John Farrier's Blog Posts

Unassuming Bumper Stickers





Caldwell Tanner has some great ideas for bumper stickers that won't provoke arguments with other drivers. Why be pushy? Just live and let live...and view five more at the link.


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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Melting Chocolate Lamp

lampchocolate lampchocolate lamp

After you turn on Alexander Lervik's "The Poetry of Light", there'll be nothing but darkness until the lamp burns holes through the chocolate shell. Eventually, a gooey, sweet-smelling mess fills the resevoir. Don't burn your tongue while lapping it up. 

Link | Artist's Website

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Tenth Doctor Pinafore and More

Tenth Doctor

TARDIS pinafore

We love the work of the creative and prolific DarlingArmy. Her latest pinafores are inspired by Doctor Who, but she's also made some that are modeled on Boba Fett, Deadpool and characters from Fullmetal Alchemist, Portal, My Little Pony and Assassin's Creed.


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Eiko Ojala's Beautiful Paper Collages





Estonian artist Eiko Ojala's collages are simple but striking. He combines precise craftsmanship with minimal forms and lines to create intriguing and often funny images. You can view more at the link.

Link | Artist's Website (warning: artistic nudity at both links)

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Baked Alaska Grapefruit

baked alaska grapefruit

Please stop licking the monitor. I sympathize, but you can't taste Neatorama.* Baked Alaska is a baked ice cream dish and Alaskan chef Nicole Pearce has perfected it. She cooked and served hers in hollowed grapefruit rinds with grapefruit pieces mixed into the meringue.

Link -via Tasteologie

*Product under development.

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Mushroom Lamps

Yukio Takano's beautiful mood lights create the impression that you've stepped into a magical forest populated with fairies. His realistic sculptures of mushrooms on pieces of wood light up with softly glowing LEDs.

Link | Artist's Website

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Age Fighter: Childhood vs. Adulthood

Ah, that classic video game! Which is better, adulthood or childhood? Well, let me just share with you this bit of bad news: there are no cheat codes for adulthood.

Video Link -via Yababoon

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Horse Odometer

I never knew that such things existed. Now I wonder how I've managed to live my life without one. Shoot, I want this even though I don't own a horse.

This odometer advertised in an 1895 issue of Munsey's Magazine presumably attached to a wagon axle. Presumably. But I could be presuming too much.

Link -via Weird Universe

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Women May Now Legally Wear Pants in Paris

No longer need Parisian women fear being arrested by venturing outside in pants. A law dating back to the French Revolution forbidding them has been repealed:

The law required women to ask police for special permission to "dress as men" in Paris, or risk being taken into custody.

In 1892 and 1909 the rule was amended to allow women to wear trousers, "if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse."

The law was kept in place until now, despite repeated attempts to repeal it, in part because officials said the unenforced rule was not a priority, and part of French "legal archaeology." [...]

The restriction focused on Paris because French Revolutionary rebels in the capital said they wore trousers, as opposed to the knee-breeches, or the "culottes," of the bourgeoisie, in what was coined the "sans-culottes" movement. Women rebels in the movement demanded the right to wear trousers as well, but were forbidden to do so.

Women wearing pants? What's the world coming to?! Next, they'll probably start agitating for the right to vote.

Link -via Smart News | Photo: Philippe Put

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Grumpy Cat Bento

Bento box

Did Aleksandra make a delightful meal and a beautiful work of bento? Tard doesn't seem to think so. Poor, bitter cat. Try it once and you'll like it.


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Exhibit: Dr. Seuss's Personal Hat Collection

Which came first: The Cat in The Hat or the hat on the cat? It's not clear, but we do know that Theodor Geisel -- Dr. Seuss -- loved hats. The sillier, the better:

He collected hundreds of them, plumed, beribboned and spiked, and kept them in a closet hidden behind a bookcase in his home in the La Jolla section of San Diego. He incorporated them into his personal paintings, his advertising work and his books. He even insisted that guests to his home don the most elaborate ones he could find. [...]

As editor in chief of Beginner Books at Random House in the late 1960s, Michael Frith worked closely with Geisel, sometimes into the early hours of the morning. When they were stumped by a word choice, Mr. Frith said, Geisel would often bound to the closet and grab a hat for each of them — a sombrero, or perhaps a fez. There they would be, sitting on the floor, Mr. Frith remembered, “two grown men in stupid hats trying to come up with the right word for a book that had only 50 words in it at most.”

Several of Geisel's hats will be on display a branch of the New York Public Library beginning on Monday.

Link -via School Library Journal | Images: Dr. Seuss Enterprises

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Google's Stunning New Offices in Tel Aviv

Google's new office complex in Tel Aviv is beautiful. Camenzind Evolution designed its eight floors to include gyms, restaurants, relaxation areas and many different settings for work. I'm especially fond of the surfboard room.

Although Neatorama's offices are cozier, we do have a vigorous exercise program.

