John Farrier's Blog Posts

Absurd Obstacle: 5 Speed Bumps in a Row


(Video Link)

In the 90s, razor blade companies produced cartridge razors with three blades. Then four. Then five. Their idea: more is always better.

Perhaps the designers of this quintuple speed bump had the same notion. It would definitely slow down drivers (except for Russian drivers). But YouTube user cmccrown55 has a good point: "Just imagine a fire truck trying to negotiate this one!!"

-via Jalopnik

Are these speed bumps a good idea or a bad idea?




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This Stereo Comes with Two Sub-Woofers

And the base really stands tall. Bark up the volume.

-via Tastefully Offensive | Photo: Teckelwereld

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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How to Cook Squirrel Brains


(Photo: Richard Heyes)

Don't throw away that squirrel head! You're not limited to just flank steak and thigh meat when you have a squirrel. You can also eat the brains. And if you don't know how, don't worry. Larry Woody of the Lebanon Democrat, a newspaper in Tennessee, can show you how. He writes:

When you dress your squirrel, simply skin the head and leave it attached to the body. When you cook the squirrel -- fired, or stewed in dumplings -- include the head.

Once it's cooked, use a knife handle to crack open the skull, like cracking a walnut, and scoop out the brains. Squirrels don't have a large brain -- I'd compare it to the average politician's -- but what little there is, is delicious.

If you've never tried squirrel brains, it's comparable to hog brains.

Yummy! I've never had squirrel brains, but I'd love to try them.

-via Dave Barry

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Professor to Students: Don't Email Me!

Pictured above is a screenshot from a course syllabus produced by Dr. Spring-Serenity Duvall, a professor of media and gender studies at Salem College in North Carolina. During the Spring semster of 2014, she prohibited students from emailing her unless they were requesting an appointment to speak with her face-to-face.

Dr. Duvall is no Luddite. She's simply tired of students asking her questions that she already answered in class or in the syllabus, or addressing her in an overly familiar manner. She explains what she changed:

In a fit of self-preservation, I decided: no more. This is where I make my stand! In my senior-level gender and media course, I instituted a no-email policy and (here’s the hard part) stuck to it religiously. I explained to my students that there were a few very solid reasons for this policy:

1. They needed to read and know the syllabus and pay attention in class, rather than use email as a crutch to ask superficial questions. Taking these small yet seemingly impossible steps would make them more aware and engaged in the class.

2. Reading assignment instructions carefully and asking questions about the assignments in class or in office hours would force them to begin working on papers early, thus eliminating last-minute emails about instructions.

3. More of our conversations would take place in person – whether in my office or in class – rather than via email, thus allowing us to get to know each other better and fostering a more collegial atmosphere.

Did it work? Yes!

I am happy to report it was an unqualified success. It’s difficult to convey just how wonderful it was for students to stop by office hours more often, to ask questions about assignments in the class periods leading up to due dates, and to have students rise to the expectation that they know the syllabus. Their papers were better, they were more prepared for class time than I’ve ever experienced.

It is also difficult to tally the time I saved by not answering hundreds of brief, inconsequential emails throughout the semester. I can say that the difference in my inbox traffic was noticeable and welcome.


(Photo: eristerra)

In an interview, Dr. Duvall explains that, like many professors, she suffers from "syllabus creep." That's "where the syllabus just gets longer and longer and you try to account for everything." The longer a syllabus gets, the less likely a student is to read the whole thing.

And course syllabi are getting a lot longer. Slate's Rebecca Shuman offers an explanation of why syllabi are now often 20 or more pages long:

First, the helicopter generation—raised on both suffocating parental pressure and the teach-to-the-test mandates of No Child Left Behind—started coming to college. Everyone needed A’s, and everyone needed to know exactly what needed to be done to get one. When that wasn’t abundantly clear, that made schools vulnerable to lawsuits.

Second, syllabi went from print to online, thus freeing the entire professoriate to capitulate to the aforementioned demands for everything from grading rubrics to the day-by-day breakdown of late assignment policies, without worrying about sacrificing trees or intimidating the class with a first-day handout they could barely lift, much less peruse in a mere 75 minutes.

