John Farrier's Blog Posts

17x17x17 Rubik's Cube-Type Puzzle

Dutch puzzle maker Oskar van Deventer designed this mindblender. It's like a Rubik's Cube, but has 17 cubes on an edge instead of 3:

When Oskar heard of the world records being set for twisty puzzles, like the 7x7x7, 9x9x9 and 11x11x11 by Panagiotis Verdes from Greece, he wanted to try his hand at setting a new record himself. With sponsorship from his close friend Claus Wenicker, Oskar set about designing and testing a number of prototypes, and his third attempt was printed successfully with Shapeways. Sorting and dyeing all 1539 pieces took Oskar 10 hours of work, followed by 5 hours of assembling. The result is an oversized (140 millimeter, 5.5 inches) and fully functioning "Over The Top" 17x17x17 puzzle.

It currently sells for just over $2,000.

Link via Technabob | Photos: Shapeways

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New T-Shirts from the NeatoShop:

Celebrity Portraits Made from Their Own Trash

Through uncertain methods, San Francisco-based artist Jason Mecier convinces celebrities to donate personal trash to them. He turns the individual contributions into portraits of each celebrity:

He uses junk and discarded items donated by top stars, so yes…that Trojan condom box in the top left corner of Tina Fey‘s portrait actually came from Tina herself. Mecier has spent over 10 years creating outrageous portraits and is now so popular that stars contact him directly and pay $1,500 for a portrait, which he gladly makes from a bag of their junk that they provide.

Celebs who have asked for the portraits include Chris Rock, Pink, Tori Spelling, and Chelsea Handler, whose portrait includes empty vodka bottles, a Snuggie box, Martini glasses, bottle opener, buttons, batteries, chapstick, dice, pens, badges and movie tickets.

Link via Crackajack | Artist's Website

Previously: Jason Mecier's Food Art

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Motoi Yamamoto's Salt Labyrinths

After his sister died of brain cancer, Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto began constructing enormous, detailed labyrinths. They're temporary installations made out of ground salt and reflect a special significance that his culture places on that mineral:

In Japanese culture salt is not only a necessary element to sustain human life, but it is also a symbol of purification. He uses salt in loose form to create intricate labyrinth patterns on the gallery floor or in baked brick form to construct large interior structures. As with the labyrinths and innavigable passageways, Motoi views his installations as exercises which are at once futile yet necessary to his healing.

Link via Dude Craft | Artist's Website

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Star Wars Cantina Band Performance on 2 Pianos

(Video Link)

Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson are two master pianists who composed and performed a concert series called "Star Wars Fantasy". It remixes and overlays the scores from classic Star Wars in a particularly lovely fashion. The above video is one sample that emphasizes the Cantina Band theme, but weaves in others.

via Great White Snark | Official Website

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Tom Falconer's Frozen Bubbles

Photographer Tom Falconer creates and captures images of frozen bubbles. Goli Mohammed of Make interviewed Falconer and asked him how he does it:

For frozen bubbles I usually wait until it is (at the warmest) 10 below freezing (22 F) and even at that temp they will take a few minutes to freeze. Again it needs to be extremely calm, because you'll need to blow the bubble then catch it on the wand or some kind of wet surface and wait for it to freeze. As it freezes the thick swirls in the bubble will stop moving, and little fingers of ice crystals will creep across the surface. They don't freeze into something that will shatter, they tend to be somewhat rubbery and will eventually collapse on itself.

Link via Make

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Cat Earns Multiple Advanced Degrees

Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, is a fully credentialed psychotherapist. Her owner, Dr. Steve K. D. Eichel -- who has a real Ph.D. -- was tired of finding fakes passing themselves as psychotherapists thanks to diploma mills. So he decided to get his cat credentialed:

A reporter from a major magazine wrote to "Dr. Zoe D. Katze" for input on an article she was writing on hypnosis for childbirthing. She had stumbled across Dr. Zoe's name on the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists' website. I had to tell her the truth.

Dr. Zoe D. Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, is a cat. In fact, she is my cat.[...]

