China’s Eco-Heroes: Blind Man and Friend with No Arms Plant 10,000 Trees in 10 Years

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Jia Haixa and Jia Wenqi are the most unlikely pair of environmentalists we’ve ever come across. The former is blind, while the latter is a double-amputee. Yet, they’ve managed to use their symbiotic relationship to plant over 10,000 trees in the past decade.

Haixa and Wenqi began their beautiful partnership when they were unable to get jobs due to their impairments. They have now become each other’s eyes and hands, and taken on the task of transforming a three-hectare stretch of riverbank in Yeli village, in north China’s Hebei Province.

“I am his hands,” said Haixia. “He is my eyes. We are good partners.” The 53-year-old was born with congenital cataracts that blinded his left eye. Then, in 2000, he lost sight in his right eye as well after a work-related accident. Wenqi, on the other hand, lost both arms in an accident when he was only three years old.

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Male Belly Dancers Are All the Rage in Turkey These Days

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If you thought belly dancing was exclusive to women, you’re in for a surprise. Believe it or not, male belly dancing is a real thing in Turkey, and it’s totally in vogue. Sporting designer stubbles and dressed in skirts decorated with coins and shimmering tassels, the dancers jerk their hips to Turkish tunes, enthralling their audience with their exotic moves.

Interestingly, these male performers are not a recent phenomenon. Known as ‘zennes’, they used to be a regular feature at the courts of Ottoman Sultans, because Muslim women were not permitted to perform on stage at the time. But as the 600-year Empire declined and society modernized, women took on more public roles. The number of female belly dancers rose, and the number of zennes slowly declined.

Although they haven’t made an appearance for decades, interest in the ancient art form is now at a new peak. It all started with the Islamic-rooted Turkish government’s attempt to revive the nation’s conservative Ottoman past. Apart from the government’s attempts, the enthusiasm among the nation’s population for the Ottoman-era culture has helped improve the popularity of male belly dancing.

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7-Year-Old Wonder Kid Nicknamed “Google” Knows Pretty Much Everything

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Seven-year-old Kautilya Pandit is what you would call a walking, talking encyclopedia, with the capacity to absorb information ranging from geography to biology and current affairs. He also dabbles in economic statistics, politics and pretty much any other subject you can think of. Within three months, the little kid managed to memorize information about 213 countries, their population, GDP, source of income, currency, religion, culture and heritage.

Kautilya, a resident of Kohand Village in Haryana, India, is now a national celebrity – he regularly travels to schools across India, answering live questions from other kids, on stage. In one of his latest appearances, he was asked unusual questions like the total surface area of Vatican City, the GDP of the UK and more. He was able to answer them all with ease.

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Atheist Making over $100,000 a Year Selling Bibles Says He Feels Bad about It but Money Is Too Good to Stop

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Lots of people sell products they don’t believe in, but in Trevor McKendrick’s case, you just can’t ignore the irony. That’s because Trevor is an atheist who sells Bibles for a living – and something just doesn’t feel right about that, even to him!

Interestingly, Trevor did not consciously choose his profession – it sort of fell into his lap by accident. He happened to be out at a dinner with his family in February 2012, when he found out that a relative was making $8,000 to $10,000 a month just by selling iPhone apps.

Trevor found the prospects too good to ignore, so he decided to step into the app business himself. All he wanted to do was to make about $600 a month, which would have been enough to cover his rent. So he went on to the Apple store to find an app that was making a lot of money, but “sucked”.

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Chinese Woman Somehow Memorizes Every Single Entry in the Oxford English-Chinese Dictionary

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At an age when people usually start forgetting things, this Chinese woman has managed to do the opposite – she’s actually memorized the entire Oxford English-Chinese dictionary from cover to cover!

Li Yanzhi, 51, from China’s Shaanxi Province, can not only recite all 220,000 entries in the 2,458-page dictionary, but can also accurately describe their meanings. Ms. Li works as a lecturer in Financial English at Xian Transport University’s Economic and Banking School. But she needs an extra income to be able to support herself and her 26-year-old autistic son who is unable to care for himself. A mother and divorcee of 20 years, Ms. Li said she took on the Herculean task in the hope of receiving more translating work.

