Children born with facial deformities are always a sad tale. Whether or not it’s something correctable, such as a cleft palate, or something you just have to live with, like Moebius syndrome, it’s always gut-wrenching that a poor child has to suffer such a condition. One such example is Kangkang, a 14-month old born with a transverse facial cleft. What does this mean?

It means the baby essentially has a second face. Hailing from the Hunan province, all signs pointed to a normal, healthy baby for young Yi Xilian, but once Kangkang was born, the truth was revealed. The poor child looks like he’s literally wearing a mask, due in part to a massive cleft that extends almost all the way up to his ears. Unable to see her son upon birth, the unfortunate mother, who is employed at a company that manufactures electronics in the Guangdong Province, pleaded and pleaded with her husband to see the newborn. After finally be handed the child, she broke down into tears.


No one knows what causes this unfortunate condition, though theories abound. It could be caused by an infection, or even frequent drug use by the mother. According to one source, the only drugs the mother took while pregnant were prescribed anti-abortion agents her doctors prescribed. Sadly, this condition is incredibly expensive to treat, as Yi learned when she took Kangkang at 20-days old to a hospital in Changsha. The final tally: around 300-400,000 Yen, or approximately 80,000 to 100,000 dollars.


Thankfully, there is a happy ending, as Kangkang’s family has managed to gather together enough money for treatment at the People’s Liberation Army’s Military No. 163 Hospital.

weirdasianews.com
Twirling your pasta around a fork is an artform. Some people twirl it on the side of the bowl, other use spoons and people who are lazy and unimaginative cut their pasta up. And now, from Japan, a new option.



This crazy fork has a "thumb" of sorts to snag your past and keep it from falling off. It also has some bumps on the other side of unclear utility. Also, did I mention that two of these forks will set you back $44? Yes, that is a $22 pasta fork you're looking at.

Buy at Japan Trend Shop

gizmodo.com
New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year.

2. Fit in Fitness
The evidence is in for fitness. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.

3. Tame the Bulge
Over 66 percent of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors in sticking with a weight loss program, and the key to success for those millions of Americans who made a New Year's commitment to shed extra pounds.

4. Quit Smoking
If you have resolved to make this the year that you stamp out your smoking habit, over-the-counter availability of nicotine replacement therapy now provides easier access to proven quit-smoking aids. Even if you've tried to quit before and failed, don't let it get you down. On average, smokers try about four times before they quit for good. Start enjoying the rest of your smoke-free life!

5. Enjoy Life More
Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years. It's an important step to a happier and healthier you!

6. Quit Drinking
While many people use the New Year as an incentive to finally stop drinking, most are not equipped to make such a drastic lifestyle change all at once. Many heavy drinkers fail to quit cold turkey but do much better when they taper gradually, or even learn to moderate their drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking, there is a world of help and support available.

7. Get Out of Debt
Was money a big source of stress in your life last year? Join the millions of Americans who have resolved to spend this year getting a handle on their finances. It's a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.

8. Learn Something New
Have you vowed to make this year the year to learn something new? Perhaps you are considering a career change, want to learn a new language, or just how to fix your computer? Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating New Year's resolutions to keep.

9. Help Others
A popular, non-selfish New Year's resolution, volunteerism can take many forms. Whether you choose to spend time helping out at your local library, mentoring a child, or building a house, there are many nonprofit volunteer organizations that could really use your help.

10. Get Organized
On just about every New Year resolution top ten list, organization can be a very reasonable goal. Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite someone over on a whim, or your office organized enough that you can find the stapler when you need it.

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Most of you are familiar with American, Canadian and English Christmas customs, which are largely the same, including Santa bringing presents that sit below a lit up tree. But have you ever wondered just how Christmas is celebrated in China, or in Finland? Whether you’re just interested in learning more about other cultures or want to incorporate some new traditions into your holiday celebrations, this article is filled with all you need to know about international Christmases.

Greece:
Saint Nicholas is one of the most popular saints in Greece because he is the patron saint of sailors. For this reason, their Saint Nicholas is hardly the fur-wearing man celebrated by other cultures. Instead, he is depicted as being soaked with seawater and sweaty from working too hard to save ships.

Like France, Christmas trees never really caught on here. Instead, residents will fill a shallow bowl with water and then tie wire with a wooden cross and a sprig of basil over the bowl. Once a day the cross and basil are dipped into holy water, which is then sprinkled through the house. This ceremony is used to keep out goblins, known as Killikantzaroi out of the house. These mischievous goblins that come from the center of the earth only appear during the twelve days of Christmas. While bratty, they’re not really evil and tend to do bratty things like souring milk and extinguishing fires. Because they are said to enter the house through the fireplace, fires are left burning all day and night during this time of year.

Iceland:
Icelandic children were once told to behave or they would be eaten by a pair of ogres that lived up in the hills. The characters were considered to be so terrifying that a public decree banned the use of these stories to scare children into behaving. Instead of talking about the ogre couple, parents instead started telling stories of the ogre’s children, the Jolasveinar, who are bad, but not nearly as evil as their parents.

Jolasveinars were originally said to play tricks on people and steal food, but now they are responsible for giving gifts to children. Bad children don’t get presents though, they get potatoes or other items that remind them that they weren’t forgotten, but don’t deserve real presents.

Italy:
In Italy, there is no Santa, but instead there a woman called a Befana that performs the general duties of Saint Nick. The story is that the three wise men stopped during their travels and asked a woman for food and shelter. She said no, but later realized her mistake when it was too late. She now travels the earth looking for the baby Jesus and on Januaray 6th, she leaves kids a sock filled with candy or a lump of coal.

Japan:
While most Japanese residents are not Christian, the majority of people still celebrate Christmas just for the fun of it. Unsurprisingly, the rituals are slightly different than those we are used to. Because KFC has marketed the idea that fried chicken is the traditional meal for the holidays, the restaurants are so busy on Christmas Day that reservations are required.

Most of the holiday celebrations revolve around romantic love more than family relationships and bakeries even sell cakes for sweethearts.

Children still have a Santa figure though, only in this case, he is a traditional Japanese god who is known for his generosity. Hoteiosho is a heavy-set Buddhist priest who carries a large sack of presents. Children know they have to be good because Hoteiosho has eyes in the back of his head.

