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Monday, August 10, 2020

August 10, 2020

Struggling Railway Operator Sells Canned Stones

With tourism at an all-time low, a struggling Japanese railway operator is trying to avoid going under by selling canned stones from its railway tracks.

Founded in 1923, the Choshi Electric Railway company, in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture, had to overcome adversity several times during its 97-year history, but the situation has never been more dire than it is now. The railway operator relies on tourism to support its operations, but with the novel Coronavirus wreaking havoc all over the world, business has never been worse, so management had to come up with alternative ways of generating income. Among these, starting a YouTube channel and selling canned stones have been proving unusually successful.

The Choshi Electric YouTube channel has been around for over 4 years, but it only recently started attracting attention, after management decided to use its dire situation to create humorous content. Videos like “Just before bankruptcy” or “Actual situation of a bankrupt company” have been racking up tens even hundreds of thousands of views, whereas older videos only got hundreds or thousands of views.

It all started with the announcement of a new, original product available in the Choshi Electric Railway online store – canned stones from the company’s train tracks. Showcased by a female employee under the watchful eye of the manager, the stones were marketed as great paperweights, collectible items for railway fans, or rudimentary weapons against burglars.

The presentation was humorous in nature, and the Choshi Electric Railway employee could barely contain her laughter while showcasing the canned stones, but this was no joke. The stones really are available on the Choshi Electric Railway online store, at a price of 1,650 yen ($15.5) and they have already become the company’s best selling item.

According to the store page, the stones are collected from the railways operated by Choshi Electric, and washed and waxed before being packaged in metal cans. The number of rocks per each can varies on the size of the rocks.

Apart from an assortment of canned foods, Choshi Electric is also selling other memorabilia than train aficionados may find appealing, like plush train cart seats, train rail slices, and train track nails. But it’s apparently the canned stones that are getting people to open their wallets.

As wild an idea as selling canned stones may seem, this wouldn’t be the first time people made money from selling useless stuff. Gary Ross Dahl made millions selling rocks as pets, and the man behind Potato Parcel made $10,000 per month sending messages on potatoes. So just because it’s crazy doesn’t mean it’s stupid, remember that!

[ By Oddity Central ]
August 10, 2020

China Seals Off Village After Resident With Bubonic Plague Dies

 Bubonic Plague

A village in Inner Mongolia has been sealed off after a resident died from bubonic plague.

The patient, from Suji Xincun village, died of circulatory system failure, the Baotou Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website.

The death was reported to health authorities in Baotou city on Sunday and the victim was confirmed to have had bubonic plague on Thursday, it added.

The commission did not mention how the patient caught the plague.

The centuries-old disease was responsible for the most deadly pandemic in human history — the Black Death pandemic in the Middle Ages.

All villagers have so far tested negative for the disease, the statement said.

Nine close contacts and 26 secondary contacts of the patient have been quarantined and tested negative.

Damao Banner, the district where the village is located, has been put on Level 3 alert for plague prevention, the second lowest in a four-level system, until the end of the year.

This is the second case and first death of bubonic plague that China has confirmed this year.

The previous case was discovered in July in Bayannur, another city in Inner Mongolia.

This prompted another Level 3 alert and the closure of several tourist spots.

Plague, caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals, killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe during the Black Death pandemic in the Middle Ages.

Bubonic plague, which is one of plague's three forms, causes swollen lymph nodes, as well as fever, chills, and coughing.

August 10, 2020

The Famously Narrow ‘Pie House’ of Deerfield

A suburban Chicago home has become known locally as the “Pie House” because of its resemblance to a wedge-shaped slice of pie.

Built in 2003, on an oblong plot of land in Deerfield, Illinois, the Pie House has become somewhat of a local tourist attraction, with people stopping by regularly just to take pictures of the unusually narrow building. Famous for its unique shape, the Pie House was born out of necessity, as developer Greg Weissman of Advantage Properties tried to make the best of an oblong piece of land only 0.09 acres in size, which is unusually small for the suburbs. Despite one of the walls being only 3-feet-wide, the Pie House turned out quite cozy, and ended up selling for little over $284,000 in 2007.

Photos of the Pie House of Deerfield, a north shore suburb of Chicago, recently went viral after photos of it were posted on Zillow. The owners decided to move and originally listed the property for $339,000, but later reduced the price to $325,000 and $309,000 before taking it off the market for a while. It was relisted in January for $299,900, and according to the Zillow listing it sold last week for $260,000.

