Students Across the Country Are Brokering Deals to Get Out of Exams if They Get Enough Retweets

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I never thought I’d live to see the day when Tweets could replace a student’s academic performance. But it’s actually becoming a popular trend. Teachers all over the United States are promising to cancel final exams if their students manage to get a sufficient number of retweets. I’m not sure the teachers always mean it, but it appears that the students are their deals quite seriously.

It all started with one opportunistic student – Andrew Muennink of Round Rock High School in Texas – who struck a sweet deal with his art teacher. Andrew is quite popular on Twitter, with over 2,300 followers. “I try my best and the final is supposed to be so hard, so I was like, ‘I have lots of followers on Twitter’”.

So he decided to leverage his vast following to his benefit. He approached his art teacher on 7 May and succeeded in striking a deal – if he could get 15,000 retweets by 12 p.m. on May 23rd, his class would be excused from taking the art final. His post spread quickly all over the internet, and he achieved his goal long before the deadline.

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Forget Facelifts, Engagement Ring Selfies Spark New Hand-Lift Craze

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It’s stories like these that make me truly worried for the future of the human race. First we heard of people getting plastic surgery for the picture perfect selfie, and now, in a bizarre new trend, engaged women are getting hand jobs (no pun intended), to achieve the perfect ‘engagement ring selfie’.

It’s the latest thing on social media – as soon as the man pops the question, women click pictures of the ring on their finger, posting it online for the world to see. But not all women are happy with shape of their hands, so they turn to image altering tools like Photoshop to make them look better. Only now they have a new solution – cosmetic hand-lifts.

The procedure involves an anti-aging treatment called Juvederm, which is an injectable form of hyaluronic acid. Doctors use it to convert aging hands with visible tendons and veins into youthful, plump hands worthy of showing off a stunning diamond ring. Usually used on the face to fill in lines and wrinkles, Juvederm works wonders on the hands too, if the ‘before’ and ‘after shots are to be believed.

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Artist Isolates Herself in a Room Surviving Only on Water for Seven Days to Focus Solely on Art

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Millie Brown, a British Performance artist previously known for her superior regurgitating skills, is now making headlines for a new artistic endeavor – surviving on nothing but water for a week. We had covered Millie’s story in 2011, back in her regurgitating days, when she used to swallow gallons of colored milk and puke it all onto a canvas. At one point, she was widely popular as the girl who threw up all over Lady Gaga in a music video, but she’s apparently setting her sights on starvation as an art form these days.

Millie has placed herself on display, enclosed in the Hatbox, a gallery space at the Refinery Hotel in New York. She’s surrounded by a carpet of freshly-cut flowers, and she plans to remain completely removed from the outside world for 168 hours straight. During this time, the 27-year-old will sustain herself solely on water.

Millie joins the ranks of several performance artists across the world who’ve done weird things to themselves in the name of art. Like this guy who lived inside a bear carcass for 13 days, and these two artists who lived in a hamster wheel for 10 days. Millie’s challenge began on Friday, as a part of NYC’s Frieze Art Week. “I wanted to create a performance that embodied the transience of life,” she said.

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Mother’s Day Event in China Lets Men Experience Pain of Childbirth

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Of all the Mother’s Day events this year, I think this one was the most befitting – putting men through the pain of childbirth. A local TV station in Nanchang City, in south China’s Jiangxi province, had about 20 men volunteering to put themselves through the excruciating pain of labor . They were hooked up to a special machine that simulated the pain using electric shocks. Needless to say, the men couldn’t even last 30 seconds.

The theme of the TV show was to have men submit to the pains that women endure during childbirth. The challenge consisted of 10 levels of pain, with an agony scale ranging from 50 to 500. Electric shocks were sent into the abdomens of the male volunteers in order to achieve the desired effect. Predictably, the men were writhing in pain within seconds, begging to stop the experiment.

