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The Remarkable Tale of Christopher Thomas Knight

For many years, a shady figure lurked in the dark surroundings of a rural town who was stealing from homes and fleeing from people. Nobody couldn’t ever saw the person and even less knew who was behind of that. The only thing that people knew is that they were afraid and the police were unable to stop him. This is the incredible story of one most mystery man that ever existed.

Someone is Watching

For 30 years, residents of North Pond town, Maine had heard strange sounds in the night. People would awake by the disturbing rustlings but always when they turned the lights, nothing was there. Someone managed to just see a lurking figure.

They could feel like something is constantly creeping in the darkness and knew that things will go missing each time that sounds occurred.

An Unusual Thief

This thief was incredibly odd. He or she focused on steal regular items like magazines, books, junk food, jeans, boots, winter jackets, small radios, and batteries. This elusive criminal never stole an expensive item that he/she could sell it for a good amount of money. Therefore, locals labeled him/her with curious nicknames such as the “the Hungry Man,” “the Mountain Man,” “North Pond Hermit,” “Maine’s Loch Ness Monster,” or even the “the Stealthy Yeti.”

The Hunt Starts

But things will change in the Spring of 2013 when the elusive criminal decided to target the Pine Tree Summer Camp. It seemed a perfect place to steal things. A big place where he/she could sneak into to find food and supplies without anyone noticing something missing.

However, the thief did notice a small detail: the police begun a hunt for him. Besides, the Summer Camp’s manager is the Sergeant Terry Hughes who developed an excellent plan to catch the culprit.

First Sights

On April 4, 2013, Sergeant Terry Hughes received an alarm triggered meaning that someone was in the kitchen of the camp. Hughes immediately went to the scene expecting to find a violent criminal carrying a weapon, or maybe a ragged homeless person searching desperately for food.

When Hughes looked into the kitchen through the window, he saw something totally unexpected. A clean and well-dressed middle-aged man with a smooth face. And the sergeant asked himself who is this apparently regular man?

Caught In The Act

As the unknown man went to the dining hall, carrying a backpack full with food, Sergeant Hughes threw a flashlight to blind him, and while he was holding a gun in his other hand, he yelled to the man: “get on the ground.” Unexpectedly, the intruder followed the Sergeant’s orders without any kind of resistance.

While the man kneeled down, Officer Diane Perkins-Vance and other two cops handcuffed the suspect to a chair. He never put up a fight or resistance. The officials noticed that the man was pale skin with dated glasses and without an ID. At first, he refused to answer officials’ questions but later he revealed his unbelievable story.

Living Alone In The Woods For Decades

It took two hours until the culprit finally answered Officer Perkins-Vance’s questions. He said he wouldn’t the questions because he was “ashamed”. Then he revealed his name: Christopher Thomas Knight. Jobs? None. Address? The woods.

But the big surprise came when the officer asked him how long time he had been living in the woods and he admitted he lost the sense of time but remembered that the Chernobyl disaster occurred before he decided to go into the woods. So that meant he began his life of solitude and theft in the woods in 1986 (27 years)

The Early Life of The Hermit

Christopher Thomas Knight was born on December 7, 1965. He was always a loner person since he was born. His family was not different, though. “I had good parents” he remembered. “But we were not emotional persons. We were not touchy-feely. We always tend to stoicism.” So, he always had difficult to relate to others beyond a basic level.

When he was younger, Christopher was a shut-in person who stayed busy with the things that really mattered to him. However, nobody could expect he might cut off completely from the world.

A Man With A Promising Future

Curiously, Christopher was a talented student during his school years. His grades were excellent and even graduated fast but without having friends. After high school, he went to Sylvania Technical School in Massachusetts where he studied electronics.

Moving to that city meant a change of pace from his accustomed life in Maine. But still, he did not make any friends. After finishing the 9-month course, Christopher was able found a job installing alarms for cars and homes.

He bought a car through a loan which his brother agreed to help him with it. However, his brother never could never know about Christopher’s plans to vanish from civilization.

A Loner With A Good Family

Christopher Knight always tried to make himself appear modest and unnoticed as possible. He was the middle child of brothers and one younger sister. During his childhood, he went on several hunting trips with his father and they get accustomed to sleeping in the back of family’s pickup without using a tent.

His family was not violent or unhappy. They were just very reserved to express their emotions and share their private issues with the world. Although his parents were not particularly rich, they admired art and knowledge and also believed in the wonders of science.

