John Farrier's Blog Posts

Study: American Pronunciations of English Words Not Thriving in the British Isles

A study by the British Library revealed that despite concerns to the contrary, Britons have not begun adopting the American pronunciation for English words. In fact, British English is changing at a faster rate than American English. Jonnie Robinson, one of the researchers, said:

‘In fact, in some cases it is the other way around. British English, for whatever reason, is innovating and changing while American English remains very conservative and traditional in its speech patterns.’

Here's how Robinson and his colleagues conducted the study of 10,000 English speakers:

The volunteers were asked to read extracts from Mr Tickle, one of the series of Mr Men books by Roger Hargreaves.

They were also asked to pronounce a set of six different words which included ‘controversy’, ‘garage’, ‘scone’, ‘neither’, ‘attitude’ and ‘schedule’.

Linguists then examined the recordings made by 60 of the British and Irish participants and 60 of their counterparts from the U.S. and Canada.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Image: Daily Mail

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Solar Powered Soldiers

The UK's Ministry of Defense has issued a research grant to develop solar energy collectors that could be incorporated into the standard gear of infantry troops. It's hoped that such equipment would reduce the weight of batteries that soldiers need to carry:

"Infantry need electricity for weapons, radios, global positioning systems and many other vital pieces of equipment," says Professor Duncan Gregory of Glasgow uni, one of the institutions participating in the project. "We aim to produce a prototype system within two years.”

The project has been dubbed "solar soldier" and has been assigned £650,000 of funding from the MoD and the government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. More cash will come from Leeds and Brunel universities and a studentship which will be part of the project is to be funded by US weapons'n'aerospace megacorp Rockwell Collins.

Link via Popular Science | Image: EPSRC

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Mashup of Lost and Gilligan's Island in LEGO

Really, Lost and Gilligan's Island are just ripe for a full-length parody mashup. Until then, we'll just have to be content with Gilligan and the Skipper discovering the hatch, as Flickr user Legohaulic has imagined.

Link via Super Punch

Previously: Lost on Gilligan's Island

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Futurama as an 80s Nintendo Game

(Video Link)

YouTube user GrandmaBird made this outstanding video that presents Futurama (specifically, the season 2 episode "The Lesser of Two Evils") as an 80s-era Nintendo game. Quite properly, Bender scores points by stomping on popplers.

via Comics Alliance

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Kryptonite Candy Glows under Ultraviolet Light

Instructables user Britt Michelsen has lately been experimenting with fluorescent materials, including riboflavin. She decided to use it to make a food that looks like kryptonite. Michelsen made a mold out of aluminum foil, cooked riboflavin into sugar, and poured it into the mold. The result was a glowing candy that looked quite like the lethal substance in the Superman mythos.

Link via Make

Previously by Britt Michelsen:
Pixelated Trash Can
"You Killed Kenny!" Doorstop

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Pencil Sharpening Drill Attachment

It's isn't as classy and refined as artisanal pencil sharpening, but it's nonetheless clever. A company called C.H. Hanson makes a power drill attachment that will sharpen pencils. You can watch a video of it at the link.

Link and Product Site via DVICE | Photo: NotCot

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Evil Genius Simulator

(Video Link)

When I laugh manically and call out "Fools! I'll destroy them all!", people mostly just look at me funny. I mean, moreso than usual. I need this gadget developed by Tom Wyatt. The Tesla coils are controlled by a Kinect interface. Just shake your fists in the air and bellow out a diabolical cackle, and the coils turn on. Actually, you don't need to laugh to activate the coils, but it looks kinda pointless if you're not promising vengeance against your enemies at the same time.

via GeekDad

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Super Mario Bros. as an Indie Film

(Video Link)

Angst, drug addiction, and unrequited love. Super Mario Bros., as Joe Nicolosi discovered, has always had the potential to be an indie film. This trailer was shown at the current SXSW festival in Austin.

via Geekologie | Director's Website

Star Wars Retold By Someone Who Hasn't Seen It
Super Mario Bros. Intervention

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Fast Food Final Fantasy

This great shot of two (presumably) cosplayers was shot by Steve Burt at Anime Expo 2008 in Los Angeles. Ronald Sephiroth battles Colonel Cloud. If Wendy joined in, what Final Fantasy character would she be?

Link via Popped Culture

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Crocheted Cyanide & Happiness Figures

Are you familiar with Kris Wilson's delightfully morbid webcomic Cyanide & Happiness? It's great. Almost equally inspired are Annette Morrison's crocheted figures from that webcomic.

