John Farrier's Blog Posts


This Leech Specializes in Feeding on Hippo Rectums


(Photo: Wired)

All things bright and beautiful; all creatures great and small. They are wonders to behold, including the majestic hippo butt leech. It burrows into a hippopotamus anus, plants itself deep inside its rectum, then feeds on the blood vessels along the wall.

Like the yeti, the hippo butt leech was once a creature of mystery. It was in only 2003 that explorers in South Africa confirmed the existence of the Placobdelloides jaegerskioeldi. You see, the hippo butt leech has very specific tastes. It will not live in any rectum, but only hippopotami rectums. Wired describes how these adventurers tracked down the hippo butt leech in its lair. The hunt reached its conclusion with the help of a local game warden:

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This Just In: Straw Monsters Ravaging Japan

(Photo: amymauscd)

Every year, in the Niigata Prefecture of Japan, people build enormous, often frightening creatures made of straw. It's part of the Wara Art Festival. Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku has a roundup of some of the best and most ferocious straw monsters now menacing Japan. They include a giant crab, dinosaurs, a cobra, and a praying mantis. In short: choose another vacation spot.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Cop Houses Homeless Mother and Baby in a Hotel with His Own Money

(Photo: Prince George's County Police Department)

Corporal Che Atkinson of Prince George's County, Maryland was at his police station doing paperwork when he learned that a homeless woman and her baby were in the lobby. There was no shelter available for them and they had nowhere to go. So Atkinson contacted a social worker and headed out on patrol.

When he got back, he found the mother and baby still there. There had been no progress on finding them shelter. So Atkinson packed them and their belongings into a patrol car and took them to a hotel. He paid for the room out of his own pocket.

While he was doing so, his sergeant surreptitiously photographed him. Then he posted the photos with the story on Facebook. The public response has been, to say the last, positive. WUSA9 reports (auto-start video):

"I'm a little overwhelmed and shocked. And the reason why is it didn't seem like a big deal to me because I see other officers do stuff like this all the time,” Atkinson said "It's not a big deal."

People online said what he did was far from ordinary, they say it was a "beautiful act of kindness."

"This is a helpless child so it's our duty to help and that child was definitely in need," Atkinson said.

Police said the woman and her child are now with relatives.

-via Huffington Post


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Elderly Woman with Dementia Warms to Her Great-Granddaughter


(Video Link)

Sophie Flynn, 5, met her great-grandmother for the first time. Her parents, Sarah Miller and William Flynn, were worried about the encounter. Their beloved grandmother has dementia and is easily startled by unfamiliar people. Would she become anxious or withdrawn around Sophie?

Not a bit! Sophie sat next to her great-grandmother and sang "You Are My Sunshine." As she did so, the woman turned to her and maintained a full smile, clearly enjoying the experience. Sarah Miller told The Mirror:

"Sophie brought her back to life. It was amazing, we just couldn't believe it. When they were together it was like they were the only two people in the room.

"Nana isn't very responsive, she doesn't know who I am or who my mum Yvonne, her daughter, is most of the time.

"She only remembers her husband Joe and he is the only one she talks to but straight away she started engaging with Sophie.

"Nana is very scared of new people but she was completely at ease with Sophie. She kept asking for Sophie for the two days we stayed in Norwich."

-via Huffington Post


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America's Oldest Military Unit in Continuous Operation Dates Back to 1771

(Photo: Connecticut National Guard Foundation)

Pictured above are a few of the members of the First Company of the Governor's Foot Guard of the Connecticut State Militia. It is now a ceremonial unit. But when it was formed in 1771--while Connecticut was a colony, not a state--it was trained and equipped to protect the Governor and capital city of Hartford.

In 1775, then Patriot leader Benedict Arnold led a mob into the Foot Guard's armory, demanding arms necessary to raise a second company to defend the state against the British menace.


(Video Link)

Aside from brief and uneventful deployments during the American Revolutionary War, the Governor's Foot Guard has maintained a quiet and peaceful existence. The members march in parades in old style uniforms and offer military honors at appropriate events. They do, however, remain a part of the military forces maintained by the State of Connecticut and so are hypothetically subject to more hazardous duties. Presumably these infantrymen might be accompanied by the Governor's Horse Guard, which is Connecticut's horse cavalry force.


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Baby Cries When the Storybook Ends


(Video Link)

Little Emmett Stevers loves books! And like all bookworms, he finds the end of a great story to be a very sad moment. Whenever his parents finish reading I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry, Emmett cries out in anguish. All of us bookworms feel the say way, Emmett. The only comfort is in reaching for a new book.

-via 22 Words

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Yoga in Real Life

Cassandra Calin, a cartoonist in Montreal, highlights the differences between our expectations and realities, such as those with hairstyles and swimsuits. Recently, she illustrated the way that yoga professionals look . . . and the way we ordinary people look when we try to duplicate their moves. You can find the rest of her cartoons in the series here.