Netherlands:
The Netherland’s Christmas traditions are subject to a lot of controversy as their version of Santa, Sinterklaas, is accompanied by a one-time slave known as Black Peter. These days, the Dutch try to play down the racism of the matter by claiming that Black Peter’s cartoonish appearance is a result of his going down dirty chimneys all the time and he’s no longer referred to as a slave, but a “helper.”

The naughty man in blackface is a mischievous character who may kidnap naughty children and whisk them away to his home in Spain.

Norway:
Norwegian folklore says that Christmas Eve is kind of like Halloween and brings about a number of evil spirits and witches. The brooms of the houses are hidden to keep them away from witches and men will often go outside and shoot their guns to ward off evil spirits.

Pagan winter celebrations used to revolve around Thor’s pet goat and a person would arrive at the parties wearing a goatskin and carrying a goat head. He would eventually fake his death and then return to life. As Christianity started to take over the area, the goat was recast as a form of the devil and he was eventually banned. Since then, the goat character was morphed into Julebukk, a “yule goat.” The new story of the goat involved him traveling from door to door where he would get gifts for keeping the evil spirits away. Nowadays, kids dress up and play the role of the Julebukk, where they get treats as they visit the houses.

Slavic Europe:
Most Slavic countries don’t rely on Saint Nick for presents, but instead count on Ded Moroz, which translates to “Grandfather Frost”. He’s a magical character who delivers presents on New Year’s Eve. He was banned at the start of the Communist Revolution, but because he wasn’t officially a Christmas character, Stalin allowed him to come back, only he was required to wear blue so he wouldn’t be confused with Santa Claus. In modern times, this ruling has been reversed and he can wear any color he wants.
Spain:

Spain’s celebrations vary greatly depending on the region. In the Basque regions, the Santa role is filled by Olentzero, a fat man in a beret who smokes a pipe. He used to be an enforcer against naughty children who was said to throw a sickle down the chimney to cut the throats of kids who didn’t sleep. Nowadays though, he is a positive character like Santa that only brings good presents.

In the Catalan region, families “feed” a little log called a “Caga tio” every night from the 8th to the 23rd. On Christmas Eve, the family hits the log with a stick to release sweet treats that have been hidden in his hollow center. If you hadn’t guessed yet, “Caga tio” translates to “pooping log.” The celebration ends when the log poops out something decidedly not sweet, usually a dried herring, an onion or a head of garlic.

Catalans must enjoy poop jokes because aside from their pooping log, they also celebrate with a “Caganer,” a nativity scene character that is seen to be pooping in the corner of the scene.

Ukraine:
While the story about German families hiding a pickle ornament on their tree is false, Ukrainians actually do hide a spider web ornament on their tree and it is supposed to be good luck for the person who finds it. The story behind the tradition is that an old widow had no money to decorate her tree and went to bed upset that her children would have an undecorated tree the next day. While she was asleep, a spider decorated the tree with a beautiful web. When the first light of day hit the webs, they turned to silver and gold and the widow and her children never went longing again.

Venezuela:
Venezuelans celebrate Christmas similar to many other cultures, in that they generally go to mass early on Christmas Day. The difference is that Venezuelans go to church in roller skates. In the capital, Caracas, streets are even closed off to traffic in order to keep the skaters safe. On Christmas Eve, children tie strings to their toes and let them dangle into the street, where they are tugged on by skaters as they go by. It’s certainly a different way to wake up on Christmas morning.

Remember that in all countries, celebrations and traditions can vary greatly by region, so if you have lived in any of these countries and not experienced a tradition named on this list, it may just be experienced elsewhere.

All Christmas Celebrations Around The World You Need To Know (part 1)

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Most of you are familiar with American, Canadian and English Christmas customs, which are largely the same, including Santa bringing presents that sit below a lit up tree. But have you ever wondered just how Christmas is celebrated in China, or in Finland? Whether you’re just interested in learning more about other cultures or want to incorporate some new traditions into your holiday celebrations, this article is filled with all you need to know about international Christmases.

Austria:
Austrian children still get to celebrate the arrival of Ol’ Saint Nick, but they also have to brace themselves for the arrival of his evil counterpart, Krampus. Where Saint Nicholas rewards good behavior with treats and toys on December 6, the demonic Krampus arrives on December 5, looking to punish all the bad children. His weapons of choice are birch switches to beat children with and burlap sacks to kidnap them and throw them into the river.

The worst part is that local men actually dress up like Krampus (just like many men dress up as Santa in America) and terrorize the streets. In some villages, kids are even made to run what is known as a Krampus-gauntlet, in an attempt to outrun the switches.

Czechoslovakia:
The Czechoslovakian version of Saint Nick is known as Svaty Mikalas, who is said to climb down to Earth from the heavens using a golden rope. Mikalas is accompanied by an angel and a devil who help him decide which girls and boys deserve treats and toys, and which ones deserve a swatch.

There are a lot of fortune-telling traditions that are associated with Christmas as well. One involves a family member cutting a branch from a cherry tree and putting it inside in water. If it blooms in time for Christmas it is good luck. It also may represent that the winter will be short, or if a single woman picked the branch, it could mean she will get married in the next year.

On Christmas Eve, single woman also try to see if they will get married in the next year by standing outside with their back to their front door, removing one of their shoes and throwing it over their shoulder. If the shoe lands with the toe facing the door, then she will marry in the next year. If not, she will have to wait at least another 12 months.

Finland:
Finnish people honor their departed loved ones on Christmas Eve by visiting the cemeteries and leaving candles on the graves of their family members. If they live too far away to visit their loved one’s graves, most graveyards have an area you can light a candle to remember those buried in other cemeteries. The soft snow and gentle glow of the candles make graveyards a very beautiful place to visit on Christmas Eve.

France:
Children of East France have an evil visitor, similar to Krampus, to keep them behaving all year long. Le Pere Fouettard, which translates into “The Whipping Father,” accompanies Saint Nicolas in on December 6. While St. Nick gives good children presents, Le Pere Fouettard gives coal and whippings to the naughty children. One of the most popular origin stories of the character say that he was a greedy inn keeper who killed three rich boys on their way to boarding school. In many versions of the story, he even eats the children. Whether or not he cannibalizes the boys, the story ends when Saint Nick finds out and resurrects the children and forces Le Pere Fouettard to act as his servant throughout time.

