John Farrier's Blog Posts

My Little Care Bears

Mad scientist Samantha Claridge combined two major forces of the 1980s, My Little Pony and the Care Bears, into these monstrously cute custom toys. They need just a touch of Rainbow Brite and Strawberry Shortcake.


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The Inuit Sport of Ear Pulling

ear pulling

Occasionally there are interpersonal disputes here at the Neatorama office. This is how we resolve them. It's also the Inuit sport of ear pulling:

Ear pulling is a traditional Inuit game in which competitors sit with their legs in front of their bodies and intertwined, facing each other. Competitor's left and right ears, respectively, are linked to their rival's via a two-foot-long loop of waxed string. From there, the game is more or less self explanatory: the two competitors pull. The idea is to endure as much pain as possible. The winner is the first man or woman to dislodge the string from the ear of their competition, withstanding the pain a little longer.

I want to see what the winner's trophy looks like.

Link -via Weird Universe | Photo: Alaska Dispatch

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Cup Changes Color After It's Been Drugged


Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is odorless and colorless. But it's now possible to detect it easily. There are materials that change color when they come into contact with GHB. If you make a glass out of it, the drinker can learn when his or her drink has been drugged and then escape sexual assault. The startup company DrinkSavvy is developing drinkware that does precisely that.

Link -via Technabob

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Star Trek Pancakes

Star Trek pancakes

The food synthesizer is working perfectly today! That, or pancake artist Nathan Shields of Saipancakes has been busy. His Sulu and Checkov pancakes are especially good work.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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The Banana Car

banana car

Redditor tkw97 spotted this engineering marvel in downtown Raleigh. What is it? It's the Big Banana Car! Steve Braithwaite built this delicious custom car which, sadly, cannot be split in half and filled with ice cream. You can view more pictures and videos at the link.

Link -via reddit

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The Unmentioned Dark Side of Nursery Rhymes

nursery rhymes

There's also the sixth toe. The one that stays in the attic all of the time and never comes out. Andy Herald understands the darker subtexts of popular, classic nursery rhymes. You can view the rest of his chart on the subject at the link.


See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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Detailed, Scratch-Made Model of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space

John Stewart makes detailed scale replicas of famous fictional settings including the Bates Motel, the home of the Munsters and the home of the Addams family. My favorite is his cutaway model of the Jupiter 2, the ship featured on the classic science fiction show Lost in Space.


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Alexander Safonov's Amazing Photos of Life Underwater


Russian architect Alexander Safonov goes on diving adventures all over the world. He captures beautiful images of sea life, especially predators and their prey. Here's one that he took off the coast of South Africa. You can view more at the link.

Link | Artist's Website (Translation)

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Felted Crafting Buddies


Need help sewing? Just create a few assistants, like this button and needle made by Moxie. She provides step-by-step photos showing how to do it. As someone who's never engaged in felting before, I found her post to be a great introduction to that craft.

Link -via Craft

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Greatest Martini Recipe


It's hard to screw up whiskey, though some people try. A martini? That's only for people who look up to Don Draper as a role model. Drew Fairweather of Toothpaste for Dinner understands.

Link -via Blame It on the Voices

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Nintendo-Style Mouse

Nintendo mouse

By combining a Nintendo controller and a Logitech mouse, Instructables member champx made a retro-cool computer mouse. It's one of a few that he's made with different configurations. The two top mounted buttons replace the conventional mouse buttons. The directional pad, now mounted on the side, is a scroll wheel.


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Mathematical Street Art

Aakash Nihalani

Of Aakash Nihalani's recent work, this piece is my favorite. He's brilliant at highlighting pre-existing forms with simple geometical shapes to create additional meaning. This exercise in basic arithmetic is one that you'd probably walk by every day without noticing if not for the plus and equal signs.

