John Farrier's Blog Posts

New Darts Team Consists Entirely of Blind People

(Photo: West Briton)

The Dolphin Inn, a pub in Grampound, Cornwall, UK, has a new darts team. The players, who call themselves the Optimists, are all blind. Pictured above is team member Richard Pryor and pub owner Joe Fryer in front of the dartboard. Pryor and his friends will compete against other teams affiliated with the pub.


(Image: SWNS)

How does a blind person play darts? Carefully. Also, the players tie a string from the bullseye. This string helps the player aim in the right direction. Don't worry about safety. Pryor says that they're taking appropriate precautions:

We're shutting the door to the toilet just in case someone comes through and gets a dart in the rear.


(Video Link)

Pryor describes an ideal scenario for his team: an electrical blackout. This would put the Optimists on equal footing with sighted teams.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Man Builds Custom TARDIS for Marriage Proposal

Redditor muffinman5423 built a TARDIS in order to propose to his girlfriend. It's a perfect model of the original that, from the outside, is a 1:1 scale replica. And it worked: she said yes!

What would he have done if she said no? Muffinman5432 had a backup plan.


(Video Link)

Here's a video of the actual proposal. It's really sweet and touching.

My own proposal was less complex (you know, the KISS principle). My wife and I are both librarians and I coincidentally proposed to her at a library. She loved it anyway, despite the absence of a TARDIS. But she has informed me that if the Doctor ever offers to take her away on an adventure, she's going to accept.

-via Nerd Approved


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Star Trek's Geordi La Forge, Played by LeVar Purrton

(Photo: shadowcatt)

Lt. Comm. Geordi La Forge, chief engineer on board the USS Enterprise, would be glad to reroute warp power through the phase inducers. But, first, he's going to take a nap on the impulse drive manifold because it's so warm right now.

-via Fashionably Geek


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New McDonald's Restaurant Looks Like a Lunch Box

(Photo: McDonald's Australia)


(Photo: McDonald's Australia)

To promote new menu items at McDonald's, the advertising agency DDB Sydney built a pop-up restaurant that looks like a lunchbox in the iconic McDonald's red and yellow. It's touring major cities in Australia, including Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, and Melbourne. McDonald's is particularly interested in using this facility to promote its new rump steak wraps.


(Video Link)

Here's a time-lapse video showing the lunch box restaurant being assembled.

-via Brand Eating


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Man Falls off Pier While Taking a Selfie

A reporter from a Lebanese news program is interviewing a man standing on a pier. Behind him, another fellow thinks this is a great time to take a selfie with his smartphone. Or he's trying to record the scene in front of him. Anyway, he's not watching where he's walking and goes for a swim.


(Video Link)

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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6 Great Adventure Time Balloon Sculptures


Marceline

Artist Davin Morrow works in many media, including balloons. His gallery includes photos of many of his balloon sculptures in what appears to be a grocery store. I'm particularly impressed by his Adventure Time balloons, such as this detailed rendering of Marceline and her ax bass.

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26 Creative Business Cards That Aren’t Even Cards

A functional bike wrench for a bike repair shop by Rethink Canada.

Little toilet plungers for a plumbing company by Josh Krajina.

A yoga mat for a yoga studio by Bryce Bell.

An ordinary business card helps someone contact you. An extraordinary business card encourages that person to pay attention to you.

Twisted Sifter rounded up pictures of and information about 26 really creative business cards. Many of them are practical tools or fun toys that I would definitely want to keep if someone gave them to me.


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Bacon Cheeseburger-Filled Donut

Behold the Bacon Cheeseburger D’oh Nut! This is the same kind of innovation and daring that sent America to the moon. It resides among the chefs at PYT, a restaurant in Philadelphia. Their sweet and salty wonder is a donut stuffed with ground-up cheeseburger, sprinkled with bacon bits, and glazed with sugar.

I would like to take two of these donuts and use them as buns for a cheeseburger. That would be true love because, PYT tells us, “A burger is when a bun gives meat a hug.”

