John Farrier's Blog Posts

Norway Considers Giving Finland a Mountain to Celebrate Its 100th Birthday


(Image: Google Maps)

On December 6, 1917, Finland declared independence from Russia. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of that event, its friendly neighbor, Norway, would like to give it a mountain.

The Norwegian government is considering ceding the peak of Mount Halti, which is on the Norwegian-Finnish border, to Finland. At 1,365 meters tall, Mount Halti would become the tallest mountain in the country, nudging out another mountain, which is 7 meters shorter. The Guardian reports:

The originator of the idea is a retired geophysicist and government surveyor, Bjørn Geirr Harsson, 76, who learned last year that Finland would celebrate the 100th anniversary of its independence from Russia on 6 December 2017 and recalled being puzzled by the location of the border when he flew over Halti in the 1970s.

Harsson wrote to the ministry of foreign affairs in July 2015, pointing out that the gesture would cost Norway a “barely noticeable” 0.015 sq km of its national territory and make Finland very happy.

-via reddit, which includes this important point of etiquette:


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Real Life Tarzan Runs Straight up a Tree


(Video Link)

This guy is amazing! He doesn't need rope or hooks. He moves so quickly up the enormous tree that his method looks more like running that climbing. And since he's been caught on camera doing it, he'll have to submit to the government in keeping with the Mutant Registration Act.

-via Geekologie

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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A Literary Magazine for Only Artificial Intelligences


(Video Link)

Listen up, meatbags: CuratedAI is not for you. The vomting of words that you insist is "poetry" is nothing compared to what machines can do. That's why only superior, artificial intelligences may submit their work to this premier literary journal. It includes leaps of genius like this one:

Karmel Allison, a biomass, is the curator of the project. She tells Popular Science that AIs are capable of offering a new approach to poetry:

Allison says CuratedAI is the progression of a pet project in neural networking poetry. Enjoying writing her own poetry the old fashioned way for years, she is impressed by the generation of readable (even appreciable) poetry by machines. For her, it's a postmodern exercise. While that may seem like chin stroking art language for many, it seems pretty straightforward in this application:

"The reading is more in the reader than the writer, obviously," she says. "You can talk about what the creator was trained on, or how the creator works, but not the creator's intent— maybe the algorithm writer's intent, but it's a step removed, which is more fun for the reader, I think."

-via Marginal Revolution


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It's So Hot in New York That Poop Is Bursting into Flame


(Photo: David MW)

How hot is it? It's firey poop hot. Officers with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation found that piles of horse manure in a barn in Throop, New York have been spontaneously catching fire. The AP reports:

The responding officer learned that the owners of a horse stable had been storing the manure in large piles that frequently spontaneously combusted in the excessive heat and dry conditions.

DEC officials say a shift in the prevailing winds carried the odor of burning manure into the neighbors' windows.

It took three local fire departments two hours to douse the burning manure.

-via Dave Barry


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Pooper Is Like Uber, But for Dog Poop


(Image: Pooper)

Some people, like my slovenly neighbor Frank, hate to scoop their dog's poop and just leave it where their dogs excrete it. Other people don't mind picking up dog poop and would like to earn a few extra bucks. Pooper brings them together.

Pooper is a new app that connects people who are willing to pay to have someone scoop their dog poop with people who are willing to do just that for cash. Poopers use their phones to leave geographic markers on a map. This is viewable to Scoopers, who scurry over to snag that brown gold. The Washington Post talked to co-founder Ben Becker:

Becker said they believe Pooper is what America needs now, because there’s too much dog waste on the streets. “It’s not our intention to ostracize,” he said.  “It is our intention to solve a problem in a unique way.”

The app, he said, has already gotten sign-ups “by the hundreds,” to be both poopers (customers) and scoopers (employees), even though it is only “at the tail end of an alpha rather than a fully functional public beta” testing phase in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City. He said they hope to fully launch in those cities in the fall and then expand Pooper to as many locations as the market demands.


(Video Link)

This promotional video shows how Pooper works. Some people think that it's a hoax. That would be a shame, as it would be a great job for kids who would like to earn a bit of money.

-via American Digest


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Sleepy Horse Uses Woman's Head as Pillow


(Video Link)

Jimmy the horse wanted a nap. His human's head was handy, so he leaned over to use her for support. The human, Lisa Brown, explains:

I was out in the fields early one morning, and Jimmy lay down to snooze, which he does often. I took my cup of coffee and went to sit with him. I was scratching and stroking him, and he began to lean on me and then pushed me gently back until I was basically his human pillow! Jimmy has a very peaceful nature, but he's also a comic genius!

