Evidence Suggests World’s Largest Solar Farm Burns Birds That Fly over It

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Environmentalists might swear by solar energy, but it turns out that the alternative source has its pitfalls too. Ivanpah, a giant solar farm in California’s Mohave Desert, is actually producing such high levels of heat that birds flying over it are burning to death.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System that opened last Thursday is a joint effort by NRG Energy Inc., Google Inc. and BrightSource Energy. It can produce electricity that is sufficient to power 140,000 homes. The project is supposed to be the beginning for the United States’ emerging solar industry. It uses a technology that is different and more expensive to build than a similar-sized conventional solar power plant.

The Ivanpah site is located 45 miles southwest of Las Vegas, with virtually unbroken sunshine for most part of the year. It is also close to transmission lines that carry power to consumers. The project makes use of technology called solar-thermal – more than 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors (each roughly the size of a garage door) reflect sunlight to boilers on top of 450-foot towers. The sun’s power heats the water in the boilers’ tubes and the steam drives turbines to create electricity.

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The Human Brewery – Man’s Stomach Turns Starchy and Sugary Foods into Alcohol

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34-year-old Matthew Hogg has a rare condition – auto-brewery syndrome. Every time he eats starchy or sugary foods, his body converts the food into alcohol that is released into his blood stream. This alcohol is so strong that he ends up intoxicated without even touching a single drink.

While this might sound like an alcoholic’s dream, for Matthew, it’s nothing short of a nightmare. He’s been suffering from the rare condition since primary school and his parents have spent their entire life savings of over $80,000 on diagnosing his illness. After seeing several specialists, the condition was finally identified when a test by Dr. Keith Eaton in London revealed high levels of ethanol in his blood and indicated bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. It is this yeast overgrowth that converts his meals into alcohol.

“I have experienced symptoms from birth and during my childhood there were countless times I suffered drunkenness without having consumed an alcoholic beverage,” said Matthew. “Every time I eat bread, potatoes or starchy rice I produce 100 percent proof drinking alcohol that travels around my body through my bloodstream – if I eat a portion of rice I would suffer a hangover equivalent of having glugged three bottles of red wine the night before.”

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70-Year-Old Bodybuilder Is Fitter Than Most Men Half His Age

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Sam ‘Sonny’ Bryant Junior doesn’t look a day over 40. He’s a bodybuilder with a perfectly ripped body that puts younger men to shame. Especially when they get to know about his real age –70 years and still going strong. Very strong.

“They ask me when I’m going to retire. I say never. I say more people die retired than they do when they are working. I’ve been doing this for 27 years.” Sonny says. He started working out at age 44, when he was in a bad marriage. Initially, he just went to the gym to relieve stress; he knew nothing about working out or lifting weights.

But he never gave up and just 11 months later, Sonny’s instructor asked him if he wanted to take part in a bodybuilding contest. “I said, ‘You think so?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ So I went to a contest in Georgia. I’d never been in a contest or competed for anything, you know. I won third in the novice, fourth in the master. And then I was hooked.” Before he knew it, Sonny was addicted to the gym. “I love to work. I love to work out,” he said. As for age, well, he says that it’s all in the mind. “People have a misconception that age makes you old. I realize that it’s the state of mind that makes you old. Age is just a number, you know.”

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Meet James Harrison, the Man Whose Extremely Rare Blood Has Saved Millions of Babies’ Lives

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74-year-old James Harrison is a superhero in his own right. Granted, he doesn’t wear a cape or spin webs, but he has saved over two million babies’ lives in the past 54 years. And in real life, it doesn’t get cooler than that.

Australian-born James has a very special type of blood – the plasma contains an antibody that cures babies of Rhesus disease, a severe form of anemia. He has been donating blood every few weeks since he was 18 years old, and has done it over 1,000 times now. James never fails to make a donation; even when he’s holidaying, he makes sure to stop by a donor center. “I’ve donated on the Sunshine Coast, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, NSW, wherever I go and I get around the place with the caravan club I’m in.”

“I’ve never thought about stopping. Never,” he said. His initial motivation for donating was a major chest surgery that he underwent at age 14, for which he needed 13 liters of blood. “I was in the hospital for three months. The blood I received saved my life so I made a pledge to give blood when I was 18. I said to my father that I would give blood myself as soon as possible and I stayed true to my word.”

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Blind Card Shark Will Amaze You with His Incredible Card Tricks

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Richard Turner is one of the world’s greatest card cheats in the world. He’s so quick with cards that if you ever played with him, you just couldn’t see him cheat. But then, neither could he. That’s what makes his skill even more special – he’s completely blind.

