Imagine you go into a coffee shop, have a cup, and when it comes to paying your bill they tell you it’s already been paid for. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Well, that’s exactly what’s happening at the Corner Perk Cafe in Bluffton, South Carolina. It all started in 2010 with a random act of kindness.

The Corner Perk was just a regular coffee place until one day, when a customer left a $100 bill with the owner, Josh Cooke. Apparently she wanted the money to be used to pay for the drinks of all the people who came in after, until it runs out. According to Cooke it was “just to let them know, you know, that somebody was wanting them to have a great day and just to let them know to pay it forward.” Needless to say, customers who came in all afternoon were puzzled when they found they didn’t have to pay for their coffee.

This wasn’t the last time the mysterious coffee-donor paid the Corner Perk a visit. Apparently, she’s been there another eight times in the past two years. When Josh posted her most recent visit on the coffee shop’s Facebook page, the word spread quickly. More donors came forward to continue the trend. Cooke says the anonymous lady who started the trend had a kind heart and wanted goodness to spread in the area. Her efforts did not go unrewarded. Lots of people who heard about the tradition at Corner Perk Cafe simply walked in to the shop and left money, without even ordering anything for themselves. A jar now stands on the counter with dollar bills to pay for people’s coffee.

Josh says, “We just want people to continue to pay it forward in any way — whether that’s helping somebody with their electric bill or you know, filling up somebody’s car with gas.” I say this just goes to show that humanity isn’t dead after all.
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If you’re thinking of adopting a more minimalist lifestyle for 2012, take a page from the playbook of Andrew Hyde, an itinerant blogger-cum-interface designer who owns only 15 items. Currently residing in New York City—he’s lived everywhere from Colorado to Rhode Island—Hyde sold most of his worldly possessions in 2010, when he set off to circumnavigate the globe by hopping from city to city. Although, to our immense relief, he doesn’t count socks or underpants, Hyde’s ability to pare down demonstrates remarkable and praiseworthy restraint. The average woman, after all, owns 20 pairs of shoes, 11 of which she never wears.

So what 15 things can a 21st century man of the world not live without?
-Arc’teryx backpack
-Nau shirt
-Mammut rain jacket
-Arc’teryx T-shirt
-Patagonia running shorts
-A quick-dry towel
-Nau wool jacket
-Nau dress shirt
-Patagonia jeans
-Toiletry kit
-Smith sunglasses
-Running shoes
-MacBook Air
-iPhone 3GS

“Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing,” Hyde says.
With only three shirts and a single pair of jeans to choose from, Hyde doesn’t need to ruminate at length on what to wear each morning. Nor is he likely to treat his belongings as carelessly as he might if he owned multiple versions of everything. “Minimalism is equally easy as it is boring to do,” he writes on his blog. “What shirt today? The one I didn’t wear yesterday. Once you get used to simplicity, the complex normality others have becomes the audacious thing.”
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Over the years, Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll has had every hairstyle imaginable, including a bubble beehive, a ‘60s flip and even multi-colored hair extensions. But she’s never been bald.

That may change if the women behind the Facebook page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” influence executives at the world’s largest toy company.

“We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, alopecia or trichotillomania,” reads Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin’s Facebook page, which has almost 40,000 “likes.” “Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald.”

The Facebook page was created after the two friends heard about a four-year-girl from Mineola, Long Island, who had lost her hair after treatment for cancer.

Little Genesis Reyes, who missed having her “princess” hair, inspired the parent of another patient in the hospital to ask the CEO of Mattel, who happened to be a personal friend, to create a special bald Barbie doll for Genesis.

“When I read the article about Mattel making a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie for Genesis, I though how wonderful that would be, with so many other children dealing with hair-loss,” Bingham told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. “I thought we could raise awareness for these conditions. Raise awareness that children get cancer too... It would be a win all around.”

Bingham, who lost her own hair after chemotherapy treatments for an incurable form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was moved by the reaction of her young daughter to her newly bald head.

“It takes an emotional toll on the child,” Bingham explained. “I had very long blond hair... She would mimic me and she would try and wrap scarves on her head too.”

So far, Mattel hasn’t publicly responded to the growing popularity of Bingham and Sypin’s Facebook page, except to say in a form letter that the company “doesn't accept ideas from outside sources.”
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It can be awkward being a man. We have these things that we think and feel—things that aren’t politically correct to say, but matter to us. Here are thirteen of them.

1. That stuff about the stomach and the heart are pretty much true.
It’s primal. It’s hard to explain. On the one hand, we don’t expect you to be Betty Crocker, at home with an apron on making coq au vin. On the other, having a partner who can cook delicious food, and is willing to do so, creates tremendous feelings of connection and well-being. A man has few defenses against a woman who cooks.

2. We’d like to talk about sex early because it is important to us, but don’t really know how.
Imagine how this third-date conversation would go: “I want to talk about your libido. I have a high-energy libido, and I’ve been with women who didn’t and the lack of compatibility in this area was a big issue. How would you describe your libido?” You would likely be shocked, and there’s a great chance you would end the date right there. It’s important to us and we want to discuss it, but we’re afraid you’ll think we’re creepy.

