John Farrier's Blog Posts


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The Sleepbox is an architectural concept by A. Goryainov and M. Krymov. It's something like a capsule hotel or apartment, but it's mobile:

The main functional element in it is a bed 2x0.6 m., which is equipped with automatic system of change of bed linen. Bed is soft, flexible strip of foamed polymer with the surface of the pulp tissue. Tape is rewound from one shaft to another, changing the bed. If a client wants to sleep in maximum comfort, he can take the normal set of bed linen for an extra fee. SLEEPBOX is equipped with a ventilation system, sound alerts, built-in LCD TV, WiFi, sockets for a laptop, charging phones. Also under the lounges is a place for luggage. After the clients exit, automatic change of bed linen starts and quartz lamps turns on. Payment can be made on a shared terminal, which provides the client with an electronic key. It is possible to buy from 15 minutes to several hours.

Link via J-Walk Blog

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

A Printer That Creates Distinct Smells

Researchers in Japan are developing an ink-jet printer that can embed paper with particular smells:

In the most common type of ink-jet, a pulse of current heats a coil of wire, creating bubbles that force a small volume of ink down a tube and onto the page at high speed. The Keio team use the same hardware to squirt scent. Working with printer maker Canon, they converted the guts of an off-the-shelf printer into what they call an olfactory display, capable of rapidly switching between four aromas.

They found that a standard Canon ink-jet can eject as little as a picolitre of scent droplets in 0.7 milliseconds. That is too little to smell, but pulses 100 milliseconds long produced perceivable aromas of lemon, vanilla, lavender, apple, cinnamon, grapefruit and mint. Better still, a 100-millisecond ink-jet burst dissipates fast, at least in the team's small-scale experiment. After an average of two human breaths it has gone, allowing a different smell to be activated.

Link via Fanboy | Photo by Flickr user CarbonNYC used under Creative Commons license

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A 1916 Plan to Expand New York City by Filling in Waterways

The Dutch have reclaimed land from the sea. Why can't New Yorkers do the same thing? That was the plan of Dr T. Kennard Thomson as described in his 1916 article in Popular Science called "A Really Greater New York." Frank Jacobs of Strange Maps writes:

Hence Dr Thomson's radical, but ultimately indispensible plan: "I propose to add, by a series of engineering projects, fifty square miles to Greater New York's area and port foothold. At the same time this will mean an addition of one hundred miles of new water-front. New York's City Hall would become the center of a really greater New York, having a radius of twenty-five miles, and within that circle there would be ample room for a population of twenty-five millions, the entire project to be carried out within a few years. Many have said 'It can't be done.' The majority of engineers, however, have acknowledged the possibility, and I have received hundreds of letters of encouragement."

By Dr Thomson's estimates, enlarging New York according to his plans would cost more than digging the Panama Canal - but the returns would quickly repay the debt incurred and make New York the richest city in the world. He then goes on to describe how he would reclaim all that land. The plan's larger outlines: move the East River east, and build coffer dams from the Battery at Manhattan's southern tip to within a mile of Staten Island, on the other side of the Upper Bay, and the area in between them filled up with sand. This would enlarge Manhattan to an island several times its present size.

Link via io9 | Image: Joe Buggy

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Robot Hand is a Balloon Filled with Coffee

Researchers at Cornell University, the University of Chicago, and the iRobot Corporation have been trying to find a way for a robot hand can grip a variety of objects. The end result of their efforts is a party balloon filled with coffee grounds:

They call it a universal gripper, as it conforms to the object it's grabbing, rather than being designed for particular objects, said Hod Lipson, Cornell associate professor of mechanical engineering and computer science.[...]

"This is one of the closest things we've ever done that could be on the market tomorrow," Lipson said. He noted that the universality of the gripper makes future applications seemingly limitless, from the military using it to dismantle explosive devises or to move potentially dangerous objects, robotic arms in factories, on the feet of a robot that could walk on walls, or on prosthetic limbs.

Link via Fast Company | Photo: John Amend

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Impossible Gears

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In the above video, Clayton Boyer shows how oddly-shaped gears can function smoothly. Okay, the square gears shouldn't be a surprise. But then he moves on to ovals, then fish, and then things that look like Rorschach inkblots.

via Gizmodo | Official Website

Previously by Clayton Boyer: Create Your Own Amazing Wooden Clock

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Tea Whisk Chair

Designer Hiroki Takada made a chair that's shaped like a traditional Japanese tea whisk:

made from bamboo the chair's design is based around a traditional tea whisk used in japanese tea ceremonies. the base is split into thinner slats which forms the elastic like backrest.

