John Farrier's Blog Posts

The Baby Grave Trees of Tana Toraja

grave tree

The people of Tana Toraja, an island in Indonesia, have a richly developed body of practices for mourning. Among them is a unique approach to marking the death of a baby. If a child dies before s/he teethes, the family cuts a hole into the side of a tree and places the body inside. The tree regrows around the baby's body and absorbs it. One guide explained the practice to traveller Chris Dunham by saying, "We bury the babies in this tree so the wind can waft away their souls."

Link -via The Oddment Emporium | Photo: Chris Dunham

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Why Women Don't Fall for Hairy Guys Remains a Scientific Mystery

manDon't look at me like that. I'm just providing the same headline as a Live Science article that examines efforts to find an evolutionary reason why women prefer men that don't look like freshly vomited hairballs. One hypothesis: chicks dig dudes who aren't covered with lice:

One common theory for our relative hairlessness suggests that women long ago adopted a preference for less hairy guys as a way to avoid lice and other nasty bloodsuckers that might call a pelt home. [...]

"According to evolutionary view, hairless men should be preferred, particularly in areas (or cultures) with high parasite threat, which means close to the equator, where parasite richness is highest," study researcher Pavol Prokop, a professor of biology at Trnava University in Slovakia, wrote in an email to LiveScience.

Researchers tested this hypothesis by showing photos of men's chests to women in Turkey and Slovakia. Since Turkey has a greater incidence of diseases transmitted through parasites, researchers thought that Turkish women would prefer the appearance of more thoroughly manscaped chests. But researchers saw no correlation:

Instead, the researchers found that very few women in either country prefer a hairy chest. Only about 20 percent of women rated the more hirsute versions of the men as more attractive.

Link -via VA Viper | Photo: rileyroxx

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It's Emptyful


Emptyful is a new sculpture by Bill Pechet and Chris Pekar. The 35-foot tall structure is now on permanent display in downtown Winnipeg. With a sophisticated arrangement of fog and LEDs, it shows a perpetually bubbling flask of fluid that constantly changes color:

Lumenfacade RGB LED luminaires are embedded into a beam that transects the flask, lighting fog that emerges from above while a curtain of water cascades down. The enchanting lightshow comes to life at night, attracting hundreds of viewers to the plaza to see it in action. “It’s brought excitement into the city,” Pechet says.

Link -via NotCot | Photo: Gabe Daly

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Cassette Portraits

Kill Bill

With perfectly minimal accents, artist Beloit Jammes turns audio cassettes into portraits and movie posters. This one almost certainly references Kill Bill. You can view the rest at Jammes's Flickr stream.

Artist's Flickr Stream -via Ian Brooks

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Marry This Geek, You Will

engagement ring

At Star Tours in Disney World, Dan proposed to his girlfriend Ellen. Choose carefully. Once you start down the aisle, forever will it dominate your destiny.


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Winnebago Birdhouse


A good camper can provide all of the comforts of home. Some lucky bird will get this house by Ethan Allan Smith. It's one of many artist-submitted birdhouses being auctioned this Friday by LAIKA, the animation studio that made the movie Coraline. You can view more at the link.

Link -via Super Punch | Photo: Ethan Allan Smith

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Circuit Board Fossils and Other Amazing Sculptures by Peter McFarlane

circuit board fossil

It was hard to determine which of Peter McFarlane's pieces to feature because his entire gallery is filled with ingenious works like these. His particularly striking circuit board fossil sculptures are a commentary on "obsolete, but formerly cutting-edge technologies."

Gallery and Artist's Website -via Colossal

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Skulls and Intestines Cupcakes


Don't get all "Shut up and take my money!" yet. Take note: the intestines are just vanilla butter cream. Still, these cupcakes by the All Mine Patisserie look pretty good.

Link -via Evil Cakes

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Bridal Brokerage Buys and Resells Cancelled Weddings

bridal brokerage

The existence of this cunning business warms my Ferengi heart. Every year, thousands of weddings are cancelled, leaving reservations, flowers, catering and other arrangements left paid for but useless. Bridal Brokerage buys those wedding off the hands of splitting couples and resells them to people who want fancy weddings--but only at steep discounts.

