John Farrier's Blog Posts

Coffee Ad from 1652

This new "coffee" substance sold by that Sicilian fellow, Pasqua Rosée, sounds like just the right drink for me! It tastes good and it's a veritable miracle drug according to this handbill owned by the British Museum:

It supresseth Fumes exceedingly, and therefore good against the Head-ach, and will very much stop any Defluxion of Rheumas, that distil from the Head upon the Stomach, and so prevent and help Consumptions and the Cough of the Lungs.

It is excellent to prevent and cure the Dropsy, Gout, and Scurvy.

It is known by experience to be better then any other Drying Drink for People in years, or Children that have any running humors upon them, as the Kings Evil. &c.

It is very good to prevent Mis-carryings in Child-bearing Women.

It is a most excellent Remedy against the Spleen, Hypocondriack Winds, or the like.

It will prevent Drowsiness, and make one fit for Busines, if one have occasion to Watch, and therefore you are not to drink of it after Supper, unless you intend to be watchful, for it will hinder sleep for 3 or 4 hours.

I like my coffee like I like my historical documents: strong and acid-free.

Link -via Boing Boing

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

S'More Ice Cream Sandwiches

Get in my belly!

All of the major components in Bright-Eyed Baker's amazing concoction are homemade: the marshmallows, the graham crackers and even the ice cream. She dipped the graham crackers in chocolate and mixed marshmallows and graham cracker crumbs into the ice cream. You can find her recipe at the link.

Link -via Tasteologie

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Casket Coffee Table

I want this table. I'll keep it in my living room. When my daughters start dating, I'll use it to terrify their boyfriends.

Casket Furniture, a company that produces caskets and casket-inspired household furniture, made this coffee table. You can find other works at their website, including gaming tables, phone booths, bookshelves and entertainment centers.

Link -via Gizmodo

Previously on Neatorama: Casket Pool Table

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Trash Can Handbag

Valerie S. Mann, an artist from Michigan, gives new purpose to discarded objects. Among other projects, she takes old cotton bags and turns them into eye-catching wedding dresses. This handbag, I would guess, started out as an aluminum trash can.

Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Reading Shakespeare Enhances Your Ability to Think

Do you ever feel mentally sharper after reading high literature? Philip Davis, an English professor at the University of Liverpool, does--particularly after reading works by William Shakespeare. The way that the Bard structured lines--what Davis calls the "functional shift"--seems to prime the mind. Davis wanted to know if this was a scientifically verifiable phenomenon. So several years ago, he asked people to read lines while hooked up to electroencephalography (EEG) equipment:

But around each of those sentences of functional shift we also provided three counter-examples which were shown on screen to the experiment's subjects in random order: all they had to do was press a button saying whether the sentence roughly made sense or not. Thus, below, A ("accompany") is a sentence which is conventionally grammatical, makes simple sense, and acts as a control; B ("charcoal") is grammatically odd, like a functional shift, but it makes no semantic sense in context; C ("incubate") is grammatically correct but still semantically does not make sense; D ("companion") is a Shakespearian functional shift from noun to verb, and is grammatically odd but does make sense:

A) I was not supposed to go there alone: you said you would accompany me.
B) I was not supposed to go there alone: you said you would charcoal me.
C) I was not supposed to go there alone: you said you would incubate me.
D) I was not supposed to go there alone: you said you would companion me.

What happened to our subjects' brains when they read the critical words on screen in front of them?

According to the EEG, subjects had a greater comprehension of more complex lines once they had read a line featuring Shakespeare's functional shift:

In other words, while the Shakespearian functional shift was semantically integrated with ease, it triggered a syntactic re-evaluation process likely to raise attention and give more weight to the sentence as a whole. Shakespeare is stretching us; he is opening up the possibility of further peaks, new potential pathways or developments. Our findings show how Shakespeare created dramatic effects by implicitly taking advantage of the relative independence--at the neural level--of semantics and syntax in sentence comprehension. It is as though he is a pianist using one hand to keep the background melody going, whilst simultaneously the other pushes towards ever more complex variations and syncopations.

Link -via VA Viper | Image: Hans Dunkelberg

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The Cast of Star Wars Sings "Call Me Maybe"

(Video Link)

James Covenant clipped lines from all six Star Wars movies so that the characters sing Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." I gotta tell you, I had no idea Jabba the Hutt had such a good singing voice.

-via Kotaku

Previously on Neatorama: Sesame Street's "Share It Maybe"

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This Fish Hook Is Also a Gun

There's a tiny hole in the bottom of the shaft of this fish hook. When a fish yanks on the hook, it discharges a 4mm centerfire cartridge and, hopefully, shoots the fish.

These unusual guns were produced in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. If you can find one, I wouldn't recommend using it, as doing so would almost certainly violate the second and fourth rules of gun safety.

Link | Photo: Wayne Driskill Miniatures

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The World's Smallest Art Museum

No, it's not some fly by night operation. Filip Noteradaeme's Homeless Museum of Art is an established enterprise. Since 2003, it's appeared at various locations around New York City. The clientele is highly selective--only two people can visit at the same time--so get your tickets ahead of time. Its collection is small, so you'll have plenty of time to see everything. Browse through the HoMu's website to help plan your visit.

