John Farrier's Blog Posts

Amazing Video: Parasite Leaving Its Host

A horsehair worm leaves its home, the body of a mantis. It's an astonishingly long creature. How did it all fit up inside its host?


(Video Link)

It's entirely possible that you have a horsehair worm in you, too. Do you feel a slight itching sensation? That could be the worm twisting and churning inside of you.

-via Gizmodo, which also provided the .gif


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Don't Eat That, John! -- Pickled Pigs' Feet Cupcakes

I want to leave my mark on the world--to do something significant that will leave an impact on others for generations to come. And, to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever made cupcakes flavored with pickled pigs' feet.

Last year, I told you about 10 wonderful ways to eat pigs' feet. Among them are pickled pigs' feet. These are a Southern delicacy. To my great fortune, my parents are from the Deep South, so I was raised on this marvel of pork flesh and vinegar.

When I grew up, we ate them straight out of the jar with a knife and fork. They are fine this way, but they can also be a dessert. These cupcakes have pickled pigs' feet inside, both in the cake and the frosting. They're my latest contribution to our Don't Eat That, John! gourmet dining series.

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We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Batman Hobo Nickel

A "hobo nickel" is a nickel that has been inscribed with appealing images. During the Great Depression, poor people sometimes made them to sell, which is how the folk art form got its name.

Shaun Hughes is an artist who makes hobo nickels professionally. We've previously featured some of his pop culture nickels, which include Spider-Man and stormtroopers. For this nickel, Hughes changed the Indian head on a Buffalo nickel to Batman.


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1782: The American Plot to Kidnap the Future King of England


(Painting of King William IV by Sir Martin Arthur Shee)

Prince William Henry was the son of George III, the King of Great Britain and Ireland and the man whom the United States Declaration of Independence called a tyrant who was "unfit to be the ruler of a free people."

At the time that the Continental Congress proclaimed those words, Prince William Henry was 10 years old. When he was 13, he became a midshipman in the Royal Navy. Accounts at the time note that he was good at that demanding job.

In September 1781, General George Washington was marching most of his army away from New York City, which had been under British occupation since 1776, to a great victory the following month at Yorktown, Virginia. At the same time, Prince William Henry's ship sailed into the harbor of New York City on HMS Prince George, the flagship of Admiral Robert Digby.

This was the cause of great excitement, as it was the first time that a member of the British royal family had ever visited America. Prince William could have become the center of the New York social scene, but instead he kept quietly on his ship or in his quarters in Hanover Square in lower Manhattan, which he shared with Commodore Edmund Affleck. 

Colonel Matthias Ogden, an American spy, watched and listened carefully for a few months. He learned that the prince was lightly guarded. This was a great opportunity. If the Americans could capture Prince William, they could improve their position at peace talks. So he pitched the idea to General Washington. Washington wrote back with his approval on March 28, 1782:

Sir,

The spirit of enterprise so conspicuous in your plan for surprising in their quarters, & bringing off the Prince-William Henry & Admiral Digby, merits applause; and you have my authority to make the attempt in any manner, & at such a time as your own judgment shall direct.

I am fully perswaded, that it is unnecessary to caution you against offering insult or indignity to the persons of the Prince, or Admiral should you be so fortunate as to capture them; but it may not be amiss to press the propriety of a proper line of conduct upon the party you command.

In case of success, you will, as soon as you get them to a place of safety, treat them with all possible respect, but you are to delay no time in conveying them to Congress, & reporting your proceedings with a copy of these orders.

Given at Morristown this 28th day of March 1782.

Go: Washington

Note Take care not to touch upon the ground w[hi]ch is agreed to be Neutral – viz from Raway to Newark & four miles back.

Colonel Ogden drew up a detailed plan, including the numbers and skills of the men needed, the equipment they would carry, the precise order of their actions, and the ideal weather conditions desired. This was an amphibious raid deep inside enemy territory, so everything would have to work perfectly.

Unfortunately for Ogden, General Sir Henry Clinton, the British commander in New York City, learned of the plot--or something like it. He immediately increased the number of guards around Prince William, Admiral Digby, and himself. As a result, Ogden never got the chance to attempt his scheme.

Shortly thereafter, the prince sailed away with his shipmates. He ascended to the British throne in 1830 with the name of King William IV. He reigned for 7 years before dying at the age of 71.


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Gingerbread Borg Cube

Resistance is futile. You will be decorated. We will add your gastronomical and decorative distinctiveness to our own. Jenn Fujikawa of Nerdist will contribute to the Borg conquest of all life with this cookie assembly made of gingerbread. She used a square cookie cutter with Borg designs to make the 6 sides, then glued them together. There's a hoop on the top, so I'd guess that she plans to use it as a Christmas tree ornament.

