John Farrier's Blog Posts

Link Visits His Mother, Gets an Earful

Link probably goes on so many adventures because he's trying to avoid long, awkward conversations with his mother. This is one of nine hilarious images by Andrew Bridgman.

Link via Boing Boing

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Machine Can Pick any Masterlock Padlock

(Video Link)

Jessica Bethune, Aiswarya Kolisetty, Jessica Noglows, and Rob Sobecki are students at the Olin College of Engineering. For a class assignment, they built a machine that can figure out the combination to any Masterlock combination padlock. The LockCracker tries every possible combination, spinning the dial until it's successful.

via Wired

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Decorated Gas Tanks of Japan

Pink Tentacle has many pictures of some colorfully decorated gas tanks that can be found in Japan. Watermelon paint schemes are apparently common. You know, the shape would lend itself very well to a Pokémon ball.

Link | Photo: LiveDoor

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2-Storey Snow Sculpture of Batman

An enormous snow sculpture of Batman was spotted in Ludlow, Vermont. As you can see from another photo at the link, it rises up to the second storey of an adjoining building.

Link via blastr | Photo: SkiDiva

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How the Human Penis Lost Its Spines

You may have noticed that the human penis lacks spines protruding from the surface. This is in contrast to many animals, including other primates such as chimpanzees, which use the spines for sexual competition:

It has long been believed that humans evolved smooth penises as a result of adopting a more monogamous reproductive strategy than their early human ancestors. Those ancestors may have used penile spines to remove the sperm of competitors when they mated with females.

Researchers, while studying another topic, stumbled upon one explanation by comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes:

They first systematically identified 510 DNA sequences missing in humans and present in chimps, finding that those sequences were almost exclusively from the non-coding regions of the genome, between genes. They then homed in on two sequences whose absence in humans they thought might be interesting -- one from near the androgen receptor (AR) gene and one from near a gene involved in tumour suppression (GADD45G).

Inserting the chimpanzee sequences into mouse embryos revealed that the former sequence produced both the hard penile spines and sensory whiskers present in some animals. The latter sequence acted as a kind of brake on the growth of specific brain regions -- with the removal of its function appearing to have paved the way for the evolution of the larger human brain.

Link | Photo by Flickr user lightmatter used under Creative Commons license

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Spock Overshares on Facebook

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In fact, the entire crew of the Enterprise does. YouTube user BlackMoonCGI did an excellent editing job and showed what's on Spock's Facebook feed. It appears that he and Christine Chapel have had a bit of a tiff. Content warning: foul language.

via Nerdcore

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Public Art Installation: What Do You Want to Do before You Die?

Artist Candy Chang has displayed an enormous chalkboard at 900 Marigny Street in New Orleans. On it, she's printed the phrase "Before I die I want to _______" several dozen times. Just walk up, grab a piece of chalk, which Chang provides, and fill in the blank.


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Foot-Handle for Public Restrooms

Finally! I don't want to touch the inside handle of the door of a public restroom. Normally I'll grab it with some paper towel. But this is a good solution, especially for those restrooms that have hot air blowers instead of paper towel dispensers. The Toepender is a handle that attaches to the bottom of a door. Grab it with your foot.

Link via Marginal Revolution

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A Musical Composition Based on Pi

(Video Link)

Michael Blake assigned note values to numerals and played pi to the first 31 decimal places. He starts with a simply piano melody, but then he brings in an accordion, a xylophone, a ukulele, a banjo, and other instruments.

via Geekosystem | Previously: Pi on the Piano

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Ward Shelley's Chart of the History of Science Fiction

Artist Ward Shelley creates enormous, sprawling timelines that show the development of different ideas or cultural trends. Pictured above is a small selection from his chart illustrating the history of science fiction. One part that I find interesting at the very top of the diagram (see at link) is his notion that the genre was, during the 1940s, dominated by an emphasis on science, then sociology, and then forms.

Link via reddit | Artist's Website

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The Year 2000, As Predicted in 1910

In 1910, a French illustrator named Villemard created a series of postcards which imagined life in the year 2000. He speculated that we would use motorized roller skates, firefighters would fly on batwings, and machines would dress and powder ladies automatically. As for school, as you can see, information will be simply downloaded into our heads.

Link via Gizmodo

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Charlie Sheen's Tiger Blood

Where does Charlie Sheen get his tiger blood from? Not just any tiger will do. Sheen needs a source with an already mangled biochemistry, as Seth Patrick illustrates.