A Simple Life

Even his family couldn’t ever imagine that Christopher would leave to separate himself from the rest of the world. Without a major incident that may be the reason for such sudden move, maybe he felt that too many good things happened to him so he might felt that was too much for him.

When he decided to leave it all, he didn’t even say goodbye to his family or anybody else that he knew. Until one day, he just vanished. He recalled, “I had no plans when I decided to leave, I was not thinking about nothing. I just did it.”

The Necessity To Flee

Like anyone, Christopher imagined a simple life surrounded by silence and solitude. However, he had a very little training of how to survive in the wilderness so it would be easier to somehow get hurt, suffer from starving or just die alone in the woods.

During the first 2 weeks, he walked through the Maine forests only guided by his instincts. But Christopher discovered that could not appease one natural desire which eventually obliged him to adopt a life of crime.

The Getaway

Christopher’s main desire was to just get lost and be completely alone. He hadn’t any desire to have any kind contact with people. He said, “Very soon, I lost track of where I was. But I didn’t care; honestly, I was happy with the choice I’d made.”

However, he didn’t take any kind of hunting equipment or weapons with him when he started this one-way excursion. During his first weeks, he was searching for food that existed in the surrounds, like berries. But that method will not help him to survive for long…

The Need For Food

Christopher realized very soon that the provisions he brought were not enough. This realization came when he was suffering from starving. Despite Maine woods’ vastness, there are not many options for eating. Some comestible pants only last for a weekend. Perhaps it would be a different story if Christopher had planned to hunt or fish.

Start Robbing

Moved by his unceasing starvation, Christopher began stealing small vegetables from gardens, like a tomato or an ear of corn. He never felt the need to ask help in order to keep his solitude undisturbed.

Looking For Shelter

Yes, he brought a tent, but how well it could resist when it rained and the ground became very muddy and malleable. One night, he made the risky decision of sleeping in an empty cabin.

The Woods, His New Home

Christopher rapidly embraced the woods as his new home. He had to adapt to live among rocks, the damp earth, and also take advantage of what nature could provide him. However, there were some other necessary goods nature just could not provide.

He used old magazines to coat his floor and absorb the water, so he’d never go thirsty. But to obtain the magazines it required a lot cunning and stealth.

Perfecting His Stealth Skills

Christopher never acted in a rash way. Before making any move, he first observed the inhabitants so he can know when they came and went and for how long they were absent. Then, when he was sure no one could catch him, he entered the cabin.

He considered these raids very easy because people tend to always leave doors unlocked or windows open due to a peaceful place like Maine who could imagine that there is a danger beyond its tranquility.

Without A Trace

Christopher focused to raid cabins during the week because it’s the moment when most vacationers were away. Many of the cabins were vacation homes, so if something was missing, how could they remember after being a whole week away?

And he always was aware of leave the fewer traces of his presence as possible. So if he could find any spare keys, he kept them hidden someplace safe so he could access the cabin later without any trouble.

His Questionable Legacy

It’s estimated that Christopher made a total of 1,000 burglaries during 27 years. Some labeled him as the culprit of one of the “biggest burglary cases in the history of Maine.” However, his victims could not deny the care that the hermit did his raids. Unlike common burglars, he never smashed a window or broke a lock. He always took care of leaving everything more or less in its original state.

The Consequences Of His Actions

Six months after his arrest, Christopher Knight took the stand at Kennebec County Superior on October 28, 2013. He was found guilty to 13 charges of burglary and robbery, so he was sentenced to 7 months in jail. But to avoid a 7-year sentence, he had to meet with a judge on every Monday.

Additionally, he had to pay his victims a total of $1,500 in restitution and he has to attend a program for people with mental health problems and fulfill 3 years of probation.

His Return To Civilization

After being released, Christopher agreed to meet with the judge on every Monday as he promised in the court hearing and swore to abstain from alcohol. Contrary to everybody’s expectations, he showed an incredible discipline following these statements.

And what was the reward of this? He got his life back and reconnected with his family again when he was in jail. The relationship with his family started to heal and even his brother offered him a job which he took later.

Christopher’s Reflections

Christopher has stated that definitely, he is not proud of what he had done. In fact, he is very sorry to those he had harmed. But he has had some reflections to say about his life as a hermit.