Narrow ‘Pie House’ of Deerfield

Featuring 1,122 square feet of livable space, the Pie House is considered a precursor of the modern tiny house. Photos taken inside show that the wedge-shaped home is much more spacious than it looks from the outside, but that hasn’t stopped people from joking that the house looks more like a hallway than an actual house, and asking how anyone can live there.

Narrow ‘Pie House’ of Deerfield

“It is different than any other house that’s built in Deerfield,” listing agent Alan Berlow told The Chicago Tribune. “It attracts attention from many walkers and bikers. Commuters walk by and drive by every day, as it’s across from the parking lot. It’s an alternative to a town house without having the maintenance fees.”

Narrow ‘Pie House’ of Deerfield

The one-storey Pie House features two bedrooms – one upstairs and another one int he fully furnished basement, two and a half bathrooms, and an open space ground floor. For obvious reasons, it lacks a garage, but does have a parking pad that can hold six cars.

The “skinny house” even went viral on video sharing platform TikTok, where a short clip showcasing its narrow side got over one million views. According to Wikipedia, the house flares out to around 25-feet-wide at the other end.

[ By Oddity Central ]
August 10, 2020

Man Plants Mystery Seeds From China — Here’s What Happened

An Arkansas man who received one of the mysterious seed packages sent to thousands of US residents from China planted them on his property — and said the results are wild.

“We … planted the seeds just to see what would happen,’’ Booneville resident Doyle Crenshawn told local CBS-TV affiliate KSFM.

Mystery seed

The plant is producing large white fruit from orange flowers that resemble those of a squash.

“Every two weeks I’d come by and put Miracle-Gro on it, and they just started growing like crazy,’’ Crenshawn said.

The man planted the seeds before US agriculture officials issued a dire warning to recipients not to put them in the ground, the station said.

Mystery seed

“Our concern is from an invasive-pest aspect: These seeds could introduce an invasive weed or an invasive insect pest or a plant disease,” Scott Bray of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture told the outlet.

US residents in all 50 states reported getting the bizarre, unsolicited seed packages beginning last month.

The handful of seeds arrive in little sealed clear plastic pouches and are tucked in standard-size light gray or beige envelopes — sometimes labeled as jewelry.

“The package said it was from China and said ‘studded earrings’ on the outside, and we thought that was a little odd,” Crenshaw acknowledged of his batch.

It is unclear who is behind the packages, but US agriculture officials have said they believe the seeds may be part of a “brushing scam” — in which people receive goods they never ordered and the sender then posts a fake customer review in their name to boost sales.

US agriculture officials are urging recipients to keep the seeds sealed and call them so they can pick them up.

[ By New York Post ]

Sunday, August 9, 2020

August 09, 2020

Scientists Revive 100-Million-Year-Old Microbes By Giving Them A Snack

Have you ever felt really, really old? This author just recently changed the first number of his age to three, and I can certainly say that on some mornings I really feel like a geezer.

Of course, age is relative. For example, the oldest known living person – thought at the time of writing to be the 117-year-old Japanese lady Kane Tanaka – is nothing but a baby compared to some other species on the planet.

100-Million-Year-Old Microbe

But then there are those forms of life that make the passing of decades, centuries, or even millennia seem insignificant. Just recently, scientists discovered microbes that were still alive after spending 100 million years buried on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Let’s put that into perspective, shall we? Tyrannosaurus Rex, one of the most famous dinosaurs, wouldn’t come into being for another 30 million years or so when these single-cell organisms were young.

Nothing even resembling the earliest lineage that eventually became humans existed at the time. That’s how old they are.

And they pulled their feat of survival deep beneath ocean sediments, with practically no food or oxygen. Tough little troopers, they are.

Searching for Sediments

The research team that found the microbes comes from a variety of Japanese and American universities and science institutes. Ten years ago, the scientists gathered sediment samples from the South Pacific Gyre.

This part of the Pacific Ocean – at the depth 20,000 feet – is one its harshest and most inhospitable to all life. There are so little nutrients available that practically nothing lives there, wrote LiveScience.

Not only that, the team harvested the samples from 328 feet beneath the ocean floor. Meaning that they were drilled up from underground.

Safe to say, that’s not a place you would expect to find life in. The scientists weren’t exactly holding their breath either.

