John Farrier's Blog Posts

A Map of Every Goat in the United States

Now you know. Consider yourself warned.

According to a 2012 census by the US Department of Agriculture, there are 2,621,514 goats in the United States. Christopher Ingram of the Washington Post notes that that's more goats than the combined human populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, and Washington, D.C.

In Sutton County, Texas, goats outnumber humans 14 to 1. And most of those goats are raised for meat. What will happen when the goats realize this?

-via The Presurfer


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Workplace with a Transparent Floor: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The Norwegian design firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter recently renovated and occupied a Nineteeth Century villa in Oslo as its new studio. Much of the second floor consists of large sheets of glass supported by study timbers. It's similar to the vertically glass house in Shanghai in that you can easily look up and down at your co-workers.

-via Fubiz


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Genius Invents Peanut Butter and Jelly Oreos

Redditor dfreshv is brilliant! Take a peanut butter Oreo, a strawberry/raspberry Oreo, remove a cookie end from each, combine what's left, and you've got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Make a bunch of them and that's a full and reasonably healthy meal.

-via That's Nerdalicious!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Weatherman Smoothly Plays off Horrible Glitches in Temperature Map


(Video Link)

If you were in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, then you died. I hope it was quick and relatively painless. Temperatures spiked at selected areas around the city. Whereas Chandler was a pleasant 63°F, Cave Creek and other suburbs faced temperatures as high at 2,960ºF (1,627ºC).

So everyone in those areas is thoroughly dead and baked. Despite the magnitude of this tragedy, Cory McClosky, a meteorologist with Fox 10 News, was calm, cool, and collected. This guy has nerves of steel.

-via Boing Boing


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The "Piano of the Future" Looks Like It Comes with Warp Drive

Gergely Bogányi, a Hungarian pianist, spent 10 years developing what Kelcee Griffis of My Modern Met calls "the piano of the future." It's a beautiful form, but the Bogányi piano is more than just a thing of beauty. Internally, it's a rethinking of the machine that produces sounds different from modern pianos. Marton Dunai writes for Reuters:

Nearly all 18,000 components were rethought. The two wide, curved legs double as sound deflectors. Thanks to an intricate mechanism, the strings apply minimal pressure on the sound board, made of over 20 carbon composite layers. The cast-iron frame boasts an all-new design. […]

Karoly Reisinger, CEO of the New York piano repair shop Klavierhaus, was "mesmerized" at a sound he said brought lyrical qualities back to the piano after a century of power-focused development.

"In this design you will be able to hear the 1850-1860 era qualities, lyrical, bell-like, precise – and also the modern instrument that our time is used to, which is clarity," he said.

Four-time Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Gerald Clayton felt he had played a slick new type of instrument.

"The sound almost feels as if you're in a bubble, it's so clear," he said. "It's a new sensation."

-via Inventor Spot


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Extreme Luxury Stadium Skybox Has a Built-in Sauna

(Photos: Core77)

Saunas are a big deal in Finland. In fact, the word sauna is of Finnish origin. So for Finns, luxury accommodations must include a hot steambath. Skybox 408 at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki offers guests a bar, gourmet food, and a 20-person sauna.

Guests can strip down and watch hockey from the privacy of one-way glass windows. Renting it costs €2,500 per night, which is about $2,822 USD.


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Kansas Farmer Makes Art by Herding His Cattle

Derek Klingenberg is a farmer and YouTube celebrity in Kansas. When we last saw him, he was summoning his cattle by playing Lorde's "Royals" on a trombone. But Klingenberg is a Renaissance man--he's not limited to one form of art. He knows both music and the visual arts. He demonstrates his talent for the latter by herding his cattle in such a way that they form a smiley face. An aerial drone captured his impressive craftsmanship.


(Video Link)

-via Tastefully Offensive


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The Set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Is Now on Public Display

For more than three decades, Fred Rogers was our neighbor. Through his television programs, he was a special friend who helped children grow up healthy. If you were a child during his era, you got to visit his neighborhood through the screen. Now you can do so in real life. The Heinz History Center in Rogers’s own city of Pittsburgh has several items from his set on public display.

(Photos: Senator John Heinz History Center)

Among them is King Friday’s castle, the Great Oak Tree, Mister Rogers’ living room, and several of his puppets.

-via Daily of the Day

P.S. A few months ago, I read Many Ways to Say I Love You: Wisdom for Parents and Children from Mister Rogers. I highly recommend it. This book helped me clarify who I want to be as a father.


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The Traditional Carved Wood Guitars of Japan are Incredibly Beautiful

(Photo: Inami Wood Carving Collective)

The Inami style of wood carving dates back to Eighteenth Century Japan. The master craftsmen there make the finest sculptures and other implements rendered in wood. In addition to more traditional uses for their craft, the artisans also make bodies for electric guitars. They are breathtakingly beautiful, especially the guitar bodies shaped like dragons. You can view more of them at Rocket News 24.


