World’s oldest man, Salustiano ‘Shorty’ Sanchez, dies aged 112

Salustiano Sanchez

The world’s oldest man, a gin rummy-playing, one-time sugarcane worker born in Spain, has died at 112 in New York state, a funeral home said on Saturday.

Salustiano “Shorty” Sanchez, recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest man, died on Friday at a nursing home in Grand Island, New York, the MJ Colucci & Son Funeral Chapels said on its website.

Guinness said in June that Sanchez, who also had been a construction worker, was the oldest man following the death of 116-year-old Jiroemon Kimura of Japan.

Sanchez credited his longevity to eating one banana per day and taking Anacin daily, according to a recent Guinness online profile. He told Guinness that living so long was not a special accomplishment.

Sanchez was born in El Tejado de Bejar, Spain, in 1901 and worked as a sugarcane field worker in Cuba before emigrating to the United States, where he found work in Kentucky coalmines.

Sanchez liked to garden, do crossword puzzles, and play gin rummy every night with friends, according to Guinness.

Sanchez was known for his musical talents as a boy, playing a dulzaina, a Spanish double reed instrument related to the oboe, Guinness said. He went to school until age 10.

Sanchez moved to the Niagara Falls area of New York state in the early 1930s and became a construction worker. He worked for Union Carbide Co for more than 30 years before retiring.

He married his wife, Pearl, in 1934. Sanchez had two children, seven grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren, according to Guinness.

With his death, the world’s oldest man is Arturo Licata of Italy at 111. The oldest woman is Misao Okawa of Japan at 115, according to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks people 110 and older and validates ages for Guinness.

The greatest authenticated age for any human is 122 years, 164 days by Jeanne Louise Calment of France.

Gregory Kloehn makes New York City dumpster into home

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A California designer has turned a $2,000 dumpster into a fully functional home, complete with a bathroom, bed, kitchen and sun deck.

Gregory Kloehn converted the dumpster in Brooklyn off of a hunch, and now he uses it whenever he stays in New York.

‘It just hit me,’ he said on HGTV’s show, ‘You Live in What?’ ‘I thought hey, this is the perfect shape for a home.’

Kloehn added wheels to the bottom of the dumpster so it could be more easily transported and carved a custom door on the side for easy entry and exit.

For drinking water, he installed a six-gallon water tank on the roof.

The same water is funneled into the tiny toilet when he needs to use the bathroom. The water is also hooked up to an outdoor shower.

The red-and-black-colored interior is insulated with padding and features a small seating area. But sleeping appears uncomfortable. He appears to only barely fit inside when he lies down.

The small kitchen takes up one corner of the dumpster and features a microwave and mini stove. Both run on electricity.

A small grill is also attached to the outside of the dumpster. On the roof, an umbrella provides some shade for outdoor lounging.

If he wants to get some extra sunlight inside, as well, he can lift the retractable roof to expose two windows and let in the light.

‘I think [passersby] are just surprised that someone would take something like this and spend enough time to make it a home,’ he told HGTV.

Thanks to Mr. Cuomo for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

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Rare Chinese bowl bought for $3 is sold for more than $2.2 million

chinese bowl

A Chinese bowl that a New York family picked up for $3 at a garage sale turned out to be a 1,000-year-old treasure and has sold at auction for $2.2 million. The bowl — ceramic, 5 inches in diameter and with a saw-tooth pattern etched around the outside — went to a London dealer, Giuseppe Eskenazi, at Sotheby’s auction house in New York on Tuesday. Sotheby’s said the bowl was from the Northern Song Dynasty, which ruled China from 960 to 1127 and is known for its cultural and artistic advances. The auction house said the only other known bowl of similar size and design has been in the collection of the British Museum for more than 60 years. The house had estimated that this one would sell for $200,000 to $300,000. Sotheby’s did not identify the sellers, but said they put the bowl up for auction after consulting with experts. The family bought the bowl in 2007 and had kept it on a mantel in the years since. There weren’t any additional details made public about the garage sale where they had purchased the item.

