John Farrier's Blog Posts

Transparent Luxury Bubble Tents for Campers

French designer Pierre Stephane Dumas has created a set of inflatable tents that he hopes will change the way that people go camping:

But they are far from the traditional camping trip - decked out with wardrobes, shelves and electric lights, the bubbles look more like a movable hotel room than a regular tent.

Launched this year, the structures can be now be hired out at sites across France for around £400 pounds a night.[...]

He explained: 'Having a night under the stars or seeing the sun rise and set is not something that many people experience anymore.

'A normal tent or camper van means people miss out on these things.

'So I designed this eccentric shelter with the aim of offering an unusual experience under the stars while keeping all the comfort of a bedroom suite.

Link via Geekologie | Photo: Solent News and Photo Agency

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Maps from 1942 Imagine an Axis Invasion of the United States

For several months after the US entry into World War II, Americans feared air raids or even invasions of the continental United States by Germany and Japan. An article in the March 2, 1942 issue of Life magazine suggested several possible invasion routes that Axis forces might take. These include a Germany landing at Norfolk, Virginia supported by fifth columnists hidden in the US. At the link, you can view maps of a few other fanciful scenarios.

Link | Image: Time Warner

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Custom Pencil Sharpening Business

You could sharpen your own pencils, but who would want to go to all the effort? Send them to David Rees of Artisanal Pencil Sharpening, and he'll whittle them to perfection and return them to you with the shavings and a certificate of authenticity:

This is how Rees' artisanal pencil sharpening works: You might send him your favorite pencil, but Rees more often selects and sharpens a classic No. 2 pencil for his clients, he promises, "carefully and lovingly." He slides the finished pencil's very sharp tip into a specially-sized segment of plastic tubing, then puts the whole pencil in a larger, firmer tube that looks like it belongs in a science experiment. Throw it at a wall, he says, and it won't break. The cost? $15.

Rees lives in New York's Hudson Valley, a region full of tiny vineyards and cheese makers and old-school butchers and bookbinders. It's a place where people take the time to create things by hand.

Rees is also known for his political cartoon franchise called Get Your War On.

Link via Fast Company | Company Website | Rees' Website | Photo: Meredith Heuer/LA Times

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Billionaire Richard Branson Loses Bet, Must Serve as Flight Attendant

Richard Branson, the eccentric billionaire owner of Virgin Atlantic Air, lost a bet to Tony Fernandes, the owner of Air Asia. Consequently, he must serve as a flight attendant on an Air Asia international flight:

Branson made the wager with Lotus racing team principal Tony Fernandes , who owns Air Asia, over which of their Formula One teams would go better this season.

The loser had to serve as a "stewardess" on the winner's airline.

Although neither of the men's teams scored a point in their debut season, Lotus slightly outperformed the Virgin.

Fernandes said today "it's time for Richard to start preparing himself for some hard work and the likely pain of a pair of high heels."

The date of the Kuala Lumpur-London flight has yet to be set, but seats will be auctioned off and money given to Branson's chosen charity.

Link | Photo: Reuters

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Firefly Hat Cosplay

This unknown cosplayer is dressed as a hat worn by Jayne Cobb, a character on the TV show Firefly.

Oh, He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and he gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain't hard to explain.
The hero of Canton
the man they call Jayne.

via Great White Snark | Image: Fox

Previously: If Firefly Had Been Made in the 80s

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View from the International Space Station

This excellent image captured by NASA shows astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson gazing out of a window on the International Space Station. It was taken last September. Dyson, a chemist, went into orbit on April 2, 2010 and remained on the station for 174 days.

Link via DVICE | Photo: NASA

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Steampunk Bandwidth Meter

Software engineer Skytee made a steampunk-style bandwidth meter. He (she?) calls it the TorrentMeter:

I got a 1908 voltmeter in a brass housing, about 20cm (8in) in diameter. It had a resistor made from a wire wick. The gauge's internal resistance without that is now about 67 ohms, eats up 150mA when the handle is at full scale, and wants about 10V. That's too much to be driven directly by a micro controller. A switching amplifier, made from a couple parts, shall help.

Link via Make

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Recirculating Gravy Fountain

The finish is crude, but that just adds to the charm. Anyway, the concept is brilliant: an eternal fountain of warm gravy. Instructables user turkey tek rigged this arrangement based on a peristaltic pump powered by an electric drill.