Link -via Fubiz | Architects' Website

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Baseball Recovered from a Civil War Battlefield

From April 6-7, 1862, Americans slaughtered one another near a small log church in Tennessee called Shiloh. The nation suffered more casualties those two days than in all previous wars combined. It was a horrible shock to the divided nation--and there were worse to come.

Giles Hellum, an African American employee of the Union army, found this baseball on the field. Slate's Frank Ceresi writes:

During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and even amid the horrors of war, soldiers sometimes found opportunities to play on the vast open fields where they needed only a bat, a ball, and a few willing participants. [...]

The artifact is a “lemon peel ball,” looser and softer than today’s baseballs, and it is hand-stitched in a figure 8 pattern with thick twine. 

Link | Photo: The National Pasttime

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Boot Birdhouse

boot birdhouse

Are birds waking you up in the morning? Give them the boot. Just screw it into a tree and let mama bird do the rest.

Link -via Unconsumption

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

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The Worst Swing Ever Is Somehow Fun

Louis Gan

Louis Gan painted this image in Penang, Malaysia. The kids are happy, even though they won't be able to swing far. Presumably their slide is a straight drop.

Link -via Street Art Utopia | Photo: Avinash Advani

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Giant Pine Cones Made from Shovel Blades

These beautiful sculptures by Canadian artist Floyd Elzinga are perfect for a large garden. They're made from the blades of shovels. Their great size expresses what he calls "the aggressive nature of seeds." You can view more at the gallery link below.

Gallery and Artist's Website -via Recylart

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Interactive Display at a Children's Hospital

Jason Bruges

Children in the hospital need every distraction they can get. Enter artist Jason Bruges. He created an interactive display at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Animals appear on the wall with the touch of a finger:

The brief was to design and install a distraction artwork helping to create a calming yet engaging route that culminates in the patient’s arrival at the anaesthetic room. Inspiration came from the idea of viewing the patient journey as a ‘Nature Trail’, where the hospital walls become the natural canvas, with digital look out points that reveal the various ‘forest creatures’, including horses, deer, hedgehogs, birds and frogs, to the passerby.

Link (warning: auto-starting video) | Jason Bruges's Website

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Pokémon Pancakes

Pokemon pancakes

Got to eat them all! Pancake artist Nathan Shields made 9 Pokémon pancakes. Hopefully he plans to make the full 151. Now how do I get syrup out of my Pokédex?


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Liquor Bottle Bouquet

alcohol bottle bouquet

Here's a great gift giving idea! Instagram user Justinerio received this intoxicating bouquet from her boyfriend. To make one, place styrofoam in the bottom of the basket, then shove in little bottles of liquor attached to sticks. Garnish with a few artificial flowers to make the presentation eye-popping.

Link | Photo: Justinerio

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Polar Bear Etiquette

polar bear warning

The town of Churchill, Manitoba, Canada bills itself as "The Polar Bear Capital of the World." It's not a joke. These dangerous predators routinely wander into town. The bears have impacted local customs, as writer Zac Unger describes:

"We were in this town in northern Manitoba where polar bears literally will walk down Main Street. There are polar bears in this town. People will leave their cars and houses unlocked, and it's perfectly good form just to duck into any open door you can find when there's a polar bear chasing you.

"People use what they call Churchill welcome mats, which is a piece of plywood laid down in front of the door or leaned up against the door with hundreds of nails sticking out so that when the polar bear comes up to pad across your porch, he's going to get a paw full of sharp nails."

Link -via Althouse | Photo: em_j_bishop

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What Do New Yorkers Complain About?

New Yorkers

When people in New York City call 311 to talk to government services representatives, what are they complaining about? In Manhattan, it's probably noise. On Staten Island, it's probably litter. In the Bronx, people are annoyed by graffiti. Dietmar Offenhuber of MIT's Sensable City Lab created this data visualization. You can see a larger version at the link.

Link -via Explore | Dietmar Offenhuber's Website

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Smile for the Camera Heads

Kiyoshimachine is ready to to snap a picture--anytime, anywhere. These performers wear masks that resemble giant versions of the iconic Pentax 6x7 camera. You can view many more images in their gallery.

Link and Gallery -via Lustik

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Homemade Red Velvet Twinkies


Chica Chocolatina made these beautiful Twinkies with red velvet chocolate cake mix and then filled them with a mixture of cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract. Yummy! You can find her recipe at the link.


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Double Majors

double majors

That combination dairy science/dance degree didn't actually help you when interviewing in either field. Grant Snider of Incidental Comics notes some other poor choices.


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We All Live in a Yellow Submarine

street art

A submarine heads out to sea in this work in Tel Aviv by Dede. Full spead ahead, Mister Boatswain. Full speed ahead.

Artist's Website -via Street Art Utopia | Photo: Daniel Wechsler

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The Chrysler Building

I love Alexandre Arrechea's playful take on the erection of the Chrysler Building. Do you need it to go higher? Just turn the spindle. This sculpture is one of his interpretations of famous skyscrapers in New York City, some of which are as high as twenty feet (the sculptures, not the skyscrapers).

