John Farrier's Blog Posts

Foxes Use Earth's Magnetic Field to Hunt

Foxes often jump high into the air in order to pounce on prey from above. They have an unusual ability to not only judge the correct direction of attack, but the proper distance to leap in a parabolic arc. How do they do it? Hynek Burda of the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany speculates that a magnetic spot on their retinas gives them the ability to measure distance:

Burda's team found that when the foxes could see their prey they jumped from any direction but when prey were hidden, they almost always jumped north-east. Such attacks were successful 72 per cent of the time, compared with 18 per cent of attacks in other directions.

All observers saw the same thing, but Burda remained baffled, until he spoke to John Phillips at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Phillips has suggested that animals might use Earth's magnetic field to measure distance.

The pair think a fox hunts best if it can jump the same distance every time. Burda suggests that it sees a ring of "shadow" on its retina that is darkest towards magnetic north, and just like a normal shadow, always appears to be the same distance ahead. The fox moves forward until the shadow lines up with where the prey's sounds are coming from, at which point it is a set distance away.

Link via Popular Science | Photo by Flickr user mikebaird used under Creative Commons license

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Geological Stratigraphic Column Cake

Inspired by a t-shirt design, Flickr user Kohl? made a cake that looks like a column of rock layers. There appears to be a deposit of chocolate within easy drilling range.

Link via Make

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Demon Skin Rug

Buy this and brag to your hunting buddies about it. deviantART user Melita Curphy made this rug that looks like a skinned supernatural creature.

Link via Geekologie

Previously by Melita Curphy: Demonic Stormtrooper Helmet

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Cayetano Ferrer's Ghostly Images

American artist Cayetano Ferrer (previously featured here) creates seemingly translucent images by placing realistic photographs of backgrounds on solid objects. So what you're looking at above is actually a box covered with pictures of the areas behind and under it.

Link via Gizmodo | Artist's Website

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How to Make Motorcycle Models from Cigarette Lighters

It's possible to use the just the components of a cigarette lighter to make a rather realistic model of a motorcycle. YouTube user Tysteriskians has a nicely-detailed instructional video on the craft.

Link (NSFW url) and Video via Geekologie

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Why Is the Eiffel Tower Still Standing?

The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, was a temporary structure. It was supposed to last only 20 years before being demolished. But Paris kept it, long, long past its design life. Why has it been so durable? Scientists are creating a detailed computer model of all of its components to try to answer that question:

But creating the model for the Eiffel Tower presented a technical challenge of a completely new kind.

One thing was that the realisation that its materials -- puddle iron (iron that is super-heated, beaten by hand and then folded over) and rivets -- perform quite differently from modern-day steel, concrete and bolts.

"We had to start from scratch," said Roussin.

Materials scientists carried out mechanical and chemical tests on samples of puddle iron to assess its resilience, and stress engineers revisited Eiffel's own drawings to calculate how the tower would perform under load from the natural elements.

Outwardly simple, the geometry of the tower itself posed some mighty number-crunching problems.

The programme had to take into account a range of weather conditions on a latticework of 18,000 metal pieces and the tower's additions, calculating the load vertically, horizontally and in 3D: in all, the model has an astonishing million variables.

They've already learned that the tower has shrunk five and a half inches due to settling.

Link via Popular Science | Photo by Flickr user Terrazzo used under Creative Commons license

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Baby Elephant Frolicking on the Beach

(Video Link)

Adorable baby elephant is adorable. This scene was shot in Phuket, Thailand.

via Geekosystem | Previously: A Celebration of Elephants

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You Could Run a Complete Marathon on the World's Longest Bridge

The now-completed Qingdao Haiwan Bridge over Jiaozhou Bay in China is 26.4 miles long. It's three miles longer than the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in Louisiana, the previous holder of the world record for the longest bridge over water:

No longer dependent on western expertise for such sophisticated projects, the six-lane road bridge is supported by more than 5,200 columns and was designed by the Shandong Gausu Group. When it opens to traffic later this year, the bridge is expected to carry over 30,000 cars a day and will cut the commute between the city of Qingdao and the sprawling suburb of Huangdao by between 20 and 30 minutes.

The bridge is built to withstand an 8.0 Richter scale earthquake take punishment from the occasional typhoon.

Link via DVICE | Photo: WENN

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Cactus Music

(Video Link)

Yes, a cactus is a playable instrument. This video shows a person playing a jazzy tune on one while accompanied by a piano. Google Translate is having trouble with the website, but apparently the cactus died in 2009 or 2010, so the project is on hiatus.

