John Farrier's Liked Blog Posts


The Trippy History of Flip Books


(Photos: Ben Zurawski)

Long before there were smartphones or even animated .gif files (like the one below) on desktop computers, there were flip books. It's an old art form that Ben Zurawski continues today. He's an artist who specializes in the field. Pay him $400 and he'll make you a custom 15-second scene that you animate by flipping between your fingers.

Zurawski is also a collector of flip books from ages past and all around the world. He owns about 1,000 of them. Ben Marks of Collectors Weekly examined his collection and wrote a history of the medium. It emerged in the 1860s in Britain. During the Twentieth Century, companies often gave them away as promotional items, such as this chewing gum ad that shows two boxers in a match.

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The New York Times Accidentally Invented a Country and the Internet Is in Love with It


(Image: Nation States)

Have you ever visited Kyrzbekistan? You should. It's a beautiful land with a rich culture and a friendly people. It also doesn't exist, but that shouldn't stop you.

Last week, a New York Times article described Kyrgyzstan, a real nation in central Asia. But it was misspelled as "Kyrzbekistan." The editors eventually corrected the error, but not before the people of the internet had run wild, describing the history, geography, and politics of it. You can find some basic facts about the landlocked nation here.

Kyrzbekistan has its own official Twitter feed, which you can follow to keep up on local news and learn about the Kyzrekistani culture. The nation is diversifying its traditional yak-based economy and encouraging international investment. So if you receive an email from a Kyrzbekistani prince asking for assistance in banking, you should probably take him up on the offer. There may also be an ambassadorship open.

-via Marilyn Terrell


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Stormtrooper Armor Saves Star Wars Fan from Deadly Snake Bite


(Photo: Storming Australia)

If you’re not wearing stormtrooper armor right now, you must have a death wish. Scott Loxley was on Wednesday and that’s why he’s still alive.

Loxley is currently walking across Australia in stormtrooper armor to raise money for a children’s charity. Last week, he had just departed the town of Yalboroo, Queensland when a King Brown snake tried to bite him. This deadly predator has the largest venom output of any known snake. Only one thing saved Loxley from its fangs: his armor. ABC News reports:

"He's lunged at me and bit me but the good news is the armour, he bit me in the shin, the armour actually protected me and stopped the bite," Mr Loxley said.

Thankfully, the force of the bite was not enough to penetrate the armour.

"I could feel the teeth on the plastic scraping but the armour actually stopped something," he said.

"So all those people who rag on the old stormtroopers, 'you know, the armour doesn't do this, it doesn't do that' … it stopped the snake bite and probably saved my life today."

-via Dave Barry


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Amazing Soccer Play: A Front Flip Throw-In Lands in the Goal

(Vine Link)

It’s an unusual technique, but completely effective. Michael Del Lewis, a soccer player with McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas made an unusual throw-in at a recent game against Justin Wakeland High School of Frisco, Texas. He smoothly flipped into his pitch, propelling the ball into the net.

He scored a point because the goalie touched the ball during the throw. Otherwise, Stuff (warning: auto-play) informs us, it would not have counted because the rules of soccer prohibit scoring from a direct throw-in.

The game ended in a draw with a final score of 1 to 1.

-via Yababoon


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Garbage Man—A Superhero for Real Life


(Video Link)

He cannot fly, shatter walls with his fists, or shoot lasers out of his eyes. But Garbage Man is just the hero that this little boy needs.

If what we have seen at Neatorama over the past few years is representative of a trend, then there is a Thai tradition of producing sweet and endearing commercials that emphasize kindness, mercy, and generosity. We’ve previously seen a mobile phone ad about giving to those in need. Thai Life, an insurance company, has produced several commercials in the genre, including ones about the power of music and continuous acts of kindness. This one from that company tells the story of a boy and the hero he wants to become.

-via American Digest


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How to Get a Husband: A Guide from 1880

Attention "young ladies, spinsters and widows": this book is for you! You can read this entire book at Flashbak, so get ready to take notes.

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Happy Feast of the Ass!


(Image: Southern Fried Catholicism)

Today, January 14, is the Feast of the Ass (In Latin: Festum Asinorum), a Roman Catholic feast day that commemorates the flight of baby Jesus into Egypt to escape King Herod the Great's slaughter of Judean babies. According to tradition, Jesus and Mary rode on the back of an ass during their journey.