Link | Artist's Website

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Will Marathon Viewing Become the TV Norm?

television setI used to watch new episodes of my favorite shows every week on television. Now I watch one show, episode by episode, in sequence and on a computer screen. Then the next show. According to New York Times reporter Brian Stelter, that's become normal:

Binge-viewing, empowered by DVD box sets and Netflix subscriptions, has become such a popular way for Americans to watch TV that it is beginning to influence the ways the stories are told — particularly one-hour dramas — and how they are distributed. [...]

On Friday, Netflix will release a drama expressly designed to be consumed in one sitting:“House of Cards,” a political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Rather than introducing one episode a week, as distributors have done since the days of black-and-white TVs, all 13 episodes will be streamed at the same time. “Our goal is to shut down a portion of America for a whole day,” the producer Beau Willimon said with a laugh.

“House of Cards,” which is the first show made specifically for Netflix, dispenses with some of the traditions that are so common on network TV, like flashbacks. There is less reason to remind viewers what happened in previous episodes, the producers say, because so many viewers will have just seen it. And if they don’t remember, Google is just a click away. The show “assumes you know what’s happening all the time, whereas television has to assume that a big chunk of the audience is always just tuning in,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer.

Television producers now have to grapple with customers who won't even start watching a series until it's over:

Some hoarders wait years: Mr. Mazzara, for instance, said he’s waiting to watch HBO’s “Girls” until the whole series is over, several years from now. This stockpiling phenomenon has become so common that some network executives worry that it is hurting new shows because they cancel the shows before would-be viewers get around to watching them.

Economist Tyler Cowen reflects on this trend and notes where immediate sequentialization does and does not work:

You can buy an entire book at once, as serialization — while not dead — has ceased to be the norm for long novels.  At MOMA they do not run an art exhibit by putting up one new van Gogh painting each day.  Coursera, you will note, still uses a kind of serialization model for its classes rather than putting up all the lectures at once; presumably it wishes to synchronize student participation plus it often delivers the content in real time.  Sushi is served sequentially, even though several cold courses presumably could be carried over at once.  Still, a plate in an omakase experience typically has more than one piece of fish.

For TV I do not think upfront bingeing can become the norm.  The model of “I don’t really care about this, but I have nothing much to talk to you about, so let’s sit together and drop commentary on some semi-randomly chosen TV show” seems to work less well when the natural unit of the show is thirteen episodes and you are expected to show dedication.

Link -via Marginal Revolution | Photo: ellenm1

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In Praise of Shortened Attention Spans

texting while driving

Popular wisdom holds that American attention spans have diminished over the past few decades. But cultural critic Terry Teachout thinks that's just fine:

The latest alleged trend to set the world in a tizzy is the Crisis of Shorter Attention Spans, a dire development that has been brought about by the rise of the Internet. Or texting. Or iTunes. Or Twitter. Or whatever. I find it hard to get upset about this existential threat to Western civilization, though, perhaps because I'm part of the problem. My attention span is much shorter now than it was a decade ago—and that's just fine with me.

Part of the "problem," after all, turns out to be that Americans have gotten smarter, or at least quicker on the uptake. Take a look at any TV sitcom of the 1950s and '60s and compare it to modern-day televised fare. It's startling to see how slow-moving those old shows were. The same thing is true of live theater. The leisurely expositions of yesteryear, it turns out, aren't necessary: You can count on contemporary audiences to get the point and see where you're headed, and they don't want to wait around for you to catch up with them.

Does this mean that the discursive masterworks of the past are no longer accessible? Yes and no. A great work of art that is organically long, like "The Marriage of Figaro" or "Remembrance of Things Past," will never lack for audiences. But just as most of Shakespeare's plays can and should be cut in performance, so should today's artists always keep in mind that most of us are too busy to watch as they circle the airport, looking for a place to land.

What is the benefit of a shortened attention span? It encourages people to (as I find myself often asking in business meetings) get to the point, please:

Anyone who doubts the virtues of brevity should take a look at Oxford University Press's "Very Short Introduction" series, in which celebrated experts write with extreme concision about their areas of expertise. Each volume in the series is about 140 pages long and runs to roughly 35,000 words of text. (Most serious biographies, by contrast, run to between 150,000 and 200,000 words.)

How much can you say about a big subject in 35,000 words? Plenty, if you're Harvey C. Mansfield writing about Alexis de Tocqueville or Kenneth Minogue writing about politics. These "Very Short Introductions" are models of their kind—crisp, clear and animated by a strong point of view.

Teachout goes on at length about the series. But, honestly, I didn't read the whole article.

Link -via Joe Carter | Photo: mrJasonWeaver

Is it good that we have shorter attention spans?

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How High Can a Tiger Jump?

(Video Link)

The answer is VERY high. Surprisingly high. Enough that you should really back away from the computer monitor before starting this video.


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

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It's a strawberry that looks like a bear! Redditor Taybow found this fruit. Bear with me as I marvel at its beauty. Also: bacon

Link -via Foodbeast

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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