The Real Santa – Oil Tycoon Gives $100,000 Christmas Bonus to Each of His 1,400 Employees

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Hilcorp, a private oil and natural gas exploration and production company based in Texas, is in the news for its unprecedented generosity towards employees. To celebrate an excellent year, CEO Jeff Hildebrand gave the entire company staff huge bonuses – $100,000 to each of the 1,381 workers! It seems Santa is real after all.

“It’s just a true gift,” said receptionist Amanda Thompson, who has worked at Hilcorp for the past 10 years. “And I think myself, as long as everyone else is not going to give any less than one hundred percent each day.” With this kind of rewards, it’s really no wonder that the company was included in the FORTUNE list of 100 Best Companies to Work For, for the third year in a row.

“Mr. Jeff Hildebrand, and our president Greg Lalicker, they are such amazing motivators,” Thompson added. “Somedays I just kind of look down the hall and say I can’t believe these are my bosses and they’re the best.” She explained that Hildebrand and Lalicker had promised their employees a sizable bonus if Hilcorp’s size could be doubled in five years, and they kept that promise once that goal was reached.

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Entrepreneurs Inspired by Tinfoil Hats Create Stylish Headgear That Protects Against Harmful Signals

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If you’re genuinely concerned that wi-fi or other electromagnetic signals might slowly but steadily be hurting you, then you will be glad to learn that tinfoil hats are no longer your only option. A couple of Slovakian entrepreneurs have created the “world’s first signal proof headwear” designed to protect your brain by reflecting electromagnetic waves.

According to the Kickstarter campaign by Shield Apparel, the hats are stylish and comfortable, while also effectively protecting the wearer from signals emitted by cell phones, wi-fi routers, and microwaves, and all waves transmitted from electric devices. “It is the most comfortable and functional headwear you have ever worn,” the makers claim.

The founders of Shield Apparel are a couple of Slovak cousins who stayed up late one night talking about how their lack of sleep was probably caused cell phone or wi-fi signals. They started to wonder if signals really affect our well being a lot more than we realise, and then decided to do something about it. Inspired by tinfoil hats, they wanted to create something similar to shield humans from these potentially-harmful waves.

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Bitwalking – Potentially Game-Changing Digital Currency Pays People to Walk

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In a bid to make people walk more, a London-based startup is introducing a new app that pays people in digital currency based on the number of steps taken per day. ‘Bitwalking’ will soon be available on Android and iOS users in the UK, Kenya, Malawi, and Japan.

Bitwalking’s currency units are called ‘Bitwalking dollars’ or BW$. Users need to walk a total of 10,000 steps (five miles) to earn BW$1, equivalent to $1. The maximum money that can be earned per day is BW$3. The money earned can only be spent in the app’s inbuilt marketplace, or exchanged for real money.

According to the company’s website, Bitwalking will be most relevant in developing countries, where rural workers don’t earn more than a dollar a day. So by walking around with a tracker, they could potentially earn three times more. “We believe that everyone should have the freedom, the ability, to make money,” the website states. “A step is worth the same value for everyone – no matter who you are, or where you are. What matters is how much you walk.”

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Japanese Company Bottles the Scent of a Cat’s Forehead

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Japanese online retailer Felissimo specializes in all things feline, but they really seem to be in love with cat odor. So much so that they’re releasing their second cat-scented product this year! First they came out with a cat paw-scented cream earlier this year, and now they’re introducing a special fabric spray that carries the smell of cats’ foreheads.

‘Mohu Mohu Odeko no Kaori’ (Fluffy Forehead Fragrance) Fabric Water comes in a 3.4-ounce bottle, priced at 1,293yen ($10.60). The company revealed that they developed the product after collecting extensive data through customer survey responses. Many of the respondents wrote that the smell of a cat’s forehead is like ‘the smell of sunshine’, ‘a futon that’s been dried in the sun’, and ‘sweet bread’.

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Kindhearted Man Buys Turtles from the Food Market to Release Them into the Ocean

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A kindhearted man recently melted the hearts of millions after saving two majestic sea turtles from the food market and returning them safely into the ocean.Arron Culling, from New Zealand, recently posted photographs of the rescue operation on Facebook, describing how he and a co-worker purchased the turtles for about US$33, and then released them back into their natural habitat.

“Found these at the local market got them for 50 bucks drove 5km up the road and let them go,” Culling posted along with the photographs, which have now been shared over 85,000 times. He also revealed that these aren’t the first turtles he’s set free – he’s bought and released at least 10 in the past, along with his co-worker.

