John Farrier's Blog Posts


Stained Glass Art Made from Melted Gummy Bears

Back in 1998, Spanish artist Merta Alonso Yebra wanted to experiment with stained glass. But she didn’t have the specialized equipment necessary to melt and manage glass. She discovered an alternative: gummy bears. They melt at a much lower temperature than glass and can be poured and shaped using ordinary kitchen implements.

Yebra melts the gummy bears, then pours them in successive layers, creating what she calls “a wall full of colors.” In addition to being pretty, they smell nice—which is another advantage over glass.

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13 Presidential Palaces around the World


(Photo: Brian Barbutti)

The United States has the White House and Argentina has the Pink House. That's what the presidential palace in Buenos Aires is called--the Casa Rosada. The color comes from a traditional blending of lime and the blood of oxen. It's been that color since 1870. This one of 13 visually striking presidential residences around the world, including a very modern-styled building in Brasilia and a beautifully blue-tiled building in Seoul.


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Trapped Snake Thanks Its Rescuers


(Video Link)

When people rescue animals, sometimes the animals express their gratitude toward their benefactors. We've previously seen this with a dog, a dolphin, and a sea turtle. And now we can see this expression of thanks from a snake.

Two teenage boys in the US found a snake trapped in a net. They patiently cut it free with a knife. When the snake was free, it regurgitated a whole frog that it had swallowed. It was surely a gift offered to the boys to repay them for their kindness. Unfortunately, the video ends before the boys partake of their reward.

Content warning: a lot of foul language.

-via Blame It on the Voices


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Neatly Arranged Food Color Gradients

Brittany Wright, a photographer in Seattle, thinks of food as an art form--for both the eyes and the mouth. One of her recent explorations of this field includes arranging foods from her garden and grocery into assemblies sorted by color gradient. Each edible canvas is a smooth blend of colors, from light to dark. You can track her progress in the series on Instagram.

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World Record for the Rubik's Cube Now Stands at 5.25 Seconds

That's all the time that 17-year old Collin Burns needed to solve a 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube. He did so at a competition at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. This broke a previous world record of 5.55 seconds.

It's a very casual scene. People are playfully milling about, unaware that someone is about to perform an astonishing feat. Burns checks out the cube for a few seconds and places it on the table. When he picks it up, the clock starts.


(Video Link)

-via Gizmodo


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"Finally--A Question about Something Important": Stephen Hawking on the Boy Band One Direction


(Photos: Lwp Kommunikáció/Hot Gossip Italia)

On Saturday night, Professor Stephen Hawking took questions from an audience in the Sydney Opera House. The acclaimed physicist addressed an important issue: the abrupt and wrenching depature of singer Zayn Malik from the boy band One Direction. BuzzFeed quotes the questioner:

What do you think is the cosmological effect of Zayn leaving One Direction and consequently breaking the hearts of millions of teenage girls across the world?


(Video Link)

Prof. Hawking responded perfectly:

“Finally, a question about something important,” he said.

“My advice to any heartbroken young girl is to pay close attention to the study of theoretical physics. Because one day there may well be proof of multiple universes.”

“It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that somewhere outside of our own universe lies another different universe.”

“And in that universe, Zayn is still in One Direction.”

It got better still for the questioner. “This girl may like to know that in another possible universe, she and Zayn are happily married,” Hawking added.

-via Daily Telegraph


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Huge Fried Eggs Fill a City Plaza

Dutch artist Henk Hofstra is known for his huge public installations, such as when he turned a city street into a river by painting it blue. In 2010, he created this massive work that Eugene of My Modern Met describes as "if God threw giant eggs down at us." It's called Art Eggcident and was placed in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden. It's not an act of serious commentary, but a joke based on a Dutch expression. Hofstra explains:

What was your inspiration for the "Art Eggcident" project?

There's a Dutch expression: "To lay down the first egg, you have to start with the first egg." In the city of Leeuwarden people talked a lot about what to do with Zaailand. It's one of the biggest city squares in Holland. There were a lot of plans for it, but nobody started. That's why I started with the first egg (and several more) and made them huge.

What kind of reactions did you get from people?

I had a lot of reactions. Off course, the reactions were not always the same. Some people liked it very much, some people didn't. When it was ready for a couple of hours 80 % was negative, just a few weeks later 80 % was positive. The surrounding shops were very positive because it attracted a lot of tourists and they sold more than otherwise.