-via Incredible Things

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Geek Singularity: Benedict Cumberbatch Dressed as Sherlock, Looking at a Poster of Himself as Star Trek’s Khan


(Photo: Robert Viglasy)

Obviously this should inspire a crossover in which Sherlock Holmes enters the Star Trek universe to hunt down Khan, who has escaped from his cryogenic pod.

Or, alternately, Khan enters the Sherlock universe, and switches places with Holmes. John Watson and Bilbo Baggins must determine who is who.

-via The Mary Sue


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Infuriating Mouse Design Requires Full-Body Movement to Use a Computer


(Photo: Govert Flint)

Some people hate the cubicle lifestyle and the sedentary work of computer-centered jobs.

After I graduated from college, I worked in a warehouse for 3 years while attending graduate school. If I was ever susceptible to this perspective, 3 years of manual labor permanently inoculated me from it. Sitting down in an air conditioned office for 8 hours is totally awesome.

So I would flip out if I walked into my office and found one of Govert Flint’s Dynamic Chairs. Margaret Rhodes of Wired of says that using it “is like attending a new-age Pilates class.” You’ll get quite a workout:

Scroll around by shifting your body’s weight from side to side. Sensors in the seat detect the pressure and angle of your tush and communicate that data to three accelerometers that measure that movement on an axis, and translate it into activity on the computer’s screen. To click, kick up your right leg. Sensors will detect that motion too. For the time being, arms and hands are unencumbered, for typing, but Flint imagines plenty of future possibilities there. (That’s why the video that accompanies Flint’s thesis shows actors using their arms.)


(Video Link)

The movements of ballet dancers inspired Flint’s design. Their hip movements in particular are ideal:

Flint also spoke with a physiologist at the ballet who pointed out that human hips weren’t designed to stay rooted in a chair. There’s a lot of cartilage in there that’s meant to allow walking, hence the hip rotations that let users scroll.

I’m curious about any productivity studies conducted on these chairs. As previously noted, treadmill desks may make you healthier, but can impair the accuracy of your work.


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What to Do When You See Something on the Internet You Disagree with

Occasionally, as you surf the internet, you may encounter thoughts and opinions that are different from your own. You should have a plan in place so that you can respond properly at the time. Some people feel a duty to correct faulty assertions. What will be the outcome of such an encounter? Julia Lepetit and Andrew Bridgman of Dorkly offer an interactive game on the subject.

Personally, to prepare for such a disaster, I keep a large supply of ponies just one click away.


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Paralyzed Artist Learns to Paint with Her Mouth

At the age of 20, Mariam Fatima Paré was an art student in college. She had a promising career ahead of her. Then she was shot in the back and left paralyzed from the neck down.


(Video Link)

But that didn’t stop her. Paré began the long, difficult struggle to learn how to live with her new limitations. She wanted to paint again, so she learned how to hold a brush with her mouth. Over the years, Paré has developed as an artist, holding exhibitions and selling her works to collections.

Continue reading

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This Dress Is Made of Chocolate


(Photo: Splash News)

This dress was made for the UK’s Chocolate Week.

In other news: the United Kingdom has a Chocolate Week. What does that mean? I choose to avoid further investigation, lest it damage my fantasy of a week-long celebration of chocolate by the people of the UK.

For Chocolate Week, Caroline McCall, a wardrobe designer for Downton Abbey, made this Art Deco-inspired dress. It took 3 months and 132 pounds of chocolate, a few of which presumably did not make it into the actual dress but were judiciously expended in the creative process.

-via Foodiggity

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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A Complete List of What Every U.S. President Drank


(Photo via Kate Shapiro)

If you're the President, you may feel the weight of the nation and the world on your shoulders. But that doesn't mean that you can't pour yourself a tasty alcoholic beverage and rest a bit.