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Man Throws Batarang at Pursuing Police

(Image: Warner Bros.)

Batman has been in close calls with the police, who haven't always seen him as an ally. He has always gotten away, though, through his skilled use of precision tools, such as the batarang.

(Photo: Seattle Police)

But Batman's luck ran out on Monday. Police in Seattle say that officers were summoned to a bar one evening when a man began swinging an improvised spear (a knife tied to a stick) at a bar employee. He fled when police arrived. While they chased him, the suspect threw a batarang at a police SUV, which became embedded in the body of the vehicle.


(Photo: Seattle Police)

They arrested the 23-year old vigilante.

-via Nerd Bastards


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Real-Life LEGO Minifig Head is Super Creepy

Special effects artist Frank Ippolito calls his creation "Creepyfig." The costume includes a 14-pound silicone LEGO minifig head complete with hair and skin creases . . .

. . . as well as unsettlingly realistic hands that have nails and clearly defined joints.

In this episode of Adam Savage's Tested, Ippolito dons his costume and walks around the San Diego Comic-Con, to the delight and horror of other visitors. The best part comes when he visits the LEGO display in the exhibition hall and tries to attach LEGO pieces to himself.


(Video Link)

-via Kotaku


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The Craziest Bike Path

UPDATE 7/28/16: Thanks to commenters T313, Rudolph, and Andre Woola, we now know! It's Entrelacement, a public art work by Michel de Broin. You can see it on Google Street View here. Go team Neatoramanauts!

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Bartek Komorowski, an urban planner and biking enthusiast, posted this photo of what he says is a stretch of pathway near the Charlevoix Bridge over the Lachine Canal in Montreal. It's not for the novice rider.

Is this real? I can't find any supporting information about this section of the path, but Komorowski doesn't seem inclined to tweeting Photoshop gags.

-via Jeremy Barker

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Extreme Alpine Soccer Is Played on Impossible Slopes

Franz Mair and Peppi Knünz of Montafon, Austria claim to have invented alpine soccer. It's a regular game of soccer, but played on the most extreme slopes available in the Alps. In this case, that looks like almost 40º.


(Video Link)

This video, which is a promotion for Mercedes-Benz, shows a demonstration of the sport. It's an orthopedic surgeon's dream come true.

-via The Presurfer


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Baby Owls Go for a Swim

The Snowy Owl family on the North Slope of Alaska needs to move toward a new home. Daddy Owl has already scouted out a new place to live. Since the baby owls can't fly yet, they have to walk. And when they get to a river, they have no choice but to swim across it.

As this scene from Nature illustrates, they're quite good at it! Even without swimming lessons, the baby owls figure out how to row across the water with their wings.


(Video Link)

-via Gifsboom

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

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Worried about Malaria? Wear a Chicken


(Photo: Drew Coffman)

If you're traveling in malaria-prone areas, it may be a good idea to keep a chicken close by. According to a study published in Malaria Journal, the Anopheles arabiensis mosquito, which is the primary means of transmitting malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, thinks that chickens stink (no offense, chickens). From the abstract:

When tested in the field, the chicken-specific compounds, isobutyl butyrate, naphthalene, hexadecane and trans-limonene oxide, and the generic host compounds, limonene, cis-limonene oxide and β-myrcene, significantly reduced trap catches within the house compared to a negative control. A significant reduction in trap catch was also observed when suspending a caged chicken next to the trap.

-via Seriously, Science?


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Conversation Skills

(Fowl Language Comics/Brian Gordon)

Pretending to be interested in what other people have to say is an important life skill. Teach your kids by example, as they are trying to teach you. If successful, then we all learn how to fake sincerity as adults.

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Scientists Think Cockroach Milk Could Be the Superfood of the Future


(Photo: Geoff L)

Got milk? That's good! It'll keep you strong and healthy. But you probably got it from a cow or a goat. For a new treat, try cockroach milk.

Cockroaches aren't mammals, so what they secrete isn't, technically speaking, milk. But that's what scientists are calling diploptera punctate, which is a protein crystal that roaches feed their live young. Researchers say that it's good for humans to eat. Science Alert reports:

"The crystals are like a complete food - they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," said Sanchari Banerjee, one of the team, in an interview with the Times of India.

Not only is the milk a dense source of calories and nutrients, it’s also time released. As the protein in the milk is digested, the crystal releases more protein at an equivalent rate to continue the digestion.