-via Flavorwire


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New Chocolate Bar Has 7 Different Kinds of Filling

Cadbury has produced a new chocolate bar that will contain no fewer than 7 different flavors inside its chocolate blisters. They are solid chocolate, caramel, almond, fruit and nut, Oreo, almond butter, and Turkish delight. It's called the Dairy Milk Spectacular 7. Food artist Prudence Staite helped Cadbury design this ingenious candy bar.

You won't be able to buy it in stores. Cadbury is making only 50 of them, which will be prizes in a contest available to residents of the United Kingdom.

-via Home Geekonomics

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Baby Elephant Seal Cuddles with Woman

At a mere 200 pounds, this elephant seal is just a little baby. He's been abandoned by his mama, so he's eager for some snuggling. Charlene Fritz, a tourist from Canada, was glad to provide it. While she visited Snow Hill Island off the coast of Antarctica, the little seal crawled over to her and climbed on of her lap.


(Video Link)

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

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New Classes Help Toddlers Prepare for That All-Important Nursery School Interview

(Photo: BBC)

Yoyo Chan is one and a half years old. She has a big task ahead of her: nailing the nursery school interview. Doing so can get her into the best nursery school, which can lead to the best kindergarten, then elmentary school, and, eventually, the best medical school.

It all comes down to now. Focus, Yoyo. Focus.

In Hong Kong, many parents want their kids to offer their best at the competitive nursery school interview process. A dozen openings at a top school can lead to a thousand applications. So some companies now offer to train toddlers to perform better than their competitors during the interviews. Helier Cheung reports for the BBC:

At interview class, Yoyo is asked to greet the tutor and introduce herself. The tutor then asks her to complete a number of tasks, including building a house with bricks, drawing a picture, sticking two felt eyes in the right position on a felt face, and identifying pieces of fruit.

A little shy to begin with, Yoyo quickly warms up and appears to enjoy the tasks and playing with the toys.

"These classes and interviews can be hard work," says her mother, Emma. "But I do want her to be prepared. Most parents want their child to have a good start."

One nursery Emma is keen on had more than 100 interviewees for just nine places, so she'll do whatever she can to increase her daughter's chances of success.

Yoyo's younger brother, still a baby, will begin interview classes in a few months, she says - when he's about eight months old.

-via Dave Barry

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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John Denver's "Country Roads" Sung in Japanese is Completely Charming


(Video Link)

And I'm not entirely sure why. But I couldn't help but grin through this entire performance. It's by the band Goose House, which added a banjo to its normal repertoire. This version of the song is just a bit different from this performance of it by John Denver while touring in Japan. No matter who sings it or where, everyone wants to go back home to West Virginia.

-via American Digest


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Boba Fett Pizza

With a few bell peppers, olives, and the right shape, Wendi created a pizza that looks just like the helmet of Star Wars fans' favorite bounty hunter. Now it just needs to be slowly baked inside the oven for over a thousand years.

-via Between the Pages


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Check Out the Name of This Park in Toronto

This is a screenshot from Google Maps. It's not an error. This city park in Toronto is actually named the Main Sewage Treatment Playground. What fun things can you do at a place named "Main Sewage Treatment"? You can play baseball, rugby, ride a skateboard in its skating bowl, or ride a bike on the trail.

From Google Street View, it looks pretty. Let's go!

-via reddit

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Sleeping In

(Chris Hallbeck/Minimumble)

Having more to do doesn't encourage me to get up earlier. In fact, if you have a lot to do, then you'll need plenty of energy for the work. That means getting enough sleep to do the job. So this part of the day is really just preparing for the work that happens later.


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634 Corgis Converge for Corgi Beach Day

(Photo: Sneakers the Corgi)

You can remain calm when encountering a solitary corgi. After all, it's harmless by itself, right? But what about when the second one appears? And a third? What would you do if you suddenly found yourself surrounded by no fewer than 634 corgis?

Visitors to Huntington Beach in southern California got to experience that terror at the recent Corgi Beach Day. Corgi owners brought their dogs to a huge meetup on the sand. You can see many more adorable/horrifying photos of them at Dogster.

