Man Would Turn to Rehab to Shake Diet Coke Drinking Habit

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Most people check into rehab to get rid of alcohol problems. But here’s someone who wishes for rehab to kick his Diet Coke addiction of over 20 years.

Darren Jones, 38, from Stockport, Greater Manchester, easily consumes 42 liters of  Diet Coke a week. His fizzy addiction costs him around £100 ($155) every week. He first started to drink Cola when he was 13. When the sugary version started to make his teeth ‘furry’, he switched to Diet. He says that in the beginning it wasn’t much of a problem, except that he gained a lot of weight. Things got worse as years went by. Jones was eventually diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure and his weight made it difficult for him to move around. Soon he lost his taxi driver job.

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Researcher Proves You’re Washing Your Clothes More Often than You Should

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Would you dare to sniff a pair of jeans that haven’t been washed in three months? If the very thought of it seems disgusting, wait till you hear this. This March, there’s going to be an exhibition of thirty such pairs at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia.

The unusual collection of dirty jeans is the result of an experiment conducted by Tullia Jack, a researcher from Melbourne. In an effort to prove that people wash their clothes way too often, she recruited thirty volunteers to wear their jeans unwashed, five days a week, for three months. Ms. Jack is a student at the Melbourne University and a fashion lecturer at RMIT. “Not washing your jeans isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds,” she says. The experiment is a part of her Master of Philosophy thesis and she wants to use the findings to challenge our ‘extreme clean’ culture.

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Mysterious Female Superhero Helps Beijing’s Poor

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Ever fancied meeting up with a superhero? Well you could have, had you been in Beijing this past Christmas Eve. For that was the day a real-life superhero walked the streets of the city, helping out the poor. She calls herself the ‘Chinese Redbud Woman’.

Dressed in low-cut black tights and wearing a blue mask, her pictures leave us wondering if she attracted attention for more than just her generosity. Jokes aside, she did do a pretty good job of helping out – handing out food, warm clothing and gifts to beggars and homeless people. Why she didn’t put on some of the warm clothing herself on a cool December night, is something we don’t have an answer to. The appearance of this mysterious woman did cause a stir of sorts among the residents of Beijing. People started talking about her on the internet and in local media. Pictures of her acts of kindness at public places such as the Xidan subway station and in front of the Wangfujing bookstore have been doing the rounds ever since the night of Christmas Eve. The superlady herself communicates with the world through a microblog, written in Chinese. She currently has over 7,000 fans online.

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Man Spends $16,000 for Virtual Video Game Sword

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For those of us who aren’t online gaming enthusiasts, the actions of a Chinese gamer this holiday season may seem a tad bizarre. But for him, it’s perfectly normal to spend $16,000 on a sword that isn’t even real.

While it has become common practice for many people to spend small amounts of money on online games, this gamer from China has indeed outdone most others. He won a bid for a virtual sword to be used online. What’s even more surprising is that the game for which the sword was purchased hasn’t even been released yet. Age of Wulin is a martial arts MMO that is set to release its first Chinese beta version in the spring of 2012. The English version will follow soon after. Snail Games, the developers of Age of Wulin, organized an online auction of various exclusive virtual items that players could bid for. While the sword was by far the costliest one to be sold, several other items fetched good amounts of money. A sheath for a Lordly Spear went for $2,500, while the Hook of Departure sheath followed closely at $1,600. Pre-paid time cards and enhancement materials were sold for smaller amounts.

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MIT Develops Suit That Lets You Feel What It’s Like to Be 75 Years Old

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If you’ve ever wondered why your ageing parents or grandparents aren’t as fit and fast as they used to be, here’s a way to find out exactly what they go through each day. An age suit developed at MIT allows the people wearing it to live life as an aged person.

The MIT AgeLab is a part of the Engineering Systems Division, and works on improving the way services are delivered and products are designed for the elderly. The recent creation of the AgeLab is AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System), a suit designed to provide an experience of the flexibility, dexterity, strength, motor and visual skills of a person in their mid-70s. AGNES comes at a highly relevant time, when the population of people over 65 years of age has been rapidly on the rise. It is expected to hit 72.1 million by the year 2030. This increases the design challenges faced by engineers and designers to create products that cater to the older demographic.