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Alcoholic Chains Himself Up in Room in Desperate Attempt to Stop Drinking

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Staying sober is a real struggle for alcoholics, and the protagonist of this sad story is no exception. 30-year-old Zhang Rui had been trying to kick the habit for a while, but when all his attempts failed, both he and his family got desperate. After what must have been a serious intervention, he agreed to let his mother chain him by the neck in a room, to prevent him from buying or stealing booze.

Zhang, who is still locked in his attic room in Bengbu, east China, told reporters that he couldn’t think of any other way to stop himself from harming others or drinking himself to death. Despite his poor living conditions, Zhang believes that confining himself is the only way to beat the addiction that has ruined his life. In fact, he wants to stay chained up and locked in there for at least six months, until he no longer feels the need to consume alcohol.

The tiny 10-square-meter space is sparsely furnished, with only a mattress for sleeping, a laptop and a small TV to keep him entertained. He doesn’t even have a toilet – just a bucket and a large bottle of water to keep himself clean. The chain around his neck is four meters long and weighs about 22 lbs, so he can hardly stand up on his own in his current state. It allows him to walk around the room as exercise, but not much else.

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Russian Makeup Artist Sparks Outrage after Using Real Fish as Facial Accessories

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It’s hard to imagine how putting dead fish on your face can pass off as make up, but that didn’t stop Russian makeup artist Elya Bulochka using them as facial accessories for a marine-themed photo shoot. Her original idea, however, sparked a deluge of criticism and outrage on Instagram for what is being viewed as a highly insensitive act. A lot of her 25,000 followers on Instagram called it ‘unnecessary’, saying “it’s not art, just another stupid person killing animals for nothing.”

Elya first shared a photo of her holding a bag of newly purchased aquarium captioned: ‘Guess what I’m going to be wearing today?’ She followed that first post with photos of models wearing mermaid makeup that included what were undoubtedly dead angelfish, neon tetra and other small fish. Many more of her followers asked if the fish were real and she confirmed they were ‘already dead. Same as in your dining plates.’ 

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Africa’s Honey Fences – Using Beehives to Keep Elephants at Bay

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Thanks to zoologist Dr Lucy King, farmers in rural Africa no longer need to worry about elephants wrecking their fields. Through ‘The Elephants and Bees Project’, she introduced the concept of honey fences – a low cost, organic solution that employs beehives suspended several meters apart to keep pachyderms away. The fences are essentially gifts that keep on giving, because the farmers are also able to make an additional income from the honey.

King first hit upon the idea after she read that elephants actually avoid acacia trees – their favorite food – if they spot a beehive in the branches. She then spent several years conducting behavioral experiments, like filming elephants reacting to the sound of bees buzzing played through a loudspeaker. Using the data she gathered, she began to develop the honey fence system – she suspended a series of hives at ten-meter intervals from a single wire, threaded around wooden fence posts. To get into the field an elephant would have to touch either the wire or the hive, disturbing the bees and causing them to swarm out in buzzing cloud.

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Austrian Boy Fishes 100,000 Euros Out of the River Danube

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In a bizarre stroke of luck, a boy from Vienna, Austria managed to fish out a sizable treasure from the River Danube: €100 and €500 banknotes totaling a whopping €100,000!

The boy apparently noticed the notes from afar, and jumped right into the icy cold water to retrieve them. Passersby, worried that he was attempting suicide, immediately notified the police, who arrived at the spot just as the boy was coming out with the money. They later dried the soggy notes using a clothes dryer, giving rise to cheeky puns over ‘money laundering’.

At first, police thought the €100,000 were fake, and thrown in the river as a prank, but upon closer inspection, they realized the banknotes were genuine.

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Frugal Homeowner Pays Off $255,000 Mortgage in Just Three Years

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Setting the standards for extreme frugality in finances is 30-year-old Sean Cooper. Despite not having a glamorous job, he managed to save enough money to pay off a whopping $225,000 mortgage in only three years!

Cooper purchased a $425,000 house in Toronto, Canada, in 2012 and since then, created a strict pauper-like regime for himself. He started by getting himself two additional jobs to supplement his income as a pension analyst, working a total of 100 hours a week. He wrote financial articles in his free time, and also took a $13-an-hour job at the meat section of a supermarket, even though he’s a vegetarian. “It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but it helped me pay off my mortgage, so I can’t complain,” he said.

“For a lot of people, their mortgage is like a life sentence. I just wanted to not have a mortgage hanging over my head for the next 30 years.”

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Man Born Without Arms Becomes Professional Tattoo Artist

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27-year-old Brian Tagalog was born without arms, but he has never let this serious adversity keep him from leading a normal life. He learned to use his feet to perform mundane tasks, drive a car, fly planes and even ink intricate tattoo designs. The ambitious young man believes he is the only certified tattoo artist without arms in the world.