“Our main question was whether life could exist in such a nutrient-limited environment or if this was a lifeless zone,” the study’s lead author Yuki Morono, senior scientist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), told

Unlikely as it might be, the team found some oxygen in the sediment. Apparently oxygen can become trapped between the layers of sediment that slowly sink down from the ocean surface.

So, if there’s oxygen, there could be life, right? Well, the scientists did find a bunch of microbes, but they seemed pretty lifeless to the research team.

Nonetheless, they took the microbes to the laboratory to run some tests with them. Seems like a thing for scientists to do.

100-Million-Year-Old Microbe

Hungry, Hungry Microbes

Once in the lab, Morono’s research team took great efforts to make sure that the ancient microbes weren’t contaminated with modern ones. They sterilized the entire room and used completely sealed feeding tubes and equipment.

Then, they took a closer look at the microbes. The little things indeed seemed to have given up the ghost and showed no sign of activity whatsoever.

Still, out of scientific persistence – or maybe just for the heck of it – the team decided to give the microbes something they might like to eat, like carbon and nitrogen.

Imagine their surprise when the cells slurped up the food and popped right back to life.

“At first, I was skeptical, but we found that up to 99.1% of the microbes in sediment deposited 101.5 million years ago were still alive and were ready to eat,” said the astonished Morono.

Not only were they ready to eat, they were ready to breed – or, well, divide since they’re just microbes. Within 68 days, the original 6,986 microbes had quadrupled in number.

Basically, they were only taking a 100-million-year power nap.
‘No Limits to Life’

While there might not be many practical applications for ancient cells, the scientific implications of the study are astounding.

“We knew that there was life in deep sediment near the continents where there’s a lot of buried organic matter,” said Steven D’Hondt, professor from the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and the study’s co-author.

“But what we found was that life extends in the deep ocean from the seafloor all the way to the underlying rocky basement.”

Morono says that life in the sub-seafloor is much slower to that on the surface. As such, evolutionary speed of the organisms dwelling there is slower, which opens up a whole new branch for research.

“We want to understand how or if these ancient microbes evolved. This study shows that the sub-seafloor is an excellent location to explore the limits of life on Earth,” Morono said.

D’Hondt seems even more optimistic about the possibilities Morono’s discovery has opened up. If these microbes could survive in the oldest seafloor sediments, who knows what else is lurking down there.

“What’s most exciting about this study is that it shows that there are no limits to life in the old sediment of the world’s ocean,” he said.

[ By Oddee ]
August 09, 2020

The Island of the Dolls Has a Murky and Terrifying History

The Island of the Dolls

Don Julian's Opus

The story of La Isla de las Muñecas ("The Island of the Dolls") is intimately entwined with the story of Don Julian Santana Barrera. A native of Xochimilco, a borough of Mexico City, Don Julian left his wife and family sometime in the mid-20th century to sequester himself on an island on Teshuilo Lake. His reasons for doing so are hazy at best, but as soon became clear, Santana Barrera was not necessarily of sound mind. Not long after relocating, he made a chilling discovery on the shores of his island: the body of a young girl, drowned in the lake. A doll came floating down the canals shortly afterward, changing the course of Santana Barrera's life and the shape of the island for years to come.

Alone on the island, Barrera took the doll and hung it from a tree in order to appease the spirit of the deceased girl. But, at least in the eyes of the man who now considered himself the island's caretaker, the one doll was not enough. For the next 50 years, Santana Barrera would scrounge dolls from the trash and from the canals, and hang them from the island's many trees. Some he'd hang whole, others in various states of disrepair — headless, torso-less, or taken apart in other ways.

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls

The Island of the Dolls

These don't sound like the actions of a person with a healthy grasp on reality, and indeed, there are many doubts surrounding this legend. The biggest question? The reality of the little girl who died. Many people, including Don Julian's own family, didn't believe that he ever found the girl, although whether they believe he made it up, imagined the experience, or was somehow mistaken is unclear. What is clear is that whether the girl existed or not, Don Julian devoted the rest of his life to her. And perhaps creepiest of all, even the end of his life had clear ties to the story of the drowned child.

Death of a Doll Collector

In 2001, Don Julian Santana Barrera passed away. His body was discovered — you guessed it — drowned in the canal, in the exact place he always said he'd seen the little girl. In response, tourists began flocking to the island to pay tribute. They brought dolls of their own, and to this day people honor both Santana Barrera and the girl (whether she was real or not) by hanging up dolls in tribute. You can do so too. Many ferries stop here, making it a macabre must-see on any tour of these ancient Aztec canals.