Link via Popped Culture

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Huge Volcanic Fissure in Hawaii

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Mt. Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii is erupting at the moment. Here's aerial footage of lava spilling into a huge fissure. The helicopter in the upper part of the shot gives you a sense of the scale of the scene.

Link via Boing Boing | Previously: Hawaiian Kilauea Volcano's Lava

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Intruder Locks Himself in Bathroom, Calls Police for Protection from Homeowner

The suspect wasn't doing anything odd, really. He just broke into a house and started taking a shower. No big deal. The homeowner found him there and demanded to know what he was doing. The intruder, fearing for his life, locked himself in the bathroom and called 911:

Accompanied by two German shepherds, the homeowner asked Chapek what he was doing in the house.

Chapek locked himself in the bathroom and made an emergency call, police said. He said he had broken into the house, the owner had come home, and that he was concerned the owner might have a gun.

Link via Say Uncle | Photo by Flickr user stevendepolo used under Creative Commons license

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Eye Chart Tattoo

Well, at least this tattoo serves a practical purpose. English Russia brings us several pictures of one man who decided to get an eye chart tattooed on his back.

Link via Copyranter

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Angry Birdsky

This makes perfect sense! Banksy's Flowerchucker and the video game Angry Birds were made for each other! Flickr user bortwein75 dreamed up this mashup. You can see variations of it at the link.

Link via Technabob | Previously: Banksy Painting Costume

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Postcards from Google Earth

The above image is from San Francisco. Artist Clement Valla discovered that if you zoom and direct Google Earth just right, you'll end up with some really weird and distorted images. It's like Salvador Dali spend time working as a civil engineer:

The images are screenshots from Google Earth with basic color adjustments and cropping. I am collecting these new typologies as a means of conservation – as Google Earth improves its 3D models, its terrain, and its satellite imagery, these strange, surrealist depictions of our built environment and its relation to the natural landscape will disappear in favor of better illusionistic imagery. However, I think these strange mappings of the 2-dimensional and the 3-dimensional provide us with fabulous forms that are purely the result of algorithmic processes and not of human aesthetic decision making. They are artifacts worth preserving.

Link via Nerdcore

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New Dating Website Helps You Find Someone Who Looks Just Like You

Because that's what we're all looking for, right? Christina Bloom is the founder of, which will open for business later this month. She says that she was inspired to build the website after people kept telling her that she and her ex-husband look a lot alike. So this website will use facial mapping software to match you up with someone like you: is powered by facial-recognition technology developed by, which zeros in on nine points on each face—the eyes, ears, nose, chin, and the corners and center of the mouth—to find similarities.[...]

In a 1989 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, male and female “raters” were asked to judge the faces of 60 couples (some real, some strangers included as a control) on a nine-point scale, where 1 represented no similarity and 9 indicated the hypothetical case of opposite-sex twins. The average score for non-couples was 3.52; among actual couples, the average was 4.05. Concluded the study: “The results suggest that the observation of facial resemblance among couples appears to reflect a real phenomenon.”

Link via Geekologie | Photo: Geekologie

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Glacial Caves

For several years, photographer Eric Guth has shot some amazing pictures of caves and hollows that form under glaciers. He explained how he knows where to look for good shots:

"I've found that melt water has everything to do with how glaciers change, move and create points of entry. As I've learned more about how water erodes, shapes and works the ice (as it does everything else on the planet, given enough time), I've learned where to look to find caves.

"More than where to look, where to listen. Where water enters from a nearby stream or exits from a sub-glacial river there is a good chance the erosive force of that water has created an opening. Whether that opening is safe or dry enough to explore is another question!"

You can view sixteen more photos at the link.

Link via Flavorwire | Previously: Ice Caves

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Improv Everywhere: 17th Century Spanish King Offers Autographs in front of His Portrait

(Video Link)

For their latest gag, the folks at Improv Everywhere invited King Philip IV of Spain (1605-1665) to stand before his portrait painted by Diego Velázquez. His Majesty offered free autographs to anyone at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City who wanted one. Some people suspected that he was just an actor, and not the actual king.

Link via Super Punch

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Priest Gets PhD in Snowboarding

Whereas our own Alex Santoso decided to get his PhD in cushy, postmodern subjects like "biochemistry" and "molecular biology", this guy decided to go the traditional route and get his doctorate in snowboarding. Neil Elliot, an Anglican priest from British Columbia, is the recipient of the first such degree from Kingston University in London:

While Elliot's thesis doesn't draw any definite conclusions, he says it offers a new point of view.

"What my thesis does is give a new model for spirituality, saying that spirituality is a way of looking at the world and a way of looking at the world that includes there being something more than just the material," he said.

