John Farrier's Blog Posts

The Gastronauts: A Club for People Who Eat Really Weird Things

I love to try unusual types of meat -- alligators, frogs, ostriches and more -- so this is totally the club for me. The Gastronauts is an organization in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. that brings people together to eat weird items:

At their last gathering in New York they ate balut, which is a Philippine snack of boiled fertilised duck egg.

''There's a reason why people eat this stuff,'' Calleo said. ''In many cases, cultures have had hundreds of years to make the food palatable or even exquisite.''

While no one is forced to eat anything, he said the goal is to ''try to try'', which reflects the group's spirit of culinary adventure. [...]

At the October Gastronauts dinner at a Yemeni restaurant Bab Al Yemen in New York, Nicole Murray, an assistant editor at an education company, extracted a piece of eyeball from a cooked lamb skull and brought it toward her mouth as those seated around her cheered.

''It's kind of jelly-like,'' she said, during her first Gastronauts dinner.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?

Link | Official Website | Photo: Gastronauts

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Featured Designs from the NeatoShop:

Steel Mill Turned into a Public Park

The architects at AllesWirdGut Architektur took an old steel mill in Luxembourg and converted it into a public park while leaving some of the original infrastructure in place. The results have a lovely Brutalist feel.

I know: a lot of people despise Brutalism. But it's an acquired taste that I've acquired. You can see eight pictures of the park at the link. I especially like this clever bench design -- perfect for enjoying the outdoors while staying out of the rain.

Link -via Colossal | Photo: Roger Wagner

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Man with "I'm a Drunk" T-Shirt Arrested for Drunk Driving after Ramming Police Car

So do you get drunk in order to fulfill the message on your t-shirt, or do you put on the t-shirt because you plan to get drunk?

A man wearing a t-shirt reading "I'm A Drunk" crashed into a police car early Thursday on Long Island and is being charged with driving while intoxicated, police said. [...]

The entire message on his t-shirt reads "I'm Not An Alcoholic, I'm A Drunk. Alcoholics Go to Meetings."

There are so many different crimes that people can commit. Surely there is a market for a t-shirt for each one!

Link -via Dave Barry | Photo: Flickr user Dan4th

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Jim Henson's The Lord of the Rings

To think that if only Henson had not died in 1990, this movie might exist. Draw R2D2, a site that invites artists to mash up two pop culture themes for a fortnight, selected the Muppets and The Lord of the Rings as source material. There's one particularly striking one at the link by Will Robertson which shows Fozzie Bear as a brave and determined Samwise.

Link -via Nerd Bastards

Previously: LOTR Re-Enacted by Muppets

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The Cat and His Boy

(Video Link)

There can be awkward moments when you're a house guest. But it gets really uncomfortable when you realize that one of the people who lives in the house is a weirdo, as this ad for the Shelter Pet Project illustrates.

Organization Website -via reddit

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Robotic Teddy Bear Smacks You When You Snore

Robotic bears are kind of a thing in Japan. This one is called Jukusui-kun, which means "deep sleep." You lie on top of it while sleeping. If you start to snore, it'll brush you across the face with its paw (claws are optional) to suggest that you stop. Watch a video of it in action at the link.

Link -via Popular Science

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On Next Week's Episode....

I only watched the first couple of episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic before getting bored and moving on. Is this what I've been missing? Why didn't you Bronies tell me the show got this awesome?!

Link -via blastr | Image: Royce Southerland

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Man Gets Dumped by Girlfriend, So He Sells the Engagement Ring and Buys Halo Armor

In retrospect, Eric Smith should have just bought the Halo armor directly:

Her ring wasn’t perfect. After being reshaped, the white gold band was smudged and uneven. The diamond, instead of a traditional, glittering transparent gem, was a canary yellow, her favorite color. She’d spoken at length about her dream engagement ring, how she wanted the diamond to be this specific, light shade of yellow. It looked blemished, yes, but that’s how she wanted it. And that’s how she was, really. Imperfect but still seemingly perfect.

It was the imperfect/perfect wedding ring -- a grand, romantic gesture. So, naturally, she broke up with him. Smith wanted to be rid of the ring, so he sold it on eBay. But the money remained in his PayPal account, a nagging reminder of this agonizing experience. He knew that he needed to get rid of the money in a meaningful way. A Master Chief armor set was, of course, that way:

I’d wanted the suit for so long, and after such epic heartbreak, receiving each piece of armor—arriving in seven shipments, over the course of eight months—became an unintentionally cathartic process. As the shoulders, forearms, chest-piece, and helmet arrived slowly, one section at a time… well, with each part I got a small piece of myself back.

Link -via Geekosystem

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Steampunk Car Door with Irising Window

(Video Link)

This is so much cooler than gull-wing doors. The art collective Five Ton Crane built an art car inspired by the Nautilus from Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. Alan Rorie made the RFID-controlled car door. It opens by waving a fob in front of a sensor. The window in the door with has a cover that irises with the flip of a lever.

