John Farrier's Blog Posts

Protective Suit Improvised to Remove Nest of Yellowjackets



The girlfriend of redditor TroyPDX got stung by a yellowjacket, so "it was on like Donkey Kong." He prepared for his attack on their nest by getting drunk and improvising a beekeeping suit out of duct tape, rubber boots, a flashlight, and computer parts. Troy then armed himself with a vacuum cleaner and marched off into battle. It did not go well, and his story is worth reading in full. Link | Photo Gallery

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NYC Cabbie also Works as a King in Africa

Isaac Osei started out driving a taxi in New York City when he immigrated to the US about thirty years ago. He has built up that business into a fleet of fifty cars operating day and night. But that's not his only occupation. When his older brother in Ghana died, Osei took his place as king over a region of that country. Now Osei divides his time between US and his royal realm:

As chief, his days are 20 hours long, and his duties are anything but ceremonial. Osei, during his "vacation," becomes the one-man judicial system, arbitrating familial disputes and other legal questions, resolving as many as possible before returning to New York. Meanwhile, Elizabeth has duties as the chief's wife, including throwing a feast for 1,000 guests commemorating the annual yam festival -- a party at which guests sit, waiting to eat until Isaac does his priest-like duty of blessing the yam harvest.

But unlike Akeem in Coming to America, the Osei's trips to Ghana are not permanent relocations. They return to the U.S. after fulfilling their official Ghanian duties, where it is back to the taxi business.


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

Previously: American Woman Becomes African King

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Grizzly Bear Destroys R2-D2


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Don't worry, it's not the real R2-D2! It's just a model. The staff at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado stuffed a cardboard R2 unit with treats and let Emmett, a grizzly bear, have his way with it. Because....

Well, they don't actually say why. -via Nerd Bastards

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Liquid Picnic Table




No, reality isn't losing coherence -- at least any more than it is normally. This surreal picnic table does indeed flow toward and over a railing. It's an art installation by Michael Beitz at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Nebraska.

Link | Video | Artist's Website | Photos: Bemis Center

Previously by Michael Beitz: The Walls Have Ears

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Here's a Megaphone. Say Something Nice to New York City.


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For their latest stunt, the people of Improv Everywhere left a megaphone on a lectern in several spots around New York City. A sign on the lectern invited people to "say something nice." New Yorkers proved to be up to the task. Link -via Gizmodo

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Man Repays Beer Bet after a Five Year Search

Five years ago, Sebastian Steinzen, a schoolteacher in Germany, lost a bet on a game of golf to a British man that he knew only as "Pat". They had wagered a pint of beer on the game, but Steinzen did not have the opportunity to repay it because he lost track of Pat. Steinzen felt obligated to find and pay him, and so searched for the Briton for five years. It was only after a newspaper reported on his story that Steinzen was able to find his golfing buddy, Patrick Burns:

However the burden of guilt became too much and last month, Mr Steinzer spent £1,000 travelling to England to try to find Pat and buy him that pint.

He went to Portishead, north Somerset, where Patrick told him he was from, and spent a week traipsing around the streets, pubs and golf courses, with a picture of his holiday friend.

But he had to return home without tracking down Pat, who was holidaying with his partner Pam when they met.

Before he went home, his quest was highlighted in the Daily Telegraph and when Mr Burns, 73, a retired advertising executive, read it in the paper he made contact with his German friend.


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

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R2D2 Helmet



Jenn Hall, a pastry artist in Philadelphia, figured that if she could make a R2D2 cake, she could make a R2D2 helmet. She was so pleased with the results of her efforts that she wore it to bed after finishing. Visit the link to see how she made the helmet.

Link -via The Mary Sue | Photo: Geekadelphia

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Perseus with the Head of Ronald McDonald



Italian artist Giuseppe Veneziano updated the Greek myth of Perseus and Medusa with this sculpture. It's a bit harsh. I mean, Ronald McDonald never turned anyone into stone.

Artist's Website (some NSFW images) -via Kurositas | Photo by Flickr user mamasaurus rex used under Creative Commons license

UPDATE: In the comments, Sylvian proposes that this sculpture is actually a take on Caravaggio's David with the Head of Goliath. I think he's right.