A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, Tagalog moved with his family to Tucson, Arizona, where he attended Sunnyside High School and the University of Arizona. He had always shown an interest in drawing, and set his mind on becoming a professional tattoo artist. Not many people gave him a chance, but he steadily honed his foot drawing skills, and after his aunt helped him buy his first tattoo gun, he learned to operate it with his toes just as well as others did with their hands.

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4-Foot-5, 95-Pound Football Player Doesn’t Let Size Stand in the Way of His Dreams

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Meet Adam Reed, a 17-year-old, 4-foot-5, 95-pound high school senior who despite his short stature made his high school’s varsity football team. Adam may be only the fifth-string running back for Plantation American Heritage school’s nationally ranked football team, but he’s actually their star player, with fans always lining up to take photographs with him at the end of every game.

At 4-5 and 95 pounds, Reed isn’t exactly the poster boy for American football. The biggest player on his team, in comparison, is Tedarrell Slaton, who stands at 6-6 and a whopping 338 pounds. In fact, Reed is nowhere close to the second smallest player in the team, Jason Heinstkill, who measures 5-8 and weighs 146 pounds. But he’s got more grit and determination in him than most players twice his size. “I’m a little undersized,” he said, nonchalantly. “But it’s whatever. I don’t let my size stop me from doing anything.”

According to Reed’s mother Lisa, he’s been passionate about football since childhood. “He started playing flag football at 5 years old, but it was no big deal back then because there was no tackling. He was always a strong and fast kid, but I never realised how good he was. When he said he wanted to continue playing, I said go for it.” Reed ended up playing on middle school and junior varsity teams at Heritage since the sixth grade, and got on the JV squad in high school as well. But making the high-school varsity cut proved challenging.

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Ukrainian Drivers Are Converting Their Cars into Wood Burners to Save Money on Gas

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With the advent of an energy crisis and the rising cost of gas, people are becoming interested in alternative forms of energy. For example, a growing number of Ukrainian drivers are turning to wood to power their cars to save money on fuel.

With the automobile industry slowly going electric, using wood as fuel hardly seems like the most practical solution. The technology isn’t exactly new. People have been creating wood-powered cars for decades, and they were actually quite popular during World War I, but in modern times, people have mostly built them as experiments, to prove that it can be done. Nowadays, more and more drivers in the Ukraine are fitting their old cars with wood burners and boilers to save money.

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Russian Hunter Bags Trophy of His Life after Shooting Half-a-Ton Boar

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Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day by those who believe in superstitions, but for Peter Maximov, a hunter from Chelyabinsk, Russia, November 13th, 2015 was the luckiest day of his hunting career. It was on this faithful day that he brought down a massive 500 kilogram wild boar, in the forests of the Ural Mountains.

36-year-old Maximov, co-founder of “Andreev Hunting Farm”, went hunting in the forest near the village of Shokurov, as he usually does on weekends. He placed some bait in a wild boar foraging area and climbed a hunting tower where he quietly waited for a target to show up. Little did he know he was about to become the envy of every big game hunter in the world. I don’t know what Peter used as lure, but it attracted the biggest wild boar he had ever seen. Regaining his composure after setting eyes on the massive animal, the experienced hunter lined up his target and fired a shot that struck home, but failed to bring it down. The wounded animal ran off deeper into the forest, and Maximov was apparently too scared to go after it himself, so he enlisted the help of a local ranger to help him track it down.

The two men spent a long time getting on the boar’s trail, until they finally found a drop of blood and followed the trail back to the wounded animal, which now laid on the snow, still alive, but seemingly unable to move. Maximov took another shot that he says only managed to anger the animal, which gathered up all its remaining strength and rushed towards them. The two hunters hid behind a tree and fired a third shot that finally brought down the giant boar.

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Lonely Japanese Women Can Now Hire Hot Guys to Sleep Beside Them

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Entrepreneurs in Japan seem to be going out of their way to please women with a host of interesting services – rent-a-boyfriend, rent-a-crying-therapist, rent-a-crying-room, rent-a-solo-wedding, and now, they can actually rent a cuddling partner for the night!

Thanks to ‘Rose Sheep’, single Japanese women don’t need to worry about lonely nights or empty beds anymore. All they’ve got to do is call and order a ‘sheep’ – an attractive young man between the ages of 20 and 30 – to spend the night beside them. The service does not extend beyond cuddling, though. A bare-chested snuggle is just about as steamy as it can get. 

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