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Marimo – The Extremely Rare Algae Balls That Make Great Low-Maintenance Pets

Marimo is a rare growth form of the Aegagropila linnaei algae in which the aquatic plant grows into large green balls with a velvet-like texture and appearance. It’s also a natural treasure of Japan, as well as a popular pet.

Aegagropila linnaei algae has long been a mystery in biology, particularly due to its fascinating spherical growth form. The algae can be found in just a handful of aquatic environments located in four countries – Iceland, Scotland, Estonia, and Japan – and exists either as free-floating filaments, flat growths on rocks or green balls that can reach up to 40 cm in diameter. It’s the latter that has fascinated both scientists and algae enthusiasts for centuries.

Marimo (literally “ball water plant”) are particularly popular in Japan. The largest and most impressive-looking ones can be found in  Lake Akan, in east Hokkaido. For some reason, given enough time marimo her grow up to 40 cm in diameter, much larger that the moss balls found anywhere else. The lake is shallow, providing the conditions needed for Aegagropila linnaei to thrive, so the bottom is full of these giant, fluffy balls just waiting to be squeezed. Only you’re not allowed to take those!

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Forgotten Wonder – The First Transparent Car Made in America

Unveiled in 1939, the Pontiac Ghost Car was the first completely transparent car made in America, and eight decades later, photos of it are still a wonder to behold.

Designed to showcase everything that goes into making an automobile in a time when the automotive industry was thriving, the Pontiac Ghost Car was built by General Motors in partnership with Rohm and Hass, the company that invented Plexiglas. The revolutionary material essentially replaced the sheet of metal out of which the car’s body was usually made of, thus offering a clear view of the inner workings of the vehicle. To add to its striking appearance, the metallic structure featured a copper wash, the hardware was chrome-plated and the tires were white, instead of the usual black. The Ghost Car’s total cost was estimated at $25,000 at the time.

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German Circus Weathers Pandemic by Selling Jars of Lion Poop

They say money does not smell, but a lucrative venture thought up by a German circus is proof that money can actually stink. The Krone Circus in Munich is in the business of selling lion poop.

Circus are forbidden from performing during the pandemic, so many of them have been struggling to stay afloat in the last few months. Animal circuses have it even worse, as they have dozens of creatures to feed every day, so many of them have been forced to think outside the box in order to stay solvent. The Krone Circus, in Munich, Germany, has come up with a stinky yet profitable business idea – selling jars of poop from their 26 lions and tigers for 5 euros ($6) a pop.

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Italian Man Fined $200 Because His Rooster Crows Too Early in the Morning

An 83-year-old man was ordered to pay a 166 euro fine after he failed to prevent his pet rooster from crowing at 4:30 in the morning, which some of his neighbors had complained about.

Angelo Boletti, a pensioner from the Italian town of Castiraga Vidardo, in Lombardy, was found to have violated local rules, which state that pets must be kept at a minimum distance of 10 metres from neighboring homes. But the real problem was that the pet in question, a rooster named Carlino, crowed loudly as early as 4:30 in the morning and waking up the neighbors. After receiving several complaints about the bird’s morning routine, police started monitoring Carlino, and after confirming his early crowing decided to fine the retired bricklayer.

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This Malaysian Cake Is Probably the World’s Most Intricate Dessert

Kek Lapis Sarawak is a traditional Malaysian cake famous both for its intricate kaleidoscopic appearance and the grueling process required to make it.

Inspired by the spit cakes that Dutch colonists used to enjoy, Kek Lapis Sarawak was born in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, sometime in the 1970’s. It’s basically a much more complex version of the layered Kek Lapis Betawi, which Sarawakians pretty much elevated to an art form. While its beige or brown outer layers do a good job or concealing the complicated inner cake, slicing one of these treas reveals a kaleidoscope of colors and geometrical shapes that require both logical thinking and a rich imagination to create.

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Widower Has Ultra-Realistic, Life-Size Sculpture of His Late Wife Installed at Family Home

An Indian man melted the hearts of millions in his home country after unveiling a life-size and almost lifelike sculpture of his late wife during a house-warming party.

Srinivas Gupta, a businessman from Karnataka, India who lost his wife in a tragic car accident three years ago, wanted his life partner to be physically present at a recent house-warming event that he had a life-size silicone statue of her made by a local artist. Madhavi, Gupta’s late wife, had always wanted to own her own bungalow, so after her death the businessman decided to honor her memory by building one in her honor. A year ago, he commissioned a local sculptor to make an ultra-realistic statue of Madhavi, so she could be with him and their two daughters when the new home was ready.

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Wakaresaseya – Japan’s Professional Relationship Busters

In a country that eschews confrontation and frowns upon public display of passion, bold entrepreneurs eager to take up the burden of ending a romantic relationship on a client’s behalf can make a fortune.

The Wakaresaseya, literally “breaker-uppers”, are professional agents that specialize in destroying relationships, be they marriages or affairs, for a fee. After taking on a contract these unlicensed operatives stop at nothing to achieve their goal, which includes extreme measures like entrapment, financial burdening and lying. Wakaresaseya are viewed by some in Japanese society as immoral, but they have been around for decades and their services are more popular than ever.

Wakaresaseya services, many of which are tied to private detective agencies, are often advertised online and cater to both married people seeking a reason to leave their spouse, and married individuals who know about their partner’s infidelity and want to end it without getting involved. Prices reportedly vary from a couple of hundred dollars for simple cases, to upwards of $150,000 for high-profile cases where discretion if of the upmost importance.

