problem, but a Mexican Internet portal has come up with an invention that might just inspire people to do the right thing. It’s called Poo Wifi and it’s pure genius.

Walking through the park trying to avoid every dog poo that comes in your way is an almost impossible task, but it wouldn’t be a problem if owners would just clean up after their pets. So Internet portal Terra has teamed up with ad agency DDB to create something that would motivate people to actually pick up their dogs turds. After some brainstorming, they came up with Poo Wifi, a machine that offers a free wifi connection in exchange for dog poo. So after they’ve picked up the droppings, people can drop the bags in a special box on top of the machine, after which the machine offers a number of minutes of free wifi, depending on the weight of the poo. Obviously, large dog owners will get more free wifi, which makes sense since their dogs’ droppings are the messiest.

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Student Makes Prom Dress from 5,000 Pop Tabs

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Two years ago, Regan Kerr, a junior at George Washington High School, in Aurora, Colorado, decided to turn her small pop tab collection into a daring project: to create her own prom dress out of thousands of pull tabs.

According to 9news.com, Regan’s ingenious dress started out as a weird collection of pop tabs, which soon turned into a joke, then became a very serious two-year project that culminated on prom night, Saturday night. A couple of years ago, a friend suggested she start collecting pop tabs, and she soon got the idea to make a dress out of them, because she had always thought “a great prom dress should pop”. It was a really intriguing project, but she had never made a dress before, let alone one from thousands of pop tabs. Her friend, Sara Sanford, remembers thinking it was a cool idea, but she also believed “it would kind of peter out and wouldn’t actually happen.” She was wrong!

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Head Injury Turns College Dropout into Math Genius with a Beautiful Mind

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Sometimes it takes a good, hard knock in the head to start seeing things right. In the case of Jason Padgett, he started to see more than just right. He began to see complex mathematical formulae everywhere he looked, after a head injury. For now, the 41-year-old works behind the counter of a futon store in Tacoma, Washington, but surely not for long. His genius is bound to lead him elsewhere in life.

Interestingly, for his level of intelligence Jason has no college degree, let alone a PhD. He doesn’t even have a background in math; just 10 years ago he was a very different person. Interested only in working out and partying, Jason had no idea his life was about to change forever as he walked out of a karaoke club in Tacoma. A group of muggers attacked and brutally assaulted him, kicking him several times in the head. “All I saw was a bright flash of light and the next thing I knew I was on my knees on the ground and I thought, ‘I’m going to get killed,’” he says. But he didn’t. Instead, he got the best gift he could ever hope for.

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Real-Life Robinson Crusoe Has Been Living on Exotic Island for 40 Years

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Brendon Grimshaw is the world’s real-life Robinson Crusoe, and Rene Lafortune, his man Friday. The only difference is that Grimshaw actually purchased the island instead of being stranded there. The Yorkshireman purchased Moyenne, a half-mile-wide island in the Seychelles for £8,000 ($13,000) in the early 1960s. As a successful newspaper editor in those times, he was restless and seeking adventure, itching to start a new life of his own. Nine years after the purchase, he moved in to the island full-time, making it his permanent home. The 86-year-old is now credited for bringing out and restoring the beauty of the exotic island, encouraging birds and tortoises to make it their home too. He did have a lot of time to do it, as he has been living there for 40 years.

When Grimshaw first arrived at Moyenne, it had been abandoned for 50 years. The scrub was so dense and overgrown that even coconuts couldn’t fall to the ground. It was then that he was joined by an assistant, a Seychellois named Rene Lafortune, and together they worked tirelessly towards restoring the island to its former glory. The duo ended up planting over 16,000 trees by hand. 700 of these are mahogany trees that are about 60-70 ft tall. The other trees include palms, mango and paw-paw. They also built 4.8 km of nature paths. The giant tortoise, which was almost driven to extinction due to excessive hunting, has found a new home at Moyenne, thanks to the work of Grimshaw. He is now the caretaker of 120 giant tortoises. He also managed to attract about 2,000 birds to the island, starting with a meager 10 that he purchased from a neighboring island. At first they promptly flew back, but then they started to stay longer. Lafortune died in 2007, and since then Grimshaw has been the only permanent resident of Moyenne. He lives there in a small one-story wooden house that clings to the hillside and is furnished with African souvenirs. Outside his house is a sign that says, “Please respect the tortoises. They are probably older than you.”