More Information and Official Website -via Flavorwire

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My Little Pony Shotgun

I'm having trouble tracking down information about this shotgun. So far, I can find just one mention on Equestria Daily.

It's not the first working MLP firearm we've seen. Last week, we saw a Smith & Wesson 1911 with the Rainbow Dash cutie mark inscribed on the grips. This shotgun of unknown provenance is similarly decorated with the symbol of Ponyville's master flier.


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Famous Dishes from Literature

Graphic designer Dinah Fried had a great idea for a photo series: meals from famous works of fiction. Pictured above is one from The Catcher in the Rye. Others at the link include Moby Dick and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

As much as I loved Watership Down, I doubt that photos of the characters' meals would be interesting. So its absence is not a great loss.

Link -via Nag on the Lake

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Woman Robs Convenience Store with Curling Iron

It's a gripping true crime story that will curl your hair. A woman in Kingsport, Tennessee walked into a convenience store and robbed it. She was armed with a (presumably cool) curling iron concealed in her hoodie:

The clerk, who would later identify the suspect by first name, said Yates pointed an item which was concealed inside her hoodie's pocket, acting as if it were a weapon. She allegedly demanded money, which was handed over, then left the store.

Approximately eight minutes later Yates was located jogging through a nearby parking lot. She was stopped by KPD Officer Andrea Mullins and positively identified as the suspect.

A pat down located a wad of cash in Yates' sweatpants. Meanwhile a curling iron, believed to be the "weapon" Yates had in her hoodie pocket, was found in bushes outside the Sunoco.

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: Maegan

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How to Make a Breadcrab

Bruk bakes amazing things, most especially breadcrabs. And if you think this one is impressive, you should see the one that's built with a dip reservoir in the middle.

Link and Recipe -via Geekosystem

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Pee-wee Herman's The Dark Knight Rises

(Video Link)

For this clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Paul Reubens voiced over all of the dialogue using the many tones of Pee-wee Herman. But that's just a taste of the entire film, which is excellent, except for Chairry's horrible, horrible death scene.

-via Nerd Approved

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Honk to Open the Door

Dieter Volkers's Doorclaxon is a combination squeeze horn and door knob. Use it to announce your arrival with dignity.

Link | Photo: Dieter Volkers

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Watermelon Dragon

Shawn Feeney refers to his creations as "edible alchemy." I like that. The FBI-trained forensic artist makes fanciful sculptures from fruits and vegetables. This dragon sculpture is composed of 14 watermelons and 2 pineapples.

Link -via Geekologie

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DeLorean Monster Truck

Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads. That's all thanks to Rich W.'s amazing DeLorean DMC-12 monster truck. You can view more pictures of it and his other DeLorean mods at the link.

Link -via DVICE

Previously by Rich W.: The DeLorean Limo

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Professional Snuggler Will Cuddle for Money

Jacqueline Samuel's business, dubbed The Snuggery, is the best place to go for a good cuddle:

Jackie started thinking about a business centered around cuddling at the start of grad school, and says she and her sisters even tried selling hugs on the street for $1 each, making up to $80 per day. And although she hasn’t been able to get certified as a professional cuddler, the University of Rochester graduate has studied the “Cuddle Sutra” and is versed in over 100 non-sexual positions. Still most of the time, she and her clients start out by spooning. Some of her affection-seeking customers (all men) have questioned her about getting some extra attention, but Samuel says most of them respect her boundaries.

Video at the link.

Be sure to let us know in the comments if you think that the NeatoShop should offer this service.

Company Website -via Oddity Central | Photo: The Snuggery

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The Liberator Pistol

The FP-45 pistol was a small and specialized but potentially terrifying weapon. Technologically, it was simple: it fired just a single .45 caliber bullet down an unrifled barrel. It was so cheap that the United States could afford to manufacture hundreds of thousands of them and airdrop them over Nazi-occupied territory. The plan was that untrained civilians would use them to kill solitary German soldiers:

The pistols would be air dropped by the hundreds of thousands into enemy occupied territory, where it was expected the Germans would never be able to recover all of them. Useless as a battlefield weapon, the issue of providing useful weapons to the enemy was moot. On the other hand... as a weapon of terror in the hands of the resistance, the Liberator might have had extraordinary value. A common civilian, alone with a conquering German soldier, suddenly produces the single shot .45 and drops the man in a surprise attack, afterwards making off with the soldiers weapons. Now the German Army is down one soldier, the resistance has one more battle rifle, and every other German soldier has to wonder.... will he be next?

I say might have had, as the OSS never carried out the plan to any degree. Aside from a few FP-45's finding their way to the Philippine resistance and perhaps China, the Liberators were not deployed as expected. They languished in warehouses, and after the war... almost all were destroyed.

At the link, you can find more pictures and a video of a Liberator being fired.

