John Farrier's Blog Posts


How to Make Squid Piglets

Aren't they adorable? They look just like cartoon versions of little pigs. But these delicious entrées aren't made of pork.

They're made of squid! Rocket News 24 followed a recipe by a Russian YouTube user to craft fresh whole squids into artistic piglets ripe for eating. They're hollow squid cores with spicy stuffing inside. You can see more process photos here.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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If Star Wars Planets Were States

It may have been a long time ago, but Star Wars wasn't necessarily in a galaxy far, far away. If you live in the US, then the events of that great story may have taken place right around the corner. Bryam Dayley of Geek Tyrant argues that the major worlds depicted in the series are analogous to US states. For example, Endor is basically Oregon:

Besides Oregon's geographical similarity to Endor, it also has a cultural similarity. Specifically Portland's culture. Its inhabitants are furry little people completely out of touch with the rest of the galaxy. Sound familiar? Ewoks are just hipsters. Bearded people who want to get in tune with retro styles and the old ways.  They believe in natural remedies, grow organic plants, and irritate the hell out of a lot of people.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I went to Portland and a group of hipsters tied me up and planned to sacrifice me to some girl they worship as a goddess. Friggin Ewoks, man. Love 'em to death, but if I had to sit through The Ewok Adventure again, I think I'd kill myself.


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The San Andreas Table

Ricardo Garza Marcos, a Mexican furniture designer, developed this oak coffee table. It's named for the San Andreas fault in California--the site of so many earthquakes in that region. The surface of the table splits in two to reveal storage space inside.


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Gourmet Cuisine at a Remote Antarctic Base

This isn't McMurdo Station, which can house over a thousand residents, but the tiny Palmer Station. Only about two dozen people live there. It is, by Antarctic standards, out in the boonies. But that doesn't stop Mike Heller, the station chef, from developing impressive meals with limited ingredients that arrive only every three months.

Sometimes it's hot dog soup, which is precisely what it sounds like. But Heller can also get creative and whip up some impressive deserts. Pictured above is his mocha semifreddo. Sky Moret explored Palmer Station cuisine in a fascinating article in Roads & Kingdoms. She writes:

“I would challenge you to buy three months of produce at your grocery store … and then not go shopping again for three more months,” he tells me, pointing to 50 large cans of tomatoes stacked in his dry-goods storage room that he’ll transform into roasted tomato bisque, spicy pizza sauce, and black bean chili. […]

To add some variety, our science support crew makes exotic dishes as well. On the other U.S. Antarctic ship, the Nathaniel B. Palmer, I enjoy making liquid nitrogen–cooled ice cream with our excess supply. Scientists clad in cryogenic gloves and safety glasses stir cream, milk, sugar, and flavoring in large stainless steel bowls while I pour the super-cooled liquid into each, and a midday treat is served.

-via Marilyn Terrell

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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What Big Bird Would Look Like without Feathers

You've always wondered and now you know: Big Bird would look like a freshly-plucked chicken. Dan Meth explained in a helpful interactive visual tool. Next up: a 3d model of what Big Bird looks like inside.


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Fashion Trend: Wearing Sprouts in Your Hair

(Photo: Sina)

It's the latest fashion advance from China and is especially popular in Beijing, the capital city. People wear in their hair fake plants made of plastic. They're usually young plants, such as flower buds and bean sprouts. The origin and meaning are unclear, but the trend may originate with a character in a popular cartoon called Pleasant Goat and Big Bad Wolf. You can see more photos at Shanghaiist.

-via Kotaku


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Magician Proposes to His Girlfriend with a Magic Trick


(Video Link)

Neil Henry, a magician in London, wants his seemingly magical relationship with his girlfriend to become permanent. So he performed a magic trick in which he ate a can of alphabet pasta, then pulled letters out of his mouth that spell words.

For this performance of that trick, he asked for a volunteer from the audience, then volunteered his girlfriend, Charlie Gardner. When it came time to pull the letters out of his mouth, they spelled "Marry me?"

Content warning: a bit of foul language from the future bride when she realizes what's happening.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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Storytime Rocking Chair

When Hal Taylor's third child was born, he was left with a dilemma: he didn't have enough lap space to read books to all of his kids at once. Since he was a woodworker who made rocking chairs, he designed the StoryTime Rocking Chair as a solution. Now he sells them, too. He makes each one by hand. They're priced at $7,000-7,500.

-via reddit

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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The World's First Beer Jelly

(Photo: Potlicker Kitchen)

When she ran out of fruit to make into jelly, Nancy Warner of Vermont decided to make beer jelly. To her knowledge, she's the only person to develop and method to make sweet jellies from beer. Each flavor from Potlicker Kitchen is made from just three ingredients: beer, cane sugar, and citrus pectin. Warner spoke to the tabloid The Mirror:

“I set about making a jelly with all beer, no fruit. I have made all of my own recipes and can find no record of anyone else make a pure beer jelly before I did.

