John Farrier's Blog Posts

Bank Robber Gets Caught When He Goes Back inside the Bank to Withdraw Money for Cab Fare

The German general Helmuth von Moltke the Elder once said, "No plan of battle survives first contact with the enemy." This is often true: no matter how carefully you plan an undertaking, something will go wrong. Take, for example, the cunning plan of an accused bank robber in Atlanta, Georgia. He demanded money from a teller, who refused and hid behind bullet-proof glass. The suspect was unable to get past the barrier, so he left the bank without any money. This meant that he had no money to pay for the taxi, which was his getaway vehicle:

According to Chamblee police, the taxi driver said she picked up the passenger at the Chamblee MARTA station and transported him round trip to the Wells Fargo.

Upon their return to the MARTA station, the man told the driver he needed to go to the station parking lot to get money out of his car to pay for the trip.

The driver, concerned her passenger was going to skip out without paying, blocked his car with the taxi and got the attention of a MARTA officer. The officer didn't know about the bank robbery and talked Gladston into going back to the bank to withdraw money to pay for the cab ride.

When the suspect went back into the bank to get money to pay for his taxi ride, bank employees informed police officers (who had by then arrived) that he was the robber. Police then arrested the suspect.

Link -via Stuff | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user theycallmetelly

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Inventor Proposes Levitating Buildings on Air Cushions During Earthquakes

(Video Link)

Those of us who merely watched the devastating 2011 Tohoku earthquake on screens got to witness something amazing: the resiliency and resourcefulness of the Japanese people. And we're still seeing it as Japan prepares for future earthquakes. Here's one example. Youichi Sakamoto invented a foundation structure that raises buildings on air pockets as soon as an earthquake starts:

1. A sensor detects the rumblings of an earthquake.

2. Within .5 to 1 second an air tank pushes air in-between an artificial foundation and the actual structure of the home, lifting it as high as 3cm off the ground.

3. While the earth below violently shakes, the levitating home quietly and patiently waits, returning back to the ground once the tectonic plates have settled.

Link -via Marginal Revolution

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Indiana Jones Cupcake

Cupcakes. Why'd it have to be cupcakes? Kati Peck's Indiana Jones captures the whole movie franchise with a whip, a hat and lots of sugar. Visit her photostream to see cupcakes with Lost, True Blood, and Watchmen themes.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious! | Photostream

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"Who Do You Think You Are? I Am!"

(Video Link)

In this video, Pete Weber clinched his victory in the Professional Bowlers Association's U.S. Open. It's Weber's fifth U.S. Open title, and he seems rather pleased, doesn't he?

I think that I'll mimic this routine after publishing each post for the next day.

Link -via @itscolossal

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"Duck Season. Fire!"

Wabbit season. Duck season. Wabbit season. Duck season. Fire! Elmer Fudd's duck-faced prey is out of season, but does anyone mind?

Image by Christian Kalczewski.

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Grandma's Handy Computer/Life Tips

Graphic designer Chacho Puebla posed his grandmother with signs offering prudent advice about using computers and social media. What is unstated in this one is that women leave their Excel husbands for Illustrator lovers.

Link -via Nerdcore

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Dinner Will Be Ready in Half an Hour

redditor ihatepants writes "My Vietnamese mom had these in the freezer to scare me. It worked." Fine, then, hand me your portion.

Other redditors identify these cute little fellows as Giant Water Bugs and note that their aggressive behavior. In some parts of the world, they're called "Toe Biters."


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Baked Potato Beanbag Chair Needs More Shredded Cheese

Art student Brook Abboud, inventor of the pizza slice sleeping bag, knows how to make comfort food. Here's her beanbag chair featuring a satin pillow shaped like a pat of butter. Coat yourself with sour cream before sitting down for the complete experience.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

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Jetliner inside a Light Bulb

A Polish modelmaker named Rafal Z made a tiny paper model of the Airbus A330 inside a light bulb. Oh, he didn't make it entirely inside. But he did add the wings. You can view more pictures at the link.