-via Jonah Goldberg

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

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A Sky Full of Paratroopers

(Photo: US Air Force)

The sky over Fort Bragg, North Carolina rained freedom in early April. Then, in the largest exercise of its kind there in 20 years, the US Air Force, Marine Corps, Air National Guard, and Royal Air Force dropped a combined 2,100 troops to the ground. The purpose of this exercise was to demonstrate the interopability of these forces and make it easier for the US and UK to engage in joint operations in the future. The Army Times reports:

The long-term goal is to have the ability to integrate the 16 Air Assault Brigade into the 82nd Airborne Division, allowing the two units to operate quickly and seamlessly if they're ever called upon to respond together in an emergency. […]

The American and British soldiers have taken advantage of their time together to learn about each other's equipment, tactics and standard operating procedures, said Lt. Col. Mike Shervington, commander of 3 Para.

One example is having U.S. soldiers jumping out of British aircraft and vice versa, he said.

"That sounds easy, but it's not," Shervington said.

For starters, the two armies use different parachutes – the T-11 for the Americans and the Low Level Parachute, or LLP.

The T-11 carries more weight, while the LLP opens at a lower level, Shervington said. The LLP also has a shorter count before the static line releases the parachute; three seconds instead of six for the T-11, he said.

-via Gizmodo

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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The Glove and Boots Guide to Airplane Etiquette


(Video Link)

A disaster has occurred and you are forced to travel somewhere by airplane. Perhaps if you were very wealthy, you could charter a private flight. But otherwise, you have to ride a commercial airline flight, forcing you to go through the torments of airport staff and fellow travellers, all of whom are committed to making it the experience as unpleasant as possible.

Glove and Boots gives you practical tips and points of etiquette that you need to know. Your fellow passengers--especially those seated right next to you--must learn about the etiquette in particular. So in the highly unusual event that the in-flight WiFi is actually working, show them this video.

-via Laughing Squid


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"I Am Big Bird" -- Meet the Man Inside the Muppet


(Photo: Ben Zucker/The Guardian)

In 1969, puppeteer Caroll Spinney donned the enormous Big Bird costume for the first season of Sesame Street. He still does 45 years later. Spinney writes in The Guardian that it led to fascinating experiences:

I once got a letter from Nasa, asking if I would be willing to join a mission to orbit the Earth as Big Bird, to encourage kids to get interested in space. There wasn’t enough room for the puppet in the end, and I was replaced by a teacher. In 1986, we took a break from filming to watch takeoff, and we all saw the ship blow apart. The six astronauts and teacher all died, and we just stood there crying.

Big Bird is a complex mechanism that requires considerable skill. Spinney describes how it works:

Big Bird is actually a puppet; my right arm is his neck, and my right hand moves his head, with my little finger controlling his eyebrows, moving them up and down to show when he’s thinking. I can change his expression by tilting his head toward the camera at a different angle. My left hand is in the left wing, which is linked to the right wing with fishing wire. I can’t see anything outside the suit when I’m in it, so I wear a little monitor strapped to my chest, which shows me what the viewers see at home.

In the early days, each scene was very simple and I could memorise my lines on the spot, but the show evolved and the storylines became much more elaborate as the years passed, so now I keep my cues and my lines taped to the inside of the costume.

-via KP


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Mickeal Delalande’s Delicate Wire Sculptures

Mickael Delalande is an artist and graphic designer in France. He makes wire sculptures that look like animals and household objects. They often create the impressions of wire frames around more solid objects—like we’re living inside a 3d modeling program.

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Photographer Mom Gives Her Daughter a Perfect Disney World Experience

Kristina Bewley is a photographer, costumer, and photoshopper. She brought all of those skills together to make her daughter Giselle’s trip to Disney World especially memorable. Giselle wore princess costumes that were digitally enhanced with visual effects as she romped around the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

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You Can Wear This Wetsuit Surfing or in the Office

When you leave home in the morning, are you going to work or to play? You can delay that decision with the True Wetsuit by Quicksilver. It’s a line of suits—complete with a shirt and tie—that you can surf in.

Well, technically speaking, there’s nothing to stop you from surfing in your professionally tailored business suit. But Quicksilver claims that its suits will dry out after a thorough dousing in saltwater. You won’t need to change before heading into the office and explaining why you’re three hours late.

Each suit costs about $2,500. You can see more photos at Spoon & Tamago.

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Too Many Kings—A Game of Thrones Parody of Too Many Cooks

Too Many Cooks is a brilliantly innovative short film by Casper Kelly of Adult Swim. It starts out as a perfect parody of 80s sitcom introductions. Then it gets weird. Then it gets dark. It’s perfect and you should watch it.