Most Presidents of the United States drank alcohol. What drinks did they like? In his book Mint Juleps and with Teddy Roosevelt: A Complete History of Presidential Drinking, Mark Will-Weber describes what Presidents have knocked back. He wrote a summary for the New York Post. Here are a few selections:

George Washington
Washington sold whiskey (made near Mount Vernon), but he probably rarely, if ever, drank it. The formula was about 60% rye, 3% corn and a very meager amount of malted barley. As for his favorite drink — he loved dark porter (laced with molasses) that was made in Philadelphia. […]

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson’s huge wine purchases helped bring him to the brink of financial ruin. […]

Andrew Jackson
When he wasn’t fighting Indians or the British, the Hero of New Orleans made and sold whiskey. He offered and drank whiskey as a matter of social routine when guests visited him. […]

Chester A. Arthur
When a representative of the Temperance movement tried to pressure Arthur into a no-liquor policy in the White House, he thundered: “Madam, I may be the president of the United States, but what I do with my private life is my own damned business!” […]

Grover Cleveland
Grover mostly drank beer, and lots of it. He and a fellow politician once took a vow to hold themselves to four beers a day. When they found this too arduous a task, they simply switched to larger beer steins. […]

Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy liked Mint Juleps and used them to entice his cabinet to come play tennis with him at the White House. He used fresh mint from the White House garden:

10 to 12 fresh mint leaves “muddled” with a splash of water and a sugar cube
2 or 3 oz. of rye whiskey
¼ oz. of brandy
Sprig or two of fresh mint as a garnish […]

Warren G. Harding
Even though Harding was president during Prohibition — and it was unlawful to transport liquor — he habitually stashed a bottle of whiskey in his golf bag and thought nothing of taking a pop before he teed up. (He rarely broke 100, so that might explain it.)

Calvin Coolidge
“Silent Cal” drank very little, but he was very fond of Tokay wine. The Coolidge Cooler was concocted by Vermont Spirits on Cal’s birthday:

1.5 oz. of Vermont White vodka
½ oz. of American whiskey
2 oz. of orange juice
Club soda

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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The Dos and Don'ts of Pokémon Ownership




Are you going to be a nice Pokémon trainer or an effective one? Andy Kluthe and Andrew Bridgman of Dorkly explain the stark choices that you have.  You certainly don't want your Pokémon battle ending before it begins with a hug between the opposing monsters.

But perhaps guide is simpler than it seems. Dorkly commenter Enrico Fethry Migliorini writes:

Left column: game
Right column: cartoon


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TARDIS Console Jack-o'-Lantern

This exquisitely carved jack-o'-lantern by Melissa, the Empress of Squee, shows the main control room of the TARDIS. The console is an orange with seeds for the controls. Very clever!

Hopefully someone expands on this idea and creates a jack-o'-lantern that shows all of the other rooms of the TARDIS, including the swimming pool, the bedrooms, the wardrobe, and the armory.

-via That's Nerdalicious!

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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President of Belarus Declares His Nation's Sausage Free of Toilet Paper

(Photo: government of Belarus)

Comrades, our moment of liberation is at hand! Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the President of Belarus, has declared that toilet paper is completely absent from the sausage that his nation produces. This, he says, is in sharp contrast to the sausage of neighboring Russia. The dictator, referring to himself in the third person, told reporters that Belarus has kept the food standards that it maintained while it was in the Soviet Union. Radio Free Europe reports:

He told Russian reporters on October 17 that Russia had lowered its food-quality standards after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union "while we, thanks to Lukashenka, retained state standards."

"Belarusian [food] is of substantially higher in quality. There is no toilet paper in the salami and never was," he said.

He added that "such facts have been discovered at Russian enterprises -- toilet paper, soy, all kinds of additives."

-via Popehat


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Movie Posters Superimposed over Real Life

Jaemy Choong is a graphic designer in Malaysia. Lately, he's been posing people behind movie posters, expanding these famous scenes to provide additional details to the stories. You can view them all on his Instagram account.

The E.T. poster is brilliant. Hopefully it inspires J.J. Abrams as he works on Star Wars.

