John Farrier's Blog Posts

Janine Ker's Technicolor Graffiti Hair

It's called "graffiti hair." Like a lot of graffiti art, it involves stencils and a spray paint. Janine Ker, a hairstylist in Pasadena, California, makes her unique compositions by spraying a dye over stencils. By combining different layers of colors and shapes, she creates vibrant images on the hair of her clients. 

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What It's Like to Be an Underwater Crime Scene Investigator


(Photo: Underwater Criminal Investigators)

The diver is holding a holstered knife in one hand and a stolen handgun in the other. Perhaps the last criminal to possess them thought that they'd disappear in the murky water. But crime scene divers found them.

This is the world of underwater criminal investigation, a criminal justice specialization described at length in an article at Atlas Obscura. These divers know how to search bodies of water for evidence and how to handle that evidence so that it can be used in the criminal justice system. Mike Berry, an underwater criminal investigator, describes the hazards of his profession:

The taxing conditions don't just involve muck and pitch blackness. “The water that we dive in, a lot of it is contaminated," Berry says, "so just ingesting some of that water could kill you.” Divers can step on broken glass or injure their hands on nails. And then there are the creatures of the deep, some of whom make their presence known at highly inconvenient moments. Depending on the location of the investigation, divers may have to contend with turtles, poisonous snakes, alligators, or inquisitive fish.

“The worst I’ve been bit was from a snapping turtle," says Berry. "You know, you can’t see them, so as your hand is moving along the bottom, feeling, you hope you get the rear end of the turtle instead of the front end. I got the front end one day ... it went right through my hand, from one side to the other.” The pain, he says, was "like a lightning strike.”


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Beautiful Portraits Made of Flowers

Vicki and Brooke are a mother-daughter team of artists. They operate Sister Golden, an online boutique of their marvelous crafts. The most fascinating among these works are their compositions made with pieces of flowers and other plants

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Dark Helmet Hates It When Her Schwartz Gets Twisted

(Photo: David Ngo)

For the San Diego Comic Con, the famous cosplayer Leeanne Vamp dressed as Dark Helmet, the Darth Vader analog from the Mel Brooks parody film Spaceballs. I doubt she'll find the suit as suffocating as Rick Moranis did.


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How to Use Your Cell Phone to Check Your Sperm Count


(Image: TBIT)

Does your semen contain a sufficiently large number of sperm cells to make fertilization likely? You may no longer have to visit a doctor's office to find out. Researchers in Japan have developed a process that permits a man to examine a sample with a cell phone and get an accurate sperm count. It takes the form of a tiny lens that turns a cell phone camera into a microscope. New Scientist talked to researcher Yoshitomo Kobori about the procedure:

To do a home test, a man would have to wait for around five minutes after ejaculation for the semen to liquefy, then apply a small amount to a plastic sheet and press it against the microscope for inspection. This can be done without getting semen on to the phone, says Kobori.

The process uses the camera to take a 3-second video of the semen, then sends the recording to a lab for analysis. The system is as effective as what's used in fertility clinics:

Kobori says the system works as well as the software used in fertility clinics. In a test, the team ran 50 semen samples through both systems, and got almost identical results.

-via David Thompson


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First Contact


(Berkeley Mews)

It could be cool if the Earth was a Poké Stop. But there's too much risk. It could attract potentially hostile and dangerous alien civilizations to Earth. As Stephen Hawking warned us last year, that's something that we don't need.


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"Smart Stitches" Send Doctors Diagnostic Information

(Unrelated photo by waferboard)

In the future, sutures won't just hold pieces of your body together. They'll also monitor your healing and send information to your doctor.