Link -via Technabob

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Bib Fortuna Tattoo

He worked as a court functionary for Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars, but Bib Fortuna was better known as a a great sage. Don't you grasp his wisdom? Here, watch a ten-minute continuous loop of his most famous statement. It'll make more sense afterwards.

Link -via Fashionably Geek

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Wonder Woman Soup

This cute fruit soup of watermelon, raspberries and strawberries is topped with mango sliced into the shape of Wonder Woman's crest. Make it for the wonder-inspiring women in your family. You can find a simple recipe at the link.

Link -via Tasteologie

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Wyoming Considers Acquiring an Aircraft Carrier

Wyoming's legislature is considering a bill that would establish a commission to draw up a plan to prepare the state for the collapse of the United States government. Should that event ever occur, Wyoming's government would need to act as a national government by sustaining a currency, ensuring international commerce and providing military defense among other tasks. One provision of the bill would instruct the task force to examine:

[...] conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier.

Wait, an aircraft carrier? It's not a completely ridiculous proposition, argues Kevin Underhill:

The state does not have a whole hell of a lot of water, to be honest. It appears that its largest lake is Yellowstone Lake, which on average is about 140 feet deep. (Yes, it's in a national park now, but that wouldn't matter, would it?) The draft of a Midway-class carrier, which you can probably find on eBay for cheap, was only 33 feet; even the biggest carrier available (Nimitz-class) only needs about 40 feet of water to float. So yes, assuming they could find one and figure out a way to get it in there, the people of Wyoming could potentially have their own aircraft carrier. It might not have much room to putt around in, but still.


P.S. Don't dismiss the notion just because Wyoming is landlocked -- it wouldn't be the first landlocked nation to have a navy.

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Stained Glass TARDIS

For an art class project, Alexandria made this stained glass TARDIS. The top comes off, so she plans to use it to store candy. Keep an eye out for her future projects, which Alexandria says will have Doctor Who and Star Trek themes.

Link -via Geek Crafts

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Karate Chopsticks Ad

This clever ad by the Grey Group in Tokyo lets you split wood before you even enter the dojo for the first time. Also: chopping of your own leg at the same time. But no pain, no gain.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

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Banana and Peanut Butter Sushi Roll

That would be disgusting, except that there's no fish in this concoction. It just looks like a sushi roll. Katelyn of Domestic Charm devised a simple recipe that uses only bananas, tortillas, honey, raisins, peanut butter and cinnamon. Roll them together for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Link -via Cathy Grande

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Rejected Star Wars Promotional Merchandise

Yes, your soda is just fine. In fact, it's in perfect hibernation. This refrigerator is one of many rejected Star Wars/Pepsi merchandising concepts by Jason Geyer including Bantha slippers, an AT-AT chair caddy and a Jedi mood ring.

Link -via blastr

P.S. You can find real Star Wars merchandise at the NeatoShop.

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The Funeral for the Last American Veteran of the War of 1812

(Video Link)

Though he was only fourteen years old, Hiram Cronk enlisted in the United States Army when British forces threatened Upstate New York. He participated in the defense of Sackets Harbor on Lake Ontario, serving for three months. Then he went home, became a shoemaker, got married and had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Cronk died in 1905 at the age of 105. He was the last American veteran of the War of 1812, so his funeral was a major public event in New York City. Watch the funeral procession, featuring veterans from the Civil War and Spanish-American War, move through Brooklyn.

Link -via American Digest | Photo of Cronk's Grave

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Dog Steals Baguette, Not Sure What to Do with It

(Video Link)

The bread loaf fits through the hallway, but not through the narrow entrance to her crate. Now what? Watch this dog think through the problem.