Third, the skyrocketing percentage of hired-gun adjuncts—as opposed to tenure-track faculty, who have both a modicum of security and a minuscule say in university governance—meant that a substantial number of instructors were taking on courses a matter of weeks (sometimes days) before they began. Thus, they relied heavily on extensive syllabi already in existence.


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Swans Feeding Fish


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Here's an unexpected event! But I suppose that, in retrospect, it shouldn't be. These two black swans reach into the trough and drop food for their friends, the koi. They're all residents at the Swan Lake Resort in Kenting, Taiwan.

-via Lustik

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

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Visiting the Vet

(Fowl Language Comics/Brian Gordon)

While they were alive, I loved my rabbits dearly. But after they passed, I had a lot more money, more time, and less stress.

When you get a pet, you're not just getting an animal companion. You're also buying a set of vet bills.


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Amazon.com Customer Has Hilarious Conversation with Representative

Redditor UranusExplorer needed a book for his students. He ordered it through Amazon. Although Amazon gave an online notification showing that it was delivered, UranusExplorer had not received it. So he logged into Amazon's help chat.

The customer service representative who answered was none other than Thor, the Norse god of thunder and strength. This was fortuitous, for it turned out that UranusExplorer was his father, Odin. They conducted an in-character conversation about this failed delivery of the sacred book. You can read a larger version here.

-via Daily of the Day


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The Flee the British 5K--A Burning of Washington-Themed Footrace


(Photo: Miki J./National Geographic)

As I've mentioned before, last Sunday marked the two hundredth anniversary of the burning of Washington by British troops.

To mark the occasion, some Americans in Washington, D.C. conducted a 3.1-mile race on Sunday. Participants ran from the Congressional Cemetery in pursuit of a woman dressed as Dolley Madison bearing a copy of the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington. Historical reenactors dressed as as British soldiers waited with Mrs. Madison at the finish line.

It's like an inverted marathon.

-via Marilyn Terrell


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Elephant Playing with a Ribbon Is the Cutest Thing You'll See All Day

This is Faa Mei, an elephant that lives at the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. When we last saw her, she was dozing as a human sang her a lullaby. Faa Mei got her energy back and bounded into play. Here she is with a long strip of cloth. She tosses it around with her trunk, playing with the sensations of movement and the texture of the fabric.


(Video Link)

-via Twisted Sifter

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

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Kiba the Cosplaying Corgi

Link from The Legend of Zelda

Kiba is not the typical stay-at-home dog. He's a therapy dog and a service dog to his human caregiver. But he's not all work. Kiba is also a geek with a passion for cosplay. His Facebook page is filled with pictures of him at cons. Some of the best show him alongside humans who are cosplaying the same character.

Desmond Miles from Assassin's Creed

Mario from Super Mario Bros.

Yoda from Star Wars


Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

-via Fashionably Geek

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

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A Mustache Mustache

I mustache you a question: how did this happen? Well, redditor RyanHasWaffleNipples explains:

My buddy jokingly decided to get a henna tattoo of a mustache while at the beach. The foreign worker didn't understand what he was saying, so she asked him to write down what he wanted. This was the result.

The labelling is accurate.

-via Tastefully Offensive

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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The Most American Grill Ever Depicts Washington Riding an Eagle and Wielding a Hot Dog

At the request of Discovery Channel host Patrick Norton, the engineers at TechShop built the most American grill ever made. It's a trailer with a propane grill, a beer keg tap, and a stereo. On the table is a majestic image of George Washington astride a bald eagle, leading the way with a hot dog in his hand.

TechShop used a 3D printer to build a condiment station. There are four major condiments in hot dog preparation: mustard, ketchup, relish, and onions. So the designers selected the four Presidents on Mount Rushmore as the guardians of those condiments.

It's a beautiful piece of work. You can watch a video about its design and construction here (warning: auto-start).