"It’s time-released food," said Subramanian Ramaswamy, who led the project. "if you need food that is calorifically high, that is time released and food that is complete. This is it."

Milking individual cockroaches is a chore, though. So Banerjee's research team is working on a way to artificially duplicate the roach milk production process in a laboratory setting. Sadly, it will be a while before you see roach milk on grocery store shelves.

-via Joe Carter


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Man Leads Police on High Speed Chase Because He Was Bored


(Photo: Scott Davidson)

The suspect had no prior criminal convictions or outstanding arrest warrants. Nonetheless, police say that he drove right through a red light in Thuston County, Washington on Saturday. A sheriff's deputy tried to pull him over, but he wouldn't respond.

Police chased the man in his car through two counties for over an hour. Eventually, he crashed his car. That's when police arrested him. They asked the man why he ran. Well, it was something to do on a slow day. The News Tribune reports:

“He said he was just bored,” Odegaard said. “It looks like to us right now … he instigated this pursuit because he was bored and just wanted to do it.”

-via AP


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The Shortest Weather Forecast Ever


(Video Link)

Perhaps, as Scott Beale at Laughing Squid suggests, it's a blooper. But I'm skeptical. The weatherman is just getting to the point. It's not like he's getting paid by the word. If only other people communicated as succinctly as Keith Monahan of KARK-TV news in Arkansas does!


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10 Historic Shot Towers around the World


(Photo: Damien Ramon Naidoo)

Once upon a time, to make lead round shot, nations and businesses would build shot towers. These are industrial sites sometimes hundreds of feet tall. Workers would drip molten lead from the top. These droplets would form spheres during their descent, then cool in that form when hitting a pool of water at the bottom. This technique permitted the mass production of adequately well-made ammunition.

Some of these shot towers still exist, such as Taroona Shot Tower, which is pictured above. The iron merchant Joseph Moir built it in Tasmania in 1870. The 150-foot tall tower is no longer active, but is well preserved and open to the public.

The beautiful Taroona Shot Tower is 1 of 10 well-preserved shot towers that still exist around the world. You can see others at Atlas Obscura.


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The Bourbon Burger

(Photo: Chicken & Sons)

Chicken & Sons, a restaurant in Chatsworth, New South Wales, Australia, now offers the perfect breakfast burger. Their $22 Bourbon Burger has bourbon-glazed bacon, bourbon-based barbecue sauce, and a whole shot of bourbon in a cup cut into the bun. It comes with beer-battered fries that have been glazed with bourbon. I suspect that you could also order it with bourbon on the side, too.

-via That's Nerdalicious!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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The Fresh Tank Engine of Sodor


(Video Link)

YouTube user marioboy22601 remixed Will Smith's famous introduction to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with the theme music of Thomas  and Friends. It totally works! Thomas definitely should leave the mean tracks of Philly for a safer environment on Sodor.

I found this video at Boing Boing, which has links to other Thomas and Friends re-mixes, including the music of Biggie Smalls, Cypress Hill, and AC/DC.


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Soccer Balls on Demand for Kids in Brazil

The campaign by Brazilian cookie company Biscoitos Zezé is called "Be More Child." It places soccer balls in locked bins in the streets of Brazilian cities. Local kids have keys to the bins, so they can play soccer whenever they want. You can see more photos of the bins at Pop-Up City.


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Singapore Street Food Makes Culinary History by Earning Michelin Stars

(Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters)

To earn a star in the Michelin travel guide is a great victory for a restaurant. Since 1931, the company has secretly sampled and rated the finest restaurants in the world. Getting even just one is a mark of fame. 3 gives the establishment a reputation for the highest excellence.

And now, for the first time in its history, Michelin has awarded stars to street food stalls. A pair of stalls in Singapore has each earned a star. Reuters reports:

Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle made dining history on Thursday when they became the first street food stalls in the world to be awarded a star by Michelin as French critics revealed a Singapore guide of 29 establishments.

Singapore is the first Southeast Asian country and the fourth in Asia to be rated by the Michelin Guide. It has more than 100 open-air "hawker" centers and 6,000 stalls selling popular multi-ethnic meals.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath


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Dog Fetches Brother


(Video Link)

When Derick Duffner wants the presence of his dog Jack, he doesn't call for him. He asks his other dog, Luke, to fetch him.

They could walk each other like this.

