John Farrier's Blog Posts

Americans, What Surprised You the Most When Visiting Europe?

baggageRedditor Hika-Tamari asked "Americans of Reddit, what surprised you when you visited Europe?" Here are some of the more interesting answers:


The Italian's way of driving. Never in anytime of my life was I more paranoid of being hit by a moped.


I first went to Europe as a twelve-year-old kid, and I was shocked by how OLD everything was. Here, a church that's a hundred years old seems ancient, but in Europe you really do have ancient structures. The sense of centuries and millennia of well-recorded history having played out everywhere I went was sort of crazy. Obviously, we have ancient Native American history, but where I'm from that part of our culture isn't always evident.

And nudity! It was often no big thing in advertisements and television. Not so in America, where a single stray nipple can practically bring down the whole television system.

I also also surprised how much of the landscape reminded me of home. I'm from the American midwest and sections of Germany and Ireland looked just like I was driving through home. But then I'd see some small stone wall that had been around for centuries and I'd be reminded how different the landscape is!


how everyone uses normal speaking voices, and how loud i am as an American.


People in Scotland (Specifically Glasgow) are the nicest I've ever met, seriously. People would have friendly conversations with you at bus stops, and one person even lent me £2 spare cash at a gas station for petrol. It seems to be 90% of people there are like that. Very unusual.

Neatoramanauts, if you've traveled in Europe, what surprised you about it?


(Photo: We All Have Baggage luggage tag, now on sale in the NeatoShop.)

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Zoological Marketing

Pie Comic

Never skimp on quality marketing. You may think that you can just do it yourself, but as John McNamee explains, terrible things go wrong when you don't think through product nomenclature.


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Volcanic Eruption as Seen from Space

Mount Pavlof, a volcano in Alaska's Aleutian Islands, is currently erupting. Astronauts on the International Space Station were in a great position to photograph it in action. Do you see that streak across the sky in the lower photograph? That's the cloud of volcanic ash.

Link -via Alexis C. Madrigal

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These Sculptures Are Made Entirely of Wood

These sculptures are amazing! Tom Eckert, a professor of art at Arizona State University, carved these incredibly realistic sculptures of everyday objects. At the link, you can view more photos of his work as well as watch an interview of him.

Link | Artist's Website

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Freddy Krueger's Sweater of Souls

(Video Link)

Fedoras are popular these days. I assume that's because Freddy Krueger, the demonic villain of the Nightmare on Elm Street horror moviee series, wore them. I never got into either the fedora craze or the movies that inspired it, but I could totally wear this sweater that writhes with the souls that Kreuger captured.

Link (Translation) -via Technabob

Content warning: horror.

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Other Great Ideas for Pop Culture Statues

Wolf Gnards

Detroit is finally getting a statue of its legendary hero, RoboCop. But according to Wolf Gnards, there are other great pop culture heroes worthy of their own statues. For example, San Dimas, California should erect a statue in honor of Bill and Ted of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Well, they will establish a great new civilization.

You can read his other suggestions at the link.


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Little Girl Cosplaying as Stan Lee While Posing with Stan Lee

Stan Lee

A little girl dressed as famed comic book writer Stan Lee at the Motor City Comic Con has captured the hearts of of the people of the internet. Here's a photo of her (right) with the great man himself (left).

Link -via Fashionably Geek

(Photo: Vincent James Cracchiolo)

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Akira Remade with Characters from The Simpsons

Bartkira is Ryan Humphrey's project to recreate the iconic manga Akira using characters from The Simpsons. So far, he's enlisted over 300 artists in the venture to participate in the development of Neo-Springfield. You can view illustrations from it at the link.

Link -via Booooooom

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Why Star Trek Made San Francisco the Center of Its Universe

San Francisco

In the Star Trek canon, the United Federation of Planets was formed in San Francisco, California. Starfleet maintains its headquarters there. Starfleet Academy lies within sight of the bay. Much of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home takes place in that city. More than any other city, San Francisco is the center of the Star Trek universe.

Why San Francisco as opposed to, say, Lubbock? Or Dallas, Brownsville, San Antonio, Longview or other excellent options? Ted Trautman of Wired examined why that city was important to Gene Roddenberry and a symbol of Star Trek. San Francisco was a Navy town, a site of technological innovation and a diverse, international city. Trautman writes:

Plenty of science fiction is city-specific: it’s impossible to imagine RoboCop anywhere but Detroit, or Blade Runner outside of Los Angeles. What sets Star Trek apart is the attention it pays to one little city, barely seven miles across, when the other points on its journey are not cities or countries, but planets and star systems. Many of Star Trek’s struggles take place not long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but in a city we have already built, just a couple centuries down the road. And it’s a city whose culture of curiosity, craftsmanship and tolerance have left an indelible mark on one of the world’s most successful sci-fi franchises.