Link via J-Walk Blog

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Gold Nanoparticles Could Turn Trees into Streetlights

Scientists in Taiwan discovered that placing gold nanoparticles in plants made them glow, which could turn them into an effective form of nighttime illumination:

By implanting the gold nanoparticles into the leaves of the Bacopa caroliniana plants, the scientists were able to induce the chlorophyll in the leaves to produce a red emission. Under a high wavelength of ultraviolet light, the gold nanoparticles were able to produce a blue-violet fluorescence to trigger a red emission in the surrounding chlorophyll.[...]

“In the future, bio-LED could be used to make roadside trees luminescent at night. This will save energy and absorb CO2 as the bio-LED luminescence will cause the chloroplast to conduct photosynthesis,” Dr. Yen-Hsun Su said in an interview with Chemistry World.

Link via Popular Science | Photo (unrelated) by Flickr user Irargerich used under Creative Commons license

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Toy Story Engagement Ring Box

Model maker Michal Miszta crafted an engagement ring box with a Toy Story theme:

I was helping the cupid recently, commissioned by romantic guy to craft the engagement ring box related to Disney/Pixar Toy Story movie. We came with this idea that all characters from the movie support him and help to convince the girl to be his wife. They even built the “Marry Him” sign with LEGO bricks :) I managed to sculpt and fit 8 characters in this 95mm x 65mm x 75mm box. We have Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear, Rex, Sqeeze, Mr. and Mrs Potato Heads and in the center Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear holding the ring. They are sculpted in green stuff specially to fit the scratchbuilt wooden box. all is painted with acrylic paints and vartnished to give the satin finish. Lego sign is laser engraved in plywood. I didnt make molds of the figurines so it will be only one model like this worldwide.

Link via Super Punch | Photo: Michal Miszta

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Man Buys First Batman Comic for 10¢ in 1939, Now Offers to Sell It

In 1939, Robert Irwin bought the first comic book in which Batman appeared. It cost him 10 cents -- that's $1.57 adjusted for inflation. He's now put it up for auction, and current bidding has exceeded $400,000:

When asked why he kept this particular comic book, Irwin’s replied was simple:

“I don’t know,” he said. “I must have just liked the cover.”

That simple attraction the now iconic Bob Kane graphic means the 10 cents Irwin spent on it as a 13-year-old boy in will now come due as an investment that will realized a return than can be measured in hundreds of thousands of percentage points – certainly better than even the highest performing stocks.

“Imagine yourself as a kid, and you buy a comic book, read it and put it away,” said Jerry Stephan, Consignment Director for Comics at Heritage. “Now imagine you put it away for decades before realizing, more than 70 years later, that your foresight, that the one comic you kept from your childhood, that you tucked carefully away, has emerged as one of the great pop culture treasures of history.”

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: Comic Book Resources

Previously: World's Most Valuable Comic Books

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Beer Brewing Rube Goldberg Machine

(Video Link)

Brewing beer is, as you can see, an incredibly complex process. The brewery Trumer International put together this video showing how it's done.

Link via Make | Company Website

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Cartoons of Star Trek Characters Made without Looking at the Paper

Kevin Breakstone makes cartoons of characters from Deadwood and Star Trek: The Next Generation without looking at what he's doing:

Blind contour drawings are made by not looking at the page while moving the pen. I draw these with a sharpie and then use watercolors to make them purty.

Link via Comics Alliance

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A Giant Domed, Underground City for Siberia

A Russian architectural firm called Ab Ellis has unveiled its proposal to turn an old diamond mine in Siberia into a huge domed city that stretches 1,700 feet below ground. Eco-City 2020 could house 100,000 people and be powered by solar cells on the city roof. At the link, you can view several more architectural concept images, as well as photographs of this site, which is the second largest hole in the world.

Link via DVICE | Photo: Ab Ellis

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20 Obsolete English Words That Should Make a Comeback

Heather Carreiro of Matador Abroad suggests twenty English language words that she thinks should return to common usage. Here are two examples from her list:

9. Brabble

Verb – “To quarrel about trifles; esp. to quarrel noisily, brawl, squabble” – Brabble basically means to argue loudly about something that doesn’t really matter, as in “Why are we still brabbling about who left the dirty spoon on the kitchen table?” You can also use it as a noun: “Stop that ridiculous brabble and do something useful!”[...]