Aside from The Whipping Father, another popular French tradition involves making a cake that looks like a traditional Yule log, known as buche de Noel. Christmas trees never really caught on in the country and while most people don’t have any use for an actual Yule log, the cake is a fun and festive substitute. Some of the buche de Nol can get fairly elaborate and even involve meringue mushrooms and edible flower decorations.

Germany:
Belsnickel is the German Santa’s dark enforcer, but he’s not nearly as evil as Krumpus or The Whipping Father. Instead he just wears fur from head to toe and gives good girls and boys candy and bad children coal and switches.

Many are decorated with a wreath known as an “Adventskranz.” These wreaths have four candles which serve as a sort of weekly advent calendar, as each Sunday marks the opportunity to light a new candle.

On December 21, St. Thomas Day is believed to be the shortest day of the year and anyone who arrives late to work is called a “Thomas Donkey.” They are also given a cardboard donkey and made fun of throughout the rest of the day.

Like many places in Europe, the Christmas tree is kept secret from the children until Christmas Eve. The parents bring the tree in, decorate it with candies, tinsel, lights and toys, put presents and plates of candy treats under the tree and then ring a bell signaling that the children can enter. The children then get to eat snacks and the whole family opens presents.

All Christmas Celebrations Around The World You Need To Know (part 2)


neatorama.com

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KARACHI: A group of students set a new Guinness World of Records by accommodating 19 girls in a Smart Car.

This historic event took place at DHA Creek Club, Karachi in front of a Jury and reported worldwide Wednesday in the presence of Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khoro who was chief guest on the occasion and Wasim Akram former Pakistan Cricket captain.

Aymen Saleem Yousuf who is the leader of the team squeezed into a standard Smart Car to smash the record ealier set by the Climb Fit Team of Australia when 18 students compressed into a standard Smart Car at Sydney Australia on January 25, 2010.

The jury comprised of Nisar Ahmed Khoro, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig Advisor to Prime Minister of Pakistan, Sharmila Farooqui Advisor to CM Sindh on Information, former Pakistan cricket captain Waseem Akram, former hockey captain and olympian Islahuddin and Ishtiaq Baig Hon. Consul General of Morocco.


allvoices.com

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The child eats 10,000 calories a day, she cannot walk or bear physical strain and his cardiovascular system is at risk.

Seven-year-old Jessica Gaude differs greatly from her pals. With 222 kilograms, she is the fattest child in the world.

She eats 10,000 calories each day in Coca-Colas, 15 hamburgers with fries and several kilograms of chocolate. What she eats in one day some children eat in half a year. Her breakfast consists of white bread, potato chips and two litres of coke. And she wants more.

When she last visited the doctor four years ago she had 110 kilograms. Unfortunately, she can no longer run and instead of walking she drags herself on the floor. Under such bodily weight her bones have already become distorted.

Mother Carolyn gives her daughter whatever the child wants. In the first week after she was born, when the baby cried because of stomach pains, the mother calmed her by feeding her with a bottle because she thought the child was hungry. “I gave her the bottle and she wanted more and more. It was not enough for her and she was constantly hungry”, Jessica’s mother says.

The doctors warn that the child’s health is already dangerously at risk and could die if not treated.

Unfortulately, Jessica’s mother does not understand medicine, her child is prescious to her and continues to feed her sweets.

Thankfully, child protective services took this kid away and forced her to lose weight to not die at a fat camp.

Jessica lost 300 pounds WITHOUT surgery, but still struggles with a clear addiction to food, lying in her bed, yelling about peanut butter and such.

VIDEO: Jessica - WAS Worlds Fattest Child

fun-on.com

1. Totally embarrass yourself.
After the publication of my book Reviving Ophelia, in 1994, I was invited to a prestigious party. I got all dressed up; I was so excited to make connections. I had a wonderful time and was elated as I was walking back to my car. Well, that is, until I felt something on the back of my skirt. While I had gotten dressed for the function, I had apparently sat on a stack of clean laundry, and a pair of underwear had affixed itself. I had spent the entire night that way! I was mortified, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t matter. I went to other similar events after that, and as far as I could tell, that incident didn’t change people’s impression of me one little bit.

I tend to think that we are all always one static-cling mishap away from looking like a total idiot—and believing that helps me keep gaffes in perspective. And, of course, these grand embarrassments eventually loosen their grip anyway, leaving you with an ace-in-the-hole story to crack up your friends with for years to come.

Mary Pipher, Ph.D., has been a psychotherapist for more than 30 years. Her latest book is Seeking Peace ($16, amazon.com).

2. Ruffle people’s feathers.
Years ago, when I began working at a business school, I sat in meetings quietly, afraid I would say the wrong thing. Some people spoke up and were scoffed at. I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I held my tongue. I soon realized that my silence implied that I was on board with whatever was being said. I started voicing my opinion, even on controversial subjects, regardless of how my comments would be received. Occasionally colleagues would roll their eyes, but I found that even those who disagreed with me came to respect me for not backing down. Sometimes my ideas will make me unpopular, sure, but that’s better than being a blank slate.

Mary C. Gentile, Ph.D., is a senior research scholar in business management at Babson College, in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She is the author of Giving Voice to Values ($26, amazon.com).


3. Follow trends blindly.
Looking back on my life, I find it hard to think of a fad I did not embrace. When glam rock glittered, I bleached my hair and wore a dangly earring. When punk rock raged, I donned black leather. Not until my 50s did I find my look—I call it Carnaby Street mod circa 1966—which allowed me to hop off the trend merry-go-round. But I am grateful for this process: It took a fashion odyssey to help me find out who I really am.

Simon Doonan has been the creative director of Barneys New York since 1986. He is the author of Eccentric Glamour ($15, amazon.com).

4. Be willing to fail—doing something you love.
In 1997 I had just graduated from law school (with tons of student-loan debt) and was interviewing for high-paying positions at big firms. The problem was, my heart wasn’t in it. So I took myself out of the running in order to build a small Internet publishing company with a friend. After a year of barely staying afloat, our venture went the way of a 404 ERROR message. I was broke and unemployed, and Sallie Mae was hot on my tail. I wondered what endeavor I should try next.

