John Farrier's Blog Posts

The Cutest Piglet on Vine

Ashley Gonzalez of Miami rescued an adorable little piggy, which she named Iris. Now they're the best of friends and Iris is a Vine celebrity.

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Ark-Like Whales Carry Whole Worlds on Their Backs

From Visual News comes this lovely sculptural series called "DREAMS-ark." There's little information available about the artist, Ruilin Wang, or what he's trying to express. But I think that he's tapping into the myth from many cultures that the entire world lies upon the back of a giant animal moving through the ether. All of the sea and land is just a blanket over a whale, a turtle, or an elephant. In this case, it's whales all the way down.

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Battleship Yamato Model Made with Wine Bottles and Corks

Twitter user @belcorno is perhaps best known for his work as a latte artist. We've previously featured his colorful work in that medium. But over the summer, he embarked on a new artistic journey by creating this model of the World War II-era warship Yamato--the largest battleship ever built--using bottles, corks, kite strings, and toothpicks.

The Yamato is the central figure in a long-running anime franchise called Space Battleship Yamato. In it, the sunken warship is converted into a spaceship and sent into battle against alien invaders.

But because of the cables that @belcorno places between the bow, the stern, and the mast, I suspect that his work specifically refers to the real-life seagoing vessel.


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Edvard Munch's The Scream Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

At one shocking moment, the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch suddenly felt the icy existential horror of the human experience. Then he wrote:

I was walking along the road with two friends
The Sun was setting – the Sky turned blood-red.
And I felt a wave of Sadness – I paused
tired to Death – Above the blue-black
Fjord and City Blood and Flaming tongues hovered
My friends walked on – I stayed
behind – quaking with Angst – I
felt the great Scream in Nature
So I challenge the Mona Lisa and Whistler’s Mother

-via Simon N. Ricketts

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The Best Cosplay from Dragon Con 2014


Iron Totoro and Hawkeye


A Total Fangirl


The Littlest Nightcrawler

Amy Ratcliffe of Adafruit is at Dragon Con in Atlanta, where she's snapping photos of some really creative and skilled cosplayers. You can see more photos that she's taken here and here.

I adore the Fangirl outfit. That's a fantastic pun.


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Handy Chart: How Much Should You Trust This Doctor?

The rankings on Shea Strauss's chart are not entirely fair. Dr. Pepper, the pride of Waco, Texas, is a perfectly satisfactory physician and a far better art historian than Dr. Zoidberg.

If I knew Doc Brown and The Doctor personally, I'd probably avoid them. A life of profitless adventure? I'll pass.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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How to Change a Roll of Toilet Paper: An Instructional Video


(Video Link)

Will Reid is a devoted and loving father to his teenage children. He's trying to raise them to be independent, self-sufficient adults by teaching them essential life skills. Among those skills is how to change a roll of toilet paper.

What do you do if you run out of toilet paper? Some people simply remain there on the toilet and give up on life. But there's another option: you can get another roll of toilet paper.

Not everyone knows this trick, including Reid's children. So he made this instructional video showing step-by-step how to get a new roll of toilet paper. He's considering also making an advanced-level video showing another helpful technique for toilet paper roll management.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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This Party Is Exhausting!


(Video Link)

Getting tired and bored at a party? Shove a few noisemakers into the tailpipe of a car and rev the engine.

Let's scale this up with vuvuzelas and a tractor trailer engine.

-via Blame It on the Voices


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America's Oldest Intact Warship, The Land Tortoise, Is 256 Years Old


(Photo: Dr. Russ Bellico/Bateaux Below)

That headline requires a bit of unpacking. If you do some math, you'll find that that number gives us an origin of 1758, which is 18 years before the United States came into existence. Also, it's been underwater at the bottom of a lake for those 256 years.

The Land Tortoise is America's oldest intact warship because it's inside the borders of the United States and it remains, despite its two centuries submerged, in one piece.


(Image: Tom Bacig, University of Minnesota at Duluth)

The Land Tortoise is located at the bottom of Lake George, a lake in New York that is 32 miles long and 3 miles wide. You might think that an enclosed lake is a strange place to build and launch a warship, but it wasn't in 1758.

