Philadelphia Library Lets Job Seekers Borrow Ties for Their Interview

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Just as a library responds to the reading needs of a community, a ‘tiebrary’ caters to people who are in dire need of a tie but can’t afford to buy one. Housed by the Paschalville Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the tiebrary stocks 48 pieces of neckwear in various colors and patterns, ranging from traditional ties to bright and trendy cravats. Anyone with a library card is welcome to checkout a tie for up to three weeks at a time.

The tie-lending initiative was started mainly to help out the vast population of unemployed men, particularly in southwest Philadelphia, where the Paschalville Branch is located. The neighborhood is marked by its high rates of poverty and unemployment, and is home to several immigrants and former inmates in dire need of a job. So this local library is trying to do its bit to help the community.

“It’s an illustration of libraries really responding to the needs of their communities,” said Nate Eddy, librarian and strategy coordinator for the Free Library of Philadelphia. “People still associate libraries with quiet places to check out a book, but we’re so much more than that.”

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The Inspiring Story of a Man Who Became a Top Bicycle Repairman after Losing Nine Fingers and Both Legs

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23 years ago, Yue Jin lost both his legs and nine of his fingers in a freak accident. He thought his life was over, but somehow found the strength to start over and today he is one of the most sought-after bicycle repairmen in Jilin City, northern China.

In 1993, while he was cutting firewood in the mountains of Jilin province, Yue Jin accidentally fell into a deep valley and almost died. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate both his legs and all but one of his ten fingers. For a man who made his living with his hands, it was almost a death sentence. And it was even more devastating considering Yue had also lost his wife just three days after childbirth, leaving him to take care of their daughter. After the accident, he couldn’t see any other way to do that than go out and beg for a few coins and some food, so he left his daughter in the care of some neighbors and ventured out on to the streets.

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This Tasty New York Doughnut Is Made with Bone Marrow

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The last ingredient you would expect to find in a delicious doughnut is bone marrow, but that’s apparently the secret behind this popular treat served at a New York doughnut shop.

The doughnut market has become very competitive in recent years, and businesses have to come up with something really special to get an edge. Some rely on crazy combinations to create hybrids like the popular Cronut, others cover their doughnuts with extravagant decorations like edible gold and sugar diamonds – see Donutopia, the $100 doughnut – and a few go the bizarre route. The treat we’re talking about today falls in the latter category.

The Doughnut Project, a fancy bakery in New York city, partnered with local butcher shop Hudson & Charles to create what we believe is the world’s first bone marrow doughnut. That sounds pretty disgusting, but the experienced bakers claim that bone marrow actually makes their hand-crafted, yeast-raised doughnuts more delicious. The chocolate pastry cream filling is whipped with roasted bone marrow that apparently enhances its richness and gives it a velvet-smooth texture. The unique treat is also glazed in clementine and sprinkled with orange-infused chocolate shavings.

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World’s Most Expensive Tea Is Worth over 30 Times Its Weight in Gold

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$10,000 for a pot of tea sounds excessive, but that’s the kind of price that wealthy tea-collectors are willing pay for a few sips of original Da Hong Pao, perhaps the world’s rarest tea. With a single gram priced at a whopping $1,400, this famously pricey tea is actually worth over 30 times its weight in gold!

So what make Da Hong Pao tea so valuable? According to Chinese tea master Xiangning Wu, it’s mainly its rarity. There are hardly any original Da Hong Pao trees left, and the antique varieties that grow in Wuyi mountains, China’s Fujian Province, are so rare that they’re considered almost priceless. In fact, generations-old tea makers have a special yearly ritual to  Da Hong Pao – they go into the mountains every spring to pray to tea god Lu Yu for new shoots. Some reports suggest that the leaves are wiped with goat’s milk as they grow, and after harvest, they’re baked and then left to gain flavor for up to 80 years.

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Ottawa Homeless Shelter Is Helping Alcoholics by Giving Them Free Booze

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Quitting cold turkey is one of the toughest things to do, which is why this homeless shelter in Ottawa is helping chronic alcoholics by handing out measured quantities of alcohol by the hour. Miraculously, the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) has not only improved the overall health of its participants, but also reduced their average alcohol intake and helped them refrain from criminal activity.

The existence of the MAP is a miracle in itself, given that most other homeless shelters have a strict no-alcohol policy. But at the Oaks shelter for the homeless, five ounces of white wine are handed out in coffee cups every hour between 7.30 am and 9.30 pm, seven days a week. That’s a calculated amount, just enough for each resident to be able to shake off the symptoms of alcohol deprivation. No alcohol is handed out to anyone who comes in intoxicated. The routine began in the early 2000s, and continues to this day, with several residents lining up every single day for their share.

