John Farrier's Blog Posts

How to Make Glow in the Dark Flowers

(Video Link)

NurdRage offers up an especially nerdy Valentine's Day present: glow in the dark flowers. It's a simple process. Just drain the contents of a magic marker into a jar of water. Cut the stems off of some flowers and stick them in the jar. Let the flowers sit in the solution overnight. In the morning, after they have absorbed the fluorescent dye, they'll glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet light.

via Geekologie

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Real Mugshot of KFC Double Down Sandwich

Kentucky Fried Chicken's famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) Double Down sandwich, a concoction comprised of two chicken breasts with bacon and cheese between them, has an arrest record with the Escambia County, Florida Sheriff's Office. Presumably the officers created the record for training purposes. Presumably.

Link via Geekosystem

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Push-and-Store Cabinet

Chung-Tang Ho made a solid cabinet made of wooden inserts that push out the back as you insert items through the front. Or, as Droog's description puts it "The cabinet is in fact a sculpture in the round you and your objects can participate in."

Link via OhGizmo! | Photos: Droog

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Google Maps Valentine

Google Maps has a cute new function called Map Your Valentine. It lets you create a heart around a special location and send a message to your sweetie. When received through email, the valentine reads "I picked this place especially for you."

Link via Fast Company

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J.R.R. Tolkien Invented the Pluralization "Dwarves"

Tolkien, in addition to establishing the genre of modern fantasy (I've just had a lengthy discussion with my English major wife about the legitimacy of this attribution), also created the word "dwarves" as a plural form of "dwarf". Tolkien explains why in one appendix to LOTR:

It may be observed that in this book as in The Hobbit the form dwarves is used, although the dictionaries tell us that the plural of dwarf is dwarfs. It should be dwarrows (or dwerrows), if singular and plural had each gone its own way down the years, as have man and men, or goose and geese. But we no longer speak of a dwarf as often as we do of a man, or even of a goose, and memories have not been fresh enough among Men to keep hold of a special plural for a race now abandoned to folk-tales, where at least a shadow of truth is preserved, or at last to nonsense-stories in which they have become mere figures of fun. But in the Third Age something of their old character and power is still glimpsed, if already a little dimmed: these are the descendants of the Naugrim of the Elder Days, in whose hearts still burns the ancient fire of Aule the Smith, and the embers smoulder of their long grudge against the Elves; in in whose hands still lives the skill in works of stone that none have surpassed.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo: Baylor University

Previously: J.R.R. Tolkien Reads and Sings Lord of the Rings

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Snow-Laden Truck Creates Frosty Explosion

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The top of a tractor trailer is covered with snow. In fact, it looks like it's a few feet deep. When that pile hits an overpass, it sends snow everywhere over the roadway.

via SnarkyBytes

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Steampunk Boba Fett

Sure, anyone can hack together a clumsy steampunk costume. But when professional prop makers, costume designers, and photographers come together, you get a high-grade product like this. Full credit to David Ashby Linda Hamilton, Christa Wood, and Matt Nicholson for their marvelous creation.

Link | deviantART Gallery | Photo: Matt Nicholson

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Swinging Across a Canyon

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These daredevils in Moab, Utah, are swinging across a canyon using what they call a "swingline". John at Super Punch says that it "makes bungee jumping look sane", which is a pretty good description. The scene at 2:00 is particularly spectacular.

via Super Punch

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Daisy Wants Pancakes Now!

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Daisy and Caspar are dogs. Every Saturday, their hoomin makes pancakes for them. Caspar is very mellow and waits patiently for pancakes to be inserted into his mouth. Daisy, as you can see, is not.

via Geekosystem

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Star Wars Greek Vase

About this image by deviantART user asaifactory, Jeremy Barker writes:

This is just like my Classics classes with one crucial difference: nobody is naked. And for that I an eternally grateful.

I get his point, but I think that a recreation of the Star Wars story in the form of ancient Greek pottery paintings would be fascinating.

Link via Popped Culture

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Major Styles of Tattoo Art

About 1 in 2.5 adults under the age of 40 has been inked. The Washington Post presents an interactive infographic illustrating the major styles of tattooing that can be found in the United States today. At the link, hovering over any area on the statue's body shows a closer view of each style.