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Physicist Calculates Yoda's Weight

(Images: Lucasfilm)

Judge Yoda by his size, do you? Well, Dr. Rhett Allain does. He's a professor of physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. In the past, he's calculated Darth Vader's weight and how long it would take for an AT-AT to hit the ground. He wanted to know how much Yoda weighs. And since the Jedi Master is shy about the issue, Allain had to calculate the results from The Empire Strikes Back.

Allain assumes that Dagobah has the same gravity as Earth, that Luke Skywalker is 5'9" and weighs 150 pounds, and that The Force is not in play against gravity while Luke is carrying Yoda. You can read all of his equations and rationale here. Yoda, Allain argues, weights 43.7 kilograms.

-via Lost at E Minor


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70 Years Ago Today: Japan Surrenders, Ending World War II

70 years ago today, the bloodiest, most destructive war in all of human history ended.

After the destruction of 2 cities from atomic bombs and reason to believe that even more were coming, the government of the Japanese Empire communicated on August 15, 1945, that it would surrender. The free world responded with a jubilation known as V-J Day--Victory over Japan.

Formally, though, the surrender would take place more than 2 weeks later. On September 2, 1945, the battleship USS Missouri steamed into Tokyo Bay with Allied emissaries. Japanese representatives boarded and signed the formal capitulation. You can read the document here.


(Video Link)

This video shows newsreel footage of the surrender ceremony.

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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Slave Leia Disney Princess Squad

(Photo: York in a Box)

Now that Disney owns Star Wars, we see the iconic Leia slave outfit crossing over into the Disney Princess universe. In the past, we've seen slave Leia versions of Tinkerbell, Ariel, and Elsa. Now the lineup is filling out even more, thanks to these ladies. That's Ashlynne Dae as Elsa, Elizabeth Rage as Belle, Rianne Synnth as Mulan, and Hendo as Pocahontas.

-via Cosplay America


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Ioana Vanc's Spoonfuls of Food Art

Ioana Vanc is an architect in Arad, Romania. When she's not building with steel and concrete on a colossal scale, she's making art with food on a tiny scale. Each of these food sculptures can fit within a spoon. You can find more of her work at Fubiz (translation).

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Heartfelt Thai Commercial Maxes out Your Feels for the Day


(Video Link)

If the internet is representative, then Thailand produces impressively dramatic and heart-wrenching commercials. In the past, we've seen several that advocate for a virtuous life of kindness, generosity, and devotion to family. 

This one, like the others, sells a product--a rather unexpected one. It is revealed only in the last few seconds. But more than that, this story about a shopkeeper and a homeless man convincingly sells the idea that people can be more than they appear on the surface.

-via Daily of the Day


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Star Wars Scenes and Headlines from The Onion Combine Perfectly

There's no comedy like The Onion and no drama like Star Wars. When the two combine, a space saga becomes filled with the funny anxieties and problems of everyday life. Lindsey, a Star Wars fan, illustrates that by combining headlines from The Onion with scenes from the 6 Star Wars movies. You can view them here and here. Content warning: foul language.

-via Uproxx


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World Champion Javelin Thrower Taught Himself the Sport by Watching YouTube Videos

(Photo: AP/Lee Jim-man)

Julius Yego of Kenya didn't have a world-famous coach. In fact, he didn't have a coach at all. He got his start by watching YouTube videos and practicing what he saw. Yego made it to the 2012 Olympics, placing 12th, by teaching himself. At the time, he said, "My coach is me, and my YouTube videos."

Now, with a professional coach, he's refined his technique. At the recent world championships in Beijing, he threw a javelin 92.72 meters, which is farther than anyone else has in 14 years.  

-via Glenn Reynolds


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The Original Inspiration for the Hulk Was a Mother Lifting a Car off Her Baby

(Image: Marvel Studios)

Hulk smash? Yes. But beyond that, Hulk save. The Hulk is male, but the original, real-life Hulk was a woman. Jack Kirby, the comic book artist who conceived of the Hulk, explained in a 1990 interview that an incident in which a mother rescued her baby by lifting a car off him was the inspiration behind the Hulk:

The Hulk I created when I saw a woman lift a car. Her baby was caught under the running board of this car. The little child was playing in the gutter and he was crawling from the gutter onto the sidewalk under the running board of this car — he was playing in the gutter. His mother was horrified. She looked from the rear window of the car, and this woman in desperation lifted the rear end of the car. It suddenly came to me that in desperation we can all do that — we can knock down walls, we can go berserk, which we do. You know what happens when we’re in a rage — you can tear a house down. I created a character who did all that and called him the Hulk. I inserted him in a lot of the stories I was doing. Whatever the Hulk was at the beginning I got from that incident. A character to me can’t be contrived. I don’t like to contrive characters. They have to have an element of truth. This woman proved to me that the ordinary person in desperate circumstances can transcend himself and do things that he wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’ve done it myself. I’ve bent steel.