Stealth Wear fashion to shield people from drones and face-recognition software

As debate over the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in the U.S. rages on, a fashion designer introduces clothing that blocks drone-mounted infrared cameras.

As the U.S. government draws up plans to use surveillance drones in domestic airspace, opposition to what many consider an unwarranted and significant invasion of privacy is mounting across the country, from rural Virginia to techopolis Seattle. Although officials debate anti-drone legislation at federal, state and local levels, one man is fighting back with high-tech apparel.

A New York City privacy advocate-turned-urban-guerilla fashion designer is selling garments designed to make their wearers invisible to infrared surveillance cameras, particularly those on drones. And although Adam Harvey admits that his three-item Stealth Wear line of scarves and capes is more of a political statement than a money-making venture, the science behind the fashion is quite sound.

“Fighting drones is not my full-time job, but it could be,” says Harvey, an instructor of physical computing at Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts and the creator of the CV Dazzle project, which seeks to develop makeup and hairstyles that camouflage people from face-recognition cameras and software.

Harvey’s newest medium, metalized fabric, has been around for more than 20 years. It holds in body heat that would burn bright for infrared cameras—a characteristic that could prove attractive to those who do not want unmanned aerial vehicles spying on them.

Metalized fabric
Metal is very good at absorbing and scattering infrared light, says Cheng Sun, a Northwestern University assistant professor of mechanical engineering. In that sense there is nothing exotic in how metalized fabric works—it “would strongly attenuate the [infrared] light,” he says. The metal would dissipate heat to surroundings as well, making the wearer harder to pinpoint.

To date, the fabric has primarily been used in tape and gaskets to protect electronics and communications equipment from static electricity and electromagnetic interference, according to Larry Creasy, director of technology for metalized fabric-maker Laird Technologies, based in Saint Louis.

Here’s how metalizing works, at least at Laird: Woven fabric, commonly nylon or polyester, is coated with a special catalyst—a precious metal Creasy declined to specify—that helps copper bind to the fiber. Once dry, the fabric is submerged in a copper sulfate–plating bath and dried. A nickel sulfamate bath follows to help the finished fabric withstand the elements and abrasions. The result is a flexible, breathable fabric that can be cut with ordinary tools but that protects against electromagnetic interference and masks infrared radiation, Creasy says. The process adds weight to the original fabric. An untreated square yard of nylon weighs about 42.5 grams. Treated, the same patch weighs more than 70 grams.

The fashion
Harvey’s fabric is coated with copper, nickel and silver, a combination that gives his scarves, head-and-shoulders cloak and thigh-length “burqa” a silvery and “luxurious” feel. The material blocks cell signals, as well, adding an element of risk to tweeting, texting and other mobile activities, as the wearer must break cover to communicate.

Stealth Wear is sold only via a U.K. Web site. The burqa goes for about $2,300, the “hoodie” is $481 and the scarf is $565—luxury items, but so, too, is privacy today, Harvey says.

The impetus
The high cost and limited availability are significant drawbacks—Harvey says he’s only sold one Stealth Wear item online, a scarf. But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts 10,000 commercial drones will ply domestic airspace by 2017—almost twice the that of the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of unmanned aircraft. The number of drones flying in the U.S. today is hard to pin down because not every company and agency that gets FAA approval to fly a drone actually puts one in the air. In fact, 1,428 private-sector and government requests have been approved since 2007, according to the FAA. A Los Angeles Times report states that 327 of those permits are still active. Meanwhile, President Obama signed a law in February 2012 that gives the FAA until September 2015 to draw up rules that dictate how law enforcement, the military and other entities may use drones in U.S. airspace.

As of October 2012, 81 law agencies, universities, an Indian tribal agency and other entities had applied to the FAA to fly drones, according to documents released by the FAA to the Electronic Freedom Frontier following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Government entities as diverse as the U.S. Department of State and Otter Tail County, Minn., are among them.