Link via Nerdcore | Image: Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz and Alberto Cuadra/The Washington Post

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Couple Uses the Same Valentine's Day Card for 70 Years

Harry Ward got to know Doris in a bomb shelter in Bristol, UK, during an air raid in November, 1940. Three months later, he gave his sweetheart a card on Valentine's Day as he left town to go to war. They married the next year, then had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. They still use the same card every year:

Mr Ward, now 88, said: 'I knew Doris was the one for me the moment I met her. It was a heck of a night during the Blitz, but at least it meant we met each other. I gave her the Valentine's card then and she is still my Valentine now."

Mrs Ward's card – which reads "Two hearts entwine this Valentine. True love makes it sincere" – is not the only thing that has endured the passing of time.

"Harry is quite romantic and we are still going strong together after all these years," she said.

"The secret to our happy marriage is that we never go to bed without a kiss goodnight. We are as still in love as the day he first gave me this card."

Link | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user Partha Sarathi Sahana used under Creative Commons license

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How to Board a Moving Train

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We're late for the train! But we must board it! How can this be accomplished? A couple in Burma demonstrates one technique.

via The Presurfer

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TRON Bambi

I doubt that this toy is licensed by Disney, but CLOT's TRON: Legacy Bambi toy nonetheless goes on sale on Valentine's Day. They can be found a shop called "Man Is In the Forest" in Shanghai. There are three more pictures at the link.

Link via Kotaku

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World's Longest Ski Jump Can Send a Person Flying for 800 Feet

(Video Link)

Vikersundbakken -- the world's highest ski jump -- opened this past week in Norway. Its staggering 440-foot height allowed champion jumper Johan Remen Evensen to set a new world record by jumping 797 feet. The above video shows that jump. You can watch more videos about Vikersundbakken and the sport of ski jumping at the link.


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Knitted Power Cord Scarf

Why are you wearing a plastic insulated electrical cord around your neck? Nguyen Le, a photographer and crafter in Brooklyn, made one out of cotton and wool yarn that is probably a lot more comfortable.

Link via Geek Crafts | Le's Blog

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64-Year Old Man First to Cross the Atlantic in a Kayak Nonstop

Aleksander Doba, 64, crossed the Atlantic Ocean from Dakar, Senegal to Acaraú, Brazil in almost a hundred days. He's the first person to do so nonstop:

After 98 days, 23 hours, 42 minutes at sea, Doba and his custom 23-foot-long, 39-inch-wide human-powered kayak landed at Acaraú, a city on Brazil’s northeast coast. The trip covered some 3,320 miles in all, and Doba became only the fourth known person to accomplish such a feat, and the very first to do it nonstop.

Of course, Doba encountered his fair share of obstacles along the way — age, a broken desalination unit, 20-foot swells and stifling equatorial heat — but none of that would deter him, as he survived on dehydrated food products, candy and fish (which he caught along the way). He also made time to collect rainwater for drinking, communicate by sat phone (recharged by solar panels lining his vessel), and even send out a few tweets.

Link via Glenn Reynolds | Photo: Arsoba Travel

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Arthur C. Clarke's 31-Word Short Story

In 1984, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke submitted "siseneG" to Analog magazine. Clarke's cover letter was as terse, stating "This is the only short story I've written in ten years or so. I think you'll agree that they don't come much shorter."

Link via blastr

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Flypaper Clock Eats Flies, Uses Their Bodies for Energy

Design student James Auger was inspired by carnivorous plants to make a clock that is powered by converting the bodies of dead insects into electricity. A roll of flypaper catches the flies, which are in turn scraped off and dumped into a fuel cell. It's an application of biomass energy conversion technology. You can watch videos about the clock at the link.

Link via OhGizmo! | Photo: Auger Loizeau

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The World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle Is Going to Keep You Busy for a While

Toy and puzzle making company Ravensburger has created the world's largest commercially available jigsaw puzzle. It weighs 42 pounds and is composed of 32,256 pieces. The completed image is a compilation of 32 works by the pop artist Keith Haring. You can view more images of it at the link.

Link | Company Website | Image: Ravensburger

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Sharks Chasing Food inside a School of Fish

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Vimeo user Mark Hannant shot this amazing scene in the Maldives. Five small sharks are chasing after their dinner inside an enormous school of fish. The fish school amorphously forms a hole around wherever the sharks move -- all while a heron on the shore tries to take advantage of the opportunity.

via The Presurfer

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Star Trek/Doctor Who Fan Art Has Me Deeply Confused

deviantART user Sumerset envisions grand alliances in the Star Trek and Doctor Who universes. Leaving aside the depiction of late 24th Century Romulans and Klingons fighting alongside each other...well, they did briefly during the Dominion War, I suppose. But shouldn't all sides within each universe ally against the opposing universe?

