John Farrier's Blog Posts

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Adorable Baby Elephant Tries to Hide Behind Light Pole

The Indian Express reports that this baby elephant in Chang Mai, Thailand snuck out of bed during the night to snack on sugarcane. When caught by humans passing by, he tried his best to conceal himself. The only concealment he could find was a light pole. It failed to hide him from millions of charmed humans on the internet.

-via The Mary Sue | Photo: วีรวัฒน์ พรหมเมือง


Humans Exist to Serve

(They Can Talk/Jimmy Craig)

Fluffy has forgotten why he and Charlie got a human in the first place: to work for them. The human should not be engaging in personal business while on the clock. If she is venturing into the kitchen to do something other than feed the cats, it should be addressed during the next performance review.


A Booming Industry During the Pandemic: Pet Delivery Services

Pictured above is a Bernadoodle: a cross between a female Bernese Mountain Dog and a male Miniature Poodle. Sue Murphy recently delivered one from Colorado to a happy family in Boston. She's a professional pet deliverer. Murphy has been very busy during the pandemic at the behest people who want puppies, but don't want to risk traveling for them. For a price, Murphy takes the COVID-19 risks for them. The Wall Street Journal (sorry, it's a paywalled article) describes the work of these pet deliverers, including one named Lori Sheder:

"People were like contacting me almost every day," says Ms. Sheder. "I felt bad because I couldn't accommodate them."
She restarted service again this month, delivering a tea-cup Yorkshire terrier to LaGuardia. She works for the school board during the week and escorts puppies on the weekends.
Some flight nannies are former airline employees, who still get discounted airfares that help make the margins work out, according to Shane Hallman of Samantha, Ala.
Mr. Hallman, 44, got into the business after a battle with cancer, a truck accident that left him with 23 fractures and a divorce. Now he owns an 11-person operation delivering puppies–some by air, most by ground–for Crockett Doodles, a large breeder based in Greenville, S.C.

Although some pet deliveries come by air, others operate by ground. They often travel continuously from dog site to dog site:

Troy Nichols, co-owner of pet-delivery company in Micanopy, Fla., set out on a Saturday this month with an Italian greyhound in the back of his Dodge Grand Caravan, drove to Norman, Okla., and picked up an English bulldog puppy.
Then Mr. Nichols, 53, and his back-up driver shot south to Orange Grove, Texas, where he collected four Great Dane puppies before dropping the bulldog off with an excited family in Corpus Christi. A couple of Rottweiler pups were ready for him in Houston, as was a customer in Winnsboro, Texas, waiting on one of the Great Danes.
From there it was north to Kenefic, Okla., to get five mini Australian shepherds–four of them puppies–and to Elmore City, Okla., where a man surprised his kids with the Rottweiler babies.

-via Marginal Revolution | Photo: Pixabay


Pizza Rat: The Live Performance Art


Pizza Rat was (and maybe still is) a famous rat in New York City that was recorded dragging a slice of pizza down a flight of stairs in a subway station.

That was five years ago--a more innocent time. Jonothon Lyons, a theater professional, lifts our spirits by dressing up as Pizza Rat and dragging an enormous slice of fabric pizza around New York City. You can see Lyons's videos on his YouTube channel.

In an interview with Hyperallergic, Lyons describes the reactions that he encounters when he performs:

H: What’s your experience been like as a rat on the subway? What kind of reactions are you getting from people?
JL: People react with either joy, fear, or radical indifference. I’m just out there to have fun and make people smile, and I like that it’s a little mischievous, there’s definitely a little bit of a prankster going on, but I’m not there to aggravate anybody or get in anybody’s way. For the most part, people are really seeming to enjoy it. New York City is the world’s capital of live performance, and our doors have been shuttered since March, so we haven’t seen any theater — everything’s been virtual. I think this is having such a big response because I brought something out into the streets and into the subways that we only usually get to see up on a stage.

My favorite reaction is that of the man on the stairs in the above video. He nopes out of the encounter and walks away without giving Lyons another thought. This is New York: a man dressed as a rat dragging a pizza isn't even the weirdest thing he's seen that day.

-via Nag on the Lake


518 Jenga Blocks Stacked on Just 1

Jenga master /u/lamei walks away with the title of greatest Jenga warrior of all time. S/he stacked a fitting throne on top of this perfect assembly of 518 blocks.

