John Farrier's Blog Posts

Man Gets Trapped in Elevator, Rescued, Then Trapped in a Different Elevator

Most people get stuck in only one elevator a day. The ambitious aim higher than that:

A firefighter went up in another elevator in an adjoining shaft, exited through the ceiling hatch to get to the other elevator's hatch to transfer the trapped man and bring him down.

But after the transfer was made, the second elevator stalled and wouldn't come down, McGregor said.

Firefighters considered breaking through a brick wall to get into the elevator through the shaft and using ropes to bring the trapped men out, but didn't have to after an Otis Elevator Co. engineer was able to reset the elevator switch from the roof, put it in "inspection mode" and operate it manually, McGregor said.

This is why we need slides, people. Slides.

Link -via Gizmodo | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user ricardodiaz11

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New T-Shirts from the NeatoShop:

Hardcover Reading Lamp

Find illumination in a good book. The craft studio Typewriter Boneyard turns old books into desk lamps, often using old fashioned light bulb designs.

Link -via My Modern Met | Previously: The Book Lamp

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Brain Tumor Survivor Has Painted Almost Every Sunrise for the Past Seven Years

One morning, after she had two pear-sized tumors removed from her brain, Debbie Wagner decided to paint the sunrise. This became a daily ritual for her -- a celebration of the life that she still had. For seven years, that's what she's done almost every day. Wagner explains why:

“When I look at a sunrise, it represents a new beginning. I’m just so happy to be here another day and see my kids do different things and go to dinner with my husband. I suppose that’s the addiction of it — it puts me in a state of mind focused on gratitude.”

Seven years have many sunrises, so Wagner has produced more paintings than she can display. She sells them to people who want to mark a special day:

Increasingly, Wagner’s artwork is taking on personal significance for others as well. People moved by her story have started requesting sunrise paintings for their own milestones: the day of a wedding or a baby’s birth; the day a loved one came home safely from Iraq or Afghanistan; the day a person finally overpowered a stubborn addiction.

Link -via Oddity Central (where there's a video) | Photo: Debbie Wagner

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Scientists Had Humans and Monkeys Watch a Clint Eastwood Movie to Study Their Brains

In order to examine the way that the human brain evolved differently from that of other primates, scientists arranged for selected humans and monkeys to watch the Clint Eastwood movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly:

All the study participants watched 30 minutes of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti western, listening to the dialogue through headphones. The humans watched it once and the monkeys saw it six times, during which the participants’ eye movements were scanned and their neural activity monitored via functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers found some similarities in brain activity locations among the species, but several differences, too. Monkey brain areas that fired up during movements on screen were quiescent in the humans, yet both species shared activity in other areas. This is a function of the species‘ separate evolutions — brain regions that may once have been very similar have adapted to focus on different tasks.

“The method may clarify whether specific functions are preserved in areas that anatomically correspond, are absent in one of the two species, or are shifted to other cortical locations,” Mantini and colleagues wrote. This, in turn, could shed light on how human cognitive function evolved, as compared to cognitive function in our closest cousins.

Which movie would you compel monkeys to watch?

Link | Image: United Artists

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Animals Hidden in Coffee Cups

While it lacks the menacing message of The Prisoner poison glass (which is, after all, the effect we generally want when entertaining guests) Ange-line Tetrault's coffee cups have a certain charm. As you drink from one, you expose a bear, a fox or an owl.

Link | Designer's Website

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The Restaurant at a Waterfall

Your bread might get soggy, but the view is worth it. At the Villa Escudero resort in the Philippines, you can dine right next to a waterfall. Don't bother wearing shoes because the water runs right through the dining and buffet area.

Link -via Bit Rebels | Photo: maryan54

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Grapefruit Jello Shots

For Super Bowl Sunday, Jaymee Sire made these jello shots by mixing vodka and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. She then poured the mixture into emptied grapefruit rinds and quartered them after they congealed.

Link -via Tasteologie

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Batmobile Cake

Truly Custom Cakery based its cake on the Batmobile from the 1989 movie. Would the Tumbler Batmobile taste better? Or the 60s-era Batmobile? This calls for a comprehensive study.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious! | Bakery Website

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Darth Hoot

Costume retailer recently held a contest for variations on Darth Vader's iconic helmet. This feathery one wasn't among the winners, but I think it's the cutest. Who could resist obeying his every command?

Winners and Other Contestants -via The Mary Sue

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Drawing with Fire

Steven Spazuk draws with fire by holding a candle up to pieces of canvas, then adjusting the soot with brushes, knives, and his fingers to create images. I really like his impressionistic works, like the one above. But from a technical perspective, his massive composite portraits consisting of hundreds of smaller pieces demonstrate the magnitude of his skills. Watch a video at the link showing how Spazuk does it.

Link | Artist's Website

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C3PO Descending a Staircase and Other Classic Works of Science Fiction Art

Sir, it's quite possible this staircase is not entirely stable. Nonetheless, C3PO will descend it as Mr. Duchamp requires. John Mattos composed this painting. You can see a roundup of other famous works of art with a science fiction twist at the link.