Link via Dude Craft | Photo by the artist

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See-Through Shirt

Ben Heckendorn made a see-through shirt as a Halloween costume. It consists of a LCD screen on the front and a camera on the back. The camera projects images onto the screen, so it looks like you're seeing a hole through Heckendorn's body.

Link via technabob | Photo: Ben Heck

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Books as Dominoes in Bookstore Commercial

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Bookmans is a used bookstore chain in Arizona. They made this commercial that uses books as falling lines of dominoes.

via Urlesque | Official Website

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Pizza Lollipops

Megan Mountford made lollipop-sized pizzas. Each one is about three inches across. At the link, you can find detailed instructions about how to make your own, as well as how to make calzone lollipops.

Link via Geekosystem

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Never Bring a Bottle of Salad Dressing to a Gun Fight

The would-be robber used a bottle of salad dressing as an improvised weapon. The storekeeper responded by pulling out a gun:

DeLand police said a teenager threatened to shoot a store owner Friday when he robbed a convenience store, but he didn't show a gun.

More than a hour later, the 16-year-old went to another business — and that time there was a gun. But it was in the hand of the store owner, who pulled his weapon after the DeLand High School student grabbed a bottle of salad dressing off the shelf and threatened him with it.[...]

Police said the teen acted boldly when he approached the counter with the bottle of salad dressing over his head. But when the owner pointed his gun at him, the teen said: "OK, I'll get out." As he walked out the door, a responding police officer apprehended and arrested him.

Link via Say Uncle | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Richard Faulder used under Creative Commons license

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Different Types of Love Involve Different Parts of the Brain

Stephanie Ortigue of Syracuse University conducted a study about the neurochemical reactions involved in falling in love. She found that different types of love are addressed by different parts of the brain.

For example, unconditional love, such as that between a mother and a child, is sparked by the common and different brain areas, including the middle of the brain. Passionate love is sparked by the reward part of the brain, and also associative cognitive brain areas that have higher-order cognitive functions, such as body image.

Ortigue also said (or at least the article about her study said) that falling in love takes one fifth of a second. That part of the article didn't make a lot of sense to me, but perhaps Neatoramanauts more literate in biochemistry can explain.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo by Flickr user Garry Knight used under Creative Commons license

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Dinosaur Skeleton Motorcycle

Artist Jud Turner of Eugene, Oregon, made this sculpture out welded steel. It's about 44 inches long and is callled "MortalCycle". In his artist's statement, he writes:

Using welded steel and found objects, I create artwork which embraces opposites -- the tension between humans and nature; the perils of balancing biology and technology; or the combination of ancient fossils with modern machinery. I also engage contradictions by the materials I choose -- human forms which appear solid and realistic, but which were made with a delicate surface of thin wire, allowing the viewer to see through the figure; or by mixing the sense of scale in a piece, using large items alongside tiny pieces.

Link via Geekologie | Photo by the artist

Previously: Skeleton Bicycle

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Ben Kenobi: Private Jedeye

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Between Episode III and Episode IV, Obi-Wan Kenobi worked as a private detective. This funny short film by the production company Melk Bottle fills in a lot of the gaps in the Star Wars storyline.

via blastr | Official Website

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Wooden V12 Ferrari Engine

An eBay seller in Sydney, Australia, offers this wooden engine. Presumably it doesn't function. From the description:

The entire engine, including the manifold is handcrafted out of wood. The engine is based on the Ferrari 365GTB V12 engine. It's about the same size as the original engine and weights about 25kg or 50lbs.

There are ten more pictures at the link.

Link via GearFuse

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Shakespeare as His Words Were Originally Pronounced

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Paul Meier and other scholars of the history of the English Language have reconstructed what they believe to be the way in which English words were pronounced during the time of Shakespeare. He's staging a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" next month in that original pronunciation:

“American audiences will hear an accent and style surprisingly like their own in its informality and strong r-colored vowels,” Meier said. “The original pronunciation performance strongly contrasts with the notions of precise and polished delivery created by John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and their colleagues from the 20th century British theater.”

The above video is a sample of the original pronunciation.