Continue reading

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Anonymous Hero Carries Man out of Burning House, Then Disappears

This is Dodgers Fan Man, a hero whose identity remains a secret. He is known only for his L.A. Dodgers ballcap and for, more importantly, carrying an elderly man out of a burning house.


(Video Link)

On Saturday, a duplex in Fresno, California caught on fire. Beth Lederach was driving in the area when she noticed it. She parked and recorded the video above. The rescue occurs at the 1:28 mark. There are shouts of alarm when the people in the area realize that an elderly and infirm man is still inside the building. But, suddenly, Dodgers Fan Man appears, carrying the old man over his shoulder! He put the man down, then disappeared. Carmen George writes for The Fresno Bee:

“I couldn’t believe it,” Lederach said. “I was so relieved, I just wanted to cry.”

The rescued man — whose identity also was not released — was transported to a hospital for smoke inhalation, said Kris Townsend, a spokesman for the Fresno Fire Department.

The rescuer appeared to have "come out of nowhere,” Lederach said. “He just calmly walked right in there and then came walking right back out with this guy.”

Lederach said the rescued man “was visibly shaken and wiping his brow; very sweaty.”

-via Huffington Post


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KISS Garden Gnomes

Amy Lynn of Geek Crafts turned two ceramic garden gnomes into performers for the glam metal band KISS. She used sculpey, model car paint, sequins, and beads to make guitarist Gene Simmons and drummer Peter Criss. All Amy needs now is a few firecrackers to complete the scene.


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Turtle Twerks in the Shower


(Video Link)

The relaxing water puts this turtle in the mood to dance. Laugh if you like. But we all do this in the shower, right? Just remember that no one wants to see a video of that scene.

-via Tastefully Offensive

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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New Unicycle Design Promises to Make One-Wheeled Travel Easier

This is a unicycle? But where's the flame throwing bagpipes? As counter-intuitive as it may seen, Shane Chen's Lunicycle is a highly-functional unicycle.

Besides the conspicious absence of a set of flame throwing bagpipes, Chen's stripped-down design also lacks a seat. What it does have leg supports which permit the rider to squeeze his/her legs against the fame. This provides additional stability.


(Video Link)

-via Inventor Spot


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Calling Cards for Tall People


(Photo: austinmonster)

Would you like to be a polite, thoughtful person? Then comment on the personal appearances of complete strangers. That's what you need to do.

And if you mention that someone you don't know is tall, hopefully s/he will hand you this card that will deliver a verbal rather than physical smacking.

-via Pleated Jeans

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Ian McKellen Advises Students with His Most Memorable Line

Ian McKellen, the actor who played Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings movies, advises students to study thoroughly for their tests. What will happen if they don't? Listen to McKellen's warning:


(Video Link)

McKellen delivered Gandalf's iconic line to students at the Chew Valley School in Chew Stoke, Somerset, UK. May they all heed his warning.

-via 22 Words


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Couch Turns into a Pillow Fort in Just Seconds

The design studio Goula Figuera, which consists of Pablo Figuera and Álvaro Goula, developed this clever couch design called Orwell. It's a couch for sitting, a bed for napping, and a pillow fort for . . . well, pillow forts are self-evidently useful. 

The name is a reference to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the horrifying dystopia in which that novel is set, there is no privacy anywhere. There's a 2-way telescreen in every home which broadcasts propaganda and surveils every person.

Hopefully you don't live in such a nightmarish society. But a bit of privacy can be nice. When you need to retreat from the world, slide into the couch and lower the draperies.


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Mesmerizing Card Trick Artistry


(Video Link)

Todd Robins and Joe Robins, the filmmakers behind Kuma Films, travel around the world filming people demonstrating incredible skills. While in Singapore, they met performers who can make cards dance in their hands. Watch the magic of these masters of cardistry.

