How "Disgusting" Became Luxury

Bird droppings, snail slime, excreted coffee beans—there's no substance so vile that it can't be a must-have product. The Independent explores a world of very gross profits.

News of it has only just reached the West, but bird poo facials have been big in Japan for several years. It's not just any old bird poo: the pricey stuff is the excrement of nightingales from the island of Kyushu; it is said to have an enzyme that breaks down all the dead skin on the user's epidermis. Just ask Victoria Beckham, whose dewy complexion is reportedly down to the songbird's guano—dried, mixed with rice bran and faeces and applied as a face mask in selected high-end spas.

How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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Videos
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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Scientists find a horrible new way cocaine can damage your brain

Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.

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Mind & Brain
  • Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
  • Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
  • Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
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