“I make beer jelly much the way I would make fruit jelly, but instead of kid juice (like fruit juice), I use adult juice.

“Each jar of jelly is approximately half full of beer or wine, but, for better or worse, the jelly is non alcoholic.

“The alcohol is removed during cooking and by dilution of sugar.

“There are only three ingredients - beer, cane sugar and citrus pectin. Because there is no added fruit or flavours, it tastes like a sweet version of the beer it is made with.

“You can actually taste the hop and malt characteristics of each flavour of jelly.

-via Oddity Central

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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The Swiss Army Machete: A Zombie Defense Multi-Tool

Over the years, Instructables member seamster has brought us many playful toys, such as a Where the Wild Things Are headpiece, a model duck made of duct tape, and a homemade pinball machine. But he's done playing around. He can't afford to. When the dead rise, he will be ready for them. No matter where he goes, he'll be prepared to fight the undead with this massive custom Swiss Army-type knife. It has a machete, an adjustable wrench, a pipe wrench, an auger, and a hatchet. 

Strangely missing: a toothpick. That's commonly available on Swiss Army knives and always helpful.


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Check Out This Amazing Transforming Optimus Prime Cake

Russell Munro's son asked for a Transformers cake for his birthday. Munro went much, much further. This Optimus Prime cake transforms accurately from vehicle to biped mode while quoting a famous line from the 1986 Transformers movie. This video shows how it works internally. A 3d printed frame for the cake moves on servos with the touch of a button.


(Video Link)

-via Gizmodo


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Engineers Determine How to Win at Poohsticks

(Image: E.H. Shepard)

In the original Winnie the Pooh stories, Pooh and Christopher Robin like to play a game that they call "Poohsticks." This consists of standing on a bridge and dropping sticks over the upstream side. The person whose stick emerges on the downstream side the first wins.

This is an actual sport that people play.

If you play, it would be a good idea to master the physics of the game in order to optimize your performance. Experts at the Royal Academy of Engineering have figured that out. Ideally, a Poohstick is covered with bark, fairly heavy, and dense. The Daily Telegraph reports:

The main variables that need to be considered are cross sectional area, density, buoyancy, and drag.

Usually large objects are slowed down by drag but in water the large size will allow it to be swept along more quickly by the water.

“When it comes to Poohsticks the tubbier the better,” said Dr Rhys Morgan, Director of Engineering and Education at the Royal Academy of Engineering. “If more water is able to influence the trajectory of the stick, it will accelerate more quickly.

“Generally, a rough stick will create more drag than a smooth stick, so in general, bark is good.”


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Cat Joins Her Dog Friend in His Cone of Shame

She could just tease him about his post-surgical collar. But instead, redditor kelldog24's kitty decided to hang out with her buddy. She crawled into his cone of shame to provide a snuggle.

-via Incredible Things

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

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Sliced Deadpool Table

Instructables member Britt Michelsen is a chemical engineer specializing in computational fluid dynamics. She's also a fangirl with incredible crafting skills. In the past, we've seen her edible Harry Potter wands, pixelated trashcan, and dead Kenny doorstop. Now she presents to the world a table that looks like it's levitating. Deadpool has cut straight through 2 legs, but it's still standing. In fact, an adult can sit on it without difficulty. That's because the 2 cut legs are decorative. The table stays up because the other legs have metal reinforcements that connect to a plate beneath the rug.


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Darth Punk: The Funk Awakens

On the mean streets of Coruscant, people can hear a revolutionary new sound. It is sweeping away the old order. Secretly, the electronic music duo of Darth Vader and Boba Fett are luring people over to the Punk Side of the Force. In this vibrant video by Infectious Design, they challenge a Jedi gang to a dance-off.


(Video Link)

-via Fashionably Geek


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Get Intimate with the Kiss Coffee Cup Lid

Sweet, sweet coffee. You love other people. But, truly, only coffee loves you back. Coffee alone fully responds to your morning inquiries. Coffee alone provides the stimulation that you crave. That's why South Korean designer Jang Wooseok developed a coffee cup lid that looks like a pair of human lips. It's disposable--not something interested in a serious relationship.

-via Design Boom


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10-Year Old Gets Bitten by Shark, Escapes, Then Jumps Back into the Water to Rescue Another Child


(Photo: News 4 Jax)

10-year old Kaley Szarmack was swimming off Jacksonville Beach, Florida last Wednesday. A three-foot shark bit one of her legs--a wound that would eventually require 90 stitches. But Kaley didn't let that mere flesh wound distract her. After realizing that a 6-year old friend of the family was still in the water, she ran back out, grabbed the younger child, and pulled her in before the shark could get a bite from her, too. News 4 Jax quotes her father:

“I am just so proud of her. And so thankful that she is doing so well. You know, she's got no permanent damage that we know of at this point, and they said she is going to heal up. She'll be able to run, jump, swim and surf in not too long of healing time. Going to have a pretty big scar and quite a story to tell though,” Dave Szarmack said.