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Indonesian Woman Puts House on the Market, Offers to Marry the Buyer

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Indonesian homeowner Wina Lia has come up with an innovative strategy to find matrimonial bliss – she’s put up her house for sale and has offered to marry the buyer! 40-year-old Lia owns a two-bedroom home in Sleman, a sleepy little district near the Javanese city of Yogyakarta. The lovely house comes with a small fish pond, a spacious backyard, and of course, the chance to gain Lia’s hand in marriage.

The online ad featuring Lia’s home listed the asking price at $76,500 but also mentioned a unique bonus: “Buyers who don’t negotiate the price can ask the owner to marry (terms and conditions apply).” The ad promptly went viral, with local news agencies tracking Lia down to check if the claim was genuine. Turns out that it was.

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Chinese Company Builds 57-Storey Skyscraper in Record 19 Days

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Chinese construction company Broad Sustainable Building recently released an online video showing how they managed to build a 57-storey building in a record time of 19 days. ‘Sky City’, located in Changsha city, comprises 800 homes and office space to accommodate a total of 4,000 people.

The company’s original proposal for the site was actually a 97-storey building that would have been the world’s largest skyscraper. But just after 20 stories were completed, construction work was stopped for one year because local officials wanted to review the plans. Ultimately, they had to reduce the plan to 57 stories due to the building’s close proximity to the airport.

In spite of the major delay, the entire construction from start to finish was completed in less than three weeks of work. The 4-minute clip shows employees building each storey offsite and delivering it to the location. A timelapse sequence shows the assembling of the mammoth building which require a total of 19 days to complete – that’s exactly three floors per day!

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Trick or Truth – Thai Monk Meditates in Pot of Boiling Oil over an Open Flame

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A YouTube video of a monk praying calmly in a vat of boiling oil has recently has been doing the rounds online, leaving viewers wondering how the monk can keep from screaming in agony.  Social media users were enthralled by the possibility of this Thai monk’s ability to defy physics with his ‘magic’. Unfortunately, skeptical scientists soon pointed out a few facts that pretty much ruined the illusion.

The monk, from Thailand’s Nong Bua Lamphu province, looks at ease despite sitting in a vessel of oil with a fire raging underneath. He is also seen sharing his magical powers with others by touching objects that they pass to him. His followers believe that his touch can make their amulets or pieces of fabric powerful. These objects are apparently sold to the locals and other places of worship.

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Russian Teen Builds Realistic Life-Size Tanks Out of Snow

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Alexander Zhuikov, a student from Novosibirsk, Russia, was recently in the news for his highly realistic snow sculpture of a life-size tank. It took him a month to create the frozen masterpiece, which he later entered into a contest held by the makers of popular online game World of Tanks.

Alexander, 20, began his project by downloading various tank drawings from the internet. He chose a spot in his grandmother’s garden and with the help of his friends, he cleared the place by shoveling  about 20 tonnes of snow. He then set about building the snow machine and making a shield to protect it from the sun, using simple tools like spades, knives and trowels. He even created a self-propelled cabin that can be accessed through a hatch. Everything is made of snow, except for the rope, barrel, and other small parts.

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German City Sprays Walls with Hydrophobic Paint That Causes Public Urinators to Soak Themselves

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For several years, the residents of Hamburg party hub St Pauli have tolerated public urination by drunken partygoers. But now they’ve decided that it’s ‘peeback’ time. In an attempt to combat the problem, they’ve coated their buildings and streets with a special hydrophobic paint that bounces the urine on the urinators!

Local community group IG St Pauli came up with the brilliant idea after they realized that traditional signs and warnings just weren’t working. “Prohibitions and fines do scarcely anything,” a member of the group said. “So we decided to solve the problem our own way. Now, St Pauli pees back.”

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Japanese Otaku Creates Creepy Talking Girlfriend Pillow for the Lonely

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Japanese inventor Koichi Uchimura is on a mission to develop new technologies that “support people’s otaku life”. Otaku is a term that refers to young people who are obsessed with computers or certain aspects of popular culture, often at the cost of their social life. And Uchimura wants to make sure they have every convenience possible. His latest invention is a creepy talking anime pillow that responds to human touch.