Link via Technabob

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Hoof Shoes

If you need just the right item to complete your "What were you thinking?" outfit, I suggest these hoof shoes, available in ankle and knee lengths. These £1,300 ($2802) shoes feature synthetic hooves, but are made from 5,000 horse hairs each:

The knee-length and ankle-length shoes were commissioned to celebrate 100 years of the famous National Hunt festival, which begins on Tuesday.

Three pairs will be sold with proceeds going to the Prostate Cancer Charity.

Link via Born Rich | Photo: BBC

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Penguins Walking Around a Jetliner

(Video Link)

Three days ago, on a Southwest Airlines flight from San Francisco to San Diego, penguins waddled around the plane. SeaWorld was transporting them to a convention and the penguins' attendants decided to give them some free time.

via Urlesque

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Shuttle Astronaut Urine Ejected into Space

German astronomer Jens Hackmann shot this picture of what is thought to be the last waste water dump from the space shuttle Discovery on March 8 before re-entry. This waste water would, of course, include astronaut urine:

"When observing ISS and space shuttle Discovery with unaided eye, there was nothing special for me," Hackmann wrote in the caption of his video on YouTube. "But when I examined the video clip I wondered what that tail on Discovery was…Then I read in the internet about other sights."

Such water dumps are a usual event, allowing the spaceship to unload its dirty water and urine before returning to Earth. A similar disposal gave skywatchers a nice view during the shuttle Discovery's STS-128 mission in September, 2009 as well.

Link via Alphecca

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Futuristic Peripheral Projects a Mousing Surface Anywhere

(Video Link)

Celluon has invented a new type of mouse that reads simple finger movements as mousing commands. The evoMouse also appears to respond to finger commands common to smartphones, like zooming. It's pretty cool, but I'm waiting for a Minority Report glove.

Link via DVICE

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Sperm Whales Might Have Names

Whale researchers are tentatively suggesting that sperm whales might have names. Certain sounds emitted during their songs may be signatures:

Rendell and his collaborators, including biologists Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero and Tyler Schulz, have for years studied the click sequences, or codas, used by sperm whales to communicate across miles of deep ocean. In a study published last June in Marine Mammal Sciences, they described a sound-analysis technique that linked recorded codas to individual members of a whale family living in the Caribbean.

In that study, they focused on a coda made only by Caribbean sperm whales. It appears to signify group membership.[...]

That individual whales would have means of identifying themselves does, however, make sense. Dolphins have already been shown to have individual, identifying whistles. Like them, sperm whales are highly social animals who maintain complex relationships over long distances, coordinating hunts and cooperating to raise one another’s calves.

Link via reddit | Photo by Flickr user SidPix used under Creative Commons license

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Jumbotron Improvised from Mobile Devices

(Video Link)

Rick Borovoy and his colleagues at MIT devised a means to use multiple mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablet computers, to create a large screen displaying a single image. It looks quite simple to implement. You don't need to download anything; just access his website.

Link via Boing Boing | Creator's Website

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Hipster Trap

This photo of a hipster trap is allegedly from New York City. Contents: brightly-colored bike chain, American Spirit cigarettes, can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, and plastic glasses. It just needs a Moleskine notebook to lure in more hesitant prey.

via Geekosystem

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Dr. Frankenstein Now a Hospital Administrator

Well, in his defense, he is an outstanding scientist. Not many doctors can reanimate the dead. Oh, and he has other qualifications:

Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital has hired a new interim, part-time chief medical officer, a board-certified physician in the areas of pulmonology and internal medicine with a track record for evaluating hospital standards at the national level.

Link via The Agitator

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Nikes Made from Old Computer and Typewriter Parts

Gabriel Dishaw is an artist as well as an employee of an athletic shoe retailer. One of his most recent projects was the construction of a pair of Nike Air Max sneakers made from:

[...] discarded parts including a motherboard, an old typewriter case, an USB port, chipsets, power connectors and even the oxygen mask from a 747 airplane.

It took him about 90 hours to complete. You can read an interview with him and view more pictures at the link.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo: Freshness Mag

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Happy Pi Day!

(Video Link)

This, being the fourteenth day of the third month, is National Pi Day -- a day to recognize the mathematical constant of pi. In this video, the daughter of YouTube user kurtgodden recited the first 500 digits of pi in 90 seconds. She's memorized the first 2,300.