It sounds crazy, but once again I decided to throw caution to the wind and just do what I wanted. I began working as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice. Over the next few years, I held a wide array of fascinating jobs that I took because they captured my imagination: serving in the military, reporting from Iraq for the Washington Post, and, most recently, becoming a full-time author. Some might consider me flighty for changing careers so often, but I contend that the key to professional happiness is asking yourself two simple questions every single day: Are you passionate about what you do? And if not, what are you going to do instead?

Bill Murphy Jr. is the author of The Intelligent Entrepreneur ($27.50, amazon.com).

5. Carelessly put yourself at risk.
I’m a terrible skier, and I’m not being hard on myself when I say that. Small children and monkeys are more coordinated than I am. So it was with unbridled terror that I once found myself alone on a black-diamond ski trail in the middle of a blizzard. (Long story.) With nobody to carry me down, I didn’t have a lot of options. So I wept—and had a fairly supplicating talk with God about my imminent death. (I believe I made a series of promises involving church attendance, reduced alcohol intake, and forgoing swearing.) And, finally, I skied—slowly, with zero elegance, and whimpering like an infant the entire time—down the mountain. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

The point being, sometimes you have to get in over your head to realize that you’re not really in over your head at all. Two years ago, I got a job that I desperately wanted but had no idea how to do. So I took it, endured several panic attacks, and eventually learned the ropes. My choices were either figure it out or get fired. The bottom line: Most of the time, a high-risk situation won’t kill you, because you are stronger than you think. And it’s never a bad thing to be reminded of that.

Amy Ozols is a cultural commentator and writer for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

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Will the world end in 2012? Well let’s break down 5 possible reasons why 2012 will not be the end of the World as we know it. Hold on to your seats as you’re taken through a scientific journey into 2012.

Remember the Y2K scare? Everyone and their momma’s were bracing for a worldwide computer crash that could’ve set off nuclear missiles, ending life on earth, but nothing happened. Why? Because of adequate planning and analysis of the situation?

NASA scientists have studied Earth long enough to know this. The world will not end on Dec. 21, 2012 despite what the Mayan calendar shows us.

Here’s 5 reasons why:

1. Just like Y2K, 2012 has been analyzed as well and the science of the end of the Earth has been studied thoroughly. So when asked if the Mayan calendar is true, here’s what scientists at NASA have to say:

“Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not cease to exist after December 31, the Mayan calendar does not cease to exist on December 21, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then, just as your calendar begins again on January 1, another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.”

2. When asked could some kind of phenomena occur where planets align in a way that could impact Earth, Nasa says no, not in the next few decades anyway.

“There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades, Earth will not cross the galactic plane in 2012, and even if these alignments were to occur, their effects on the Earth would be negligible. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.”

3. Will Planet X or Eris approach the Earth and threaten our planet with destruction?

“Nibiru and other stories about wayward planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible by now to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that will remain in the outer solar system; the closest it can come to Earth is about 4 billion miles.”

4. When asked if the Earth is in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012? It is unlikely.

“The Earth has always been subject to impacts by comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs. All this work is done openly with the discoveries posted every day on the NASA NEO Program Office website, so you can see for yourself that nothing is predicted to hit in 2012.”

5. Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012? Uhh uhh.

“Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications, although engineers are learning how to build electronics that are protected against most solar storms. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles throughout history.

Convinced yet?

NASA says, “Where is the science? Where is the evidence? There is none, and for all the fictional assertions, whether they are made in books, movies, documentaries or over the Internet, we cannot change that simple fact. There is no credible evidence for any of the assertions made in support of unusual events taking place in December 2012.”

There you have it. Five reasons why the world will not end in 2012!

hiphoprx.com

Mukesh Ambani is at the top of the growing list of billionaires in India, where some are proud of his ostentatious house while others see it as shameful in a nation where many children go hungry.

The $1-billion home, seven years in the making, is 400,000 square feet on 27 floors, all for a family of six.



Don't worry about parking. The building, which looms over the city's skyline like a Lego set gone awry, boasts a 168-space lot. Or avoid Mumbai's nightmarish traffic altogether by landing on one of three helipads.

Need to cool off after the stressful drive? Of course there's a swimming pool and yoga studio. Or, by some accounts, an ice room to escape the Mumbai heat, infused with man-made snow flurries. Then there's the mini-theater, three balconies with terrace gardens, the health club, spectacular views of the Arabian Sea (and the Mumbai slums).

Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is also home to some of Asia's worst slums. In a nation with 42% of the world's underweight children younger than 5, according to Washington's International Food Policy Research Institute, such wealth can be inconceivable, said Dipankar Gupta, a sociologist at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University.

"There are many billionaires here, but they don't reflect the economic health of our country," Gupta said. "I don't necessarily think most people see them as folk heroes, although some would."

Reaction to Ambani's new house has ranged from the gushing — "The new India! Well done," wrote one Twitter user — to the aghast. "Knowing that there are millions of people starving, w/o clean water, and adequate shelter, makes this hard to read," wrote another.

read the entire article here.

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Kisses have a right to take an honorable position on the list of functions of the human brain. Every human being living on planet Earth enables this function throughout their lives: women kiss men, men kiss women, Fidel Castro kisses Kim Jong-Il, etc. It is generally believed that one does not have to be smart to learn how to kiss. However, the issue is worth being analyzed from the scientific point of view.

A lot of scientists dedicated their numerous works to the matter of people's desire to kiss each other. Below you can find ten facts about the art of kissing.

1.About 30 muscles work very actively during the renowned French kiss: twelve of them control the movements of lips and eleven muscles are responsible for the tongue. The "French experience" accelerates the pulse from 70 to 150 beats per minute.

2. Young people start kissing two or three years before they launch their sex lives. Fifty percent of males experience the excitement of the first kiss at 13 or 14 years of age.

3. The longest kiss ever lasted for 17 days, 10 hours and 30 minutes. The record can be found in the Guinness Book of World Records, although the kissing couple had to be hospitalized with severe exhaustion. When they recovered, they never met each other again.

4. Kissing on the lips is the most popular way of kissing among men – over 67 percent of men expressed their approval. Fifty-six percent of men said they had nothing against kissing on the cheeks and 26 percent highly appreciated intimate kisses of the genitals (don't tell anyone). Toe kissing enjoys the smallest popularity – only one percent of male respondents approved it.