-via That's Nerdalicious!


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A Complete Ranking of Every Adaptation of A Christmas Carol

(Image: BBC)

Charles Dickens's novella A Christmas Carol has captivated audiences for over 170 years. It has inspired many film adaptations and special episodes of television shows. Leah Schnelbach of Tor has ranked 11 of them, which probably does not constitute "every," but I'm going with her headline. They include a Muppet version, a Beavis and Butthead version, and a Quantum Leap version.

I had forgotten about Blackadder's Christmas Carol. It taught an important moral lesson often neglected by Christmas films: if you are kind and generous, people will take advantage of you. Keep it up and eventually you will look like the gentleman on the left.


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Geeky Vinyl Record Clocks

The Hobbit

Greg Durt makes clocks inspired by pop culture. His source material consists of old vinyl records, which he has cut precisely to reveal scenes from Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, and other franchises. I've seen vinyl record sculptures before, but none cut so perfectly!

Bob's Burgers

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A Day in the Life of a Cartoonist

(Joel Watson/Hijinks Ensue)

To be an artist is to commune with the collective unconscious, giving to and sharing from the universal body of narrative which flows through the human experience. To reduce the viscosity of that flow, add coffee. It speeds up the communing process. You'll need that if you're going to make that afternoon appointment. Joel Watson, a webcomic artist, explains how he works.


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Li Hongbo's Carved Knives

No, not carving knives, but carved knives. We've previously featured Li Hongbo's flexible paper sculptures. More recently, he exhibited these unusual sculptures at Contemporary by Angela Li, an art gallery in Hong Kong. They are food chopping knives that are immediately recognizable in any Chinese kitchen. By pulling the steel for the raised images out of the blades, he has created mirror animal images of positive and negative space.

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Rolling Droid Christmas Ornament

For a few seconds, the trailer for the upcoming movie Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens displayed an unusual droid with a rolling spherical body. It has been the subject of much internet fascination and speculation

The mysterious droid inspired redditor Budget_Raygun to make this Christmas tree ornament, which s/he planned to take to an ornament exchange.

-via Technabob


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This Pizza Has 99 Different Types of Cheese

(Photo: Elite Daily)

Like the legendary Prometheus, Johnny Di Francesco stands before us, offering humanity a chance to boldly advance forward. He's a chef in Melbourne, Australia and the inventor of this marvel: a pizza that has no fewer than 99 different types of cheese.

To make the pizza, he melts together 94 different cheeses into one pot, which then cools. From this solid block of mixed cheese, he composes the cheese body of his pizza. Then Di Francesco adds portions of fior di latte, buffalo mozzarella, ricotta, raspadura, and goat cheese. It's so beautiful that I could cry.

-via Daily of the Day

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Photographer Brings out the Beauty in Junk Food with Renaissance-Themed Images

The holy pizza, which is both fully divine and fully baked, inspires marvel and wonder from anyone who beholds it. Rebecca Rütten, a photographer from Cologne, Germany, reveals to us the beauty of fast food of otherwise dubious nutritional value. Working under the pseudonym Becky Fuchs, she composed a series of photographs which show people posing with fast food in forms reminiscent of Renaissance-style religious painting.

-via Junkculture


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Where Are They Now? The Cast of Arthur

The hit children's television program Arthur debuted on PBS in 1996. The child actors on it have grown up. What are they doing now? Loryn Brantz of BuzzFeed tracked down 8 of them.

Francine Frensky is doing reasonably well. She starred in the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes. Other cast members, though, have struggled. D.W. Read, the brother of star Arthur Read, had a brief but tumultuous affair with Justin Bieber. She's now slated to star in an upcoming episode of Celebrity Rehab.

Read the rest of the updates at BuzzFeed.

-via Jeremy Barker

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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After 72 Years, Snubbed US Navy Captain Gets Credit for Sinking a U-Boat

(Photo of the U-166 by the Ocean Exploration Trust)

On August 1, 1942, the US Navy subchaser PC-566 was escorting the passenger vessel Robert E. Lee out of the mouth of the Mississippi River. 25 miles off the coast, the German submarine U-166 attacked the Lee, sinking it.

The PC-566, then led by Lt. Comm. Herbert G. Claudius, counterattacked. It dropped depth charges on the u-boat. An oil slick formed on the surface of the water, which was evidence that the Americans had at least damaged the German sub and possibly destroyed it.

Claudius's senior officers did not credit him with sinking the sub. To the contrary, they criticized his actions, relieved him of command, and sent him to anti-submarine warfare school for retraining.