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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A Surfboard Made by a Rocket Scientist

(Photo: Varial)

Edison Conner, a rocket scientist who used to work for SpaceX, saw that surfboard design and manufacturing had not changed substantially in 50 years. It still consisted of mostly layers of fiberglass and resin over wood and foam. So Conner established a new company, Varial Surf Technology, and used the latest knowledge of materials science to develop a firm by extremely light surfboard. Popular Science reports:

They replaced the wooden stringer with an ultra­rigid foam similar to the type used in helicopter rotor blades and in rocket-propulsion systems. The foam is 30 percent stronger, with seven times the stiffness (or modulus) of conventional foam. It’s also 25 percent lighter. That means surfers have a board that’s easier to control and more durable.

Varial’s chemists altered the poly­mers of the foam, producing high levels of crystallinity. The crystallized foam consists of structured, rigid latticelike polymer chains. Crystallization also makes cell walls thinner. That lets chemists pack more cells into a tighter, more-angular (or poly­gonal) cell structure. The structure is stronger and firmer than the looser, more-bubblelike cell structure of conventional polyurethane foam.

Because these boards are so much lighter than common surfboards, they can be used to ride much smaller waves.

-via Glenn Reynolds


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When Rent Became Too Expensive, This College Student Started Living on Trains Full-Time

(Photo: Felix Mayr/Privat)

Leonie Müller, 23, is a college student in Cologne, Germany . . . sometimes. She goes to college in Cologne, but doesn't live there. When her apartment rent reached $450 per month, she found a way to save money. She bought a $380 train pass that lets her ride as many trains on Germany's fast and effecient rail service as she wants for an entire month.

So when Müller is done for the day at college, she gets on a train. The destination isn't really important--just as long as she's back in Cologne by the morning. The Washington Post reports:

Now, Müller washes her hair in the train bathroom and writes her college papers while traveling at a speed of up to 190 mph. She says that she enjoys the liberty she has experienced since she gave up her apartment. "I really feel at home on trains and can visit so many more friends and cities. It's like being on vacation all the time," Müller said. […]

"I read, I write, I look out of the window and I meet nice people all the time. There's always something to do on trains," Müller told German TV station SWR in an interview. Since risking the move, Müller's life fits into a small backpack in which she carries clothes, her tablet computer, college documents and a sanitary bag. 

-via Marginal Revolution


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Beautiful Bridge in Copenhagen Celebrates the City's Maritime Heritage

(Photo: Anders Sune Berg)

Whenever I see photos of Copenhagen, I want to go there.

For hundreds of years, the capital of Denmark has been one of the great trading centers of the world. Ships from many nations touch there, so it is appropriate that this footbridge reflects that heritage.

This is the Cirkelbroen bridge, a gift to the people of Copenhagen from the non-profit Nordea-Fonden. Architect Olafur Eliasson designed it with high masts and lines to remind viewers of the great sailing vessels that once poured into and out of the harbor. He expects that daily traffic will be about 5,000 people. You can see more photos of it at Contemporist.


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Bruce Campbell Fills in for the Weatherman

Actor Bruce Campbell is currently promoting his film Ash vs. Evil Dead, the latest production in the long-running Evil Dead horror/comedy franchise. While attending Worldcon in Chicago, he hung out with the crew of the local news program Good Day Chicago. Not one to be idle, Campbell got right to work, providing both the weather and traffic reports for the Chicago area, which now apparently includes Iowa and Ohio.


(Video Link)

-via Geek Tyrant


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Engineer Builds a Complete, Hidden Hacking Kit

And you've got to admit that the design is absolutely perfect. The hacking kit pictured above has a pen testing drop box, a wireless router that can run continuously, an open network jack, a USB keystroke recorder with built-in memory, a retractable ethernet cable, a shim, and 5 lockpicks.

Continue reading

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Scary 3D Hand Art

Natalie Nakles, a medical student, uses her in-depth knowledge of human anatomy to create terrifyingly realistic body art. She appears to dissect her own left hand with markers and pen. When placed against a black background, her drawings look 3-dimensional. You can find more of Nakles's work on her Instagram page.

-via Twisted Sifter

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Playful Bear Rolls down a Hill

Like a young child, this bear is easily entertained. Visitors to Denali National Park in Alaska recently spotted a resident bear idly rolling down a hill. It looks like fun! Let's go out and join him.