3. Who you are is way more important to us than what you do.
This is really embarrassing. But when you talk about your greatest accomplishments—your master’s degree, your new position of power at your company, your latest business deal—we’re happy for you, but those aren’t the kinds of things that make us say, “We have to be with this woman.” We tend to value your personality traits way more than your professional accolades. Are you kind, loving, happy, and supportive? Are you fun to be around? Will you be nice to our parents? These are the issues that make us fall in love, not professional acumen.

4. We worry that you’re only interested in one thing.
You say, “How funny. We women are worried that you men are only interested in one thing.” Of course, for women the worry is sex. For men the worry is money. Everyone is worried about something. We’ve had so many married friends start to feel like walking wallets. It’s one of our worst nightmares.

5. If you’ll give us some space, we’ll slay dragons for you.
It is a scene so common as to be a truism—the man cave. Books have been written explaining why men need a private retreat, but whatever the reason, it is a fact. Your man needs a place he can go think, be by himself, and nurse his wounds. It’s no reflection on you. Recent movies have made it more acceptable for him to ask for his private space, but it can still be embarrassing for us to say, “I need to go be alone.” If you can find it in your heart to embrace our need for space, we’ll know that you understand us, and we will, literally, throw our bodies in front of moving trains to protect you.

6. We get so many mixed signals that it is hard to know how to act sometimes.
At work you’re my equal, certainly. On a date, you want me to make all the plans and take charge. In the home, you want primacy over the look and feel. That leaves things like travel, money, and the bedroom, to name a few. In the many situations a couple must experience together, it’s difficult to accurately guess how we should act. Over time, of course, we can figure it out, but it’s tough to always get things just right.

7. It isn’t the fear of commitment. It’s the fear of turning into the hen-pecked wimp that we’ve seen our friends turn into.
Men have a reputation for being scared of commitment. For some guys, that’s earned, but for most the name is misleading. We’re not scared of being with one person for a lifetime. We’re scared the relationship morphing into something we don’t recognize. We’re scared of losing the things (and activities) we love to the person we love.

Going naked is the latest yoga trend, and those who have done it can swear by its benefits. Shedding one's clothes brings a new level of honesty and authenticity to yoga — an authenticity that can sometimes get lost in the fashion and branding surrounding yoga, said Isis Phoenix, a yoga instructor at Naked Yoga NYC in New York City.

And the practice helps people let go, offering freedom from the constraints of life, which might include your job (or even just spandex), Phoenix said.

Some might feel self-conscious at first, but Phoenix has seen participants undergo a metamorphosis of sorts, a change only made possible by baring it all, she said.

Naked yoga gives a chance for participants to "lay down their armor, in a sense," and breathe, stretch and mediate, she said.

Some people become more familiar with their own bodies, such as discovering a mole they never knew they had, Phoenix said.

"[There's] a level of living with your body your whole life and then really, truly seeing it for the first time," she said.

However, experts agree there are psychological benefits to naked yoga, but not physical ones.

"If you're wearing loose clothing or spandex, there''s nothing to stop you from doing all the postures or stretches or movements in yoga with the proper clothes," said Janet Konefal, assistant dean for complementary and integrative medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

"The sense of freedom is not a physical, it’s a psychological,” she added. "You don’t want have a cut or nick and risk of infection," Konefal said.
The Chinese construction company Broad Group have one-upped their previous record of building 15 stories in one week with this 30 story hotel built in just 15 days.

Erected near Dongting lake, in Hunan Province, the hotel was assembled from pre-fabricated sections shipped to the work site. The finished product has all the comforts you’d expect from a modern hotel, and is also expected to be extremely earthquake resistant thanks to its unique design.

Of course, one wonders how “complete” the building is with that crane still standing in the middle of it. Read on after the break for a longer, more in-depth look at this lightning fast construction project.
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) keeps track of the things that they confiscate, though, and among the nail files, water bottles, and cosmetics there are a few contraband items that really stand out.

Birds. According to the TSA, agents in Los Angeles discovered two birds wrapped in socks and taped to the leg and chest of a woman who was en route to China. The birds were found during "a pat-down that was being administered due to bulky clothing," the TSA reported on its blog.

A science project. A college student's metal-and-wire science project prompted agents to shut down an checkpoint in Omaha after they saw it on the X-ray monitor.

Knives and swords. Not just a plastic picnic knife or a Swiss Army knife, mind you, but tree saws, a 14-inch sword hidden in a cane, a brass-knuckle knife, and even a "non-metallic martial arts weapon" called a Tactile Spike, which agents found stashed in a passenger's sock -- while he was wearing it. One passenger was carrying two sharp throwing knives in a hollowed-out book. The title? "Ninja: The Shadow Warrior." Of course.

Snakes and turtles. In August, TSA agents in Miami caught a man with seven -- that's right, seven -- snakes hidden in his pants. He was not happy to see them. The reptiles were coiled up and stashed inside pantyhose that the man had tucked into his trousers along with three small turtles; agents found them using "imaging technology" (yup, one of those full-body scanner things).