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Watching TV, Then and Now

I grew up watching television—really more than I should have. Back then, to watch a new episode, you had to wait until it aired the next week. If you missed it because you had other plans . . . well, too bad. You missed it.

Now, it’s normal to watch an entire season of a show and only that show for a while. The television watching experience is very different. Tony Wilson of Dorkly summarized it in 5 cartoons. You can view the rest here.


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The Best Hotel Concierge Ever Gives a Guest Nick Cage Pictures

At a fancy hotel like the Hotel Indigo along San Antonio’s Riverwalk, the concierge staff is there to ensure that your special (but legal) needs are tended to. Imgur member FreePsychicReadings decided to put them to the test. She asked a concierge to place on her bed a framed photo of actor Nicholas Cage as he appeared in the movie Con Air.

Ramon the concierge was prompt, efficient, and accurate.

But the test wasn’t over. The guest wanted more Nicholas Cage pictures—and specific ones—placed in particular areas of her room. You can view more photos and screenshots from their exchange here.

-via 22 Words


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Women’s Ideal Body Types throughout History

What does it mean to be a beautiful woman? This is a subjective question. The answer varies from culture to culture. BuzzFeed offers this video highlighting feminine beauty standards in different countries and periods of history, including ancient Egypt, China during the Han Dynasty, Victorian Britain, and 1960s America.


(Video Link)


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"Dead" Cat Claws out of Grave 5 Days Later


(Photo: Tampa Humane Society)

Someone in Tampa, Florida hit Bart the cat with a car. He was lying, apparently lifeless, in a pool of his own blood in the road when his owner, Ellis Hutson, found him. Hutson dug a hole and buried Bart. He and his family mourned the loss of Bart.

But Bart wasn't done yet. He had unfinished business.

5 days after he had been buried, Bart returned home, hungry, bloody, and dehydrated. Bart lost an eye, has deep lacerations, and a broken jaw. But he's alive.

How is Bart still alive? Hutson's neighbor, Dusty Albritton, has no idea:

“I saw him with my own eyes. I know he was dead. He was cold and stiff,” Albritton told ABC News. […]

“Now my kids believe their cat will also rise from the dead," she said with a chuckle. "But I told them I don't think so."

When she discovered the resurrected Bart, she said he acted “like he’s in no pain whatsoever.”

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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What Inevitably Happens When 5 Guys Have a Bubble Wrap Factory All to Themselves

Admit it: you would do this, too.

Monday was Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day, one of the more under-appreciated holidays on the American cultural calendar. Rarely will employers give workers a day off on this most hallowed of occasions (I’m looking at you, Alex).


(Video Link)

But the five men behind the YouTube channel Dude Perfect celebrated the correct way. They took a pilgrimage to the headquarters of the Sealed Air Corporation in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is that wondrous place where bubble wrap is born. There, like in the Olympics of old, the five dudes undertook athletic competitions in honor of bubble wrap.

-via Huffington Post


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Man Proposes to His Girlfriend with a Traffic Speed Camera

(Photo via Mitteldeutsche Zeitung)

Being a romantic sort, Christian Breier found the perfect way to propose to his girlfriend. He drove over the speed limit past a traffic speed monitoring camera near his home in Leipzig, Germany. While doing so, he held up a sign saying (in German), “Will you marry me?”

A police computer issued him a ticket and mailed it to him, along with a photo of his car speeding past the camera. When Breier’s girlfriend opened up the ticket, she found his marriage proposal. Justin Huggler describes the challenges of this proposal in the Daily Telegraph:

That meant it was a delicate operation, and Mr Breier said it took him five attempts at driving past the cameras holding the sign up before he went fast enough to trigger the camera.

Far from being offended at Mr Breier’s flouting of the law and abuse of their speed camera, local officials in the small town of Merseburg seem to have decided to play along when they discovered Mr Breier’s ruse, because they took the unusual step of sending a print of the speed camera photo blown up to A4 size.

Mr Breier’s 29-year-old girlfriend, who gave her name only as Anja, told reporters: “We had spoken about marriage before. And I told him he’d have to think of a cool way of proposing.”

Mr Breier’s response to the challenge cost him a €15 fine, but as far as he was concerned, it was worth it: she said yes.


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Florida Woman Tells Police She Knew Truck Was Stolen, But Not “That Stolen”

(Photo: Scott Davidson)

There are degrees of stolenness. Something can be just a smidgen stolen. Something else can be fairly well stolen. Or, in more extreme cases, an item can be very stolen or even profoundly stolen. The gradations can be subtle, but they are not invisible.