5. Fifteen percent of women said they would be ready to break apart with their boyfriend just because of his bad kissing capabilities. Women hate it, when the man's tongue is weak at kissing.

6. There are 278 types of germs living in the mouth of a human being. Those germs are harmless: when two people kiss, thousands of germs flow from one mouth to another. In such cases they produce enzymes and natural antibiotics for self-defense. As a result, the bodies of the two kissing individuals develop resistibility against all other pathogenic bacteria.

7. Lipstick commercials deliberately falsify the truth. Sixty-three percent of male respondents said that they prefer to kiss women's lips without lipstick on. They said that it was more natural and did not leave any traces all over the face. Forty-nine percent of men said that they liked to kiss slightly moisturized and soft lips. Only 35 percent said that they adored full, erotic lips aka Pamela Anderson. Monica Belucci, Julia Roberts and Sharon Stone are most popular celebrities, whose lips are considered very attractive for kisses.

8. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that the kiss of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable was the most outstanding in "Gone with the Wind." Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas rank second with their "Basic Instinct" kiss. Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell finish the top three of best cinema kisses with their romantic kiss in heavy rainfall in "Four Weddings and a Funeral".

9. Scientists say that humans started kissing each other in the Age of Reptiles. However, the fact was acknowledged only in the XVI century. Earlier documentation and literature do not contain any description of kisses between man and woman. On the other hand, the characters of antiquity and ancient East greeted each other with kisses, even if they were kisses between two men - it was considered absolutely normal.

10. Forty-four percent of male and 48 percent of female respondents said they could not stand bites in the exquisite process of kissing. Women (39 percent) do not like to kiss slobbery men, although only 23 percent of men said that they were against the wet kissing. The most important kind of kiss, as 54 percent of men said, is to kiss a woman that you do not like.


funreports.com

Dreaming is one of the most mysterious experiences in our lives but what do we actually know about dreams? Here are some interesting facts that you probably didn't know.

You Forget 90% of Your Dreams
Within 5 minutes of waking, half of your dream if forgotten. Within 10 minutes, 90% is gone. The famous poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, woke one morning having had a fantastic dream, he put pen to paper and began to describe his “vision in a dream” in what has become one of English's most famous poems: Kubla Khan.

Blind People also Dream
People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. People who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving their other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion. It is hard for a seeing person to imagine, but the body's need for sleep is so strong that it is able to handle virtually all physical situations to make it happen.

Men and Women Dream Differently
Every human being dreams but men and women have different dreams and different physical reactions. Men tend to dream more about other men, while women tend to dream equally about men and women. In addition, both men and women experience sexually related physical reactions to their dreams regardless of whether the dream is sexual in nature; males experience erections and females experience increased vaginal blood flow.

You Can Experience an 0rgasm in Your Dream
You can not only have s e x as pleasurable as in your real life while dreaming, but also experience an o r g a s m as strong as a real one without any wet results. The sensations felt while lucid dreaming can be as pleasurable and strong as the sensations experienced in the real world.

We Only Dream of What We Know
Our dreams are frequently full of strangers who play out certain parts – did you know that your mind is not inventing those faces – they are real faces of real people that you have seen during your life but may not know or remember? We have all seen hundreds of thousands of faces through our lives, so we have an endless supply of characters for our brain to utilize during our dreams.

Not Everybody Dreams in Color
Full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. The remaining number dream in full color. Studies from 1915 through to the 1950s maintained that the majority of dreams were in black and white, but these results began to change in the 1960s. Today only 4.4% of the dreams of under-25 year-olds are in black and white. Recent research has suggested that those changing results may be linked to the switch from black-and-white film and TV to color media.

Dreams Prevent Psychosis
In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student's brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.

Animals Dream Too
Studies have been done on many different animals, and they all show the same brain waves during dreaming sleep as humans. Watch a dog sleeping sometime. The paws move like they are running and they make yipping sounds as if they are chasing something in a dream.

Body Paralysis
During REM sleep the body is paralyzed by a mechanism in the brain in order to prevent the movements which occur in the dream from causing the physical body to move. However, it is possible for this mechanism to be triggered before, during, or after normal sleep while the brain awakens.

Dream Incorporation
Our mind interprets the external stimuli that our senses are bombarded with when we are asleep and make them a part of our dreams. This means that sometimes in our dreams we hear a sound from reality and incorporate it in a way. For example you may be dreaming that you are in a concert while your brother is playing a guitar during your sleep.

Precognitive Dreams
Results of several surveys across large population sets indicate that between 18% and 38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive dream and 70% have experienced déjà vu. The percentage of persons that believe precognitive dreaming is possible is even higher – ranging from 63% to 98%.

If You Are Snoring, Then You Can Not be Dreaming
This fact is repeated all over the Internet, but I'm a bit suspicious whether it's really true as I haven't found any scientific evidence to support it.

Note: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. REM sleep in adult humans typically occupies 20-25% of total sleep, about 90-120 minutes of a night's sleep)

mediadump.com
When you're shopping for a toilet brush holder, don't settle for anything less than the Rock Star Toilet Bush Holder.

Our Rock Star toilet brush holder is the ultimate in quality, design and pure luxury. Plated in 24-carat gold and oven varnished, this unique toilet brush holder is guaranteed not to corrode, pit or tarnish.


Made in Spain. $575.















I'm not sure if the brush is included. Probably not.

j-walkblog.com



At 90 decibels the alarm clock is louder than most lawnmowers and matches the volume pumped out by a speeding lorry on a motorway.

Sleepers that are hard of hearing, who find this is not loud enough to wake them up, the clock also comes with a vibrating pad. This can be slipped under the pillow and when the alarm goes off the clock sends a wireless signal to the pad, which starts to vibrate.

The amplicom TLC 200 is available on specialist websites for those with hearing difficulties, including bootshearingcare.com, m2cshop.com and hearingdirect.com. It costs about £40.

Harry Moss, chairman of Amplicom, admitted that the clock might not make people popular with their neighbours. "If the person living next door doesn't have hearing problems – they may be waking up with you."

The company said it was confident it was louder than anything else on the market, either in Britain or America.

