World’s First Underwater Music Band All Set to Make a Splash

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‘Between Music’, the world’s first aquatic music band, are all set to perform their very first underwater concert – ‘Aquasonic’ – at Rotterdam on 27 May. The Danish ensemble will be playing specific instruments and even singing inside water tanks, using special techniques that they developed over 10 long years of experimentation.

The story of this unique musical group began when lead singer and composer Laila Skovmand decided to find a way to sing underwater. Her first experiment involved singing while submerging her mouth in a kitchen bowl filled with water. While she was able to produce sounds, she was also generating a lot of bubbles that added ‘pop’ sounds to the music. But she was determined to find a way to sing underwater, so she kept trying new things.

After a lot of trial and error, Laila finally came up with a technique that involves holding an air bubble in her mouth and singing through it while submerged in water. She has to rise to the top once every minute to breathe in fresh air and start with a new bubble, but otherwise, she claims it works. “There is also a technique where I switch between singing on the exhale and inhale,” she says. “But it can be hard to control.” Due to the small amount of air in a bubble, the underwater singer can only produce short tones, preferably high ones, because lower tones tend to sound nasal. 

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Rare Genetic Condition Allows 53-Year-Old to Run 350 Miles without Stopping

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Most athletes would agree that lactic acid build-up in the muscles is the bane of all long-distance runners – but not American jogger Dean Karnazes. The 53-year-old has a rare genetic condition that rapidly flushes lactic acid from his system, allowing him to run indefinitely without ever experiencing a cramp or a seized muscle. The extreme runner has completed a marathon to the South Pole at -25C, and completed 50 back to back marathons in 50 days. He’s also jogged a whopping 350 miles in just 80 hours and 44 minutes, without any sleep!

When people exercise, glucose is converted into energy and a by-product of this reaction is lactic acid. As it builds up in the muscles, it causes cramps and fatigue, and signals the brain to stop. But in Dean’s case, he never receives those signals because lactic acid never builds up in his muscles. So he’s able to run for long distances over very long periods of time, giving him an edge in some of the toughest endurance competitions in the world.

“At a certain level of intensity, I do feel like I can go a long way without tiring,” Dean said, speaking to The Guardian. “No matter how hard I push, my muscles never seize up. That’s kind of a nice thing if I plan to run a long way. To be honest, what eventually happens is that I get sleepy. I’ve run through three nights without sleep and the third night of sleepless running was a bit psychotic. I actually experienced bouts of ‘sleep running’, where I was falling asleep while in motion, and I just willed myself to keep going.”

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Guy Builds Giant Portrait of His Crush with 840 Rubik’s Cubes, Gets Rejected

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In a bid to get the attention of his crush, a young man from China spent three nights arranging 846 Rubik’s cubes to create a giant 2.6m x 1.3m pixelated portrait of her. Sadly, the grand gesture got him nowhere – the gift was eventually rejected by the girl of his dreams and he now has no idea what to do with it.

Tong Aonan, a 27-year-old mechanic from Shenyang, spent two whole months mapping out the portrait design before he actually got to work on the project. He also spent $460 on the Rubik’s cubes, and solved each one of them to fit his design. He then stacked the cubes in a wooden frame one by one to make the actual portrait, which he gifted to his crush. And she refused to accept it.

Surprisingly, Tong isn’t taking the rejection too seriously. “I’m not giving it too much thought,” he said. “I simply wanted to surprise her and tell her I like her… but I was rejected.” Not everyone is able to share his nonchalance though – lots of people online are leaving comments about ‘feeling his pain’ and questioning her for rejecting him.

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Indian Man Spends 40 Days Digging a Well after His Wife Is Denied Access to Drinking Water

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Determined to provide his family with drinking water after they were refused access to a local well, this Indian man spent 40 days digging up a 15-ft well in his hometown of Kalambeshwar village, in the state of Maharashtra. Under normal circumstances it would have taken four or five people to complete such a task, but Bapurao Tajne managed to do it all by himself.