Researchers at Tufts University have developed sensors that fit into durable threads. These can wirelessly transmit data to outside devices. A press release from Tufts explains:

The researchers used a variety of conductive threads that were dipped in physical and chemical sensing compounds and connected to wireless electronic circuitry to create a flexible platform that they sutured into tissue in rats as well as in vitro. The threads collected data on tissue health (e.g. pressure, stress, strain and temperature), pH and glucose levels that can be used to determine such things as how a wound is healing, whether infection is emerging, or whether the body’s chemistry is out of balance. The results were transmitted wirelessly to a cell phone and computer. […]

“The ability to suture a thread-based diagnostic device intimately in a tissue or organ environment in three dimensions adds a unique feature that is not available with other flexible diagnostic platforms,” said Sameer Sonkusale, Ph.D., corresponding author on the paper and director of the interdisciplinary Nano Lab in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts School of Engineering. “We think thread-based devices could potentially be used as smart sutures for surgical implants, smart bandages to monitor wound healing, or integrated with textile or fabric as personalized health monitors and point-of-care diagnostics.”

-via Lawrence E. Forbes


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This Is What the Human Body Would Look Like if It Evolved to Survive Car Crashes

(Photo: Transport Accident Commision of Victoria)

If, during the course of human development, the ability to survive a car crash would be a major evolutionary advantage, the human body might look like this guy. His name is Graham, and he's a sculpture made by the Transport Accident Commission of Victoria, Australia.

The agency is using Graham to express the importance of car safety. A normal human body can't shrug off a major collision. Graham, however, could do pretty well. The Guardian describes him:

He has no neck, meaning he cannot break it; a flat, fatty face to protect the nose and ears; airbags in between each rib; and thicker and tougher skin. His knees bend in all directions. […]

The commission says Graham is informed by “the science of human vulnerability” – not-quite-living proof of how susceptible we are to injury.

You can see a 360º, interactive presentation of Graham here (auto-start audio).

-via Gizmodo


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"I've Got Your Nose!"

(Infinite Monkey Business/Demitrios Haldes)

And if you want it back, you'll have to pay. Leave $50,000 in unmarked, non-sequential $100 bills by the potty at naptime. And if you go to Mommy or the police, you'll never see the nose again.

-via Tastefully Offensive


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The Last VCRs Will Be Made This Month


(Photo: DeeperThought)

It was once a futuristic symbol of entertainment. Now it's an obsolete relic from the past. DVD players and digital recording and playback devices have replaced the old VCR console. Now that machine has reached its end. Funai, the last manufacturer of video cassette recorders, is ending production this month. Popular Mechanics reports:

The reasons for Funai's halting VCR production aren't surprising: they've cited declining sales and difficulty finding parts, which translates to "nobody's buying them anymore." Just because nobody's buying doesn't mean that nobody's using them, of course. VCRs and VHS tapes have garnered a cult fan base, with people coming to appreciate the lack of sharpness in quality as a type of warmth, or nostalgia. This has inspired a trend of appreciation towards older formats. Indeed, as the VCR ends its initial run, Kodak is looking to revitalize the Super 8 under the tagline "Analog Renaissance." So if you're going to miss the VCR, just wait 20 years.

-via Glenn Reynolds


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Construction Workers Plays "Where's Waldo?" with Kids at Neighboring Hospital

(Photo: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune)

This is Jason Haney, a construction manager working on a project for Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana. He and his co-workers like to entertain the kids who look outside their windows. Last winter, they built a snowman. More recently, they decided to make a Waldo figure from the Where's Waldo? books.

Haney made the 8-foot tall figure from plywood and he and his daughter painted it. Haney and his co-workers hide it in the framework of the new building under construction until a kid spots it. Then they move Waldo somewhere else and start the game over.

(Photo: Hedi Prescott/Beacon Health System)

The South Bend Tribune reports that kids love it:

Arrihanna Williams, 7, and another child enjoyed watching as the crane above the hospital moved a big load of materials. When asked, Arrihanna was quick to point out where Waldo was standing from the playroom window.

Down the hall, 9-year-old Neveah Garza was in contact isolation and unable to leave her room. But her window overlooked the construction site and she enjoyed watching the men at work.

“Poor guys, they have to work in the sun,” she said.

In the past, she’s hunted for Waldo in library books and on an online site, she said, explaining how that worked. But it was a bit of a challenge to find the character at the building site.