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Only in Japan: Burning a Mountain as a Celebration

On the fourth Saturday of each January, the dead grass of Mount Wakakusa is set ablaze as part of a unique and impressive festival called Wakakusa Yamayaki (‘Wakakusa Burning Mountain’).

No one known exactly how the tradition of burning an entire 342-metre-high hill in Japan’s Nara Prefecture actually started, but one thing is for certain – it has been around for hundreds of years. Some say it began as a boundary dispute between the two greatest temples of Nara, Tōdai-ji and Kōfuku-ji, sometime during the 18th century. When mediation failed, the entire hill was burned to the ground, although no one quite remembers how that solved anything. Another theory claims that the annual fire originated as a way to eliminate pests and drive away wild boars. Today, it’s just an impressive sight to behold that attracts tourists from all over the world.

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The Intricate Pumpkin Sculptures of Angel Boraliev

When it comes to artistic pumpkin carving, Bulgarian food artist Angel Boraliev is a cut above the rest. From fine details like feathers to intricate motifs, there is nothing he can’t carve out of a pumpkin.

Boraliev, who works in the hotel and restaurant industry showcases his amazing sculptures at various events, but he has also been featured by several online outlets, and has a decent following on social media. He started pumpkin carving almost 7 years ago, and has apparently honed his skills to the point where he can carve realistic birds, feathers and everything, out of one or several pumpkins. Boraliev also carves watermelons and bars of soap, but it’s his pumpkin sculptures that really take people’s breath away.

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The Irresistibly Cute Honduran White Bat

Of the roughly 1,300 known species of bat, very few can be described as cute and cuddly, but the tiny Honduran White Bat is definitely one of these rare exceptions.

Also called the Caribbean White Tent-Making Bat, this adorable flying mammal can be found in the tropical forests of Central-American countries like Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and western parts of Panama. It has a distinctive white fur, which is characteristic of only five other known bat species, and is very small for its genus, with the largest recorded individual being under 5 centimetres in length. Because of its white color and generally cute look, as well as the fact that it doesn’t live in caves and doesn’t suck blood, the Honduran White Bat is considered a living, breathing contradiction of bat stereotypes.

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Struggling Railway Operator Sells Canned Stones to Weather Pandemic

With tourism at an all-time low, a struggling Japanese railway operator is trying to avoid going under by selling canned stones from its railway tracks.

Founded in 1923, the Choshi Electric Railway company, in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, had to overcome adversity several times during its 97-year history, but the situation has never been more dire than it is now. The railway operator relies on tourism to support its operations, but with the novel Coronavirus wreaking havoc all over the world, business has never been worse, so management had to come up with alternative ways of generating income. Among these, starting a YouTube channel and selling canned stones have been proving unusually successful.

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14-Year-Old Forced to Give Away His Belongings After Taking Family Car on Joyride

A family from Phoenix, Arizona came up with an original way of punishing their 14-year-old son after he was caught by police speeding in the family car: they made him give away all his possessions.

14-year-old Angel Martinez’s parents were celebrating their anniversary in Las Vegas earlier this month when they received a call from police about their teenage son. He had taken the family’s Range Rover out for a spin and had disrupted the neighbors. The couple were forced to cut their anniversary celebration short and go home, but they made sure to let Angel know just how “happy” they were about it. They pretty much emptied the boy’s room, put all his stuff in the driveway and made him give it all away personally as punishment.

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The Famously Narrow ‘Pie House’ of Deerfield

A suburban Chicago home has become known locally as the “Pie House” because of its resemblance to a wedge-shaped slice of pie.

Built in 2003, on an oblong plot of land in Deerfield, Illinois, the Pie House has become somewhat of a local tourist attraction, with people stopping by regularly just to take pictures of the unusually narrow building. Famous for its unique shape, the Pie House was born out of necessity, as developer Greg Weissman of Advantage Properties tried to make the best of an oblong piece of land only 0.09 acres in size, which is unusually small for the suburbs. Despite one of the walls being only 3-feet-wide, the Pie House turned out quite cozy, and ended up selling for little over $284,000 in 2007.

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These Juicy-Looking Fruit Are Not What They Seem

An amateur confectioner from Vietnam has been getting a lot of attention for her stunningly-realistic tangerine-shaped steamed buns.

Le Thuy, a secondary school teacher from Ho Chi Minh city, is well known among the confectioner community of the Vietnamese capital, especially for her jelly and bean cakes. However, she recently managed to surprise her peers as well as thousands of social media users with her unique buns designed to resemble real tangerines down to the tiniest details. Her amazing creations look like fruits on the outside, but tear them apart and a soft, spongy interior is revealed.

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Massive Road Bridge Built Around Tiny House of Very Stubborn Owner

A newly opened highway in China’s Guangdong province has been making news headlines for a very peculiar reason: it’s built around the tiny home who refused to move.

China is well-known for its “nail houses”, properties of homeowners who reject compensation from a developer for their demolition, but while most such examples are encountered within new residential complexes, the one we’re featuring today stands in the middle of a highway bridge. Footage released by Chinese media shows the property tightly squeezed between the lanes of the newly opened Haizhuyong Bridge, in the city of Guangzhou. It is located in a pit in the middle of the four-lane road bridge and has become somewhat of a local attraction.

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