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No Place Like Home: Truly Disgusting Houses

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I've lived in a bad apartment or two in my time; most of us have. My worst overlooked the I-10 freeway overpass in Los Angeles, which despite double-paned glass on the windows rattled my ears night and day; worse still, the homeless folk who collected on the adjoining embankment (a mere 10 feet from our "balcony") would hang out, drink, fight, copulate beneath thin blankets and shoot up in broad daylight ... welcome to Hollywood!

The inside of the apartment was considerably better -- and thankfully, you could always close the curtains. Much worse IMHO than an unsightly view out the windows is an unsightly mess inside them -- which is exactly what we'll be looking at today. Partly out of looky-loo fascination, and partly out of some kind of decor schadenfreude, seeing messy houses always makes mine feel cleaner by comparison. These make me feel downright OCD.

Houston's House of Horrors

Recently made famous on Digg, this apartment is either home to the messiest person on Earth, or some kind of ingenious art installation. I mean, just look at the repeating patterns and colors here:

Here are the Landlord's 2 cents:

We had a resident who had an outstanding balance for over a month and no one could get ahold of her. The Bookkeeper went inside after so many tries to leave a note and this is what we found. The pictures do NO justice. There is suppose to be 2 cats living here but we cant find them (we think they're dead somewhere inside the apartment-we contacted the SPCA). The place REEKS to say the least, i gagged non stop.

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I for one am stunned -- and somehow impressed. Firstly that they didn't burn the place down after stubbing out a thousand lit cigarettes on evry available surface, and secondly that owning a trash can seemed like more hassle than being evicted from your apartment.

Scaling the Beer Can Mountains

YouTube user CuddlyPythons uploaded this video of an (attempted) animal rescue from an apartment someone was being evicted from. (They never found the cat in question.) Mind-boggling numbers of empty beer cans fill each room -- the bedroom seems to be entirely devoted to empty boxes of Natural Light and Milwaukee's Best. Amazing.

Rathouse of the Palisades

I blogged a few months ago about a local (LA-based) messy house horror story -- the pestilence in question being not just trash, but rats, fed huge bags of dog food by two elderly sisters for years and years in West LA. When the neighbors noticed rats leaping from the sisters' roof into their yard in large numbers, they tried to get the city to take action; barring that, they threatened the sisters with legal action and publicity until they agreed to hire exterminators. This was the result:

A crew wearing facemasks and hazmat suits emerged pale-faced and sober, as if they had just witnessed the aftermath of a biohazard spill — which, in a way, they had. Scott Denham says they hauled several large garbage bags heavy with dead rats from the bedrooms, kitchen, attic, basement and guesthouse, as the Denhams took photos.

What's the messiest apartment/house/trailer/yurt you've ever been in?

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A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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Trying to Save Money? Avoid Shopping on a Smartphone
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Today, Americans do most of their shopping online—but as anyone who’s indulged in late-night retail therapy likely knows, this convenience often can come with an added cost. Trying to curb expenses, but don't want to swear off the convenience of ordering groceries in your PJs? New research shows that shopping on a desktop computer instead of a mobile phone may help you avoid making foolish purchases, according to Co. Design. Ying Zhu, a marketing professor at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan, recently led a study to measure how touchscreen technology affects consumer behavior. Published in the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, her research found that people are more likely to make more frivolous, impulsive purchases if they’re shopping on their phones than if they’re facing a computer monitor. Zhu, along with study co-author Jeffrey Meyer of Bowling Green State University, ran a series of lab experiments on student participants to observe how different electronic devices affected shoppers’ thinking styles and intentions. Their aim was to see if subjects' purchasing goals changed when it came to buying frivolous things, like chocolate or massages, or more practical things, like food or office supplies. In one experiment, participants were randomly assigned to use a desktop or a touchscreen. Then, they were presented with an offer to purchase either a frivolous item (a $50 restaurant certificate for $30) or a useful one (a $50 grocery certificate for $30). These subjects used a three-point scale to gauge how likely they were to purchase the offer, and they also evaluated how practical or frivolous each item was. (Participants rated the restaurant certificate to be more indulgent than the grocery certificate.) Sure enough, the researchers found that participants had "significantly higher" purchase intentions for hedonic (i.e. pleasurable) products when buying on touchscreens than on desktops, according to the study. On the flip side, participants had significantly higher purchase intentions for utilitarian (i.e. practical) products while using desktops instead of touchscreens. "The playful and fun nature of the touchscreen enhances consumers' favor of hedonic products; while the logical and functional nature of a desktop endorses the consumers' preference for utilitarian products," Zhu explains in a press release. The study also found that participants using touchscreen technology scored significantly higher on "experiential thinking" than subjects using desktop computers, whereas those with desktop computers demonstrated higher scores for rational thinking. “When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, [you crave] excitement, a different experience,” Zhu explained to Co. Design. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.” Zhu’s advice for consumers looking to conserve cash? Stow away the smartphone when you’re itching to splurge on a guilty pleasure. [h/t Fast Company]

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