-via Blame It on the Voices

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cups inspired by Fringe

BraveTart writes "I don’t know if I should feel ashamed or proud that I’ve written the world’s first and only Fringe/Reese's Cup fan fiction." I'm voting for "proud" because there's no such thing as too weird.

Recipe and Story -via Tasteologie

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Alan Turing's School Grades

As an adult, Alan Turing proved to be a genius. Among other accomplishments, he was a pioneer in computer science. But when he was a teenager, Turing was less impressive. Here's what his English instructor said about his work:

Without being lazy, he seems to do his work rather perfunctorily. I should like to see rather more life in him.

And his math teacher:

Works well. He is still very untidy. He must try to improve in this respect.

And his science teacher:

He is keen & has a natural bent for science, but his work is badly spoilt by extreme untidiness.

One headmaster wrote about his integration into the school community:

His ways sometimes tempt persecution: though I don’t think he is unhappy. Undeniably he is not a ‘normal’ boy: not the worse for that, but probably less happy.

Link -via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Sherborne School

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Vincent Van Gogh Self Portrait Costume

redditor beadmandingo spotted Vincent Van Gogh walking around the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. There's a lengthy discussion in the comment thread about the identity of the performer, who may be a local underground celebrity.

Link -via Super Punch

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LEGO Church

For a more modular ecclesiology, visit this temporary structure in the Netherlands. It's built not out of LEGO bricks, but Legioblocks -- concrete blocks made to resemble LEGO bricks. Michiel de Wit and Filip Jonker erected it for the Grenswerk Festival in the city of Enschede.

Link (Google Translate) -via Bit Rebels | Festival Website | Photo by the artists

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What if The Final Countdown Had Ended Differently?

The Final Countdown is a 1980 science fiction film starring Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen. It's set on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, then steaming out of Pearl Harbor. An unusual storm propels the ship back in time to December 6, 1941 -- one day before the Japanese raid on the US fleet there. After some debate with other characters, Captain Yelland decides to change the course of history by actively defending Hawaii from the Japanese. But before the Nimitz can do so, the storm returns and Yelland decides that it would be better to return to his own time.

It's a fun film, if a bit unsatisfying because it presents viewers with a tantalizing scenario that it never fully explores: what if the Nimitz had stayed behind? What would be different about World War II? Robert Farley offers some speculation on the subject:

Integrating Nimitz into the fleet would have taken a while ("We're here from the future!") and it's not obvious what the most efficient way to use Nimitz would have been. One option would be to have Nimitz spearhead a task force to turn back and defeat the IJN invasions of the Dutch East Indies. With history driven intel, the obvious technological superiority of Nimitz, and the rest of the USN carrier fleet, the IJN would have been hard press to carry out operations with any degree of success. Nimitz would have been nearly invulnerable to Japanese air attack, assuming that A-7s and F-14s could be kept in the air for CAP. A successful attack would require waves of aircraft and suicidal tactics (press forward until Nimitz and her CAP ran out of missiles), and even then might not disable the carrier. A Japanese submarine could certainly give Nimitz a very bad day, but against sufficient escort and modern ASW, getting into firing position would be difficult.

An alternative use of Nimitz would involve trying to end the war right away by sustained air attacks on Tokyo. Nimitz would have carried a dozen or so A-6s, which in a sustained operation could have dropped a lot of bombs on Tokyo. The rest of the USN would either support Nimitz or concentrate on the DEI invasions. I'm no fan of strategic bombing, but on the heels of the sudden destruction of the IJN carrier fleet, the likely impending defeat of the IJN in SE Asia, and an essentially unstoppable bombing campaign over the capital, it wouldn't be terribly surprising to see the Japanese sue for peace. Of course, even the Nimitz couldn't stay on station indefinitely; eventually ordnance and jet fuel would run short, forcing Nimitz to retire (potentially for an extended period of time). [...]