The subreddit that hosts this masterpiece is the home of many other extraordinary works of Jenga engineering that seem to defy gravity. Take a few minutes to browse it and stare in wonder.

-via Technabob


The Ouroboros Steak Is Meat Grown from Your Own Cells

What do you taste like? You can find out by eating the Ouroboros Steak, which is a project by scientists and artists in US. After you take a cheek swab to collect cells, lab technicians use expired human blood to grow cell structures from your sample, creating meat that is, genetically, you. It's appropriately named after the ouroboros, a mythical snake that eats its own tail. Dezeen talked with designer Grace Knight and researcher Orkan Telhan about the project:

"Expired human blood is a waste material in the medical system and is cheaper and more sustainable than FBS, but culturally less-accepted. People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not," said Knight.
"Our design is scientifically and economically feasible but also ironic in many ways," Telhan added.
"We are not promoting 'eating ourselves' as a realistic solution that will fix humans' protein needs. We rather ask a question: what would be the sacrifices we need to make to be able to keep consuming meat at the pace that we are? In the future, who will be able to afford animal meat and who may have no other option than culturing meat from themselves?"

The DIY kit is not yet on the market and will probably be expensive. So perhaps it would be best saved for special occasions, such as birthday parties or anniversaries.

-via Dave Barry | Photo: Dezeen


Driverless KFC Food Trucks

SoyaCincau reports that Kentucky Fried Chicken has deployed driverless food trucks in Shanghai. These autonomous vehicles let people purchase KFC food without having contact with other people, thus reducing the spread of COVID-19:

The unmanned vehicles were spotted in front of a metro station outside the city of Shanghai. From the looks of it, you can place an order on the screen and it accepts payment via QR-code. After payment is made, the door will open for you to collect your order.

Neolix, a Chinese firm that manufactures the trucks, is one of several companies in that nation that are finding commercially viable uses for autonomous vehicles. Forbes reports:

Roads connecting two of western China's biggest cities — -Chengdu and Chongqing — offer good prospects for autonomous vehicle-related companies and technology. The 200-plus kilometer distance between the two is appealing for self-driving trucks given currently available technology, said Lou Yuqiang, a vice president at Suzhou Plusgo Auto Technology. The company supplies integration technology for self-driving trucks. 
Neolix, a supplier of mini delivery vehicles for food sales, patrols and delivery, sees promise in urban areas, particularly Chengdu and Chongqing, says vice president Xu Qiyuan. The company is currently working with global food giants such as KFC and Pizza Hut to provide a “restaurant’ on wheels” service.

-via Super Punch | Photo: @shanghaineko


The Pig Couch and Its Viral Hoax

The Craigslist ad explains that the owner of this couch in New York City bought it with her then-boyfriend, who is now an ex-boyfriend. The new boyfriend hates it, so the couch has to go.

That story is fake. What is real is the couch. Pavia Burroughs, the artist who made the couch in 2011 for a senior thesis, sold the couch years ago. Still, every now and then, she sees a fake ad offering it for sale. This latest ad is apparently one of those fake ads. Burroughs tells Curbed:

“Mind you, I hand-sewed this couch, it was my first foray in upholstering, and I hand-carved his hoof out of walnut — walnut is very hard to carve — and so it went off into the world. Now, every few years, someone posts a fake ad for the couch online,” a state of affairs that Burroughs finds both odd and funny. “I can’t imagine it’s actually been traveling around the country as much as it says it has. I’ve seen it in Tennessee. I think I saw it in California. I see now it’s in New York.” 

-via Dave Barry


Hunky Fishermen Trading Cards

The Amori prefecture of northern Japan would like to draw attention to its vibrant fishing industry, so it published collectible trading cards starring muscle-bound fishermen holding up their catches. The government's goal is to attract more workers to fishing. Spoon & Tamago reports:

The cards have become a huge hit among the local community and beyond with kids trying to collect different cards while also vying for rare cards.
According to one article, the cards are entirely handmade by Noriaki Kimura, a 32-year old government employee who single-handedly goes around asking local fisherman for permission to take their photographs. He then brings the photos back to his office, designs the card, makes prints and then cuts them into trading card sizes.