Link -via Make

Previously by Rorie: Raygun Gothic Rocketship

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For 33¢, This Sandwich Seems Like a Bargain

It's noteworthy that the sandwich factory put a lot of effort into cheating customers a small amount.

It seems like a metaphor for so much in life.

Link -via That's Nerdalicious!

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Dress Made from 250 Meters of Hair

In a beauty pageant, every edge helps. Everything feature must be perfect, every strand of hair must stay in place. In this case, that's about two hundred pounds worth. This dress is made of a massive quantity of human hair. It was created by Thelma Madine and Ryan Edwards for the Alternative Miss Liverpool competition this past weekend in Liverpool, UK.

Link -via Oddity Central | Photo: Voodou

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Doctor Who as a Police Procedural Show

(Video Link)

CSI: Gallifrey is a fine show, except that the Doctor is so brilliant that the episodes are a bit short. On the upside: the Tenth Doctor's personality is far less annoying than that of Horatio Crane.

-via Nerd Bastards

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Did You Break That Table?

It's okay. Those tables came that way. French designer Suzy Lelièvre has a gift for adding fluidity to solid objects. This piece is entitled "Contortions, Shocked Tables."

Link | Designer's Website (Google Translate) | Photo: Veronique Huyghe, ENSCI

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Turning Human Ashes into Beads

South Korea is a densely-populated nation, and so has diminishing room for appropriate places to bury the dead. A law passed a decade ago even requires people to exhume loved ones within sixty years of burial. Cremation has thus become increasingly popular, and one company has responded to this change by offering to turn human ashes into small crystal beads:

Bonhyang founder and CEO Bae Jae-yul says the beads allow people to keep their relatives close to them, wherever they go. He also says stored ashes can rot, a claim denied by crematoriums. "Our beads are clean; they don't become moldy and don't go off and smell bad," he says.

Bae uses ultrahigh temperature to melt cremated ashes until they are crystalized and can be turned into beads in a 90-minute process. The colors are mostly blue-green but sometimes pink, purple and black.

The ashes of one person can produce four to five cups of beads, Bae says, although the ashes of young people have a higher bone density that can yield up to eight cups of beads.

Link -via Oddity Central| Photo: AP/Ahn Young-joon

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Another Day at the Ringwraith Office

(Video Link)

Sauron has high expectations of us, and this new guy isn't helping our billable hours. Yeah, he's got some innovative ideas, but he isn't a team player. It may be time to call in an outside trainer for some community-building activities. I know a guy at Greenstorm Films -- you know, the people behind the Dora the Explorer spoof -- who can help.

-via The Mary Sue

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Pumpkin Pie Donut

I've long dreamed of eating a donut stuffed with sweetened peanut butter. But this concoction by the California donut shop chain Psycho Donuts may top that. It's filled with pumpkin pie and capped with maple flavoring and crushed graham crackers.

What new donut design would you create, if given the chance?

Official Website -via That's Nerdalicious!

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TARDIS Refrigerator Is Remarkably Roomy

But you should anticipate that strange people will try to crawl inside at times. Time Lords and their companions are annoying that way.

Link -via Nerd Bastards

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The Crew of the Enterprise Watch Star Wars

(Video Link)

The bridge officers on the Enterprise-D encounter strange sensor readings. What is that huge sphere? How should they respond? Who shot first, Han or Greedo?

-via Fanboy

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"Despite what the fashion industry says, manufacturing a suit of feral raccoons is not overly complicated."

I've long suspected this to be true, but Kara Crabb's successful experiment has only confirmed it. "As the old saying goes, the best way to get raccoons to swarm over your body is to think like a raccoon." We know that raccoons are highly motivated by food, so she baited them with food duct-taped to her body. She was successful. And now, thanks to her work, you know that you can be, too.

Link -via American Digest | Photo: Kara-Lis Coverdale and Rose Athena

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Bruce Wayne's Medical Report

Bruce Wayne has a lot of accidents. Why is that? Dr. Russell Saunders's comprehensive medical report offers clues, but no definitive answers. A sample:

By far the greatest contributor to patient’s ongoing morbidity are his multiple and seemingly ceaseless musculoskeletal injuries. The most significant of these was sustained several years ago, when he was rushed to GCGH with several fractures of his lumbar vertebrae, reportedly after falling while rappelling. Skeletal series obtained at that time revealed numerous (>20) areas of orthopedic injury in various states of healing, which could not be fully explained by recent fall, including areas of all extremities and many ribs; confirmatory bone scan similarly showed many areas of increased uptake. Patient’s robust stature is not consistent with osteogenesis imperfecta, and skin biopsy was negative for abnormal collagen and P3H1 or CRTAP genetic defects. Malignancy was suspected, but eventually ruled out following oncology consultation. Patient explained most of these (and most subsequent) injuries as being the result of membership in a private and apparently quite intense mixed martial arts club. Patient has denied being the victim of domestic abuse by Mr. Grayson following indirect and direct questioning on numerous occasions.