Tajne, a daily-wage laborer, is a member of the village’s Dalit community, which has long since been discriminated against by people from ‘upper’ castes. In this case, Tajne’s wife Sangita went to draw water from a well in the village, but was insulted by the owner of the well and asked to stay away from it. Incensed by the incident that took place in the midst of the severe water crisis Maharashtra, Tajne decided to dig Sangita her very own well, so she would never have to suffer this kind of humiliation.

Using tools that he bought from the nearby Malegaon city, Tajne started digging and kept at it for six hours a day – four hours before his regular job and two hours after. Given that three existing wells had already gone dry in the village, it seemed like a foolhardy initiative, and the other villagers discouraged him and even made fun of his stubbornness. No one stepped forward to help him and even his wife stayed away for fear of being ridiculed. But Bapurao didn’t give up – he kept on digging until, on the 40th day, he finally struck water.

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Awesome Dad Builds DIY Artificial Pancreas for His Diabetic Son

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When little Andrew Calabrese’s pancreas gave out at age three, leaving him with a lifelong diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, his parents Heidi and Jason wanted to do everything possible help him through the life altering disease. While Heidi set-up a support group to connect with other families battling the illness, Jason, a software engineer, devoted his time to building a device that could help regulate his son’s insulin levels.

He eventually succeeded in building an artificial pancreas system using OpenAPS (Open Artificial Pancreas System), a free online project that makes APS technology widely available to anyone who wants to save lives and reduce the burden of Type 1 diabetes. Developed by 27-year-old Type 1 diabetic Dana Lewis in December 2014, OpenAPS provides “a safety-focused reference design, a toolset, and an open source reference implementation that can be used by any individual – or any medical device manufacturer.”

Using these instructions, Jason spent two months learning how to hack an old insulin pump to automatically keep blood glucose (BG) levels in a safe range – both overnight and in between meals. He added a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that would provide BG data to the pump, and command it to adjust the temporary basal rates accordingly. After ensuring the device’s safety, and getting their doctor’s approval, Andrew finally began using OpenAPS to keep his insulin levels in check. In fact, the third-grader even carries it to school in his backpack. “OpenAPS is there when I can’t be,” Jason said. “It’s cut the time Andrew spends below 80 mg/dL in half.”

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10-Year-Old Girl Does 2,110 Sit-ups in 90 Minutes, Sets New National Record

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While most adults struggle to keep their bulging bellies under check, 10-year-old Kyleigh Bass, from Kansas City is putting grown men to shame with her rock solid abs – she recently broke the national record by completing a whopping 2,110 consecutive sit-ups in a mere 90 minutes.

Kyleigh had initially set herself a goal of 2,002 ab-crunches – one over the previous Project Fit America record of 2,001. It was no easy feat, and for a moment it even looked as though she was going to throw up, but she somehow worked through the nausea and surpassed her goal, breaking the record by no less than 109 sit-ups.

“I wanted to break this record because I am a very competitive person and I like to be at the top,” said Kyleigh, who was trained by her PE teacher Bill Lentz at Foxhill Elementary. She had worked hard all through the winter, focusing on strengthening her core muscles. But during the challenge on 7 May, she suffered severe stomach pain and nearly threw up. Her parents, who were taking turns to hold her feet the whole time, encouraged her to keep going.

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Philadelphia Library Lets Job Seekers Borrow Ties for Their Interview

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Just as a library responds to the reading needs of a community, a ‘tiebrary’ caters to people who are in dire need of a tie but can’t afford to buy one. Housed by the Paschalville Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the tiebrary stocks 48 pieces of neckwear in various colors and patterns, ranging from traditional ties to bright and trendy cravats. Anyone with a library card is welcome to checkout a tie for up to three weeks at a time.

The tie-lending initiative was started mainly to help out the vast population of unemployed men, particularly in southwest Philadelphia, where the Paschalville Branch is located. The neighborhood is marked by its high rates of poverty and unemployment, and is home to several immigrants and former inmates in dire need of a job. So this local library is trying to do its bit to help the community.