The other big question (which Final Countdown does not touch upon) would be the availability of nuclear weapons onboard Nimitz. I simply don't know enough about nuclear weapons policy on USN carriers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but it wouldn't be terribly surprising to find that Nimitz carried nukes. This would pose very interesting challenges; with sufficient weapons, Nimitz very likely could end both the Pacific and European wars before the end of 1942. Explaining the power of nuclear weapons to Roosevelt would be a challenge, as would convincing him not to use them, if Yelland and co. were even interested in going that direction.

Link -via Ace of Spades HQ | Image: United Artists

P.S. If you enjoy this type of speculative fiction, then you may be interested in some similar works:
  • A few months ago, a redditor asked if a Marine infantry battalion could conquer the Roman Empire. That question led to a movie deal on the subject.

  • In the 1990s, William R. Forstchen wrote a great series of novels that described the adventures of an American infantry regiment from 1865 that was thrown onto an alien world with largely medieval technology.

  • John Birmingham's Axis of Time triology deposited an entire carrier battle group from the 2020s in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in 1942. It was an international fleet, including Japanese and Indonesian vessels, leading to, shall we say, diplomatic complications.

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    Tommy Craggs's Amazing Tree Sculptures

    British chainsaw tree sculptor Tommy Craggs has gotten a lot of attention lately for enchanting sculptures that he has left in a publicly-accessible forest in northern England. Because his identity was a mystery until recently, locals called him the "Yorkshire Banksy".

    Link | Artist's Website

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    R2-D2 Birdhouse

    Ben Mayer's R2-D2 birdhouse comes with just a LED in its optical unit, but there's a vast number of other aftermarket accessories available for R2 units. And if you'd like to match him with a protocol droid birdhouse, you can find one at the link.

    Link -via Technabob

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    70 Years Ago Today: The Battle of Los Angeles

    In the first few weeks after the formal entry of the United States into World War II, many Americans on the west coast feared Japanese air and sea attacks, or even an amphibious invasion. On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine briefly surfaced off Ellwood, California and shelled an oil refinery there. Two days later, radar spotted an unidentified flying object approaching Los Angeles:
    The varying reports of the morning’s events represent the mass confusion and paranoia of the time. Some reported there were just a few planes, while others claimed to have seen several dozen aircraft. There were even reports that planes were shot down, when in reality, nothing was hit by the AA guns—except three civilians killed and a few buildings damaged by friendly fire. Guns fired at the flying object for more than an hour between 3:15 and 4:15 a.m. on 25 February 1942.

    To this day it is still uncertain what the flying object actually was, giving rise to many conspiracy theories of aliens, UFOs, and a subsequent government cover-up; but the most likely scenario is that the object was simply a rogue weather balloon.

    Link -via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo (unrelated) via the National Park Service

    P.S. Neatorama contributor Eddie Deezen starred in 1941, a movie about this period of World War II.

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    Wicked Witch of the East Cupcake

    This simple but clever cupcake made me giggle. Kelly's overturned cupcake crushed the Wicked Witch of the East, just as Dorothy's house did in The Wizard of Oz.

    Link -via Super Punch | Baker's Website

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    The Badgermin is a Stuffed Badger Theremin

    David Cranmer is an eccentric maker of sculptures and musical instruments, such as the Furby Gurdy. By combining the musical abilities of the badger and the aesthetic appeal of a theremin, he has created the future of music. Watch a video of a performance at the link.

    Link -via Geekosystem

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    Car Oil Filter Lamp

    You'll have to change the bulb every 6,000 miles, but Etsy seller ZAL Creation's lamp is worth the cost. He also makes lamps out of beer bottles, beer cans, and orange safety cones.

    Link -via Gizmodo

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    Bootleg iPhones Seized in China Show Revolutionary Redesign

    Allegedl, police in Wuhan, China seized 681 gas stoves that were defective. Many of them were branded as iPhone products. It's possible that these were not authentic Apple accessories.

    Link -via DVICE | Photo: News 163

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    Profile for John Farrier

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