The clock needs to be powered by the adaptor, but it comes with built-in rechargeable batteries to keep the alarm and clock going for a limited time in circumstances of a power cut. Customers can also hook it up to a telephone to amplify the ring sound.

The market for mobile phones, door bells and televisions designed especially for those who are hard of hearing has been increasing in recent years.

telegraph.co.uk

Here are some signs and notices written in English that were discovered throughout the world. Enjoy them!

In a Bangkok temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

In a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

In the offices of a loan company:
Ask about our plans for owning your home.

In the window of an Oregon store:
Why go elsewhere and be cheated when you can come here?

In a City restaurant:
Open seven days a week and weekends.

A sign seen on a restroom dryer at O'Hare Field in Chicago:
Do not activate with wet hands.

Hotel brochure, Italy:
This hotel is renowned for its piece and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

At a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.


At a zoo in Nanjing, China:
Please don't hurt the animals while teasing them.

Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

Sign in Egyptian hotel:
If you require room service, please open door and shoud, "Room service!"

In a Tokyo hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

Tokyo hotel's rules ad regulations:
Guests are requested not to smoke or do other disguisting behaviors in bed.

In another Japanese hotel room:
Please to bathe inside the tub.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

A sign on the door leading to an outside smoking area in Japan:
Building asks a smoked visitor in the outside smoking section that you cannot smoke in.

An advert for Tokai University Open House Day:
Tokai University Open campus for your mind only.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 a.m. daily.

In a Nairobi restaurant:
Customers who find our waitresses rude ought to see the manager.

On the main road to Mombasa, leaving Nairobi:
Take notice: when this sign is under water, this road is impassable.

In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

Spotted in a safari park:
Elephants please stay in your car

Notice in a field:
The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
Would you like to ride on your own ass?

A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

studyenglishtoday.net

1. An October 2008 CNN Poll showed:

• A majority of us, 48 percent, believe in ghosts.
• Twenty-two percent of Americans say they’ve seen or felt a ghost.
• Women are more likely to say they believe in ghosts than are men.
• More than half of younger Americans aged 18 to 45 believe in ghosts.
• A whopping 78 percent of us believe in life after death.

2. The next full moon on Halloween night will be October 31, 2020

3. Many historic events have happened on Halloween Day – among them:

834: The first Halloween (All Hallows Eve) is celebrated
1876: A cyclone hits Bengal, killing about 200,000
1918: Spanish flu kills 21,00 people in the U.S. in one week
1922: Mussolini becomes the Premier of Italy
1926: Harry Houdini dies in Detroit
1941: Mount Rushmore is completed
1952:The first thermonuclear bomb was detonated in The Marshall Islands
1968: President Johnson issued a “cease all bombing” order in North Vietnam

4. Adults love Halloween, too. It is estimated that one-third of all adults don costumes and join-in the “spookiest- night” festivities. The 2005 season had almost 4 million of us wearing a “Witch” costume. That’s 16.4% of all adult Halloweeners. And...we like “Vampires” too – 1.4 million wore the vampire cape and fangs in 2005. Costumes for famous people and celebrities tied with monsters at about 7.5 million each. The child’s “Princess” costume was most popular in 2005, almost tripling the sales of 2004’s most popular costume, Spiderman.

5. One of the "most filmed" movie characters (if not the most filmed) is Dracula.

6. What are the "most thrilling" movies of all time? The American Film Institute polled 1,500 members of the film industry. Their Top 10 are: (1) Psycho, (2) Jaws, (3) The Exorcist, (4) North by Northwest, (5) The Silence of the Lambs, (6) Alien, (7) The Birds, (8) The French Connection, (9) Rosemary’s Baby and (10) Raiders of the Lost Ark.

7. Moviegoers consistently vote for Silence of the Lambs, Psycho and The Exorcist as the scariest movies of all time. There’s no clear ranking within these three - we just think they are scary.

8. The Salem Witch trials of 1692 are known for burning so-called witches at the stake. Actually, not one witch died by burning; most were put to death by hanging. One unfortunate witch was “pressed” to death and several died in prison of natural causes.

9. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah, in 2004, had the highest proportion of its total population trick-or-treating in the 5-to-13 year old age group with Alaska following closely behind.

10. A new Guinness world record was set October 1, 2005 for the "Biggest Pumpkin." Larry Checkon of North Cambria, Pennsylvania is the grower of this 1,469 lb. giant. Checkon’s pumpkin outweighed the 2004 winner by about 23 lbs.

11. The gold standard among pumpkin growers is producing a pumpkin weighing at least 1,100 lbs., which is automatic entry into The 1,100 Club. Numerous professionals hint that you can grow a really, really big pumpkin by planting the Atlantic Giant pumpkin seed.

12. The first "Jack-O-Lanterns" were not pumpkins - they were hollowed-out turnips and originated in Ireland.

13. We love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups - so says ExtremeChocolate.com’s survey of our "favorite Halloween candy." The clear winner is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with 20.8 percent of the vote; second is Candy Corn at 15.8 percent and third is Snickers with 15.3 percent of the vote. One thousand people voted, and results were posted on September 13, 2006.

14. According to ExtremeChocolate.com: “Chocolate is much better than hard candy for you and your child’s teeth. Chocolate contains tannins, which slow down the formation of plaque on the teeth....Further, chocolate usually stays in the mouth a shorter time than hard candy, which is another dental benefit.”

15. "Trick or Treat for UNICEF" started 1950 in Philadelphia. A group of young trick-or-treaters, accompanied by their pastor, collected $17 for children-in-need overseas. The money was sent to UNICEF and an American tradition was born. According to UNICEF: Just $1 protects a child from polio, $1 immunizes one child against measles, $2 provides 66 children with Vitamin A capsules for one year, $2.46 buys school supplies for a child for a full year, and $9 buys a pack of 200 water purification tablets.

doityourself.com

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Black cats, ghouls and goblins, sugary treats — just about everyone's familiar with the traditional trappings of Halloween.

But how did an ancient pagan ritual grow into the most beloved kids' night of the year? Read on for details about October 31, from its humble beginnings to its big-bucks present.

Halloween history
.Many experts believe the druids were the first to observe Halloween. Dating back to 700 B.C., they celebrated the festival of Samhain (the end of the harvest and a time to honor the dead) on November 1. In the ensuing years, the night before became known as the Eve of All Hallows, a.k.a. Hallow Even, a.k.a. Hallow e'en.

