John Farrier's Blog Posts

The Mona Bacca


Chewie is wearing a dress, but I'd advise against laughing at him. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.

Stefano Gentile painted this image of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Check out her website, which is filled with good geeky art, such as Wolverine as the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood.

Artist's Website -via Technabob

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Snoopy Christmas Cookies


Our favorite beagle is ready for Santa's arrival in these sugar cookies made by Alayna, the Pink Apron Baker. This design and others were inspired by A Charlie Brown Christmas. Snoopy's house is painted with royal icing and lighted with sugar pearls.

Link -via Between the Pages

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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What If Your Friends Really Acted Like Cats and Dogs?

(Video Link)

You'd probably get a pet rock. There are behaviors that we tolerate in our pets but no one else in our lives, as this short film by Fatawesome illustrates.

-via Daily of the Day | Official Website

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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The Mayflower Gun: The Only Surviving Firearm from the Pilgrims


This .50-caliber wheellock musket, propularly known as the Mayflower Gun, is thought to be the only surviving firearm among those that crossed the Atlantic with the Pilgrims. It has been traced back to John Alden, traditionally the first Pilgrim to step ashore at Plymouth. Preservationists discovered it in 1924:

The Alden family dwelling, like the gun, has survived for nearly 400 years. The Mayflower gun was discovered—still loaded, nonetheless—in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home during a 1924 renovation.  The Alden home, which was occupied by family members until the mid-1890’s, is currently a National Historic Landmark in Duxbury, Massachusetts.  Though it is certain that other settlers would have carried similar arms, this is indeed the only known surviving piece, likely because it was tucked away and forgotten after its years of service had ended.

Link -via American Digest | Photo: National Firearms Museum

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Nineteenth Century Birth Cannon

birth cannon

Make sure that your birth plan includes a good selection of obstetrical firearms, such as this specimen from Borneo:

It was reputedly used in the 1800s during difficult labours, possibly to scare off evil spirits. The canon has sights located along the top. A touch hole for ignition is near the back.


See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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A Belly Dancer's Wedding Dress

belly dancer

JoEllen Elam, an artist whose motto is "when in doubt add more glitter," made this wedding dress for a belly dancer:

She is a belly dancer with a beautiful tattoo on her back that she wanted to elegantly show on her wedding day. I designed a gown that would be worthy of a princess belly dancer on her wedding day with delicate lace, ombre silk and crystal details.


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Mathematically Optimal Potatoes

(Video Link)

Mathematician Victoria Hart wishes you an operative and efficient Thanksgiving. To aid this endeavor, she offers this tutorial on how to maximize the gravy carrying capacity of a pile of mashed potatoes.

-via The Mary Sue

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Tobacco-Firing Pistol


This is the Scheintod gas pistol. It was manufactured in Germany after the First World War. According to some of my sources, this odd derringer fired 12 mm cartridges which contained powdered tobacco--that is, snuff. This would hopefully send the target into a sneezing fit.


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Avalanche Airbag Pack

The North Face Patrol 24 ABS is designed to inflate with nitrogren when the user pulls a ripcord. The airbags make the user more bouyant and hopefully will prevent him/her from getting buried. Do you think it would work?

Link -via OhGizmo!

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Circle the Cat

The object of this simple but difficult online strategy game is to encicle the cat with dark green tiles. Every time you click on a tile, the cat hops. Can you surround him before he hops off the field?

Link -via reddit

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Thanksgiving Turkey S'Mores


What can you make with a turkey Jell-O mold? Every year, Danielle Spencer holds a photo contest to find out. Among the winners this year are a sushi turkey, a Peep turkey and a hamburger turkey.

Now bare your head in respect to the passing of one of last year's winners: the Hostess cupcake turkey. We may never see its like again.

Link | Photo: Danielle Spencer

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Cough Syrup Ice Cream Sundae

cough syrup

By adding 180 millileters of cough syrup to 1 liter of ice cream, the crew at Unwholesome Foods made this base for a great looking sundae. How does the ice cream taste? All four members say that it tastes like cough medicine. So the experiment worked, but not to good effect.


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Antique Flare Gun

I can't find much information about this flare gun beyond that it's of French manufacture and has a percussion cap ignition system, thus dating it to probably the Nineteenth Century. The cup at the end, I gather, is used for the flaring material. But I'm at a loss to figure out how the flare would be propelled.

How do you think this flare gun works?

Link | Photo: Charles Miller Ltd.