Dr. Katze's credentials look impressive. She is certified by three major hypnotherapy associations, having met their "strict training requirements" and having had her background thoroughly reviewed. She holds a Diplomate in psychotherapy from an association that claims to promote the highest standards among psychotherapists.

Link via io9 | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Edward Townend Photography

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Firefighters Now Have Jet-Powered Water Cannon

The firefighters in Luoyang, Henan Province, China, have an awesome new tool to use against fires. It's a water cannon that can shoot 3 tons of water 120 meters away. One source says that it's powered by a fighter jet engine. The total cost was about $456,000. You can watch a video of the machine at the link.

Link | Photo: GizChina

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NASA Considers Lander with Skateboard Feet

Well, no. Although it does look like NASA is improvising in the light of a thriftier budget. What's actually happening is that engineers put a model lander on modified skateboards to move it around during testing:

The lander prototype was placed on modified skateboards and a customized track system as a low-cost solution to control movement during final testing of the prototype’s sensors, onboard computer, and thrusters. The functional test focused on ensuring that all system components work seamlessly to sense, communicate, and command the lander's movements.[...]

The lander prototype will aid NASA’s development of a new generation of small, smart, versatile landers for airless bodies such as the moon and asteroids. The lander's design is based on cutting-edge technology, which allows precision landing in high-risk, but high-priority areas, enabling NASA to achieve scientific and exploration goals in previously unexplored locations.

Link via DVICE | Photo: NASA

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Tie-Tying Machine

(Video Link)

The rabbit goes over log, then under the log, then through the log, and then back over the log. Or something like that. You could also just use Seth Goldstein's "Why Knot?", a kinetic sculpture that ties ties.

Link via CrunchGear

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What Happens When a Train Engine Throws a Piston?

Well, this is what happens. A diesel locomotive with a 4400 hp V16 engine passed through Independence, Louisiana. It lost a piston and threw it straight through a house. You can see more photos of the damage at the link.

Link via Jalopnik | Photo: AgTalk

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Madonna (Ciccone) with Child

I've having trouble verifying any information about this painting, but I'm posting it anyway. It's a hilarious take on the Madonna and Child motif in Western art. Madonna Ciccone is the pop singer who goes by just her first name "Madonna".

This oil on canvas painting was allegedly made by A. Palmer.

via Ace of Spades HQ

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Woman Earns Master's Degree in Beatles Studies

Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy is the first recipient of a new graduate studies program at Liverpool Hope University that focuses on the work of The Beatles:

The launch of the unique MA in Beatles, Popular Music and Society was a world first when it took its first class. Zahalan-Kennedy was the first to accept her degree in person from the university.

The course looks at the studio sound and composition of the Beatles and how Liverpool helped to shape their music. The MA examines the significance of their music and how it helped to define identities, culture and society.

Mike Brocken, founder and leader of the Beatles MA at Liverpool Hope University, said the postgraduate degree makes Zahalan-Kennedy a member of a select group of popular music experts.

"Mary-Lu now joins an internationally recognized group of scholars of Popular Music Studies who are able to offer fresh and thought-provoking insights into the discipline of musicology."

I'll just leave this here. (via)

Link | University Website | Photo: AP

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Ending Left Turns

UPS saved a lot of money by eliminating left turns from its delivery routes. Would this practice be effective on a larger scale? At Smithsonian, Sarah Zielinski writes:

UPS minimizes left turns for its delivery trucks to save on fuel. (And it works, as the Mythbusters demonstrated last year.) In the 1960s, the state of Michigan designed an intersection known as the “Michigan left” that prevents people driving on side streets from making left turns onto a multi-laned divided road; if they wish to go left, they’ll first have to go right and then make a U-turn. And superstreets, or restricted crossing U-turns, which are found in some other parts of the country, such as North Carolina, work in a similar way, preventing left turns. It’s never really caught on, though, since it seems to be a big inconvenience.