Although it has fallen out of practice, there was a time in Medieval Europe when the Feast of the Ass was quite big. During the liturgy, the congregation would respond to the presiding priest by braying like donkeys. From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

At the end of Mass, the priest, having turned to the people, in lieu of saying the 'Ite, Missa est', will bray thrice; the people instead of replying 'Deo Gratias' say, 'Hinham, hinham, hinham.'

"Hinham" is the Latin expression for the sound that a donkey makes.

Read all about the Feast of the Ass at VA Viper.


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Extremely Close-Up Footage of Lava Pouring into Water


(Video Link)

Last year, Kawika Singson used a GoPro to capture amazing footage of lava spilling into the ocean. Twisted Sifter notes that the camera was "hopefully on a very long pole." This is only one of many incredible lava videos in his YouTube channel. Watch more and flinch repeatedly.

Singson shot the videos at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island. It's very dangeorus work:

It was extremely difficult to get to," he told The Huffington Post. "The videos can only show you so much, but to actually be there, to feel the heat. ... The heat is one thing, but the gases are extremely toxic."

Singson, a Hawaii local who explores the lava and volcano at least once a week, outfits himself with a respirator when filming lava closely and wears long pants and long-sleeved shirts to protect himself from burns. Although his rubber tennis shoes sometimes melt as he walks over the scorching grounds, he prefers them to fire-proof boots, in case he has to run from a collapsing area or a random combustion. The thin soles also help him more accurately feel the ground over which he's walking.

"You have to be on the top of your game out there," he said. "First of all, you have the ocean and the current, then you have the lava, then you have to worry about bridges collapsing and then you have to worry about the super-hot toxic steam. All those things are going on at the same time."


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22 Real Places That Inspired Disney Animated Movies

This is Prince Eric's castle from The Little Mermaid.


(Photo: Erik Charlton)

This is Chillon Castle, a real building in Switzerland.

The resemblance is striking, isn't it? Chillon Castle sits on the shore of Lake Geneva. It's existed in some form since at least 1150 and was most likely built to control what was a major road in medieval times. Chillon Castle has been a fortress, a prison, and an arsenal. It entered the popular imagination after famous writers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron wrote about it. In "The Prisoner of Chillon," Byron describes the castle through the voice of someone trapped there:

There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,
In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns, massy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprison'd ray,
A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Of the thick wall is fallen and left;

And so it was an appropriate choice for the animators of The Little Mermaid.

This is only 1 of 22 real life places that inspired the background artists of Disney animated movies. You can view the rest at When on Earth.


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15 Fun and Goofy Pillows

Etsy seller Yulia Donath made this paired set of pillows that would be perfect as a romantic gift. They say, "You complete me." But, strictly speaking, they're designed to attach to additional pieces. If you have a suspicious lover, then they may not be a good pick.

These are 1 of 15 quirkly pillow designs rounded up by Renee Jacques at the Huffington Post. They include unusual body pillows, cupcake pillows, and sushi pillows.


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Farmers Say Goodbye to the Bull Who Sired 500,000 Offspring

(Photo: Genex)

This is Toystory, a bull who died on Thanksgiving Day of last year. Mourners recently laid his body to rest on a hill in Shawano, Wisconsin. From an evolutionary point of view, he was extraordinarily successful, having sired approximately half a million offspring.

During the 13 years of his life, Toystory's job was to produce the finest bovine semen on earth. His genetic material was highly prized and he was a prolific producer of it. In fact, as a member of the "millionaries' club" among bulls, Toystory produced approximately 2.4 million units of semen for artificial insemination. The Wall Street Journal describes Toystory's rise to fame:

Back then, dairy producers had to see how the daughters of a bull turned out before deciding to buy his semen. The farmers wanted to see how much milk a cow produced, the fat and protein levels of her output, and how well she handled the rigors of milking.

By the mid-2000s, producers liked what they were seeing in Toystory’s offspring, and sales of his semen started to surge. He scored highly on influential performance rankings watched by the global dairy industry. Straws cost upward of $60 apiece and were in demand at home and abroad. In 2009, Genex says, he entered the millionaires club.