The card shark, or ‘Card Mechanic’ as he prefers to call himself, has been cheating at cards since the age of seven. “A mechanic is somebody who could control the outcome of a card game,” he says. He never loses at cards. Not even when someone else is shuffling. And the only way he got that good is by practice. “For years, I practiced 10 to 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, which boils down to around one-third of my entire life 24×7,” he said. Kim, his wife, added: “There are times when he’s doing like a one-handed shuffle and he makes a little ‘prr’ sound. You might be at church and then you just have to do the gentle touch like – not now.”

Richard, a native of San Antonio, hasn’t had an easy life. He began to lose his eye sight at the age of nine and was bullied by his school mates. He’s also struggled with drug and alcohol problems. But none of these obstacles got in the way of his passion. “I’m always practicing,” he says. “Liberace couldn’t carry his piano with him, but my act can fit in my pocket.”

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Baring More than Their Souls – Virginia Church Congregation Worship in the Nude

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White Tail Chapel, located in Southampton County, Virginia, has recently made a bizarre decision to welcome its congregation the way they were made – nude. Pastor Allen Parker, the leader of the church, said that he found the clothing requirements of other churches overly pretentious. So he wanted his own flock to be able to let go of such materialism if they desired to.

He argues that many of the Bible’s most defining moments occurred when people where nude, including the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. “When he was born he was naked, when he was crucified he was naked and when he arose he left his clothes in the tomb and he was naked. If God made us that way, how can that be wrong,” said Parker, in an interview with CNN.

The pastor’s theory is that nudity is the ‘great equalizer’ that reminds the people gathered in church that they are all simple human beings. His goal is to drive the fact that beneath all the personal wealth and glamorous clothing, everyone is more or less the same. “There’s not a feeling that you have to be better than one another, physically,” he said. We’re humans, we have scars, we have what we have. It’s learning to love and accept that.”

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Real-Life Spider-Man Climbs 1,500-Foot Rock Wall without Any Safety Equipment

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American rock climber Alex Honnold has had an incredibly good (and miraculously lucky) start to 2014. He managed to climb El Sendero Luminoso, a 1,500 foot wall, without the use of any safety gear.

Alex is being dubbed a ‘real-life Spiderman’, but I wouldn’t agree with that moniker because even Spiderman spun a web and used it to swing across walls. But Alex uses just his bare hands and fingers to climb.

He recently ascended a 1,500 foot limestone big-wall route called El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico. While most parties generally take two days to complete the climb, Alex completed it in just three hours, by clinging to tiny crevices all the way up. “I would stop at the occasional good foothold and shake it out, but for the most part I kept a very steady pace,” he said.

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Ski Resort Has Been Using Contaminated Sewage Water to Make Artificial Snow

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Arizona Snowbowl, a resort in Flagstaff, Arizona, has resorted to the worst kind of commercialism seen in modern times. Since 2002, they’ve been using the city’s treated sewage effluent to make fake snow. Environmental groups, concerned citizens and the indigenous people of the region have been opposing this for years.

For the Hopi Tribe, the San Francisco Peaks, where the resort is located, are a spiritual and holy land. The tribe has been trying to get the city to stop selling its waste water to the resort for almost a decade. They recently got permission to file a lawsuit against Arizona Snowbowl in November 2012, due to the threats posed by the reclaimed water to an endangered plant found only on the Peaks. But it appears that the resort has turned a deaf ear to all protests.

According to a news report on Elite Daily, “Skiing is big business in Flagstaff. Resorts bring in about $35 million to the local economy during snow season. But since the climate has been changing, there isn’t enough snow.”

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Guy Gives His Dog Away after She Chews on His $130,000 Sports Car

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This has got to be the saddest picture of a dog I’ve ever seen. It broke my heart to see Luce, a Border collie spaniel, literally in tears. Her owner gave her away after she chewed through the fiberglass wheel arch of his US $130,000 sports car last Wednesday.

42-year-old builder Royston Grimstead, from Chedzoy, Somerset, said he was devastated when he came home to find his dog had chewed through the fiberglass wheel arch of his beloved Aston Martin. The total damage was worth about $5,000.

Grimstead, a divorcee, said he was already considering re-homing Luce because she did not get along with his other dog, a 10-year-old border collie called Jess. “She must have overheard me talking about re-homing her because she’s normally friendly and never really chewed on anything before,” he said.

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Yemeni Girl Cries Stone Tears, Baffles Scientists

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We’ve seen people shedding tears of blood before, but this 12-year-old Yemeni girl’s problem is truly baffling. When Saadiya Saleh cries, her eyes release small, hard stones. They form under her eyelids and get pushed to the front of her eyes, emerging as tears.