Alas, for this woman in Sandestin, Florida, police did not accept her argument that the truck she was in was not as stolen as they believed. The Daily News reports:

When officers pointed out that she knew the vehicle had been stolen, she replied, “I didn’t think it was that stolen,” according to the report.

She is charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle.

-via VA Viper


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Awesome Dad Builds Portable LEGO Creation Station for His Son

Tez Gilmir’s son loves LEGO. He’s obsessed with it and his father wants to promote this creative hobby. So he built this large, portable kit that folds and unfolds as needed. There’s even a built-in stool! The cabinet is made out of plywood with 3D printed lettering. The bins are labeled for easy sorting. They all lock in place when it’s folded up. You can read and download copies of the plans here.


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New Guinness World Record: Man Takes 1,449 Selfies in One Hour

(Photo: Patrick Peterson)

I have never taken a selfie, so I am very, very far behind Patrick Peterson, a cornerback on the Arizona Cardinals football team. He’s a fast actor with both a football and a cellphone. On Tuesday, Peterson secured a Guinness World Record by taking 1,449 selfies with a cellphone in just one hour. That’s one every 2.48 seconds.

Peterson performed the feat at Deer Valley High School in Glendale, Arizona. His attempt blew away the old record of 657 established by Lee Goodfellow in Glasgow, Scotland last year.

-via Guinness World Records


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This Cup Lets Astronauts Sip Espresso in Zero Gravity


(Photo: Portland State University)

Italy plans to send an espresso machine to the International Space Station later this year, which has prompted this innovative cup design. Astronauts usually suck liquids out of containers with tubes. But that’s a terrible way to drink fine Italian coffee. Espresso should be sipped from an espresso cup. This cup developed by researchers at Portland State University can permit precisely that, even in very low gravity. Liz Stinson writes for Wired:

The cup’s shape is odd—a little like a plastic baby boot—and was determined by mathematical models. Every curve and geometric shape is designed to encourage the controlled movement of liquid. You’ll notice a pointed corner in the center of the cup; this strange bit of design is what makes it possible to drink liquids in low gravity. The corner essentially acts like a wick, using surface tension to guide liquid toward your mouth. As soon as an astronaut touches her mouth to the lip of the cup, a capillary connection is formed and the liquid travels up the vessel and forms sippable balls of coffee.

It sounds simple enough, but designing a cup for space requires a deep understanding of how fluids move in low gravity. “We’re geeks, and we make spacecraft fluid systems,” says Mark Weislogel, a professor of mechanical and mechanical engineering who is leading the research. “It’s like space plumbing.


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“If You Are Eating Chocolate, How Do You Know When to Stop?” – Being Black in China


(Video Link)

“Why are you black?” If you’re a black person visiting China, you may get asked this question. This fascinating video by TMD Shanghai shares the experience of being a black visitor to China, which historically has had few black residents.

For African American visitors, it gets even stranger. The narrator explains that many Chinese believe that all black people are from Africa, so African Americans are not native English speakers.

Content warning: some foul language.

-via Rocket News 24


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Dashing Through the Snow in a 1907 Auto Sleigh

Need to cut a path through the snow? Maybe you should get an auto sleigh. Even in the early years of automobiles, people were converting their cars into self-powered sleighs. One common arrangement was to place the car on skids and tie the engine drive into one or two helical screws. Pictured above is a converted Hupmobile Model 20 Torpedo Roaster. Below is a patent drawing for a similar car design filed by Charles E.S. Burch of Seattle in 1907. You can read more about these cars at The Old Motor.

(Image: US Patent Office)

-via Nag on the Lake


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Creative Writing Prompt: Big Rubber Duck

Taiwanese artist Kare Huang composed this magnificent piece of science fiction (it is fictional, right?) art. The enormous mechanical duck is inscribed with the words “UN Navy” and “Big Rubber Duck.” How does it inspire you? What story or caption can you write for it?

-via The Geek Twins


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A Tiny Violin Shop inside a Violin

(Photo: Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature)

During her lifetime, Tucson, Arizona philanthropist Pat Arnell has collected a wide array of ornate, high-quality miniatures. Five years ago, Arnell opened a museum to exhibit her collection to the public: the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature. There, visitors can find this beautiful work by the American miniaturist W. Foster Tracy. It is a 1:8 scale representation of an Eighteenth Century violin maker’s workshop set inside a full-size violin. This is 1 of 6 copies that Tracy made in 1979.

-via Messy Nessy Chic

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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This Battery Has Been Running for 175 Years

(Image: Leo Panthera)

This is the Clarendon Dry Pile, a device so old that documentation about its origins is a bit spotty. It was set up at the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University in 1840. It’s a dry pile, which means that it’s made of alternating layers of sulfur, silver, and zinc that generate electrical current.