However, a new study from North Carolina State University says that superstreets are actually more efficient than traditional intersections. The researchers collected data from three superstreets in North Carolina that had traffic lights and looked at travel time for both right and left turns as well as passing straight through. They also examined collision data from 13 superstreet intersections in that state that didn’t have traffic lights.

Link via Marginal Revolution | Photo by Flickr user taberandrew used under Creative Commons license

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Armored Cat

Your cat doesn't have a helmet? Why not? deviantART user Diarment made one for his cat Hugo. It's reminiscent of Princess Leia's slave girl costume, if Leia had been a cat.

Link via Super Punch

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Dictator-Style Self Portraits

In a series that he calls Kim Jong Phil, artist Phillip Toledano depicted himself as a heroic leader, much as North Korea's propaganda art shows dictator Kim Jong-il. He explained that this is a natural thing for an artist to do:

It occurred to me that being an artist is a great deal like being a dictator.

Just like a dictator, I must live in a closed loop of self-delusion. A place where my words and ideas always ring true. A gilded daydream of grandiosity. There can be no room for doubt. I must be convinced that I have something vital to say. I must believe that the world is waiting in keen anticipation to hear my message.

Link via Crackajack

Previously on Phillip Toledano:
Bankrupt Offices Photography
Mr. Toledano
The Reluctant Father

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Should Heat Generated by Crematorium Be Used to Warm a Swimming Pool?

In Redditch, UK, there's a recreation center next to a large crematorium. The latter generates a lot of heat, which is currently going to waste. So why not make use of it?

Redditch council in Worcestershire says it can save £14,500 a year by warming its new Abbey Stadium sports centre with heat from the crematorium's incinerators that would otherwise be lost.

The council, which says it is the first project of its kind in the UK, is holding briefings later this week with faith groups, funeral directors and members of the public to discuss the scheme.

But some local people are concerned. Simon Thomas, of Thomas Brothers funeral directors, said: "I don't know how comfortable people would feel about the swimming pool being heated due to the death of a loved one, I think it's a bit strange and eerie."

Link via DVICE | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user Qfamily used under Creative Commons license

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Propensity of Cussing in the United States

Cartographer Daniel Huffman measured the propensity of six swear words in tweets by geographic location within the 48 contiguous states. So this map is actually adjusted for population. Redder areas swear a lot more than blacker areas.

Link via Geekologie

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Perfect Dexter Parody

(Video Link)

If you're not familiar with the television show Dexter, this parody by the comedy company Landline TV will bring you up to speed in about a minute. Summing up the character Debra Morgan with the verbal statement "swear word" was an inspired touch.

via Urlesque | Official Website

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Masking Tape Graffiti

Australian graffiti artist BUFFdiss works in masking tape. He's especially fond of making giants in public places so that people look like dolls in comparison. In the links, you can find an interview with him. BUFFdiss says that using masking tape permits him greater leeway with authorities who would object to the use of more permanent media.

Link via Make | Video | Photo: Mick Bradley

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The Typical Vegan is 30 Feet Tall and Radiates Anti-Gravitons

If you think that vegans are just people who avoid animal products, you have a rather incomplete understanding of a complex people with a unique history, culture, and physiology. Did you know that they have horns on their heads from which they emit anti-gravitons? It's true, as this page from the Essential Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe attests.

Link via Boing Boing | Amazon Link

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Embroidered Wall Tentacle

Sure, you could have an ordinary wall tentacle, but what fun is that? If you're going to really shock your mother-in-law, it needs to be in a traditional craft, such as embroidery. Craftster user jemimah made this solid work of embroidery using a technique called stumpwork. That involves working the fabric over a wire base to form a solid object.

Link via Geek Crafts

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Engineer Designs His Own Heart Valve

Tal Golesworthy has the typical engineer's mindset: he saw one solution to a problem and figured that he could do a better job. Specifically, his aortic root was growing so large that it would soon split. Golesworthy looked what the doctors were doing and knew that he could come up with a superior means of measuring a replacement:

What excited him was the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer-aided design (CAD). He believed that by combining these technologies with rapid prototyping (RP) techniques he could manufacture a tailor-made support that would act as an internal bandage to keep his aorta in place.[...]