Link (Translation) | Artist's Website

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Kate Jenkins's Delicious Crocheted Food

What comes out of Kate Jenkins's kitchen in Brighton looks great and is high in fiber. She also offers French toast (waving Le Tricolore), jellied eels, canned caviar and more. Jenkins is especially fond of making wooly versions of the United Kingdom's favorite foods.

Link -via Lustik

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Dukes of Hazzard Transformer

Ben Cooper commissioned a custom toymaker to convert his Downshift figure into the General Lee. You might think that Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane would be in trouble now, but Cooper imagines this Transformer as a female Autobot double agent named "Ridge Runner."


UPDATE 12/17/12: The artist, Mike O. Sexton, chimes in. Here's his website with more photos of the custom Transformer. Thanks, Mike!

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Old Card Catalog Cabinet Now Used as a Planter

card catalog cabinet

Grace Light, a resident of Hawaii, loves air plants. She's found the perfect home for them in one of her many old library card catalog cabinets. It's now a "botanical cabinet of curiosities."


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The Wonderful World of Interlibrary Loan


Over at Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow sings the praises of interlibrary loan:

Denizens of BushcraftUK discuss Willie Sundqvist's "Swedish Carving Techniques," a rare tome that goes for £100 and more. Then one of them has the bright idea of asking his local library to get one through Interlibrary Loan, the original P2P file-sharing network, and shortly thereafter, he gets a copy to read, courtesy of the Seattle Public Library. Go libraries!

What is he talking about? In the United States, interlibrary loan is a program in which different library systems across the country loan items to each other upon patron request, usually at no additional charge.

Sometimes my patrons' eyes bug out when I introduce them about this service--which is a wonderful experience. I've used it myself to order everything from dissertations to obscure pocket manga.

Practically speaking, if you want almost any book and are willing to wait a few weeks, you can get it. And that's totally neatorama.

Link | Photo by Nancy Sims

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Jack Daniel's Tennessee Soap


Helen made this classy gift for a friend to welcome him to Tennessee. All she had to do was buy a soap bottle pump that fit the whiskey bottle, then fill the bottle with 80 proof soap.

Link -via Kathleen Guy

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"Quiet Santas" Serve Kids with Special Needs

Santa Claus

Spending a few minutes with Santa at a mall or a Christmas party is a great joy for young children. But for children with autism, a busy setting with bright lights and loud noises isn't fun. That's why there's an opportunity in Madison, Wisconsin to meet Santa in a quieter environment:

For kids like William, the stimulation of lights and crowds and noise – three aspects inherent of just about every shopping mall, especially at holiday time – is simply too much.

"For them to not be able to have that," said Dena, "they're just missing out."

But this year, the Sekels' holiday wish has already come true.

"We were like, we have to go to this, this is our one chance to actually go," said Dena.

That chance came when they heard of an event in Madison that offered a quieter visit with Santa, particularly for kids with special needs.

That quieter visit was with a Santa Helper named Jim Sheldon, one of many helpers that take requests at malls while the real Santa is busy at the North Pole.

"Mall Santas and kids with sensory issues? That's a mess," said Sheldon.

Link -via Althouse | Image: Channel 3000

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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The Discus Fish Nurses Its Young

discus fish

The discus fish doesn't have mammary glands, but the parents secrete mucous and allow their young to eat it:

Jonathan Buckley from the University of Plymouth, UK, explains that discus fish young feed on the mucus that their parents secrete over their bodies until they are big enough to forage. [...]

During the first 3 days after hatching, the fry remained attached to the cone where the parents laid their eggs, absorbing the yolk and gaining strength until all of the fry were able to swim independently. Then they left the cone en masse and began feeding on their parents' mucus, feeding for up to 10 min by biting at the parent's side until the parent expertly ‘flicked’ the shoal over to its partner to continue feeding. The parents diligently fed their young intensely for 2 weeks. However, 3 weeks after hatching the parents' behaviour began to change as they started swimming away from their young for brief periods. At the same time the fry began biting their parents less and investigating other food sources. By the fourth week the parents were actively swimming away from their brood for the majority of the time and the fry barely bit them at all.

