John Farrier's Blog Posts

In 1815, The US Tried to Build the Largest Warship in the World on Lake Ontario


USS New Orleans

We are now in the midst of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  I find this war fascinating and my interest has led me to write numerous posts on the subject for Neatorama. For example, last Sunday, I published a lengthy piece to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the burning of Washington--an event the British Embassy in Washington humorously observed with a White House-shaped cake surrounded by sparklers:

One of my more popular War of 1812 posts is this one about HMS St. Lawrence, a massive, 112-gun warship that the Royal Navy built on Lake Ontario. At the time, ships could not readily enter or exit that lake, so this huge expenditure of British treasure was trapped there.


HMS St. Lawrence

When the St. Lawrence sailed out of Kingston harbor on Sept. 10, 1814, the Americans were properly fearful of the consequences. The US Navy on the lake had no force capable of defeating it in battle.

But that did not stop the Americans from trying. President Madison hoped to build two battleships equal to the St. Lawrence. How the nearly bankrupt United States hoped to pay for this goal is a mystery to me. But, to their credit, the American shipbuliders at Sackett’s Harbor, New York made serious progress toward that goal with minimal financial backing.


The result of their efforts is pictured above: the USS New Orleans. Shipwrights laid it down in January of 1815. As the war ended in February, they never finished it. But if they had, the New Orleans would have been the largest warship in the world. It was being planned as it was being built, so we cannot be sure of its specifications. But it might have carried as many as 130 guns and been crewed by 900 men.

Thankfully, peace intervened. The treaty signed at Ghent ended the war on the basis of status quo ante bellum. This was the end to the second and final war between the United States and Britain. But the popular view on both sides at the time was that Ghent established a temporary armistice. War would likely return soon.


So the USS New Orleans remained incomplete, in its stocks, while Americans and Britons looked at each other suspiciously across Lake Ontario. Even after the demilitarization of the Great Lakes with the 1817 Rush-Bagot Agreement, the New Orleans sat not in a state of readiness, but at least hypothetically useful.

It remained in place until 1883. It was then that the US Navy sold the rotting remains of the obsolete hulk to a merchant in Syracuse, New York. By that time, US-British relations had greatly improved and the possibility of war between the two nations seemed unlikely. The mightiest warship that never was would never be.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 
New T-Shirts from the NeatoShop:



The Archaeology of an Old Purse

(Gemma Correll)

What's in the purse? Not even Indiana Jones is reckless enough to excavate the unearthly horrors that lie beneath the surface of receipts. Rather than incur the curse, it's best to just leave the old purse alone.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

The Camels of Texas, 1856


(Photo via Afflictor)

Camels existed in the Americas until about 10,000 years ago, when they were most likely hunted to extinction. The New World was then camel-less until 1856, when the US Army imported dromedary (one-humped) camels from Egypt. They were very useful for crossing the western deserts. Later, the camels went to work in as far north as Vancouver Island. Dr. John Lienhard of the University of Houston describes the adventures of these American camels:

In any case, the Confederate Army captured the Texas Camels during the Civil War and used them to move cotton into Mexican ports. Meantime, private promoters in San Francisco also saw the potential for camels. They realized that two-humped Bactrian camels could carry even more freight than Dromedaries.

So they began importing Bactrians from Manchuria. Some were sent to Los Angeles. In fact, someone even tried to set up a camel express service between Southern California and Arizona.

But the camel saga takes a strange northward turn with the discovery of gold in British Columbia's Cariboo region -- off in the mountains two hundred miles north of Vancouver. One John Calbreath quickly bought 23 of the San Francisco Bactrian camels at three hundred dollars each. He had them shipped to Vancouver Island. From there they were put on a barge and taken to the Frasier River. There they went to work hauling goods into the mountains.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Why the Super-Rich Aren't Leaving Their Fortunes to Their Kids


(Photo: Aaron Friedman)

Genius investor Warren Buffett (right) is worth $62.7 billion. But his children will see only a small fraction of it when he dies. He's leaving them some money, but only what he describes as "enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing."

He's one of many self-made millionaries and billionaries who is intentionally leaving only small portions of their fortunes to their children. They're not doing it out of spite, but out of love. The famous and wealthy chef Nigella Lawson put it like this:

I am determined that my children should have no financial security. It ruins people not having to earn money.

Roxanne Roberts investigated this trend for the Washington Post. She describes how one multi-millionaire arranged his estate:

‘We probably struggled over this more than any other issue,” says a local self-made multimillionaire. The businessman and his wife, worth hundreds of millions, grew up modestly in middle-class families and wanted to create a financial plan that would take care of their children — but not spoil them — if the couple died suddenly.

