John Farrier's Blog Posts

6-Chamber Revolver Can Fire 12 Rounds

This unique revolver invented by John Walch in 1859. It has two triggers and two hammers to fire two rounds that were loaded into each chamber. James R. Rummel explains how it works:

The secret to the extra firepower is what is known as “superimposed loads”. Basically, the chambers are loaded with a powder charge with a bullet sitting on top, as is normal. Then another powder charge and bullet is loaded on top of the first.

The reason this doesn’t lead to an exploded gun and missing fingers is due to the unique ignition system. There are two percussion caps for every cylinder.

The gun is equipped with two hammers, and two triggers. Both hammers are cocked at the same time, but only the right-handed trigger is squeezed to set off the first shot. Then the left-hand trigger is squeezed, the left-hand hammer drops, and the second bullet goes flying. Cocking the hammers again will cause the cylinder to revolve as per normal.

Percussion caps are supposed to create a spark to set off the powder. Notice the ring of nipples to the outside of the cylinder? Those are the caps that are set off by the right-hand hammer, the hammer you are supposed to squeeze first. They don’t have a hole which goes directly into the back of the chamber, but instead channels the spark down a little tunnel. After about an inch, the tunnel makes a left hand turn and finally emerges into the chamber.

The hope is that the extra inch traveled will mean that the spark from the right-hand trigger will set off the powder charge in front, which will send the first bullet flying down the barrel while leaving the second bullet and powder charge untouched. The left-hand trigger will cause the left-hand hammer to drop, which will impact on the inner percussion cap, and hopefully cause the second charge to ignite.

Link | Photos: Hell in a Handbasket

Previously: 20-Shot Revolver

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Spock Learns about Anger Management

(Video Link)

YouTube user OneMinuteGalactica mashes up classic hygiene films with scenes from science fiction, such as Luke Skywalker's and Leia's first date. In this mashup, Spock is trying to overcome his problem with anger. As he will discover, only a fool fights in a burning house.

via blastr

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The 10 Dumbest Tech Predictions

When David Sarnoff tried to find investors to develop commercial radio in 1921, this was the response from one group of financiers:

The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?

Sarnoff pressed on anyway and eventually founded NBC and RCA. You can read nine other failed, pessimistic predictions about technology at the link.

Link via TigerHawk | Photo by Flickr user slgckgc used under Creative Commons license

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Homeless Man Has Amazing Radio Voice

(Video Link)

Ted Williams, a homeless man in Columbus, Ohio, has become an Internet sensation. He has an outstanding voice -- like that of a professional radio announcer. Today, redditors led the charge to get Mr. Williams back on his feet, and he's already been scheduled for local radio appearances. You can read the details at Urlesque.

Performer's Website (under construction) via Urlesque

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Could Fire Truck Ladders Be Replaced with Escalators?

Orville Douglas Denison thinks that telescoping ladders used by firefighters are too slow for firefighters to use effectively. So he designed a system that would lift up firefighters on something like a conveyor belt or an escalator:

In a rescue, firemen could extend Denison’s hydraulic ladder to windows as high as 113 feet. But rather than clamber up the ladder, the firefighter would hop on, and the rungs would roll up at 200 feet per minute—more than twice the average climbing speed of a firefighter weighed down by 130 pounds of gear. The firefighter would ride to a window, load unconscious victims into a rescue bag, hook the bag to the ladder, and shift it into reverse to bring the person to safety. Denison says it can now take up to 15 minutes, and sometimes several men, to carry one victim down a ladder from 10 stories. He estimates that his ladder could lower four people to the ground in less than four minutes.

Link | Image: Kevin Hand

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The Battery That's Been Operating Continuously for the Past 60 Years

It keeps going...and going...and going. Karpen's Pile, a battery built in Romania, has been providing power since the 1950s:

The prototype has been assembled in 1950 and consists of two series-connected electric piles moving a small galvanometric motor. The motor moves a blade that is connected to a switch. With every half rotation, the blade opens the circuit and closes it at the the start of the second half. The blade's rotation time had been calculated so that the piles have time to recharge and that they can rebuild their polarity during the time that the circuit is open.