(Video Link)

-via Lost at E Minor

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

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Elegant LEGO Marble Furniture

It has the sophistication of luxury furniture with the playfulness of childhood. App One Design, an Italian design firm, developed a set of interlocking LEGO-like bricks of marble. They can be arranged and re-arranged however you wish and matched with glass tops with precision-cut holes for the studs on the bricks. Although you are unlikely to accidentally step on one barefoot, stubbed toes are now a hazard. You can see more photos at Home Crux.


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Modular Wood Furniture for Cats

Last year, cat lovers were ecstatic to see the CATable, a desk designed specifically for cat owners. Recently, the company that designed it offered a new furniture set that offers even more options for cats who need the finer things in life. LYCS Architects recently unveiled the CATable 2.0. It's a set of modular wood blocks that are stacked and re-arranged however your cats want. Together, they offer countless opportunities for exploration and play. The set is like a pillow fort for cats!

-via Dornob


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Grown Man Dresses as the Royal Baby for a Week

(Photos: AP/Mashable)

Prince George of Cambridge is the son of Prince William and Duchess Catherine as well as the great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. At the age of 2, he was declared the 49th best-dressed man in all of the Britain by GQ magazine.

Prince George has a look. He is a truly sharp dresser. And certainly being royalty contributes to his public attention. But Max Knoblauch, a writer for Mashable, thought that he could be similarly attractive if he adopted the Prince George look. So, for a week, Knoblauch dressed in outfits in which Prince George has been publicly photographed. He otherwise went about his normal week in New York City. People sometimes found his clothing notable:

While I got plenty of puzzled looks on my journey, New Yorkers seemed generally pretty uninterested in my project. Sure, nobody wants to approach a man wearing overalls with a sailboat on them on the N train. But more than that, I think I was acting too much like a forward-thinking digital journalist and too little like a baby who will be one day be king.

Knoblauch's co-workers at Mashable were not entirely impressed:

I had started this project as just another journalist in a growing media company. Five days later, I was "that guy who is always dressed like a baby."

My week as a royal baby taught me many things. New Yorkers do not care what you wear. It's surprisingly easy to dress like a baby by shopping at Macy's. You should not let your coworkers' words hurt you. Crocs aren't so bad. Most importantly, though: stunt journalism like this is vitally important.

In the end, it's clear to me that while George's look can be applied to anyone, his class and grace are what defines him.

-via Amanda Brennan


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The First Quadriplegic to Complete the Tough Mudder

(Photo: PA)

It's the toughest race on Earth. Oh, it's shorter than a marathon. The Tough Mudder is only 5 miles long. But along that race, contestants are dunked in freezing cold water and electrically shocked. They have to crawl through mud and climb over high and slippery obstacles. And once they finish the course, they do it again. And again. Whoever completes the most number of laps in 24 hours wins.

21-year old Rob Camm of Breadstone, Gloucester, UK, wanted to do the Tough Mudder. But 2 years ago, he was in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. That didn't stop him, though. Camm just completed the race in an off-road wheelchair that he controls with his chin. The Daily Telegraph reports:

His specially-made Extreme X8 electric wheelchair can reach speeds of 10km per hour - and Rob has even been able to clear tree branches and tow his dad's 4x4 with it.

It took him through a course which is made up of Britain's "deepest, darkest mud and soul-crushing terrain", according to Tough Mudder organisers.

Rob added: "I do nowhere near as many physical outdoor challenges as I used to do and it is a huge thing for me to have that challenge again."


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A Loaf of Bread That Looks Like David Hasselhoff Naked

And it's completely intentional! No, this loaf of bread did not miraculously emerge from the oven looking like the famous photo of David Hasselhoff naked except for two shar pei puppies. The great baker/artist Lou Lou P of Leeds, UK made this wonder on pain rustique.

This, like many of her recent baking accomplishments, was in a response to a challenge. She seems like the sort of person who won't turn down a dare. Take advantage of this tendency.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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How to Relax: Get Blasted with -260° F Air

(Photo: Emily Andrews/New York Times)

Anastasia Garvey is a model and actress. When she needs to relax, she goes to a spa that offers a unique service: cryotherapy. This means that she stands in a tank that blasts her with jets of air cooled to -260ºF.* After three minutes, she emerges, feeling refreshed. The New York Times describes the experience:

It only lasts three minutes, plus time to warm up again on a stationary bike, but it costs $90 a session, she said. She goes three times a week.

“The first time I did it I couldn’t remember my name,” she said. “You’re in a freezer. You’re so cold you can’t think of anything.”

$90 is a lot of money! I could probably make a cheaper version with a conventional freezer and underbid the competition.

-via Marginal Revolution

*The article does not actually say Fahrenheit. That's just a guess on my part. It could be Celsius.


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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