14. Hoddypeak

Noun – “A fool, simpleton, noodle, blockhead” – This one doesn’t need any explanation as to how you could use it; you may already have someone in mind who fits the description.

Link via Brian J. Noggle | Photo by Flickr user greeblie used under Creative Commons license

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The Repo Man of the Seas

Last March, we blogged about a man who repossesses stolen jetliners. Max Hardberger does something similar, but with commercial ships. Here's how, years ago, he got a ship called the Naruda out of Haiti:

He played for time. He pumped the guards with booze and waited for dark before ordering his engineer to lock them into their cabin. It was a toss-up whether they would try to shoot their way out, but they were either too drunk or not being paid enough to bother. Hardberger started the engines, switched off all the lights and sneaked out of harbour. If they were spotted, the Naruda would be seized, and he'd be slung in jail. Only when he was in international waters could he relax. Hardberger called down to the guards. He offered to set them loose in a lifeboat or take them to Venezuela; the choice was theirs. They chose the lifeboat.[...]

Over the years, he's distracted crews with prostitutes and witch doctors, bribed officials to look the other way, conned Russian mobsters and hidden from naval radar by riding out thunderstorms at sea; he's even taken a 10,000-tonne freighter out of Haiti while the 2004 revolution was going on around him. "It's basically a matter of planning," he says. "To get a boat out of port, you need a chief engineer and a one or two crewmen in your team, so everyone has to know exactly what they are doing.

"I make sure we all arrive in port separately. The aim is to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible, so none of us fly in; rather we come in by ferry or cargo ship. I always stay in lowlife hotels in the seediest part of town, as it fits with my usual cover story of a sea captain looking for work. During the daytime I will scope out the port, working out the easiest way to get the boat out of port; it's always best to have a plan where you can board it brazenly, rather than creep on surreptitiously. In the evenings I act the stereotypical drunk captain, tipping my whiskey down the sink while no one is looking. And when it's time, we move in."

Link via Samizdata | Photo: Guardian

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Bloggers from Speedhunters attended a custom van show at Fuji Speedway in Japan. Among the amazing vehicles on display was this Batman-themed van. You can view pictures of many more custom vans at the link.

Link via Jalopnik

Previously: Bosozuku-Style Car Mods

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Airless Tires for Moon Vehicles

Goodyear has developed for NASA a new airless tire made of springs that can be used on future moon missions:

The tire, constructed out of 800 load bearing springs, is designed to carry much heavier vehicles (up to 10 times) over much greater distances (up to 100 times) than the wire mesh tire that Goodyear helped develop for the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV). The Spring Tire has now been recognized with a so-called “Oscar of Innovation” at the 44th Annual R&D 100 Awards in Orlando, Florida.[...]

Another advantage of the Spring Tire is its ultra-redundancy. Asnani points out that the tire doesn’t have a “single point failure mode” like pneumatic tires. Where one hard impact can cause a puncture and deflate a pneumatic tire, such an impact would damage only one of the Spring Tire’s 800 load bearing springs. Additionally, the Spring Tire’s combination of overall stiffness and flexibility allows off-road vehicles to travel fast over rough terrain with relatively little motion being transferred to the vehicle, says Asnani.

Link via OhGizmo! | Photo: Gizmag

Previously: Airless Tires for Military Vehicles

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Photographs and Audio Recordings from Mecca in 1885

Dutch adventurer Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje traveled to the Muslim holy city of Mecca in 1885, photographing what he saw and recording sounds using an invention of Thomas Edison:

Snouck's extraordinary collection of sepia-tinted images of Mecca in a bygone age have gone on display in Dubai ahead of the annual Hajj pilgrimage that originally drew him to the heart of Islam.

Accompanied by crackling, eerie soundscapes captured by Snouck using Thomas Edison's newly-invented wax cylinders, the exhibition paints a very different picture from the ornate and built-up Mecca familiar to modern visitors.[...]

The images are all the more astounding, says Elie Domit -- creative director of Dubai's Empty Quarter gallery, which is hosting the exhibition -- when one considers the lengths he went to to get them.

"People tend to forget the situation because cameras today are so versatile and light," he told CNN. "In Snouck's day they probably weighed about 40 kilos, and he needed to take all the chemicals for developing, which he would have done on site."

