The Lazarus Drug – A Sleeping Pill That Can Temporarily Fix Severe Brain Damage

Zolpidem is a sedative from the imidazopyridine class of drugs that is most commonly used to help people fall asleep faster. But, in rare cases, this common drug can actually restore function to damaged brains.

There is a reason why zolpidem is sometimes referred to as the “Lazarus Drug”. If you give this pill to someone with brain damage, in 5% to 6% of cases something miraculous happens. In most cases, the changes are minor. People’s speech improves slightly, the frequency of muscle spasms is reduced, they have less difficulty moving, but in some rare cases, a pill can even bring people back from vegetative states, allowing them speak and move as they did before suffering brain damage. The problem is that these positive effects are gone as soon as the drug wears off, and scientists have yet to discover why some patients with brain damage react this way to zolpidem.

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69-Year-Old Virologist Voluntarily Re-Infects Himself With Coronavirus to Test His Immune Response

Six months after catching the coronavirus, a 69-year-old Russian virologist and researcher exposed himself to patients infected with Covid-19 without any protection to see how his immune system would respond.

A former researcher at the Vector Centre of Virology and Biotechnology in Koltsovo, Novosibirsk, Alexander Chepurnov first caught Covid-19 at the end of February 2020. He was on a skiing holiday in  France when he started feeling unwell, with a high fever, sharp chest pain and a complete loss of his sense of smell. There was no way to get a coronavirus test in Europe at the time, so he returned home to Novosibirsk, where he was quickly diagnosed with double pneumonia. He was lucky enough to recover, and a month later an antibody test confirmed that he had been infected with the new virus.

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Robot Legs Help 7,600-Tonne Building “Walk” to New Location

Chinese Engineers have successfully moved an 85-year-old historical school building in Shanghai to a new location with the help of 198 robotic legs.

Moving older buildings to make room for new construction projects is nothing new in China, but what makes this particular case interesting is the method used to move the 7,600-tonne building. Usually, side rails or flatbeads are used to relocate structures, but the irregular shape of the Lagena Primary Schoool posed quite a challenge to engineers. After weighing their options, experts opted for an innovative “walking” system made up of 198 hydraulic legs that lifted the giant building and helped it “walk” a total of 62 meters over 18 days.

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Bashkir Curly – The Labradoodles of Horses

When asked to describe a horse’s coat, most people use adjectives like smooth and silky, but in reality not all horses have straight, sleek coats. Some of them are as curly as Mangalica pigs or labradoodles.

Curly Horses, also known as Bashkir Curlies, American Bashkir Curlies, and North American Curly Horses, are a special breed that comes in all sizes, colors and body types, and carries a gene for a unique curly coat of hair that becomes especially impressive in winter. That’s the thing with Curlies, they mainly show off their special coats in the wintertime. During the summer, their coat either shows a slight wave in it, or it sheds completely, so you only get to witness the coat of a Bashkir Curly in the cold season.

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Loyal Dog Walks 60 Km in 26 Days to Return Home After Being Forgotten on Highway

A loyal pooch reportedly managed to walk 60 km back to his home after being forgotten by his owners in a highway service area 26 days prior.

According to local media, the 7-year-old dog, named Dou Dou, was forgotten in a by a Chinese family in a motorway service area when they stopped for a break on a long trip. Apparently, no one noticed that Dou Dou was missing until they arrived at their destination, several hours later. They reportedly went back to look for the pet the very next day, but found no trace of him. Luckily, the fluffy canine was able to return home by himself, after nearly a month. He was filthy and emaciated after the 60km walk, but otherwise ok.

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Unhappy With Service, Russian Man Burns His $170,000 Mercedes to a Crisp

A popular Russian vlogger recently made international headlines after purposely burning his expensive Mercedes-AMG G63, because he was sick of it breaking down all the time.

Russian media reported that young vlogger Mikhail Litvin bought his brand new luxury car in December of 2019, for a whopping 13 million rubles, or around $170,000. For that kind of money one would expect both performance and durability, only Litvin claims that his Mercedes-AMG G63 was really short on the latter. Despite having allegedly driven it only 15,000 km (about 9,300 miles), he claims the car has been in and out of repair shops over the last 10 months. Exasperated by the constant need for repairs and the manufacturer’s reluctance to accept responsibility, the Russian vlogger decided that the best way to solve things was to simply burn the car down to a crisp.

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Scandal Brings Chinese “Plastic Rice” Myth Back Into the Spotlight

A viral news report about a woman who claims to have found plastic pellets mixed with rice grains has once again reignited allegations about Chinese fake rice.

Rumours about ruthless Chinese rice growers and retailers mixing plastic rice grains with real ones to increase profit at the cost of consumers’ health have been doing the rounds online for at least a decade, but no such claims have ever been confirmed. We previously wrote about allegations surrounding “cheap but profitable” fake Chinese rice being exported to other Asian countries, including Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and India, but even then authorities could neither confirm nor deny these rumors. Now, another such case has once again brought the so-called “fake rice myth” back into the spotlight.

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The Yakutian Horses That Can Withstand Temperatures of Under -70 Degrees Celsius

Winter temperatures in Russia’s northern region of Yakutia can drop under a staggering -70 degrees Celsius, making it impossible for humans to stay outside for long periods of time. But for the indigenous horses of this region, such extreme temperatures are comfortable enough to spend days and nights in the open.