“It’s an illustration of libraries really responding to the needs of their communities,” said Nate Eddy, librarian and strategy coordinator for the Free Library of Philadelphia. “People still associate libraries with quiet places to check out a book, but we’re so much more than that.”

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The Inspiring Story of a Man Who Became a Top Bicycle Repairman after Losing Nine Fingers and Both Legs

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23 years ago, Yue Jin lost both his legs and nine of his fingers in a freak accident. He thought his life was over, but somehow found the strength to start over and today he is one of the most sought-after bicycle repairmen in Jilin City, northern China.

In 1993, while he was cutting firewood in the mountains of Jilin province, Yue Jin accidentally fell into a deep valley and almost died. His injuries were so severe that doctors had to amputate both his legs and all but one of his ten fingers. For a man who made his living with his hands, it was almost a death sentence. And it was even more devastating considering Yue had also lost his wife just three days after childbirth, leaving him to take care of their daughter. After the accident, he couldn’t see any other way to do that than go out and beg for a few coins and some food, so he left his daughter in the care of some neighbors and ventured out on to the streets.

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This Tasty New York Doughnut Is Made with Bone Marrow

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The last ingredient you would expect to find in a delicious doughnut is bone marrow, but that’s apparently the secret behind this popular treat served at a New York doughnut shop.

The doughnut market has become very competitive in recent years, and businesses have to come up with something really special to get an edge. Some rely on crazy combinations to create hybrids like the popular Cronut, others cover their doughnuts with extravagant decorations like edible gold and sugar diamonds – see Donutopia, the $100 doughnut – and a few go the bizarre route. The treat we’re talking about today falls in the latter category.

The Doughnut Project, a fancy bakery in New York city, partnered with local butcher shop Hudson & Charles to create what we believe is the world’s first bone marrow doughnut. That sounds pretty disgusting, but the experienced bakers claim that bone marrow actually makes their hand-crafted, yeast-raised doughnuts more delicious. The chocolate pastry cream filling is whipped with roasted bone marrow that apparently enhances its richness and gives it a velvet-smooth texture. The unique treat is also glazed in clementine and sprinkled with orange-infused chocolate shavings.

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World’s Most Expensive Tea Is Worth over 30 Times Its Weight in Gold

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$10,000 for a pot of tea sounds excessive, but that’s the kind of price that wealthy tea-collectors are willing pay for a few sips of original Da Hong Pao, perhaps the world’s rarest tea. With a single gram priced at a whopping $1,400, this famously pricey tea is actually worth over 30 times its weight in gold!

So what make Da Hong Pao tea so valuable? According to Chinese tea master Xiangning Wu, it’s mainly its rarity. There are hardly any original Da Hong Pao trees left, and the antique varieties that grow in Wuyi mountains, China’s Fujian Province, are so rare that they’re considered almost priceless. In fact, generations-old tea makers have a special yearly ritual to  Da Hong Pao – they go into the mountains every spring to pray to tea god Lu Yu for new shoots. Some reports suggest that the leaves are wiped with goat’s milk as they grow, and after harvest, they’re baked and then left to gain flavor for up to 80 years.

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Ottawa Homeless Shelter Is Helping Alcoholics by Giving Them Free Booze

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Quitting cold turkey is one of the toughest things to do, which is why this homeless shelter in Ottawa is helping chronic alcoholics by handing out measured quantities of alcohol by the hour. Miraculously, the Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) has not only improved the overall health of its participants, but also reduced their average alcohol intake and helped them refrain from criminal activity.

The existence of the MAP is a miracle in itself, given that most other homeless shelters have a strict no-alcohol policy. But at the Oaks shelter for the homeless, five ounces of white wine are handed out in coffee cups every hour between 7.30 am and 9.30 pm, seven days a week. That’s a calculated amount, just enough for each resident to be able to shake off the symptoms of alcohol deprivation. No alcohol is handed out to anyone who comes in intoxicated. The routine began in the early 2000s, and continues to this day, with several residents lining up every single day for their share.