Toystory grew into a global brand through a rare mix of fertility, genetics and looks. His semen was good at getting cows pregnant and his daughters were easy to birth and dependably strong.

-via Dave Barry

P.S. Now it's storytime.

After I married my wife, I traveled with her to her hometown. While there, I met one of her uncles. In conversation, I asked "What do you do for a living?" He replied, "I'm in the semen business."

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This 4-Year Old Is the Next Bruce Lee

With his back to the screen, this kid perfectly mimics the moves of Bruce Lee. Watch him whip around a set of nunchucks with masterful precision.


(Video Link)

Go ahead. Just try to give him at timeout. I dare you.

-via Kotaku

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Cop Arrests Teenager, Teenager Then Saves Cop’s Life

(Photo: Fort Lauderdale Police Department)

On September 10 of last year, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida arrested 17-year old Jamal Rutledge for allegedly violating probation and committing burglary. While Officer Franklin Foulks processed him at the police station, he collapsed and fell unconscious. No one was in a position to see this except Jamal, who immediately kicked on a door until he got the attention of other officers. Those officers performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Foulks, who is alive and recovering. You can see the incident in this security camera footage:


(Video Link)

The police department is grateful to Jamal. The city is presenting him with a commendation. ABC News (warning: auto-play) quotes Det. DeAnna Greenlaw:

Regarding Rutledge, Greenlaw said the department had hopes it may have a positive impact on the youth, who has been arrested again since the incident.

"By commending the juvenile as well [as the officers] we hope the juvenile will maybe turn some things around, and not have such negative interactions with the police," she said. […]

Greenlaw said the teen remains under probation restrictions, but the department is hoping that they will be lifted for the ceremony.

"We wanted to make sure we commended him for making the right decision," Greenlaw said. "We wanted to make a positive impact on him and his vision of police officers."


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RC Rainbow Dash

This is the Rainbow Maiden, a beautiful RC aircraft by David Lewis. It's designed to look like Rainbow Dash, a daredevil pegasus on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. While he doesn't provide any technical specs, we can be confident that Lewis's design at least 20% cooler than an ordinary RC airplane.


(Video Link)

Here it is the Rainbow Maiden in flight. Watch it soar! Perhaps with a bit more engine power, it could do a sonic rainboom.


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For Traction, Mountain Climbers Sand and Superglue Their Fingers

(Photo: Corey Rich/Bigup Productions)

Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson are elite mountain climbers. They're currently trying to climb up El Capitan, a rock formation in Yosemite National Park. That's a nearly sheer rock wall--a vertical climb.

Caldwell and Jorgenson are free climbers, which means that they use only their hands and feet. That's right. They're trying to climb this:


(Photo: National Park Service)

. . . while holding on with nothing more than their hands and feet.

As a result, the condition of the skin on their fingertips is of paramount importance. It can be the difference between life and death. Fingertip skin care has become a refined and sophisticated art among climbers. In National Geographic, Andrew Bisharat describes it:

Post climb, moisturizers and essential oils are applied to speed the healing process. Grape-seed oil, beeswax, and vitamin E have all been known to work overnight miracles, restoring skin that's been scraped raw on the sharp granite.

When a fingertip callus does split, climbers have devised various remedies that allow them to keep going. Athletic tape—applied in an X-pattern to allow full mobility of the finger joint—can provide enough protection for an injury. More advanced than the X-pattern is the "Miami thong," also called the "British flag," in which separate strips of tape are applied in layers, first longitudinally, then in a crisscross design.

A common problem with tape is its tendency to slip off the finger. Instead of wrapping the finger more tightly and risking it going numb, climbers often use Super Glue, applying it directly to the skin before wrapping the digit in tape.

If they are successful, Caldwell and Jorgeson will be the first people to ever free climb up El Capitan.


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Super Mario Taken


(Video Link)

If you want ransom, Mario doesn't have money. What he does have is a particular set of skills--skills that he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare to people like you. If you let Princess Peach go right now, that will be the end of it. Mario will not look for you. He will not pursue you. But if you don't let her go, then he will look for you. He will find you. And he will kill you.

