Scammer Makes Seven Figures Buying Luxury Bags Online and Returning Chinese Fakes for Full Refunds

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A Thai woman living in Virgina was recently convicted for masterminding an elaborate designer purse scheme that involved buying hundreds of authentic accessories online and returning Chinese knock-offs for full refunds. She would then sell the originals on sites like eBay, for about $2,000 each.

Over a number of years, 41-year-old Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, a preschool teacher in Arlington County, used an ingenious scam to supplement her day-job paycheck. She would buy high end bags like Gucci, Burberry and Fendi online, and then return fake ones she had specially made in China and Hong Kong. Court documents revealed that in order to cover her trail, she traveled to over 60 T.J. Maxx stores in 12 states, to return the bags, and used 16 different credit cards when making new purchases. Smatsorabudh’s scheme was so incredibly successful that at one point she was T.J. Maxx’s number one online client in the world.

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China’s Increasing “Bride Price” Makes Marriage Virtually Impossible for Poor Bachelors

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The shortage of women caused by China’s one-child policy, combined with the country’s economic boom over the last two decades have made marriage a grim prospect for poor men in rural regions. These two factors have bumped up the “bride price” to hundreds of thousands of yuan, sometimes even millions, obscene amounts that most men can’t hope of raising without taking a bank loan.

The bride price is a a centuries-old Chinese tradition that survived and even thrived in the Communist era. It’s similar to the Western tradition of dowry, only it requires a prospective groom to pay the family of the bride for permission to marry her. In the 60’s and 70’s, the bride price was paid in modest gifts ranging from a simple thermos to bedding. During the 80’s television sets and refrigerators were popular gifts offered as bride prices, but since the economy started to grow in the 1990’s, the payment switched to hard cash and the sums demanded by the family of the bride have been rising ever since.

But perhaps the best explanation for the ever-increasing bride price is the gender inequality in China. During the days of the one-child policy, the preference for males strong enough to work and later look after their elderly parents led to a huge increase in sex-selective abortion and even infanticide of female babies. As a result, Harvard researchers claim that today there are 118 men for every 100 women in China, and the proportion is actually worse in poor rural regions.

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This “Shower Beer” Is Actually Designed to Be Consumed in the Shower

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If you’re looking to get a head start before a wild night out with your friends, this Shower Beer created by Swedish brewery PangPang in collaboration with creative agency Snask will probably do the trick.

The shower hardly seems like the best place to enjoy a nice, cold brewsky, yet some people have been doing it for years. However, the problem with showers is that they’re usually quick, so you don’t have the time to gulp down a whole bottle of your favorite ale. To solve the problem, a group of ingenious Swedes have come up with a smaller, stronger beer designed to be consumed while showering.

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This American Couple Are the World’s Most Tattooed Senior Citizens

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At age 67, Charlotte Guttenberg holds the Guinness record for the world’s most tattooed female senior citizen, with 91.5% of her body covered in artistic inking. Her life partner, 75-year-old Charles “Chuck” Helmke, holds the same record for the male category, with 93.75% of his body covered in colorful tattoos.

Charlotte only started getting tattoos 11 years ago, when she decided to get a butterfly inked on her chest, as a birthday present. She had always been fascinated with tattoos as an art form, but her late husband, who passed away in 2001, didn’t approve of them. She hadn’t planned on having almost her entire body covered in permanent artworks, but after that first tattoo, she couldn’t stop adding more of them, and over just one decade, she managed to cover 91.5% with ink. She is now pretty much a walking, talking body mural.

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Indian Woman Returns Home 40 Years After Being Laid to Rest

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Two Indian sisters recently got the shock of their lives after their 82-year-old mother showed up at their doorstep 40 years after they had laid her body to rest on the Ganges river, following a cobra bite.

It all started on a summer day in 1976, when 42-year-old Vilasa, a woman from Bidhoo village, India’s Kanpur district, went out into the fields to collect fodder for the family animals, as she had done countless time before. Only this time, she unknowingly got to close to a black cobra snake, and got bit. Upon returning home, her family immediately took her to a traditional healer, but his methods failed to alleviate the effects of the venom, and Vilasa soon lost consciousness.