Grenades and land mines. Both inert, the TSA reports, but still... if a bottle of shampoo isn't OK, why would anyone assume that a grenade would be?

Guns and ammunition. Passengers are actually allowed to carry firearms as long as they're in their checked luggage and have been declared to the airline. But here's a list of the things that TSA agents found in a single carry-on bag in Wichita, Kansas, recently: "A tree saw with a 13-inch blade, a pocketknife with a 3-inch blade, two throwing knives with 8-inch blades, eleven individual 30-06 rifle rounds, one 12-gauge shotgun slug, five count of buckshot, and five boxes, each containing 25 rounds of 12-gauge shotgun shells and a partridge in a pear tree." All in all, TSA agents confiscated 1,200 guns in airports throughout the US in 2011.

This little smartphone is actually a stun gun.

A stun-gun disguised as a bright pink smart phone. "Law enforcement authorities responded to the incident and allowed the passenger to continue on her flight, after surrendering the item to TSA," according to the TSA's blog.

C4 explosives. A soldier flying out of Arizona thought it would be cool to bring a few small chunks of C4 explosives home to show his family. We would suggest an alternative souvenir next time.

240 (or so) live fish. According to the TSA, "The passenger didn't have a little baggie with a goldfish in it, they had 4 large hard-sided suitcases each filled with only fish and water."

Oddly not on the list: The red-velvet cupcake that TSA agents in Las Vegas confiscated just before Christmas, when a woman tried to bring the snack on the plane. The cupcake had been baked inside a glass jar and, according to Rebecca Haines, the TSA agent who stopped her said that the treat's vanilla-bourbon frosting was "a gel-like substance" and, therefore, forbidden.

"We also had a small pile of hummus sandwiches with creamy fillings, which made it through, but the cupcake with its frosting was apparently a terrorist threat," she told ABC News. When she left Boston, TSA agents at Logan Airport let her go through security with two of the treats, saying that they "looked delicious and told us to have a great trip," she said. "But in Las Vegas, they were dangerous. They shouldn't be delicious in one part of the country and a security threat in the other."
French fashion chain La Redoute has been left red-faced after it forgot to airbrush a naked bather from a promotional photograph for its children's clothes.

The image, which appeared for several hours on its website today, showed a group of four children running on the sand.

But, in the background, a naked man can clearly be seen wading behind them up the sea-shore.

Web users spotted the 'faux pas', which has since been taken down, and immediately took to Twitter to poke fun at the clothing company.

One tweeter labelled it a 'SCANDALE' while another highlighted the 'EPIC FAIL de la Redoute!'.

La Redoute immediately apologised for the mistake, but its website has now come under intense scrutiny from users who also discovered a spelling mistake on one of its T-shirts.

Instead of having 'Enjoy Holidays' written on the garment, it actually says 'Enjoy Holydays'.

The bather's identity has not yet been revealed, but he has already sprung to fame across the web with a series of mocking images being produced.

Some keen photoshoppers have cut and paste famous people into the original image, which has seen President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, and even late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, taking his place.

Others have placed a cut-out of the naked man in other situations, including a music festival and in someone's house.
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CALL it the iCEO mini - three months after his death, late Apple Inc co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs has been immortalised as a 12" (sixth-scale) action figure.

Toy companies in icons and Dragon in Dream unveiled the figure on New Year's Day in tribute to the tech visionary who gave the world the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod.

The figure (don't call it a doll!) features a realistic likeness and Jobs's trademark black turtleneck, jeans and sandshoes. But while publicity photos feature a miniature Mac, iPhone and iPad, they sadly won't be included.

The figure is due for release in late February for $US99.99 plus shipping.

iPAD MINI: The Steve Jobs figure sports mini Apple gadgets in promotional shots, but unfortunately they won't be included.

Apple or Jobs's family might take action to block the use of Jobs's likeness, as they did in 2010 when a company called MIC Gadget attempted to sell Jobs action figures on eBay.

However DID has released unauthorised figures in the past, depicting such famous people as US President Barack Obama.

Twins Beckett and Freya Humenny will grow up together, but they will never share a birthday -- or even a birth year.

Beckett was born at 6:40 p.m. on New Year's Eve 2011. His sister, Freya, was born six hours later, at 12:26 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2012, and the nurses at Hennepin County Medical Center threw confetti to celebrate the new year and the extraordinary birth event.

"It was a party when she came out," said their mom, Stephanie Peterson, 30, of Wayzata. There will come a time, she said, when Beckett will probably tease his sister that she's a year a younger, but "I'm excited that they will have two birthdays," she said.

Hospital officials and birth center staff said they could not recall another time when twins were born just before and just after the new year.

Born at 34 weeks, both babies are small but healthy. Beckett was 4 pounds 11 ounces, and Freya was 5 pounds 2 1/2 ounces. They will spend a week in the newborn intensive care unit before going home.

For the parents, from now on the two-day holiday will instead be a two-day birthday.

"It used to be such a long day in the past," said Darryl Humenny, 33, the babies' father.
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Funny cartoon of the day

Funny cartoon of the day