John Farrier's Blog Posts

Kylie Stillman's Carved Books



Kylie Stillman carves some amazing images into books and stacks of paper, such as this piece entitled Common Oak. Her creative process begins with the materials and proceeds to an envisioning, and not the reverse, as Simon Gregg writes:

For Stillman, the physical size of her donor object is of paramount significance. She questions the need for artists to construct a blank canvas, ‘made to size’, when instead existing objects with an inbuilt history could provide a more meaningful starting point. ‘I felt books from op-shops were good enough’, she says.


Link -via Dude Craft | Photo by the artist

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Write a Letter, Earn €450,000

A German tax lawyer took advantage of a very unusual case to earn €450,000. His client earned little money, but the government mistakenly attributed an enormous income to him and sent him a proportionate tax bill:

In 2001, a German pensioner went into the tax collector's office to fill out his tax return. He put down an annual income of €11,000 -- which, it turns out, was an error. He filed a correction, restating his income to be €17,000. Unfortunately, the tax official working on his paperwork failed to enter the correction properly. Instead, the pensioner's income was listed at an absurd €1,100,017,000 -- the GDP of a tiny country.

Given those "earnings," the pensioner's tax bill came in at €287 million and change.

Clearing up the error was not hard. The pensioner's lawyer, Dr. Graefe, simply wrote a letter to the German tax authorities explaining the error. His client's tax liability was corrected and he went on with his life. Dr. Graefe, thereafter, looked to collect his fee.

In the United States, typically, the client pays the fee for services provided, and in a matter like this, the fee would (likely) be an hourly one; the American equivalent of Dr. Graefe would probably earn $100 or so. Not bad. But in Germany, the law holds that when an attorney wins such a reduction, the lawyer's fee -- paid for by the tax man -- is a percentage of said reduction. In this case, Graefe's cut should have been about €450,000, but of course, the tax department disputed this amount as excessive.


The court agreed with Graefe's reasoning and paid him. Link

Photo by Flickr user Images_of_Money used under Creative Commons license

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Robotic Armpit



Why did Kevin Grennan make a robot that simulates the functions and odors of a human armpit? Certain scents, his research revealed, manipulate human emotional reactions:

It was important to me that the odours and chemicals came from within the robots and that they were an integrated means for them to communicate with the humans who would surround them. Each robot that I have augmented with a 'sweat gland' emits a particular chemical that has a specific effect on humans and the chemical has been chosen to further enable the robot's primary function.

In the case of the bomb disposal robot the 'sweat gland' releases the smell of human fear. It has been proven that humans can identify this specific smell and it tends to enhance cognitive performance in. I propose that this robot would enable surrounding humans to work more effectively and to differentiate dangerous situations from false alarms.

In the case of the picker robot. It releases a chemical called androstadienone, which is found in male sweat. This has be shown in research to effect mood in females under certain circumstances. I have speculated that this robot when used on a production line could enhance the performance of female employees in it's vicinity.


Link and Project Website -via Boing Boing

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At First Glance, I Thought That This Was Lightning Hitting a Porta-Potty



But no, this is some sort of instrument used by the people at the Lightning Research Laboratory at the University of Florida. They've got some amazing photos and videos linked in their sidebar. Check 'em out. Link -via DVICE

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Cirque du Soleil Pitcher


(Video Link)


Yesterday, the first pitch in a game between the San Diego Padres and the Kansas City Royals was thrown by a performer from the Cirque du Soleil:

Decked out in a vibrant costume, Gabryel Nogueira da Silva threw out a gravity-defying first pitch that should have John Wall signing up for tee-ball tryouts following his hideous one-hopper at Nats Park.

Watch as da Silva performs a 360-degree backflip on the mound...and then throws a strike for what has to be the best ceremonial first pitch ever.


Link -via The Hairpin

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Why Do People Get Pruney Fingers after Being in the Water a Long Time?

We've previously featured some of the creative ideas of evolutionary neurobiologist Mark Changizi, including his explanations for optical illusions, human blushing, and his notion that hospitals could use skin-colored gowns to track patient health.