Thinking she had died, her family wrapped the woman’s body in cloth, placed it on a wooden float and released into the sacred Ganges river, hoping it would bring her to life. Open-air cremation is practiced by millions of Indian Hindus, with the ashes of their loved-ones then scattered in holy bodies of water, but in the case of snake bites, some believe that the sacred river can wash away the poison from the body and bring the person back to life. It wasn’t something Vilasa’s family actually expected, though.

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Pay as You Flush – Landlord Allegedly Installs Coin-Operated Toilet in Rented Apartment

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An apartment tenant in Melbourne, Australia, has recently taken to Reddit to complain about his landlord installing a system that allegedly requires him to insert one dollar every time he wants to flush the toilet.

“Is it legal for my landlord to have installed a coin-operated flusher on my toilet?” the title of the tenants Reddit post reads. He goes on to explain that he understands having to pay for the communal washing machine when doing the laundry, but since he pays the water bill for the rented apartment, having to pay extra every time he needs to flush the toilet seems a bit much.

“He said it was a government incentive to save water. But then why does he get to collect the money?” the Redditor asks. “I see nothing on google about this so I can’t work out if I’m being duped?”

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Japanese Man Hasn’t Spoken to His Wife in 20 Years, Despite Living in the Same House

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Despite living under the same roof and raising their three children together, a Japanese husband hasn’t spoken a single word to his wife in the last 20 years.

No marriage is perfect, and spouses sometimes give each other the silent treatment when they’re upset. But either they go their separate ways or try to patch things up and move on. But not Okou Katayama. For the past two decades he has only answered his wife Yumi’s attempts at making conversation with occasional nods and grunts. Their unusual relationship was revealed by their 18-year-old son Yoshiki, who appealed to a Japanese TV show to help him fix things, as he had never heard his parents talk to each other.

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San Francisco Restaurant Serves Food on iPads instead of Plates

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Technology is seeping into everything, even restaurant tableware. Quince, a Michelin-starred restaurant in San Francisco has recently swapped ol’ fashioned porcelain plates with Apple iPads for a couple of its most popular dishes.

Restaurants have been using tablets instead of classic menus for years now, and some have even introduced app-powered ordering and payment options, but until not too long ago, plating seemed to be immune to this high-tech trend. They’re feeling the heat now, though, as more and more restaurants swap them out for futuristic tablet-based dishes, in an effort to attracts tech aficionados with and appetite for fine cuisine.

The latest to join the exclusive restaurants where tablet plating is actually a thing is Quince, a San Francisco eatery run by Michael and Lindsey Tusk. They are serving a dish called ‘A Dog in Search of Gold’ on an Apple iPad that’s playing a video of a dog hunting for truffles. If you’re wondering about the connection, the dish is composed of white truffle croquettes. And in case you’re not into truffles, Quince also serves frog legs on top of iPads playing videos of frogs in a pond.

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Nexsey – A Sticky Tape That Makes Your Neck Look Years Younger

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Nexsey is a medical tape designed to make women’s necks look thinner and younger. All you have to do is pinch the loose skin, tape it at the back of your neck, and voila – you just rolled back the clock by a few years.

Nexsey is the brainchild of Linda Gomez, a seasoned beauty product inventor and author of the Baby Boomer Beauty Blog. She claims that she was inspired to create this unusual sticky tape after hearing from women all over the world who had problems with their neck area. Some of them just couldn’t afford corrective surgical procedures, and other were looking for non-invasive alternatives.

“As I started to learn about the options for sagging skin around the neckline, it became obvious that even for women who had undergone a facelift, many still showed signs of aging in the neck area,” Linda writes on her website. “I heard from women all over the world asking about options for other “trouble areas” and neck issues were at the top of the list!”

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Girl Turns to Cow Riding After Being Denied a Horse

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After being told that she could not have a horse because they were too expensive, 11-year-old Sarah Simpson, decided to try the next best thing – riding a cow. Now 18, Sarah has her own horse, but she still rides her favorite cow, Lilac, just as much, if not more than she used to.

Sarah had been dreaming of having her own horse for as long as she can remember, but after her parents told her that buying one was to expensive, she discovered that riding a cow could be just as fun. It all started when her younger brother, Tim, dared her to try it, and even though she had no riding experience, she jumped on Lilac, a 6-months-old calf living on the family farm. The animal didn’t seem to mind, so she kept on doing it for the last six and a half years.

