This Cuddly Rodent Coats Itself in Lethal Poison to Keep Predators at Bay

The African crested rat, an elusive rodent that lives in forested areas of Eastern Africa, has a very strange yet intriguing defense mechanism against would-be predators – it licks deadly toxins onto its own fur.

People inhabiting the highland forests and woodlands of countries like Somalia, Sudan or Ethiopia have long known to stay clear of the large maned rat that makes its home in those areas. Known as Lophiomys imhausi to scientists, this long-haired rat is the world’s only poisonous rodent. But the most interesting thing about it is that it’s not born poisonous; it actually “borrows” the lethal toxin of a plant known as the “poison arrow tree”, which contains a poison strong enough to kill an elephant, when applied to an arrow head. The rat applies this toxin to specialized hairs on the sides of its body, turning itself into as lethal weapon against anyone foolish enough to attack it.

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English Company Develops World’s First Antimicrobial Smartphone

Smartphones have long been known to be crawling with all sorts of bacteria and microbes, but that “dirty” reputations is getting a cleanup thanks to a UK startup that claims to have created the world’s first antimicrobial smartphone.

The CAT S42 build under the Caterpillar brand is one of the sturdiest and cleanest budget smartphones money can buy. Its IP68 rating means it has total protection against dust and water, and the manufacturer actually encourages users to wash and sanitize their phones under running water. But starting in 2021, the CAT S42 will get an extra layer of protection thanks to a new technology called “Biomaster antimicrobial technology”, which supposedly stops the spread of germs.

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Japanese Fruit Farmers “Employ” Owls as Pest Control

Japanese field voles can seriously impact the profits of apple orchard owners, if left unchecked. For centuries, many farmers have relied on owls to keep vole numbers to manageable levels, and research has shown the night predators to be incredibly efficient.

Ural owls have been setting up their nests in orchards with high rodent populations for a very long time, but Japanese apple growers were the first to notice the beneficial effect the winged predators had on their orchards and actively try to use them as a means of natural pest controls. Apart from allowing the owls to set up nests in tree hollows, they also started installing man-made tree houses to encourage owls from settling on their properties. They soon noticed that the owls brought the vole population down significantly, which meant healthier trees and bigger profits.

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Animal Lover Shares Her Home with 480 Cats and 12 Dogs

Maryam al-Balushi, an animal lover from Muscat, in Oman, shares her house with 480 cats, most of which were strays, and 12 dogs, spending almost $8,000 a month on food and vet bills for them.

The 51-year-old retired civil servant might seem like a life-long animal lover, but the truth is she hasn’t always been fond of them. It all started in 2008, when her son brought home a small Persian cat as a pet, which al-Balushi wasn’t at all thrilled about, especially since her son didn’t really take care of it. As time went by, Maryam started getting used to her feline pet, and eventually they became inseparable. In 2011, Maryam al-Balushi went through a severe depression, and she credits her first cat for helping her through that difficult period. In the years that followed, she dedicated herself to helping stray cats and taking them into her home.

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Confectioner Creates Exquisite Cookies That Look Inedible, in a Good Way

Cookies come in all shapes and sizes, but few look as exquisite as those of Costa Rican confectioner Lorena Rodriguez, founder of Lorena’s Sweets.

Looking at the edible works of art created by Lorena Rodriguez, once doesn’t know if to eat them or hang them up on a wall somewhere, for everyone to see. Some of the experienced confectioner’s cookies certainly don’t look like the variety you find in most cookie jars, that’s for sure. They range from realistic-looking paintings with elaborate, gilded frames, designs inspired by rococo architecture, and edible Christmas decorations. They consist of a Danish-style cookie expertly decorated with a high-quality fondant molded into shape using silicone molds.

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Kid Shoves Metal Coin Into His Nose, Forgets About It For 53 Years

A 59-year-old man in Zelenograd, Russia, lived with serious nose breathing difficulties for over half a century, because of a coin he had shoved up his nose as a child and forgot about over the years.

Doctors at the Konchalovsky City Clinical Hospital in Zelenograd recently reported the strange case of a patient who said he had been completely unable to breathe through his right nostril for several months. A CT scan showed that the right nasal passage was completely blocked by a foreign body of stony density stuck in the posterior, close to the nasopharynx. A more common curvature of the septum was also observed, but it would not have obstructed the nasal passage completely all by itself. The foreign object was the problem, but the deviated septum had emphasized the breathing difficulties to the point where the patient had no choice but to seek help.

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Plant Evolves to Become Less Visible to Humans in Areas With Excessive Harvesting

Fritillaria delavayi, a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, has apparently evolved to match its background and become more difficult to spot as a direct consequence of heavy harvesting.

Scientists had known that many plants evolved to use camouflage as a way of hiding from herbivores that may eat them, but a recent study suggests that one particular plant species has developed the same mechanism to hide from human harvesters. Researchers found that fritillaria delavayi plants, which grow on the rocky slopes of China’s Hengduan mountains, match their backgrounds most closely in areas where they are intensely harvested by humans.

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Japanese Artist Carves Whimsical Worlds into Tiny Tree Leaves

Japanese self-taught artist Rito (@lito_leafart) spends hours painstakingly carving tree leaves to create stunningly detailed scenes that capture viewers’ imagination.