Now, 72 years later, Captain Claudius's record is finally clear. The famous undersea explorer Robert Ballard located the wreck of the U-166, right where Claudius said it would be. The US Navy has responded by amending Claudius's record. Brian Clark Howard writes for National Geographic:

But on Tuesday, Claudius was posthumously vindicated at the Pentagon, as the U.S. Secretary of the Navy announced that his ship had indeed fired the depth charges that sank German U-boat U-166.

"Seventy years later, we now know that [Claudius's] report after the action was absolutely correct," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a small ceremony attended by members of Claudius's family.

"[Claudius's ship] did sink that U-boat, and it's never too late to set the record straight," Mabus said, as he presented the late captain with a posthumous Legion of Merit with a Combat "V" device, which recognizes heroism in battle.

Claudius's son, Gordon Claudius, accepted the medal and said that he wished his father could have known about the correction to a largely forgotten chapter in American history.

"He would have felt vindicated," Gordon Claudius said.


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10 Cartoon Characters Drawn in the Styles of 10 Different Cartoonists

Finnish artist Jaakko Seppälä demonstrates remarkable skill and versatility with this chart. You can see a much larger version here. 

Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo helpfully lists the components. From top to bottom are the characters of Asterix, Calvin, Donald Duck, Captain Haddock, Batman, Heimo Vesa, Corto Maltese, Moomintroll, Garfield, and Lucy. From left to right, you see the styles of Albert Uderzo, Bill Watterson, Walt Disney, Hergé, Neal Adams, Perrti Jarla, Hugo Pratt, Lars Jansson, Jim Davis, and Charles Schulz.


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Masterfully Crafted Game of Thrones Chess Table

Joe Lovchik used a CarveWright CNC milling machine to build this beautifully rendered chess table out of maple and cherry wood. He designed each component carefully, but the side panels of the table are by far the most impressive pieces. They're designed to resemble the icons and sigils that appear in the opening sequence of the Game of Thrones.

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Disney Researchers Develop Highly Realistic Eyeballs

(Image from Tangled)

Disney's animation studios stay on the technological cutting edge with the assistance of company-operated research laboratories. One team of Disney researchers developed a means to capture the individual shape of human eyes in rich detail, including the deformation that the eyes experience as the pupils dilate.

(Image of 9 human irises by Disney Research)

The research, which you can see summarized in the video below, has led to the development of precise eye deformation simulation programs. Animators can use these to automatically generate pupil dilation that results from changing light conditions in cartoon settings.


(Video Link)

-via Marginal Revolution


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Toolbox Drumming Is a Handyman's Song


(Video Link)

The toolbox in your closet is more than a way to injure yourself and make a household problem worse. It's also a great way to make music. The group Alpin Drums demonstrates this. While dressed in stereotypical Bavarian folk costumes, the members whack toolbox lids in a perfectly orchestrated and practiced performance.

-via The Presurfer


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9 Inventions from Futurama That We Need Right Now

(Image: Fox)

The television show Futurama offered us a glimpse into a glorious future--a technological wonderland--brought to us by Hypnotoad, all glory to Him. We experience it as Fry who, like us, adjusts to new machines and products previously only imagined.

Among the inventions on Futurama, Bachelor Chow is the one that I find most appealing. It's like dog food for humans. Just pour some in a bowl, add water, and eat. There's no need for any cooking and barely any need for cleanup. It would save so much time to have instant, cheap food.

Bachelor Chow is 1 of 9 great Futurama inventions rounded up by Uproxx. Others include the transport tubes shown during the opening sequence and the more dubious smelloscope.


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10 Unusual Types of Public Transportation around the World


(Photo: The Barn Door/Eric Kodner)

Madeline Island is one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. There's regular ferry service to it from Bayfield, Wisconsin. But when the lake freezes, residents use this type of vehicle to travel to and from the island. It's called an "ice angel" or "windsled."


(Video Link)

It's an enclosed iceboat. Fans on the back push it over the surface. Although there's an ice road that Madeline Island's residents can drive cars over, many find the ice angel safer.

This is 1 of 10 unusual forms of public transportation rounded up by When on Earth. Others include amphibious vehicles in London and toboggans in Madeira.


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Clever Business Idea: Cell Phone Storage Van outside of a School

(Photos: Pop-Up City)

This modified Ford E250 van is the main customer service port of Safe 'n' Secure Cellutions, a business in Brooklyn. Jhonn de La Puente, the owner, established the company to cleverly exploit an everyday market that most people might not consider.

Most American teenagers have cell phones, but many schools do not permit students to have cell phones on campus. La Puente parks his van outside of a high school in the morning. He offers to hold students' cell phones inside his van until they pick them up from him in the afternoon. The service costs $1 per phone. La Puente typically holds 100 phones per day.