[ By Discovery ]
August 09, 2020

Email From ‘Guardian Angel’ Viewer Saves TV Reporter From Thyroid Cancer

As a journalist, it’s good to hear from your audience. They can provide you with important feedback and news tips, and there’s probably something to learn even from the vitriol people tend to throw your way.

But in this case, a Florida TV news reporter can thank an eagle-eyed viewer for quite possibly saving her life. Thanks to an email, she ended up finding out that she had thyroid cancer.

The story begins in June when Victoria Price, who reports for WFLA-TV, was busy covering the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a journalist, it’s been full throttle since the pandemic began. Never-ending shifts in a never-ending news cycle,” she said in an Instagram post. “We were covering the most important health story in a century, but my own health was the farthest thing from my mind.”

That changed very quickly after one particular TV newscast. Soon after the show was over, she received a strange email.

It had no body text, just a subject line. The sender had signed it with her name, but Price had no idea who this person was.

The message read: “Hi. Just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself.”

The email understandably left Price confused and slightly scared.

“I didn’t know whether to panic or totally disregard this email. Was this a medical professional? A troll? An optical illusion from some weird lighting in my live shot?” she wrote.

Fears Confirmed

Price, who admits to often thinking she is somehow invincible, was set on ignoring the message. Her significant other decided to take it seriously, though.

“My lovingly-pushy boyfriend forced a phone into my hand and I called my primary care physician (PCP) to schedule an appointment,” Price recounted.

After an examination, the PCP indeed concluded that something was wrong. Price said that her neck was “a bit puffy” and her thyroid glands were swollen.

However, her family has a history of hyperthyroidism – a medical condition where the thyroid glands become overactive and can swell up. The doctor thought this was probably the case, so she ordered blood work and an ultrasound for Price.

The blood work came back fine. The ultrasound, however, was a different story.

Right in the center of Price’s thyroid was a “large and very suspicious-looking nodule”. In general, that is not a good combination of words to hear from your doctor.

Price’s PCP referred her to a specialist at Tampa General Hospital’s thyroid cancer center. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic that she had spent so much time covering, Price said she experienced some delays.

She finally got to see the specialist though, and their answer on July 21 confirmed what Price was already probably suspecting.

She had thyroid cancer.

The ‘Game Plan’

Hearing such news will still come as a shock, no matter how prepared you think you are. When the doctor asked Price if she had questions, she said of course she did – she’s a journalist, after all.

“My head was exploding with questions. What? When? How? Am I going to die? Will this affect my voice? Will I be forced to forever don a turtleneck in the scorching Florida sun to hide an unsightly scar?” said Price.

Ultimately, though, she simply asked: “What’s the game plan?”

“That’s how it happens in a newsroom. Chaos ensues. We take care of it. We move on,” she shrugged.

Luckily, the game plan at least sounds fairly simple. Price was told to take the last week of July off work so the doctors could remove her entire thyroid gland, along with some lymph nodes.

She would also undergo a CT scan and a biopsy. The good news is that Price should be back to work after that one week of sick leave.

“Doctor says it’s spreading, but not too much, and we’re hopeful this will be my first and last procedure,” Price wrote on Instagram.

As far as cancer treatments go, that really doesn’t sound all that bad. Good thing she got that early warning from her viewer.

‘Forever Thankful’

Speaking of that early warning, Price still doesn’t know who her mysterious helper is. She did reply to the message with her heartfelt thanks, but never heard back.

“Maybe she was a guardian angel? Who knows,” she mused.

But Price tells her savior to not feel obligated to email her back. She’d already saved her life and that is more than Price could have ever asked for.

“I will forever be thankful to the woman who went out of her way to email me, a total stranger. She had zero obligation to, but she did anyway,” Price said.

“Had I never received that email, I never would have called my doctor. The cancer would have continued to spread. It’s a scary and humbling thought.”

Perhaps luckily for Price, thyroid cancer is rarely lethal on its own. Out of the roughly 50,000 annual cases (75% of them in women), 98% of them go on to survive it.

Be that as it may, she was lucky to have a stranger look out for her. Cheers to the guardian angel with an email account.