-via 22 Words


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Tim Horton's "Buffalo Crunch Doughnut"

(Photo: As Eaten on TV)

The Canadian hamburger chain Tim Hortons is breaking into the state fair food business with this outlandish dish: the Buffalo Crunch Doughnut. It's a series of interlocking doughnuts dipped in buffalo sauce, then sprinkled with tortilla chip crumbs. The hole the center serves as a bowl for more buffalo sauce, in which you can then dip more totilla chips. You can choose either the hot or the mild flavors, the latter of which includes ranch dressing.

(Ranch dressing on a doughnut? Yuck!)

Tim Hortons is currently selling this delight at the New York State Fair, which ends on September 1. It costs $2 and your soul.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Live-Action Remake of a Classic He-Man Viral Video


(Video Link)

If it is possible for there to be a "classic viral video," then one example is definitely SlackCircus's "What's Going on?" using scenes from the 80s cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It is good. Nay, it is great. It was a gem of internet culture in 2005 and remains rather fresh even now. You can watch it below.

Embedded above is a live-action remake of that video by cosplayers at Anime Fest in Dallas. Trevor Lawrence and Thien Vuong led the effort, but they required the assistance of many elaborately-costumed attendees who kindly contributed.


(Video Link)

-via Uproxx


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Dog and Parrot Fight over a Cup of Yogurt


(Video Link)

Siblings in any home are like this. They should follow the rule that a lot of kids have: one child cuts the food in two and the other chooses which piece he wants.

Instead, they become locked in a fierce tug-of-war over possession of this dairy grail. My money is on the parrott for sheer aggressiveness.

-via Nothing to Do with Aborath

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

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This Bike Doubles As Its Own Bike Lock

(Image: Yerka Project)

On the Yerka bike, you'll never forget to take your bicycle lock with you because it will always ride along. It's built into the bike frame. The down tube splits in two and pivots away from the bike. The seatpost slides into holes drilled into the two pieces of the downtube, forming a lock around a solid object, such as a lamp post.

Juan José Monsalve, one of the designers, explains that the only way to steal the bike is to destroy the frame:

You can break a lock and leave the bike intact, with our system if you break the lock you are breaking the bike, making it useless to ride or steal afterwards.

A very determined thief might do so, but most criminals are more likely to abandon the effort.


(Video Link)

-via Lawrence E. Forbes


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A French Fry Bed for Supersizing Your Naps

Would you like to lie down in a warm, greasy carton of fresh French fries? Of course you would! They're the ultimate comfort food and now, thanks to designer Cecilia Carey, the ultimate bed. Her Supersize Bed, despite its name, is actually available to fit any mattress size. It neatly mimics the colors and shapes of a McDonald's French fry container.

If you want it to smell like one, too, then you'll have to make some modifications.

Carey made it in collaboration with Harry Parr. He's a food artist who we've already seen building with Jell-O and cooking with lava.

-via Foodiggity


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The Greatest Star Trek Selfie Ever

Star Trek actor LeVar Burton tweeted out this fantastic image showing himself and several actors from both The Next Generation and the original series. Behind Burton (Geordi La Forge) are Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Will Riker), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), William Shatner (Jim Kirk), Brent Spiner (Data), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), and someone who I will assume played a heavily costumed non-humanoid character at some point.

The crew reunited to make an appearance together at the Wizard World convention in Chicago.

-via The Mary Sue


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Finally! A 99-Can Pack of Beer

A 6-pack isn't enough. Neither is a 12 or a 24. When you're throwing a really big party, you'll need a full 99 cans of beer. Austin Beerworks in Texas is here to deliver. It created 20 packages of beer, each of which holds 99 cans of its pale blonde ale named "Peacemaker." Each pack costs $99.


(Video Link)

The entire package weighs 82 pounds, which I propose should be a new unit of measurement. We can use it in casual conversation. For example, the Invincible, a warship operated by the Republic of Texas, weighed 125 tons. We might say that in modern times as 3,049 Peacemakers. Or you might say to a dear relative, "Hey, are you sure that you should eat that pie? You're got to be 3 Peacemakers already."