Link via The Agitator | Photo: Empty Quarter Gallery

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Gun Safe with a Powered Rotating Racks

Gun safes are normally built with fixed racks for long arms and shelves for handguns. As a result, the firearm that a user wishes to remove may be at the back, behind several others. Bruce Pendleton was dissatisfied with this arrangement and so built a gun safe that has electrically-powered lazy susan racks and counters.

Product Link and Video via Born Rich

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Baby Giraffe and Ostrich Playing

(Video Link)

This video of undetermined provenance shows a baby giraffe and an ostrich playing. At least the giraffe is playing. I'm not sure about the ostrich.

via Ace of Spades HQ

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What's In Your Pockets?

One current Internet meme consists of people taking pictures of what equipment they normally carry around in their pockets or on their belts whenever they leave their homes. They then post the pictures and explain their decisions. At the link, you can view a Flickr photo pool of some examples of these personal equipment choices.

What's in your pockets on a normal day?

Link via The Breda Fallacy | Photo: Flickr user clark0226

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Police Serve Arrest Warrants Using Steelers Van

Constables in Fayette County, Pennsylvania needed to serve arrest warrants to certain folks, but the people in question wouldn't leave their homes. So the officers decided to lure the suspects outside using a van decorated in a Pittsburgh Steelers theme:

"It's been working great," Coleman said. "We sit outside and lay on the horn, and they come out. They're interested and curious."

The interest didn't end after the individuals found out they'd been had, either.

"One guy tried to buy the van off of us," Younkin said, adding that he named their new tactic "The Fayette County Constables Do the End Around," referring to a trick football play.

To keep with the football theme of using the Steelers van, Coleman and Younkin even play the Pittsburgh Steelers fight song on the way to Haggerty's office to those they pick up.

Link via Deadspin | Photo:

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15-Story Hotel Built in 6 Days

(Video Link)

This time-lapse video shows workers in Changsha, China building a 15-story hotel in six days:

The Ark Hotel, constructed with optimal energy, material and time savings, was reportedly not only more efficient but cheaper to make. Industry experts said there was only 1 percent construction waste.

The sustainable hotel already had its foundation so construction workers only took 46 hours to finish the building using pre-fabricated columns and modules as well as modern construction techniques. Once the main structural components were completed, only another 90 hours were required to finish the building enclosure.

Link via J-Walk Blog

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Floppy Disk USB Flash Drive

Charles Mangin made a USB flash drive that fits inside a stack of two 3.5 inch floppy disks:

I extended the original cable from the business card USB drive, and routed it through a small piece of plastic, glued in place just inside the opening. This lets out just enough of the cable to plug into a hub or laptop, but prevents me pulling the wires all the way out.

Link via Technabob | Maker's Website

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Globe Turned into Jedi Training Remote

(Video Link)

Remember the hovering sphere that Luke Skywalker used during his early lightsaber training with Obi-Wan Kenobi? YouTube user trooperkent made one of his own out of a hovering globe.

via Make

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The Mayberry/Star Trek Connection

Star Trek and The Andy Griffith Show were sometimes filmed on the same lot. Specifically, the episodes "Miri" and "City on the Edge of Forever" used the lot that was also used to represent the town of Mayberry. You can view more pictures of this connection at the link.

Link via reddit | Image: Paramount

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A Machine That Builds Brick Roads

(Video Link)

This video allegedly shows a machine that can lay 400 yards of brick road a day. But I can't find any information about it beyond Internet buzz. What do you think -- is it real?

via Gizmodo

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Painted Handgun

The Tampa-based artist known as P$ynner painted this handgun. It's a Bersa Thunder .380 caliber semi-automatic.

via The Breda Fallacy | Artist's Website

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Warning Signs at City Hall Urge Employees and Visitors Not to Drink from the Toilets

Just in case they were thinking of doing otherwise, signs at the new city hall building in Chandler, Arizona warn people that they shouldn't drink from the toilets and urinals:

A few employees have been cracking jokes and speculating about what it would take to make them slurp from potties when water fountains and sinks are a few feet away.

"I'm glad that I saw that sign because I was very thirsty and looking for a means to quench my thirst," Mayor Boyd Dunn quipped. "Seriously, I'm certain there's some regulation out there that requires that type of sign."

Link via Popehat | Photo: Mark Henle/ The Arizona Republic

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Profile for John Farrier

  • Member Since 2012/08/04


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