“Mom found him first,” she said, pointing down at the site. “See he’s down there, by that fan thingy.”

-via Nerd Approved

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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For Sale on Craigslist: Camouflage Truck

This gem of a truck is on sale in Lynchburg, Virginia. For only $1,800, you can get a truck with a truly perfect camouflage paint scheme. It blends into the background, including the shadows, like it's not even there.

It's got 74,000 miles on the odometer, though. So although the paint job is "like new," the engine isn't.

-via David Burge


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This Hospital Cabinet Is Designed to Protect Patients from Infections

What makes this rolling hospital bedside cabinet by Kinnier Dufort unique is the rounded edges and joints. There are fewer hidden crannies and junctions that are hard to clean. Hospital workers can disinfect every part of it easier than conventional bedside cabinets, making it more likely to free from infectious pathogens. You can photos of it at Core 77.


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Awesome Invention Lets You Pull a Suitcase Hands-Free

Robert Lian, an airline pilot, got tired of dragging his rolling luggage through airports with his hands. He wanted to be able to use his hands while walking with bags. So in 2014, he invented My Hitch. It's like a trailer hitch for your body.

First, put on a belt or tight-fitting pants. My Hitch won't work if you're naked or wearing loose clothes. Then slip the plastic hook into the back of your pants, put the handle of your bag over the other end of the hook, and start walking.

-via Gizmodo


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Add Water to This $230 Toaster

(Photo: Balmuda)

Truly perfect toast is expensive. You need more than just top-tier bread. You also need to cook it the right way. And the Balmuda from Japan is the best machine for the job.

At $230, it's expensive by toaster standards. But it comes with a novel approach to toasting: adding water. Bloomberg reports on how Gen Terao invented it:

It was at a company picnic on a rainy day, warming bread on a grill, that company founder Gen Terao and his band of product designers accidentally made great toast. After the showers stopped, they tried to reproduce it in a parking lot and realized that water was the key. Thousands of slices later, they figured out that steam traps moisture inside the bread while it's being warmed at a low temperature. The heat is cranked up just at the end, giving it a respectable crust.

-via Core 77


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Polar Bear Tries to Eat Baby through the Glass


(Video Link)

A fun-size human appeared just outside the polar bear enclosure at the St. Louis Zoo in Missouri. It was the perfect snack. So the polar bear dove into the water and tried to snatch him. Alas, the glass got in the way. Keep trying! 

-via Telegraph

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Janitors Accidentally Throw out Trash Can Art


(Photo: Will Kutz)

This is "Trash Can," a sculpture by Will Kurtz that was priced at $8,000. It consists of an overflowing trash can and a sculpture of a raccoon. The piece was on display at Art Southampton in New York City. Two weeks ago, it was among several sculptures arranged in an exhibit. Alas, before the show opened, cleaners, mistaking it for an ordinary trash can, emptied out all of the trash. 

None other than actress Brooke Shields, who was curating the show, saved the day. Page Six reports that she noticed the problem before the opening:

But when Shields and artist Kurtz showed up for the VIP preview Thursday at Nova’s Ark Project, the artwork trash can had been emptied. The actress and the artist were forced to go rummaging in the real trash to recover his valuable work.

Nick Korniloff, founder and owner of Art Southampton, told Page Six, “We had works from Warhol to Banksy on display this weekend. We have a very aggressive cleanup crew because we like to keep the event pristine. They are trained to recognize and not take out any art, but unfortunately they looked at a trash can, and threw the contents away. The raccoon was left standing there next to an empty can.

-via Weird News | Photo: watchwithkristin


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Bulldog Doesn't Need Water to Swim


(Video Link)

It's hot in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Arnold the bulldog wants to cool off in the kiddie pool. Even though it's empty, he's good. He'll just swim around in the air, dragging his body along the bottom.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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86-Year Old Woman Fights off Mugger with Bacon

(Photo: Chris Yarzab)

The Greater Manchester Police Trafford South (UK) reports that yesterday, a man attacked an 86-year old woman in a grocery store and demanded her money. She refused and instead pulled a package of bacon out of her shopping cart, then beat him over the head with it. The police state on Facebook that:

The offender then retreated and made off from the supermarket. #‎BeatOffWithBacon

Oh, bacon: is there anything you can't do?