For him, even silence itself deafens. “Solitude bestows an increase in something valuable. I can’t just discard that idea. Solitude improved my perception but when I decided to increase my perception of myself, I lost my identity. There was no one to perform for. There was no need to define myself, so I became irrelevant.”

Then he remarked, “I was never lonely. If you enjoy solitude, you’re never alone.” And he ended, “all my desires were dropped away. I didn’t long for anything. I didn’t even have a name. I was completely free.”

That’s how he was able to survive for 27 years without going crazy or being a victim of depression or desperation.

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Re-purposing Old Wind Turbine Blades With Smart Ideas

Shannon Jackson

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People have probably seen them in the distance next to highways or out in the country, wind farms generating energy for local and regional communities with a free resource in the local wind patterns shaped by geological forms in the area.

However, like anything mechanical, eventually even giant wind turbines start to breakdown and need replacement. And that creates a new issue about what to do with old turbine blades. Interestingly, there is no shortage of solutions for this challenge.

Industrial rafters in Ireland have found the old turbine blades ideal for being repurposed into recycled base material. The output has been turned into reinforcement for bridges, concrete forms, wake walls along the coastlines and noise barriers. Not only are the turbine blades large in size, producing a great amount of workable material for crafters, they are made of fiberglass, which is an extremely flexible and strong material. Traditionally, fiberglass is not recyclable. However, that fiberglass can become raw material for repurposed fiberglass in other structures. It finds a use for what otherwise would end up in the landfill and the same channel helps reduce the need to create more fiberglass as well.

Given the first generation of blades had some challenges with being reused until folks got creative with the fiberglass source, the subsequent generations of turbine blades are now being made from carbon fiber instead. Carbon fiber has a very high re-use factor, and that’s a good thing for Ireland, which is already dealing with what do about 11,000 tons of old blades coming into waste management within the next four or five years.

A typical junked blade runs a length of 14 meters, more than long enough for small bridges that may only be 5 to 10 meters long. The blade becomes the core for a new bridge, and the outer material is wrapped around it for both protection and aesthetics. The result is a walking bridge that has an ideal gentle curve for walking and an integrity that can easily handle pathway weight on it without problems.

On the coast, wake barriers provide a needed protection to help stop erosion and keep soil on land versus being washed into the ocean. The old blades provide a durable and element-resistant material that can last for years as a barrier, stopping erosion and re-using material otherwise destined for landfill space. Alternatively, other jurisdictions are thinking about using the blades for transmission towers and electrical elevated junction points for power grids.

The creativity that is being shown with how to re-use old turbine blades has been an amazing development, and it’s a good sign that the first generation of blades is not going to be yet another mistake created by good intentions but ending up polluting the environment in a different way. Not to mention, the re-utilization of the blade material has produced various other building material savings as well, producing downstream positive effects and less consumption overall as a result.

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Finding Spirituality in Stray Dogs

Jess

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Monks have long been known to be attuned to their surroundings, seeing both the spiritual aspects of a situation as well the far more obvious physical ones. That’s the case for Zhi Xiang, who frequently finds himself surrounded by dozens of dogs at a time.

Instead, Zhi Xiang has been dedicated to both caring for and maintaining the health of the many dogs he finds himself being the foster owner of when they are pulled off the street in Shanghai. Normally, the dogs would end up being killed in a few days under traditional animal control measures. However, because of Zhi’s efforts, the canines are instead given a second chance at life either in the animal shelter Zhi manages or at a monastery.

Zhi Xiang prescribed to a Buddhist monk’s path in his calling. It has become his goal and pursuit to care for as many discarded dogs as possible. That’s a big order in a city known for an explosive population and thousands of stray dogs from families no longer able to care of them or dislocated from the countryside. For thousands of years, dogs have found their fate tied to humans, so Shanghai is, like many cities in Asia, crammed with people who have become a food resource for stray dogs.

As for Zhi, however, his faith propels the monk to care for 8,000 dogs, and the list is growing. A small portion are relocated and adopted out in Europe and the U.S., but the great majority of the animals in Zhi’s care stay put in China. For Zhi, the calling is absolute; if he can’t save the street dogs, they are dead. Ironically, the program started when Zhi first helped cats recover after they had darted in front of a moving car and were injured. In those days, stray animals in the city streets were a rare site. However, only a handful of years later, and now stray dogs are seen everywhere.