At that time, the colonies that would become the United States were still loyal to the British Crown. Lake George formed part of the vague frontier between British and French-claimed lands in North America.

During the French and Indian War, which is what the Seven Years' War is called in North America, the British tried to capture the French-held Fort Carillon, a site later known as Fort Ticonderoga. Fort Carillon lay at the southern end of Lake Champlain and near the northern end of Lake George. In preparation for this battle, the British built a flotilla of oar-propelled vessels.

Among them was a ship known as the Land Tortoise. It was 52 feet long and 18 feet wide. The ship had stout, sloped wooden walls that the designers hoped would deflect musket and cannon fire. There were 7 gunports cut into the walls for cannons that would fire 24-pound balls.

Although the Land Tortoise was far from seaworthy, it was quite capable of moving through the lake, providing support for British troops assaulting Fort Carillon.

The British attack force outnumbered the French 5 to 1, but the French prevailed that day and held Fort Carillon. Fearing that their position on Lake George was untenable, the British decided to temporarily retreat from the region. So they sunk their radeaus, including the Land Tortoise. They planned to raise the ships and put them back into action later, when they had a larger army in the area.

The next year, in 1759, the British routed the French in three different theaters of the war, including the Lake Champlain-Lake George valley. They did not need the Land Tortoise for this task, which remained at the bottom of the lake.


(Video Link)

The Land Tortoise rested there, forgotten, for two centuries. Then, in the 1960s, underwater archaeologists began exploring Lake George and its roughly 200 shipwrecks. A sonar team confirmed the location of the Land Tortoise in 1990. The ship is in remarkably good condition. The hull is solid and the wood well preserved. It's a unique time capsule showing colonial life and naval warfare.


(Image: The Lost Radeau)

Underwater archaeologists Russ Bellico and Joe Zarzynski made a 57-minute documentary about the ship called The Lost Radeau: America's Oldest Intact Warship. The trailer for it is embedded above.


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Pay Japan's Apology Agencies When You Can't Bring Yourself to Say "I'm Sorry"

(Photo: Rocket News 24)

Let's admit that mistakes were made. We both made some inadequate choices, said words that were best left unspoken, and pantsed people in public when it would have been optimal not to do so.

Is that enough, Alex? Can't you just let it go?

Apparently not. But if I lived in Japan, I'd have another option. Rocket News 24 reports that in that country, there are companies that will issue apologies to people you've offended so that you don't have to do it yourself. It's outsourcing humility.

A face-to-face apology may cost $240 each or $33 per hour for an extended interaction, depending on which company you use. It costs extra to have your stand-in cry or provide other emotional effects while apologizing. You can read more about this industry here.


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Dog Saves Little Boy from Swarm of Bees

(Photo: KPTV)

Pictured above is eight-year old Jesse-Cole Shaver and his hero, a pit bull named Hades. Last Tuesday, Jesse-Cole and his friends were playing in the woods near his home in Oregon City, Oregon. One child stepped through a log, breaking into a beehive. The bees swarmed and attacked the children.

The kids fled, but Jesse-Cole was struggling to make it up the hill to safety. So Hades leaped into action, dragging Jesse-Cole by his pants up the hill and away from the bees.

The bees stung Jesse-Cole 24 times. His mother took him to the hospital, which released him after a few hours. Thankfully, Jesse-Cole wasn't seriously injured--all thanks to his loyal dog.

-via Huffington Post

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

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A Remote Controlled, Steam Powered Tank

This is not just an electric RC tank that has been decorated in a steampunk style. This is an authentic steampunk tank because it's powered by real steam engines!

Ian's tank has a steel model Tiger II tank as a chassis. The two steam engine and the boiler are ones used in model railroading. A mixture of propane and butane from a 120 ml tank heats the boiler. Ian built the armor, turret, and aesthetic finishes with brass, steel, and aluminum.

Battery-supplied electric power provides lights and sound effects. As you can see in this video, it's visually impressive.