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The ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ Will Zap You Awake if Nothing Else Works

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If the loudest, most annoying alarm clocks have failed to separate you from your beloved bed, ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ might be just the thing for you. This wearable alarm clock will literally shock you awake every morning, if beeps and vibrations don’t do the trick.

Pavlok, the company behind Shock Clock, is a wearable-device startup founded by entrepreneur Maneesh Sethi, who first rose to internet fame after hiring a woman to slap him every time he opened Facebook. Having had previous success with his ‘Pavlok Breaks Bad Habits’ device that helped people quit bad habits like nail biting and smoking, Sethi based the new Shock Clock on the popular concept of classical conditioning that Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov used to train dogs to respond to a stimulus. He claims that the device’s ‘sensory inputs’ have the potential to create permanent behavioral changes. It is apparently world’s first device that “uses effective, tested sensory inputs to wake you up and keep you alert.”

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Thai Students Caught Cheating with “Mission Impossible” Spy Glasses

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Three Thai students caught cheating during a medical college entrance exams made headlines this week for their elaborate high-tech cheating equipment. Supervisors discovered wireless cameras embedded in the frames of the students’ glasses which were connected to smartwatches on their wrists. They used the cameras to send images of questions to an external group, who then replied with the answers via the smartwatches.

That’s quite a clever setup, but sadly, the students were caught when instructors noticed that their glasses had unusually thick frames and decided to have a closer look, which led to the discovery of the hidden cameras. The story went viral on social media after Rangsit University director Arthit Ourairat posted pictures of the cheating equipment on his Facebook page.

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Pakistan’s ‘Solar Kids’ Live Normal Lives by Day, Become Mysteriously Paralyzed at Night

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Pakistani brothers Shoaib Ahmed and Abdul Rasheed are suffering from a mysterious condition that has left doctors in Islamabad scratching their heads. The so-called ‘Solar Kids’, aged 13 and nine, are normal and active throughout the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they descend into a vegetative state that renders them unable to move or talk.

Shoaib and Abdul wake up with the first rays of the sun, filled with energy and life. They tend to their house chores, attend school, but they are on a clock to get everything done by late afternoon, because as the sun travels west, their energy levels drop and by the time it sets, they are completely paralyzed until the next day. Their parents say that the boys appeared to be dependent on the sun this since the day they were born, and in their home village they are known as the “solar kids”.

“I think my sons get energy from sun,” the boys’ father, Mohammad Hashim, says. But his simplistic theory has been dismissed by doctors after they tried keeping the boys in a completely darkened room during the day, but noticed no bizarre symptoms. The idea that the sun plays a role in the siblings’ mysterious condition is also contradicted by the fact that they remain active when it’s cloudy and even during rainstorms.

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Amazing 7-Year-Old Born without Hands Wins National Hand-Writing Competition

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7-year-old Anaya Ellick was born without hands, but she’s mastered the art of writing by holding her pencil in between the ends of her arms, as she stands over her desk at a comfortable angle. The adorable first-grader could have used prosthetics, but she chose to practice using her own arms instead and got so good at it that this year she actually won  the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship for beautiful writing.

Anaya’s parents, Bianca and Gary, were naturally shocked and worried sick when they first found out she didn’t have hands. But Anaya proved to be a precocious child, learning early on to tie her shoes, dress herself, and attempting to do other things by herself before asking for help. Her ambitious nature was also mentioned by the principal of her school, Tracy Cox. “There is truly very little that this girl cannot do,” the Greenbrier Christian Academy principal told ABC News. “She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady.”

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Meet the Middle-Aged Cholitas Conquering the Highest Mountains in South America

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Most mountaineers wouldn’t venture out on an expedition without the proper gear and attire, but a group of Bolivian women have shocked the world by climbing some of South America’s highest mountains – all while wearing their traditional attire of colorful, layered skirts. Dressed in ‘cholita paceñas’ outfits complete with Andean ‘aguayo’ shawls and knitted cardigans, they look like typical grannies albeit on a serious mission.

These women, belonging to the indigenous Aymara people of the Andes, would normally stay at home while their husbands worked as mountain guides in the worst of conditions. They would cook at base camps or work as porters, never actually scaling the treacherous peaks themselves. But all that changed a couple of years ago, when Lydia Huayllas, wife of a mountain guide, wanted to know what it felt like to scale the steep, glacial slopes of the 19,974-foot Huayna Potosi mountain.

“What do you do up there, how does it feel?” she asked her husband, Eulalio Gonzalez. In response, he told her to find out for herself. So she did just that.

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Indian Barber Cuts Hair Holding the Scissors in His Mouth

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Ansar Ahmad, a young barber from Varanasi, has become somewhat of a national celebrity after a video of him cutting hair with the scissors in his mouth recently went viral online.