Link -via The Presurfer

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Cat Gets Shot with Arrow, Shrugs It Off


Ozzy the cat is unimpressed by your troubles. This cat in Langford, British Columbia got shot by a crossbow, presumably one wielded by a human. A veterinarian removed it and Ozzy is now recovering. 

Link -via Daily of the Day

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This Cup Is a Portrait of a French Queen


Legend has it that this cup was modeled after Marie Antoinette. Or rather, a portion of her body. There was not, however, a live model present for the composition. The story is not true, but that did not prevent the porcelain makers at Sèvres, France from marketing these cups as such.

Link -via The Oddment Emporium | Photo: Andrew Hopkins Art

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A Thumb and a Cat with Human Mouths Singing Lovingly to Each Other

(Video Link

I lack a knowledge of the language used in this song, so this is just a guess: a thumb is in love with a cat. Both have human mouths superimposed either digitally or biologically (please let it be digitally) on them so that they may profess their love for each other. This is Vitaliy Shakirov's "Salvador the Singing Cat." It will be stuck in your ears and your nightmares for the next week.

You're welcome.

-via Yababoon

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The Ancient Avengers


The whole world rumbled as the gods battled each other. Then the victors cast the vanquished into the outer darkness and assumed rule over mankind. Artist Christian Nauck retold this tale of ancient Egypt for a Marvel Comics cover illustration.

Artist's Blog -via Christiano Dias

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New Extreme Sport Combines a Jet Pack with a Jet Ski

Franky Zapata's invention, the Flyboard, is part jet pack and part jet ski. Riders can climb as high as ten meters above the water, then dive under it. It's controlled with streams of water from the hands and feet. But that fun will cost you $12,000 per unit.

Link (warning: auto-sound) -via Sarah Hoyt

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Deep Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Shot Cupcakes


First, cook peanut butter cupcakes. Then hollow out the centers. Partially fill the holes with jelly, the deep fry the cupcakes. Once they've cooled off, spread peanut butter frosting on them and press a shot glass into each one. Pour into the shotglasses peanut butter and jelly flavored vodka. My serving suggestion: twelve per person.

Link -via Foodbeast

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At the Convention!

(Video Link

Six ponies are going to a fan convention. Their motives are somewhat questionable. Applejack, for example, is renting a dealer's table to sell her amateurish artwork. You want, uh, risque material? She'll sell you some discreetly. Watch her at work and more in this parody of the My Little Pony song "At the Gala."

-via The Mary Sue

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Who Invented the Escape Key?

escape keyLife, alas, does not come with an escape key. But your computer keyboard probably does. Why is it there? Pagan Kennedy of the New York Times explains that a computer programmer invented it to interrupt processing:

The key was born in 1960, when an I.B.M. programmer named Bob Bemer was trying to solve a Tower of Babel problem: computers from different manufacturers communicated in a variety of codes. Bemer invented the ESC key as way for programmers to switch from one kind of code to another. Later on, when computer codes were standardized (an effort in which Bemer played a leading role), ESC became a kind of “interrupt” button on the PC — a way to poke the computer and say, “Cut it out.”

Why “escape”? Bemer could have used another word — say, “interrupt” — but he opted for “ESC,” a tiny monument to his own angst. Bemer was a worrier. In the 1970s, he began warning about the Y2K bug, explaining to Richard Nixon’s advisers the computer disaster that could occur in the year 2000. Today, with our relatively stable computers, few of us need the panic button. But Bob Frankston, a pioneering programmer, says he still uses the ESC key. “There’s something nice about having a get-me-the-hell-out-of-here key.”

Link -via American Digest | Photo: BotheredByBees

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Klimt Tattoo


This classy tattoo by David Mushaney features Gustav Klimt's seminal work The Kiss. It's every bit as radiantly golden as the original painting.

Link | Artist's Website

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Hellish Heels

high heels

René van den Berg's new shoe design, dubbed Scary Beautiful, reverses the position of the foot--at least as you would expect at first glance. As you can see from the video at the link, they're really hard to walk in.

Link | Designer's Website

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Original Recipe for Jack Daniel's Whiskey Found in Old Welsh Book of Home Remedies

Jack Daniel's Whiskey

The origins of the divine whiskey from Lynchburg, Tennessee are a mystery. But a Briton named Mark Evans thinks that he may have found the original recipe for it in an old book passed down in his family:

It was written in 1853 by his great-great grandmother who was called Daniels and was a local herbalist in Llanelli, South Wales.