-via Daily of the Day

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Deep Fried Candy Corn

Amy of the wonderful food blog Oh, Bite It! is committed to proving that anything can--and therefore should--be deep fried. We've previously seen her deep fry Twinkie spring rolls, tequila shots, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. More recently, she took on candy corn, a traditional Halloween candy.

The process was straightforward. Amy made circles of canned crescent roll dough, then wrapped them around a few kernels of candy corn. Then she deep fried the dough balls and dusted them with powdered sugar.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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A Braille Smartphone Designed Specifically for the Blind

(Photo: Kriyate Design Solutions)

Kriyate Design Solutions, a start-up company in India, has developed a phone specifically for people with visual impairments. The phone has metal pins built into the body that raise and lower, permitting users to read text in Braille. This is an interface that offers radically new opportunities. Bob Yirka explains in PhysOrg:

Up till now, blind people have had to rely on apps (such as Georgie developed by Sight and Sound Technology) to use their smartphones. Such apps typically make use of GPS to help those that cannot see find their way around unknown areas and to help read signs, menus, etc. With this new innovation, blind users will be able to send and receive text messages, read web content, use custom apps (including those with GPS abilities) and even take pictures of things and look at them using their fingers. It's a significant step forward and likely would not have occurred had not an insightful person come up with a workable idea, and then been backed by a company with very deep pockets and no expectations of making a profit from its investment.

-via Gearfuse


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1947 Video Suggests a Career as a Librarian


(Video Link)

As a librarian, I found this 1947 vocational guidance film from Iowa State University fascinating. Paul of Weird Universe comments, "I don't believe the information sciences are much like this anymore." I disagree.

Oh, the technology has certainly changed! Programming, 3D printing, and manipulating learning management programs, among other technology skills, are common tasks for librarians today. But one thing definitely hasn't changed. At the beginning of this video, the narrator gets to the heart of librarianship:

Now, do you like people? And do people like you? Do you like all kinds of people? The young as well as the old? People in all stations of life? You do? That's wonderful.

Aside from a few specialized roles, librarianship is, above all, working with different people effectively. All of the principles outlined in this video made 67 years ago are still applicable.


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Luxury Dining in Kenya: Macaroni and Cheese Served by a White Waiter


(Photo: Sven Torfinn/New York Times)

Nairobi is a rapidly growing city opening to international markets. There's an emerging status symbol among wealthy Kenyans that some clever restaurateurs have exploited: being waited on by a white person at a restaurant. In the New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman describes the scene at the Caramel, a high-end restaurant:

The other night, Martin Mileveski, a smiley young man from Macedonia, leaned over a table of three immaculately dressed Kenyan women and delicately poured out the Captain Morgan rum.

“Anything else I can get you ladies?”

They smiled and he drifted away.

“That’s kind of cool,” said one of the women, Lawrencia Namulanda. “A mzungu,” or foreigner.

The food that Mileveski serves includes macaroni and cheese, a dish seen as quintissentially American. Other members of the staff are also white or from the West. Their presence draws in customers:

The other night Caramel featured a hostess from Las Vegas, a leggy bartender from San Diego, a chef from Goa, Mr. Mileveski and another young man from Macedonia. The foreigners made up a small percentage of the total staff but were definitely the most visible. Some said they were here for just a short time, to train Kenyans; others said they planned to stay awhile.

“I see job in Internet, I come Africa,” said Nenad Angelovski, the other Macedonian import, whose English was not nearly at the level of the Kenyan waiters. “I like Africa. I like adventure.”

There have previously been a handful of Westerners running restaurants here, the occasional Italian maître d’hôtel or Israeli manager helping bring a hot plate to a table or making a wine suggestion. But when Caramel opened in September, the word quickly spread: mzungu waiters, mzungu waiters. Many Kenyan customers said it was the first time they ever had their dirty dishes cleared by a white person.

“We never had anything like this in Nairobi,” said Cecilia Wairimu, a well-known Kenyan singer who recently dined at Caramel. “I think it’s awesome.”

Like any other motivation, racism provides a market that can be exploited profitably.

-via Marginal Revolution


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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