’It seemed to me to be pretty obvious that you could scan the heart structure, model it with a CAD routine, then use RP to create a former on which to manufacture a device,’ explained Golesworthy. ’In a sense, conceptually, it was very simple to do. Actually engineering that was significantly more complex.’

The process of developing a scanning protocol proved to be difficult as the movement of the heart complicated the images and made their positions unclear. The engineers, working alongside medical radiographers, found that they had different perspectives. ’They wanted pictures that showed the structures in a way that their colleagues could understand. What we wanted were images with which we could take dimensions,’ said Golesworthy.

So Golesworthy and his colleagues developed a means of scanning the heart consistently at the same point in the cardiac cycle so that they could take accurate measurements of the component that they would need to synthesize. Once they had a computer model of what they needed, they made a functional one from polyethylene terephthalate, which is a common medical polymer.

Link via Popular Science | Photo: The Engineer

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Happy First Blogiversary to Geekosystem!

Today, our friends at Geekosystem are celebrating a full year in business. To Robert, Susana, and the other contributors there -- happy blogiversary!

Link | Photo by Flickr user Betsssssy used under Creative Commons license

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Crocheted 3D Guns

Artist Inger Carina made a crocheted gunbelt with matching three-dimensional revolvers. The only thing that she needs to add is some speedloaders.

Link via Dude Craft

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Goldfish Bowl Helmet

(Video Link)

The Edwardian Ball is an annual art fair and dance focused around steampunk and goth styles in reflection the work of artist Edward Gorey. The most recent one took place just a few days ago in San Francisco. One costumed attendant was spotted wearing a helmet that looked convincingly like a fishbowl with life fish inside.

via Crackajack | Official Website

UPDATE 1/28/11: Commenter Laurasita clarifies the term "Edwardian". It refers to artist Edward Gorey, not King Edward VII.

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Goose and Bull Love Each Other

A goose and a bull near Grisborne, New Zealand, have been attached to each other for ten years:

The friendship between a Highland cattle beast and a goose was forged in January 2001 in the paddocks of Knapdale Eco Lodge off Back Ormond Road, after the two bonded following the death of one of their mates.

The goose has since become an unlikely member of the Highland cattle herd and is completely devoted to Hamish, born two weeks after the goose lost her mate.

The unlikely pair have been inseparable since.

The goose is a jealous lover and tries to drive off any other animal that approaches the bull. The owner notes that the relationship is somewhat one sided -- the goose is more fond of the bull than the other way around.

Link | Photo: Rebecca Grunwell/Gisborne Herald

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Modular Pocket Knife

I searched for a long time before I found the multi-tool that I really wanted. But I'm still not completely satisfied because I don't need the fish scaler that comes with it. The design company Quirky may have the ideal solution: a modular multi-tool featuring implements that can be added and removed to suit the individual user. It has seventeen tools that fit inside a kit. Twisting the slotted caps lets the user access the components and swap them out.

Link via Make | Screenshot: Make

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Snowmobile Thingy Pushes a Single Skiier

The Skizee was originally designed for the ski patrol, but it can also serve recreational purposes. The 10.5 hp 4-stroke engine can propel a skiier to high speeds, as you can see in the video at the link. Naturally, this is a product of Canada.

Link via DVICE

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Anatomical Heart Cake

Cake artist Lily Vanilli makes cakes that look like human hearts. Musician Tim Wheeler featured one in one of his music videos, which you can watch at the link. In the video, he devours the cake, and it's surprisingly realistic on the inside, too. At least, what I would imagine a person eating a human heart would look like. Because I've never actually seen that happen. So that's more of a speculative assumption on my part.

Link via Nerdcore

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Super Mario Bros.: The Ballet

Children at the Maria Imaculada School in Porto Alegre, Brazil, put on a Super Mario-themed classical ballet. It was entitled "The Abduction of Princess Peach." I'm waiting until they do Grand Theft Auto.

Link (Google Translate) via Kotaku | Photo: Reino do Cogumelo

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Profile for John Farrier

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