Yakutian horses are only 140-145 centimeters tall, but can weigh up to half a tonne, because of a thick layer of fat and heavy, thick mane that can reach up to 10 centimeters long. Because of their stocky physique and long mane, some have referred to them as the equestrian version of wooly mammoths. There’s more to that comparison than looks, though, as these horses can withstand far lower temperatures than any other horse breeds anywhere in the world.

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This Beetle Can Survive Being Run Over by a Car

The Diabolical Ironclad Beetle is one of the most resilient beings on the planet. Its protective shell can withstand forces that would pulverize most other living things.

In 2015, when entomologists told Jesus Rivera that a beetle found primarily on the west coast of North America had this “superpower” that allowed it to survive being run over by a car, he didn’t believe them. So he staged a rudimentary experiment, laying this nondescript black beetle on a a pillow of dirt in a parking lot and had a friend run it over with a Toyota Camry, twice. The bug played dead afterwards, but as he was poking it, Rivera realized it was very much alive. The bug scientists were right, this beetle could easily survive being run over by cars. Jesus ended up spending his doctoral career studying the beetle’s superpower to find out what made it so strong.

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These Exquisite Stone-Cut Wonders Take Years to Complete, Cost Up to $1 Million

A stonecutting workshop that set out to carry on the legacy of legendary Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé has managed to raise the art of volumetric mosaic stone cutting to a level never reached before in all of human history.

Volumetric mosaic is one of the most complicated and technical hardstone carving techniques. It involves combining volumetric fragments of various colored semiprecious and ornamental stones to assemble impressive sculptural compositions. It has been practiced by Russian craftsmen and artisans for over a century, but Alexei Antonov’s stonecutting workshop in Yekaterinburg has elevated the art form to a whole new level, by incorporating precious metals in the detailed sculptures and using modern technology to make the artworks stunningly detailed.

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Russia’s Inflatable Army – A Tool of Deception

Looking back at the most significant battles and military operations in history, deception has always been an important strategy, and in modern-day Russia balloons are one of the most important tools of deception.

Bouncy castles aren’t known as the most effective tools of war, but in Russia, they are just as important as actual weapons worth millions of dollars. That’s because bouncy castles designed to mimic actual weapons cost a hundred times cheaper than the real thing, and can be deployed and moved a lot faster. And if your goal is to deceive the enemy, to appear stronger than you really are, drawing their fire, or simply buying time by forcing them to verify targets, this inflatable army is an important piece of your arsenal.

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Britain’s Biggest Hoarder Fills Two Homes and Two Garages with Treasure Trove Valued at Over $5 Million

A computer programmer has been dubbed ‘Britain’s biggest hoarder’ after it was discovered that he had amassed a huge collection of items stored in several homes and garages and valued at £4 million ($5.2 million).

Ramann Shukla, 64, passed away earlier this year, but has posthumously been dubbed Britain’s biggest hoarder for filling his three-bedroom house, a rented flat, two garages and 24 large trash cans with some 60,000 items he had collected over the last 20 years. After the computer programmer died suddenly of a heart attack, his brother was shocked to discover that Ramann’s home had been converted into storage space for thousands of items, some of which were still in their shipping packaging. It’s believed that the Nottingham man was planning to sell of his treasure trove to fund to set up his own retirement fund.

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Artist Bring Dead Bugs Back to Life as Otherworldly Insect Fairies

Amsterdam-based artist Cedric Laquieze creates creates eerie yet intriguing sculptures of fairies by piecing together various dead insect parts.

Over the last 20 years, Cedric Laquieze has created hundreds of unique insect fairies by piecing together bug parts that complement each other in terms of color and texture. He collects dead insects specimens given to him by breeders, takes them apart and then glues various parts (shells, legs, antennae, wings, etc.) together to create his fantastic faeries. Although some people are creeped out by Cedric’s creations, others find them utterly fascinating, and praise the artist for piecing together creatures that look almost lifelike.

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Gym Declares Itself a Shop and a Church to Prevent Closing Down Because of Covid-19

A popular gym in Krakow, Poland, managed to stay open under new coronavirus restrictions by declaring itself a shop where people can “test” equipment for a fee, and a church offering “religious meetings” to promote a healthy lifestyle.

Over the weekend, Krakow police entered the “Atlantic Sports Fitness Gym Squash Klub” fitness center where a dozen or so people were exercising despite the government ban on gyms designed to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Officers ID-ed both the staff and the visitors, but didn’t issue any fines, because representatives of the gym claimed that they were operating legally. Because the firm already has a business classification allowing it to carry out retail services, Atlantic Sports declared itself a shop where people could come in and test fitness equipment for a fee.

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The Russian Granny Who Became World Knife-Throwing Champion

Galina Chuvina, a retired woman from the small Russian town of Sasovo, took up knife throwing as a hobby and ended up becoming an eight time national champion, European champion and even world champion.

Chuvina was 56 years old when she discovered knife throwing, back in 2007. The pensioner had landed a simple job in the coat check section of the local pool, taking people’s clothes and handing out numbers. One day, two young people came by to discuss the possibility of opening a knife throwing club on the premises, and Galina became one of the first people to enroll for knife throwing training. Just a month and a half into her training, the pensioner learned that her home town would soon host a knife throwing competition with around 50 participants, including special forces soldiers, professional knife throwers, as well as amateurs like her. She signed up, and shocked the audience by wining first place.

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