John Farrier's Blog Posts

Human Bobsled


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This video is in Japanese, so I have no idea what is being said. It appears that this guy has attached rollerblading wheels to every surface of an armored suit. First, he shows off his moves. Then he races a motorcycle down a steep, twisty road at high speed.

via WTF Japan, Seriously!? | Previously: Rollerman

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Hundreds of Tourist Photos of Famous Landmarks Blended into Composite Images



Swiss photographer Corinne Vionnet compiled hundreds of photographs made by tourists of major landmarks and assembled them into solitary images. Pictured above is the Brandenberg Gate in Berlin. Others include the Kaaba in Mecca, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Link via Geekosystem | Artist's Website

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18 Facts You Might Not Know about Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a hugely successful television series on WB and UPN from 1997-2003. Writer and producer Joss Whedon, long heavily constrained by the requirements of others, finally had the opportunity to create a series that was completely his own. Whedon had worked on it for years, first selling the screenplay in 1988 for a film version which was released in 1992. The story had been shredded and reworked into a campy, funny movie that Whedon loathed.

After five years, he was able to launch a darker, more dramatic, but still funny television series which captured the imagination of a generation of fans. Here are eighteen facts that you might not know about that show:

1. Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia, was Whedon’s original pick for the role of Buffy. Sarah Michelle Gellar was slated to play Cordelia. Gellar had to lobby Whedon heavily before he would allow her to read for the lead role.

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2. When she was five, Sarah Michelle Gellar starred in a Burger King commercial that disparaged McDonald’s burgers. She was promptly named in a lawsuit by McDonald’s and had to give a deposition in the case.

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3. If you were watching US television during the early 1990s, you may have spotted Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) in a series of 13 commercials for Taster’s Choice coffee which imagined Head as the wooing paramour of a new divorcee. The role somewhat typecasted him, so Head came to Los Angeles during “pilot season” in order to find a very different sort of role.

4. The name “Giles” came from Barbara Giles, Whedon’s housematron when he attended a private high school in the UK.

5. Nicholas Brendon (Xander) has a stutter.

6. James Marsters’ (Spike) first role was in a fourth-grade production of Winnie the Pooh. He played the role of Eeyore and fell in love with acting. His professional debut came years later in a stage production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. He had a nude scene in that play and has been comfortable performing unclad ever since. Marsters later broke into television as a bellhop on Northern Exposure. He returned the next season to play the role of a priest.

7. Can you imagine Spike with a deep Southern accent? Because that was Whedon’s original plan before casting Marsters.

8. Sunnydale’s ZIP code would place the town in Morgan Hill, California.

9. Sarah Michelle Gellar has a pronounced fear of cemeteries.

10. Whedon was inspired for The Gentlemen in the episode “Hush” from, in part, Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. This episode, a fan favorite, received two Emmy nominations for writing and cinematography.

11. The Sunnydale weatherman in the episodes "Amends" and "Hush" is a real-life weatherman -- Mark Kriski of KTLA in Los Angeles.

12. Buffy occasionally made favorable references to Xena: Warrior Princess. The writers of Xena returned the favor by mentioning a play called “Buffus the Bacchae Slayer” in their episode “The Play’s the Thing.

13. The show was the central metaphor that terrorism expert Anthony Cordesman used in a major 2002 treatise called “Biological Warfare and the Buffy Paradigm.” Cordesman explained that Buffy was “about a teenage vampire slayer who lives in a world of unpredictable threats where each series of crises only becomes predictable when it is over.”

14. The Simpsons was a leading inspiration for Whedon’s work in Buffy. Whedon wrote “If I could write for any show, it would be The Simpsons and Twin Peaks...As much as you could say that Buffy is a cross between 90210 and The X-Files, you could say it’s a cross between The Simpsons and Twin Peaks.”

15. The episode “I Was Made for You” has Warren building a robotic girlfriend who goes crazy and becomes destructive. The role was written with Britney Spears in mind, but she turned it down.

16. “Graduation Day” was delayed and rewritten due to the Columbine school shooting. The story involves the destruction of Sunnydale High School with explosives by the show's heroes. That central element was kept, although certain statements by them were removed.