“We were horrified by what might happen if they had control of a large amount of money at a young age,” he says. “The more we stared at that, the more we became uncomfortable.”

Inspired by Buffett’s example, they created trusts for each of their now college-age children. Each kid has $2.5 million controlled by trustees, who can release money only for education, health care, a home purchase or a business start-up. Any unspent money in the trust will continue to be invested and grow.

Those restrictions remain in place until each child reaches age 40; after that, the money is all theirs to do as they please. In their 20s and 30s, the funds are there to get them launched; by 40, their parents assume they will be mature enough to use the money wisely or save it as a safety net.

-via Marginal Revolution


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Elephants Dancing to Violin Music


(Video Link)

Eleanor Bartsch, a violinist in Madison, Wisconsin, visited the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin. There, she performed Bach's Concerto for Two Violins for Kelly and Viola, two elephants who live there. Kelly and Viola, who are clearly classical music buffs, danced to the rhythm. 

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Retro Market Street at a Home for Alzheimer's Patients

Grove Care is a home for the elderly in Winterbourne, Bristol, UK. It includes a facility for people with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. This facility features Memory Lane, a strip of three shops decorated to look like a stereotypical English village from the 1950s.

(Photos: Grove Care)

The shops are a post office, a grocery store, and a pub. There's also a working phone box. They're decorated with vintage advertisements and objects. Residents can visit Memory Lane and place a call, mail a letter, drink a pint of beer, and buy a cake.


(Video Link)

Memory Lane is an exercise in retro-decorating, a caregiving practice for people with dementia. Besides providing comfortable surroundings, retro-decorating taps into old memories to help dementia sufferers cope with daily life. In a 2011 article in The Guardian, June Andrews, a scholar in the field, describes how it works:

"If you have ever woken up in a strange hotel and had to spend five minutes trying to work out how to use the light switch or the shower you can understand how it might feel for someone with dementia when faced with a new style tap or a mobile phone," she explains.

"If you provide older examples of these objects, for example an old bakelite phone, someone with dementia might remember how to use it and be able to make a phone call, whereas they may not with a mobile phone, even if they had been using the mobile perfectly well just six months ago."

-via Nag on the Lake


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Moon Hill: The Mountain with a Hole in It


(Photo: Maria Ly)

Guangxi Province, on China’s border with Vietnam, contains this natural wonder known as Moon Hill. The mountain is called that because the hole that goes straight through it is shaped like the moon.


(Photo: James Heilman)

Moon Hill is about 1,200 feet high. It's a popular tourist destination that offers a unique and fantastic view of the mountains on either side.


(Photo: Supreo75)

It's also popular with climbers who are looking for a vertical challenge.

-via Kuriositas

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

The Hamster Wheel Desk

I use a sitting desk because . . . actually, I'm not sure why it's necessary to argue for sitting down while working. Nothing is better than a good sit, except possibly a good lie down. My sitting desk is definitely a considerable improvement over Alex's original office design

Other people, though, prefer to keep moving constantly. They may use treadmill desks or running gazelle desks. Now there's a new option: this desk built by Robb Godshaw. His hamster wheel desk gives you the feeling of moving quickly but going nowhere.

P.S. I have yet to acquire the time or the money to build my proposed mechanical bull desk. Attention venture capitalists: talk to me if you're interested.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Cycleball Is Soccer Played on Bicycles


(Video Link)

This is a cycleball match. A 2010 article in Wired describes the game: two teams of two players each face off on an indoor court measuring 36 by 46 feet. The ball is about 7 inches in diameter. Players use their bicycle wheels to whack the ball toward their opponents' goals, which are 6.5-foot squares. As you can see from this match in Japan, skilled players can make the ball go precisely where they want to.


(Video Link)

The sport was popular in Europe during the 1970s and 80s. There was an effort to develop it in the United States, but it never flourished. There was, however, a major demonstration of cycleball in 1984.

-via WTF Japan Seriously


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Helpful Dog Hauls in Bags of Groceries


(Video Link)

When the humans return from hunting at the grocery store, Millie helps out by hauling their fresh kill in from the car. Good girl!

The other dogs, notably, don't lift a paw. Hopefully Millie gets a special treat for her hard work.

-via Tastefully Offensive

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

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

We're No Longer Limited to Just C-Clamps

I do all of my work with c-clamps, pipe clamps, and vise grips. Now I realize how empty my life has been the entire time. C-clamps in particular are handy. Like the letter C, they're useful.