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Bavarian Villagers Build Church Entirely Out of Snow

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A church built entirely out of snow and ice – sounds magical, and looks pretty too. It was built this year in the Bavarian forest by the villagers of Mitterfirmiansreut, Germany. Located close to the Czech border, the church is bathed in a beautiful blue light. It was opened to public on Wednesday evening, blessed by Dean Kajetan Steinbeisser. Although the villagers had hoped to have it open before Christmas, the lack of sufficient snow caused a delay in their project.

The snow church was constructed in commemoration of a similar church built in 1911, exactly 100 years ago. The older one was actually a sign of protest. In those days, the nearest church was in Mauth, a 90-minute hike away, which wasn’t always easy to complete. The residents of the secluded Mitterfirmiansreut village then came up with the idea to build the snow church, in the hope that it would draw attention to their plight. The winter of 1910/1911 was rich in snow, and the construction of the church began in Feb, 1911. Both men and women worked hard to place blocks of solid snow bricks, building a strong and sturdy church. The final structure was 14m long , 7m wide and 4m high. The first worship was held on the 28th of March, 1911.

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Snorting Crushed Candy, a Growing Trend Among Sugar-Loving Teens

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It’s amazing, the new things that kids these days keep coming up with. It’s also quite disturbing. The latest trend among students in the US is “Smoking Smarties”. The term refers to the crushing and inhalation of certain types of candy. This has become a cause of concern among drug educators.

The students, who are often in middle school, crush candy such as Smarties or make use of powered candy such as Pixy Stix. Powder drink packets such as Kool Aid are also widely used. They snort the powder into their noses. Some of them even inhale the powder from a packet directly through their mouths, blowing out fine granules that look just like smoke through their nostrils. It’s their own way of imitating smokers.

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Colombian City Inaugurates Giant Outdoor Escalator

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The last time we spoke about the Colombian city of Medellin here on OC, it was about the tours based on the life of deceased drug-lord Pablo Escobar. Now the city is in the news again, for an entirely different reason. The residents of Medellin who have long been victims of war and urban violence have a reason to cheer – a giant outdoor escalator worth $6.7 million, installed by the Colombian Government. It was unveiled on Monday.

Comuna 13 is a relatively poor hillside neighborhood in Medellin, whose residents have to make a 35-minute hike uphill every single day to get home from the center of the city. This is roughly equivalent to climbing 28 flights of stairs. Now, thanks to the initiative of the Colombian officials, they do not have to make the exhausting journey any longer. The new escalator will allow residents to complete the trip home in just 6 minutes. What’s more, it’s completely free of cost.

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Olive – The First Cinema Film Shot with a Cell Phone

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It had to happen sooner or later. Olive is the world’s first feature film of cinematic-quality to be shot using a smartphone. The film was released in Santa Monica’s Nuart Theatre this week.

Olive is the first film of director Hooman Khalili. He shot the entire film with the Nokia N8 smartphone, which has a high-resolution camera. The camera was adapted with a 35-mm lens to give the film additional depth. The project was quite low on budget, costing just $500,000. It was partly funded by Chris Kelly, a Silicon Valley attorney and former Facebook executive. According to Kelly, films that are shot using smartphones are important because they give everyone access to creating high-quality content. In this context, Olive may just have marked the beginning of a change in the way the film industry functions. Kelly points out that with this kind of film-making, big studios wouldn’t control the industry anymore, and the very pricing and economics of making a film could change.

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Pink-Obsessed Woman Changes Her Name to Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice

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100,000 Brits changed their name this year, but the one that stands out from the crowd is a woman from Nottingham, who calls her self “Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice.” Yes, that’s her actual name now.

Born Charlotte Price, the mother-of-three has renamed herself according to her obsession with the color pink. She lives in a pink house decorated and furnished with pink, wears pink most of the time and even works in a pink salon. The color of the wax used in the salon? You guessed it, it’s pink. The shortened version of her name is Pink Nice, which is what she goes by these days. Quite understandably, her three kids aren’t very pleased. “Everyone is still calling me by my old name. My mum thinks I’m a bit mad really and so do my children. They stick to ‘Mum’,” said Pink Nice, who hopes her crazy name change will boost up her business.

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Tickets for Noah’s Ark 2012 Are Holiday Bestsellers on Chinese Shopping Site

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It’s been long said that the year 2012 will see the end of the world. The movie 2012 even makes an attempt to show us the catastrophic events leading up t0 the worldwide disaster, and a modern version of Noah’s Ark, a ship in Tibet where people will be safe. While tickets for the movie ship cost a billion Euros each, in real life they can be purchased  for less than $0.5.