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This Device Lets You Charge Your Phone on the Go Using Your Body’s Own Energy

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HandEnergy is an ingenious apple-sized device that charges your phone anytime, anywhere. But what really makes this thing special is the fact that it uses your own personal energy to do it.

In a time where power-banks and solar-power devices have become mainstream, a device that lets you charge gadgets on the go doesn’t sound very special. But while power-banks have to be charged the old fashioned way, and solar panels need the sun to store energy, HandEnergy just needs a hand. And I mean that quite literally. To get this little guy to produce energy, which it then stores in built-in batteries, all you have to do is hold it in your hand and rotate your wrists.

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Chilean Inventor Creates Hammer and Saw-Proof Work Gloves

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Coming up with effective hand protection in dangerous environments like construction sites has been an elusive goal for many years, but Chilean inventor Jorge Sgombic claims to have finally come up with a truly safe solution.

Boots with built-in toe protection have become a requirement on most construction sites these days, so foot safety is no longer an issue, but the human hands are an infinitely trickier problem. Protective gear companies are actively trying to strike the perfect balance between functionality, mobility and safety when creating new work gloves, but so far the results have been unimpressive. Workers still have to put up with the excruciating pain of banging their fingers with large hammers, or, even worse, slice part of them off in gory work accidents. But Jorge Sgombic’s  innovative Mark VIII safety gloves aim to fix this problem.

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Couple Receive Hundreds of Mysterious Letters Addressed to Santa Claus, Fulfill Them All

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Every holidays season for the past six years, Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker receive hundreds of letters to Santa Claus at their New York apartment. No one knows why this has been happening, or when exactly it started, but the two don’t much care. They’re just focused on making sure that every sender receives a Christmas present from Santa.

Even before 2010, Jim and Dylan used to receive a few letters addressed to Santa Claus, but they simply brushed them off as a “weird occurence”. But that year they got almost 400 of them, for some reason. “It was one batch after another,” Jim recalls. “We would dread opening up the mailbox because we knew 25, 30 letters would pour out.”

The letters are mostly from kids in the New York area, or from parents writing on behalf of their kids and asking for a miracle, explaining that they have fallen on hard times and could use a bit of help with presents from Santa Claus. Most letters ask for clothes, toys, and even turkeys for the Christmas dinner, and Jim and Dylan do everything in their power to make sure that their wishes get fulfilled.

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Meet the Kindhearted Businessman Who Throws Grand Weddings for Fatherless Indian Brides

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In India, it is expected that the bride’s family organize and especially pay for the wedding, so when a young woman’s father (the main bread earner) dies, she can almost certainly forget about having a wedding, especially if she comes from a poor family. Most often than not, widowed mothers simply don’t have the means to marry their daughters. That’s where Indian real-estate tycoon Mahesh Savani comes in.

Ever since 2008, Mr. Savani has organized weddings for over 700 fatherless brides, not only paying for the event itself, but also giving each one of his new “daughters” a substantial dowry  (gold, jewelry, furniture, home appliances, etc.) worth around 400,000 rupees ($5,900). At each wedding, the successful businessman also steps up to play the role of their father and perform their ‘kanyadaan’ – the traditional ritual of giving away the bride. From that moment on, the girls become his daughters.

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Would You Pay $30,000 to Have a Beer Tailored to Your DNA?

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A London-based brewery has recently launched a unique service that uses cutting edge genetic profiling to create “the world’s most personalised beer”, based on the client’s DNA profile. And it “only” costs £25,000 ($30,550).

Ciaran Giblin, the brewmaster of Meantime Brewery, was the world’s first brewer to have a beer tailored to his own DNA, and was so satisfied with the result that he teamed up with a personal genetics company called 23andMe to offer this bespoke service to other beer enthusiasts with money to spare.

“Having been aware of the potential of at-home genetic mapping, I sent a simple saliva sample to 23andMe; the results gave me the tools I needed to develop a recipe based on the elements my senses are most attuned to enjoy,” Giblin said. “I’m delighted with the result and opportunity it has given us to really push the boundaries of innovative, personalised brewing.”

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