John Farrier's Blog Posts

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"Wacky Pack" Shoes Update Shoe-Tying Technology

Tying shoes is sooo last century. We can do better. Thanks to shoe designer Jeff Shen, we have. His Wacky Pack line explores novel if not revolutionary ways of attaching shoes to your feet, including drawstrings, zippers, and top straps that snap on and off.

A suggestion for Mr. Shen: make shoes that attach with proprietary screws, like a slightly off-size Torx. Include a single matching wrench with each pair of shoes.


12-Year Old Invents Teddy Bear that Hides IV Bags

When she was 7 years old, Ella Casano was diagnosed with Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura, an autoimmune disorder. Her treatments require regular IV infusions. To a child of her age, the IV equipment was scary. So she invented a way to make it friendlier to children like her.

It's called Medi Teddy. This plush bear hangs on a standard IV pole in front of an IV bag, blocking it from sight. CNN talked to Ella's mother about her daughter's invention:

"So, she cut up a stuffed animal and used a hot glue gun and made her very first Medi Teddy," Casano said.
Seeing how delighted the nurses were with the idea, Ella and her mother started the process to patent, manufacture and distribute the invention they named Medi Teddy. [///]
The back side of the pouch is made of mesh so that nurses and doctors can see the status of the medicine the patient is receiving. Ella made several prototypes and gave them to her nurses to use for feedback on how to make it better.

-via Dave Reaboi | Photo: Medi Teddy


How to Make Carrot Nets and Chains

In the hands of a master chef, a knife is a precision, almost surgical instrument. How many years does it take to perfect this skill? It looks simple to turn a carrot into a finely cut net, but only because of what must have been long, long hours of practice.

There's a lot more than you can do with a carrot. Sushi chef Davy Deveaux applies his skills to carrots, turning them into "gangster chain" garnishes.

-via Nag on the Lake


Let's Visit the Menstruation Theme Park

Cartoonist Gemma Corell images a period-themed theme park. Although she's been kicking around the idea of a Menstrual Sponge Bob for years, it's only now that she's fleshed her idea out into what would clearly be a popular amusement park. Check out the attractions, rides, and snacks at The Lily.


27 Neat Conveniences of Japan

Juliane Loeffler of BuzzFeed visited Japan and saw clever inventions, gadgets, and amenities that she encountered. Some of them you probably already know about, such as Japan's futuristic toilets. Others are simpler, such as this baby seat inside a toilet stall. Where are you going to put your baby while using the toilet? There's a better place than the floor in this stall.

Of all the countries in the world, Japan is number one on my wish list to visit. It seems almost like a fabled wonderland. Even if the reality differs greatly from the photos and stories, I'd love to see what is there.


The Smart Light Bulb Is Apparently Real and Hilariously Preposterous

I've dug around and determined that the C by GE Smart Light Bulb is not an elaborate hoax. This video is apparently real. If it isn't, then GE is playing a long con.

How many early adopters does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but it takes a long, long time to do it and requires a complex procedure that must be conducted precisely.

C by GE Smart Light Bulbs are a General Electric product that, unlike conventional light bulbs that normal and sane people would use, can be controlled by smartphones, Bluetooth, and Alexa. My lamps have switches on them that permit me to turn them on and off, but that's apparently insufficient in modern times.

Would you like to reset your smart bulbs? Then follow these instructions. You will need a timer and more patience than I have.

Ready? Okay. First update your firmware (light bulbs now come with firmware) to version 2.7. Then:

OFF (minimum 5 seconds)
ON (8 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs) – yes, two seconds, not eight
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
OFF (2 secs)
ON (8 secs) – again
OFF (2 secs)
Wait for the three flashes

-via Dave Barry


Generic Genre Novels

Weird Universe informs us that, in 1981, Jove Publishing produced a line of four generic genre novels. They sold for a $1.50 each. They were called "No-Frills Books." These are short, anonymous works that cover all of the basic tropes in each genre.

This was during a time when black and white labeled generic products were common in American grocery stores. I suspect but cannot confirm that the No-Frills Books reflected this marketing trend.

So I ordered a copy of Science Fiction through interlibrary loan. Let's look inside, shall we?

Continue reading


Artist Sculpts the Injuries of Tom from "Tom and Jerry"

The relationship between Tom and Jerry was more complex than of, say, Sylvester Cat and Tweety Bird. Tom was not always a ruthless cat hunting a friendly Jerry. Just as often, Jerry bullied Tom, who was simply living a peaceful feline life.

Nonetheless, Tom almost always lost his battles, often suffering brutal injuries in the process. Japanese artist Taku Inoue sculpts the results, which you can find on his Twitter feed.

