Japanese Speed-Dating Event Has Potential Matches Sitting in Silence While Robots Do the Talking for Them

Based on the premise that people who are having trouble finding a romantic partner probably lack the confidence and experience to properly interact with a potential match, a Tokyo-based robotics association recently hosted a speed-dating party where human participants sat in silence across a table from each-other while tiny robots spoke on their behalf.

The bizarre event took place in Tokyo, Japan, and was organized by the Contents innovation Program (CiP) Association, which specializes in developing AI, robotics and other technology, according to The Japan News. In a series of videos posted on YouTube, potential matches can be seen sitting across from each other, but instead of talking, they just sit there quietly with their gazes focused on two little robots placed on the table between them. They just sit in silence while these robotic assistants ask each other questions and provide answers, based on information pre-loaded into their system from a 45-question survey participants completed prior to the event.

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Girl Uses “Handwriting Robot” to Complete Homework Faster

The story of a young student who used a so-called “handwriting robot” to complete her Lunar New Year holiday homework in record time made news headlines in China last week, sparking a heated debate.

The Qianjiang Evening News reported the case of a junior high-school student from Harbin who spent 800 yuan ($118) on a copying robot that allowed her to complete her transcribing assignments and essays in no time at all. The girl’s mother, surnamed Zhang, became suspicious when her daughter turned in her holiday homework, neatly written and with absolutely no errors, despite having very little time to do it, due to Lunar New Year festivities and traveling. Then, while cleaning the girl’s room, Zhang found a bizarre metal contraption as well as its packaging, which claimed that it could imitate any handwriting.

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Japanese Company Will Confess to Your Crush If You’re Too Shy to Do It Yourself

Building up the courage to confess your feelings to your crush and asking them out on a date can be a nerve-wrecking experience, but thanks to the unique services offered by Japanese company Kokunavi, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re too shy to approach your crush, you can just pay them to do it on your behalf.

True to its name – a mashup between the Japanese word “kokuhaku” (confession of love) and “navigation” –  Kokunavi is committed to helping shy people make their feelings known to their crushes without having to go through the emotionally distressing experience of actually confessing their crush. Basically, Kokunavi will have someone else approach the client’s crush and convey a romantic message on their behalf. Think of it like having a friend deliver a love letter to your high school crush, if that friend charged a lot of money to do it.

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Indonesian Police Apologizes for Using Two-Meter Live Snake During Interrogation

Police in Papua’s Jayawijaya district, Indonesia, issued a public apology after a video showing an alleged thief being interrogated by security forces using a two-meter live snake went viral online.

Human rights advocates in Indonesia are condemning the use of a live snake during the interrogation of an alleged thief in Western New Guinea. In a video doing the rounds on social media, a barefoot, handcuffed man can be seen squirming and screaming as police officers push a live snake in his face and threaten to put in his mouth and in his pants. Later, the reptile is also seen wrapped around the suspect’s neck, as police try to get a confession out of him about some stolen phones.

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Thai City Sprays Sweetened Water into the Air to Combat Pollution

The air pollution crisis in Thailand has gotten so bad that authorities are trying some unconventional methods of clearing the air of dust and hazardous particles. For example, the local Government in Bangkok recently started spraying sugar-infused water in the atmosphere.

Yesterday, Thai media reported that in a desperate attempt to bring down critical air pollution levels in Bangkok, local authorities started experimenting with sweetened water, instead of regular one. The idea behind the bizarre pollution-fighting strategy is that by increasing the viscosity of the water using sugar will allow it to trap more dangerous particles when sprayed into the air. However, some experts believe that the unconventional approach could do more harm than good.

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Teenage Boy Learns Makeup, Goes from “Ugly Duckling” to “Swan”

An 18-year-old boy recently shared the story of his impressive physical transformation to inspire other teenagers who consider themselves unattractive to start taking care of themselves and not to be ashamed to use makeup to improve their looks.

They say a person’s personality is more important than their physical looks, but try telling that to a high-school student who constantly gets ridiculed for their his acne, geeky glasses and poor fashion sense. The protagonist of this story knows all about that, but unlike most other teens in his situation he actually did something about it and recently took to the internet to share the details of his transformation, hoping to inspire other “ugly ducklings” to enhance their appearance.

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The Bizarre Reason Why Chinese Television Started Blurring Men’s Ears

TV viewers in China recently noticed something strange whenever certain male celebrities showed up on screen – their ears were digitally blurred as if to hide something. While Chinese television has yet to make an official statement on this issue, the measure seems meant to hide men’s earrings.

Last year, China’s media regulator banned TV stations from showing celebrities’ tattoos as well as other elements of “hip hop culture, sub-culture and immoral culture,” in an effort to minimize Western impact on China’s pop culture. It was only a matter of time before men’s earrings were targeted, and earlier this year people started noticing that earring-wearing male actors and other pop icons had their ears blurred. The hashtag #MaleTVStarsCantWearEarrings recently went viral online, with tens of thousands of people criticizing the move as discriminatory.

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Company Makes Employees Crawl Through the Streets for Not Meeting Sales Targets

A company in Shandong province, China, has come under fire for forcing six of its employees to crawl through the streets on their hands and feet as punishment for not meeting sales targets.

The humiliating procession reportedly took place in the city of Zaozhuang on January 14 and was recorded by shocked passers-by. Six people can be seen crawling on all fours through traffic behind a man carrying a red flag emblazoned with their company’s name. With no protection other than their office clothes, the punished staff struggles to keep up with the flag bearer, but somehow find the strength to keep going, probably fueled by the fear of losing their jobs.