-via First We Feast


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Origami Bird Lamps

This is Perch Light, a lamp series by Umat Yamac, a furnishings designer and architect in London. They're made of paper folded to look like origami birds. The birds are balanced on perches that are either attached to a wall or a floor stand.

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Please Don't Break into Prison to Play Pokémon Go

The officials of the Correctional Service of Canada appreciate your interest in playing Pokémon Go. But you should stay outside of the wire, even if you see a Mewtwo or a Articuno. Let the prisoners take those, no matter how rare they are.

-via Jeremy Barker


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Leonardo da Vinci's Scuba Suit


(Photo: Tama66)

In the early 16th Century, the brilliant Leonardo da Vinci was in Venice. That wealthy city was in dire straits, as its navy had been badly defeated by the Ottoman Empire. There was serious reason to think that the city itself might fall to the Turks. The Ventian government needed solutions and there was no better mind to develop them than Leonardo's.

Among the many ideas he sketched in his notebooks was a complete design for an underwater diving apparatus, a reconstruction of which is pictured above. Cara Giaimo describes the suit at Atlas Obscura:

The most complete plans show a leather suit and facemask, with goggles and an inflatable wineskin to enable sinking and floating. Two hollow breathing tubes, made of cane and reinforced with steel rings, lead from the diver's mouth up to the surface of the water—some incarnations show them attached to a floating disc, while others have them leading to a pocket of air trapped by a diving bell. There is even a special pee pouch for the diver, ensuring he can stay down there regardless of whether nature calls.

Some historians think this suit was part of an elaborate plan to attack the Ottoman ships from below, in order to sink them or release prisoners. Others, including McCurdy, say it more likely dates back further, to da Vinci's time in Milan, in which case he may have intended it to attack Venice instead. (It was a time of tumultuous alliances.)


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The Touching Moment a Mom Hears Her Deceased Daughter's Heartbeat for the First Time in 10 Years


(Video Link)

Jade Stoner, 7 years old, was killed in a car accident. Seeing through her agony, her mother Debbie Stoner donated her daughter's organs.

Jade's heart went to Nellie-Ma Evans, a baby born with cardiomyopathy. She wouldn't have survived without a heart transpant.

That transplant was successful. Nellie-Ma is now 11 years old. Debbie Stoner recently met her. She placed her ear on Nellie-Ma's chest and listened to the sound of her daughter's heart, still beating 10 years later. Stoner described the experience to the Telegraph (auto-start):

"The first time I’d heard Jade’s heart beating was when I was pregnant with her at my ultrasound scan and it sounded just as strong," Mrs Stoner said.

"I knew her heart was no longer Jade’s because she’s no longer with us but it was a part of her.

"Although I lost the most precious thing in my life, she is continuing to live on, in a way."

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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This Is How Hot It Is in Saudi Arabia


(Video Link)

Yes, the temperature is in the triple digits. But it feels like it's in the quadruple digits. And this Egyptian spiny-tailed lizard (Uromastyx aegyptia) has one priority: cooling down. If that means hanging out with the humans, then he's not going to be choosy about his company.

-via reddit


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Cops Find Homeless College Student, Put Him in Motel and Help Him Raise $184,000 for College


(Image: WAGA TV)

Police in Barnesville, Georgia found 19-year old Fred Barley in a tent at Gordon State College. He told them that he had ridden a borrowed child-sized bicycle for 6 hours to the college in order to register for his second semester of classes.

The police said that he couldn't stay there, but they paid for a motel room for him for 2 days. Then they set up a GoFundMe account on his behalf. As news of Barley's efforts spread, that account has so far raised $184,000 to support his college and career ambitions. He's also gained practical support as well, as KTLA 5 reports:

One supporter, Casey Blaney, partnered with the motel owner to pay for Barley’s stay until he can move into his dorm room, which the college is allowing him to do on Monday.