Doctors are unable to explain the strange phenomenon because Saadiya isn’t suffering from any known disease. Yemen’s satellite TV channel, Azal, aired a video that shows stones forming in her eyes. She is surrounded by family members and doctors, while a helper wipes her eyes with a napkin. The footage also reveals a small box full of stones that collected from Saadiya’s eyes in a few hours.

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Eiffel Tower Nose Jobs, the Latest Plastic Surgery Trend in China

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In a bid to increase their job prospects after college, Chinese students are resorting to a bizarre practice – Eiffel Tower nose jobs. The latest trend in plastic surgery promises to create a nose that is classic, slender and sloping, similar to the sweeping curve of the Eiffel Tower.

Surgeon Wang Xuming, the brains behind the procedure, said: “We are influenced by the beauty of the Eiffel Tower, we are not content to just add something to the nose, we reconstruct it.” The surgery costs about US $10,000 and involves the enlarging of the nose using tissue from the forehead.

Hundreds of posters advertising the procedure are plastered all over Chongqing city, where surgeon Xuming runs his practice. It shows a Western-looking woman with an almost-too-perfect nose, against a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Interestingly, many young women in China are eager to achieve a western appearance, as they believe it will give them an edge in the highly competitive job market.

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World’s Most Expensive Honey Costs as Much as a Small Car

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At 5,000 euros (US $6,800) per kilogram, ‘Elvish’ honey from Turkey is the most expensive in the world. The special honey is extracted from a 1,800-meter deep cave in the Saricayir valley of Artvin city, northeastern Turkey.

According to Gunay Gunduz, a local beekeeper, elvish honey is so expensive because it is naturally produced. The mineral-rich cave enhances the honey’s quality, adding to its value. Gunduz, whose family has been into beekeeping for three generations, first noticed some bees entering the cave back in 2009. That’s when he realized that it might contain honey.

“With the help of professional climbers, we entered the deep bowels of the cave and found 18 kilograms of honey plastered on its spherical walls,” he said. It was later analyzed at a French lab, confirming it to be seven-year-old, high-quality, mineral-rich honey.

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Chinese Woman Spends 11 Years Knitting Her Husband a Coat and Hat Out of Her Own Hair

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Xiang Renxian, a 60-year-old retired schoolteacher from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 11 years weaving a coat and a hat out of her own hair for her husband. She had started collecting strands of her hair as they naturally fell out since she was 34.

“Throughout my youth I was always famous for my wonderful long hair, and as I grew older I realized that, just like my looks, my hair was losing its luster,” she said. “Many people envied my long, shiny black hair so I wanted to keep them, even the dropped threads.”

For a long time, Xiang just collected her hair but had no idea what to do with it. It was only in 2003 that she decided to weave it into clothing. “I wanted to find a way to preserve that, and came up with the idea of using it to create something for my husband. It took a while to perfect the techniques, it was only when I was 49 that I started to work on this project. Once I got into the technique that I developed, it was actually not difficult to do, you just need patience and I knew that I had the time.”

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Teen Sleeps Outside for a Whole Year to Raise Awareness to Plight of the Homeless

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17-year-old Rudy Hummel has been sleeping outdoors every night for the past seven months. He plans to continue until he has reached his one-year goal. Through this unique project, Rudy wants to test himself and also raise awareness about the difficulties that the homeless face.

“I came up with the idea to do this for a whole year just because I like to challenge myself, but now it means more than that,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of organizations picked up that I want to try and collect money for, to donate to. Trying to turn this into a fundraiser.” The high school junior from Hermantown, Minnesota said that he has always loved camping and spending time in the outdoors.

His initial plan was to sleep outdoors only during the summer, but then he just kept going. “Geez, this has not been hard enough,” he said. At first Rudy slept on a platform in a tree in the Hummels’ backyard that he had built with his dad. When winter came, he piled up snow with a shovel in the backyard and hollowed it out to create a small bedroom. “It’s a quinsy, which is a type of snow shelter,” he explained.

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Chinese Students Tie Their Hair to the Ceiling to Prevent Falling Asleep while Studying

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Now this is what I call pure genius. Why didn’t I think of this when I was a college student struggling to stay awake all night? As you can see in the pictures, these Chinese university students have resorted to tying up their hair using clothespins. Every time they nod off, the pins will pull on their hair, jerking them awake.

The technique became popular after two students at the Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University in Fujian province uploaded pictures of themselves on Weibo. Chen Tang, 20 and her roommate Huang Lu, 21, had been struggling with a huge workload and needed a quick fix to fight the urge to nap.

They had tried the regular methods – caffeine, push-ups and cranking up the air-conditioning – but none of that worked. That’s when they decided to hit the history books for a solution. Chen and Huang read about two famous Chinese scholars who practiced extreme methods to keep their minds alert.

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