But limiting your communication to iterations of the letter C would be foolish. Similarly, why limit your workshop activities to clamps shaped like the letter C? There are 25 other letters in the English alphabet. Make use of them with Robb Godshaw's Alphabet Clamps. Godshaw explains the importance of his innovation:

The c-clamp: for millennia, a paragon of clamping excellence. Unchanged for centuries, people of my generation and my father's and grandfather's generations have clamped with one letter and one letter only.

But why C? And why now? Why privilege this consonant over all the others? Here at Clamp Co., we thought we would introduce change. But we decided not to throw the baby out with the clamp water.

And we set out to develop an entire line of alphabet clamps.


(Video Link)

Godshaw is the artist-in-residence at Autodesk's Pier 9 workshop. He designed his letters in the DIN 1451 font and milled them out of steel. He drilled in appropriate holes and stripped existing c-clamps for the moving parts.

The result is an alphabet of clamps that can be used separately or in original combinations. You may not see an immediate use for a q-clamp. But if you have one around your workshop long enough, you'll eventually find one.

-via Hack A Day


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Disgraceful Discrimination at a Community College

Like many colleges and universities across the United States, Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi is making use of online education to extend the reach of its instruction. Humans who can access the internet can access its classes.

But not goats. The college's eLearning page is quite clear about that.

-via Marginal Revolution

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Is This Cord In Stock or Out of Stock?

(Photo: unknown)

Yessir, you need some of Home Depot's invisible cord. We call it that because only intelligent, wise, and good-looking people can see it. To everyone else, it's invisible. How many would you like to have today? I can bring them directly to the register for you.

-via reddit

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Feeding Fish with a Baby Bottle


(Video Link)

The koi at Koi Acres in Scandia, Minnesota get the very best of care. The caretakers there will even bottle feed them to get them strong and healthy. In this video, one worker uses a modified baby bottle to feed 20 to 30-pound koi.

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

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Swimming Manta Ray Looks Like a Spaceship

Robert Sorokanich of Gizmodo notices that this huge manta ray swimming straight at a diver's camera looks like a spaceship ready to swallow you whole. It's a selection from this video shot off the coast of Hawaii. The manta ray encounter begins at the 0:33 mark.


(Video Link)


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Photographer Takes Beautiful Photos of Her One-Handed Daughter

Holly Springs is a photographer in Auckland, New Zealand. Her daughter was born without a left hand and has struggled with Hirschsprung's Disease. She's an inspiration to her mother, who describes the child as "my muse and my heart." To share her muse with the world, Springs photographs her at play in worlds both real and fantastic. The bottom image is particularly impressive, so it's not surprising that it won Springs an Iris Award from the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography.

You can see more of her work at Bored Banda.

-via 123 Inspiration

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Watch Part Guitars

DeviantART member randomasusual makes sculptures out of, well, random things. Lately, she's been working with watch parts. Among other projects, she turns old watches into tiny guitars. The strings are made of solder. Very elegant!


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

How to Choose a Baby Name

(Jeff Wysaski/Pleated Jeans)

I don't see the problem. One Direction Farrier would have been a perfectly good name. Or, for something more traditional, we could have chosen Slayer Farrier. But I never win arguments with my wife and had to pay for the legal name change from my own pocket.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Tiger Hand Painting

Lara Hawker, a face painting and special effects artist, frames the fearful symmetry of the tiger with a bit of paint and a lot of skill. She writes, "Thought I'd try something a little out of my comfort zone." I'd love to see more work like this!

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

The Horse Collar Is the Ultimate Stadium Food

It's called the Horse Collar because it's shaped like the harness and because you'll need a stout draft horse to drag you home after you eat one. As you might expect, Green Bay Packers fans invented it. You can count on Cheeseheads to develop the heartiest, greasiest, most dangerous game foods on Earth.

Heath Barbato, the executive chef at the Packers' Lambeau Field, says that it's a roll with a 22-inch kielbasa, beer cheese, and fried sauerkraut.

-via I Own the World

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Frank Frazetta's The Legend of Zelda

Having rescued the princess, Link stands atop a pile of his enemies. Jeremiah Lambert composed this image inspired by a famous (and somewhat risque) painting of Conan by the great fantasy artist Frank Frazetta. It was his contribution to Art Jams, an online community of artists inspired by pop culture.

-via Geek Art Gallery


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Sin City Disney Princesses

The original Sin City is one of my favorite movies, so I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel/prequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. It's a Mirmax film. That production company was once owned by Disney, but is now longer. What would it be like if it was still owned by Disney and animated accordingly? In 6 images, Curt Rapala shows us. The Disney princesses are now cast in a gritty noir film. They'll need all of their skill, luck, and ruthlessness to survive.

P.S. Be sure to watch the Disney-version trailer for Sin City.