Discomfort rising
Although Harvey’s anti-drone fashions are not currently flying off the shelves, he could soon find himself leading a seller’s market if recent events are any metric:

•The Charlottesville, Va., city council has passed a watered-down ordinance that asks the federal and commonwealth governments not to use drone-derived information in court. Proponents had sought to make the city drone-free (pdf).

•Virginia, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Arizona (pdf) and Idaho legislators are trying to at least regulate or even prohibit, drones in their skies.

•Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn returned the city’s two surveillance drones after a hostile public reception.

•A bipartisan pair of U.S. Representatives has introduced legislation to limit information-gathering by government-operated drones as well as prohibit weapons on law-enforcement and privately owned unmanned aerial vehicles.

Drone advocates defend the use of the technology as a surveillance tool. “We clearly need to do a better job of educating people about the domestic use of drones,” says Ben Gielow, government relations manager for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Gielow says U.S. voters must decide the acceptability of data collection from all sources, adding, “Ultimately, an unmanned aircraft is no different than gathering data from the GPS on your phone or from satellites.”

GPS does not use infrared cameras, however, and satellites are not at the center the current privacy debate brewing in Washington—factors that could make Harvey’s designs all the more fashionable.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney will fill in for Kurt Cobain in Nirvana reunion


70 year old Sir Paul McCartney filled in for Kurt Cobain as the surviving members of Nirvana reunited at the Superstorm Sandy benefit in New York on Wednesday.

Grunge stars Dave Grohl and bassist Krist Novoselic have reportedly enlisted the Beatle to play onstage with them at the Madison Square Garden charity gig.

The Fab Four legend reveals Grohl invited him to “jam with some mates”, but admits he had no idea he was filling in for tragic rocker Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994.

Sir Paul tells Britain’s The Sun, “I didn’t really know who they were. They are saying how good it is to be back together. I said, ‘Whoa? You guys haven’t played together for all that time? And somebody whispered to me, ‘That’s Nirvana. You’re Kurt.’ I couldn’t believe it.”

The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, and Eric Clapton were also on the bill for the 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief.

3 million bees removed from home in Queens, New York


Approximately 3 million bees were found swarming around a man’s Queens, N.Y., home on Wednesday night, and were confiscated —  to the relief of his neighbors.

Yi Gin Chen had beehives packed into the backyard — about 45 hives in total, said Andrew Cote, president of the New York City Beekeepers Association. Cote said Chen, a beekeeper in his native China, had contacted the beekeepers’ association earlier in the month for help with the bees because he was trying to sell his Corona, Queens, home.

Chen allegedly started with one hive a couple years ago, and the insects kept multiplying, reported the New York Daily News.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” Chen told The Daily News Wednesday night as New York City Police Department officials and volunteers from the Beekeepers Association collected the bees. “I don’t have the time or resources to do this.”

Cote said Chen’s real estate agent contacted him a few weeks ago and told him that Chen, who only speaks Mandarin, had “four or five hives” that he wanted to sell.

When Cote arrived at the home, he was shocked to find it was actually 45.

“That’s something like 3 million bees, which is more bees than there are people in Queens,” Cote said Thursday from his honey stand at a farmer’s market outside Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center.

“Many of the neighbors were tremendously upset about the bees and fearful to walk out their door because it literally led to three feet from the mouth of an open hive, each of which had approximately 60 to 80,000 bees,” Cote said.

Cote said he advised Chen to immediately register the hives with the city, per local regulations, and also gave him suggestions to make the situation better for his terrified neighbors.

One resident, Louie Socci, told the Daily News he called the city once to complain.

“It’s like a big swarm of a couple million bees. You never seen anything like it in your life,” Socci told The Daily News. “The guy’s nuts. I called the city once and they didn’t do anything.”

Last night, during the four-hour operation to seal up the hives and remove them from the property, Cote discovered that not only were there a lot of bees, but they were also in poor health.