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Certain Trained Dogs Can Smell Lung Cancer

Earlier this year, Japanese researchers announced that they had trained a dog to detect colon cancer by smelling the poop of cancer victims. Now, reseachers at Schillerhoehe Hospital in Germany have discovered that trained dogs can detect lung cancer by sniffing the breath of sick patients:

The dogs successfully identified 71 samples with lung cancer out of a possible 100. They also correctly detected 372 samples that did not have lung cancer out of a possible 400.

The dogs could also detect lung cancer independently from COPD and tobacco smoke. These results confirm the presence of a stable marker for lung cancer that is independent of COPD and also detectable in the presence of tobacco smoke, food odours and drugs.


Link -via io9 | Photo: European Lung Foundation

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A Rolling Beetle Gathers No Moss



Paul McGee spotted this Volkswagen Beetle at the Belladrum Festival, an annual music fair held in Scotland. On the atmosphere of the event, McGee wrote "Brilliant small festival for families though, I'd heartily recommend it." Link -via Colossal | Photo: Paul McGee

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Monocopter Flies Like a Maple Seed



The Samarai Monocopter, developed by Lockheed Martin, is only ten inches long. But the designers don't plan to scale it up, but down. Their goal is to make one the size of a fingernail with a camera attached. Soldiers would be able to use such a device to scout nearby areas without exposing themselves to hostile fire.

At the link, you can watch a video of the Monocopter in flight. Link -via Geekosystem | Photo: Lockheed Martin

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Andrew Lancaster's Freakish Works of Taxidermy



Taxidermist Andrew Lancaster says "Some people call me sick and some think it’s pretty good." The New Zealand resident collects small dead animals, preserves them, and uses their body parts to form imaginary creatures. So just in case you were worried: the above animal doesn't actually exist. News Story and Facebook Page -via Dave Barry | Photo: Andrew Lancaster

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Is Trial by Combat Still Legal in the United States?

The blogger New Jovian Thunderbolt offers this novel legal argument:

American law originates from British Common Law. Specifically Common Law before we split from them. 1776 and all that. It's where the 2nd Amendment comes from and a right to defend yourself. But after 1776, our jurisprudence system was evolving along its own path.

Britain didn't overturn trial by combat until after we declared independence. No American court has really addressed it. Ergo, trial by combat may still be legitimate under U.S. Law.


If so, court TV could become a lot more interesting.

Link | Photo by Flickr user Patch Heart Photography used under Creative Commons license

Previously: Kentucky State Officials Must Swear an Oath Against Dueling

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Old People in Love



Few things are as awwwwwww-inspiring as an elderly couple in puppy love. Olivia Gissing has a photoblog entitled Old People Holding Hands devoted to this theme. Link -via Bit Rebels

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Mushroom Trumpet


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Ben Maleson, a mushroom merchant in Brookline, Massachusetts, plays a mushroom as a double-reeded instrument. He calls it the "Black Trumpet". Do you think that this instrument has a future in popular music? -via io9

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Doctor Mew

Jenny Parks, a scientific illustrator, imagined the eleven Doctors from Doctor Who as cats. The above cat is, of course, the Fourth Doctor, who was portrayed by Tom Baker. Link -via Fanboy | Facebook Page | Artist's Website | Image: Jenny Parks, posted with permission


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Brent Spiner's Patrick Stewart Impression


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Brent Spiner, the actor who played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, does a really good impersonation of Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Jean-Luc Picard. In fact, it was good enough to fool Stewart's wife on the phone -- at least for a while. Here's a video of Spiner demonstrating this talent at the 2011 Emerald City Comicon. -via reddit

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University Offers Scholarship for the Best Tweet

A MBA program at the University of Iowa offers a $37,000 scholarship to the person who can write the best tweet. Instead of writing two essays, applicants can write one essay and one tweet:

Applicant Seth Goldstein of Columbus, Ohio, submitted his tweet last week and said he was excited for the "fun, unique challenge."

"It is something different and out of the box," Goldstein said. "No other MBA schools I have applied to have anything like this."[...]

Students are encouraged to link to their blogs, videos, Facebook accounts or anything else that may help answer the question: "What makes you an exceptional Tippie Full-time MBA candidate and future MBA hire?"


