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This Man Is Cycling Across the UK from the Comfort of His Own Home

Bored with his daily exercise bike routine, a crafty video game developer from the United Kingdom has come up with a way of spicing up the experience while enjoying the beauty of his country from the comfort of his own home.

Pedaling on an exercise bike may keep you in decent physical shape, but it can get pretty boring after a while. Aaron Puzey had been toiling away on his exercise bike for half an hour a day for years when he decided to look for a way to make it a bit more fun. With virtual reality technology widely available nowadays, all he needed to do was find a way of applying it to his needs. So he set out to build an app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR headset which would allow him to hook it up to Google Streetview and make it seem like he’s cycling through different real-life locations. His ultimate goal? To cycle the entire length of the UK – 1,500 kilometers from Land’s End to John o’ Groats – without actually leaving his home.

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Trucker Finds Love after Texting Phone Number Scrawled on Public Toilet Wall

It may not be the classic fairy-tale romance, but the story of how a British 51-year-old trucker met the love of his live is definitely one for the books. Believe it or not, he just found her number scrawled on the wall of a public toilet.

They say love happens when you least expect it, and that was certainly the case for Mark Ellis, a trucker from Brighhouse, West Yorkshire. He was on his way to meet his friends for a drink at a pub in Garfoth when he decided to stop at a public restroom. While going about his business, he noticed a raunchy message scrawled on one of the toilet walls – “If you want a good shag call Donna on . . . [phone number]”. Mark apparently founded very intriguing, because he ended up texting the mysterious number with the message “Hi. What are you up to?” “I was curious to know if it was a real human being,” he recently told The Sun newspaper. “We still laugh about it.”

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German Family Flees Homeland “Dictatorship”, Seeks Asylum in Russia

Germany is widely regarded as one of the most democratic countries in the world, but for Carola Griesbach and her family it is nothing more that a dictatorship that they just had to escape from. So they hopped in their Volkswagen van and drove 1,400 miles to Moscow’s red Square where they are now asking for political asylum.

51-year-old Carola, her husband Andre, their two daughters – Julia and Dominique – and four grandchildren arrived in Moscow on New Year’s Eve in 2015, hoping to start a new life. They have since been living in a small motel in a forest on the outskirts of the Russian capital, as they wait for their asylum request to be accepted by the Government. Only that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, as authorities consider Germany a “safe” country, so the Griesbachs’ request is unfounded.

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The Kung Fu Nuns of Nepal

For centuries, Buddhist nuns have been banned from practicing the deadly martial art of kung fu, but a few years ago the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery in Nepal became the home of the world’s first first order of kung fu nuns.

Traditionally, the inherently patriarchal Buddhist monastic system has nuns performing only the most meanial of domestic tasks, while the monks can lead prayers and occupy powerful positions. Nuns are perceived as inferior to monks and usually spend their time working in the kitchens and gardens of Buddhist monasteries. Learning ancient martial arts is definitely off limits for them, so how did the nuns of Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery come to practice kung fu up to two hours every day?

Roughly 26 years ago, members of the of the 800-year-old Drukpa order rebelled and formed the Druk Amitabha Mountain nunnery, a place where women are treated with the same respect as men. “When I was very small, I was already thinking that it was not right to suppress women in our society,” His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa, leader of the Buddhist sect, says. “But then when I grew up, I started to think what can I do for them? Then I thought what I can do is to build a nunnery and then give them an opportunity to study and practice spiritually.”

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Self-Proclaimed Vampire Who Drinks Blood and Sleeps in a Coffin Just Wants to Be Treated as Everyone Else

Darkness Vlad Tepes, a young Englishman who has been living as a vampire for the last 13 years, says he is regularly bullied for his different lifestyle and just wants to be treated as a normal person.

He might not be affected by garlic and sunlight, but the 25-year-old who changed his name by deed poll a few years ago calls himself a vampire. He sleeps in a custom made-to-measure wooden coffin, wears eyeliner for a darker look and regularly consumes cow and and pig blood, as well as a human blood substitute. “To be a vampire is to believe that I have a living body but a dead soul,” Darkness says. “But I think there’s a lot of preconceptions about being a vampire from films and books like Twilight or Dracula.” Read More »

This App Lets You Order Leftover Dishes Restaurants Would Otherwise Throw Away

Too Good to Go is a smartphone app that allows users to order leftover food that restaurants would otherwise throw away at discount prices. Originally launched in Denmark, the service has recently been introduced in the United Kingdom by a couple of young entrepreneurs, after returning from the Nordic country.