.Ever wonder how trick-or-treating got started? The story goes that on the evening before Samhain, people left food on their doorsteps to keep hungry spirits from entering the house. Festivalgoers started dressing in ghost, witch, and goblin costumes so wandering spirits would leave them alone. To this day, these are Halloween's most popular costumes.

.The word witch comes from the Saxon word wicca, which means "wise one."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first official citywide Halloween celebration in the United States happened in Anoka, Minnesota, in 1921.

Amazing animals
.Black cats, those customary Halloween icons, were originally believed to be witches' familiars, a kind of cosmic sidekick who protected the witches' powers from negative forces.

.Some so-called vampire bats do drink blood, but they're not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on cattle, horses, and birds.

U.S. place names with a Halloween theme
Candy Town, Ohio
Cape Fear, North Carolina
Frankenstein, Missouri
Pumpkin Bend, Arkansas
Pumpkin Hollow, New York
Scary, West Virginia
Skull Creek, Nebraska
Spook City, Colorado
Tombstone, Arizona
Transylvania County, North Carolina
Witch Hazel, Oregon

Food facts
.The biggest pumpkin in the world tipped the scales at a whopping 1,810.5 pounds in Minnesota's Stillwater Harvest festival in October 2010. This beats the last giant pumpkin record of 1,725 pounds, weighed in October 2009 in the annual Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers weigh-off in Canton, Ohio.

.The biggest pumpkin pie on record was baked by the New Breman Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio in 2005. After baking for five hours in a special oven, it weighed 2,020 pounds and measured 12 feet, 4 inches wide and 4 inches deep. Ingredients included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 155 dozen eggs, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, and 2 pounds of pumpkin pie spice.

.Of all canned fruits and vegetables, pumpkin is the best source of vitamin A. Just a half-cup of the orange stuff has more than three times the recommended daily requirement.

.The per person consumption of candy by Americans in 2009 was an astounding 24.3 pounds, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Big business
.Halloween isn't just for kids. While 82 percent of children take part in Halloween festivities, a surprising 67 percent of adults also join in the fun.

.U.S. consumers spend as much as $ 1.5 billion on costumes each year, and more than $ 2.5 billion on other Halloween paraphernalia, such as decorations and crafts — more than $ 100 million of which is spent online.

.The first Halloween card was made in the early 1900s. These days, U.S. consumers spend about $50 million on Halloween greetings.

.Candy corn, anyone? With an estimated $ 1.93 billion in candy sales, Halloween is the sweetest holiday of the year, beating out Easter, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. In fact, one quarter of all the candy sold each year is purchased between September 15 and November 10.

.In 2009, the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reports, the major pumpkin-producing states produced a total of 931 million pounds of the orange gourd. Illinois led the pack, producing 429 million pounds. California and Ohio were also major pumpkin producers, producing at least 100 million pounds each.

babycenter.com
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Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends.

But there is no groom. Chen will marry herself.

Uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honor of just one person.

"Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said.

"It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."

Her T$50,000 ($5,675) wedding comes after online publicity that has netted 1,800 largely sympathetic comments.

"I think there will be more and more girls like this," said "divagirl," who did not elaborate.

Taiwanese women are marrying later and less often as their economic status advances, fuelling government concerns about a drop in the birth rate and its impact on productivity.

Only 40 percent of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said.

"I was just hoping that more people would love themselves," said Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia.

Chen said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan.

But as Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, if she finds a man later she will wed again.

"If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this," Chen said. "it would be offensive to him, anyway."

reuters.com
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If your spouse helps people or touches them for a living, be careful -- you might be headed for a divorce. Helping professions and hospitality workers have some of the highest divorce rates in the country, according to a comparison of divorce rates among occupations.

The conventional wisdom is that police officers have high divorce rates. But a year-old analysis of the top 15 jobs with the highest divorce rate that recently made the rounds of the Internet doesn't even list police officers among the worst offenders. Based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census, it found that law enforcement workers had a lower divorce rate than the general population.

Before we try to explain why some of these jobs might have high divorce rates, here are the top 15 professions and their divorce rates:

Dancer: 43%
Bartender: 38%
Massage therapist: 38%
Gaming cage: 34%
Extruding machine operator: 32%
Gaming: 31%
Factory: 29%
Phone operator: 29%
Nursing: 28%
Entertainers, sports: 28%
Porter: 28%
Telemarketer: 28%
Waiter: 27%
Roofer: 26%
Maid: 26%

The national divorce rate in 2009 was 10 percent. It's hard to know whether the above jobs are prone to more divorce or whether more unstable people are drawn to those professions. Professional dancers, athletes and entertainers, for example, have more opportunity to cheat on their spouses because they often work away from home and are surrounded by adoring fans. At least that's Tiger Woods' explanation.

Helping professionals, such as massage therapists and nurses, have a high amount of stress and work long hours, spending less time with their families. Hospitality workers, such as waiters, maids, porters and gaming workers, also work irregular hours in high-stress jobs, and come in contact with people on vacation who might be feeling a little randy and have time and money for a tryst on the job.

No matter what the profession, divorces are highest among jobs where workers face high stress and temptations, said Debra Opri, a divorce attorney in Beverly Hills, Calif.. Those temptations include other women, gambling and alcohol, Opri said.

Jobs that require extensive travel, odd hours and are high in stress can lead to divorce because the worker is away from their spouse too much and doesn't know how to deal with the stress away from home, said Ike Vanden Eykel, a Dallas divorce attorney for 37 years, in a telephone interview with AOL Jobs.

Working odd hours and then spending more time with co-workers instead of a spouse isn't the only thing that can lead to divorce, Vanden Eykel said. "One of the biggest causes of divorce is economic pressure," he said.

"When you can't make ends meet, that adds an economic pressure that you can't avoid," he said, adding that even highly paid CEOs who feel pressure at work can have high divorce rates.

Nighttime work can also lead to higher divorce rates, said Richard Fitzgibbons, director of the Institute for Marital Healing, on the Catholic News Agency website. "Those who work in the evenings are a distinct disadvantage," Fitzgibbons said, "because the marital friendship usually suffers, with ensuing significant loneliness."