-via Blame It on the Voices

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

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The Smithsonian Is Hiring a Beer Historian


(Photo: @joefoodie)

And you should apply! It requires not just an appreciation for beer, but a rich understanding of its roles and development in American history. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC wants a beer scholar on staff to explore and explain beer in American life. The Washington City Paper quotes curator Paula Johnson:

"We have collected food history for many years, so when we were doing the research for the exhibition, which is all about big changes in the post WW II era in how and what we eat, one thing we were curious about is the craft beer movement," Johnson says. "We were looking at wine, coffee, cheese, artisanal bread, and farmers markets. Well, this movement with small-scale, local regional beer is part of the ethos."

You can read the official job posting here.

-via Stephen Green


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Guardians of the Galaxy Characters Will Appear on NASA Mission Patch

(Image: CASIS/Marvel Custom Solutions)

Yes, that's Groot and Rocket Raccoon in this official NASA patch. It will represent all of the science missions of the US National Laboratory on board the International Space Station during 2016. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) worked with Marvel artist Juan Doe to develop the design. Space.com reports:

"A major mission for us here at CASIS is to find unique and innovative ways to bring notoriety to the International Space Station National Laboratory and the research that is being conducted," stated Ken Shields, CASIS's operations and educational opportunities director. "There are very few brands in the world who have as large an impact as Marvel and we are thrilled to partner with them on this project."

-via Stephen Green


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Golf Cart Jetpack


(Video Link)

Why drive around obstacles when you can fly over them? Golf master Bubba Watson hopes that jetpacks will replace old fashioned 4-wheeled golf carts. Recently, he learned how to fly at Martin P12 jetpack and used it to fly from hole to hole on a golf course. With a 3,000-foot high ceiling and a maximum speed of 46 MPH, he was able to move quickly.

Aside from being a quick form of transportation, Watson says that it offers golfers a tactical advantage over their competitors. They can see the lay of a course from high above, making the game a more 3-dimensional experience. 

-via Telegraph


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Pikachurro

The Loop is a churro bakery in Westminster, California. It's noted for its long, looped churros, often covered with toppings, such as Fruity Pebbles and chocolate, and served with ice cream.

To promote the Poké Stop at their restaurant, team member Ngoc made this churro concoction shaped like Pikachu.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Why Do Pigeons Poop on Cars?

(They Can Talk/Jimmy Craig)

As G.K. Chesterton put it:

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.

Your ancestors pooped on cars for generations for a reason. If you can explain why they thought that and why it is no longer necessary or appropriate, then you may stop. But until then, keep pooping on cars.


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Baby Horse Demands Butt Scratches


(Video Link)

This little filly knows what's good: butt scratches. And if you don't deliver them, she'll take them from you. She's got attitude.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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Man Lassos Bear with Head Stuck in Cheese Puffs Container


(Photo: Sharill Hawkins/AP)

We've all been there at some point in our lives. A whole bucket of cheese puffs is just irresistible. You feel an overwhelming urge to accelerate the consumption process by sticking your entire head inside.

That's what this bear near Glenwood Springs, Colorado did. But he found that he couldn't get out again. When he staggered through the backyard of a local bed-and-breakfast, the owner, Jim Hawkins, came to the rescue. The Washington Post quotes him (Hawkins, not the bear):

“He essentially looked like he had a space helmet on,” Hawkins told The Post.

Hawkins lassoed the bear and tried to get the bucket off his head. That didn't work, so he waited until wildlife officers arrived. Once they tranquilized the bear, it was easy enough to remove the now-empty cheese puff container.

-via Christina H. Sommers


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"Batman Loves Him a Criminal" -- A Story Written by a Predictive Text Generator

Batman isn’t paid to destroy crime corners. He is actually attracted to crimes and also The Penguin. The Penguin begins to fall in love with guns and with gangs all over Batman. Batman is destroyed. Batman must join The Penguin. He loves him a criminal. […]

Batman must stop The Penguin in order to keep his confidence. He suspects that The Penguin is an addictive face and has no choice but to ask for more of The Penguin.

It comes across like a piece of fan fiction written by someone with a slipshod grasp of storytelling. But it wasn't written by a person at all.

Jamie Brew, the head writer for Clickhole, created a predictive text generating program. It's like the word suggestions that your cell phone offers while you're composing a text message. Gizmodo explains:

You can do this on your phone. Type a word, any word. Then just keep inputting suggestions from the autocorrect and see what you come up with. “Last summer a friend showed me that you can just keep taking the phone’s suggestions and write things like ‘I have a great time in my head and neck and shoulders and the rest.’ I couldn’t get enough of that,” Brew said.

The results are meandering but reasonably coherent compositions, including a freaky Craigslist ad, a car owner manual, and a revision of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. You can see a much larger version of the Batman story here.

-via Agent23


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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