(Video Link)

Mechanically, it’s a bell, which is why it’s sometimes called the Oxford Electric Bell. The clapper between the two sections oscillates back and forth. The movements are too small to see easily and the sounds are too quiet to hear unaided. It has rung approximately 10 billion times while in operation. You can read more about this remarkable antique at Vice.

-via Marginal Revolution


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If Disney Princesses Had Realistic Hair

If you’re a Disney princess, then your job is to always look good at all times. Thankfully, you’ve got a staff of top-notch animators working with you 24/7 to do that. Shoot, you probably have a designated hair person on duty at all times.

What would it be like if Disney princesses had to deal with real hair problems? A lot of their manes would be out of place, soggy, or sticking up in odd directions. Loryn Brantz of BuzzFeed illustrated 8 princesses with real hair, including Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, and Elsa.


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70 Years Ago Today: Lt. Audie Murphy Holds the Line

Born in poverty and orphaned as a teenager in Hunt County, Texas, Audie Murphy lied about his age in order to try to get into the US Marine Corps. The Marines rejected him, saying that he was too small. Murphy went into the Army instead as an infantryman. He would prove to be an extraordinarily effective soldier and leader.

Time and time again, Murphy would distinguish himself in combat, eventually earning a field commission as a second lieutenant at the age of 19. Before the end of the war, Murphy would earn every combat award offered by the United States Army at the time.


(Photo: Smithsonian Institution)

Among those awards is the Medal of Honor. The Army bestowed that highest of laurels upon 2nd. Lt. Audie Murphy for the actions that he performed on January 26, 1945--70 years ago to this day. Though wounded and badly outnumbered, Murphy personally covered the retreat of his company from repeated German attacks outside of Holtzwihr, France. He did so for an hour with a machine gun on a disabled tank destroyer that was on fire at the time. From his Medal of Honor citation:

Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him to his right one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. It's crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer which was in danger of blowing up any instant and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to the German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. the enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminated Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he personally killed or wounded about 50. Lieutenant Murphy's indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy's objective.


(Video Link)

By the time Germany surrendered later that May, Murphy was a First Lieutenant and not yet 21 years old. He was also tremendously famous (warning: auto-play). When he mustered out and returned home to the United States, he became an actor. He would also write To Hell and Back, his autobiography. When it was turned into a film in 1955, he played himself. You can watch several scenes from it in the video above.

-via American Digest


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Artist Inserts Iconic Symbols of Famous People into Their Names

Vincent Van Gogh is known for his unfortunate decision about his ear. It's hard to imagine Charlie Chaplin without the little tramp's cane. Patrik Svensson, a Swedish artist with a gift for precisely expressing himself through minimal illustrations, has recently been composing portraits of famous people with only their names and tiny, often subtle figures. You find more in his Instagram feed.

Continue reading

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Scientists Figure out How to Unboil an Egg


(Photo: Craig Hatfield)

You can't unring a bell, but you can unboil an egg. Gregory Weiss, a professor of biochemistry at the University of California at Irvine, and his colleagues untangled the proteins of cooked egg whites to return a key protein to its previous uncooked state. A press release quotes Weiss:

“Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” said Gregory Weiss, UCI professor of chemistry and molecular biology & biochemistry. “In our paper, we describe a device for pulling apart tangled proteins and allowing them to refold. We start with egg whites boiled for 20 minutes at 90 degrees Celsius and return a key protein in the egg to working order.”

What's the point of this research? The ability to untangle proteins could lead to much cheaper cancer drugs:

“This method … could transform industrial and research production of proteins,” the researchers write in ChemBioChem.

For example, pharmaceutical companies currently create cancer antibodies in expensive hamster ovary cells that do not often misfold proteins. The ability to quickly and cheaply re-form common proteins from yeast or E. coli bacteria could potentially streamline protein manufacturing and make cancer treatments more affordable.

-via Jonah Goldberg


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This Japanese Festival Tosses Newly-Married Men into Snow for Good Luck


(Photo: Hatena Jobmate)

Mukonage is an annual event held on January 15 at the Matsunoyama Onsen hot spring resort in Tokamachi, Niigata Prefecture, Japan. The first son-in-law to marry a girl from town the previous year is picked up by the men of the town, then tossed down a snowy hill. This is followed by Suri Nuri, during which people rub snow and ash on each other's faces to promote health and prosperity.


(Video Link)

-via Dave Barry


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Some Like It Dark

Spanish artist Marta de Andrés offers this contribution from an art show in Valencia. She writes, "The subject of this festival was Women, the strength of women and equality between men and women." Her response was to imagine the desired Marilyn Monroe as the feared Darth Vader.

-via Geek Art Gallery


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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