The main purpose of this newly launched service is to cut food waste. Millions of tonnes of food are thrown in the trash every year in the UK alone, with restaurants accounting for fairly large chunk, so eco-entrepreneurs Chris Wilson and Jamie Crummie came up with a more profitable alternative. “It costs restaurants on average 97p for every meal they throw away so we are saving them that expense and giving them extra,” Wilson said. “And we provide them with all packaging so they have recyclable and eco-friendly boxes.” As for Too Good to Go users, they get the chance to order fancy dishes at low prices ranging between £2 to £3.80 per meal.

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Fair Beauty – Vietnam’s Obsession with White Skin

For most Vietnamese women, white skin is synonymous with feminine beauty, sophistication and high social status, and many of them cover themselves completely even in the middle of summer in order to protect their fair complexion from the sun’s rays.

In Vietnam, as in the majority of South East Asian countries, dark skin has always been associated with poverty and peasants working in paddy fields exposed to the mercy of the elements. So while in the Western world tanned skin is seen as healthy and beautiful, in countries like Vietnam, Japan or Indonesia, it is so frowned upon that it can sometimes be enough to drive away potential suitors in arranged marriages among middle-class families.

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Tiny Belgian Village Gets Invaded by Thousands of Pokemon Hunters

Lillo, a tiny village of just 35 permanent inhabitants, used to be one of the most peaceful places in Belgium. But that was before the Pokemon Go phenomenon happened. Today the seven streets that make up the village are packed to the brink with Pokemon trainers looking to catch the many virtual critters that can be found here.

For some reason, Niantic, the the Nintendo subsidiary that created Pokemon Go, decided that the quaint village of Lillo would be a great place to hide a great deal of collectible Pokemon, but it wasn’t long before avid players discovered its hidden treasures, and now the place is teeming with people roaming the streets with their eyes fixed on their handhelds. The old military fort located near the port of Antwerp has become a sort of Mecca for Belgian Pokemon Go players who travel here by the thousands every single day.

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Man Repeatedly Vandalizes Childhood Friend’s Tombstone over 56-year-Old Grudge

They say time heals or wounds, but that’s definitely not true. Just ask Paul E. Donovan Jr., who admitted to repeatedly vandalizing the tombstone of a childhood friend against whom he had been holding a grudge for over five decades.

69-year-old Donovan, of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of institutional vandalism of a cemetery, last week. He had been arrested and charged with theft and vandalism in November 2015, after police identified him as the perpetrator of “at least four” acts of vandalism against a single tombstone in the Saint Matthews Cemetery in Whitemarsh.

The investigation in this truly bizarre case began in march of 2014, when a woman reported that her father’s tombstone had the name “John” written over it in orange spray paint, according to the criminal complaint. On April 29, 2014, the same tombstone was vandalized again with the same name in the same color spray paint, the woman told Whitemarsh police. Then, in December, a third complaint revealed that someone had poured a “tar-like substance” over the tombstone, which prompted police to set up hidden cameras to catch the vandal in the act.

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Black Is the New White – People Are Brushing Their Teeth with Charcoal to Make Them Whiter

According to an increasing number of YouTube videos and social media posts, one of the easiest, most effective way to whiten your teeth is to brush them with pitch-black activated charcoal. It sounds like somewhat of a paradox, but some users claim a single brushing can have amazing results.

Activated charcoal has long been used in medical settings to treat poisonings and drug overdoses. Unlike the charcoal we use for barbecues, this stuff is created when carbon is treated with an oxidizing agent, which results in a fine dust with millions of pores and an immense surface area. It’s these pores that give activated charcoal its sponge-like qualities, reducing the body’s absorption of toxic substances by an estimated 47 percent. It’s not the most specific absorber of substances,though, meaning it will absorb both good and bad substances in your stomach, but as long as you consume lots of water after ingesting it, you should be fine.

But while the toxin-absorbing properties of activated charcoal are well documented, its recent uses as an edible food ingredient and teeth whitening agent are not. No charcoal-based teeth whitening products have been evaluated and accepted by the American Dental Association (ADA) until now, but that hasn’t stopped proponents from recommending it as an excellent all-natural way to get a shinier smile.

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English Bar Disables Cell Phones to Get Patrons Talking to Each Other

Convinced that smartphones are ruining our social lives as well as the pub experience, the owner of a newly-opened bar in Brighton, England has decided to get people socializing the old-fashioned way by disabling their cellphone reception.