Chinese online shopping portal, Taobao, has several online stores selling these counterfeit tickets at 3 RMB a piece. The tickets have been popular as a new year’s gift, a comical way of ensuring one’s safety in the face of the 2012 Armageddon. Thousands of tickets have been sold so far. Physical stores are printing up and selling these tickets, too. One store in Jingsau has sold 2,500 train and ark tickets at 3 RMB each. Another one sold 1,700 Chinese Noah’s Ark passes in a month, at 2 RMB each.

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Father Videotapes Children Coming Down Stairs on Christmas Morning, for 25 years

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Every family has its own traditions for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Writer Nick Confalone recently shared on YouTube, a particularly endearing tradition followed by his dad during Christmas.

Starting in 1985, Nick’s father made home videos of his kids coming down the stairs on Christmas morning. He continued this practice for 25 years, chronicling the growth of his children over a quarter of a century. Nick recently edited the footage filmed by his father and posted it on YouTube. Apart from Nick and his sister, other members of the family are also seen in the video. Pets come and go, as do boyfriends, and you can clearly see how the kids evolve from little toddlers to teenagers and then young adults. Initially the kids are seen to be excited to find out what Santa Claus has left them under the tree. Nick is a cute kid making silly faces at the camera. As years go by, their reluctance to be a part of the videos is quite evident. Of course, Nick now considers the videos to be nothing short of magical.

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Human Spit Could Cause Indian Bridge to Collapse

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Howrah Bridge, located in Kolkata,  India, is a cantilever bridge that spans over Hooghly River. Built during the British rule, in 1943, it is one of the most famous symbols of Kolkata.

The nearly 70-year-old bridge however, is in danger of collapsing, not from age, but from human saliva. It is common to find many locals chewing paan (a mild intoxicant containing betel nuts and leaves), and then spitting out red-tinged saliva on the steel hangers of the bridge. This is not only unsightly, but the corrosion caused by the accumulation of several years worth of saliva, is a cause of serious concern. Bird droppings are also a major cause for the corrosion of the bridge, and regular cleaning was undertaken ever since this threat was identified. The cleaning is apparently not good enough to work its way through the layers of spit and local authorities say the corrosion has caused so much damage that the thickness of the hangers has reduced to half of the original, from 6mm to 3mm.

Photo: Deshakalyan Chowdhury/AFP

Efforts are being made to salvage this old Indian monument from disgrace. Engineers have come up with an idea to cover the steel with sheets of fiberglass. There are other factors that are a cause for concern in the maintenance of the bridge, such as damage from vehicles due to rash driving. Over 100,000 vehicles are known to cross the bridge every day, along with around 150,000 pedestrians on the walkways.

Man Wins Lamborghini Murcielago, Crashes It in a Matter of Hours

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David Dopp was in the news last month, for winning a Lamborghini. Then again last weekend, for wrecking it.

Dopp, a resident of Santaquin, Utah, won a lime green Murcielago Roadster worth $380,000 at a giveaway contest held by Maverick store. Sometime last month, the official announcement was made by the contest organizers at a college football game. On learning that he had won the car, Dopp was jumping up and down excitedly, a spectacle that was videotaped and broadcast on the local news. He received the car last Saturday, and 6 hours later, had crashed it. ”Yeah, I got it on Saturday and I wrecked it on Saturday,” he said to local TV stations.

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Eat Like a Caveman at Berlin’s Sauvage Restaurant

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A new restaurant in Berlin insists upon feeding its customers with the food that cavemen devoured. So basically, no bread, sugar, or cheese on the menu.

The Sauvage Restaurant proudly announces their ’Real Food Revolution - Paleolithic cuisine!’ Guests are served dishes that contain ingredients most-likely used by hunter-gatherers. The owners of this place unsurprisingly adhere to the Paleolithic movement, which prescribes a lifestyle of a Paleo diet, lots of exercise, high contact with nature and sunlight, minimal clothing, plenty of sleep and spending a lot of time barefoot. Diners are served their meals at candle-lit tables. The food served consists of organic, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and herbs. Some of the exercises of the caveman-era are also mimicked by the owners such as  lifting boulders and running barefoot. To emulate the loss of blood that cavemen endured in their hunt for food, they regularly donate blood. These practices are recommended to guests as well, but they could just stick to the Paleo food if they wish.

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