Link (Google Translate) via The Presurfer

UPDATE 1/12/11: GearFuse has a lot more information about the project and the man behind it.

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Oven/Lounge Chair

Etsy seller WayOutHere turned an old oven into a functional lounge chair. The bottom drawer is opened to support the seat and the stove top turns into an ottoman. It's for sale to people who can pick it up from the Cincinnati area.

Link via Dude Craft

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Man Sneezes out Bullet

Darco Sangermano, 28, was in Naples during that city's New Year's Eve festivities. He was shot in the head with a .22 caliber bullet. Later, at the hospital, he sneezed it out:

The bullet, a .22 caliber, entered the right side of his head, passed behind his eye through the socket, hit a bone in his nose and lodged itself in his right nostril.

Covered in blood, but still conscious, Sangermano then sneezed out the bullet, and apart from a headache, told doctors he felt fine.[...]

He needed surgery just to clean up the wound and get rid of the bone fragments.

"He was a very lucky man, he could have been killed," Dr. Sid Berrone said. "The bullet went through his temple, behind his eye, entered the nasal cavity and then became lodged in his nostril before he sneezed it out. Amazing."

Link via Gizmodo | Photo: Daily Telegraph

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Han Solo Frozen in Carbonite in Firefly

There's a rumor going around that a little model of Han Solo frozen in carbonite appears in every episode of the space western Firefly. Supposedly, actor Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds) is a big Star Wars fan, so the set technicians sneaked the model into the background whenever possible. Amy Ratcliffe has already found several examples and has posted screenshots. In the above image, it's in the upper-right corner near Kaylee's bunk.

Link via reddit

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Insects Created from Human Hair

When I was five, I asked my mother what hair was made of. She attempted to explain it to me in a way that I could understand, but eventually said "protein". "What's that?" She tried to explain protein, and used peanut butter as an example. So, as I misunderstood it, hair was made out peanut butter. I then made a hair-and-jelly sandwich. It tasted terrible.

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Adrienne Antonson makes stunningly realistic models of insects using human hair as her crafting material. They do not go well with jelly.

Link via The Presurfer | Artist's Website

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Life-Sized Human Model

Some assembly is required, so go get the glue. Artist Wayne Chisnall made a 12-piece kit model of himself entitled "And When I'm a Man." It'll be on display at the "States of Reverie" exhibit at the Scream Gallery in London starting on January 14.

Link via Super Punch | Museum Website

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Test Pattern TV Cover

When Jason Loper downsized into a small condo, he wanted it well-decorated to make good visual use of the limited space. So he made a felt TV cover that looks like a classic test pattern.

Link via DVICE | Photo: Jason Loper

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Celebrity Home Libraries

Judy Berman of Flavorwire rounded up photographs of luxurious libraries in the homes of celebrities, such as Diane Keaton's, which is pictured above. Karl Lagerfeld's is astoundingly packed from floor to ceiling (and then some) with books.

Link | Photo: Calfinder

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Sailor Daleks

deviantART user Dezychan writes "This is exactly what it looks like, and no, I have no shame in making this." Nor should he. This image could only be improved upon by including Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor) as Tuxedo Mask.

Link via Comics Alliance

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Porcelain Skateboard

Seattle-based artist Charles Wing Krafft made this skateboard out of porcelain. It's full-sized, so you could presumably ride it. Krafft has made other unusual subjects out of porcelain, such as guns and grenades.

Link and Gallery via Dude Craft | Photo: Viacomet

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Rollerblading Amish

What? The Amish are into rollerblading? It's news to me, but here's a 1996 New York Times article attesting to this cultural quirk:

''It's faster than a horse, and it's fun,'' said Mr. Herschberger, 20, who skates the 25 miles in two hours, almost twice as fast as an Amish buggy. ''You just feel free.''

Mr. Herschberger has abundant company on the roads of southeastern Pennsylvania. In the last few years, hundreds of Amish, most of them young, have taken up in-line skating to run errands, play hockey or just zigzag for pleasure.

Among the 150,000 or so Old Order Amish, who live in 230 settlements in 22 states and Canada, in-line skating is justified as an efficient, sensible means of locomotion, another example of how the modern can square with the traditional.

Article Link and Pictures via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo: Visboo

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Gingerbread "The Burrow" from Harry Potter

"The Burrow" is the name of the Weasley family home from Harry Potter. CraftSter user mezcraft made this impressive gingerbread house that looks quite like the one shown in the movies. She writes:

I made the shingles out of shreddies than sprayed them with colourmist icing colouring, then I did some undershading with brown icing.