“The bees were in terrible condition. I’ll be surprised if any of them survives the winter. He stripped them of all their honey,” he said. “The average weight of a hive at this time of the year would be at least 180 pounds, and these averaged 40 pounds. He took all of their honey and didn’t leave any for them.”

It’s not clear what Chen was doing with the honey, but Cote suspects based on conversations he has had with other beekeepers in the area that he was selling it.

Beekeeping has been legal in New York since 2010. No license is needed, but if beehive owners don’t register their hives, they can be fined.

It’s not known yet what charges Chen may face. Calls from NBC News to the New York Police Department were not immediately returned.

Anthony Planakis, who heads bee control for the NYPD, told The New York Post of Chen’s home, “Picture 45 dogs in one apartment. It’s cruelty to the bees.”

New York City has ramped up its bee-control efforts recently. Earlier this month, Planakis — who has been fighting stingers since 1995 — was promoted from officer to detective by NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelley, and granted a “bee-mobile” and other equipment, The New York Post reported.

Personalized Origami in the New York City Subway

At the foot of a Union Square subway platform staircase, an artist focused on his delicate work, maneuvering a fold of black origami paper along half-open scissor blades.

“Scissor doesn’t move, only paper moves,” he said to the rider posing for him. “Nice young man,” he bantered. “How old are you? Like your hair.”

The paper’s border flutters to the dirty, gum-tacked floor. He peeled open the fold to reveal an intricate, slightly caricatured portrait of the rider’s face, down to the hairs and wrinkles. He taped it to a white-tiled wall beside him, joining it with others, oblivious to the gusts from the passing trains that threatened to blow his frail creations onto the tracks.

On a foam board below were dozens more subway characters: man with dreadlocks, woman with hoop earrings, bald man with spectacles. He offered to repeat the feat without looking at the rider’s face. “In America, just me,” he said of his skill. “In China, just me. This unique.”

In the congested world of subway performers, where dance troupes, conga circles and violin players blur, Ming Liang Lu, 57, is an alluring presence. A self-described “master paper portrait cutter,” he has the ability to trim facial portraits out of frail paper within minutes, compelling some riders to willingly miss their trains.

Mr. Lu practices several ancient Chinese art forms, and says he hails from a noted Shanghai teaching lineage. On weekends, he teaches calligraphy, painting and cutting at the New York Chinese Cultural Center. He said that in Shanghai, his birth city, he was renown for stone sculpture and stamp seal carving. He credits the facial portraits to his formative training in a three-dimensional form.

Paper-cutting dates to the Han dynasty but it is traditionally associated with designs like animals and flowers. But Mr. Lu has adapted the technique for facial portraits. “You’re not going to see anybody doing the faces,” said Alex Gombach, one of Mr. Lu’s oldest students. “That’s really his own thing.”

“When you see those subway faces in their totality, it’s a New York portrait,” Mr. Gombach continued. “You’ve got a young black woman, an Orthodox Jew, a white guy. It’s a New York story.”

On a recent Thursday night, Mr. Lu, Chinese-language newspapers scattered at his feet, trimmed the visage of a rider while Jason Kraut, 39, filmed it on his smartphone. An L train blasted off into the tunnel, threatening to dislodge his works, but Mr. Lu swiveled the folded paper through his scissors, paying no attention to the ruckus.

Mr. Kraut, who often passes Mr. Lu on the L platform on his commute to Park Slope, Brooklyn, analyzed the cutting as if he were in a museum. “This makes me think of Chet Baker blowing those changes,” he said, referring to the jazz trumpeter. “I have no idea what’s going on. Same with this.” He decided: “I need to have one.”

Mr. Lu is pleased if a rider wants a portrait — he accepted $20 for a small, live portrait — but he is also content just cutting an interesting face.

“Not about money,” he said. “About face.”

Another session drew a crowd of backpack-wearing riders, complete with shushes and quiet faces of awe. Mr. Lu recognized one of the audience members, Kristen Mucci, and gave her a hug.

“How’s your husband?” he asked her before returning to his work. Two years ago, Ms. Mucci hired Mr. Lu for her birthday.