Much of the cause of the problem has been people buying puppies without proper training or an ability to care for the animal, as well as not understanding the need to spay or neuter them.

Zhi’s temple has become one of the primary safe havens for lost animals in Shanghai. And it’s not just dogs or cats; he also has a few chickens, a peacock, and other birds as well. Not every resident recovers. About 30 percent of rescues are too far gone with disease or injuries and eventually die, even with care from Zhi. But he tries anyways.

Ironically, in a country where the state runs all the systems, Zhi’s program gets no government help at all. The monk and volunteers do all the work, survive on charity and handouts, and social media fund drives online. Adoption channels overseas have helped, which also moves the animals to better homes outside of China.

Zhi knows he can’t do his work forever, but he tries each day and takes a photograph of as many of the animals as he can. Eventually, those photographs are what he wants to go through when he is too old to handle the labor anymore physically.

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Hyd Child Receives a Super Expensive Medicine to Survive

Kelly Taylor

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There have been multiple stories of how expensive pharmaceuticals can be for modern health. While some of them produce great miracles in solving health problems that previously would kill patients without a solution, they come with a big price tag. For example, when a botulism cure for babies was created, the average cost of the drug was over $21,000 a dose.

Social Media to the Rescue

In the case of Zolgensma, a drug created by Novartis, a similar price tag applies. And for a small Hyderabad boy named Ayaansh, it was a life-changing treatment. Ayaansh suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, a condition that essentially weakens nerve cells in the back and spinal connection to the brain. Zolgensma has been identified as a viable pharmaceutical option for children under 2 years of age with SMA. Using gene therapy, the drug essentially helps the body replace a faulty SNM1 gene with a normal one. It’s delivered intravenously one time, so the treatment can only be applied in a medical setting by a physician. Doctors identified Zolegensma as an effective treatment for Ayaansh, but the price of the drug was going to total some 16 million rupees. Ayaansh’s parents didn’t have that kind of money, nor did their family.

However, with a bit of awareness and the Internet through social media, Ayaansh’s parents were able to garner the financial help needed from 65,000 donations via crowd-funding. Almost four months later, the charity drive pulled together the necessary funds to cover the cost of the Zolgensma treatment, giving Ayaansh a real chance at recovery and a longer life than he would have without the drug.

Ayaansh is Given a Real Chance

With the financial matters squared away, Ayaansh was provided the treatment at the Rainbow Children’s Hospital, located in Secunderabad. Doctors monitored the reaction in the child for a given period, and ultimately Ayaansh was released without ill side effects. Currently age three, Ayaansh, may now have the ability to enjoy a better life outlook, thanks to the help provided by many donors across India working together via the power of crowd-funding. Some of the more notable donors for Ayaansh included Virat Kohli and spouse, Anushka Sharma, as well as other famous names like Sara Ali Khan and Dia Miza. Even the government helped things along by disregarding the normal import regulations and duty taxes as well as expediting the drug delivery from Novartis. Normally, the import duty tax would have equaled 6 million rupees before the drug could even be used in-country.

Expensive Cures Are Always Paid By Someone

The cost of drugs like Zolgensma continue to create controversy, but the fact remains that the research and science that goes into their creation is expensive. The market approach to allowing drug companies to profit from their efforts remains one of the most effective ways to bring new medical technology into being, but someone, somewhere has to pay for the related cost. Historically, drug companies have relied on developed nations’ economies like those in the West to pay for the initial cost of bringing a new, effective drug to market, meaning many other countries had to wait until the drug became affordable as patents expired. However, crowd-funding and the Internet are obviously changing the dynamics of drug access, as was seen in the case of Ayaansh above.

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80,000 Spiteful Pennies Turned to Something Good

Kevin Wells

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Kids who go through a divorce end up fighting in their parents’ battles, even if the parents never intended to involve them at the start. That was the case for Avery Sanford. She was about to graduate from high school, and her parents were already separated and officially divorced. However, there was the detail of child support that still kept them connected. Just a few days before the big high school event, Avery’s father showed up in front of the family house that Avery and her mother still lived in. And, he began to dump 80,000 pennies on the front lawn.

For Avery’s father, the pennies represented his last child support payment due and, as far as he was concerned, delivered. After all, pennies are still legal U.S. tender and currency, just inconvenient as hell to use. For Avery, the whole spectacle was a huge embarrassment in front of the neighbors, something her father didn’t seem to care about, even for his own daughter.