Perhaps Neatorama should likewise publish and sell trading cards showing shirtless bloggers flexing their muscles.

Photos: Sankei


Dog Thinks The Man Throwing Darts on TV Is Playing Fetch with Him


This viral video of unknown origin shows a dog that is fortunate to not actually be playing fetch with darts. Like any sensible person, he leaves fantasy and reality undifferentiated. Or, perhaps, his televised companion is playing "fake throw", as dog owners are prone to do.

-via Geekologie


Springwater Gushes Out of This Living Tree

It's called the Gushing Water Tree. This mulberry tree in Montenegro has cracks in its trunk. When the area floods with rains, pressure from underground springs forces water up through the cracks and out a hole midway up the trunk.

Radio Free Europe says that the water pressure pushes the water through the roots, but I'm skeptical that roots work that way.

-Twisted Sifter


Facemask Purse

The Pegasus Luggage line offers this new handbag styled like a disposable facemask, complete with a nose clip. Depending on how people react to your fashion choice, it may actually improve your social distancing capabilities.

-via Super Punch


Japanese Engineers Invent Robotic Hand That Simulates Holding Hands with an Actual Girl


What's it like to have a girlfriend? For years, people on the internet have speculated about this hypothetical experience. Japan has long been at the forefront of attempting to simulate this fantasy with advanced technology by creating a kissing machine, a robotic girlfriend, augmented reality girlfriends, virtual reality girlfriends, a hugging coat, and DVDs in which a girl willingly engages you in conversation. Verily, Japan is a land of wonders where romantic encounters of a sort can actually happen to you and me.

Would you like to hold hands with a girl someday? Well, yes, of course, we all would. But let's be realistic: that sort of thing only happens in the movies. For the best alternative experience, we'll need this new hand holding robot. Sora News 24 reports about how responsive it is:

1. The outer covering is made from soft and pliable gel, to recreate “the tenderness of a woman’s hand.”
2. Osampo Kanojo contains an internal pressure sensor, so that when you squeeze its palm, motors activate and the hand squeezes you back.
3. When walking with a girlfriend, your strides may not perfectly mesh for each and every step. To replicate this, the Osampo Kanojo is mounted on a track that runs perpendicular to your wrist. Walk too quickly, and motors will cause it to slide back, creating a rearward tugging sensation on your arm. While this might seem like an inconvenience, it helps create the sensation that you’re walking with someone who’s taking their own steps next to you, and not just carrying a piece of baggage.
4. Osampo Kanojo has an internal heater, so that warmth will radiate out from its palm and fingers.
5. A human hand isn’t dry like a chunk of plastic or mound of rubber. While a hand that’s slick with sweat would be unpleasant, a certain amount of moisture is needed for an organic feeling. To achieve that, a piece of moistened fabric is placed inside Osampo Kanojo, and when the heater is activated, it causes trace amounts of moisture to be secreted through small pores in the outer covering.
6. As discussed above, two people walking hand-in-hand won’t necessarily have identically timed footsteps, so Osampo Kanojo plays the sounds of your virtual girlfriend’s steps through your smartphone’s speaker, along with the sounds of her breathing and the gentle rustle of her clothing.
7. Last, we weren’t kidding when we mentioned that the designers have included something for your sense of smell. The cloth inside Osampo Kanojo is treated with a women’s shampoo fragrance, so that the subtle aroma of freshly washed hair will waft up from it when the cloth is heated.

-via David Burge


Random Street View Takes You on Random Worldwide Adventures

Random Street View is a fun internet toy. When you click on the button marked "Next", the website will take you to a random location visible on Google Street View.


One Twitter user suggests using Random Street View as a game. My first landing was a village in western Ukraine. I think that I'd be happier in Copenhagen.

-via Aaron Starmer


This Pringles Can Is Over 5 Feet Tall

Sora News 24 illustrates what a proper single serving Pringles container really should look like. The Japanese division of the Pringles potato chip brand declared November 11 to b Pringles Day and celebrated by distributing these extremely long cans to selected gourmands. Each one is 5 feet and 3 inches tall, which is the height of Fuwa, the brand's spokeswoman. Perhaps, in the future, you will be able to order Pringles by the Fuwa.

Photo: Sora News 24

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