(Video Link)

-via Hack A Day


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Firefighters Comfort Grieving Widow by Mowing the Lawn Her Husband Was Cutting When He Died

(Photo: Ashley Odom Chandler)

John McCormick of Baytown, Texas was mowing his lawn when he had a heart attack. His family summoned emergency responders. A fire truck followed the ambulance, which took him to the hospital. The firefighters could do nothing to immediately contribute to McCormick's health. But they could finish what they started. So the firefighters quietly mowed the lawn, locked the mower away in the garage, then left the key in the mailbox.

(Photo: City of Baytown)

The firefighters also left a note expressing their sympathy. It's pictured above. Sadly, McCormick did not survive. But the firefighters' simple act of kindness meant a lot to the family:

"I just couldn't believe it," said Patsy McCormick of the firefighter's gesture. "I just couldn't believe they took the time to do that."

"It just speaks to their character," said son-in-law Dan Blackford. "They say honor is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. That's a fact," he said of the firefighters who didn't know someone captured their gesture on camera. "They were very honorable."

"This just shows just exactly how special they really are," said Jeana Blackford who, despite the grief over losing her father wanted to publicly thank the men of Station 4 for showing everyone the impact a single random act of kindness can have. And for showing everyone that going above and beyond the call of duty, whether a firefighter or a civilian in everyday life, often just takes a few more steps.

"I think we all need to do random acts of kindness every day, every day," she said.

-via I Own the World


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Angry Birds Transformers


(Video Link)

Rovio Entertainment, the company which produces the Angry Birds series of video games, plans to release a new game which features Angry Birds characters as Transformers. Embedded above is a clever trailer for the game. It takes visual cues from the 80s Transformers cartoon, especially the opening sequence.

The new game suggests a pattern for Rovio. The company has already produced a Star Wars-themed game, as well as a sequel to it. Perhaps Rovio will continue to create mashup games like these. A Downton Abbey Angry Birds game would surely be fun. What other Angry Birds mashup games would you like to see?

-via Fanboy


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Did I Get Drunk and Get A Ph.D?

(Photo: freedomfighter1982)

He's an incredible scientist when he's drunk. Otherwise he's a simpleton.

You just might be able to convince a friend/prank victim of this if you repeat the process a few times. 

(Headline credit goes to redditor Mayson023)

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Peacocks Gather at the Bird Keeper's Whistle


(Video Link)

The bird keeper in Guilin, China, blows his whistle. To the delight of the gathered spectators, peacocks fly down from the trees and hills, obediently landing at his feet. As they brake before landing, they spread their wings out widely, showing everyone their beautiful plumage.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath

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The Dog Found Grandma's Dentures

Twitter user @riekun1011 visited her grandmother and brought her dog along. Puccho, the Pomeranian, got into a bit of mischief. While snooping around the house, he found the grandmother's false teeth!

But Puccho didn't have them for long. Sorry, pup. You'll have to buy your own.

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Dinner Party Time, Puppy!


(Photo: unknown)

Here is a perfect ad placement in what I would guess is the Gazette-Mail, a newspaper in Charleston, West Virginia. A recent Associated Press story informs us that dog meat has fallen out of fashion in South Korea. Eating dogs has been a tradition in that land dating back at least several centuries. But younger people increasingly tend to see dogs as pets.

-via Ka-Ching!

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Florida Man: The Cosplay

Dave Barry of the Miami Herald often introduces weird crime stories with the headline "Guess The State." He's referring to his own Florida, which is the home of Florida Man: The World's Worst Superhero.

There is, of course, no actual person. Florida Man is simply a compilation of news headlines about eccentrics from that state. Here are a few examples:

Naturally, such a superhero has inspired a fine work of cosplay. Andy of Tropic Hunt snapped the above photo of Florida Man at DragonCon in Atlanta. He is appropriately equipped with the magic elixir which grants him his powers.

Question: if Hollywood ever produces a superhero movie about Florida Man, who should play the lead role?