Some of these jobs also don't pay well, which can lead to more stress in a marriage. Better-educated workers tend to have higher-paying jobs, which can provide less stress in marriages.

jobs.aol.com
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Chad and Barbie Soper's pose with their three children: Chole, born on 8/8/08; Cameron, born on 9/9/09; and Cearra, born on 10/10/10.

Call it baby synchronicity.

Chad and Barbie Soper from Rockford, Mich., had a baby daughter, Cearra, on Oct. 10 -- 10/10/10.

That's a cool birth date, but what makes it even cooler is that the Sopers' second child, son Cameron, was born on 9/9/09.

Not impressed by the numerological alignment? Well, perhaps you should consider that the couple's firstborn, Chloe, arrived on 8/8/08.

The odds of having three children with sequential, symmetrical birth dates must be sky high, but it turns out the Sopers weren't leaving the arrival dates of Cearra and Chloe to chance. Because Barbie Soper had some health problems, labor was induced for both daughters' births, meaning their birthdays were chosen, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

"There is this window we had. We definitely had the option to shoot for that day [Oct. 10] and did," Dr. Andrew Van Slooten, Barbie Soper's obstetrician, told the newspaper. "But it wasn't like delivering her three weeks early just to hit that date."

Will the couple be aiming for another baby on 11/11/11?

"Definitely no," Barbie Soper said.

Read more at the Grand Rapids Press.

aolnews.com
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Tried-and-true ice-cream flavor favorites like vanilla and chocolate have their time and place, neither of which are during the last days of summer. Now’s the time to try the boldest, most unique flavors around, courtesy of the many experimental ice-cream shops popping up throughout the United States. If you’ve ever fantasized about sprinkling cayenne pepper on vanilla or transforming your favorite savory dish into frozen dessert, here are the shops that offer just such experiences.


Humphry Slocombe, San Francisco, California


You’ll find everything from Peanut Butter Curry to Thai Chili Lime sorbet at this Mission District shop. But the most popular flavors are Secret Breakfast (bourbon ice cream with cornflakes) and Jesus Juice (Coke Classic spiked with Kermit Lynch Côtes du Rhône).


Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, Massachusetts


Most standard flavors are offered at their four locations, but lobster ice cream—a butter ice cream with bits of butter-cooked lobster swirled throughout—is actually one of the most-requested flavors for shipping.


Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, New York City, New York


Douglas Quint and his partner, Bryan Petroff, came up with the idea to take classic soft-serve and add eyebrow-raising toppings like wasabi pea dust, ginger syrup, and cayenne pepper. Patrons can create their own cone or choose from the truck’s menu, which includes Salty Pimp: vanilla soft-serve, sea salt, dulce de leche, and chocolate sauce.


Scoops, Los Angeles, California


The perpetual line out the door at this scoop shop is one indication of its ice cream’s deliciousness. The other is the mix of flavors in its freezers, like Blackberry Jasmine, Jim Beam Cheesecake, and Pistachio Fig, all of which sound eclectic enough to be enticing rather than off-putting.


Sweet Action Ice Cream, Denver, Colorado


Many of the flavors here include alcohol, but we’re not talking Rum Raisin or Irish Coffee. Instead, choose from Black Licorice Sambuca, Margarita Sherbet, a whiskey brickle, and White Chocolate Raspberry Ale, to name a few. But regardless of what you order, you’re supporting a good business. Sweet Action uses compostable materials and local seasonal ingredients.


Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, Seattle, Washington


The two locations in Seattle offer interesting options like Cardamom and Balsamic Strawberry, but the flavor to get isn’t actually on the menu. If you order ice cream for breakfast, you’ll get a cup of oatmeal with a scoop of Maple-Bacon ice cream and any toppings you want.


Max & Mina’s Ice Cream, Flushing, New York


This Queens institution has a slew of celebrity testimonials from the likes of Rosie O’Donnell and Al Roker; how could you pass it up? If you do, you’ll miss out on flavors like Nova Lox, Sour Cream, Horseradish, and even Pizza. For the record, Rosie tried the Coconut ice cream and Al opted for Apple ice cream with graham crackers and jalapeño peppers.


The Bent Spoon, Princeton, New Jersey


A popular spot for college kids and locals alike, this shop freely experiments with the combination of sweet and savory. Flavors include Heirloom Tomato Sorbet, Chocolate Habanero, and Garam Masala.


The Gilroy Garlic Festival, Gilroy, California


This is an annual event, not an ice-cream shop, but nowhere else will you find such a varied mix of garlic-infused flavors, like Roasted Almond, Chocolate, Pecan Praline, and so forth. The ice cream comes from Marianne’s, a popular ice-cream shop in Santa Cruz.

divinecaroline.com

Comedian and graphic designer Doogie Horner took a whimsical look at Facebook portraits. In a large infographic at Fast Company, he presented his analysis of what your portrait photo says about your personality, motivations, and criminal history.

This chart will hopefully help you view specific Facebook portraits within the context of the larger genre, and therefore lead to a richer, more complex appreciation of Facebook portraiture as an emerging form of banal, eye-numbing expression.


Click to enlarge.


fastcompany.com

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Nothing matches the childhood joy of building, admiring—then devouring—a holiday gingerbread house. This mouthwatering gift lets you expand that tradition with enough glee for all the children, grandchildren, godchildren, relatives, and lucky friends of all ages.

This unique edible playhouse is handcrafted of 381 lbs. of gourmet gingerbread and 517 lbs. of royal icing by the expert confectioners at Dylan's Candy Bar®. The munchable manor, which stands 6.6 feet high by 5.25 feet wide by 4.1 feet deep, incorporates the best confections from the world's largest candy store in New York City.

With literally thousands of signature gourmet sweets from which to choose, it is both artfully designed and decadently delicious. It includes giant cookies, lollipops, gummies, mints, gumdrops, and (of course) a candy-encrusted roof. There's also a lollipop tree inside, just for good measure. CEO and self-proclaimed Candy Queen Dylan Lauren was inspired as a child when she watched the classic movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. With Dylan's Candy Bar locations throughout the nation, she's made all our dreams come true.

Not surprisingly it comes with a $15,000 price tag, but that also includes free diabetes and a lifetime supply of dental issues if you manage to polish it off.

Buy at neimanmarcus.com/store

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Funny cartoon of the day

Funny cartoon of the day