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Iowa Distillery Wants to Raise Pigs That Taste Like Rye Whisky

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The Templeton Rye Distillery, in Templeton, Iowa, is trying to create a revolutionary pork flavor. The founders of the distillery realized that since alcohol is used in meat marinades all the time, why not have meat that comes ‘pre-cured’? So they’re raising 25 pigs that will, hopefully, end up tasting like rye whisky. This is the first experiment of its kind, so there’s really no way of knowing how it’s going to turn out.

Now, if you’re imagining 25 pigs in a pen getting drunk on whisky all day, well, you couldn’t be more wrong. The pigs actually aren’t being fed any whisky at all. Their diet consists of a distinct feed that is mixed with the dry distillery grain from the whiskey-making process. That’s how they plan to infuse the flavor into the pigs’ meat. The swine are currently being cared for by Nick Berry, who has a Ph.D. in Animal Studies.

According to Berry, the pigs are purebred Duroc, which have a superior meat quality and are prefect for this project. He also said that the project is a natural combination for Templeton Rye and their home state’s animal agriculture industry. “I think it really falls in line with what their roots surround – whiskey making and rural Iowa and the Midwest,” he said. “This project really fits right in line with a lot of their history and heritage.”

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Food Delivery with a Twist – Pop-Up Restaurant Parachutes Sandwiches to Customers

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There’s nothing really speacial about toasted sandwiches, but when they’re delivered via parachute, people are bound to notice. Taking full advantage of this idea is a new Melbourne business called ‘Jafflechutes’. More pop-up eatery than regular restaurant, Jafflechutes is just a bunch of guys dropping wrapped sandwiches from their friends’ balconies, to customers down below.

The concept is quite simple – the owners first announce their next planned event. You then log on to the Jafflechutes website and buy a sandwich or ‘jaffle’ of your choice. The website tells you exactly where and when you can collect your order. You reach the venue on time, to find your sandwich floating down from the skies above. Then, you enjoy the said sandwich on the street.

Adam Grant, one of the co-founders, said that Melbourne is quite ideal for Jafflechutes, because of its abundance of inner-city laneways. “We try never to do it in the same place twice – we are usually doing it from friends’ balconies above the CBD,” he said. He started the business along with friends David McDonald and Huw Parkinson, last August.

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Kindhearted Artist Turns Trash into Tiny Mobile Homes for the Homeless

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Gregory Kloehn is an artist who uses his skills for a really worthy cause – building homes for the homeless. Making use of recycled and reclaimed materials found on the street, he creates small mobile homes, each about the size of a sofa. These homes come with pitched roofs to keep out the rain and wheels at the bottom, for mobility. So far, he’s built about 10 shelters through the ‘Homeless Homes Project’, and hopes to create more in the future.

Although they’re not made of much, the tiny homes are more than enough for someone with no other place to sleep. They are painted in bright colors and have a few quirky elements – like washing machine doors for windows and minivan tops for roofs. Gregory, 43, is a sculptor by profession, but he went on a construction spree after building his five-unit live-work condominium from scratch. Originally from Denver, he now lives in Oakland, California, where he carries out his philanthropic construction project.

“Before, I was all about sculpture, but I realized it just sits there,” he said. “And you’re just peddling it to rich people. I kind of think if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it did something.” So with his new-found fascination for architecture, Gregory began to study homeless shanties in his neighborhood. He wrote a book called ‘Homeless Architecture’ at the time, admiring how they were able to recycle all day and make homes out of almost nothing.

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Indians Fight Public Urination by Attacking Offenders with Water Canons

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At first glance, you might mistake this large yellow tanker fitted with hoses for a fire engine. But look closer at the symbols painted on the sides, and you’ll realize that this water truck is meant to serve a different purpose. It’s called the ‘Pissing Tanker’ and it is currently roaming the streets of Mumbai, India. Its goal – to fight public urination with public urination. Well, sort of. The truck is actually full of water, but the message is pretty clear - Urinate in public and get pissed on yourself.