Link | Photo: Liftarn

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My Little Pony Holster

DeviantART member Annadill made this holster for his TM Colt Python. He inscribed it with the three apple cutie mark of Applejack. Unlike standard Pythons, this one doesn't fire .357 cartridges, but airsoft pellets. Annadill made it for the Equestria Task Force, his My Little Pony-themed airsoft team.


P.S. A previous MLP post of mine earned a facepalm from gunblogger SayUncle. It was one of my proudest moments as a blogger. I'm aiming for a full facedesk from him now.

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Doctor Who Plush Bunnies

The Doctor bunny, Donna bunny and Rose bunny are ready for another adventure. Etsy seller Catherine Boucher crafted these plushes as well as others featuring characters from Game of Thrones and Harry Potter.

Link -via The Mary Sue

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Whopper with Cheese

One thousand slices of cheese.

Researchers at RocketNews24, who previously invented the Whopper with 1,050 strips of bacon, have once again pushed back the boundaries of burger science:

This time Mr. Sato was considerate enough to call Burger King 3 days ahead and ask if 1000 slices of cheese on a Whopper was a thing that could actually happen. The manager graciously agreed to let him have it his way and 3 days later he went to the store to pick it up.

Like last time, the burger was so epically huge that the staff had to tape together several sheets of wrapping paper in order to completely cover it. They also provided Mr. Sato with a few plastic trays to load the 12kg (25lbs) burger on so he could safely transport it to our office.

Link -via Kotaku

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The Book Fountain

(Video Link)

In Budapest, the capital of Hungary, you can find this lovely book-shaped fountain. With each spray, a page of water turns.

-via Bit Rebels

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Why is this woman spinning? Why does the blog RRRRRRRR_GIF consist entirely of pictures of this woman spinning in different settings? I'll bet that it's an art project.

Okay, that may not make sense. Let me try a different approach. Ponder the words of the Immortal Bard, who can shine light into the depths of this mystery:

Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick her up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in the pick-up truck
She got runned over by a damned old train

You follow what I'm saying?

Link -via Althouse

UPDATE 7/13/12: The ever-resourceful Christopher Jobson has found more information about the group that makes these gifs.

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What Snake Venom Does to Blood

(Video Link)

This is amazing! In a BBC nature documentary, Steve Leonard introduces viewers to some of the animal world's deadliest predators. In this clip, he places a drop of snake venom in a cup of blood. Watch what happens to the blood within seconds.

-via Blame It on the Voices

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Buy Extra Insurance Just in Case

Jake Palmer, a real estate agent in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, promises that future owners will encounter no paranormal problems in this house. He guarantees it in bold print on the sign in front:

“This house was kind of an ideal spot to try this for a few reasons, partly because of the (young) demographic that it is going to attract, the location and also because the sellers have a really good sense of humour. They were really excited at the idea of trying something new,” Palmer, an agent with Re/Max, told the Star Wednesday.

Other descriptors on the sign in front of the 68-year-old home have included: “Indoor Plumbing; Love Shack, Baby; It’s a Brick, House; No Dandelions; Fog Resistant; Batteries Included.”

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: Jake Palmer

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Dog Tries, Fails to Eat Passing Cars

(YouTube link)

Abbey, a dog owned by YouTube user rsyager, figured that it would be easier to catch cars if she was in a car, too. Alas, Abbey's success rate remains appallingly low. Keep at it!

-via Geekosystem

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Phantom Vibrations

Have you ever felt your phone vibrate, but the sensation wasn't real? Researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne call it "phantom vibration." The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer summarized their study in eleven points:

1. Many, many people experience phantom vibrations. 89 percent of the undergrad participants in this current study had felt phantom vibrations. In the two other studies on this in the literature -- a 2007 doctoral thesis, which surveyed the general population, and a 2010 survey of staff at a Massachusetts hospital -- majorities of participants experienced phantom vibrations.

2. They happen pretty often. The survey of undergrads and medical professionals agree: about ten percent experience phantom vibrations every day. 88 percent of the doctors, specifically, felt vibrations between a weekly and monthly basis.

3. If you use your phone more, you're more likely to feel phantom vibrations. The 2007 graduate study found that people who heard phantom rings roughly used twice as many minutes and sent five times as many texts as those who didn't.

Link -via Kottke | Photo: Colin Kloecker

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Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Hangs Out on Street Corner Answering Questions from Passersby


What's great about this video is that no question is too simplistic for Dr. Leon Lederman to take seriously. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics, but he's not above helping ordinary people grasp the wonders of the universe.

-via Boing Boing

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One Line

Redditor renbo draws portraits that consist of one line each. The line doesn't cross itself or end. It's just one long loop. For him/her, it's a meditative act:

it puts my brain in a good place, completely random and i don,t know where i will go next

You can find portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and others at the link.

Link -via reddit

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My Little Alien

Something's wrong with this pony--my Pinkie sense is tingling. Mari Kasurinen crafted this mad vision of H.R. Giger's alien queen from sculpey and painted it with acrylic.


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Profile for John Farrier

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