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The Navy's New Drone Looks and Swims Like a Shark


(Photo: Edward Guttierrez/US Navy)

This is the GhostSwimmer, a new drone developed for the US Navy. It's 5 feet long and designed to resemble a shark. It swims like one, too! It flips its tail back and forth, like a shark, to navigate waters between 10 inches and 300 feet deep.

An operator can use a 500-foot tether to control it, or command it to surface periodically to receive new instructions. The Navy hopes to use it for reconnaissance and ship inspection.

Hopefully future models will include features of the EATR, a robot that could, hypothetically, feed off human flesh. Because that would, I suspect, extend its range.


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2 Brothers Arguing on C-SPAN Interrupted by Call from Mom


(Video Link)

"Oh, God, it's Mom!"

This is so precious! On the left, representing the right, is Dallas Woodhouse. On the right, representing the left, is Brad Woodhouse. They're brothers and political activists. Like brothers often do, they argue a lot. Specifically, they argue about politics. That's why they recently met on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal.

That show is a call-in program. People around the country can call a number and speak to the debaters on live television. Someone did call in: their mother. She's sick to death of their political bickering. Ms. Woodhouse wants them to knock it off when they visit her at Christmas. She respects that they're both passionate about politics, "But I hope that they just kind of get this out of their system today on your program."

-via 22 Words


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Bored Office Workers Recreate Famous Works of Art


Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Chris Limbrick and Francesco Fragomeni work at Squarespace, a web hosting service. They're working on a project at work . . . but not necessarily for work. In Fools Do Art, the two men recreate scenes from famous works of art. They use only props found around the office as well as the photo editing options available on their phones.

Note: they have a horse head mask at their office. Does Alex provide his hard-working employees at Neatorama with horse head masks? No. Am I peeved about that? Just a bit.

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Korean Illustrator Gives an Eastern Take on Western Folktales

Snow White

Beauty and the Beast

What would Little Red Riding Hood and the Little Mermaid look like if drawn in the manga style of modern East Asia? Na Young Wu, a Korean artist, shows us. Her Twitter feed offers us refreshingly different takes on these Western folktale characters.

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Dog Gets 3D Printed Legs

Derby was born with malformed front legs. He can't walk normally on them. His owners found a solution from the company 3DSystems. The engineers there designed and printed out prosthetic legs for Derby to use.

The legs have rounded feet. This unusual design serves an important purpose. Peg-like prosthetic feet can get stuck into the ground easily. Derby's rounded legs, however, let him keep going over small obstacles.


(Video Link)

Derby's owners report that he now runs at least 2-3 miles every day--and faster than they can! He certainly looks happy about his new legs, too.

-via Tech Crunch

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

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Lord of the Rings Litter Box and Scratching Post

Tim Baker and his team of master prop builders can make anything. They've got the tools, the materials, and the skills necessary to create unique collectibles that will make any fan squeal with delight. That's why their show is called Super-Fan Builds.

We've previously seen their swing that looks like Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. More recently, they made a Lord of the Rings fan very happy. He owns two cats, named Frodo and Sam, who now have access to litter box compartment shaped like a hobbit hole and a scratching post that looks like the Tower of Sauron.


(Video Link)

The body of the tower and the hobbit hole are made of foam. The hobbit hole is covered in dried lichen and decorated with wire and epoxy trees. The tower is covered with 650 feet of rope. The Eye of Sauron is catnip covered in fabric.

-via Geekologie


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This Sport Is Ping Pong That You Play with Your Head and a Soccer Ball

This is headis, a sport played in Germany. Two people face off across a ping pong table, knocking a soccer ball back and forth between them. They can use only their heads to hit the ball.


(Video Link)

The video embedded above shows a tournament played in Saarbrucken, Germany this year. I would guess that some of the players are using pseudonyms, unless "Lord Voldehead" and "Nosegrinder" are common given names in Germany.

The best players gradually eliminate the competition until a final champion prevails. Although the sport may sound silly, it clearly requires great dexterity and stamina.

-via Dave Barry


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Good Luck on Your Final Exams!


(According to Devin/Devin Bosco Le)

If you're a high school or college student, then you may be studying for your final exams right now. Don't sweat them! Once you have the exam in your hands, you'll be ready to regurgitate the information as easily as you did 5 minutes previously. And if that doesn't work, then click on the refresh button in your brain.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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The 12 Beards of Christmas

All of us at Neatorama wish you a very beardly Christmas! You can get started having one with these 12 Christmas-themed beards photographed by Stephanie Jarstad. Although Movember is over, Jarstad rejoices that Decembeard is here. Go all out with your whiskers by adding ribbons, dye, ornaments, and a hefty dose of Christmas cheer.

This gives me a project idea: I could grow a functional Advent calendar beard. It's too late to grow one for this Christmas. But if I get started now, I could be ready next year.

-via Pleated Jeans


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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