Now Changizi is trying to explain why the surface of human fingers get pruney after prolonged exposure to the water. His hypothesis is that the marks help disperse water and improve grip:

Changizi thinks that the wrinkles act like rain treads on tyres. They create channels that allow water to drain away as we press our fingertips on to wet surfaces. This allows the fingers to make greater contact with a wet surface, giving them a better grip.[...]

When we press down with a finger, we apply pressure from the tip backwards. The sides of the finger are like cliffs where water can easily fall away, but the flat part is more like a plateau where water can pool. Wrinkles form on the plateau because "that's where all the work has to be done to channel the water away", Changizi explains.

Not everyone is gripped by the new theory. "This hypothesis is unjustified," says Xi Chen, a biomechanical engineer at Columbia University in New York. Chen thinks that the wrinkles have a simpler cause: when fingers are immersed in hot water, the blood vessels tighten and the tissue shrinks relative to the overlying skin. This contraction causes the skin to buckle. "It's a classic mechanics problem," he says.


Link -via Geekosystem | Photo: Ever So Strange

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Electronic Vest Lets You Feel Your Own Hugs


(Video Link)


Hugs are not yet available through the NeatoShop (vendor issues; oh, I could tell you stories), but that doesn't mean that you cannot find relief, thanks to the Sense-roid. This set up lets you hug a dummy. Sensors on the dummy correspond to compressed air chambers and vibration instruments on the user's vest. The result is that the user can feel his/her own hugs:

The illusion of a mutual hug with the half-humanoid is enhanced by artificial muscles and vibrating devices in the "tactile jacket", say the inventors from the University of Electro-Communications in Tokyo.

"Many people initially feel surprised and uncomfortable about the unusual experience, but they gradually get accustomed to it until they feel comfortable and pleasant," said research team member Nobuhiro Takahashi.


Link -via Popular Science

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Box of 30 Eggs Has 29 Double Yolks


(Video Link)


This video shows Charlotte Matthews, a cake decorator, cracking open a long series of eggs, all but one of which contains a double yolk. She says that after thirteen double yolks, she asked her husband to begin recording this amazing coincidence. The Rochdale Observer reports:

According to the the British Egg Information Service the chance of getting a double yolk is one in 1,000.

So the odds of opening 29 on the trot are one in 1,000 to the power of 29 - or one followed by 87 zeros.

Charlotte, who lives in College Bank, Rochdale, with her husband Gavin and daughter Kacey, bought the £2.39 tray of Smartprice eggs from Asda in Rochdale

She added: "They did feel a little bit bigger and heavier than normal eggs.


Do you think that this is real?

Link -via Doobybrain

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Science Ficton Rayguns in Blown Glass



Vancouver-based glass artist Jeff Burnette has made several pieces that look like rayguns from classic science fiction. Here's how he does this delicate work:

These are blown and manipulated hot glass objects. A transparent colour is picked up on the pipe, then clear glass is gathered on top. The piece is then blown out and shaped to the desired form. Coloured bits are added. Once the bits are in place, the handle and trigger are applied to the piece, the Raygun is then knocked off the blowpipe into the annealer to cool over a fifteen-hour cycle.

Once cooled, the piece is ground and sent out for silvering or completed. The Raygun is a bubble with a transparent colour on the inside. The silvering is a solution of silver nitrate, ammonia, and distilled water that is mixed and poured into the open end of the gun. The silver sticks to the inside of the piece just like a mirror. The final step is chemically bonding a machined stainless steel end to the piece.


Link -via io9

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xkcd Wedding Cake



We've seen an xkcd wedding cake before, but this one is marvelously designed with the Golden Ratio in mind. redditor IronRectangle writes:

Each of the layers (which is scaled according to the golden ratio, just to add geek street cred) is a different flavor of cake: vanilla, chocolate and marbled. White yummy vanilla icing tops it all off.