The YouTube channel WTFLOL offers this parody of the trailer for Taken. Slave traders from the Mushroom Kingdom have kidnapped Princess Peach and her friend Daisy. In doing so, they have angered Mario.

They've made a terrible mistake.


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In Costa Rican Bullfighting, You Can’t Kill the Bull . . . But the Bull Can Kill You

(Photo: Lindsay Fendt)

Bullfighting in other parts of the world is often a gory spectacle that ends in the deaths of the bulls. It’s different in the bullfighting and rodeo traditions of Costa Rica. There, daring young men enter the ring as improvisados—daredevils who ride, chase, and evade the bulls. No matter what the bulls do, improvisados are not allowed to hurt or kill them. These rules led to 200 bull-induced injuries at the recent national Zapote Festival. Lindsay Fendt of Modern Farmer was on hand to photograph the event. You can see her photo essay here.


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Bucket of Blood Street and 6 Other Terribly Dark Place Names in the USA

(Photo: Peter Eimon)

There’s a town in Texas called Cut and Shoot. I’ve long advocated moving there for the sole purpose of having it in my home address. Or if that’s not convenient, I’ll be happy to live on Bat Cave Road in San Antonio.

If you’re a bit more macabre, then Sarah Black of Atlas Obscura has 7 places with names with dark implications. Sadly, they’re marred by actual historical violence, such as Bucket of Blood Street in Holbrook, Arizona. It’s named after a particularly savage gunfight between rival gangs in 1886.

-via Cabinet of Curiosities


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Comatose Man Wakes Up After Nurses Wave Money Under His Nose


(Photo: Europics)

Here’s your heart-warming news story of the day. Xiao Li of Shenzhen, China spent a week in an internet cafe researching business opportunities. After going a week without sleep, he fell into a deep coma and remained in that state for over a year.

There was little hope for him to recover. But the magic of the human spirit endured within him. When a nurse waved a 100-yuan ($16 USD) bill under his nose, Li revived. The New York Post describes this perhaps apocryphal scene:

For months doctors searched for a way to awaken Li, but to no avail. It wasn’t until his family revealed what he loved most in the world that they found their key to success.

“We had asked his family what really drove him, and they were very clear that it was money,” Tang said. “When we learned about his fondness for money, we experimented with notes and change.

“Memories of smell and sound can be very powerful stimulants,” he added. “We found that a crisp, new 100 yuan note crumpled under his nose worked best.”

In the course of a human life, it often takes a great crisis to remind us of what’s really important.

-via Daily of the Day


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A Smallville Man


(Video Link)

But not a small man. No, he was strong and powerful in the only way that matters. And, as a result, he would inspire others to be something other than small.

This is A Smallville Man, a short film by Mauricio Abril. We've previously featured another of his works called The Brave Knight: A Gotham Fairy Tale. As with that film, there's no dialogue. Abril tells the entire story with individual frames, like the panels of a comic book. It's a tale of Superman and the superman within.

The background music is "Walk" by Foo Fighters.


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Reese’s Pieces Snake Cake

The uncle of redditor Dookalignmike made this cake covered with Reese’s Pieces. Keep in mind the old rhyme to distinguish between a king snake and a coral snake:

Red and yellow, kill a fellow.
Red and black, venom lack.

This one is yellow and orange. But, as redditor PainMatrix points out, if you have a peanut allergy, it’s a poisonous snake.

-via Daily of the Day

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Good Looking Customers Eat for Free at This Chinese Restaurant

I’ll never have to pay for a meal again—provided that I can get to this restaurant in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China. At this sophisticated eatery, a team of employees from a plastic surgery clinic assesses the appearances of guests. Under the “Pay by Face” program, if you look good enough, then your meal is free. The scoring rubric and grading results are publicly available, so restaurant guests know how well they stack up.

It would, of course, be foolish for Alex to set up such an arrangement for the NeatoShop. Our readers would drive us into insolvency if we only charged the plain-looking.

-via First We Feast


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Map of Japan Made with Orange Peels

Oona McGee of Rocket News 24 explains that eating oranges is a popular New Year’s tradition in Japan. This is often done over a kotatsu, which is a low table with heater underneath it. People sit under them during the winter to stay warm. This photo was taken by a person who cut and arranged his orange peels into a map of the prefectures of Japan.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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For Your Inner 12-Year Old: Nunchucks iPhone Case

I can’t express it better than John Brownlee of FastCoDesign does:

Tragically enough for the 12-year-old inside all of us, there are all too few opportunities to whip around a pair of nunchucks in contemporary adult society.