17. The musical episode “Once More, With Feeling”, lasted 68 minutes during its first run. It was edited down for subsequent rebroadcasts. Much of the episode is sung. Even the mutant in the Mutant Enemy trademark at the very end of the credits sings. That name, by the way, comes from a line in the song “And You, And I” by Yes.

18. Vera Wang designed Buffy’s wedding dress in “The Prom”, as well as the dress that Sarah Michelle Gellar wore to her own wedding.

Sources: Topping, Keith. Slayer: A Totally Awesome Collection of Buffy Trivia. London: Virgin, 2004. Print. -----. Slayer: An Expanded and Updated Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. London: Virgin, 2002. Print. Tracy, Kathleen. The Girl's Got Bite: The Original and Unauthorized Guide to Buffy's World, Completely Revised and Updated. New York: St. Martin's, 2004. Print.

Images: NY Post, Fox Studios, Warner Bros., Renaissance Pictures


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10 Things You Might Not Know about YouTube



Amy-May Elliot of Mashable dug up ten facts from the mysterious origins of YouTube, some of which may surprise you. Did you know that the video hosting site almost turned into a video version of Hot or Not?

Legend has it that YouTube began life as a video dating site dubbed “Tune In Hook Up,” said to be influenced by HotorNot. The three ultimately decided not to go that route. The inspiration for YouTube as we know it today is credited to two different events. The first was Karim’s inability to find footage online of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and the second when Hurley and Chen were unable to share video footage of a dinner party due to e-mail attachment limitations.


Link via The Presurfer

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Punched Tape Synthesizer


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Punched tape is a form of data storage developed in the Nineteenth Century from weavers' loom cards and used in various forms through the 1980s. The location of holes in a roll of paper indicate code. YouTube user 256byteram made this synthesizer that uses a punched tape reader as his/her entry in a contest for creative uses of the 555 timer integrated circuit:

It is a three channel music synthesiser, capable of four octaves per chanel. The 555's are used to generate each octave for each voice (or channel). There are twelve 555 timer IC's used for the synthesiser section and two more for tempo control and paper speed. It is sequenced by a Heathkit H-10 paper tape unit and programmed with a 486 PC running QBasic (seriously, it's easier).


The musical piece is Bach's Invention #8.

Link via Make

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Clever and Sometimes Horrifying Tools from the History of Dentistry



Oobject gathered pictures of dentistry from past and probably pain-filled generations. Despite the visceral horror one might feel by looking at some of them, one must also admire the ingenuity behind some of them, such as this clockwork drill from the Nineteenth Century.

Link via Gizmodo | Previously: A Pictorial History of Dentistry

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The Overlook Hotel Kids' Placemat



All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So flip your restaurant placemat by artist Shane Parker over and keep yourself busy while watching The Shining.

Link via Popped Culture | Artist's Website

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Ticklish Camel is Ticklish


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A camel in the back of a truck -- you have a camel in the back of your truck, don't you? -- likes to be tickled.

via The Breda Fallacy's Facebook Page

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Laser Cat Bowling


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Here's how the game works: stack plastic cups into a pyramid. Take a laser pointer and agitate a cat until he chases the red dot right into the stacked cups. If you knock over all of cups, that's a strike.

via Geekosystem

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Hudson River Fish Evolve Incredibly Quickly



Fish in the Hudson River (US) have developed an immunity to polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of toxic chemicals developed in 1929. They've done so at an amazing speed:

"This is very, very ra­­­­­­­­­­­­pid evolutionary change," said Isaac Wirgin, an environmental toxicologist at New York University’s School of Medicine, and the study's lead investigator. "Normally you think of evolution occurring in thousands to millions of years. You’re talking about all this occurring in 20 to 50 generations maybe.”


The fish in question is called the tomcod, and scientists have determined the specific gene which has changed:

It turns out the fish sport a handy modification to a gene encoding a protein known to regulate the toxic effects of PCBs and related chemicals, called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor2, or AHR2.

The fish are missing six base pairs of DNA of the AHR2 gene, and the two amino acids each triplet would code for. PCBs bind poorly to the mutated receptors, apparently blunting the chemicals' effects.

The adaptation occurs almost universally in Hudson River tomcod, but crops up only infrequently in two other tomcod populations—in Connecticut’s Niantic River and the Shinnecock Bay at Long Island’s south shore.