-via reddit

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Eyeglasses Made out of Human Hair



Finally! Surely we've all dreamed of wearing glasses made out of hair!

This piece by Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves, has a rather nice woodgrain appearance, don't you think? More importantly, it's eco-friendly:

The UK beauty industry imports 15 million pounds worth of human hair per year. As the world’s population continues to increase, human hair has been reimagined as a viable—importantly renewable–material.

Hair Glasses comprises of human hair with bioresin as a binding agent, the frames are 100% biodegradable and no harmful substances are released during production.


Link -via Gizmodo | Photo: Studio Swine

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Word Portraits of Famous Authors



Artist John Sokol makes portraits of famous authors using words from their writings to form images. Pictured above is William Faulkner with text from his novel The Sound and the Fury. Other portraits that you can see at the link include Walt Whitman, Eudora Welty, James Joyce, and John Keats. Link -via Dude Craft

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MST3K Bed



The blogger at Doorman Ideas thought of this clever bed design, inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000. Oh, and that's Mike, not Joel. Details like that are important. Link -via Geekologie

Previously on Neatorama:
MST3K Tattoo
Russian Ripoff of Mystery Science Theater 3000

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Comb Bike Rack



Knowhow Shop LA, an art cooperative and fabrication shop, made this enormous comb for the city of Roanoke, Virginia:

The 400 pound comb is handcrafted out of Mangaris using full mortise and tenon construction, while the hair is made from powder coated steel.


Link -via Colossal

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Life-Sized Piglet Made out of Pork



Sophie H. Powell and Bonnie Moriarty made this life-sized piglet out of bacon and sausage in order to:

[...] illustrate how pigs are born into this world entirely to be eaten. Even when free range they are trapped by their original purpose.


Link -via @itscolossal

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Cymbal Strike at 1,000 Frames Per Second


(Video Link)


I had no idea that a cymbal changed shape so much during a strike! This video was made by the Fluke Corporation, which makes electronic testing instruments. It shows a cymbal getting hit at 1,000 frames per second. -via The Presurfer | Company Website

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Darth Vader Riding a My Little Pony Cake



No! Don't give George Lucas any ideas!

Actually, though, this would be an improvement over the prequels. So, yeah: go with a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossover.

You can view other wonderful Vader birthday cakes at the link. Link -via Geekosystem

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Psychologist: Stupidity Is Contagious



College students were asked to read a story about a rather daft person, and then take a test. They did worse on that test than a control group that read a story about a non-idiot:

Sixty-three Austrian students read "Slow on the Uptake," about Meier, who wakes, is confused by an adage on his calendar, gets drunk, attends a soccer match and misses the outcome because he brawls. The students either summarized the story or underlined passages where Meier differed from them. A control group of 18 read a story with an innocuous protagonist.

Afterward, on a difficult test covering geography, science and the arts, the students who had read about Meier but not underlined how he differed from them scored from 30% to 32%, compared to about 37% for the control group and for students who distanced themselves from the character.


Hollywood mentioned this tendency a few years ago.

Link -via Althouse | Image: Despair

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How to Avoid Getting Hit by a Train


(Video Link)


YouTube user BlackMoonCGI took a huge risk parking over railroad tracks. It's a good thing that he thought of a solution at the last second! -via Doobybrain

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Broccoli Tree House



The great thing about the work of artist Brock Davis is that he accomplishes so much using such simple materials with minimal changes. Like this tree house that he built for his son. It's just a stalk of broccoli, balsa wood, and glue. Link -via Colossal

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The World's Fastest Guitar Player


(Video Link)


John "Doctor Hot Licks" Taylor prides himself on playing the guitar very well, very quickly. Back in April, he tried to break the world record as the fastest guitar player. In this video from the event, he started playing "Flight of the Bumblebee" at 170 beats per minute. Taylor gradually worked his way up until he played the piece at 600 bpm at 11 minutes, 30 seconds into the video. Guinness World Records confirmed this effort and declared that Taylor is the fastest guitar player in the world. Link -via Snowflakes in Hell

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100 Acres of Pizza Served Daily in the US



According to a trade organization for the pizza industry, America gets about 100 acres of this food on a typical day:

For those of you yet to take lunch, we think it's the perfect time for a hunger-inducing stat of the day. The Daily tells us, in a profile of healthy pizza purveyor Naked Pizza, that the United States pizza industry "serves about 100 acres of pizza a day." This figure comes from the National Association of Pizza Operators, an organization that aims "to create and foster a community of independent and small chain pizzeria operators and their industry suppliers where doing business with one another is mutually beneficial."