Rito’s leaf cutouts are impressive enough by themselves, but the story of what inspired the artist to take up leaf art in the first place makes them even more so. Apparently, the Japanese artist suffers from ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), and spending hours focusing on a single artwork was his ways of treating his condition. He has been creating at least one of his leaf cutouts a day, as a form of therapy.

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Man Attends Celebrity Wedding With Six ‘Girlfriends’, All Allegedly Pregnant With His Babies

Nigerian socialite Mike Eze-Nwalie Nwogu, aka “Pretty Mike”, sparked controversy after attending a high-profile wedding accompanied by six heavily pregnant women, all allegedly carrying his babies.

Describing the women as his “six baby mothers to be”, Pretty Mike was filmed rubbing and kissing each of their bellies at the wedding of Nigerian actor Williams Uchemba to his girlfriend Brunella Oscar. The socialite, who owns a nightclub in Lagos, wore a pink suit, while his six dates put on matching long silver dresses or two-piece outfits that emphasized their baby bumps.

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Rare Grape Variety Is Larger Than a Chicken Egg

Pictures of giant grapes, larger than the average chicken egg, have been doing the rounds on Vietnamese social media this week, raising questions about their authenticity and origin.

Novelty fruits are particularly popular in Japan, where specialized shops can sell certain varieties of apples, peaches, melons or grapes for mind-boggling prices. However, the popularity of such fruits has spread throughout Asia, and recently the Vietnamese owner of a market stall shared some photos of a new variety of grapes imported from Japan. Using social media to promote new products is fairly standard these days, only these photos got a lot more attention than usual, because of the apparent size of the grapes. Some of these white grapes seemed to be larger than a chicken egg.

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Japanese Company Wants to Buy Your Face and Sell It as a Hyper-Realistic Mask

Would you ever sell your face? If the answer is yes, there is a Japanese company that wants to hear from you. It’s in the business of buying the rights to people’s faces so it can sell them in the form of hyper-realistic 3D-printed masks.

Ever since Kamenya Omoto, a Tokyo-based specialty mask maker and store, announced its intention to buy the rights to people’s faces for 40,000 yen ($380) a pop, it’s been overwhelmed with offers. The company wants to reproduce people’s faces in the form of hyper-realistic masks and sell them for an estimated ($940). If a mask proves popular with clients, the person whose appearance inspired it stands to earn a percentage of the profits as well. The controversial project, named “That Face”, reportedly aims to give a sci-fi twist to the idea of buying and selling faces.

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Helicopter Crew Accidentally Discover Mysterious Metal Monolith Deep in Utah Desert

A helicopter crew from Utah’s Department of Public Safety recently discovered a large metal monolith in the rocky desert of southeastern Utah. So far, no one knows what the metal object actually is, or how it got there.

Last Wednesday, while helping the Division of Wildlife Resources count bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, members of a helicopter crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero Bureau spotted something unusual in the rocky, barren desert below. A smooth, shiny metallic block rising up from the earths isn’t something you usually stumble into around those parts, so the crew decided to land and take a closer look at it. While it failed to do anything worthy of a sci-fi movie, the mysterious structure did raise a lot of questions, most of which remain unanswered.

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Japanese Rapunzel Hasn’t Cut Her Hair in 15 Years

35-year-old Rin Kambe has been dubbed the Japanese Rapunzel because of her nearly 6-feet-long mane, which she hasn’t cut in 15 years.

Rin, who hails from Tokyo, was never allowed to grow her hair as a child.  She was on the girl’s football team so had to keep it short, but when she became an adult, she decided to take control of her hair and use it as a “weapon of expression”. The last time she cut her hair was 15 years ago, and now her straight, black locks measure 5ft 10in, a good 4 inches more than Rin herself. Although her hair sometimes gets in the way when doing the simplest of tasks, like changing her clothes, the Japanese dancer and model said that she loves her long mane, adding that it encapsulates the “beauty of Asia”.

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Eye Art – Talented Makeup Artist Uses Her Eyes as Canvas for Tiny Masterpieces

Tal Peleg is an experienced makeup artist who goes beyond the usual tricks of the trade to create beautiful artworks in the space between her eyebrows and her eyes.

They say makeup itself is an art form, but if that’s true, what do we even call what Israeli Tal Peleg does, magic? The talented makeup artist uses both standard makeup and watercolors to create all sorts of intricate scenes – from iconic film or cartoon scenes, to original designs – on her own eyes, using very thin paint brushes. The 34-year-old artist takes between 1.5 hours and 4.5 hours (2.5 hours on average) to complete on of her amazing eye artworks, depending on the level of complexity.

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How a Routine Blood Donation Left a Young Woman Permanently Disabled

A 21-year-old woman has lost mobility in her right arm following a botched blood donation in which a nurse allegedly drew blood from one of her arteries instead of a vein.

Gabriela Ekman, of Ontario, Canada, had just turned 17 when she decided to donate blood for the first time in her life. She hoped it would make a difference, maybe even save someone’s life, but she had no idea it would actually change her life for the worse. When she went to a blood drive hosted by Canadian Blood Services four years ago, she didn’t know what to expect, but when the the phlebotomist who drew her blood let out a “whoops” when she stung her arm with a needle, she knew something wasn’t right. But she didn’t say anything, not even when the staff commented on how oxygenated her blood seemed, an indication that it may have come from an artery, instead of a vein. By the time she realized something was definitely wrong, it was too late…

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