Link -via First Things | Photo by Flickr user shawncampbell used under Creative Commons license

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Post-It Note Towers



For an art installation in Kyoto, Tato Architects assembled towers out of 30,000 Post-It Notes. To make these flimsy pieces of paper take such a form, they designed a honeycomb-like structure out of them and used it as the basic building block for the towers. Link and Firm Website -via Dude Craft | Photo: Yousuke Takeda

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Doctor Who Weeping Angel Costume



Remember the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who? LiveJournal user penwiper337 made a convincing costume of one and explained, in detail and with photos, how she did it. Link -via Craft

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Snake Wreath



If you want to class up your home for visitors, say, prospective in-laws, then this snake wreath should do the trick. The best part is that there's a motion sensor that makes the snakes move and hiss as people approach it. Link -via OhGizmo! | Photo: grandinroad

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Man Keeps NYC Parking Spot for 11 Years by Continuously Feeding It Quarters

Charles Mysak, a bookseller in New York City, found a great parking spot. That was eleven years ago. He's kept the spot and his '94 Civic there ever since by feeding it $36 in quarters every day:

Earning roughly $100 a day after paying the meter, it's worth it, he said.

"I've been here for 11 years," he said. "Barnes & Noble is now closed. I'm the last resource for books. I'm here from 7 to 7 every day."

His wife drives him to the Upper West Side each morning a 7:00 am from their Wayne, NJ, home.

They arrive just in time to temporarily move the parked car -- the only time it's moved at all -- to make way for the street sweeper.


Link -via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Michael Farrington

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Turn That Off and Get Some Exercise



Murilo Melo, a Brazilian artist, made several posters by photographing arrangements of computer, game console and television parts. They're advertisements for Companhia Athletica Gyms. Link -via Colossal | In-Process Photos

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Pistols Firing Underwater in Slow Motion


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Destin of Smarter Every Day wanted to find out what would happen if he fired handguns underwater. He rigged a revolver and a semi-automatic pistol to fire inside water-filled tanks and recorded the results in slow motion.

The actual shooting starts about two minutes into the video. After firing off two rounds, Destin provides a brief physics lesson to explain what you're seeing take place. -via The Firearms Blog

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A Modern Romance



I suppose that there's nothing really extraordinary about this series of photos celebrating the engagement of Juliana Sunmi Park and Benjamin Jinsuk Lee. But they're so touchingly romantic that you should definitely take a look.

Link -via Comics Alliance

Update: Since the original link has gone to password protection, see the pictures at the photographer's site. Link

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Photographer Takes a Picture of a Picture of Himself Taking a Picture of a Woman



This cool picture by redditor ZeLittleMan was taken with mirrored shades and a mirrored sculpture. Specifically, he used Cloud Gate, a huge outdoor stainless steel sculpture in Chicago's Millennium Park. -via reddit

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Plush Sleipnir



In Norse mythology, Sleipnir is Odin's eight-legged horse and the son of the god Loki. Susan and Allen Crawford made this adorable plush of him for the infant son of a friend. Link -via Super Punch

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Winter is Coming for Calvin and Hobbes



Joel Watson imagined Calvin and Hobbes in the dangerous world of Game of Thrones. I think that Calvin is Jon Snow and Hobbes is his pet direwolf Ghost. Link -via The Mary Sue

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Local Pride



The small town of Riverside, Iowa (pop. 1,008) is tremendously proud of its most famous son, James Tiberius Kirk. So the citizens erected a monument to mark the site of his birth.

The local history museum, as you can see in the video, places a great emphasis on Kirk's life and work. Who's up for a road trip?

Link -via Kuriositas | Video of the Monument and Museum

Photo by Flickr user Madolan Greene used under Creative Commons license

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Underwater Cave Stretches Five Kilometers



Near Orda, a Russian village in the Ural Mountains, you can find an enormous underwater gypsum cave. It's one of the largest in the world, with galleries stretching as far as five kilometers. Victor Lyagushkin led a team of divers deep inside to photograph this natural wonder. You can view many beautiful pictures of it at the link. Link -via Fubiz

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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