Link -via The Uniblog | Mattos's Website

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Lawsuit: Defendant Breached a Duty Not to Shoot Bottle Rockets Out of His Bottom

Beer + fraternity = lawsuit:

A college student claims he was injured when a fraternity member in a "drunken stupor" decided "that it would be a good idea to shoot bottle rockets out of his anus," and did so, "but instead of launching, the bottle rocket blew up in the defendant's rectum, and this startled the plaintiff and caused him to jump back," and fall off the fraternity's deck.

The student is now suing the fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega, for failing to provide a railing for the deck as well as the frat brother who lit the rocket in question.

Prediction: Google will not be this young man's friend in the future.

News Link and Complaint -via Lowering the Bar | Photo: Flickr user snackfight

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Matt Smith Proposes to Girlfriend at the Doctor Who Experience

A Doctor Who fan named Matt Smith (the same name as the current actor who plays the Doctor) proposed to his girlfriend in front of a TARDIS model at the BBC's Doctor Who Experience:

But this was not Matt Smith the actor - it is a 22-year-old from Rochford in Essex who worked with BBC Worldwide to set up his proposal, which was accepted, at the Doctor Who Experience in London.

Mr Smith surprised his new fiancee, avid Who fan Stacie-Anne Dilkes, who thought she was heading to London for a shopping trip.

He thought it would be the perfect location and slipped away from his partner to pop on the uniform of the 11th Doctor then pretending to be an exhibit before popping the question on one knee.

Link -via The Mary Sue | Photo: BBC

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A Valentine's Day Toad-in-a-Hole

Carey of Petite Kitchenesse calls it an "egg in the basket", but here in the South we refer to this dish as a "toad-in-a-hole". They're easy to make, and Carey's variation makes them a great Valentine's Day breakfast.

Link -via Tasteologie

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Unplayable Piece Used to Test Player Pianos

(Video Link)

It's called "Circus Galop" or "Death Waltz", and it's used to test the performance of player pianos. No single person has ever played far. But if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can genetically engineer a superhuman species that can perform it.

-via Boing Boing

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The Fastest Way to a Man's Heart Is through His Ribcage

Dawn Rogal insists that she is happily married. I decline to dispute it.

She kept this piece of embroidery on display at her shop, but, strangely, it seems to have offended people there.

Link -via Colossal

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Cake Waffles Need More Chocolate Syrup

And maybe a couple scoops of ice cream. But Arlene Cummings is on the right track by making breakfast using an ordinary cake mix.

I guess you should ignore the previous post.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious! | Photo: Betty Crocker

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Cross Sections of Human Legs

It's not just your age. It's what you do while you're aging, as these MRI scans show.

Link -via Swiss Miss | Photo: Physician and Sports Medicine

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Diagramming "I'm My Own Grandpa"

(Video Link)

The classic novelty song "I'm My Own Grandpa" can get confusing. Thankfully, YouTube user GordoTheHat diagrammed all of the relationships that result from the narrator's father marrying his daughter-in-law. You'll need some flexible genealogical software to chart this family tree properly.

-via Althouse

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Is the Earth Getting Lighter?

Taking into account human spacecraft going up and cloaked alien ships coming down, is the Earth gaining or losing mass? The BBC asked Cambridge University scientists to account for all of the material leaving and arriving on Earth:

But overall, Dr Smith has calculated that the Earth - including the sea and the atmosphere - is losing mass. He points to a handful of reasons.

For instance, the Earth's core is like a giant nuclear reactor that is gradually losing energy over time, and that loss in energy translates into a loss of mass.

But this is a tiny amount - he estimates no more than 16 tonnes a year.

And what about launching rockets and satellites into space, like Phobos-Grunt? Dr Smith discounts this as most of it will fall back down to Earth again.

But there is something else that is making the planet lose mass. Gases such as hydrogen are so light, they are escaping from the atmosphere.

Smith concluded that the Earth loses 50,000 metric tonnes each year.

Link -via @BrainPicker | Photo: NASA

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Whatever Happened to the Ex-Slave Who Wrote a Letter to His Former Master?

Do you remember the awesome letter attributed to Jourdon Anderson, the freedman who was asked by his ex-master to return to work? Jason Kottke and David Galbraith dug through census and newspaper records to learn more about his life. Anderson may have stayed in Ohio and died in 1905 at the age of 79. Check out Kottke's post, which he is frequently updating as he finds more information.


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Presidents and Their Cars

Jason Torchinsky of Jalopink wrote ten statements about American Presidents and automobiles. Only five of them are true. Can you figure out which ones? Check out the answers at the link:

1. The first President to serve at a time when there was an American-built automobile was Thomas Jefferson.

2. The first car a President ever rode in was a Locomobile.

3. The only President to have owned a rear-engine car prior to becoming President was George H. W. Bush (41), who owned a Chevrolet Corvair from 1962-1966.