What other cities on Earth do you think would represent Star Trek well?


(Image: CBS)

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Chocolate Avocado Ice Cream

chocolate avocado ice cream

Do you maintain a gluten-free diet? You might want to check out this blog I've just discovered: Mom, What's For Dinner? The author, Christi Silbaugh, specializes in creative recipes for that dietary need. Here's her scratch-made ice cream that combines chocolate with--oddly enough--avocados! You can find her recipe at the link.

Link -via Tasteologie

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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College Students Invent a Shoe That Generates Electricity with Every Step

Undergraduate mechanical engineering students at Rice University built a shoe that recovers and stores energy generated by walking. This energy could be used to power small electronic devices, such as cell phones:

The Agitation Squad – Carlos Armada, Julian Castro, David Morilla and Tyler Wiest – decided last fall to focus their attention on where the rubber meets the road to create a shoe-mounted generator. Another device to draw energy from the motion of the knee had already been developed and patented and led them to analyze other sources of energy.

Working with the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston, the team determined the force at the heel delivered far more potential for power than any other part of the foot.

“We went to the lab and saw the force distribution across the bottom of your foot, to see where the most force is felt,” Morilla said. “We found it would be at the heel and at the balls of your toes, as you push off. We went with the heel because, unless you’re sprinting, you’re letting gravity do the work.” […]

The prototypes deliver an average of 400 milliwatts, enough to charge a battery, in benchtop tests (and a little less in walking tests, where the moving parts don’t move as far). They send energy through wires to a belt-mounted battery pack. A voltage regulator keeps it flowing steadily to the battery.

The PediPower hits the ground before any other part of the prototype shoe. A lever arm strikes first. It is attached to a gearbox that replaces much of the shoe’s sole and turns the gears a little with each step. The gears drive a motor mounted on the outside of the shoe that generates electricity to send up to the battery.

You can watch a video of their device at the link.

Link -via Inhabitat

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This Train to the Zoo Has Animal Seats for Kids

There's a colorful train that carries visitors to the Asahiyama Zoo in northern Japan. It's designed to amuse and excite kids. Among its features are animal shaped seats. Please let me sit in one, too!


(Images: JR)

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Star Trek Knuckles Tattoo


Jason Criss's knuckles tattoo shows the Enterprise-D from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He writes:

It took me a while to figure out what kind of Star Trek tattoo I wanted to get. I finally decided that the enterprise d on my knuckles was the best choice for me. It’s still a work in progress there will be more shading and colors after the initial outline heals. let me know what you think of them so far.

Note that he can perform a saucer separation by just moving his fists apart.


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How to Carve an Apple into McDonald's French Fries


All you need is toothpicks, a sharp knife and a steady hand. In a few minutes, you'll have a healthy food item that still won't fool your kids one bit.

-via Obvious Winner

(Photo: unknown)

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Helen Mirren Fulfills Sick Little Boy's Dream of Tea with the Queen


Oliver Burton, 10, is fighting a form of bone cancer. He wanted to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II. Unfortunately, she was not available. But Helen Mirren, the actress who portrayed the Queen in a 2006 biopic and in an ongoing stage production, was. Tara Brady of The Daily Mail writes about Dame Mirren's in-character meeting with Oliver:

Catherine and father James were so delighted that their son actually thought the actress was the real Queen.

His father James Browne said: 'She stayed in character for the whole thing. Oliver thought she was the real Queen, and well, that's good enough for us.

'She was really lovely. She did the whole thing - had a butler there, was dressed in costume and did it all properly for him.

'She sat in Oliver's wheelchair and gave him her big chair. She had a glass of coke together and biscuits and little sandwiches and they even brought in her corgis from the show, Coco and Roco.

'She was wonderful and in some of the photos you do a double take because she really does look like the real Queen.

'She knighted him and told everyone that they had to call him Sir Oliver. He had a brilliant day.

He took his British flag and got her to sign it and just waved and waved it all day.'

At the link, you can see photos of their meeting.

Link -via The Mary Sue

(Image: Panthé Pictures)

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Shetland Pony Adopts Orphaned Lamb


Georgina Hirst, a veterinarian, spotted these two friends in the Black Mountains of Wales:

"The lamb was obviously hungry and it's quite amazing that it learnt to suckle from the mare. It might have just copied the foal."

The vet, from Hay on the Wye, Powys, added: "Trying to get mares to adopt foals can be very challenging so it's incredible the mare was so receptive of the lamb.