 Photos of L'Habitation Hotel, Cerf Island
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Swiss Woman Tries to Survive on Light Alone, Starves to Death

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Growing up in India, I’ve heard several stories of yogis who would eat nothing, surviving on only sunlight. We never really tested out the theory, assuming it was only the stuff of legends. But a Swiss woman apparently did try it, and the results were not good. She ended up starving herself to death. Looks like she found out the hard way that sunlight isn’t really food unless you’re a plant.

The woman’s real name is unknown, but news reports refer to her as Anna Gut. She was in her early fifties when she first heard about the concept of living off sunlight in the documentary film “In the Beginning There was Light”. The two men portrayed in the film – anthroposophist Michael Werner, 62, and Indian yogi Prahlad Jani, 83, claimed they made use of spiritual practices and sunlight for their sustenance, rather than food. Inspired by the concept of ‘breatharianism’, Anna read a book on the same subject written by Australian Ellen Greve. She then began to follow the instructions provided by the book.

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Los Santos Malandros – The Thug Saints of Venezuela

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An idol of a man dressed in blue jeans, orange shirt, green baseball cap and a gun stuck in his belt is hardly something you’d expect to see at a place of worship. But it’s pretty common in Venezuela, the country with the highest murder rates in the world. Religious cults worship thugs and criminals who are long dead and gone. Even though the most widespread religion in Venezuela is Christianity, the worship of local thugs is so strong that it cannot be overlooked. The people who participate in such cult worship are more often than not, from the poorest sections of society.

With an average murder rate of about 14,000 a year, Venezuela isn’t exactly the safest place in the world. In such a scenario, I suppose it would be easiest for the people to relate to a God with whom they can connect, as compared to the Christian saints. And that is what makes the Maria Lionza cult so popular. According to this alternate religion, the dead co-exist with the living and they can be accessed through a few people who act as a medium.

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Grieving Father Invents Device to Talk to His Dead Daughter

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Any parent grieving the death of their child would go to any lengths to hear the child’s voice one last time. But how many of them would actually invent a device for it? Electrical Engineer Gary Galka from Connecticut did just that.

After his 17-year-old daughter Melissa died in 2004 in a car accident, Gary says she began to communicate with the family within days. The doorbell would ring, TV channels would change and lights would turn on and off on their own. That’s when Gary realized that his dead daughter had something to tell them. He created a device to help her, and is now the owner of a thriving business in paranormal detection devices. Over the years, he has sold thousands of such devices, ranging between $79 and $350 in price. Gary has invented over 30 different products that are meant exclusively for paranormal research.

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Using Nose Feeding Tubes Becomes Trendy Lose-Weight-Fast Diet

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It’s truly disturbing when doctors come up with seemingly fad diets that could prove dangerous, but that appears to be happening all the time and most of them are also pretty successful. The latest to join the trend is an American doctor who is providing a drastic and quick weight-loss method, the K-E Diet. It involves putting food into your body through the nose, using a dripping tube.

The K-E diet stands for Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet and is the work of Dr. Oliver di Pietro, from Florida. He promises to help anyone shed 20 lb in as little as 10 days. As a part of the diet, dieters have to get a small nasogastric tube inserted into their nose going all the way to the stomach, through which a liquid solution drips constantly. The solution supposedly contains a mix of protein, fat and water and makes up 800 calories. A few hours of this and a process called ketosis is said to be triggered, which burns body fat due to the lack of carbohydrates. The fat is burned but the muscle and water in the body remain untouched. Dieters who want to achieve the best results aren’t supposed to eat anything for a period of 10 days and also have to carry around the bag of nutritious fluid everywhere they go.

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Who Needs Money, Beautiful People Travel Free

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Misstravel.com is a creative new website that hooks up beautiful women with rich men. It’s essentially a dating service, but only meant for the wealthy and the attractive. Once registered, good looking women can go on a trip with generous rich men, who will, of course, take care of all the expenses.

Registering at misstravel.com is absolutely free. You could sign up either as an Attractive Traveler or a Generous Traveler. The former obviously gets to travel for free and the latter pays for the trip. According to the website, an Attractive Traveler account is meant for “beautiful people who want to travel for free” and the Generous Traveler option is for “generous members who are seeking to travel with a beautiful companion, and who are willing to pay for all travel expenses.” The Generous Travelers also need to pay the website when they decide to make communication with an Attractive Traveler.