“He was a big hit,” she said. “We had it at a bar in Williamsburg. Something different. Half the payoff is watching him create such frail, delicate things. It looks like he’s just touching a piece of paper, but they all come out different. It’s not canned.”

Mr. Lu is not as dainty as his creations. He has cropped black hair, and a scent of cigarettes follows him. His English is rudimentary, but effective enough to plant disarming compliments to charm riders into modeling for him.

He resumed his routine the following night, turning from his Sing Tao Daily upon noticing a possibly trim-worthy face. “I love your face,” he said as he started trimming the likeness of the bearded man’s face. The rider abandoned Mr. Lu when his train arrived. Mr. Lu completed the portrait accurately without visual aid. He taped it to his wall and returned to his newspaper.

Later, Raymond Colletti, intrigued by the three-dimensional portraits popping up from the subway wall, approached.

Mr. Lu turned from his newspaper. “How you, my friend?” he said. “How old? Very nice young man.”

Mr. Colletti had little say in the matter. Mr. Lu started cutting as a rackety train dashed past.

ocused on his delicate work, maneuvering a fold of black origami paper along half-open scissor blades.


Neglected, rotting trees in New York City are killing people


Alexis Handwerker had been sitting on a bench beneath a towering elm in Stuyvesant Square Park in Manhattan — now she was pinned to the ground, bleeding, disoriented and smothered by leaves. One arm was rammed back unnaturally, broken. Panicked parkgoers struggled to free her from a huge tree limb that had plummeted 30 feet.

“I don’t want to die,” she screamed. “I don’t want to die.”

Ms. Handwerker, a 29-year-old social worker, survived the July 2007 accident with grievous injuries, and sued. Her lawyers pieced together evidence that untrained parks workers had missed signs that the elm was rotting — even though the 80-foot tree, one of the biggest in New York City, had sent limbs crashing down before. The city settled in February, paying $4 million.

Ms. Handwerker’s suit is just one of at least 10 stemming from deaths or injuries caused by falling limbs and branches in New York City that were quietly resolved over the last 10 years, or are now winding their way through the courts. The city has paid millions of dollars in damage claims, with far more expected. It all comes at a time of steep cutbacks in the amount of money the city dedicates to tree care and safety.


Read more here:


Thanks to Dr. Nakamura for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.

Woman fired after donating kidney to her boss

Forty-Seven year old Deborah Stevens is a sweet mother of two who thought she was doing something humane and simply out of the kindness of her heart which, in turn, seemed to backfire, big time.

Stevens was an employee at the Atlantic Automotive Group from over a year before she decided to move to Florida. She left on good terms and during a trip back to NY, she visited her former employer to say hello.
While she was there, her boss, Jacqueline Brucia explained how she was having health problems and needed a new kidney. Debbie told Brucia if she ever needed a kidney, she would be willing to donate.
After deciding to move back to New York, Debbie asked for her old job back. Brucia immediately hired her back, and then reminded her that she offered a kidney at one time.

“My boss needed a kidney,” said Stevens.

Stevens went under the knife in August of 2011 to have her left kidney removed. The recovery was nothing like she expected and she went through a painful recovery.

On September 6th, Stevens went back to work, even though she was still in pain. That is when she realized what really went down.

“It appeared I was used. She used her power and she manipulated me,” said Stevens.

The boss who once asked for the gift of life — turned into an ungrateful monster, finding fault in everything Stevens did.

“She accused me of not doing my job, she’d yell at me every day. She made me feel guilty about the pain I was in.”

Stevens couldn’t take it anymore and went to human resources. They informed her they had heard from other employees that Brucia was harassing Stevens. They in turn moved Stevens to another dealership fifty miles away, and then abruptly fired her.

” I felt like my heart was ripped out,” said Stevens.

Stevens is now filing a complaint and lawsuit to the Division of Human Rights against Atlantic Automotive and Brucia.

Stevens says if she had to do it all over again, she would not.,0,164903.story