A pubic hair on a urinal shaped perfectly like a treble clef. The comments on this I've seen fall into two basic camps: a one-in-a-million shot. Or: someone - some freak - spent way too much time before resuming time with friends or acquaintances in the bar. I thought, Hey, maybe he practiced this a lot and just got really good at it? He may have been able to pull it off in a few seconds.
Isn't the Art World wonderful?
Check out a photo of an interesting artist. I'll tell you why I think she's interesting, but first get a good gander at her:
Heather's one of those artists that would make C.P. Snow have a coronary if he had a time machine and we could show him what Heather's been up to: she's a PhD candidate who combines: found detritus on the streets of New York, DNA sequencing, 3-D printing, forensic biology, algorithms, and art, all in a guerrilla ontological way.
Here's how she does it: she finds someone's used coffee cup or chewing gum or fingernail or cigarette butt (or maybe a pubic hair from a urinal?) and extracts enough DNA from the trash discarded by a stranger to sequence it. We have accelerated our abilities to do this so quickly that it's become cheap enough that a biologist-art student, working out of Genspace in Brooklyn, can afford the equipment to do this! Heather then feeds the information from the sequenced DNA into a computer, which has such fancy algorithms available to her that it quickly churns out a 2-D model of the face of the person who threw away the trash.
But wait, there's more: Dewey-Hagborg then uses the 3-D printer and creates a life-sized mask of the person...turning it into "art" and...well, just really making us think a whole hell of a lot about the implications of this. I think it's astounding stuff. Get a load of these "masks." Note the inclusion of the "self-portrait." She calls herself an information artist who's interested in art as research. Just imagine: you throw away a coffee cup in NY; you just had to have your latte, being from out of town and jet-lagged to boot. You walk on and don't give it the slightest thought. Heather finds it and ends up making a replica mask of your face, and hangs it on a wall. She's trying to make us think. It works for me: I've been thinking a lot about her work...
The DIY-Biology movement is shaping up to bring us all sorts of surprises, no doubt.
For more on her, Slate did a piece not long ago. (NB the title?)
That reminds me: have you heard of 23 And Me? Here's a video:
Now: genetics is NOT destiny (except in a few relatively rare cases), but this is cheap and promises all sorts of information about your risk factors (so you and your doctors can possibly avert unpleasantness), and your ancestors, which is, I think the thing that will begin to make this more and more popular. It also opens up a Pandora's Box: now that you know you have a substantial risk of getting a disease of which there is no known cure on the horizon, are you still glad you know? Do you have some sort of moral obligation to find out about what's lurking inside you, including who your relatives are? Etcetera! Whoa...(Already there are many stories of people who found out that the sibling they grew up with was really their cousin or uncle, or they aren't related, or mom probably had a tryst with the FedEx guy while dad was at work, etc.)
Returning to Heather Dewey-Hagborg, the Supreme Court, this week voted 5-4 that police can take a cheek swab/extract your DNA even if you've only been suspected of a crime! In other words, says the Court, no, that is not a violation of the 4th Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure and personal privacy. What world do the five Judges live in? This was astonishing to me, but on another level, it figures. This is a court that also ruled, again 5-4, that cops can strip search anyone, even for minor offenses like traffic stops or failure to leash a dog. In the you-haven't-been convicted-but-we're-taking-your-DNA-anyway case, Sotomayor worried that the State was overextending itself, and Scalia - who I find extremely offensive, personally - basically agreed with Sotomayor. Vociferously. But Alito saw DNA as the "fingerprints of the 21st century," and didn't have a problem. Notably, Scalia voted against the cops strip-searching for trivial offenses. He does seem to be for some personal privacy, but especially the personal privacy of corporations to do what they want.
I plan to write Heather Dewey-Hagborg and ask her if she can see if she can get hold of Alito's DNA and make a mask of him so I can throw darts at it, while sipping double IPAs, in time for next Halloween.
Meanwhile, sorry for ruining anyone's buzz, but the very real and growing danger of not only identity theft, but genome theft, is a thing now.
To recap our Top Story tonight: an atheist father sees Jesus in mold behind his fridge, then wipes it out with some disinfectant, while another guy either found or made a perfect treble clef from a pubic hair on a urinal. This led to a brilliant artist-scientist who really makes us think about what can be done with our own discarded waste, little intimate shards of our unique informational makeups we haphazardly leave all over the world, which led us to ponder whether we should spend $100 to find out detailed information about what diseases we might get and where our ancestors actually came from. This logically led to The State being able to strip search us and take our DNA for any reason, really. And we learned that our genomes can be stolen by others, besides the cops.
Beautiful weather here in the Bay Area with a hot weekend up ahead. You literally have 17 billion blogs to choose from, so thanks for making the OG one of your sources for the latest-breaking weirdo news.
Good night, and good luck because we're all gonna need it.