You can buy real nunchucks and flip them around to show off your skills, but then you’ll be asked to leave the public library. The Trick Cover case for the iPhone 6 is a great alternative. Flip it around like you’re a real martial artist.


(Video Link)

As this promotional video shows, it could actually be useful. If you need to open and close your phone quickly with only one hand, the Trick Cover will do the trick. If you need an actual weapon, then you should probably stick with the iStab.


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Police Puzzled by Fried Egg Left at Crime Scene

(Photo: Isles of Scilly Police)

The Isles of Scilly are a British archipelago off the coast of Cornwall. Police there recently investigated the burglary of a soccer equipment storage shed at a school. There, they found a fried egg left at the door. The Cornishman quotes a member of the police force:

In the case of the egg, Sergeant Taylor said: “Somebody has forced open the door to the football club shed at the playing field next to the school.

“It is fairly evident that this was done sometime over Tuesday evening and most probably to get a football out for a kick around.

“Regrettably however the door was damaged in the process as can be seen in the picture with the bottom of the door split.

“There are few clues as to how this came to happen other than a fried egg was left at the scene.”

I don't think the egg is all that mysterious. Costumed criminals leave calling cards all the time, such as the Riddler's puzzles and the Joker's joker playing cards. This new supervillain is leaving his own signature. The only question that remains is: who is this new nemesis? In the comments, offer your own hypotheses.

-via Dave Barry

[Ed. note: You must read the puntastic comments for this post, especialy the one from sandyra, who has already "cracked" the case.]


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Hippo Bread Rolls Basking in Soup

They're hungry, hungry, but they're also eating healthy. Sandra Denneler made these happy hippopotami with frozen dinner roll dough. After baking, she brushed them with butter and added black eyed peas for the eyes and black beans for the nostrils. Then she placed them in a warm lake of tomato bisque.

-via Foodiggity


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Your Enemy: Emotions

Are you a sports fan? Then you will experience the full range of human emotional experience. No good will come from it for, as Doghouse Diaries explains, "Being a sports fan is like living in a universe designed by George R. R. Martin."

A quibble: there is no such thing as "too much Mexican food."


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This Canal System Runs Boats on Train Tracks

(Photo: Henryk Borawski)

The 51-mile Elblag Canal stretches across 6 lakes from the Polish cities of Elblag to Ostróda. One 6-mile section includes an elevation difference of 326 feet, which is more than conventional locks could adjust for when the canal was built in the middle of the Nineteenth Century.

So Georg Jacob Steenke, the engineer in charge of the project, developed a novel solution. To cross the steep section of the canal, boats slip onto converted railroad cars, which are then pulled across the land to the next lake.

Although the Elblag Canal is no longer in commercial use, it's actively used by recreational boaters and tourists. It's the only canal of this type still in use in the world.

-via The Presurfer


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Anime Recommendations and Open Thread


(Inside Ball t-shirt on sale at the NeatoShop)

Last February, June, and August, I offered anime viewing recommendations, as well as invited readers to discuss anything they want about the wonderful world of anime. Let's do it again!

The tag line of Alznoah.Zero is "Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens Fall." This is from the classical Latin proverb fiat justitia ruat caelum. It begins with peace negotiations between hostile powers--Earth and Mars--that are marred by a horrific crime. It appears obvious who the culprits are, but there is more that is unseen.

This is a complex, sophisticated story. It's a mecha anime, but not a simplistic one. Kotaku's anime critic Richard Eisenbeis says that unlike many heroic mecha stories, "Aldnoah.Zero takes this common formula and turns it on its head." It is a gripping, dark story that reminds me of Game of Thrones.

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Check Out This Old Fashioned Horse Drawn Snow Plow


(Video Link)

A wooden sledge with a 90º angle at the front neatly parts light snow and clears a path for non-legged transport. Here's a similar device, though not an antique. Have you ever seen one in real life?

-via Modern Farmer


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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