-via io9


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Clever, Touching Tattoo Flips Your Perspective on Depression

Bekah Miles has depression. She’s trying to come to grips with the illness. As an expression of her efforts, she got this tattoo which beautifully illustrates how depression is experienced. When other people look at her leg, it says “I’m Fine.” When she looks down at her tattoo, Bekah sees “Save Me.” In a heartfelt Facebook post, Miles writes:

To me, it means that others see this person that seems okay, but, in reality, is not okay at all. It reminds me that people who may appear happy, may be at battle with themselves. […]

This is one of the most difficult things to open up about because it’s extremely hard for me to feel vulnerable…but this needs to be talked about. Mental illness is serious, but so shamed in our society. We care so much for our physical health, but hardly a thing about our mental state. And that is seriously messed up. Mental illness is not a choice and will likely hit everyone at some point in their life. If it’s such a huge issue, why aren’t we having this conversation about it?

That’s why I got this tattoo; they are great conversation starters. This forces me to talk about my own struggle, and why the awareness of it is important. You’d be surprised by how many people YOU know that struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. I may only be one person, but one can save another...and that's all I could really ask for.

-via The Soul Is Bone


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The Sport of Drunken Horse Racing

(Photo: Vice/Benjamin Reeves)

It is truly the sport of kings! To the Maya living in the Sierra de los Cuchumantes Mountains in Guatemala, drunken horse racing is an important tradition. Unlike, say, the Kentucky Derby, the riders are absolutely smashed. In fact, some are so drunk that they have to be tied into the saddles by their alleged “friends.” Atlas Obscura reports on a race in the town of Todos Santos:

Predictably, a few riders flew out of their saddles, landing with a dull thud in the loose dirt. Others slowly slumped to the side before gently reaching terra firma and giving up, their relieved horses continuing on without them.

The majority of the riders somehow made it to the finish line, but even after several hours of watching, it was never exactly clear who “won” or what the prize might be. Advil? A heating pad? Exemption from next year’s race?

In Todos Santos, it was recently reported that the winner of the annual drunken horse race was given a live chicken and the title of El Capitan.


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Ecto-Cooler Beer Exists Now

(Photo: Tired Hands Brewing)

For a brief, golden age in the 1980s, the drink of Ecto-Cooler existed. It was a Ghostbusters-themed juice available from the Hi-C brand. It was heavenly.

But we were expelled from paradise and Ecto-Cooler was lost to us. Oh, you can make your own, of a sort. But it’s not the same, really.

Now, perhaps, you can experience something better. The Tired Hands Brewing Company in the suburbs of Philadelphia claims to have reproduced the joys of Ecto-Cooler in beer form. The company describes the taste:

Tart Summer Bier brewed with wheat. Hopped gently with Simcoe and Citra. Soured in the kettle then conditioned on top of nectarine purée.

It has 4.5% alcohol contest, which is higher than the original Ecto-Cooler.

-via That’s Nerdalicious!


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Past Me Is a Jerk

(Chris Hallbeck/Maximumble)

Past Me thinks that it’s super professional and organized to set reminders to accomplish important tasks—but only for Present Me. It’s just an orderly form of procrastination. This will be noted on Past Me’s performance evaluation.


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Delightfully Absurd Breakfast Inventions by Dominic Wilcox

Over the years, we've featured many of artist Dominic Wilcox's ridiculous and hilarious inventions. This series tops them all. Wilcox was commissioned by the Kellogg's cereal brand to develop 6 machines that make breakfast fun. Among them is this crane operated by hand controls. Wilcox uses it to scoop cereal, place it in his bowl, then add milk using a tube connected from the milk jug on his helmet to the end of the scoop.

You can see all of his inventions in the series in this YouTube playlist. Among them is a sound amplifier for Rice Krispies cereal and a cereal spoon that gains energy as you move it, then gets sleepy when you lave it alone.

-via Fast Co Design


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A Drawbridge Crossing for 2 Trains

I've never seen a railroad crossing like this one. Allegedly, this video shows two rail lines crossing in Bundaberg, Australia--a region noted for a large amount of sugar cane production. When the light cane train needs to cross the main Queensland Rail line, a drawbridge-like section of track lowers. After the cane train passes, the section rises again.


(Video Link)

-via The Presurfer


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The World's Largest Container Ship Plays the Star Wars Theme on Its Horn


(Video Link)

At 432 yards long, the newly-launched MSC Zoe is the Death Star of the transoceanic shipping business. It's no moon, but a fully operational station capable of moving the equivalent of 19,224 20-foot cargo containers. Appropriately, while in Hamburg, Germany, the ship's horn system played the title theme from Star Wars.