The purpose of the motor and the blades was to show that the piles actually generate electricity, but they're not needed anymore, since current technology allows us to measure all the parameters and outline all of them in a more proper way.

The science behind it (assuming that it's not an elaborate hoax) challenges conventional physics:

According to some who studied Karpen's theoretical work, the pile he invented defies the second principle of thermodynamics (referring to the transformation of thermal energy into mechanical work), and this makes it a second-degree perpetual motion machine. Others say it doesn't, being merely a generalization to the law, and an application of zero point energy.

If Karpen was right, and the principle is 100% correct, it would revolutionize all of the physics theories from the bottom up, with hard to imagine consequences. Though I guess this isn't going to happen very soon, the museum still needs proper private funding to acquire the necessary security equipment required by the police to exhibit the device.

Link via Gizmodo | Photo: National Technical Museum of Romania

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Which Novels of 2010 Can Stop a Bullet?

(Video Link)

A book may be able to save your life. Specifically, it may be capable of stopping a bullet. Which novel of 2010 is the most protective? Is it Jonathan Franzen's Freedom? Or Joshua Cohen's Witz? Or will it be something on the high-tech Kindle? The people at Electric Literature decided to find out. Alas, they didn't address a more important question, which I leave to you: which book of 2010 is most deserving of being shot?

Official Website via Joe Carter

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New Food Movement: People Who Hunt and Eat Invasive Species

You may have heard of locavores -- people who prefer to eat food grown or raised locally -- or freegans -- people who dine on wasted food. Now there's a new food movement that advocates curbing the growth of invasive species by eating them. Invasivors prey upon species that are taking over the established habitats of other animals. Jackson Landers is an adherent of this movement:

As the Locavore Hunter, based in Virginia, he teaches urbanites how to hunt and butcher deer. He has branched out from the locavore life to invasives, and lionfish are one target. But as he has pushed the envelope of the invasivore approach, he has hunted and eaten feral pigs, two species of iguana, armadillos, starlings, pigeons and resident Canada geese. He says that all of these activities will be chronicled in a book, “Eating Aliens,” and perhaps a television show as well.

Mr. Landers, who grew up in a vegetarian household, taught himself to hunt. He believes that eating invasives can have a real effect. “When human beings decide that something tastes good, we can take them down pretty quickly,” he said. Our taste for passenger pigeon wiped that species out, he said. What if we developed a similar taste for starlings?

Link via Glenn Reynolds | Jackson Landers' Blog | Photo by Flickr user jon hanson used under Creative Commons license

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Functional LEGO Snow Crawler

(Video Link)

LEGO artist Peer Kreuger made the Stilzkin Indrik, a remarkably strong and agile vehicle that can pull heavy loads over snow. Could any reader translate the Russian text for us?

Link and Flickr Video via Jalopnik

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Hands-Free Sandwich Holder

I swear, it's real! On the rare occasions when Alex allows lunch breaks here at Neatorama HQ, we have to wear these contraptions. And even if you're not under that kind of pressure, it's always useful to have food shoved in your mouth when you're otherwise using your hands.

via Geekosystem

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Luke Skywalker as a Peanuts Character

Tom Torrey, who previously made a TIE Fighter that looks like Charlie Brown's head, has sculpted another piece in the same theme. This one depicts Luke Skywalker after arriving at Dagobah. Snoopy is lucky that he doesn't taste very good.

Link via Comics Alliance

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Kitteh Puts on Bunny Mask

(Video Link)

Mimi, a cat, is getting ready for the Year of the Rabbit. While most cats would struggle against human-mandated costumes, she wants to put on her bunny hat!

via Urlesque

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Fiddler on the Roof/You Got Served Mashup

(Video Link)

Tevye may work as a dairyman, but he was born to dance. YouTube user ACDPresents, a film student, made this carefully-timed video for an editing class. It mashes up video from 1971 musical Fiddler on the Roof and audio from the 2004 movie You Got Served.

via Legal Insurrection

Previously: Bottle Dancers

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Amphibious Car on Sale on eBay

Rick Dobbertin, a custom car builder, made this amphibious vehicle. The HydroCar is now up for auction on eBay. Tom Joslin of Jalopnik describes the car and explains why Dobbertin may have chosen to sell it:

The vehicle actually changes shape, lowering and extending pontoons when you switch it from land mode to water mode. The tunnel hulled HydroCar is propelled by a 572 Cubic inch Big Block Chevy that produces 762 horsepower.