-via Dave Barry


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Portrait of Captain Picard in Ketchup and Other Condiments

Jennifer Marshall made this fantastic portrait of Captain Jean-Luc Picard by using ketchup, mustard, blue cheese sauce, and hoisin sauce. She writes that "Starfleet needs a better arts budget." Yes, but let's first rebuild the fleet after the losses of the Dominion War.

The shading on the face is just astounding. I wonder how Marshall did it.

-via Geek Crafts


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Ant Steals Gold Nugget


(Video Link)

Wal and Liz are prospectors in Australia. One day, they dropped a nugget that they had found. When they located it at their feet, they saw an ant dragging it off.

I like that ant. He's got his priorities right.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Boxing Glove Chair

This brilliantly conceived chair would be perfect for the home of any boxing fan. Ornald Balyko, an artist in Lithuania, designed it to look like an old-fashioned boxing glove. The leather chair is about 3 feet tall and can be filled with polystyrene balls like a beanbag chair.

-via Lustik


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This Anti-Privacy Advocate Has Nothing to Hide. To Prove It, He Gave All of His Passwords to a Journalist.


(Photo: Noah Dyer)

We live in an age in which our lives are increasingly recorded, compiled, and searchable. There's less privacy than there was a generation ago. Some people respond dismissively of this change, saying "I've got nothing to hide." Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has a standard response:

When someone debating privacy says, "but I don't have anything to hide," I am immediately suspicious. "Would you prove it by giving me access to your email accounts," I've taken to replying, "along with your credit card statements and bank records?" Not a single person has ever taken me up on that challenge–until now.

The "until now" is Noah Dyer, who is pictured above. He accepted Friedersdorf's challenge, handing over all of his online usernames and passwords, thus opening up his private life to a journalist able to expose him to a wide world.

Dyer is an anti-privacy advocate. He thinks that society is better off when there are no secrets. Friedersdorf searched through Dyer's personal information and found nothing that Dyer himself was not open about. Friedersdorf writes:

I hasten to add that I didn't unearth that detail (or any others in this story so far) via digital snooping or share it without the consent of my subject. "Over the past 5 years, I have had sex with married women whose husbands were not aware," he told me in the same initial message that included his passwords. "I have missed child support payments, settled debts, and probably done other stuff as well. Some of these things I would do again in a world without privacy. Some of them I probably would not. Some of them my co-conspirators would do again, others probably not. But each of these decisions was made in an environment where the understanding was that they would be kept private. I’m not advocating that all activities made within that context should be revealed. I’m arguing that a society that does so, going forward, will reap benefits that outweigh the cons."

To prove that he really has nothing to hide, Dyer is trying to arrange for camera crews to follow him around 24 hours a day for a full year without a single second of privacy. So Friedersdorf sees some internally consistent reasoning in Dyer's perspective:

Dyer is an honest man committing to an ethical code he believes to be righteous. He is trying to make the world better. He doesn't believe people should have a right to privacy, so he is ceding his own. These traits and impulses are worthy of some respect.

But Friedersdorf notices that there's a real problem with Dyer's vision for a privacy-free life. No one gets to share a private moment with him:

The world he wants to create is one where there would be no option to refrain from revealing to colleagues that you'll have hemorrhoids surgery while on vacation; where girls going through puberty could only talk to their mothers about getting their periods in public; and where every time a potential romantic partner rejects you, it happens for all to see. Think of everyone who has ever kept a confidence you bestowed in a moment of need or vulnerability. All of them had this in common: They had something to hide.

-via Patterico


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How to Make a Watermelon Grill

Grilling meat is one of the great joys of summer. But it's also hot. So very hot. Sometimes, you just don't want the temperature to be a single degree higher.

This grill by Sandra Denneler can help. Her fruit bowl is made of a hollowed-out watermelon with wood skewers serving as a grill. The legs are three celery stalks which are soaked in cold water overnight to stiffen them. Blackberries stand in for the charcoal briquettes--except in Hank Hill's version, of course. 