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Disturbing Trend – Teens Drinking Hand Sanitizer to Get Wasted

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You’d think that someone drinking hand sanitizer was obsessed with keeping their insides as clean as their outsides. But no, in a disturbing new trend, teenagers are actually consuming the alcohol-based liquid as a cheap substitute for liquor. Since kids don’t have access to alcohol, they are actually using the chemical cleaning agent to get drunk.

Recently, six teenagers were brought into San Fernando Valley emergency rooms for alcohol poisoning from hand sanitizer consumption. This got public health officials worried so they started issuing warnings to parents and teachers about the hazards involved with ingesting hand sanitizers. According to Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, “All it takes is a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager.” He believes that although the practice isn’t widespread yet, it has all the potential to balloon into a huge issue. Since hand sanitizer bottles are very easily available and inexpensive, the trend couldn’t take very long to catch up. It doesn’t help that distillation instructions are easily available on the internet; kids can separate the alcohol from the sanitizing liquid with just a little salt.

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Dog Poop Removal Company Proves Big Hit

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Who knew that scooping up dog poop could also rake in the big bucks? DoodyCalls is a company that does just that. They make an annual revenue of $4.5 million, with about 6.6 million poops disposed of in the last year alone. 55 franchises currently exist in 22 states of the US, and there are plans to expand the number to at least 250 in the coming decade. That’s a huge success for an idea as simple as cleaning up behind a dog. Co-founder and CEO Jacob D’Aniello says that the only way his business could fail is, “If one day, everybody in the world woke up and decided they loved picking up dog poop.” That sure is quite unlikely, given that most people with dogs are hard pressed for time. D’Aniello agrees that his customers aren’t necessarily lazy people, but need quick solutions to the mundane tasks in life, so they can have more time for themselves. DoodyCalls allows customers to pay for more leisure time.

D’Aniello first came up with the business idea for DoodyCalls when he was driving home from work in late 1999. On a popular radio show, he heard a man talking about his love for his career – picking up dog poop. The more D’Aniello thought about this, the more he realized how much that guy loved his job, made a great living out of it, did not have to commute, and worked his own hours. Soon, he was talking about the business plan to his future wife, Susan. She wasn’t too enthusiastic at first, but once he presented her with the business pitch, she was quickly on board. DoodyCalls was soon created and ads went live in the local papers. Their first order was a housewarming gift for a friend – a six months dog poop cleaning service for the new home. Since then, there was no looking back. At $15 per week per dog, their service is affordable and popular.

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Training CampZ – A Zombie Survival Training Camp for All Ages

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It’s wise to be prepared for all kinds of emergencies, perhaps even those that are very unlikely to happen. A zombie apocalypse, for instance. That’s why a two-day Zombie Survival Training Course was conducted recently in Sandy, Oregon. Of course, the camp organizers do realize that zombie’s aren’t real; the course is actually oriented towards learning to survive outdoors and have some geeky fun while doing it.

The adult-only program involves camping out for an entire weekend, and some pretty useful survival skills like how to build a fire without matches or lighters, how to build a shelter for protection and how to hunt and gather food. The premise for being outdoors was basically that if zombies ever invaded Portland, Step 1 would be to take to the wilderness. Of course, once there you would need to know how to survive, and that’s where Training CampZ comes into picture. Tony Deis, founder, says, “You don’t have to be dour and boring. You can be a bunch of geeks.” The zombie element, he says, attracts people who wouldn’t normally be interested in an outdoor class.

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Woman Donates Kidney to Her Boss, Gets Fired

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47-year-old Debbie Stevens, a divorced mother of two from Long Island, donated her kidney to help out her boss. You’d think the least she could receive in return was some gratitude, but instead she was promptly fired. The behavior of the boss in question truly seems unfathomable. Stevens now contends that she was being set up and used by her 61-year-old boss, Jackie Brucia.

Stevens and Brucia met as co workers at the billion-dollar Atlantic Automotive Group. At the time, Stevens was a clerical worker, while Brucia was one of the company’s controllers. Later, Stevens left the company in June 2010 and moved to Florida, but she happened to meet Brucia again on a visit to Long Island. It was then that she came to know of Brucia’s illness and difficulty in finding a kidney donor. As a ‘naturally generous’ person, Stevens offered to donate her own kidney if the need arose. To which Brucia replied, “You never know, I may have to take you up on that offer.”

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