Link via Geekosystem

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The Best Pop Culture Songs about Science

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Gaia Vince of New Scientist compiled a huge list -- with video links -- of popular songs about science. My favorite wasn't mentioned. It's "Put It to the Test" by They Might Be Giants. This song introduces the scientific method.

What's your favorite song about science?

Link via Marginal Revolution

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Philip J. Fry Embroidery

Etsy seller It's a Stitch makes all sorts of crafts, but her embroidered items are special treats, such as the above Futurama-inspired piece. She's also embroidered diagrams for popular chemical compounds, like caffeine.

Link via technabob

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World's Tallest Climbing Wall

The Excalibur is a climbing wall at the Klimcentrum Bjoeks, a climbing center in Groningen, The Netherlands. It's the tallest climbing wall in the world, standing at 121 feet with a 36-foot overhang.

Photographer Eric Kieboom took many excellent pictures of this wall, 14 of which are available in his Flickr photostream. He suspended his camera from a kite line for the overhead shots.

Official Site (in Dutch) and Photos via OhGizmo! | Photo: Eric Kieboom

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Man Collects His Own Belly Button Lint for 26 Years

Over 26 years, Graham Barker of Perth, Australia, collected 22.1 grams of belly button lint. After saving it in three jars, he recently sold his collection to a museum:

"The raw material is worthless but as a unique world record collection and a piece of cultural heritage, of debatable merit, it has some curiosity value," he said.

While most people have a positive reaction to his collection there is "a small minority – usually women" who find it unappealing.

Mr Barker said he had come across a handful of other navel fluff collectors, but none had taken their hobby to such lengths. He explained: "One guy might have persisted, but he got married and his wife ordered him to stop."

Link | Photo: Solent

Update 10/25/10 by Alex - See also: 25 Strangest Collections on the Web

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India Plans to Build the World's Largest Magnet

The largest magnet in the world, located at CERN in Switzerland, weighs 12,500 tonnes. Scientists in India plan to build one weighing 50,000 tonnes in order to do neutrino research:

Neutrinos will interact with the iron – which will be layered in sheets – and spew out charged particles, whose paths will be bent by the iron's magnetic field. About 30,000 detectors sandwiched between the sheets of iron will track these charged particles, providing information about the incident neutrinos.

INO will initially study atmospheric neutrinos, which are produced when cosmic rays smash into the upper atmosphere.

Unlike most neutrino detectors, such as the Super-Kamiokande in Japan or the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada, INO will be sensitive to both neutrinos and anti-neutrinos, which interact with matter in different ways.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user sparr0 used under Creative Commons license

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Diamond-Studded Saucepan

This past weekend, Moscow hosted the Millionaire Fair. It's an exhibition of the world's most luxurious products, including a diamond-encrusted saucepan:

Its handle and lid were encrusted with nearly 300 diamonds and was decorated with 18-carat gold. It's made by German cookware brand Fissler. But wealthy cooks might be disappointed: the pan isn't suitable for cooking.

"It is for serving food beautifully," brand manager Natalya Oreshkina said.

Link via Born Rich | Photo: Kostyukov/AP

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Google Street View Safari

Jed Stoneham of Urlesque gathered pictures from Google Street View that look like they were taken in wilderness areas. Pictured above is a scene from a road inside Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa.

Link | Addo Elephant National Park

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Japanese Professor Builds Humanoid Robot to Kill Wasps

Google Translate isn't doing too well, but I gather that a Japanese professor named Sekine was tired of getting stung by wasps in his laboratory. So he designed and built a mohawk-wearing fembot to climb a ladder and whack the wasps.

Link via GearFuse | Photos: Asahi

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The Giant Norias of Hama

In the 12th Century A.D., the rulers of the city of Hama, Syria, built enormous waterwheels -- norias -- to carry water into the city. These were expanded and enhanced for several centuries:

Each of the wheels can be anything up to 20 meters in diameter (close to 70 feet( and the river water is channelled in to a sluice on the wheel. This flow then forces the wheel to turn and wood boxes raise the water upwards. At the top of the wheel there is an artificial channel in to which the water is discharged.

Using gravity, the water then flows through aqueduct channels to either households or farms in the vicinity. Just as math was used in the construction of the waterwheels so it was in working out the times at which people had access to the water. As a precious commodity it was important that it was shared fairly.