My favourite part of the whole thing was these little sweaters on a laundry line that I added. I wanted to make something to reflect how much of an awesome D-I-Y-er Molly Weasley was by making all her kids monogrammed sweaters for Christmas. So each one of them is a like a wee tiny Gingerbread cookie.

Link via Geek Crafts

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French Fries Skull

This image of mysterious origin is going around the 'Tubes today. Which brilliant artist will step forward and claim responsibility?

via Geekologie

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Soap Flakes

Nathalie Stämpfli designed this soap dispenser. It takes a solid bar and grates shavings into your hand. It's like a gourmet Parmesan cheese grater, but with soap! Stämpfli writes:

Today, most of the soap we use is liquid soap, which contains a lot of water. Block soap instead is more concentrated and therefore has some ecological benefits: You don’t transport unnecessary water around. In place of plastic bottles you can simply use paper for packaging. The solid blocks can easily be piled and allow a greater space efficiency in a truck.

But what about the usage of soap bars? I don’t like the weird slippery feeling when I use them. It gives me goose bumps. And under the shower, it always slides out of your fingers. Hand soap also often gets dirty and accumulates bacteria when more than one person is using it.

Link via DVICE

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Star Wars Trench Run through Shoveled Snow

(Video Link)

Aaron Dabelow and Mike Nelson noticed that a freshly-shoveled walkway looked like the trench on the surface of the Death Star depicted at the end of Episode IV of Star Wars. So Dabelow added a digital X-Wing fighter to recreate the scene.

via Great White Snark

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Decomposing Human Head Cake

Would you like to eat a cake that looks like a severed human head? Moreover, one that slowly decomposes as the frozen icing melts to reveal a skull inside? Well, then, good news! Barbara Jo of Do It Myself! knows how to make one. She provides step-by-step instructions at the link.

Link via Nerdcore

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3 Minutes

(Video Link)

Do you have three minutes? Watch 3 Minutes. It's Ross Ching's adaptation of the classic Richard Connell short story "The Most Dangerous Game." The film a good demonstration of the proverbial wisdom that lightsabers make everything better.

Link via Gizmodo

Previously by Ross Ching: Electric 2.0

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Stonehenge Model Made out of Rice Krispies

Suddenly, the challenge of moving enormous stone slabs using Neolithic technology doesn't look so daunting, as artist Brock Davis illustrates in this piece entitled "Rice Krispyhenge". Presumably the stones were held in place with marshmallow.

Link via Geekosystem

Previously by Brock Davis:
Expressionist Versions of Classic Arcade Games
Boba Fett's Invoice for Jabba the Hut

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A Robotic Triceratops Will Guard Your House While You're Away

Disappointingly, the Banryu "Guard Dragon" home security robot does not come with laser beam eyes, but it did debut in 2002, so maybe there have been upgrades since that time. This device from TSMUK, a Japanese robotics company, moves slowly -- only three meters a minute. And it's not life-size. But it's a start in the right direction.

You can watch a video of it at the link.


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Fight Club: The Musical

Offbeat selections for Broadway musicals are trendy now, such as the Spider-Man musical currently in production. So perhaps it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the dark, transgressive book and film Fight Club may be turned into a musical:

Years ago David Fincher talked about being interested in doing a Fight Club musical as a celebration of the film’s tenth anniversary. I think many people brushed it off as being a lark or a joke or a passing thing, especially when 2009 came and went without the show turning up. But it turns out that somewhere in the back of Fincher’s head the concept has continued, and it’s still on his mind.

Tonight The Social Network screened for members of the Screen Actors Guild, and at the Q&A afterwards Fincher mentioned that he’s been recently talking to Trent Reznor about doing the musical. Back when the project was initially floated, Trent Reznor had expressed interest in doing the music; since then Fincher and Reznor have worked together on The Social Network and Reznor will be scoring the currently-in-production Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Do you think that Fight Club would work as a musical?

Link via Geekosystem | Image: Fox

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Man Carves Deer out of Block of Wood with Bandsaw

(Video Link)

This is pretty amazing. The above video shows woodworking professional Adam Sandoval quickly making a long series of unmarked cuts into a block of wood. When he's done and clears away the excess, a deer sculpture remains!

via Make

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Windoro: The Roomba for Windows

New Roomba-like household robots are popping every day, now. The Windoro consists of two scrubbing modules, one on each side of the glass, held together with magnets:

The robot uses distance sensors, attitude adjustment, and obstacle detection while doing its little window waltz, employing detergent and a series of spinning pads to wash up as it goes.

This robot was developed by the Pohang Institute of Intelligent Robotics in South Korea. You can watch a video of the robot in action at the link.

Link via DVICE | Photo: DVICE

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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