From barbers using samurai swords and hot metal tongs to cut hair, to others practicing their trade blindfolded or sitting on their heads, we’ve featured some pretty bizarre hair-styling talents on Oddity Central, but Ansar Ahmad’s skills are new, even to us. The Varanasi-based barber holds the scissors in his mouth to cut hair, and does such a good job that customers line up his shop to get what some describe as “the perfect haircut”.

Ansar has been cutting hair since childhood and first mastered the art the old fashioned way, using his hands. But an accident 15 years ago pushed him to come up with an alternative way of practicing his trade. He soon discovered his mouth was just as able as his hands, when it came to cutting hair. “As I couldn’t work with one hand, I used to face a lot of problem that time. It took me three years to learn the art. Now, I can easily cut hair holding scissors in my mouth,” he told ANI News.

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Finger Lickin’ Good – KFC Launches Chicken-Flavored Nail Polish

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If you can’t seem to kick that awful nail-biting habit, you might as well get some flavor out of it with KFC’s new chicken-flavored edible nail polish. It comes in two different flavors – ‘Original’ (beige), and ‘Hot & Spicy’ (red), and is quite literally “Finger Lickin’ Good”!

The product was developed by marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather for KFC Hong Kong, in collaboration with the company that provides KFC’s blend of herbs and spices. “Yes, it’s actually a real thing,” confirmed Ogilvy & Mather employee Anna Mugglestone. “It takes like chicken. It’s crazy.”

Each ‘flavor’ of nail polish comes packaged in a “designer bottle and box” (no bucket, sadly). Customers can paint their nails with the product and proceed to lick their fingertips “again and again and again,” to enjoy the flavors of KFC anytime, anywhere. And if you’re worried about safety, the chain claims that the product is “sourced from natural ingredients”.

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Woman Uses Her OCD to Become Professional Wardrobe Organizer for the Wealthy

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Proving that every cloud has a silver lining is 24-year-old Deng Mei, a young entrepreneur from China who is making the most of her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). She has managed to leverage the frustrating condition to her advantage, using it to set up a successful business that helps wealthy people organise their wardrobes.

Deng Mei recently made headlines in Chinese media for her job as a professional wardrobe organiser for wealthy clients in the city of Chengdu, China’s Sichuan Province. Although she credits her previous jobs as salesperson at a fashion boutique and as a nanny as inspiration for her unusual business, the young entrepreneur admits that her obsession with tidiness also helped a lot.

She first came up with the idea for the unique service towards the end of 2014, during a babysitting job. “I have a little bit of OCD,” she said. “I love cleaning my room. I can’t bear to see a mess. I was helping a client organizing her wardrobe out of my paid hours because I couldn’t stand it. Then my client said: ‘Why don’t you turn this into a business?’”

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Dangerous Freeway Skateboarding Trend Is Picking Up Steam in California

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The latest trend among thrill-seekingCalifornia teenagers involves riding a skateboard on the freeway during rush hour and performing all sorts of stunts. The ‘Freeway Challenge’ made its online debut last week, with skater Nakel Smith posting footage of himself skating down the 110 freeway in LA. Since then, several skateboarders have tried copying the idea, giving rise to the trending social media hashtag #FreewayChallenge.

While most of the copycats are trying Smith’s original stunts, some are pulling off their own, like dropping down a shoulder ramp and riding directly out into oncoming traffic, or hanging on to the back of large trucks. California Highway Patrol officials are obviously concerned, and have tried warning these skaters about the dangers involved with the challenge. “This isn’t a joke to us,” said officer Edgar Fugeroa, speaking to KTLA 5 News. “A person puts themselves out there (on a freeway) – that is a deadly trick.”

“You don’t know what the other cars are going to do or if a motorcycle is going to come into one of your lanes. They could strike you and kill you, and that’s not what we want.”

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Mummified Buddhist Monk Gets Covered in Gold and Turned into a Statue

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In accordance with his wishes, revered Buddhist monk Fu Hou was mummified upon his death in 2012. But his companions at Chongfu Temple, in southeastern China, felt the need to do something more in order to commemorate his devotion to Buddhism. So they made the decision to cover his body in gold, an honor reserved for the holiest of men.

Born in 1919, Fu Hou began practicing Buddhism at the age of 13 and devoted his whole life to it, until his death at age 94. His peers and disciples remember him as a quiet, compassionate person who meticulously practiced his beliefs until the very end. Shortly before his death, he had expressed the desire for his body to be preserved. And after his passing, two mummification experts were brought in to wash, treat, and place his body in a sitting position inside a large pottery jar. Preservatives like Crushed charcoal and sandalwood were stuffed into the jar before being sealed shut.  

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