Link -via Glenn Reynolds| Image: deviantART user ErikVonLehmann

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US Army Wants a Paintball Gun That Can Detect IEDs

The US Army wants a means of determining if mysterious objects may be improvised bombs. Specifically, they want to be able to fire a chemical pellet at an object and tell from the color of the splatter if the object is an explosive:

The system would work by loading up projectiles with materials that advertise the presence of explosives — sort of like a litmus test for bombs — and firing them at the suspected bombs. Picture paintballing, but with a target that might really kill you. [...]

The paintball idea is comparatively low-tech. The Army notes that the technology to detect explosives with paints and powders is already a commercial reality. They point to Raptor Detection Technology’s SAFE-T Spray, which turns orange on contact with certain explosives, as an example.

Link -via GearFuse | Photo: Flickr user VisitLakeland

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Meat Justin Bieber

A true artist conceives of projects never before contemplated by ordinary men and women. Flickr user Tizerone ID is such an artist.

Link -via Blame It on the Voices

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Snowmen vs. Gnomes Knitted Battlescape

Inspired by the drama and majesty of the Bayeux Tapestry, Anna Hrachovec created an enormous, sprawling battlescape showing the savage war fought between snowmen and gnomes for control of Mochimochi Land. The panel-by-panel story presented in it is hilarious.

Gallery and Exhibit Website -via Craft

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The Moses Bridge

"And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." This eye-catching installation called the Moses Bridge lets you cross the moat of a Seventeenth Century Dutch fort beneath the water level. From a distance, it can't be seen, so people walking on it appear to be moving through the water.

Link -via My Modern Met | Official Website | Photo: RO & AD Architects

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Waterfall, Moonbow, and Aurora All in One Picture

Stephanie Vetter captured this amazing photograph of the Skógafoss waterfall in Iceland. The rainbow is caused not by sunlight, but the illumination of a nearly full moon against the backdrop of the Northern Lights.

Link | Photographer's Website

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Near Collision Between Two Oil Tankers

The port of Singapore is very busy and maritime traffic there is only increasing. The number of oil, gas, and chemical tankers alone has risen by 5.8% in just the past month. Ron Wheeler snapped this picture of a near collision between two oil tankers in the crowded port. You can view three more in the sequence at the link.

Link -via Jalopnik | Photo: Ron Wheeler

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Millennium Falcon Apple Pie

You ate that thing? You're hungier than I thought. Amy Radcliffe made an apple pie in the shape of the Millennium Falcon. Much like the ship itself, the project required clever modifications to the original pie pan design. You can read her step-by-step instructions at the link.

Link -via Bit Rebels

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Cotton Candy Lemonade

Creative bartenders have lately been mixing cotton candy into cocktails for a pretty presentation as well as a sweet flavor. The blogger behind Nom Nom Cupcake discovered that it mixes well with lemonade for a sweet summer treat.

Link -via Tasteologie

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World's Most Expensive Tea Made with Panda Poop

An Yashi, a professor at Sinchuan University in China, has produced tea which is fertilized with panda droppings. At $80,000 per kilogram, it'll be the most expensive tea in the world when it reaches the market. Yashi claims that it's worth the price because of special health benefits:

"Pandas have a very poor digestive system and only absorb about 30 percent of everything they eat. That means their excrement is rich in fibres and nutrients," he told Chinese website

"It has a mature, nutty taste and a very distinctive aroma while it's brewing."

He also believes there are serious health benefits to the drink.

"Just like green tea, bamboo contains an element that can prevent cancer, and enhance green tea's anti-cancer effects, if it is used as fertilizer for the tea," the professor said

Link -via Born Rich | Photo: Flickr user Danforth1

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11 Facts You Might Not Know about Battlestar Galactica

In 1978, Glen A. Larson launched his ambitious space saga Battlestar Galactica. It was a grand story of a clash of civilizations and battle for survival. But its ratings could not justify its enormous production expense, and the show folded. A brief return in 1980 offered hope, but that came to nothing. For a generation, Battlestar Galactica fans lobbied for a revival and their efforts finally came to fruition in a re-imagined version of the show in a 2003 miniseries, followed by four seasons of storytelling. Here are eleven facts that you might not know about that latter series.


1. Laura Roslin’s swearing-in ceremony as the President of the Twelve Colonies was modeled after that of Lyndon Johnson onboard Air Force One after the assassination of President Kennedy.

2. Grace Park initially auditioned for role of Dualla. She was turned down, but told by directors to audition for the role of Starbuck. She did so, but was instead offered the role of Boomer.

3. At 22, Katee Sackoff was much younger than what the directors had in mind for Starbuck, but she aced the audition and was given the role. The decision to make Starbuck a woman although the original Starbuck had been a man was deeply controversial among BSG fans. Dirk Benedict, the actor who played Starbuck in the 1978 series, strongly and repeatedly objected to this change. But eventually he and Sackoff came to an understanding that allowed them to work together.

4. Sackoff has a tattoo of the Latin words bona fiscalia, which means "public property." It’s a reminder to her that she is a role model to people and that this entails a high responsibility.

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Profile for John Farrier

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