-via BoingBoing


This Norwegian Island Wants to Abolish Time

Sommarøy is a tiny island in northern Norway. The name means "summer island" because during the Arctic summer, there's daylight 24 hours a day. During the winter, there's no daylight at all. During these periods, time is more of an arbitrary suggestion than an experienced reality. So the inhabitants are thinking of scrapping the concept entirely. KTVU2 News reports:

On June 13, islanders signed a petition for a time-free zone during a town hall meeting. Hveding then met with a member of the Parliament to hand over the signatures and to discuss the practical and legal challenges of becoming the world’s first time-free zone, according to a statement. 
“To many of us, getting this in writing would simply mean formalizing something we have been practicing for generations: that is, time-free living,” says Hveding. “There’s constantly daylight, and we act accordingly.”

This makes sense. As the sage Ford Prefect said in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

-via Oddity Central

Images: Google Maps and Sommarøy Arctic Hotel Tromsø, respectively.


These Are Kelvin-Helmholtz Clouds

When Amy Hunter photographed this amazing cloud formation at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, she had no idea what was happening:

My jaw dropped! [...] "I'd better grab my camera," said Amy when she saw these clouds. "I’ve been watching cloud formations over Smith Mountain for 18 years and I've never seen one like this."

What causes these clouds? Meteorologist Tim Buckley of WFMY2 News says that they're called a Kelvin-Helmholtz formation. Here's how they form:

There's a reason they look like breaking waves in the ocean. After wind blows up and over a barrier, like a mountain, the air continues flowing through the atmosphere in a wavelike pattern. This swirling, turbulent air flow can give the clouds the appearance you see in Amy's picture. When there are two layers of air moving at different speeds you can occasionally get clouds that look like this.

-via Marilyn Terrell


Rescued Just in Time

Two German tourists in Spluegen, Grisons, Switzerland were sleeping in their van when flash floodwaters suddenly swamped them. By coincidence, a crane was nearby. Rescue workers used it to pull the two men to safety. Metro reports:

Police spokesman Roman Ruegg said: ‘The water mass nibbled away the parking spot until the entire edge crumbled away.’ At around 6am, the Volkswagen was dragged away by the water, waking up the passengers. [...]
Ruegg said: ‘The men were in shock. They survived the incident unharmed, but suffered from symptoms of hypothermia.’


Photo: Graubuenden Police


An Automatic Hair Washing Machine

Washing my hair every day is a chore that I'd rather do without. It would be better to automate the process. Thankfully, the Chinese inventor who goes by the name "Useless Edison" is here to make daily life more convenient.

Lie down on his hair washing machine, which will invert you and lower your head into a bucket of water. You can breathe through a tube that runs out of the bucket.

[You might want to clip your nose and put the tube in your mouth before lying down. Just FYI.]

An agitator then swirls water around your locks. The water drains and air blowers dry you off.

The result is a simple, efficient process for washing your hair--one that will no doubt shave several minutes off your morning routine, as well as permitting you to devote your attention to other tasks while the machine takes care of your hair.

-via Dave Barry


The Brilliant but Unnecessary Inventions of Matt Benedetto

It's a simple horn mounted on a belt that you can press during those horrible moments when you're stuck behind a slow walker.

My default walking speed is, apparently, much faster than most people So this is an invention I desperately need. Thanks to redditor rightcoastguy, it's a reality. He calls it the Frustration Button.

And it's far from his only brilliant innovation to improve the human condition . . . .

Continue reading


Lost Dog Returns Home with New Friends: Another Dog and a Goat

Last January, Kyle Krier's dog, Bo, vanished from his home in rural Kansas. Krier got in his truck and drove around in search for Bo, a black Labrador Retriever. Six miles away, Krier located Bo, who had made two new friends.

Krier invited all three to get into his truck. They're a big happy family now.

-via Super Punch


I Made This Violet Evergarden Stained Glass Clock

The anime series Violet Evergarden is an extraordinary story of loss, grief, and healing. It captivated me from the first time I watched the first episode. It's also the inspiration of a crafting project which has taken a year to complete.

This clock measures about 35 inches across and contains about 70 individual pieces of stained glass soldered with 60/40 tin/lead solder and washed with a copper patina. That glass panel is framed with zinc came shaped with a came bending jig, a mechanically simple but horrifying difficult tool to use. The panel is then encased in a plywood frame consisting of two concentric circles.

I painted the clock to frame to match the color of Violet's brooch which, of course, reflects the eye color of her beloved Major Gilbert. The blue of the vinyl numbers and the painted clock hands reflects the blue of Violet's eyes. They are intertwined lovers and colors.

Here is the image that served as the basis for my pattern. I think that it's one of the official wallpapers for the series.

One of the unique challenges of this project was finding a way to hold the shaft of the clock to the center of the glass. The glass alone was not thick enough for the job, nor could I shape it with the precision necessary to anchor the clock shaft.

So I designed in Tinkercad an object that clamps onto both sides and between two pieces of glass and provide just enough room for shaft to snugly stay in place. The sides are oval-shaped so that I could cut into the pieces of glass matching spaces with my glass grinder. I then printed the object on a Prusa i3 3D printer.

Violet Evergarden, which is available on Netflix, is a wonderful story for the ages. To me, making fan art means connecting to and expanding the stories that speak to the human experience.

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Profile for John Farrier

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