Link via The Presurfer | Photo by Flickr user Ai@ce used under Creative Commons license

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We Make Carpets

We Make Carpets is an art collective consisting of Stijn van der Vleuten, Marcia Nolte, and Bob Waardenburg. They make temporary structures that resemble carpets from a distance, such as the one pictured above. It's actually made out of bricks, not fabric. They've also made carpets out of medical tape, cotton balls, balloons, and pasta.

Link via Dude Craft | Photo: Boudewijn Bollmann

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10 Facts You Might Not Know about Babylon 5

Babylon 5, which ran from a 1993 pilot movie until its final episode in 1998, has been called the greatest science fiction show ever created. Producer, director, and writer J. Michael Straczynski created a high drama that set a new standard for science fiction television. Here are some things that you might not know about the series:

1. Straczynski planned the entire story arc from the beginning. He kept a written copy of it on a 200-page encrypted computer file. Straczynski never revealed his full plans to his writing team until the very end of the series. He intentionally included red herrings in the plot so that viewers would not be able to predict the outcome of the series.

2. Staczynski wanted to create mature, adult science fiction -- not a kids’ show. His rule was that any cute kids that appeared in an episode had to be killed off by the end of that episode (e.g. “Believers” and “Confessions and Lamentations.”)

3. The design of Vorlon ships (right) by special effects artist Ron Thornton is based on the shape of a bulb of garlic.

4. In the episodes “Shadow Dancing” and “Z’ha’dum”, Bruce Boxleitner (John Sheridan) played opposite of Melissa Gilbert (Anna Sheridan), John’s late wife returned from the dead. In real life, Gilbert and Boxleitner are married.

5. Naval personnel in particular were fans of Babylon 5 because, compared to other science fiction shows, it realistically showed life inside a small metal box far away from home.

6. The space suit props worn by B5 Starfury fighter pilots were liquid-cooled. The detailed helmets alone cost $3,000 each.

7. Jerry Doyle’s (Michael Garibaldi) favorite episode was “Points of Departure” because his character spent the entire episode in a coma, but Doyle received full salary for that role.

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8. Author Peter David made J. Michael Straczynski a teddy bear wearing a baseball jersey. The shirt was inscribed “Babearlyon 5” on the front and “J.S.” (for Joe Straczynski) on the front. Straczynski made it the topic of conversation in a scene between Sheridan and Ivonova.

9. Babylon 5 actors Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi) and Andrea Thompson (Talia Winters) married in 1995.

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10. The Psi Corps recruiting commercial that appears in the episode “And Now for a Word” contains a subliminal message that says “The Psi Corps is your friend. Trust the Corps.” It’s at 1:49.

Bassom, David. Creating Babylon 5. New York: Random House, 1997.
Lane, Andy. The Babylon File: The Definitive Unauthorised Guide to J. Michael Straczynski's TV Series Babylon 5. London: Virgin, 1997.

Images: Warner Bros.

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Life-Size Monopoly House

Toronto-based Taiwanese Artist An Te Liu made this house. It's 2009 work called Title Deed and is located in Willowdale, Ontario.

Link (Google Translate) via Make | Artist's Website | Photo by the artist

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TrustoCorp's Public Art

TrustoCorp is a New York City-based art collective that spreads messages to the public by creating signs or shopdropping. Its Flickr photostream is filled with works similar to the sign above.

Flickr Photostream and Official Website via Super Punch

Previously: Is Shopdropping (Reverse Shoplifting) a Crime?

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Enormous Gummy Worms

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Yes, this is a real product. It's 128 times the size of a normal gummy worm, weighs 3 pounds, and contains 4,000 calories. The candy is available in a variety of flavors.

Link via Nerdcore

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Bomb Squad Summoned to Defuse Box Full of Kittens

A box was found unattended on the front steps of the Social Security office in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The bomb squad rushed to the scene to defuse what employees feared might be a bomb. It turned out to be a box full of kittens:

The bomb squad quickly suited up and headed to the scene to defuse the situation. Once they arrived on scene, specialists found a box slightly stirring. There was no "tick-tock," but a different familiar sound. Meow.

A quick examination by the experts determined the box's contents was about to explode - with cute and cuddliness. Inside were two kittens, which the bomb squad manual states is more dangerous to a ball of yarn than to an office building.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo (unrelated) via Flickr user abcrumley used under Creative Commons license

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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