"She would even stand guard while the foal and the lamb slept cuddled together." 


(Photo: BNPS)

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

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Toaster Hat

toaster hat

DeviantART member Fox Blue made this sporty hat from an old toaster. It's probably hot in the summer, but handy for those frequent toast emergencies. He writes "it's a lot lighter then I thought it would be." The should be a dial for adjusting that.


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Grizzly Bear Tries to Eat a Camera

(Video Link)

This is no teddy bear! Brad Josephs, a nature guide, left his GoPro camera out where a bear could find it. The bear wasn't able to eat it, but his attempt lets you see the inside of his mouth. Watch the video, then change your underwear.

-via Dave Barry

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LEDs in an Engagement Ring


Ben's engagement ring is awesome not only because it lights up, but because it lights up when he and his girlfriend hold hands:

Putting a battery of capacitor inside a ring is nigh impossible, so [Ben] decided to power the LEDs with an inductive charging circuit. A coil of wire wound around kapton tape serves as the inductor and a small SMD capacitor powers three very bright and very tiny LEDs.

The inductive charging unit itself is a masterpiece of hackery; [Ben] wanted the ring to light up whenever he and his ladyfriend were holding hands. To do this, [Ben]‘s inductive charger is also a wearable device: a large coil of wire is the charger’s transformer and was would to fit around [Ben]‘s wrist. The entire charging circuit can be easily hidden under a jacket sleeve, making for a nearly magical light-up ring.

You can watch a video of the ring at the link.


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Indiana Jones and the Last CAPTCHA


But, in the Latin alphabet, Jehovah begins with--wait, no, that's not going to help us. And how do I type a tau on this keyboard?

Indiana Jones will never make it past Josh Mecouch's test.

Link -via Nerd Approved

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Rental Ads Translated


In defense of item #3, I would like to point out that the bathtub is the only place in the apartment long enough for an average sized adult to stretch out. No extra charge for the pillow.


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Tintype Photographs on Metal Cans

Tintype is an old photographic process that imprints images on sheets of iron. David Emitt Adams used this method to print landscape images of the American Southwest on metal cans. He writes:

For this body of work, I collect discarded cans from the desert floor, some over four decades old, which have earned a deep reddish-brown, rusty patina. This patina is the evidence of light and time, the two main components inherent in the very nature of photography. I use these objects to speak of human involvement with this landscape and create images on their surfaces through a labor-intensive 19th century photographic process known as wet-plate collodion. 

Link -via Junkculture

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Nutella Martini

Nutella Martini

Because there's no such thing as too much Nutella, Lisa Douglas invented the Nutella cocktail. First, soften Nutella in a microwave oven and dribble it along the inside of a glass. Then add 1.5 shots of Frangelico liqueur, 1 shot of Godiva chocolate liqueur and 4-5 shots of chocolate milk. Drink immediately and repeat the process as long as necessary.

Link -via Tasteologie

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Pringles Stargate

Pringles Stargate

The Ancients made this mysterious device and redditor getoffmypropartay painstakingly reassembled it. There's no Dial Home Device, so we must manually dial an address. To which world should we travel first?


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Jumping between the Goat's Horns


Svolværgeita, a 490-foot pinnacle of Fløyfjellet mountain in Norway, was first climbed in 1910. You might think that's pretty late, but the summit is a near vertical ascent.

Because of its shape, the top is called the Goat's Horns. Climbers who reach the top sometimes try to leap between the two horns. Would you do it?


(Photo: NFK)

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Propane Tank Benches

Propane--it's what American philosopher Hank Hill calls "God's gas." Sculptor Colin Selig takes the tanks that gas is stored in and turns them into benches. Some are conventional and still look like propane tanks. Others are, you can see, delightfully eccentric.

Link -via NotCot

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For their project Baguette-Me-Nots, comedians Tim Bierbaum and John Miller asked fellow comedians to pose for photos with baguettes. The results are hilarious. Be sure to browse their Tumblr blog at the link.

Link and Article -via Lustik

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Fire Extinguisher Bottle Holder


It's an emergency! Reach for a bottle of the good stuff! Studio Ferre's upcycled fire extinguisher holds a liquor bottle for truly desperate times.

Link -via Recyclart

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Arthropod Pancakes


Pancake artist Nathan Shields polled his Facebook friends, asking them to identify their favorite arthropods. Although my favorite is the spicy Cajun crawfish, I'll admit that the tongue-eating louse has a certain appeal.


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Batman Mustache

Batman mustache

It's the mustache Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.

Whom am I kidding? We all need the Batstache.

Link -via The Mary Sue

(Photo: unknown)

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


Blog Posts

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