[ By Oddee ]
August 09, 2020

Ireland’s Most Haunted Mansion ‘Where The Devil Himself Lived’ Is For Sale

 Loftus Hall, Haunted Mansion

For Sale: Ireland’s most haunted mansion “where the devil himself lived.”

Paranormal professionals and ghost lovers take note: Loftus Hall in Fethard on Sea, in Ireland’s County Wexford, is on the market for $3 million.

The 22-bedroom Georgian mansion set on stately, landscaped grounds has been put on the block by owners Aidan and Shane Quigley, who have rented the home out since 2012 for ghost tours.

The property — originally built in 1170 by a Norman knight — is said to have been haunted since 1766, when it was known as Redmond Hall.

 Loftus Hall, Haunted Mansion

 Loftus Hall, Haunted Mansion

The legend goes that a mysterious stranger came to the home calling on owners Lord and Lady Tottenham, as well as their daughter Lady Anne, according to the Irish Mirror. With a storm raging, they invited the man inside, and while they were playing a card game, Lady Anne crouched to grab a card that fell and discovered cloven hooves of Satan himself.

She screamed, the devil disappeared in a cloud of smoke and Lady Anne went crazy, locking herself up in the house and soon died. She is said to haunt the halls of the home.

Over the years the mansion has been a school for girls and a hotel before being bought by the Quigley brothers in 2011 for $800,000.

“Many have said there are certain areas of the Hall, its atmosphere, the temperature and the general feeling of unease,” the brothers told the Irish Mirror. “Many people have seen things that have left them wondering.”


[ By New York Post ]

Saturday, August 8, 2020

August 08, 2020

Beirut Explosion Sweeps Over Bride’s Photoshoot In Dramatic Video

A Lebanese bride just posed for a wedding video she’ll never forget.

Israa Seblani was showing off her wedding dress in a ritzy downtown Beirut square on Tuesday when a massive explosion rocked the city’s port, toppling buildings and covering the area in smoke.

Beirut Explosion

Footage captured by Seblani’s wedding photographer, Mahmoud Nakib, shows the moment when the shock wave hit, turning a special moment into a mad scramble for all involved.

The clip starts with Seblani smiling and standing still while Nakib approaches her with a camera to show off her white bridal dress. He pans around her face, then brings the camera down to show off her train.

Nakib realizes something is wrong a second before the blast sweeps over the entire scene.

“Allahu Akbar,” Nakib says. “God is the greatest.”

The camera is pointed at Seblani’s feet when the first shock wave hits, blowing away her bouquet and billowing her dress out behind her.

Smoke blankets the area and glass rains down on the street, tinkling onto the pavement amid the roar of the explosion.

Beirut Explosion

The photographer turns the camera to look down the street toward a cloud of smoke, then rushes to a wall on the other side of the street.

Nakib then points the camera back toward the square, where the bride and several men in suits can be seen rushing into a nearby building for cover. Bells and alarms are going off in several nearby buildings.

The square, which was bathed in golden light a few moments earlier, is now blanketed by grey dust.

Extended footage from the incident shows Nakib following the bride and groom down the street. The groom and another man can be seen helping Seblani with her dress, which appears to be in disarray after the blast.

The footage also shows trees and outdoor furniture scattered everywhere. Many windows appear to be broken and the hotel courtyard is littered with debris.


At one point the photographer turns the camera around to describe the scene.

“Look at me, I’m shaking,” Nakib says in Arabic. “There was a really, really big explosion. All the storefronts have been smashed. Some people have been injured, but thank God we are fine. Everything is broken.”

The explosion happened Tuesday evening at Beirut’s port, where officials say a fire set off more than 2,700 tonnes of explosive ammonium nitrate at a warehouse. The blast killed more than 100 people, injured thousands more and obliterated nearby buildings.

The explosion also damaged many structures within several kilometres of the blast zone, and was felt as far away as Cyprus, an island some 200 kilometres away.

The square where the photoshoot took place was approximately one kilometre southwest of the explosion’s origin point, Google Maps shows.

Nakib says he and the couple were unharmed by the explosion. He told Storyful that they all took refuge at a nearby house and had dinner together at a restaurant later that evening.

[ By Global News ]
August 08, 2020

Tanzanian Who Became An Instant Millionaire By Spotting Rare Gems Has Found Another One

Back in June, a simpleton miner from Tanzania became a millionaire overnight after he found two massive Tanzanite stones.