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R.I.P. John Fairfax, A Man Who Rowed Across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans When He Wasn't Doing Even More Extraordinary Things

John FairfaxJohn Fairfax of Henderson, Nevada died at the age of 74. He was the most interesting man in the world:

At 13, in thrall to Tarzan, he ran away from home to live in the jungle. He survived there as a trapper with the aid of local peasants, returning to town periodically to sell the jaguar and ocelot skins he had collected.

He later studied literature and philosophy at a university in Buenos Aires and at 20, despondent over a failed love affair, resolved to kill himself by letting a jaguar attack him. When the planned confrontation ensued, however, reason prevailed — as did the gun he had with him.

In Panama, he met a pirate, applied for a job as a pirate’s apprentice and was taken on. He spent three years smuggling guns, liquor and cigarettes around the world, becoming captain of one of his boss’s boats, work that gave him superb navigational skills.

Later on, Fairfax settled down and engaged in more pedestrian activities, like crossing the Atlantic and Pacific in a rowboat and becoming a professional baccarat player.

Link -via The Agitator | Photo: Central Press/Getty

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Live Long and Prosper This Thanksgiving

We shall have replicated turkey onboard the Enterprise. At the end of Thanksgiving, may we together weigh more than the sum of both of us.

Image: unknown artist via Tor.

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Cat Runs While Dreaming

(Video Link)

She was having such a wonderful dream: her humans had shrunk to the size of mice and were delicious. All she had to do was catch them! Then that precious, hopeful moment was gone.

-via Yababoon

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Using Sex to Sell Government Bonds


"Men that own government bonds are popular with the ladies!" You don't believe me? But this ad from government of Japan says so!

Japanese women are seeking men who invest in government bonds, according to an advertisement being run by the Ministry of Finance.

“I want my future husband to be diligent about money,” a 27-year-old woman says in an ad being run in free magazines promoting a fixed-rate, three-year note that Japan started selling last week. “Playboys are no good.” She’s one of five women featured in the page, which says “Men who hold JGBs are popular with women!!”

You can view the full advertisement at the image link below.

News Story and Image -via Glenn Reynolds 

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Amazing Mechanical Table, c.1750

(Video Link)

Jean-François Oeben, a French cabinet maker, built this astonishingly complex and precisely crafted desk. It's filled with several hidden compartments that become accessible when a key turns interior gears.

Link -via Core 77

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The Traditional Thanksgiving Eel


Turkey? No, thanks. I want a traditional Thanksgiving--the way the Pilgrims did theirs. Two years ago, James Prosek wrote in The New York Times that the original Thanksgiving feast may have been upon freshwater eels:

Indeed, eel was the dinner that Pilgrims were given on the very day after they made peace with Massasoit, the sachem, or leader, of the region. The following account is from “Mourt’s Relation,” mostly written by a Plymouth resident, Edward Winslow: “Squanto went at noon to fish for eels. At night he came home with as many as he could well lift in one hand, which our people were glad of. They were fat and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with his hands without any other instrument.”

So who's up for some eel on Thursday?

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: US Geological Survey

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5-Person Assembling Voltron Costume


Crazy Ray did more than build a Voltron costume. He did more than build costumes for the five lion mechas. He built five lion mecha costumes that can be assembled into one costume for Voltron, Defender of the Far Universe. Still no Blazing Sword, though. That'll have to wait until next Halloween.


Love Halloween and cosplay? Check out our Halloween Blog!

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Diving into the World's Largest Pile of Leaves

(Video Link)

The gang at Bangakang can't verify the record, but at 17 feet high and weighing in at 10 tons, this is one freaking huge leaf pile. They grab every bag they can find in Logan, Utah, arrange the contents into a pile, then jump in from the roof of a two-story building. Skip to 1:17 to see the finished product.

-via Daily of the Day

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Man Catcher


This terrifying-looking weapon of German origin was used to jerk riders off horses:

Man catchers were used in Europe in the late 1700s during times of war. The terrifying collar pulled riders off horseback. In peacetime, it is thought the device may have caught and held escaped prisoners.

Link | Photo: Science Museum of London

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Fourth Doctor Pony Plush

Care for a jelly baby?

It is said that when a girl begins dating, she anticipates what to expect from a boy by the example set by her father. Therefore my daughters will grow up assuming that men are knowledgeable about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.

I will, of course, do my best to encourage this notion.

When my eldest daughter brings home a boy for the first time, I will, as you would expect, be cleaning my rifle. This is Texas; doing otherwise would be considered rude.