-via Craft

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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One-Legged Breakdancer Is Amazing

This guy is fantastic! The absence of a leg doesn't prevent him from laying out some incredible moves. He uses his crutches as dancing elements, then drops them to work with his arms.


(Video Link)

Viewer tip: the video is repeats itself. So once you've watched the first 47 seconds, you've seen the entire routine.

-via Geekologie

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Scotsman Cashes in With Fake "Ginger Discount Card"

(Photo: hemedia)

Do you have pale skin, bright red hair, and no soul? Then you're in luck! You can get yourself a ginger discount card. That's what Richard Mcrae of Aberdeen, Scotland did. A friend made him the fake but official-looking card as a gag gift for Mcrae's thirtieth birthday. Mcrae has put it to good use. He's presented it to good-natured sales clerks and waiters, who have responded by giving him discounts:

“People have always given me stick for my hair colour but now I’m going out three nights a week and saving a fortune. The joke’s on them,” said Mr Macrae.

“It comes out with me more than my bank card. My reputation precedes me: once I was asked by a security guard if I was the ‘ginger discount guy’.

“I ask if they do the ginger ­discount and when they look confused, I slide across my card.

“Usually everyone gets the humour behind it. Some people look confused and wonder if it’s real, which is always a laugh, but most get the joke. I’ve saved a couple of hundred pounds maybe, with money off booze, taxis, food and club entries. Over four years it fairly builds up.”

-via Glenn Reynolds


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2-Year Old Does Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Barbie and Dora the Explorer


(Video Link)

Ashley has the cutest ever response to the ice bucket challenge! She dares several members of her family in Mentor, Ohio to follow her. But she also extends invitations to Barbie and Dora the Explorer. Hopefully Boots, Swiper, and Benny will join in, too.

-via Blame It on the Voices

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Office Aquarium Doubles as a Desk Divider

(Photo: Extreme Aquatics)

This was the call center of Freshwater Software, a now defunct company based in Boulder, Colorado. In 2000, the company commissioned this unique office design. The cubicles were not divided by fabric walls, but glass aquariums. The custom desks were built by a local carpenter, then the fish tanks by Jesse Damman, a professional aquarium maker.

Occasionally a fish jumped out of the tank, but workers reported that it was an enjoyable experience. The sounds produced by the tanks provided background noise that was helpful in a call center. The Daily Mail quotes former employees, including Christina Gillman, who wrote:

'We had many types of fish, ranging from Cichilds, catfish, tiger fish, menos, and much more.

'The tanks worked great, except when a fish died or jumped out of the tank.'

Jennifer Colvin, another former employee of the company, added: 'We had a local woodworker build the frames and desktops and then had Jesse Dammann build the fish tanks on site.

'After 8 years, a majority of the fish we had were born there.'

-via Twisted Sifter


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This Snake Sliding across the Sidewalk Is Actually a Horde of Swarming Larvae

Although from a distance, this grey creature might look like a cute garden snake, it's not. This is actually a swarm of fungus gnat larvae. Their larval stage lasts about 2 to 3 weeks, during which they seek out fungus and algae to eat.


(Video Link)

Why do the gnats swarm like this? It's a defensive technique. The gnats inside are less likely to be eaten by predators. So the strongest gnats are deep in the interior of the swarm and the weaker ones are on the outside. The Daily Mail explains:

This is when individuals within a population – in this case gnat larvae - attempt to reduce the odds of being eaten by putting others of their own species between themselves and predators, resulting in an aggregation, or swarm.

The theory was proposed by W. D. Hamilton in 1971 to explain the gregarious behaviour observed in a variety of animals, including insects, schools of fish and even herds of wildebeest.

‘The outer layer of larvae are more exposed than creatures towards the centre, so the less dominant ones are on the outside,’ she said.

The idea is that subordinate animals will be forced into higher risk positions and you can see the larvae changing places in the swarm as it wiggles along.

-via Gizmodo


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A Quick Bite to Eat

Aerial drones can deliver food to your doorstep. But nature was already working on this design concept long before humans conceived of it.

Photo credit: unknown | via American Digest

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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