Link via reddit | Photo: Mark Mattson, Normandeau Associates

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Propeller-Powered Skis Can Move a Man 25 MPH


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Sergei Khvalin made a propeller, attached it to a 200 cc lawnmower engine, and strapped the assembly to his back. This clever gadget can move him as fast as 25 MPH.

via DVICE

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IKEA Instructions for Stonehenge



What was the purpose for Stonehenge? Was it a calendar, an observatory, or a sacrificial site? These suggestions by archaeologists assume that it was a completed design instead of a project left half-finished because the assembly instructions were provided by IKEA. Justin Pollard, John Lloyd and Stevyn Colgan composed a cartoon illustrating this explanation. This is the first panel; the latter stages seem to involve magic and heavy drinking.

Link via The Presurfer

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How Does the M.C. Escher Waterfall Machine Work?



A few days ago, a viral video surfaced which appeared to show a functional model of M.C. Escher's famous drawing "Waterfall". How does it work? Boing Boing reader David Goldman proposes the above explanation. Do you agree?

via Boing Boing

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Star Trek: The Angry Birds


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An episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled "The Game" told of a simple but addictive video game that captured the minds of Enterprise crewmen. It sent subliminal messages to them and nearly permitted pirates to capture the ship. Wesley Crusher and a young ensign played by Ashley Judd discerned the true, malevolent nature of the game and saved everyone. That game, Collin Cannaday proposes, was actually Angry Birds.

via Urlesque | Cannaday's Website

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Mission Impossible Squirrel


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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to cross an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine until arriving at a bird feeder. Good luck, Chompers.

via SnarkyBytes

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Rubik's Brain Cube



Artist Jason Freeny made this fully functional Rubik's Cube puzzle shaped like a brain. Presumably some knowledge of anatomy is essential to solving it.

Link via Super Punch

Previously by Jason Freeny:
The Anatomy of Nemo
Gingerbread Man Dissection

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Somewhat Cumbersome 24-Shot Revolver



In the past, we've looked at somewhat fanciful efforts to improve the ammunition capacity of revolvers, including the use of feeding chains, superimposed loads, and stacked chambers. There's not much information available about this solution except that it's a single-action .38 that can fire 24 rounds.

Link via The Firearm Blog | Photo: Drefizzle

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Charlton Heston's 3 Post-Apocalyptic Films Make Sense if Played Simultaneously


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Charlton Heston starred in three post-apocalyptic films: Planet of the Apes (1968), Omega Man (1971), and Soylent Green (1973). As an art project, Anthony Discenza took the entire run of each film and spliced them together at every tenth of a second while playing their soundtracks simultaneously. The result is both trippy and coherent.

via Blastr

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Ice Age Cup Made from Human Skull



It is said that Alboin (d. 572), King of the Lombards, had the skull of his enemy, King Cunimind of the Gepids, turned into a drinking cup. It was the ultimate sign of triumph against a defeated foe. This tradition, however, whether for practical or emotional purposes, now appears to date back almost 15,000 years:

Ice Age folk who lived in what’s now southwestern England gruesomely went from heads off to bottoms up. Bones excavated at a cave there include the oldest known examples of drinking cups or containers made out of human skulls, says a team led by paleontologist Silvia Bello of the Natural History Museum in London.[...]

Prehistoric cave denizens cleaned the skulls before using stone tools to shape the upper parts of the brain cases into containers, the researchers say.

Bello suspects that Ice Age Britons hoisted hollowed-out crania in rituals of some kind. Other human bones found near the skull cups show signs of flesh and marrow removal, a result either of cannibalism or mortuary practices. The striking similarities between the cave finds and historical examples of drinking cups made out of skulls further support a ritual role for the Ice Age receptacles, Bello says.


Link | Photo: Natural History Museum

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Billboard Swing Set



Architect Didier Faustino made Double Happiness out of an old billboard in New York City:

Double Happiness responds to the society of materialism where individual desires seem to be prevailing over all. This nomad piece of urban furniture allows the reactivation of different public spaces and enables inhabitants to reappropriate fragments of their city. They will both escape and dominate public space through a game of equilibrium and desequilibrium. By playing this “risky” game, and testing their own limits, two persons can experience together a new perception of space and recover an awareness of the physical world.