While the HydroCar is clearly well built, after nine years and 18,800 hours, the custom vehicle is still not quite done. Several videos included in the auction show that while the HydroCar is improving as a result of testing, Dobbertin has been unable to get the boat to plane. Without being on plane the boat can't come anywhere close to the estimate of the HydroCar's 60 MPH water capability.

Link | Official Website | eBay Listing | Photo by eBay seller rick072800

Previously: The 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Survival Vehicles

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Lost Springs, Wyoming. Population: 1

Lost Springs, Wyoming, lost 75% of its population between the 2000 and 2010 census. It now has, according to the federal government, only one resident. Dan Kaplan wrote about his visit:

There were a few buildings, including the post office/general store, a municipal building, and a small town park.

When we are about to leave, we see a woman drive into town. We find out that it is the postmaster. She doesn't live in the town. A few minutes later, two other people show up. We find out that they are in the town because it is a convenient place for one to give the other a kitten. They don't live there either. So there are five people in this town with a census population of '1' and none of them live there!

The postmaster was able to tell us a little bit about the town. It turns out that the population is actually three. The mayor runs a catering business. One of the other residents is on the town council, but the other is not.

Link via J-Walk Blog | Photo by Flickr user Larry Page used under Creative Commons license

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Totoro Toilet Paper Cozy

Blogger Acornbud knitted a toilet paper roll cozy shaped like the titular character in the anime movie My Neighbor Totoro. At the link, you can view detailed instructions on how to make your own.

Link via Geek Crafts

Totoro Cat Bus
Totoro Bento Box

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Marvelous Papercrafts

Curious Collection, a maker of fine art papers, held a papercraft contest called Your Curious Story. At the link, you can view the winners of this contest, such as the above "The Girl in the Swing" by British student Frankie Lilley.

Link via Dude Craft | Artist's Gallery

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Turkey's Cotton Castle

Pamukkale, which means "cotton castle" in Turkish, is a geological wonder in southwestern Turkey. In the second century B.C.E., the Hellenistic rulers of Pegamon built a spa at the hot springs located in this area. The site, dubbed Hieropolis by the Greeks and Pamukkale by the Turks, has been a tourist attraction ever since. Calcium carbonate deposits have created fascinating shapes and forms, as you can see at the link.

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

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Extremely Narrow Buildings in Japan

Real estate development in densely-populated Japan can be expensive, so some architects have made good use of very narrow lots. Pictured above is one such project in Nagasaki. You can view several other very narrow buildings at the link.

Link via Super Punch | Photo by Flickr user Sergio in Nagasaki used under Creative Commons license

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Extreme Close-Ups of the Human Eye

Suren Manvelyan is a photographer and physics teacher. He's created a series of detailed images of the human eye called "Your Beautiful Eyes":

The 34-year-old from Yerevan, Armenia, explains: 'It is quite natural when you shoot macro shots of insects and plants, but to try to make a picture of the eye? I did not expect these results.

'I was not aware they are of such complicated appearance. Everyday we see hundreds of eyes but do not even suspect they have such beautiful structure, like surfaces of unknown planets.'

Link via Nerdcore | Photo by Suren Manvelyan used under Creative Commons license

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Tim Liddy's Board Game Paintings

That's not a photograph of an old Battleship set, but a painting. St. Louis-based artist Tim Liddy makes strikingly realistic 1:1 scale depictions of old board games on sheets of copper. Jeffrey Hughes writes:

Based on the illustrated box lids of board games, Liddy has developed a subject that like Wittgenstein's assertion that language games point to the rule governed character of language, these games are reminders of the rules of life.

Link via Dude Craft

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Why Are the Western Ends of Cities Generally Wealthier than the Eastern Ends of Cities?