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The ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ Will Zap You Awake if Nothing Else Works

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If the loudest, most annoying alarm clocks have failed to separate you from your beloved bed, ‘Shock Clock Wake Up Trainer’ might be just the thing for you. This wearable alarm clock will literally shock you awake every morning, if beeps and vibrations don’t do the trick.

Pavlok, the company behind Shock Clock, is a wearable-device startup founded by entrepreneur Maneesh Sethi, who first rose to internet fame after hiring a woman to slap him every time he opened Facebook. Having had previous success with his ‘Pavlok Breaks Bad Habits’ device that helped people quit bad habits like nail biting and smoking, Sethi based the new Shock Clock on the popular concept of classical conditioning that Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov used to train dogs to respond to a stimulus. He claims that the device’s ‘sensory inputs’ have the potential to create permanent behavioral changes. It is apparently world’s first device that “uses effective, tested sensory inputs to wake you up and keep you alert.”

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Thai Students Caught Cheating with “Mission Impossible” Spy Glasses

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Three Thai students caught cheating during a medical college entrance exams made headlines this week for their elaborate high-tech cheating equipment. Supervisors discovered wireless cameras embedded in the frames of the students’ glasses which were connected to smartwatches on their wrists. They used the cameras to send images of questions to an external group, who then replied with the answers via the smartwatches.

That’s quite a clever setup, but sadly, the students were caught when instructors noticed that their glasses had unusually thick frames and decided to have a closer look, which led to the discovery of the hidden cameras. The story went viral on social media after Rangsit University director Arthit Ourairat posted pictures of the cheating equipment on his Facebook page.

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Pakistan’s ‘Solar Kids’ Live Normal Lives by Day, Become Mysteriously Paralyzed at Night

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Pakistani brothers Shoaib Ahmed and Abdul Rasheed are suffering from a mysterious condition that has left doctors in Islamabad scratching their heads. The so-called ‘Solar Kids’, aged 13 and nine, are normal and active throughout the day, but as soon as the sun goes down they descend into a vegetative state that renders them unable to move or talk.

Shoaib and Abdul wake up with the first rays of the sun, filled with energy and life. They tend to their house chores, attend school, but they are on a clock to get everything done by late afternoon, because as the sun travels west, their energy levels drop and by the time it sets, they are completely paralyzed until the next day. Their parents say that the boys appeared to be dependent on the sun this since the day they were born, and in their home village they are known as the “solar kids”.

“I think my sons get energy from sun,” the boys’ father, Mohammad Hashim, says. But his simplistic theory has been dismissed by doctors after they tried keeping the boys in a completely darkened room during the day, but noticed no bizarre symptoms. The idea that the sun plays a role in the siblings’ mysterious condition is also contradicted by the fact that they remain active when it’s cloudy and even during rainstorms.

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Amazing 7-Year-Old Born without Hands Wins National Hand-Writing Competition

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7-year-old Anaya Ellick was born without hands, but she’s mastered the art of writing by holding her pencil in between the ends of her arms, as she stands over her desk at a comfortable angle. The adorable first-grader could have used prosthetics, but she chose to practice using her own arms instead and got so good at it that this year she actually won  the Nicholas Maxim Special Award for Excellence in Manuscript Penmanship for beautiful writing.

Anaya’s parents, Bianca and Gary, were naturally shocked and worried sick when they first found out she didn’t have hands. But Anaya proved to be a precocious child, learning early on to tie her shoes, dress herself, and attempting to do other things by herself before asking for help. Her ambitious nature was also mentioned by the principal of her school, Tracy Cox. “There is truly very little that this girl cannot do,” the Greenbrier Christian Academy principal told ABC News. “She is determined. She is independent. She is a vivacious and a no-excuses type of young lady.”

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