And you should watch Alex Jones’s Game of Thrones version that matches the original Too Many Cooks soundtrack with scenes from that show. As you might expect, the lyrics match the gory drama:

A family is like a soup
Everyone adds an extra scoop
Mix an ounce of smile so sweet
A dash of cool to add the heat, and you’ve got
Too many Cooks


(Video Link)

Content warning: violence and gore.

-via Flavorwire


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The Average Day over Time

(John Atkinson/Wrong Hands)

Cartoonist John Atkinson has a theme: he creates charts showing how things change over time, such as the typical song, the typical movie, and the typical TV show. His most recent cartoon shows the average day of a person from babyhood to the final years. His model of adulthood seems just about right.


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Ogling the Eye Candy at the Beach


(Up and Out/Jeremy Kaye)

My eyes are up here, Ariel. I'm more than just a pair of luscious, muscular thighs that provide terrestrial locomotion. I have a mind. I can be a part of your world if you'll have that, too.

-via Chris Hallbeck


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Downton Abbey/Star Wars Fan Film Made by Downton Abbey Actors

Rob James-Collier is the actor who plays Thomas Barrow on Downton Abbey. James-Collier plays an evil butler, but he's a nice guy. He's raising money for children with multiple sclerosis. To encourage donations, he and other actors from the show are making a fan film series that brings their show into the Star Wars universe.


(Video Link)

Skip to the 1:29 mark in the video to see beginning of the film. The actors who play John Bates, Anna Bates, and Charles Carson make appearances. They shot all of the scenes between takes while filming Downton Abbey and used only smartphones to record video.

This episode is free. James-Collier is charging money for future episodes. You can donate at his website, which is appropriately named Evil Butler.

-via The Mary Sue


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The World’s Longest Beard Is One of the Smithsonian’s Strangest Artifacts

(Photo: North Dakota State University Archives)

This is Hans Langseth (1846-1927) of North Dakota. He was one of the beardiest men who ever lived. When he died, his beard was the longest in the world at 17 feet and 6 inches.

(Photo: Smithsonian Institutional Archives)

Langseth began growing his beard at the age of 19 for a beard competition. He then kept it for the rest of his life. After his death, his beard eventually ended up in the Smithsonian Institution, where it remains to this day. With different colors from different stages of his life and wheat kernels from his days as a farmer, the beard is an organic record of Langseth’s life. If there's a facial hair equivalent of dendrochronology, then Langseth's beard provides the most remarkable sample. You can see more photos at Smithsonian magazine.

-via Incredibeard


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Real Life Movie Locations: No Country for Old Men

The dark and gripping 2007 Coen brothers movie No Country for Old Men was an adaptation of a Cormac McCarthy novel with the same title. The blogger behind Then & Now Movie Locations visited the places where it was shot, including locations in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, New Mexico. Pictured above is the Regal Motel in Las Vegas, where Llewelyn Moss hid while fleeing the relentless hitman Anton Chigurth. You can see more comparison photos here (warning: auto-sound).


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Dog Plays Patty Cake

This dog loves to play the children’s game of patty cake. Or she loves the treats that she gets after a game. But, hey, athletes deserve to be compensated, right? And this yellow lab plays to win.


(Video Link)

-via Blame It on the Voices

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

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Proposal: Give College Students the Power to Fire Professors

(Photo: Kevin Dooley)

During the Fifth Century B.C., Athenians engaged in the usual practice of ostracism. Once a year, they took a popular vote. The person with the most votes was banished from the city. Ideally, this would remove the most hated person in the city.

2,500 years later, State Senator Mark Chelgren of Iowa has a proposal that’s strikingly similar. He thinks that some professors at state universities are incompetent. But because of tenure regulations, they get to keep their jobs for life. Chelgren has introduced a bill into the state legislature that would reduce these bad teachers by empowering students to fire a single professor every year.

The process begins with the end-of-semester student evaluations. The Chronicle of Higher Education explains:

The names of the five professors with the lowest ratings above the minimum threshold would be published online. Students would then vote on those professors’ future employment — and the professor with the fewest votes would be fired, regardless of tenure status or contract terms.

Should college students have the power to fire professors in this manner?




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Dogs in Taiwan Get Square Haircuts

His head isn’t square. It’s nicely rounded, as is his fur. When he grows it out, it’s also rounded—just larger. But when he goes to a groomer, he’ll emerge with a boxy, roughly cubical head of hair. In the Republic of China, this is the latest trend in dog grooming: cubical haircuts.

(Photos: Zhaizhai News)

Also: spherical haircuts. You can see more photos at Rocket News 24.

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

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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