The two dark violet-blue gemstones, each about 30 cm long and 10 cm thick, were discovered by miners employed by Saniniu Laizer in a mine north of the country. 

Sanuniu Laizer, Tanzanite
Sanuniu Laizer earned a whopping $3.4 million (Rs 25 crores) after he sold the gemstones to the country's mining industry. With a combined weight of 15 kilograms, they were reportedly the biggest Tanzanine stones in the country.

A month after the life-changing discoveries, Laizer has found another great gemstone that is reportedly worth $2 million. The third discovery by Saniniu Laizer weighed 6.3 kg. 

Sanuniu Laizer

Mr Laizer is keen to use the proceeds from his discoveries to help local people, reports Africa News. "With the money we are getting, we will give back to our community. I personally have set up two schools for children with the money I received from mining."

The 52-year-old, who has four wives and 30 children, previously vowed to use some of his earnings to build a school and a shopping mall in his community, adding that many locals can't afford to pay for their children's education. 

Sanuniu Laizer, Tanzanite
Small-scale miners like Mr Laizer operate under licences acquired from the government, but illegal mining of the mineral is an issue, especially close to major mining operations.

Mr Laizer says he will not change his lifestyle, but that he does intend to slaughter one of the cows from his herd of 2,000 to celebrate.

Tanzanite is only found in northern Tanzania and is used to make ornaments. It is one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, and one local geologist estimates its supply may be entirely depleted within the next 20 years.

According to Reuters, Tanzania has also set up trading centres around the country to allow artisanal miners to sell their gems and gold to the government. Artisanal miners are not officially employed by any mining companies and usually mine by hand.

[ By India Time ]
August 08, 2020

Canada Is Allowing Dying People To Do Psychedelic Mushrooms

The Canadian government is allowing people with terminal cancer to legally consume psychedelic mushrooms as part of their end-of-life care, a decision that’s expected to pave the way for more people to access psilocybin therapy.

Psychedelic Mushrooms

Psilocybin and psilocin, the active ingredients in magic mushrooms, are prohibited under Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, unless an exception is made for a clinical trial.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Patty Hajdu approved the use of psilocybin for four people with incurable cancer under a Section 56 exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

This is the first known time such an exemption has been granted specifically for the consumption of mushrooms, according to TheraPsil, a nonprofit organization that advocates for psychedelic therapy in end-of-life care in Canada.

Psychedelic Mushrooms

While more research is needed, a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in January found that psilocybin use in patients with life-threatening cancer resulted in a reduction in anxiety, depression, and hopelessness for prolonged periods of time.

In a news release by TheraPsil, Laurie Brooks, one of the patients granted an exemption, said she hopes the decision will lead to more Canadians being able to access psilocybin without having to wait months for the government’s permission.

“The acknowledgement of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result,” Brooks said.


Some U.S. cities, including Denver and Oakland, have decriminalized possession of mushrooms. In Jamaica, where mushrooms are legal, psilocybin retreats are available as a form of dealing with personal issues and trauma.

In Canada, legal access to medical cannabis also started with a Section 56 exemption.

[ By Vice ]

Friday, August 7, 2020

August 07, 2020

Massive Road Bridge Built Around Tiny House of Very Stubborn Owner

A newly opened highway in China’s Guangdong province has been making news headlines for a very peculiar reason: it’s built around the tiny home who refused to move.

Tiny House

China is well-known for its “nail houses”, properties of homeowners who reject compensation from a developer for their demolition, but while most such examples are encountered within new residential complexes, the one we’re featuring today stands in the middle of a highway bridge. Footage released by Chinese media shows the property tightly squeezed between the lanes of the newly opened Haizhuyong Bridge, in the city of Guangzhou. It is located in a pit in the middle of the four-lane road bridge and has become somewhat of a local attraction.

Ms. Liang, the owner of the modest 40-square-metre, one-storey house told reporters that the Government failed to provide her with a replacement property in an ideal location, instead offering her a flat located near a morgue, which she just couldn’t accept. She is the only person out of a total of 47 homeowners and seven firms who still lives there. The others accepted the Government’s offers and moved away by last September.

“You think this environment is poor, but I feel it’s quiet, liberating, pleasant and comfortable,” Ms Liang said, adding that she doesn’t care what other people think of her stubbornness.