4. There are eight car company names in Presidents' names, divided between seven Presidents.

5. Dwight Eisenhower was the first sitting President to lay rubber, in a Willys Jeep during a visit to Fort Benning in 1959.

6. The Secret Service operates a refresher driving school for Presidents leaving office, most of whom have not driven themselves for four to eight years.

7. Herbert Hoover held the world land speed record for 24 minutes in 1927, when he was allowed to drive Henry Segrave's "1000hp" Sunbeam at Daytona Beach prior to the record-setting attempt. Hoover clocked in at 161.4 mph, beating the old record of 145.9 mph, just before Segrave set the new record of 203.8 mph.

8. The first car used at a Presidential inauguration was a Packard.

9. President Jimmy Carter had two specially prepared black Chevrolet Chevettes purchased for his official use, to show his commitment to energy efficiency. They were never used, and are now in the Harrah's collection in Las Vegas.

10. President Nixon mentioned his personal car in his famous "Checkers" speech — a 1950 Oldsmobile.

Link | Photo: US National Archives

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Bone Guillotine Made by a Prisoner of War

I figure that the guy who made this creepy model just wanted to persuade people around him to give him some space. At least, that's what I'd do if my bunkmate made it. Pictured above is a twenty inch tall model of a guillotine made from bones. According to the British family that recently sold it, a French prisoner of war during the Napoloenic Wars made it while captive in the UK.

Link -via Nerdcore | Photo: Duke's Auctions

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Dragon-Shaped Dumpling

I haven't been able to track down any information about it, but allegedly this dragon figure is actually a dumpling. It's filled with a green substance and apparently steamed. You can see additional photos of the creation process at the link.

Link -via Bit Rebels

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Blackout Poetry

Newspaper Blackout is Austin Kleon's latest poetry project. He's taken pages of text, often from newspapers, and blacked out words so that those left behind form free verse lines.

Link -via My Modern Met

Previously by Austin Kleon
How to Steal Like an Artist
Tea Stain Drawings

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Milk Man, The World's Worst Superhero

(Video Link)

Work with the talents that you have; embrace the person that you are. Just like Milk Man has done. Milk powers aren't too bad, as Freddie Wong's latest film demonstrates.

Actually, I encountered the best/worst superhero concept in a role-playing game about ten years ago. This superhero could psychically make opponents lose control of their bowels.

-via The Mary Sue

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Death Star Wedding Cake

My favorite part of this cake from Sweet on Cakes is the wedding dress modeled on stormtrooper armor. Now if you get nervous walking down the aisle at your wedding, just remember Davish Krail's relationship advice: stay on target.

In the comments, borrow and misuse lines from Star Wars to advise the happy couple on marriage.

Bakery Website -via That's Nerdalicious!

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Zamboni Operator Arrested for Drunk Driving

Fear not, for the streets are safe again. Or the ice rink, at least. Police arrested the driver of an ice resurfacer at a rink in Apple Valley, Minnesota after people reported that he drove erratically:

Dornstreich, who coaches the Eastview Hockey Association's PeeWee C team, said he'd noticed that the rink attendant's eyes were red and that he smelled like the energy drink Red Bull before his team took the ice.

"He looked like I do when I have my allergy attacks," Dornstreich said. "I didn't really think anything of it. He didn't slur his words. He was very alert, got me the keys, we set up the music system and I was on my way."

Before the PeeWee C players, ages 11 to 13, took the ice, Dornstreich said he noticed that the rink attendant was "making stripes on the ice." But the driver went back and corrected all his mistakes. After the game it was a different story, though.

While Dornstreich was working with a referee, a parent ran over to say that the rink attendant was "weaving all over, slurring his words."

But he wasn't on a public road. Can he be prosecuted for drunk driving? Under Minnesota law, yes:

People have been arrested in Minnesota for driving under the influence on everything from a souped-up motorized recliner to a farm tractor. State law says a DWI can result from driving any kind of a motorized vehicle, pretty much anywhere -- a forklift driver at work, a Bobcat driver plowing city sidewalks, a riding lawn mower in a yard.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals did, however, say in 2011 that a physically disabled man driving a motorized scooter could not be convicted of drunken driving. The law makes an exception for "an electric personal assistive mobility device" and the court said the scooter was a wheelchair, not a motor vehicle.

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user ejhogbin

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Leaves Made from Human Hair

Jenine Shereos's delicate leaf sculptures look like the real thing from a distance, but they're actually made of hair. She made them by stitching the hairs together on a backing, then dissolving that backing in water.

Link -via Colossal | Photo: Robert Diamante

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Edible Stadium

The Super Bowl is only four days away, so you'd best get ready! Here's a single-serving deli platter shaped like a football stadium. You can view five similar works of food art at the link. Link -via Paul Overton | Previously: Snack Food Stadium | Photo: unknown

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Profile for John Farrier

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