Hundreds of Birds Mysteriously Drop Dead During New Year’s Eve Celebration

Photos and videos showing scores of dead birds on the streets of Rome following the recent New Year’s Eve celebration have been doing the rounds online, fueling all sorts of conspiracy theories.

Hundreds of dead birds were found lying around the Termini train station, in Rome, Italy, on New Year’s Eve, and although the exact cause of this tragedy remains a mystery, animal groups have blamed the traditional fireworks show. The Italian capital had announced a fireworks ban ahead of New Year’s Eve, but it was largely ignored. The Italian branch of OIPA (International Animal Protection Organization) has called for a nationwide ban on selling fireworks and firecrackers for personal use, following this sad incident.

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Schematic for ‘5G Chip’ Allegedly Implanted in Covid-19 Vaccines Is Actually for Guitar Pedal

Conspiracy theory proponents in Italy have been sharing an electronic schematic of a ‘5G chip’ allegedly implanted in Covid-9 vaccines, but evidence has shown that it’s actually the schematic of a guitar pedal.

A wise person once said “don’t believe everything you read on the internet”, and that’s never been more true than it is today. With the advent of social media, wild conspiracy theories, half-truths and fake news have been getting more attention than ever before. Take this ‘5G chip in Covid-19 vaccines’ phobia that has taken on a life of its own online, despite any sort of scientific evidence backing it up. Well, at least no real evidence, because there is plenty of fake proof going around, including a rather complex schematic of a so-called 5G chip allegedly implanted in Covid-19 vaccines. Only that schematic is actually of a badass guitar pedal…

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Chinese Family Agrees to Leave Hospital Ward After Squatting There for Six Years

A Chinese man and his parents have agreed to move out of a Beijing hospital after living there continuously for six years, because of a financial dispute with the medical institution.

No one really likes spending more time than they have to in hospitals, which is why most people can’t wait to get discharged. But that’s not always the case. In 2014, a man surnamed Tian was admitted to a top Beijing hospital with symptoms that included nausea, vomiting and unsteady gait. He was supposed to spend a few days there after a medical procedure, but following a dispute regarding his medical bill, he ended up living there for six years, along with his parents. This weird saga finally came to an end last week, when the hospital squatters finally agreed to move out.

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This Hawaiian Island Is Home to Thousands of Feral Chicken

The island of Kauai, in the Hawaiian archipelago, is home to thousands of feral chicken that have developed a complex relationship with the island’s human inhabitants.

From the pristine beaches of Lumbahai, to airports, gas stations, even urban parking lots, feral chickens are everywhere on Kauai Island. They roam freely, and have adapted to lead a a variety of lifestyles in this Hawaiian paradise, from eating garbage and cat food, to depending on tourists for food, or foraging on native arthropods. It’s because of this lifestyle variety that the chickens relationship with humans is so complex. On one hand, everyone agrees that they have brought down the populations of pesky Hawaiian centipedes, but then again, they also crow 24 hours a day and they tear up foliage and grass, even destroying whole gardens.

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Chinese Reality Show Blurs Christmas Symbols to Boycott Western Holidays

A popular Chinese reality show sparked controversy last month after pixelating all elements relating to Christmas on an episode shot in a luxurious hotel decorated for the Christian celebration.

Mango TV, a subsidiary of state-controlled Hunan Television, aired the first episode of the sixth season of Who’s the Murderer, a popular online reality show, on December 24. As it was Christmas Eve, the television saw it fitting to shoot the show in a hotel decorated for the Christian celebration. However, they also decided it would be a good idea to censor all elements related to Christmas, as a way to avoid being criticized by the Government for showing Western festivals and worshiping foreign things. The result was a pixelated mess, with protagonists walking by blurred Christmas trees, tinsel-decorated plants, and even wearing blurred Christmas hats.

Who’s the Murderer is features a cast of celebrities who play different roles in order to find evidence at a “crime scene” and figure out who the murderer is. It’s not the kind of plot that would ever be associated with Christmas, but production thought that the special episode’s setting could be interpreted as a promotion of Western festivals, so a decision was made to blur out all Christmas trees, wreaths, bells, and other decorations during broadcast. Even the protagonists’ Christmas hats were censored with post-production cartoon hats.

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Man Digs Secret Underground Tunnel to Lover’s House, Gets Caught by Her Husband

A married man had a lot of explaining to do when he was caught at his married mistress’ house, by her husband, next to a hole in the ground that turned out to be a tunnel leading back to his house.

Mexico is famous for its network of secret underground tunnels used by drug cartels to transport their precious but illegal cargos, but it seems the technique is sometimes also used for keeping romantic affairs secret. Antonio, a bricklayer from Villas del Prado 1, was having an affair with a married woman from the town’s Tijuana neighborhood. In order to make sure no one saw him visiting his secret lover, Pamela, the man started working on an underground tunnel that stretched all the way from his home to the woman’s.

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Shadows From the Walls of Death – A Book That Can Literally Kill You

When people speak of potentially-deadly books, they usually refer to the radical or controversial ideas they contain, but in the case of one very scary book, the potential for lethalness is quite literal.

Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers is a book published in 1874 by Dr. Robert M. Kedzie, a Union surgeon during the American Civil War who later became a professor of chemistry. Of its 100 or so pages, 86 are just samples of arsenic-pigmented wallpaper that people used to decorate their homes during those times. Even though arsenic was a known toxin capable of killing a person if ingested, no one imagined it could kill even when used as an active ingredient to make wallpaper colors more vibrant. Kedzie did, though, so he printed this book as a warning.