The idea is really quite simple an eye for an eye. I say that’s brilliant, because years of campaigns to stop public urination in India have never really had much success. Re-painting the walls, putting up sign boards, setting up public urinals, collecting large fines, and even the threat of police arrests have never worked – Indian men just aren’t able to shake the habit (pun very much intended).

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Man Spends over $150,000 to Turn Himself into a Real-Life Ken Doll

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We usually hear of women going through bizarre surgeries in an attempt to look like Barbie, but it deems some men want to turn themselves into dolls as well. A Brazilian air steward living in the UK has spent a whopping $150,000 over the past 10 years, to become a living, breathing Ken doll.

30-year-old Rodrigo Alves has had over 20 cosmetic procedures done on various parts of his body, like Botox and fillers, laser comb hair treatment, abdominal and pectoral implants, liposuction, arm fillers and even calf shaping. Today, Rodrigo says that his quest for the perfect body is still ongoing, even though the surgeries almost killed him at one point.

His long list of surgeries includes 12 major operations and eight smaller procedures. He has spent about $50,000 on nose jobs alone, $15,000 on implants and $40,000 on a fake six-pack, among others. He also indulges in Botox and filler top-ups twice a year and takes collagen pills, anti-water retention pills and hair growth tablets every day. His role model is Barbie’s boyfriend Ken, whom he admires greatly. “With Ken everything is in the right place, his back, his biceps, his jawline. So of course I’d like to look like him. He’s perfect,” Rodrigo says.

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This Guy Went a Year without Taking a Single Shower, Still Managed to Stay Squeaky Clean

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27-year-old environment activist Rob Greenfield went a whole year without taking a shower. A man-made shower, that is. Instead, he spent the year bathing in natural water resources – lakes, rivers, rain and waterfalls. And when natural water wasn’t accessible, he used a bucket filled with water from leaky faucets and fire hydrants.

Here’s the surprising bit – while the average American consumes about 100 gallons of water a day, Rob used less than 2 gallons a day that whole year. That’s eight Nalgene water bottles. Now, that’s quite a difference. It really makes you wonder about how much water we actually need to survive. Rob said that he got the idea to live with less water during a long bike ride across America to promote sustainability and eco-friendly living.

“I set a bunch of rules for myself to follow to lead by example. The rule for water was that I could only harvest it from natural sources or from wasted sources. And I kept track of exactly how much I used, with an aim of showing just how little we need to get by.” After the 100-day bike ride without showering was over, Rob decided to continue his streak. He went ‘showerless’ for the next 6 months and then decided to extended to a year. And it turned out to be a whole lot easier than he thought.

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Guy Dubbed Europe’s Dirtiest Man Has Been Sleeping in Hot Ash for a Year

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58-year-old Ludvik Dolezal is considered to be the dirtiest man in Europe. He’s homeless, he has no access to a shower, and he’s been sleeping in a pile of hot ash every night for the past year.

Ludvik spends his days  in an abandoned old farmhouse in Novy Bydzov, Czech Republic surrounded only by ashes of what were once his personal belongings. “A year ago I simply decided to quit my job. Since then I’ve been staying here with the fire,” he said. He burnt all his material possessions at the time, even his mattress and duvet, to achieve the perfect mound of ash to sleep in. Now, he just burns whatever he finds to create his ash-bed. “Every night I lay down with hot ash in my clothes and cover myself to keep warm. I look like hell then.”

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Man Sues Mother for Breaking Promise to Let Him Marry Her 8-Year-Old Daughter When She Came of Age

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A heartbroken Taiwanese man is suing a teenage girl’s mother for breaking a promise she made 11 years ago. The man, a 32-year-old school teacher at the time, had fallen in love with his 8-year-old student. He became so obsessed that he managed to extricate a promise from the child’s mother that he could marry her when she came of age. Believing that the mother would keep her end of the deal, he spent several years supporting the girl’s family financially. And now that she hasn’t, he’s taking the family to court.