For the next hour or so, the high school graduate, her mother, and helpful neighbors worked at picking up the pennies and putting them into containers for a more manageable approach. That, of course, gave them plenty of time as well for how to think about what to do next. The answer came to them after a bit of time: the $800 would be donated to a domestic abuse shelter and help center.

The money was provided to the Safe Harbor Shelter, a non-profit dedicated to helping people who have been or are victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, sexual assault and similar. In addition to the help, Avery and her mother realized they had the ability and power to take what started off as another nasty chapter of a divorce into a positive impact on other people’s lives going forward.

Further, the story sparked a wave of reaction, also positive for the Shelter. Based on the local news carrying the details of the morning fiasco, folks who sympathized with Avery and her mother decided to follow their example and donate as well. The result was another $5,000 donated to the Shelter for its operations.

Interestingly, Avery and her mother aren’t interested in the limelight. Their privacy is worth a lot more, and they have purposefully avoided engaging with the press or any follow-up associated with the incident. While the police did get involved due to a call from Avery’s address about a domestic incident, they concluded no crime was committed. When Avery herself got home, the whole family was upset about the matter and the embarrassment, but it was a slight that not much could be done about. From his perspective, Avery’s father probably thought he got the last laugh. As it turned out, little did he expect, Avery and her mother were going to twist things for the better.

When Mary Maupai, the development director of Safe Harbor Shelter, received an email, she was not expecting it was going to turn into an $800 donation. However, As Maupai read the digital note, she saw a familiar story laid out by Avery’s mother and realized why they were giving the shelter the money involved. That in turn led to the domino effect noted above, and the Shelter realized a cascade of donations right after, ranging from $25 to $1,000. As the Shelter management summed up the event, it was a godsend at the right time.

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Nigerian Houses Feature Plastic Bottles In Incredible Display

Kelly Taylor

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There are more than two ways to accomplish a goal and that was on prime display in Nigeria as houses made from bottles began to spring from the ground. Of course, these houses were put there by savvy Nigerian workers who decided to turn them into what would have otherwise been trash, clogging up waterways and overfilling landfills throughout the country.

This fascinating story can be traced back to the village of Yelwa where the first plastic bottle house of Nigeria was ever constructed.

Welcome to Yelwa

Nestled in the heart of Kebbi State, Yelwa is a town located on the Niger River. With a dark history dating back to the violent massacre that occurred there in 2004, some good news coming out of the town was more than welcome. Traditionally a center for trade in the Yauri Emirate, Yelwa produces millet, cowpeas, tobacco, peppers, sugarcane, and peanuts.

As reported by the BBC, the village of Yelwa has been in the news thanks to its restorative efforts in working with waste to build sustainable housing. Taking massive amounts of what would otherwise be river waste, these builders were able to turn the trash into effective housing materials by crafting durable homes that could withstand even earthquakes!

More than just plastic bottles lined up in a row, the village of Yelwa and its construction workers would fill each container with dry soil, sand, or construction waste. After the bottle has been filled, it is set in a row similar to brick before being bound by mud. The result of this process is a well-insulated, inexpensive, sturdy structure that can withstand both earthquakes and bullets. More than just a local effort, even community leaders and government officials have become interested in the effort.

An Alternative to Traditional Construction

Restorative efforts on the environment in Nigeria will have to assess the impact made by plastic bottles and other pollution. According to the environmental writers at Eco Nigeria, millions of plastic bottles end up in landfills and waterways each year throughout Nigeria. The writer notes, “Bottle houses take the dangerous waste out of the environment and make it useful.”

Ecological concerns are paramount to Nigerian workers as they seek to limit, reduce, and eliminate the spread of toxic pollutants. Plastic waste can take thousands of years to decompose, creating a long-lasting environmental impact that is hard to truly calculate. Toxic pollutants can cause untold damage to the health and vitality of local humans, plants, and wildife.

More than 14,000 bottles were collected for the first bottle house erected in Yelwa. Others are to come with an estimated 8,000 or so required for an additional home. These techniques have made their way out of Yelwa as well, with Eco Nigeria noting that India, South America, and Central America have also adopted the bottle-home technique.

While construction efforts are continuously underway, plans for the bottle homes in the future include solar energy with fuel-efficient appliances, fertilization systems, water purification tanks, and urine filtration. The ultimate eco-friendly sustainable home is apparently just a few more bottles away!

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