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The Unlikely Success Story of a Man Who Gets Paid to Do Nothing

A 37-year-old Japanese man has built a successful career by renting himself out to do nothing. For some reason, he is inundated with requests from people who just want him by their side.

In just two years, Shoji Morimoto has gone from being just another unemployed middle-aged man in Tokyo, to a minor Japanese celebrity, with over 270,000 Twitter followers, appearances on national television, interviews in magazines, and even his own books and manga on Amazon. That’s quite surprising, considering Shoji has built his success on a service that requires him to basically do nothing but meet random people, listen to their stories or just physically be there for them. He basically rents himself out to strangers, letting them know beforehand that he can do nothing but eat, drink and hang around.

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The Men in This Bangladeshi Family Have No Fingerprints

In a world where fingerprints are the most collected and used biometric data, having no fingerprints is both a blessing and a curse, as the men in the Sarker family can attest.

For several generations, Sarker men have been born with completely smooth fingertips, and while that may not have been a huge deal a generation or two ago, nowadays, when the swirling patterns on the tip of our fingers are used as the main way to identify individuals, it’s an issue. For example, some of the men in the Bangladeshi family have been unable to obtain a driving license because of their lack of fingerprints, while others have been reluctant to travel for fear of getting in trouble at airports, for the same reason.

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After 20 Years, Court Tells Baker to Stop Selling Cookies Made With Sawdust

A German baker who has reportedly been selling sawdust cookies for around two decades has recently been ordered to stop, as the finely milled wood has been deemed unfit for human consumption.

An administrative court in the southwestern German city of Karlsruhe has upheld a decision to ban the sale of cookies made with sawdust, despite the producer’s claim that they were a traditional vegetable product. The unnamed baker had been operating a mail order business, selling his sawdust cookies all over Germany. He openly listed sawdust as an ingredient on the packaging of his biscuits, and had already written to the city of Karlsruhe about his practice back in 2004, but received no answer. Then, in 2017, a routine examination of a biscuit sample led to a sales ban which he then contested in court.

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This Ninja-Like Face Mask Promises to Give You a Non-Invasive Face Lift

People nowadays pay lots of money for youth-maintaining facial plastic surgery, but one Japanese company claims that its’ face mask can deliver the same results as a lift, so you don’t have to go under the knife.

Japanese company Ya-man claims that its MedLift silicone mask can keep you looking young by sending electrical signals to muscles in order to stimulate them. The ninja-like face mask comes with two electronic controllers which allow users to turn electric stimulation on and off, as well as select various modes and levels of intensity. Facial muscle firmness decreases with age, but by providing electrical stimulation MedLift promises to keep them nice and firm, delivering similar results to a successful facelift, minus the invasive surgery.

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YouTuber’s False Review Forces South Korean Restaurant to Shut Down

HayanTree, a popular restaurant and food reviewer on YouTube, has recently come under fire for causing a restaurant to close down after his false review negatively affected the business.

On December 7, HayanTree, who at the time sported just over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube, posted a video review of an all-you-can-eat soy sauce-marinated crab restaurant in Daegu. At one point, the popular YouTuber refills his plate, but notices grains of rice in his marinade, raising the suspicion that the restaurant might be reusing its unsold food. The controversial review quickly went viral, getting over 1 million views in a matter of days, and impacted the accused restaurant so profoundly that it had to be closed down a few days later.

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World’s Ugliest Orchid Discovered in the Forests of Madagascar

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but looking at this new species of orchid discovered by scientists in the forests of Madagascar, it’s easy to see why it’s already been dubbed the “world’s ugliest orchid”.

With over 700 genera and around 28,000 individual species, orchids make up one of the largest plant families. Most of these species are associated with beauty and elegance, but the newest member of this large family doesn’t really fit that description. Gastrodia agnicellus, one of this year’s newly discovered plants and fungi, has no leaves, grows from a woolly tuberous stem, has a bland brownish color, and spends most of its life underground, emerging only to flower or produce fruit.

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At the Pole of Cold, the Only School Closes When Temperatures Drop Under -52° Celsius

Officially recognized as the coldest permanently inhabited settlement on Earth, the small Russian settlement of Oymyakon is probably home to the most resilient kids in the world.

Can you imagine sending your kids to primary school (years one through four) at -50° Celsius? Well, in Oymyakon, that’s pretty much standard procedure, as the one school in the rural locality only closes when temperatures drop under -52° Celsius. Children older than 11 have to be even tougher, as they get to stay home only when the temperature drops under -56° Celsius. Daytime temperatures around this time of year are around -50°C, which means that pupils of all ages have to brave the cold and get to school every morning.

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French Artist Locks Himself in Plexiglas Cube For 20 Days

Inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic, French artist Gaetan Marron has confined himself to a transparent, 4m² plexiglass cube located inside a Marseille shopping mall for 20 days.

Titled “Non-Essentiel”, Gaetan Marron’s art performance is all about highlighting various issues caused by the lockdowns tied to the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, like the lack of human interaction, the lack of freedom, and the role of so-called non-essential activities like culture and art. Earlier this month, the Marseille-based artist locked himself in a small, transparent plastic cube located inside the local Les Docks Villages shopping center, for a period of 20 days. Passers-by can see him, they can talk to him, and, most importantly, they can donate to him, as Marron depends on donations from his visitors for food.

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