Having used anime huggy pillows – called dakimakura – himself, Uchimura realized that they always left him feeling unfulfilled. “When we’d sleep in the same bed, I’d start to think, ‘I wish she could talk,’” he said. “I wanted to make that a reality.” So he came up with ‘Ita-Supo’, a sophisticated talking pillow printed with the picture of an anime girl.

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Free Higher Education – Guy Crashes Elite College Courses for Four Years, Never Gets Caught

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28-year-old Guillaume Dumas is a strong critic of the higher education system. In an attempt to make a political statement about how universities exclude people who cannot afford them, he spent four long years as a wandering scholar. He hopped campuses across North America, attending lectures and seminars for free, as an unregistered student. And although he didn’t receive a degree at the end, Dumas has used his education to start a successful online dating business in Montreal.

Dumas, who hails from Quebec, said that he first started campus hopping because it was fun. His parents didn’t even want him to attend college. “My mother got it in her head that I should become a butcher,” he said. “Her friend’s son was a butcher’s apprentice and he seemed to make good money. My father thought I should become a lumberjack in rural Quebec.”

But Dumas had other ideas. He applied to LaSalle College in Montreal and got in. And although he started college like any other 18-year-old, he soon got restless and was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life. He liked psychology, physics and philosophy, so he couldn’t decide on a major. He was spending $4,000 a year on his education, which he felt was a colossal waste. So he dropped out of LaSalle and started attending a few classes at the nearby McGill University. “It was so easy to look at the course listing and them show up for a class,” he recalled. “I thought, why couldn’t I do this at other schools?”

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8-Year-Old Girl Feeds Neighborhood Crows, They Thank Her with Gifts

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8-year-old Gabi Mann, from Seattle, has some very unusual friends who shower her with gifts almost every day. Ever since she started feeding her neighborhood crows, they began returning the favor and bringing back all kinds of trinkets.

Gabi’s unique relationship with the neighborhood crows began in 2011, when at age four, she was prone to dropping food. Soon, the crows were always watching for her, hoping to get a bite of the crumbs she dropped. As she got older, she began to feed them consciously – she would share her lunch with them on the way to the bus stop. It wasn’t long before crows were lining up in the afternoon to greet her at the stop.

In 2013, Gabi started feeding the birds regularly, instead of sharing her scraps with them. Along with her family, she would fill the birdbath in the backyard with fresh water every day, cover the bird feeder platforms with peanuts and throw handfuls of dog food on to the grass. Soon, the crows automatically lining up on the telephone lines, waiting for their treats.

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Chick Sexer – The $60,000-a-Year Job Nobody Seems to Want

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Believe it or not, ‘chick sexer’ is a real job, and it pays quite handsomely. For over $60,000 a year, a chick sexer has to look at chicks’ backsides all day to determine if they are male or female.

The process, known as ‘vent sexing’ involves squeezing the faeces out of the chick and opening up the its anal vent, to check for a small ‘bump’ that indicates it is male. Understandably, the job doesn’t have many takers, and British poultry farmers are struggling to attract employees to fill the position.

Although it sounds easy, chick sexing is quite complicated and requires an incredible amount of skill. Workers are specially trained on how to spot ‘miniscule differences’ in the size and shape of a chick’s genitalia to ascertain whether it will grow up to be a rooster or a hen.

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Buying Love at Bulgaria’s Roma Bridal Market

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The Romani people, who constitute one of Bulgaria’s largest ethnic minorities, have a unique marriage tradition – a ‘bride market’. Held four times a year on various religious holidays, the market is a chance for poor families in the community to arrange financially beneficial marriages for their children.

The families that gather in the city of Stara Zagora for the festival are part of a gypsy community of 18,000 Roma known as Kalaidzhi. They are traditionally coppersmiths, and among the most poverty-stricken people in the nation. The bride market is a chance for these families to get together, catch up on gossip, and arrange matches for their adolescent children. The event is a colorful one, with grannies dressed in traditional Kalaydzhii long skirts, and children running about and eating candyfloss.

The prospective brides are usually dressed provocatively in mini skirts, with gobs of mascara, flashy jewellery and towering heels. They dance alongside their male suitors on car hoods, which is quite rare in a community that generally does not allow youths to mingle with the opposite sex. In fact, the Kalaidzhi, who are devout Christians, take girls out of school at age 15 to keep them away from temptation.

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