Link via Flavorwire | Artist's Website | Photo: Broken City Lab

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Great Gatsby NES Game



Yes, this is a completely real, playable game based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Charlie Hoey and Pete Smith made this wonderful gem. Just click on the link and follow the instructions.

Link (auto sound) via Topless Robot

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Legend of Zelda Reimagined as an 80s Teen Movie


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The people at Gamervision.com have really outdone themselves this time. Previously, they've brought us parodies of God of War and Super Mario Bros. Now they've gone all out and produced a truly convincing presentation of a worn-out VHS copy of The Legend of Zelda...the teen romance from the 1980s.

via Geekologie

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Legal Argument: Technically Speaking, the Law Doesn't Require That the Seat Belt Be Attached to the Car



Paul Weigand of Kansas argued with the court that the state statute requiring people to wear seat belts while riding in a car didn't specifically assert that the seat belt (not pictured) had to be attached to the vehicle in question:

An officer ticketed Paul Weigand during a winter traffic stop after making him get out of his car to prove the belt wasn’t connected to the vehicle. Weigand says he is terrified of becoming trapped in a burning vehicle. Plus, he says the law doesn’t specify that the seat belt has to be attached to his vehicle.


The judge disagreed and levied him a fine and court costs.

Link via Lowering the Bar | Photo (unrelated) via Instructables

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Bubble Wrap Ties



When I saw this, my first thought was to email Alex and suggest that this awesome item be added to the NeatoShop. Unfortunately, designer Shunsuke Umiyama's brilliant idea has yet be mass produced. He writes:

Bubble Wrap is hidden on the back of the Tie!
Unpleasant boss's talk or boring meetings is a thing of the past,
you can just crush the bubble wrap.
This little function should ease your stress.


We have now reached the apex of human achievement.

Link via OhGizmo!

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Space Invaders Moss Mural



This video game is guaranteed to move very slowly. Kimi Spencer and Marko Manriquez created an interactive mural that uses moss to depict Space Invaders:

Moss invaders comprises a living graffiti mural and a capacitive sound installation into one piece. The moss mural is made using laser cut stencils to mold a moss milkshake concoction of our own devising. The moss paste is "painted" onto the stencils to grow directly onto the brick wall surface. The sound installation aspect takes the moss invaders into the intergalactic realm. Each moss pad is a capacitive sensor which plays 8-bit musical sounds when touched.


Link via DVICE | Photo: Core77 | Previously: DIY Moss Graffiti

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Laptop Bag Made from Floppy Disks



Sure, you can use your old 3.5" floppy disks as coasters or to prop up uneven table legs, but why not try something a bit more creative? Stanislav, a reader of TechEBlog, made a laptop bag out of a bunch of them.

Link via Geek Crafts | Previously: Floppy Disks as Art Medium

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Working Model of M.C. Escher's "Waterfall"


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M.C. Escher's Waterfall appears to show a stream of water fed by itself -- something of a perpetual motion machine. This clever video of mysterious origin creates the illusion of a functional model of that image.

via GearFuse

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Marital Partner Rating System



Does your wife wear soiled aprons around the house? That's a demerit. Is she slow in coming to bed? That's another demerit. She's not turning out too well.

In the 1930s, psychologist George Crane developed ratings charts that husbands and wives could use to offer each other constructive criticism:

Although most people who read the test today find it humorous and obviously dated, Crane did attempt to make it scientific. His method was to interview 600 husbands on their wives' positive and negative qualities. Then he listed the 50 demerits and merits that arose most frequently. Crane, did admit to using a personal bias in weighting the items that he thought were most important in marriage.


You can view the chart for husbands at the link.

Link via Glenn Reynolds

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LED Bench



The lighting apparently doesn't head the bench itself, so it's probably more comfortable than the keyboard bench or retractable spike bench. Opulent Items sells a bench that can be lit with different colors. It's weather resistant, but you do have to plug it into an electrical outlet.

Link via Technabob | Photo: Opulent Items

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Capybara Relaxes under a Hot Shower


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At a zoo in Saitama, Japan a group of capybaras are keeping warm and comfortable at an outdoor spa. One particularly adorable critter is just letting the water pour over his head.

via Urlesque

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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