Instead of texting, checking emails or browsing the internet, patrons of the Gin Tub bar will have to pass the time by actually interacting with their friends, dates or even complete strangers. Owner Steve Tyler could have simply asked guests not to use their phones in his bar, but instead of banning them, he opted to disable them completely. The Gin Tub has a Faraday cage built into its ceiling, which makes getting a reception inside the venue impossible. He says it was the only exception in Britain’s 2006 Wireless Telegraphy Act that otherwise outlaws the use of signal blockers. So yes, it’s 100% legal.

“Mobile phones have killed pubs. When you go out socially, you don’t need social media,” Tyler says. “Rather than telling people they can’t use they phones we’ve basically disabled them.” He makes sure to clarify that the Faraday shield doesn’t jam phone signals, as that would be illegal. Instead the 19th-century device prevents the signal from getting inside.

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This Stunning Open-Air Hotel Room in the Swiss Alps Is Basically Just a Bed

Located 6,463 feet above sea level in the middle of the Swiss Alps, the Null Stern concept hotel takes the minimalist approach to the extreme, removing the walls, roof, basic amenities like toilets and leaving guests with just a king-size bed and a stunning 360-degree view to admire.

It might seem rudimentary, but setting up the Null Stern hotel room way up in the mountains actually required a bit of work. A construction crew, including an excavator, had to first flatten the terrain, before the bed, nightstands and bed lamps could be installed. I suspect having them transported through what looks like very rough terrain was no walk in the park either. So why go through the trouble?

Null Stern hotel co-founder Daniel Charbonnier says the goal was “to put the guest at the center of the experience and to focus on the intangible by reducing everything else to the minimum.” So they skipped building the walls and roof of the room, as well as the bathroom. That last one may be a big problem for a lot of people, but Null Stern mentions that there is a public bathroom available 10 miles down the mountain.

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This After School Satan Club for Kids Is Not as Bad as It Sounds

A group of political activists known as The Satanic Temple has announced its intention to establish After School Satan Club programs in public elementary schools in the United States, in an effort to compete with after school religious programs supported by various Christian evangelical groups.

And before you flip out, Satanic Temple leader and co-founder Doug Mesner assures parents that the already controversial after-school program will involve no demon summonings, Satan worshiping or any kind of satanic rituals. After School Satan Club meetings will include a healthy snack, literature lesson, creative learning activities, a science lesson, puzzle solving and an art project. Sounds pretty tame, and Mesner explains that the whole point of the program is to offer young kids an alternative. “It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think,” said Mesner, a.k.a Lucian Greaves.

Despite its name, The Satanic Temple doesn’t encourage the worshiping of the fallen angel, in fact it doesn’t even believe in the existence of a supernatural being that other religions refer to as Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. The group rejects all forms of supernaturalism and instead promotes scientific rationality. So why use Satan? Simply as a metaphor, a symbol against all forms of tyranny over the human mind. Yes, that obviously includes organized religion.

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Man Single-Handedly Repopulates Rare Butterfly Species in His Own Backyard

The California pipevine swallowtail is considered by many experts to be one of the most magnificent butterflies in North America, but the massive development around San Francisco has caused it to slowly disappear. However, one man’s DIY conservation efforts are bringing this beautiful creature back.

Tim Wong, a young aquatic biologist at the California Academy of Sciences, spends his free time raising butterflies, a hobby he fell in love with as a young boy. “I first was inspired to raise butterflies when I was in elementary school,” Wong told VOX.com. “We raised painted lady butterflies in the classroom, and I was amazed at the complete metamorphosis from caterpillar to adult.” Tim used to spend his days in the open meadows outside his home catching, raising and breeding any butterflies he found.

When he got older and learned about the pipevine swallowtail becoming increasingly rare in the San Francisco are, Wong made it his goal to do something about it. Researching the species, he found that while in caterpillar form, it feeds only on a single plant – the California pipevine – which, he realized, had become equally rare around San Francisco.

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Chinese Barber Uses Leftover hair to Create Awe-Inspiring Artworks

Wang Xiaojiu, a 31-year-old barber from Jilin city, China, doesn’t simply sweep shorn hair off the floor of his hair salon and dump it in the trash. At least not before painstakingly arranging it to create highly detailed works of art.

Seen from a far, Wang’s masterpieces look drawn with a pencil or charcoal, but a closer inspection reveals that they are made out of carefully arranged clipped hair. The talented barber told China Daily that he always thought throwing away leftover hair seemed like a pity, so one day he decided to do something creative with it instead. Armed with a hair brush and a plastic card, he started the piles of sheared hair on the floor of his salon into intricate portraits of popular cartoon and comic characters and, mythological heroes, and more.

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