How will you celebrate pi day today?

via Nerdcore

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Robotech Snow Sculpture

Flickr user migpix captions this photo as "Zentradi child being held up by a Valkyrie Veritech Fighter VF-1S in Battloid mode." If I remember Robotech correctly, the sizing is just about spot on. But did the Zentradi in that series have actual children, or just clones? It's been too long for me to remember clearly. Anyway, to this day, I regret not having the Ulpio Minucci's theme to Robotech as the processional music at my wedding. That is one awesome piece of music.

Link via Make | Photo: Macross Wedding Cake

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House with a Waterslide Directly from the Bedroom Closet

This is just the right way to start the day! Look at the top of the picture. The bedroom is on the other side of the glass. Roll out of bed, drop into the waterslide, and head into the pool. This luxury home (for sale!) in Bowdon, UK, has everything one could ask for.

Link via Super Punch | Photo: Country Life

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Star Wars Version of Footprints

Footprints is a classic short item American Christian prose and can be found framed in many homes. The theology of this Star Wars version is questionable, but awesome. I have no idea who created this most excellent variation.

Link -- Thanks, Jeff Acheson!

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Giant Etch A Sketch

HAC:Manchester, a hackerspace community in Manchester, UK, made a huge Etch A Sketch. The image is projected onto the screen from the rear. An arduino controller permits the knobs to be used in the traditional manner of the classic toy. Shaking the screen, as the user above is doing, gradually erases the screen -- again, just like with an actual Etch A Sketch.

Link and Video via Make

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Waiting in Lines

The ever-clever Dominic Wilcox (whose work we have featured extensively on Neatorama), has a few suggestions about how to improve the agony of waiting in line. This is great unless you're the first in line, but that case, you've nothing to get upset about.

Link via The Presurfer

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Sunbeam Nap

This delightful picture comes courtesy of redditor kimberleykitty. Save room for me, guys.

Link via The Agitator

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An Interactive Map of Where Americans are Moving

Forbes presents an interactive county map of the United States that shows where people are moving. Just click on a county to view where new arrivals came from or people are going to. You can also select from nine major metropolitan areas.

Link via Glenn Reynolds

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Woman Goes to Court with Monkey in Her Bra

A woman was due to appear in court in Amherst, Virginia. So, naturally, she stuffed a small monkey into her bra before entering the courthouse:

The woman brought along the palm-sized marmoset to a proceeding in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court in Amherst County, Va. Apparently, officials actually didn't notice the clinging creature until the woman went to an office to do some paperwork.

"I can't understand why the deputy didn't see her - she was peeking out," the woman told The Lynchburg News & Advance.

When the woman referred to a daughter, a puzzled official asked where the daughter was and the woman pulled the monkey out of her bra, the newspaper reported.

Link via Theresa Coleman's Facebook page | Photo: Lynchburg News & Advance

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Hollywood Versions of Children's Classics

Steve Murray of Canada's National Post imagined how Hollywood would treat classics from children's literature and comics, such as Humpty Dumpty, the Gingerbread Man, and Peanuts. Dr. Seuss titles in particular would seem to lend themselves well to horror movies.

Link via Popped Culture

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6 Terrifying Alternate Geek Histories

Alternate history asks what the world would be like if certain events in the past were somehow different. Shaun Clayton of Topless Robot has looked into geek history (TR prefers the term 'nerd', but that's a debate for another day) and unearthed six horrifying possibilities. Let's say, for example, Star Trek was revived prematurely with the proposed Star Trek: Phase II. Or Stephen King died of his injuries after getting hit by a van in 1999:

As much as people may debate the end of The Dark Tower series as being good, bad or "whaaa?" there is a far worse ending for The Dark Tower -- never getting finished. Somewhere there's a universe where, on a June afternoon, while taking a walk by the side of the road, King is struck by the minivan that hit him in our reality and dies in 1999. The Dark Tower series would end at Wizard and Glass and be unresolved. Further, anything Stephen wrote after that point does not exist. You may not like anything he wrote over the past 11 years, but just imagine that you have to imagine what he wrote over the past 11 years, like Cell, From a Buick 8, and Faithful, in which King relates his giddy experience in watching the Boston Red Sox finally win a World Series. If there were anything for King himself to want to exist in our universe for, it would be that.

By the way -- if you're a fan of alternate history (as I am), you should check out the work of Peter G. Tsouras. He is, IMHO, the best alternate history writer ever. Yes, even better than Turtledove.

Link | Image: Topless Robot | Previously: The First Alternate History

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Profile for John Farrier

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