If this includes Chicago-style pizza, then the measurement really should be in cubic feet. Link -via First Things | Photo by Flickr user roolrool used under Creative Commons license

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Personal Hydrofoil



The Aquaskipper is a clever little water toy that allows a user to skim the surface of a body of water. Here's how it works:

Every time you jump, the force of your weight compresses the fiberglass spring, causing the back foil to change its angle. From the same impact of your jump, the angled back foil is pushed downward to generate the propulsion.

The front foil is locked to a constant height in the water by the skimmer, which planes on the surface of the water.


You have to keep going at least 5 MPH or the craft will sink. There's a video of people using it at the link. Product Link -via CrunchGear | Photo: Gadgets and Gear

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8-Bit Version of Rebecca Black's "Friday"


(Video Link)


Adam Atomic and Danny Baranowsky present Rebecca Black's "Friday" as a classic 8-bit video game with chiptune music. It's not yet interactive, which is a pity, because the lyrics provide a conceivable plot for an adventure game.

via Geekologie | Adam Atomic | Danny Baranowsky

Previously on Neatorama:
Rebecca Black's "Friday" as Radical Text
Star Wars Parody of Rebecca Black's "Friday"

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Riot in a Jam Jar



James Cauty makes miniature scenes of riots and protests in empty jam jars. As you can see at the video link, some of them even feature flashing lights on the police vehicles.

You may remember Cauty from his musical career. He was a member of the band The KLF during the late 80s and early 90s. Gallery Link and Video Link -via Nerdcore

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The Hipster of the Rings



Cartoonist Noelle Stevenson offers up a delicious series called The Broship of the Rings. You've never heard of the dwarves? It's probably because they're so underground. Link -via The Mary Sue

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Alarm Clock that Slaps the Sleeper on the Forehead



John D. Humphrey patented this device in 1919. It's an alarm clock. Oh, it doesn't cook bacon or toss you out of bed, but it'll get the point across. Assuming that s/he's correctly positioned, a metal rod slaps the user's head. Link and Patent Info -via Say Uncle

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Tiny Meals Cooked and Served


(Video Link)


Konapun is a Japanese toy that was produced by Bandai between 2007 and 2009. It allowed children to cook what convincingly appears to be food, but is not actually edible:

The toy goes to amazing lengths to make it look and feel like a realistic cooking process. So for example, if you are making something fried like donuts you drop the "donuts" into fake "oil" and it bubbles as if it was really frying. This bubbling/frying effect is used in several Konapun toys such as the hamburger grill and one that makes tempura.

It's astounding how real each of the food items look in the end. For example, the rice separates into tiny clumps that look just like sticky rice. And the marinara sauce on the spaghetti is runny and looks just like real sauce. Couple that with the kits' tiny mixing bowls, spatulas, cookie cutters, and other tools, and it makes for a fascinating toy.


Link -via Boing Boing

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Coffee Table Decorated with 5,800 Nails




Sandback is a furniture studio in New Hampshire that makes handmade furniture. Among its neater designs is this gorgeous coffee table with an inlaid floral pattern rendered by 5,800 nails driven into the surface. Link | Company Website | Photos: Design Milk

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Pop Culture Ice Cream



The art collective Stoyn made molded ice cream treats of pop culture figures, including Marilyn Monroe and Donald Duck. It's unclear whether Mario, who is available in tequila sunrise flavor, is actually alcoholic. Link (Google Translate) -via Fubiz (Google Translate)

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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