-via David Burge


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Oatmeal Creme Pie Creme Pie

Becky McKay went totally meta with this dish. She started with Little Debbie brand oatmeal creme pies, which are thin, sweet cakes between sugary creme. You can eat an entire box of them in one sitting. Or I can. But Becky resisted temptation and instead used them to make a creme pie creme pie.

For this beauty, she combined 6 Little Debbie pies, 4, tablespoons of butter, 8 ounces of Cool Whip, and 12 ounces of canned vanilla frosting. Delicious!

My suggestion: Becky should next use this entire pie as the filling for a giant Swiss Roll

P.S. Be sure to check out our interview with Becky.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Harry Potter Quills Are Perfect for Homework at Hogwarts

The Etsy shop Mythical Menagerie produces quill pens decorated with the colors and crests of the houses at Hogwarts. Each one has a painted and dyed pheasant feather. They're ideal for spell writing, especially since they're ballpoints and thus won't make a mess like dip pens.

Kellianne, the owner of the shop, is currently sold out. But she promises that she's making more. There should be plenty of demand!

-via Nerd Approved


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Light Up Paddleboards

NightSUP, a company in Miami, offers this radical take on the surfing experience. Its paddleboards have built-in LED lanterns. At night, when the lights on the beach are low, you have only the light of your paddleboard as you move through the water.

These boards were invented for a more practical purpose: so that a paddleboard rental company could safely rent out its boards at night. Now several outfitters in Florida, Delaware, Missouri, Utah, and Nevada offer night tours on them.


(Video Link)

This video from the company shows what these mesmerizing boards look like both above and beneath the surface of the water.

-via Visual News


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Man with Cerebral Palsy Completes an Ironman Triathlon with His Twin Brother


(Photo: Politiken)

Peder Mondrup has cerebral palsy, so you might not think that he'd ever be able to complete a triathlon. But he was with his twin brother Steen. These Danish brothers call themselves Team Tvilling--that's "Team Twin." Together, they completed a triathlon in Copenhagen on Sunday. The challenge took 15 hours, 32 minutes, and 48 seconds.

The Iron Man Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, during which Steen hauled Peder in a special-made boat. Then they cycled 112 miles in a bicycle. Finally, Steen pushed Peder in the above wheelchair for a full marathon.

It's been a great experience for both of them. The Local quoted the brothers on why this triathlon was important to them:

“For the first time, I felt like the person I see myself as: a regular participant instead of ’somebody in a wheelchair’,” Peder said of their first race.

“If I can give Peder the feeling of not sitting in a wheelchair for a few hours, then I will do whatever it takes! I feel like I am really lucky because he has caused me to see the positive in life and to not complain about everyday things. One thing is certain and that is that you never have and never will hear Peder feel sorry for himself,” Steen said on their website.


(Video Link)

This video shows them crossing the finish line amid a widly cheering crowd.


(Video Link)

Note that it's not always Steen hauling Peder. Sometimes, they switch places and Peder takes his brother for a ride.

-via Huffington Post


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Artist Creates Amazingly Detailed Anime Cutouts from Post-It Notes

Akira Nagaya is a master of papercrafts. He can work wonders with any paper material--even ordinary post-it notes. He carefully cuts out images and scenes and folds them back so that they stand up. The effect is particularly stunning with a bit of backlighting.

Ultraman

Dragon Ball Z

Continue reading

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College Student Builds Beautiful Prosthetic Hand for a Friend

(Photos: Evan Kuester)

Evan Kuester, a college student and designer, was looking for a way to apply his studies practically. He noticed a fellow student on campus who was missing a left hand. Kuester hesitated for a while, but eventually approached her with an idea: let him design an aesthetically appealing artificial hand, then build it with a 3D printer.

The student, Ivania Castillo, agreed. Kuester then designed a prosthetic with lovely geometric patterns and a ribbon threaded through one side. He built it out of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a plastic often used in 3D printing.