Continue reading

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Alarming Signs from the Dresden Public Art Show

In July and August, the city of Dresden, Germany hosted a public art festival that gathered more than 500 contributions from around the world. Tour buses took visitors around the city, showing them the best entries, such as those you see above.

You can view more photos at Rebel Art. That site is in German. Here's an English translation.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Anime Recommendations and Open Thread


(The Good, The Bad, and The Vicious t-shirt now on sale at the NeatoShop)

In February and again in June, I made anime watching recommendations and asked for them from Neatorama readers. We had great chats about anime. So let's do it again, shall we?

I learned about Knights of Sidonia from Richard Eisenbeis, Kotaku's anime critic. He calls it "a mecha anime with a realistic twist." Knights of Sidonia, which is remiscent of Battlestar Galactica, is the story of the remnant of the human race struggling to survive in an inter-generational war against genocidal aliens. It is a superb series that demonstrates thoughtful and thorough worldbuilding. Some of these elements are truly original--not rehashes of common tropes. In any science fiction series, that is a tremendous advantage.

In real history, Japan National Railways--the government agency which operated that nation's rail network--was privatized in 1987. In the series Rail Wars, this event never took place and the JNR is still in operation. The series, which you can watch on Crunchyroll, shows the adventures of four young high school trainees who are trying to secure permanent positions.

Now the story of people trying to get jobs at a government bureaucracy might not sound exciting, but it is when it's a quasi-military organization beset with terrorist attacks and conspiracies. Even if you're not a railroading junkie, you'll be impressed by the complexities of modern railroading that the characters find so fascinating.

Continue reading

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

The Names of Pokémon in Other Languages







Cartoonist James Chapman likes to illustrate the words used in different languages for common sounds, such as chewing, sneezing, and dogs barking. Now he reveals something that surprised me: Pokémon have different names in different languages.
Some of the choices are particularly good. Relaxo is an excellent name for Snorlax and Karpador works well for Magikarp. 

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Dog and Cat Are Best Friends Forever

Who says that dogs and cats can't be friends? Certainly not these two. Oliver the dog and Arashi the cat are best friends. They do everything together! Each of us would be lucky to have a friendship like this one. You can see more photos at their Instagram account.

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

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Cowboy Lizard Riding a Tortoise


(Video Link)

It can get lonely out on the range. The only one Lizzy, the bearded dragon cowpuncher, has to talk to is her faithful mount, Rambo. They work the ranch together together at Critter Camp, an animal sanctuary in German Valley, Illinois. When Lizzy and Rambo finish a cattle drive, they return home to their family, which includes foxes, kinkajous, a macaw, and a skink.

-via Geekologie

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

Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

Robot Arm Grabs Wheelchair, Stows it in the Back of the Car

Here's a clever gadget that offers a practical solution to an easily foreseeable problem. Yes, there's room for your wheelchair in the back of the car. But once you've sat in your car, how are you going to put it there? For a wheelchair user traveling independently, this could pose a serious problem.

The solution is this robot arm that I gather was either made and/or sold by MV1 Canada, a mobility equipment company in Concord, Ontario. The controls are mounted under the dashboard. The driver uses them to control the arm, which grabs the wheelchair and puts it in the back of the car.


(Video Link)

-via The Automata Blog


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

9 Months of Pregnancy in a 6 Second Vine

Vine videos are only 6 seconds long. You record by pressing the surface of your smartphone, then releasing when you want the app to stop recording. By quickly pressing and releasing, over and over again, you can record a lengthy event in segments.

Ian Padgham has developed this new medium into an art form. He brought that skill home in this video of his wife Claire Pasquier during her 9 months of pregnancy. Every month, he recorded her for 2 frames.

He should take this same approach as his child grows up. They do, after all, grow up so quickly.

-via BuzzFeed


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 

The Anatomy of Movies

(Wrong Hands/John Atkinson)

Cartoonist John Atkinson, who recently diagrammed the anatomical structure of popular musical genres, now brings that same keen analysis to film.

He reveals that movies are terribly formulaic. It would be nice to mix them up a bit. Let's have action films that end with ukulele covers of The Cure songs, explosions in romantic comedies, and weird rural people in sci-fi movies.


Load More Comments
Start New Comment Thread...
Preview Comment
Start New Thread Post Your Reply

 
Email This Post to a Friend
""

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

Page 2 of 416     prev | next | last

Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


Statistics

Blog Posts

  • Posts Written 12,471
  • Comments Received 43,147
  • Post Views 14,146,496
  • Unique Visitors 11,092,065
  • Likes Received 14,914

Comments

  • Threads Started 2,768
  • Replies Posted 1,250
  • Likes Received 692