Over the years, the man has spent over 900,000 Taiwanese dollars (that’s about US $30,000) on the girl and her family. He completely covered her tuition and living expenses, and took her out on various occasions. He also paid off the mother’s outstanding debts. Some news reports also provided photographs in which the girl and the man appear to be quite close. It looks like he truly considered her to be his future wife (although they looked more like father-and-daughter). But nine years later, when the man checked the 17-year-old’s Facebook profile, he was in for a very rude shock.

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Offensive Osama Bin Laden-Themed Businesses Are Becoming Strangely Popular in Brazil

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Downtown São Paulo isn’t the most likely place to find Osama Bin Laden lookalikes. So when bartender Francisco Elder Braga Fernandes was spotted several years ago, he became an instant celebrity. His resemblance to the infamous terrorist was so uncanny that people couldn’t stop taking pictures of him. But this Brazilian Bin Laden is quite the opposite – he’s totally against violence.

“I am a man of goodwill. I can’t stand violence,” said Fernandes. But that hasn’t stopped him from using his appearance to his benefit. The 54-year-old decided to market his controversial image by dressing up as Bin Laden and even changing the name of his bar from ‘Barbas’ to ‘Bar do Bin Laden’. “This was great for business,” he said. “No one calls me Francisco anymore, it’s Osama or Bin Laden.”

Over the years, Fernandes has become a local celebrity and a tourist attraction. Al Jazeera has covered the story of his bar twice so far. Tons of visitors line up to take selfie shots with him, and when Bin Laden was killed in 2011, a Brazilian television producer actually wrapped Fernandes in a white cloth and put him on a downtown overpass, just to scare passersby. Another producer had him wear battle gear and walk on the sets of a variety TV show with a fake bomb in his hand. “I don’t usually do this stuff, but it’s what they want so I do it,” he said.

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This Guy Is on a Pointless Quest to Collect Every VHS Copy of the Movie “Speed” Ever Made

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Ryan Beitz, from Moscow, Idaho, is a huge fan of the movie ‘Speed’. So huge, that he’s actually on a quest to collect every single VHS copy of the movie ever made. So far, he has over 500 VHS tapes and 26 laser discs. But it’s the tapes that he’s really after, the discs are just there to trade off for more VHS cassettes. Ryan also owns a 15-passenger that he plans to transform into the passenger bus featured in the 1994 film.

Ryan’s weird obsession started way back when he used to live in Seattle. He was super-broke and had to get Christmas presents for his family. At a pawn shop, he found six copies of Speed, so he thought it would be really funny to give them all the same gift. “I wanted to watch them open them one at a time and go, ‘Oh, Speed. Don’t we already have this?’ Somebody else would go, ‘Oh, Speed. Really funny, Ryan’. Then by the time you went around, everybody would have gotten the same gift from me. Then I could tell them that I love them all equally, you know? Just some bullshit,” he said.

But when he ended up buying all six tapes, he realized that it was ‘way too good’. “I realized it was really fascinating to have that many, like, copies of a thing,” said Ryan. “What really cemented it was when I went down to another pawn shop, and they had, like, 30 copies. I said, ‘I’ll take them all’. They sold them to me for 11 cents a copy.” Ryan hasn’t looked back since. He said that he has about 550 now, but he hasn’t really counted them because, ‘who really cares’?

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Japanese Dress Rental Business Helps Men Feel Like Princesses

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Mary Mariee is a Japanese company that rents out women’s formal wear. But they’ve recently tapped into a rather new market – men who want to be princesses for a day. For only about $600, the company offers men a chance to dress up and be photographed in elegant wedding attire or ball gowns of their choice. The special package is in so much demand that the shop has dressed over 100 men so far.

The shop, located in Chubu, central Japan, boasts of an extensive collection of women’s outfits – ranging from kimonos to white wedding gowns. At first, they ran a special package for women who wanted fancy photographs of themselves. But soon, they started to receive several enquiries from men as well. The response was so overwhelming that they decided to create an exclusive package for men. “We concluded that men want to feel like princesses too,” said store manager Hitomi Iseki.

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