-via Daily of the Day


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Time-Lapse Video of Panama Canal Traffic Is Simply Sublime

The Panama Canal opened for business 100 years ago this month. By 2005, 5% of the world's seagoing traffic crossed it, including 70% of the cargo heading in and out of the United States. It remains, even today, a technological and logistical marvel.


(Video Link)

This time-lapse video from ZipCams illustrates that by showing a day of traffic (April Fool's Day, 2012) through the Miraflores Locks. You can watch live camera footage of those locks here.

-via Gizmodo


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Ex-Con Wanted by Police Caught after Posting Ice Bucket Challenge Video

Well, his heart was in the right place. Jesean Morris wanted to help ALS fund research to cure amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. So he took the ice bucket challenge and posted the video on Facebook to spread awareness about the cause.

He also spread awareness about his whereabouts, which was of interest to police in Omaha, Nebraska. That's because Morris is a convicted felon. He violated his parole. So when someone else saw his post on Facebook, s/he recognized the house in the background of the video and alerted police.

NBC News reports that Morris was displeased by this turn of events:

The suspect allegedly gave the cops a false name and birth date, knocked out a safety partition in the police cruiser, and spit in the one of the officer's face, according to an incident report. Morris was booked into jail on the warrant and on suspicion of criminal impersonation, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.

-via The Smoking Gun | Photo: Omaha Police Department


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This Power Rangers Zordon Cosplay Is Brilliant

UPDATE 8/28/14: Neil Tugade Consuelo, the cosplayer in the photo, kindly shows up in the comments to tell us more. Thanks, Neil! He writes:

The electrical components consisted of the globe which lit up using LEDs taken from a illuminating ice cube. Inside the tube has 3 small LED flash lights that were cut and wired all together to shine on my face. Now, the controller that I am holding controls the LED strips on the gold pillars on the left and right side of me. The LED strips and either stay illuminated, blink at a steady pace or blink faster.

Here's another photo of his costume.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This ingenious cosplayer, whose name remains unknown to me at this point, is dressed as Zordon of Eltar, the enigmatic (and racist) mentor of the Power Rangers from the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I'm curious about what he can do with those electrical components.

He looks just like the real Zordon in his tube!


(Video Link)

Here's a video of him at Morphicon 2014, a fan convention held last weekend in Pasadena, California.

-via Ben Dunn


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Artist Places Modern Magazine Covers over Classic Paintings

In his most famous painting, Sandro Botticelli showed Angelina Jolie rising from the sea on a half shell. That at least is this interpretation by Eisen Bernard Bernardo, an artist in Los Baños, the Philippines. For his series Mag + Art, he takes photos of celebrities from magazine covers and places them neatly over the images of people in famous works of Western art.

Continue reading

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Dog Walkers and Other Surprisingly High-Paying Jobs


(Photo: Madeleine Holland)

Do you like dogs? Would you like to earn money working with them? If you're a great dog walker, you can earn $96,000 a year. It's one of many jobs that pay really well, even though you might not have heard of them. BBC Capital reports:

A good dog walker, for instance, can make a mint, according to Aaron Boodman. “Our dog walker charges $25/session,” Boodman wrote. “He takes up to eight dogs walking at a time (soon to be the legal limit in my city), twice a day. That's $96k per year, much of it in cash. Once he's picked up and dropped off all the dogs, each run to the dog park takes about three hours round trip. So his workday is about six hours.”

One anonymous pool boy said he made more than $60,000, plus tips, for just six months of work. “I would charge a customer $40 a week to keep their pools clean and all the chemicals balanced. This usually took me about 45 minutes a trip,” he wrote.

 “I would typically only have to visit the pool once a week so I could do many pools in a week. For about five years I maintained roughly 10 pools a day, six days a week for six months out of the year…I was making good money for an 18 year old with no college education.”

Other jobs require mastering unusual skills. A theatrical carpenter, for example, can earn $400,000 a year. A a construction crane operator may be one of the highest paid employees on a site, earning $500,000 a year.

-via American Digest


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Profile for John Farrier

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