"My thesis goes on to say that there's three dimensions to that. There's the experiences that we have, there's the context that we're in and then there's what's going on really inside us, who we are."

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: St. Andrews Anglican Church

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The Bread Code Tells You When a Loaf Was Baked

Ever wonder what the colors of the tie tags on loaves of bread represent? They're a code designating the day of the week on which a loaf was baked:

* Blue: Monday
* Green: Tuesday
* Red: Thursday
* White: Friday
* Yellow: Saturday[...]

An easy way to remember it, though, is to simply recall the alphabet. The colors run in alphabetical order, so the earlier they appear in the alphabet, the earlier in the week the bread was baked. And it’s true. Even the ever-cynical backs it up.

Link via First Things | Image: Paul Michael

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Microchip Paintings

Artist Yuri Zupancic composes miniature paintings on tiny microchips, such as this nude which measures half an inch high. Zupancic paints them using brushes that he makes from his own eyelashes. Here's his explanation for choosing microchips as his base:

"Smaller and Faster" has replaced "Bigger and Better" as the leading catchphrase of commodities. I reflect this with my miniature paintings on microchips. From wild plants and animals to human tools and portraits, the range of subjects is diverse. I seek poetic images which raise questions and strike metaphorical chords when painted on microchips -the building blocks of the digital age.

The biggest frontier I see today is where nature and technology overlap. Mankind and our extensions (i.e. computers, cities) are essentially natural occurrences, thus move and evolve in the same dynamic patterns as the rest of the world. My paintings on microchips are an attempt to broaden our perspective of modern electronics and acknowledge their position as extensions of the mind and its sentimental qualities.

Link via Make

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Dozens of Bald Eagles in Backyard

(Video Link)

The salmon are returning to spawn in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, so it's time for eagles to descend upon the town. Lots of them, many of them bald eagles. They're quite fearless, so YouTube user Honanooligans was able to get close. There's a particularly good scene at 5:15. A fox arrives on the scene at 7:50.

via Super Punch

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Woman Slips on Banana Peel, Sues

Slipping on a banana peel is a classic cartoon gag. And now it's the basis for a real lawsuit:

Ida Valentine, 58, is suing the 99 Cents Only store where she slipped on one last April.

She said that she suffered a herniated disk and tissue damage, spent $9,000 on medical bills and is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.

"She fell and landed on her backside," said Courtney Mikolaj of the Quirk Law Firm in Ventura, California, which is representing her.[...]

The image in popular culture of an unwary pedestrian tripping head over heels on a banana peel stems from the late 19th century, when bananas were a popular street food in American cities and the press portrayed them as a public nuisance.

In 1879, Harper's Weekly groused that "whosoever throws banana skins on the sidewalk does a great unkindness to the public, and is quite likely to be responsible for a broken limb."

Link via TigerHawk | Image: Disney

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Best Ever Name for a Horse: ARRRRRRRRRRRRR!

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One of the competitors in this horse race has an unusual name. But that doesn't faze the announcer one bit. In fact, he seems to have fun with it the better that ARRRRRRRRRR! does.

via reddit

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Bathtub Hot Rod

It's a dilemma that we've all faced: you need to take a bath, but you need to get somewhere at the same time. eBay seller toymaker46 offers this solution. He notes that it's not yet fully operational, so you'll have to work on it some.

Link via Jalopnik

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Pixelated Trash Can

We've previously featured Instructables user BrittLiv's "You Killed Kenny!" doorstop. She's back with a new project. This time, it's a pixelated trash can. No, that's not a computer generated image. It's a wooden trashcan carved and painted to look like an image from a video game.

Link via Technabob

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Thailand Tried to Barter Chickens for Fighter Jets

Not that there's anything wrong with a lot of frozen chickens -- even 80,000 tons of chicken. It's just that Lockheed Martin wanted a more transferable currency for its F-16 fighter jets:

For the embassy in Bangkok, winning achieved two goals: helping Lockheed and keeping the Russians from selling planes. There was, however, a small complication with the terms -- the Thai government didn't want to pay cash. Instead, it proposed trading 80,000 stockpiled tons of frozen chicken.

"Embassy contacts said that until Lockheed Martin offered a proposal to sell F-16s that included countertrade, the (Thai government) could not seriously consider its offer. Contacts also suggested that an offer that included an agreement to buy Thai chicken would be especially welcome," the embassy said in a March 2005 cable setting the scene for the competition.

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: US Air Force

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Dog Riding a Scooter

(Video Link)

This video shows Norman, a Briard, riding a 4-wheeled push scooter.

via Ace of Spades HQ

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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