Dan Zambonini alleges that cities in the northern hemisphere tend to have poorer eastern rather than western sides. He then suggests that this is because wealthier people could afford to be upwind of air pollution:

Many older cities rapidly expanded during the Industrial Revolution, as workers flocked to the urban centers. As the towns and cities expanded, the residential areas for the workers tended to be in the east, with the middle and upper-classes in the west.

The reason for this is that in much of the northern hemisphere, the prevailing winds are westerlies – blowing from west to east. The massive, unchecked pollution from these early industries would therefore drift eastward, making the air quality much lower in the east end of cities, lowering the desirability (and price) of the housing. Middle classes preferred the cleaner west ends.

The issue was probably even pre-Industrial Revolution, as smoke from personal chimneys would still have caused problems to the east.

Link via Marginal Revolution | Photo by Flickr user otodo used under Creative Commons license

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You Could Fit a Skyscraper inside the World's Largest Cave

Hang Ken, a cave rediscovered in Vietnam last year, may be the largest in the world:

Surrounded by jungle and used in the Vietnam war as a hideout from American bombardments, it is so large that it could hold a block of 40-storey skyscrapers. Its entrance was only rediscovered last year.

The photograph was taken by a British expedition returning to the rugged Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park near the border with Laos.

The cave, lit from above through a skylight, is one of a network of some 150 connected caverns, many still not surveyed, in the Annamite mountains.

Story Link and Slideshow via Super Punch | Photo: National Geographic/Carsten Peter

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Burger King Creates Brussels Sprouts Burger

For a limited time, Burger King restaurants in Britain are offering Whoppers that come with Brussels sprouts. They vegetables are ground into a paste, mixed with Emmentaler cheese, and formed into a patty.

Link via Geekosystem | Photo: Burger King

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Enormous Dialect Map of North America

Rich Aschmann, a linguist, created a huge map of North America describing the boundaries and differences between various dialects of the English language. Keep scrolling down at the link, and you can find Aschmann's extensive listing of audio examples of many of these dialects.

Link via The Agitator

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High-Heeled Feet

deviantART user Hallincogenius made a pair of feet that look like high-heeled shoes. They're sculpted from raku clay and glazed.


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Scenes Cut from Paperback Covers

Artist Thomas Allen cuts images from book covers to create 3D scenes:

With simple lightning and the use of simple tools (i.e., scissors and razor-sharp knives), figures are cut out, bent and juxtapose in ways that present the tension and dynamics of staged drama.

Link via J-Walk Blog | Photo: Thomas Barry Fine Arts

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The Last Mud Horse Fisherman

A mud horse is a wooden sledge that is pushed by a fisherman across tidal flats. Adrian Sellick of Bridgewater Bay, UK, may be the last man in the world skilled in this fishing technique:

Mr Sellick was first taken out on a mud-horse with his father when he was just six-years-old, and he remembers watching him and trying to learn the technique.

The mud-horse itself is a hand-built wooden sledge which enables fishermen to navigate his way over the treacherous mudflats of Bridgwater Bay, where the technique was used by many families only a couple of generations ago.

This then allows him to slide to the tide's edge, where stakes are battered into the mud and nets strung between them.

After the tide comes in and the waters withdraw, the fish and shrimps appear. The fish will likely be cod and whiting in the winter; skate and sea bass in the summer.

Link | Photo: SWNS

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Pool Played with Bowling Balls

Steve Wienecke of Fredericktown, Missouri invented a game that he calls "Knokkers". It's similar to pool, but played on a surface scaled four times larger than a regulation pool table and with six-pound bowling balls. Wienecke hopes to one day see Knokkers platforms on cruise ships and in amusement parks and restaurants.

Link and Facebook Page via Brian J. Noggle | Photo: Rural Missouri Co-op

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Would The Wonder Years Be a Good Video Game?

(Video Link)

In this video, Dan Meth imagines 80s-era Nintendo games based on the Chernobyl disaster, the movie Rain Man, The Arsenio Hall Show, and other icons of the 1980s. If you have any cheat codes for the Baby Jessica Well Rescue, please let me know.

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Profile for John Farrier

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