The mucous, like a mammal's milk, is highly nutritious and just what a young discus fish needs:

Monitoring the composition of the parents' mucus before they spawned and through to the end of their parental responsibilities, Buckley found a huge increase in the mucus's antibody and protein levels when the parents laid their eggs, similar to the changes seen in mammalian milk around the time of birth. The protein and antibody levels remained high until the third week and returned to pre-spawning levels during the fourth week after hatching. Buckley suspects that the sudden increase in protein levels at spawning is hormonally regulated, much like the changes in mammalian milk, and is keen to find out more about the hormones that regulate the fish's mucus supply as they care for their young.


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

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How to Make Bacon Pixie Stix

bacon stix

Anything and everything can be baconified...and should be! With bacon, dextrose powder and cornstarch, you can make pixie stix suitable for a meal. Follow the instructions of Instructables member and genius canida at the link.

Link -via Foodbeast

P.S. Do you love bacon as much as we do? Check out our Bacon Store!

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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My Little He-Man

Ponyrific sercet powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword and said "By the power of Grayskull!" Custom ponymaker Mari Kasurinen made these custom He-Man and Orko ponies.


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Vodka Saves Elephants' Lives during Harsh Russian Winter

vodkaOh, vodka! Is there anything you can't do?

Circus trainers claim two of their elephants were saved from the deadly Siberian cold by vodka.

Emergency ministry spokesman Alexander Davydov said Friday that the elephants were in a trailer that caught fire Thursday outside the city of Novosibirsk, forcing trainers to take them out into the bitter cold before another truck arrived to deliver them to a warm gym at a local community college.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported that trainer Leonid Labo had the animals, aged 45 and 48, drink 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of vodka diluted in warm water — and a veterinarian said later that only the tips of their ears were frostbitten.

Link -via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo: True Russian Vodka

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

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How to Make Rudolph Reese's Peanut Butter Cups


The muzzle and neck are obvious. But how did Beth Klosterboer make the ears? By flattening Tootsie Rolls and cutting them with a leaf-shaped cookie cutter.

I never did understand Ruldolph's decision. Santa had no flight options without Rudolph, so Rudolph was in a position to extract huge concessions from Santa. Instead, he gave away his irreplaceable services for some tenuous friendship of depreciating resale value--if any at all. Rudolph was a fool to throw away such a profitable opportunity.


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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How to Light a Cigarette with a Hammer

(Video Link)

This blacksmith doesn't need a lighter. Watch him heat a metal rod by hammering it, then lighting his cigarette with it.

-via Yababoon 

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Anatomical Kitchen Accessories

pepper mill

For her project entitled Sentient Kitchen, Christine Chin imagined a world that blends the biological and the technological:

Sentient Kitchen takes inspiration from some of nature’s most ingenious engineering. What better way to dispense salt than through an organ that is highly developed to taste, and why not take advantage of the mammary gland’s unique relationship to milk? While it is the nature of the human ego to cast suspicion on a challenge to human intellect,Sentient Kitchen products offer a non-threatening environment to explore the benefits of smarter, more sensitive solutions to our daily dining needs.

Content warning: artistic nudity...sort of.

Link -via Foodiggity

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Amazing Basketball Player Has Only One Hand

(Video Link)

16-year old Zach Hodskins of Milton High School in northeastern Georgia was born with only one hand. But he's so good that have to watch carefully to even notice.

-via Daily of the Day

Check out more amazing talents over at our Mad Skills blog

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Richard Kirkland, The Angel of Marye's Heights


150 years ago today, the Army of the Potamac and the Army of Northern Virginia were locked in a bloody slaughter near Fredericksburg, Virginia. On the third day of the five day engagement, a Union assault on Confederate positions at Marye's Heights was repulsed, leaving thousands of dead and wounded Union troops in the no-man's land that formed between the two armies after that fight.

Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland, CSA, could not help but feel compassion for his wounded enemies, crying out helplessly for water. With difficulty, he acquired permission to take water out to the Union wounded:

Securing some dozen canteens or more, Kirkland soon amazed thousans of men on both sides, as he climbed the wall and began carrying out his errand of mercy. At first the Union forces believed that he was attempting "to rob the dead and wounded," and thus began shooting at the "Good Samaritan" soldier. Soon, however, his true motives were discovered and his actions were admired and cheered by the enemy and his fellow Confederates. For more than an hour and a half, Kirkland brought relief to the prostrate foe. The "Angel of Marye's Heights" soon became a legend in both armies, and today a bronze statue stands in front of the stone wall at Fredericksburg, Virginia, depicting him lifting the head of a wounded Union soldier, to give him a drink of refreshing water.

Link -via Borepatch | Photo: Cowpie21

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The Law of Cartoon Pants

Cartoon pants

Do you feel a need to wear pants while in public? Some people do, but not too many cartoon characters. Wolf Gnards analyzed the incidence of pants-wearing by cartoon characters and distilled the principles that animators tend to use when deciding whether or not characters should wear them. One of those apparent rules is that adult and male characters have more pants-free options:

Networks seem to demand more clothing on female and children characters, animals or not. For example, Yogi Bear's girlfriend, Cindy Bear, had to wear a skirt, while Yogi's crotch was free to the world. Or Gadget from the Chip & Dale had to wear more clothing than the others. No pants was obviously an option for the rest of the Rescue Rangers crew, but Gadget had to wear a jumpsuit, also known as, the maximum amount of clothing possible. Or take a look at the Shawn Bradley vehicle Space Jam and the introduction of Lola Bunny, a fully clothed female bunny. Making her one of the few clothed Looney Tunes characters. Likewise, The Tiny Toons were “tiny” versions of the adult Looney Tunes, and each character had their equal; Bugs Bunny to Buster Bunny, Daffy Duck to Plucky Duck, and so on and so on. Similar designs, similar personality traits, but clothed. The Tiny Toons mostly wore shirts or, at least, hats and shoes, whereas the adult Looney Tunes they were based on were nude.

Link | Image: Warner Bros.

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In 1921, This Man Was Judged as the World's Greatest Kisser

André BruléBut only because I had not yet been born. According to the 19 September 1921 issue of the Minneapolis Tribune, a prestigious panel of experts judged French actor André Brulé the greatest kisser in the world:

According to the jury, Brulé's perfect kiss was according to the following procedure. He took careful aim, and then with his right arm waistward and his left foot used as a pivot, swung suddenly, implanting the kiss exactly in the middle of the mouth. The advantage of this method, which, it is declared, requires long practice, is that the girl has no time to escape.
Berenger's style consists in seizing the chin softly but firmly in the left hand, while the right hand behind the neck insinuates the head forward.
The jury styled the American kisses as “flaccid,” the Russian “eruptive,” the Italian “burning,” the English “tepid,” the Spanish “vampirish” and the French “chaste.”

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"How Strong Is a Hobbit?" -- A Physicist Looks at The Hobbit

Bilbo BagginsScientists see the world very differently than non-scientists do. While you and I may read or watch The Lord of the Rings and think of it as a compelling work of fantasy, Rhett Alain, a college physics instructor, sees physical quandaries to resolve. For example, relative to a human, how strong is a hobbit? Alain offers a math-heavy explanation incomprehensible to me before concluding:

If a hobbit is 72% the height of a human, he would just have 52% the strength. Let’s say a normal adult human male can bench press 150 pounds (just making this up people). That would mean the hobbit could bench press 78 pounds.

Having answered that question, Alain then ponders the maximum mass of Smaug based on his estimated wingspan.

Link | Image: New Line Cinema

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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