Tiny House

According to a report by Hong Kong-based news outlet South China Morning Post, the Government made Ms. Liang several offers, but she turned down all of them. One of the most generous ones included two other flats as well as monetary compensation of 1.3 million yuan ($186,500). She allegedly asked for four flats and 2 million yuan ($287,000).

After failing to reach an agreement with the homeowner, the Government reportedly had no choice but to alter the original project and build the bridge around the ‘nail house’. However, a spokesperson said that negotiations with the woman will continue. Meanwhile, this bizarre case has sparked a heated online debate, with most social media users accusing the woman of being greedy.

“Other owners have already moved, which suggests the compensation is acceptable. This house owner must think she can force the Government’s hand,” one person commented.

“A case of being too greedy and ending up with nothing,” someone else wrote.

[ By Oddity Central ]
August 07, 2020

Novel Bunyavirus Re-emerges In China, Infecting At Least 60 People, Killing 7

Novel Bunyavirus

A deadly virus has re-emerged in China, infecting more than 60 people and killing seven.

The highly pathogenic, tick-borne novel bunyavirus can lead to thrombocytopenia syndrome.

It causes a viral haemorrhagic fever and has re-emerged in rural areas of China.

CNA reports that a 65-year-old tea farmer in China’s Jiangsu province recently fell ill with a fever of 40C and a repetitive cough.

Beijing-backed Global Times reported 37 people had been diagnosed with thrombocytopenia in the Jiangsu province.

Experts now believe the virus can be transmitted from person to person.

People can infect others via blood, the respiratory tract and wounds.

The virus can also spread to people via infected animals.

Most people are infected from tick bites.

Novel Bunyavirus

Sheng Jifang, an expert on the novel bunya virus, told the Global Times a patient who had died three years ago later infected 16 people that had contact with the patient’s body.

One of those infected people later died.

The patient had bleeding because of severe infection, he said.

Family members of infected patients and medical staff have been warned to take necessary preventive and protective measures.

The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control says the novel bunyavirus has a fatality rate of about 10 per cent.

Common symptoms of the virus include fever, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite.

It can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

The virus was first discovered in China’s central Henan and eastern Anhui provinces in 2009.

The disease has since spread to Taiwan, with a man in his 70s developing a fever and experiencing severe vomiting after contracting the virus last year.

He had no recent history of international travel but often went walking in the mountains.

There is no known vaccine or medications that can target the virus.

The re-emergence of the novel bunyavirus comes after the novel coronavirus was discovered in China late last year.
August 07, 2020

7 Dead, 60 Infected By Tick-borne Virus in China


Anew infectious disease caused by a tick-borne virus has killed seven people and infected 60 others in China, official media here reported on Wednesday, warning about the possibility of its human-to-human transmission.

More than 37 people in East China's Jiangsu Province contracted with the SFTS Virus in the first half of the year. Later, 23 people were found to have been infected in East China's Anhui province, state-run Global Times quoted media reports.
A woman from Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu, who suffered from the virus showed onset of symptoms such as fever, coughing. Doctors found a decline of leukocyte, blood platelet inside of her body.

After a month of treatment, she was discharged from the hospital.

At least seven people have died in Anhui and East China's Zhejiang province due to the virus, the report said.


SFTS Virus is not a new virus. China has isolated pathogen of the virus in 2011, and it belongs to the Bunyavirus category.

Virologists believe that the infection may have been passed on to humans by ticks and that the virus can be transmitted between humans, it said.

Sheng Jifang, a doctor from the first affiliated hospital under Zhejiang University, said that the possibility of human-to-human transmission could not be excluded; patients can pass the virus to others via blood or mucous.

Doctors warned that tick bite is the major transmission route, as long as people remain cautious, there's no need to over panic over such virus contagion, it said.

[ By News18 ]

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

August 05, 2020

Priest Flees In Terror As Beirut Blast Rocks Church During Live-streamed Mass

Lebanon explosion

This footage from a religious ceremony being live-streamed from Beirut shows a priest running in terror as the huge explosion rocks the building.

The impact from the deadly blast was captured during a mass being broadcast in the Lebanese capital, according to Alhurra correspondent Steven Nabil.

It shows the lights behind the cleric going out as the church begins to rattle around him. Within seconds the detonation can be heard in the background as debris and stained glass windows begin to rain down from above. It is unclear how badly the priest or any of the parishioners were injured.

At least 100 people have been killed and more than 4,000 injured during the powerful warehouse explosion which shook the city.

[ By Metro ]