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Hong Kong’s Tiniest Apartments Are Smaller Than a Parking Space

Hong Kong is famous for its expensive nano-flats, but one property developer recently made international headlines for selling apartments smaller than the average parking space.

Just when you thought homes in Hong Kong couldn’t get any smaller, a local real-estate developer unveiled the T-Plus, a new type of so-called “shoebox flat” measuring only 128 square feet, which makes it smaller than the average Hong Kong parking space (130 square feet). Despite its shockingly small size, the T-Plus housing unit includes all the amenities a person might need, including a kitchen, a toilet, storage space, a refrigerator, a bed and a dining table. That’s pretty impressive, considering that this apartment is so small that you only need to take a total of five steps to get from one end of it to the other.

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This Afghan Hound Has the Most Incredible Hair

AJ Nirvana Battle, a three-year-old Afghan hound from China is the canine version of a fashion model. He’s got a slender physique, loves posing for pictures and he has the most incredible hair.

Looking at AJ Nirvana Battle and his luxurious locks, it’s easy to see why he turns heads wherever his owner takes him. But his impeccable looks aren’t all natural. Kevin Chan, a Beijing-based marketing director, spends six to eight hours bathing and grooming him every seven to ten days, and doesn’t mind spending big money on the best grooming equipment and hair products. He claims to have spent around 100,000 yuan ($15,000) on grooming tools for his three-year-old pooch, and spends another 1,000 yuan ($150) on bathing products every week. That’s a lot of money, but Chan says it’s worth it, as he considers Battle a member of the family.

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Man Secretly Marries Three Women, Gets Them Apartments in the Same Neighborhood “for Convenience”

A Chinese polygamist who was secretly married to three women managed to keep them from finding out about each other despite arranging for them to live within a one kilometer radius, for his own convenience.

The 36-year-old man, surnamed Zhang, is facing up to two years in prison for polygamy, after he exploited a loophole in the system to legally marry three different women in a period of three years. He worked as a real-estate agent in Kunshan, eastern China’s Jiangsu province, and made a lot of money thanks to the country’s booming property market, so providing for three different families was no problem, but he admitted that traveling between three homes up to 10 times a week could be a bit tiring. Not as tiring as it could have been, though, as Zhang made sure to buy the three women apartments within a one kilometer radius, for his own convenience.

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Meet Rino Sasaki, Japan’s Most Beautiful Truck Driver

Long haul truck driving is generally seen as a man’s job, but Rino Sasaki, a young female truck driver from Japan, is challenging this stereotype and conquering social media in the process.

Rino Sasaki grew up in Kochi Prefecture as the daughter of a long haul truck driver, but never really considered the idea of becoming one herself until seven years ago, when her father became sick. He continued working, but she couldn’t stand the thought of her father all alone on the road, thousands of miles away from home, with no one to care for him. So 21-year-old Rino, who worked as a traditional dance teacher at the time, got a truck driving license and decided to join her father on his long haul trips. She tried teaching her dance classes as well, but soon learned that driving thousands of miles around the country meant that she might not always be back home on schedule, so she eventually abandoned her old career and became a full-time truck driver.

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Teen “Too Shy to Ask for Directions” Wanders Through Singapore for 10 Days

Zhang Daming, an 18-year-old Malaysia, allegedly spent 10 days wandering through Singapore because he was too shy to ask for directions after becoming unable to find his way to the apartment building he was staying in.

Zhang reportedly traveled from Malaysia to Singapore last month in order to look for work, and was sharing an apartment in the island city with a friend who had been working there for some time. On the day of his disappearance, Zhang Daming’s roommate gave him SGD50 ($37) for food before leaving for work, as the 18-year-old only had Malaysian ringgit. He used some of that money to get some lunch at a nearby cafe, but didn’t bother keeping an eye out for markers to help him find his way back, and upon leaving the cafe, he quickly realized that he didn’t know how to get back to his friend’s apartment building.

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Chinese Schools Track Students with GPS-Enabled “Smart Uniforms”

Eleven schools in the Chinese province of Guizhou have introduced micro-chipped uniforms that track and monitor the students even beyond school grounds.

Developed by local company Guizhou Guanyu Technology, the smart school uniforms feature two microchips embedded into the shoulder pads which allow both the school and the children’s parents to monitor their activity at all times. A GPS system tracks their movements and an alarm informs both teachers and parents whenever a student leaves the classroom or school grounds without permission, or if he falls asleep during classes. The smart uniforms also allow students’ parents to monitor their purchases at school and set spending limits via a mobile app.

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Man Pretends to Be a Police Officer for 12 Years

A Chinese man was recently arrested and charged with fraud for impersonating a police officer. He’s definitely not the first person to do that, but what makes his case special is that he managed to convince everyone around him that he was a real police officer for 12 years.

41-year-old Wang Feng had always wanted to be a police officer, but never actually trained or studied to become one. That didn’t stop him from pretending to be one for over a decade, though. It all started in 2006, when Wang’s brother was involved in a debt dispute case and needed a lawyer. To make sure that his brother’s counsel gave 100% in court, Wang met with the man and pretended to be a police officer at the Haiyan Baibu Police Station, in Baibu Town, China’s Zhejiang Province. The ruse actually worked, which made Wang Feng want to try it on others as well. Soon, he started telling friends and acquaintances that he had become a police officer, bought a fake uniform, handcuffs, and even had a fake ID done.

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