Debbie Adamson, the owner of a local pizzeria, gave Barley a job.

Barley is grateful and plans to put the support of his new friends to good use. He's majoring in biology and hopes to become a doctor.

-via Ace of Spades HQ


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Why Mario Goes through the Pipes

(Safely Endangered)

Most of us don't grow up to be heroes, or even to live the lives that we had planned. That's okay--or it should be. You can still be a hero to the person whose toilet is clogged.


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2 Fans Played Star Wars Music outside of John Williams's House. He Came out to Greet Them.

Michael Miller got his flugelhorn and Bryce Hayashi got his trumpet and they journeyed to the home of John Williams, the composer of the music of Star Wars. Standing outside his home, they played the title theme for the franchise.

It was a risky move. Williams could have taken offense at having his private life invaded by fans. But he was instead delighted at their performance. He came out of his house to greet them.


(Video Link)

-via Uproxx


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The Funeral for the Last 9/11 Fire Chief Takes Place Due to Bone Marrow Donation


(Photo of Battalion Chief Lawrence Stack via the New York Times)

Battalion Chief Lawrence Stack, 58, of the New York Fire Department looked through his binoculars on the morning of September 11, 2001 as the second plane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center:

“He lowered his binoculars and said, ‘Guys, I think they’re going to need us,’ ” his son said, recalling what he has been told of that day.

Along with too many of his comrades, Chief Stack fell in the line of duty on that day. His body was never recovered.

That's a problem because to hold a Catholic funeral Mass, you must have present the remains of the deceased. Fortunately, Stack donated bone marrow in 2000. Last year, his family asked the New York Blood Center to locate and return the sample. The Star-Tribune reported in June that Stack's bone marrow donation has been returned to his family. Now they can proceed with a funeral Mass:

His funeral will be held Friday at Sts. Philip and James Church in St. James on Long Island, with the expansive pageantry and huge turnout of firefighters and officers that accompany all departmental ceremonies.

-via TYWKIWDBI


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How to Fast for Ramadan Where the Days Are over 20 Hours Long


(Photo of the Midnight Sun Mosque in Inuvik by the US Embassy to Canada)

The town of Iqaluit in the Canadian Arctic has a growing Muslim community. Many members fast from sunup to sundown during the sacred month of Ramadan. That's a challenge because during the summer, daylight can last longer than 20 hours. The Guardian talked to Muslims there about the experience:

“I haven’t fainted once,” said 29-year-old Abdul Karim, one of the few in the city who has fastidiously timed his Ramadan fast to the Arctic sun since moving from Ottawa in 2011. This year that means eating at about 1.30am before the sun rises and breaking his fast at about 11pm when the sun sets.

Other Muslims in the Canadian Arctic set their fasting timetable by more southerly cities:

Most in Iqaluit adhere to the timetable followed by Muslims in Ottawa, some 1,300 miles south of the city – a nod to the advice of Muslim scholars who have said Muslims in the far north should observe Ramadan using the timetable of Mecca or the nearest Muslim city.

-via TYWKIWDBI


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Why Canadians Are Moving Their Houses to the United States

(Photo: San Juan Community Home Trust)

The community of Oak Bay, British Columbia is booming. Developers are tearing down old houses to make room for newer, more luxurious homes for deep-pocketed residents.

A few miles away lies San Juan Island, which is in the United States. People there need houses, too. So they're buying older homes from across the border, then floating them on barges over to the United States. Knowledge Network reports:

In the past 10 months, seven homes have been brought by barge to the island by a group focused on affordable housing. Their hope is to bring five more homes, once the necessary funds are raised.

“We’re very appreciative,” said Nancy DeVaux of the San Juan Community Home Trust. “We really like the fact that they have a lot of character and that we’re keeping the homes out of the landfill.”

-via Nag on the Lake


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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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