I mean, if I saw even the Jem'Hadar fighting the Doctor, I'd support the Jem'Hadar. It's like that old proverb says: "My brother and I against my cousin. My cousin and I against any stranger." Are you a Trekkie or a Whovian? Choose your side and stick with it.

Link via io9

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Huckleberry Finn to Be Republished With "Robot" Replacing the N-Word

Mark Twain's classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been republished without the n-word, a term now deeply offensive to American sensibilities. But Gabriel Diani and Etta Devine think that this change doesn't go far enough. They have a Kickstarter project to republish the novel with the word "robot" replacing the n-word, and further alternations to the text to make the character Jim clearly a robot instead of a human. At the link, you can view a hilarious video that they've put together explaining the venture.

Link via Gizmodo

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Corpus Libris

Corpus Libris is a photoblog of people covering themselves with the covers of books so that their gestures match the people on the covers. It was started by the staff of Skylight Books in Los Angeles featuring themselves, but now includes reader-submitted photos.

Link via Super Punch

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Floppy Disk Drives Playing Toccata and Fugue

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We've seen floppy disk drives altered to serve as musical instruments, but not quite as sophisticated as this set up by YouTube user FunToTheHead. In this performance, he performs Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor:

Features two 3 1/2" drives and two 5 1/4" drives connected to a PIC18f14k50 microcontroller. It interfaces to any MIDI source via MIDI over USB. Straight MIDI would also be possible with an additional small circuit and some minor firmware changes. This initial version can respond to all 128 MIDI notes, and pitch bends +/- 2 semitones.

As it can produce only four simultaneous notes, and each drive has a different range and tonal characteristics, best results are obtained by arranging compositions by hand. However, it features two modes of operation: in one mode, MIDI channels 1 through 4 are played directly on floppy drives 1 through 4. In the other mode, all 16 MIDI channels are read, and notes are "intelligently" divvied out on a first-come, first-serve basis. "Note stealing" ensures that melody lines sound, but chords are often cut short. One or the other produces acceptable results for many unmodified MIDI files straight out of your favorite media player.

via Geek Dad

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    Model Rocket Launches When a Fish Bites the Hook

    (Video Link)

    Mike Haeg built this contraption to use while ice fishing. When a fish pulls on the line, the movement of the reel triggers a model rocket to launch. Skip ahead in the video to 0:35 to see the action. Haeg writes "No one lost a hand, but we did lose 2 rockets."

    Link via Boing Boing

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    Locksmith Shop Covered with Keys

    Greenwich Locksmiths, a little locksmith shop in New York City, recently added a facade that is composed of keys. Thousands of keys have been arranged and fixed to create intricate patterns on the front, the door, and some parts of the interior. Scouting New York has a series of detailed photos showing this amazing piece of folk art by shop owner Phil Mortillaro.

    Link via The Presurfer | Official Website

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    Play-Doh Cologne

    If you didn't catch this back in 2006, now would be a good time. Demeter Fragrance Library offers a body scent that will take you back to your childhood. You'll be the hit of the playground with Play-Doh Cologne. Other aromas offered by this company include Saddle, Laundromat, and Glue.

    Link via Geekosystem

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    (214)748-3647 Is the Most Common Phone Number in the World

    This story reeks of "urban legend", so make of it what you will. But an anonymous poster at a Computer World forum writes:

    Working on something this morning, I needed to know what the largest number is that can be stored in a 32-bit signed integer. A 10-digit number starting with "214". In other words, a Dallas phone number.

    So, out of curiosity I Googled "214-748-3647" to see who has the number. After a handful of blogs noting the coincidence (and that it's a prime number), there are 1500+ websites with that phone number showing up. Why? Because some programmer somewhere didn't learn his lesson from Y2K, and decided to store phone numbers as a single integer instead of a string of characters, but only used 32 bits and didn't check for overflow. So any time someone enters a phone number that's larger than 2147483647, the system stores it as that Dallas number.

    Link via Geekosystem | Photo by Flickr user nate steiner used under Creative Commons license

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    Foursquare Film Noir Presents a Hard Boiled Social Networking Detective Story

    (Video Link)

    It seemed like an open-and-shut case of accidental death. The only possible suspect had an albi established thanks to a Foursquare check-in. Or did she? This funny short film by Justin Johnson and Erik Beck mixes the gritty film noir genre with modern social networking.

    via Urlesque

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    Profile for John Farrier

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