But I will at the same time interrogate the lad on MLP minutia, hopefully causing him embarrassment as he is unable to answer simple questions (e.g. "Why are muffins linked to Derpy?") in front of my daughter. Thus I will intimidate him from doing anything ungentlemanly to her.

Photo: LilMoon

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Detailed Piano Bag

When we last caught up with Lubya and Max, they were making beautiful Doctor Who felt purses. They've been very productive since then and have produced felt bags that look just like violins, watering cans, gas cans and more. Their piano bags, which include keys and pedals, look especially stunning.

Link -via Fashionably Geek

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Which Bond Villain's Plan Made the Most Economic Sense?

GoldenEyeJames Bond's foes concoct wild schemes for power and money, some less realistic than others. Which ones, from an economic point of view, were feasible?  Jean-Jacques Dethier, a development economist working for the World Bank, analyzed several criminal plans, including Alec Trevelyan's in GoldenEye:

Plot: Alec Trevelyan (Sean Bean) wants to use an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear weapon to bring London to its knees and destroy the Bank of England, but not before electronically stealing millions of pounds from the Bank’s systems.

Plausibility: First of all, wouldn’t destroying London and the Bank of England render the pounds you’ve stolen largely worthless? “Not exactly worthless, but close,” says Dethier. Would you be able to convert it? “It’s actually very hard to convert huge amounts of something, which is a problem the Chinese now know well with all their American dollar holdings,” he says. So Trevelyan would have to spend all those pounds in the one country that'd take them: Britain. Whose economy he's just destroyed.

Link -via Marginal Revolution | Image: United Artists

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The Umbracle is a covered walkway and garden next to the Turia River in Valencia, Spain. Visitors can stroll under 54 arches 18 meters high and through carefully selected plants:

Planted with native species, palms, orange trees, rock roses, mastic trees, rosemary, bougainvillea, that change shape and colour with every season, create different ambiences over the course of the walk. Inside the structure is an outdoor art gallery, called the ‘Stroll of the Sculptures’ with nine sculptures from contemporary authors.

Link -via Twisted Sifter | Photo: David Iliff

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Cushioned Chair Made of Nothing But Wood

Mary Dickerson cut away thin layers inside wood columns. When combined, these columns form a lightly cushioned surface that is responsive to the touch.

Link -via NotCot

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New Employment Perk: Unlimited Paid Vacation

beach chairs
Only 1% of employers in the US offer this perk, but the number is growing. In some firms, employees can take as much paid time off as they feel they need:

By showing that they trust their workers, these employers say, they are cultivating a culture of even deeper trust. Though the practice is still experimental, these companies say they've seen little abuse of the system so far. [...]

Dov Seidman, chief executive officer of advisory-services firm LRN, acknowledges that since the company implemented unlimited vacation three years ago, some workers have "made the wrong decision" and missed meetings to take time off. Still, such mistakes are rare, he says, and "no one's ever gone for four weeks."

Mr. Seidman says his roughly 300 employees have become more thoughtful and considerate about taking time off as a result of the policy. Many of them now feel compelled to check in with their peers before scheduling vacations, he says.

This is a brilliant idea--one that will surely be adopted by farsighted, ingenious corporate visionaries. Of course, I'm thinking of Neatorama CEO Alex Santoso, a business giant of our age who has the entrepreneurial intuition to seize this opportunity immediately.

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: Kamoteus

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“Well," said Deadpooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Killing People as a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to kill them which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

Tom Beste inked this image by Rodney Fyke on the body of Fashionably Geek reader Becky Cousineau.


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Martian Radiation Low Enough for Humans to Survive

Curiosity rover

One of the challenges of living beyond the Earth's atmosphere for long periods of time is the danger of cosmic radiation. But discoveries made by the scientists running the Curiosity rover indicate that this won't be a problem on Mars:

"The astronauts can live in this environment," Don Hassler, principal investigator on Curiosity's Radiation Assessment Detector instrument (RAD), told a news conference.

"Basically, we're finding that the Mars atmosphere is acting as a shield for the radiation on the surface and as the atmosphere gets thicker, that provides more of a shield and therefore we see a dip in our radiation dose," Hassler said.

The findings mark the first time that cosmic rays have been measured on the surface of another planet, and come 100 years after Victor Hess discovered cosmic rays on Earth by using a hot-air balloon.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds | Image: Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


Blog Posts

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