Her brother-in-law left the Welsh town at about the same time to move to Lynchburg Tennessee where the Jack Daniel's distillery was opened three years later.

And the Jack Daniel's website states the founder of the distillery was from Wales. [...]

The history of Jack Daniel's is a mystery because the distillery's early records were destroyed in a courthouse fire

A spokesman for the company said: "We know our founder was from Wales - we would love to see the book and the recipe."

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Rodrigo Galindez

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Control an E-Reader with Your Eye Movements

(Video Link

Want to scroll up? Look up. Want to scroll down? Look down. PredictGaze is a control interface system developed by Aakash Jain, Abhilekh Agarwal, and Saurav Kumar. Working from a garage in Santa Clara, California, they've developed a system that could change the way people interact with digital devices:

Reading a book on your iPad and want to turn the page? Just look down at the bottom right-hand corner. Watching a smart TV and want to see what’s on the other channel? Direct your gaze at a corner of the screen. Reading a long article on your iPhone? The story will scroll down as your eye moves down the page. You can even play “Pong” using only your eyes to zip your paddle back and forward.

None of this requires any special equipment, and it works in changing light conditions, from a distance of 12 feet, and on shaky handheld devices that are constantly on the move.

Link -via Kottke

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Can You Guess the Purpose of This Tool?

mysterious tool

What's it for? Continue reading to find out.

Continue reading

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Mushroom Skulls


Because they're so easily carved, there's so much food crafting that you can do with mushrooms. Zachary Kominar made these skulls for a pirate-themed party, but they'd also work well for Halloween.

Link -via Make

Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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Beer Can Art

beer can

With the most ordinary of materials, such as the beer cans piled around your feet, Macaon can create art. This is his take on Katsushika Hokusai's Great Wave. You can see Macaon's other works at the link.

Link (Translation) -via Spoon & Tamago

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Super Skyrim Bros.

(Video Link

In this perfectly crafted Skyrim mod, you fall asleep in a home near Winterhold. When you awake, you're a hero not in Tamriel, but in the magical Mushroom Kingdom. Whatever you ate before you went to bed, you probably shouldn't eat again.

Link -via Technabob

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Steampunk Predator Mask

Steampunk Predator Mask

By Jove, that fellow is using the trees! But if it bleeds, we can dispatch it. Hand me that Krag. Look for the helmet made by the artisans at Skunkworks Props.

Link -via Fashionably Geek

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How to Steal a Space Shuttle in 7 Easy Steps


Jason Torchinsky realized that although it would be difficult to steal the space shuttle Endeavour from Los Angeles, it was not, technically speaking impossible. The heist will just require some creative thinking, a bit of luck and some money. Read his step-by-step plan at the link.

Link -via VA Viper

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One in a Quarter Million Odds: After Fifty Years, All Members of This High School Rugby Team Are Still Alive

school reunion1
school reunion 2

Fifty years ago, the rugby team of the Portsmouth Grammar School in Hampshire, UK posed for a photo. They went their separate ways, but all sixteen members survived the years and returned to update their picture. The odds were astronomical:

The odds of all of the original first team being alive to meet for the milestone anniversary was worked out at 256,000 to one. [...]

The old boys met the school's current first 15 rugby team and watch them play against Churchers College, from Petersfield, Hants.

In a bid to create a legacy and encourage current teams to stay in touch, the 1962 team presented the current team with a trophy - a rugby ball which they had all signed.

Link | Photo: Portsmouth Grammar School Archive/Solent News

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Chopsticks Holster

chopsticks holster

Why? Because you never know when you're going to have to eat for your life. 17-year old Brandon, the man behold Vanguard Armament, made this tacticool accessory. Now go home, strap it on and practice dry firing.

Link -via Everyday, No Days Off

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Animations from MRI Scans of Vegetables

Andy Ellison's freaky cool animated .gifs are essentially compiled cross sections of vegetables. He works at Boston University and has access to an MRI machine, which equips him do cool stuff like this.

Link -via Colossal

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


Blog Posts

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