-via Jalopnik


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Human Toddler and Gorilla Toddler Play Peek-A-Boo


(Video Link)

Isaiah Chute is 2 and 1/2. Kamoli the gorilla is about 1 and a 1/2. They're perfect playmates, as you can see in this video shot at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. For about 6 minutes, they played peek-a-boo, hide-and-seek, and pounded their chests.

-via Huffington Post

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

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Salvaging Antique Wood--A Booming Business in New York City

(Photo: Michael Appleton/New York Times)

In the decades following the American Civil War, the South found demand for a new cash crop: virgin longleaf pine. In the era before steel girders became useful for construction, virgin longleaf pine was regarded as the finest lumber available. So the ancient forests of the South were cut down to build late Nineteenth Century New York City.

In 1938, the Great Southern Lumber Company sold its last log of longleaf pine. The US Forest Service estimates that only 3% of the original remains. That makes the wood left inside old buildings very valuable. So recovering it has become a thriving industry in New York City. Vivan Yee writes for the New York Times:

Some of the trees were three centuries old. Dense, durable and saturated with resin that made it unusually resistant to rot and insects, the timber proved rough work for builders to mill. But in the decades before steel began to dominate, longleaf pine was the strongest material around.

“Everybody in the wood business says the longleaf pine tree was the best wood the Lord ever made,” said Pat Fontenot, the owner of Olde Wood Accents in Washington, La., an antique pine dealer. “If it wouldn’t have been for the longleaf pine tree, we wouldn’t have been able to do the Industrial Revolution.” […]

The only way to find original-strength longleaf pine these days: Mine it from buildings like the Domino Sugar Factory or 443 Greenwich Street in TriBeCa, the brick and mortar vertebrae of northern cities’ industrial might.

“It’s a Southern tree that has been a part of New York City for 150 years,” Alan Solomon, the owner of Sawkill Lumber, who hunts down old lumber, from the Coney Island boardwalk to a Western Beef supermarket in the Bronx, said during a recent expedition to the TriBeCa building. “The city’s always reinventing itself. Stuff’s always getting knocked down.”

-via American Digest


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Shy Octopus Hides under His Tentacles

The Dumbo Octopus (Grimpoteuthis) is unavoidably cute! He can dance and stick out his tongue, so he's a natural performer. But that's only once he's ready. When caught unawares, the Dumbo gets shy. The oceanographers on board the exploratory vessel Nautilis discovered that while exploring the coast of central California. At the 1:34 mark in the video below, he covers his face when the camera zooms in on him.


(Video Link)

-via Gifsboom

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

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Candy Cats Trying to Catch Candy Goldfish

Caroline from Japan makes little sweets that look like cats. Sometimes they nap in pancakes. Other times, they curl up around eclairs. But they're always cute and delicious. For this project, they're struggling to get at the fish trapped inside the gelatin (translation) --all the while ignoring a more convenient mouse.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Your First Friend, Your Forgotten Friend

(Mark Pain/Pain Train)

When you first joined MySpace, you were anxious and awkward. You didn't know anyone. You didn't know if it would be safe space.

Immediately, Tom Anderson appeared. He was not only the co-founder of MySpace, but your very first friend on the network.

As other people appeared in your life, Tom fell into the background. You forgot about him, but he never forgot about you.

Don't wait until it's too late to rekindle that relationship.


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Famous Actors in Forgotten Roles


(Video Link)

Elijah Wood was in Back to the Future II. Denzel Washington was an uncredited criminal in Death Wish. Samuel L. Jackson was in Goodfellas. You may not have noticed them because they weren't famous yet. Screen Junkies brings us up to speed with this compilation of actors just getting started in film, often taking very minor roles.

One role that didn't make the cut is Liam Neeson in the underappreciated 1983 fantasy movie Krull. Neeson plays Kegan, a criminal who joins King Colwyn's quest to defeat the Slayers and liberate his planet.

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Street Brawl Ends in Hugs


(Video Link)

On the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love, you'd better come prepared to handle yourself in any rough situation. That means hugging.

Rocco Avallone's security cameras captured this footage late on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Two men who are just possibly intoxicated get into a fist-fight.

Then they hug it out.

This is a lesson for us all. Tonight, go outside and hug someone.

-via Daily of the Day


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The Empire Strikes Back Trailer in the Style of The Force Awakens


(Video Link)

The trailers for the upcoming Star Wars movie The Force Awakens have a unique style noted for varied pacing and dramatic narration. They inspired Dan Flesher to edit scenes from The Empire Strikes Back into a new trailer. They make that movie look fresh, even at 35 years old. Compare it to this original trailer for Episode V.

-via Daily of the Day


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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