I have a Shelf of Oddities (yes, I capitalize it in my head) that contains a toy bust of a Black Barbie, a miniature black Frank Kozik Gipper Bust, a School House Rock soundtrack, a vintage Franc, a chunk of pyrite, a bag of semi-precious rocks (mostly also pyrite), a paper knife, the rubber-band detritus of having performed Lygia Clark’s “Estruturas Vivas,” pieces of a broken sonic screwdriver toy that held someone’s weed before I scavenged it from their garbage, a six-sided die that has no 1 or 6 but two 2’s and two 3’s, a small vial of gallium (a metal that melts at extraordinarily low temperatures), a tungsten drill bit, dozens of pins that I had to take off of my backpack before I started traveling, and — here’s the important one — several pieces of multi-colored, multi-flavored hard candy that I took from Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)” and pocketed instead of eating, as theoretically one is intended to do.
“Portrait of Ross” is a pile of 176 pounds of a candy called Fruit Flashers that’s usually housed in the contemporary wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s 176 pounds because that’s the weight Ross Laycock, Gonzalez-Torres’ partner, was when he was healthy, before they both got AIDS. It’s a metaphor for Ross’s body, and viewers are supposed to take a piece of candy — by so doing, the body deteriorates. Keep reading »
Exposing marital infidelity can be a costly and time consuming endeavor. Sure, there is a plethora of high-tech methods out there, but did you know you can now go CSI-style on your significant other’s soiled undergarments to expose an extramarital affair?
A national DNA testing company, The Paternity Lab Center, is providing the relatively sophisticated technique for suspicious mates who are seeking definitive answers. Read more…
We’re definitely in the DNA age, people. You only need to tune into the paternity-testing “The Maury Show” or a crime show marathon to know that. So it’s about time New York state gives its rape testing kits, which were first introduced in emergency rooms 20 years ago, a DNA upgrade. Today, state officials are slated to reveal the new kits, which also include instructions on collecting evidence from male victims and a training video narrated by Mariska Hargitay (because her role as a detective on “Law & Order: SVU” has made her an expert). Developers from St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals in NYC say they have learned what works and what doesn’t over the years and the new kit is more comprehensive. Now, the kits provide special envelopes and swabs to collect an attacker’s bodily fluids or other evidence left behind that might contain DNA. The kits also provide information for health professionals to deal with male victims, which is a good thing since the ratio of male sexual assault victims in New York is much higher than the national ratio of one in eight. [NY Post]
I have to say I’m slightly shocked the old rape kits weren’t this comprehensive. I thought the whole point of a rape kit was to collect DNA. Keep reading »
Girls who grew up without fathers at home tend to be early bloomers in the sex department compared with those whose fathers lived with them. Researchers have been trying to figure out the reason for this for years. Is it because there’s no watchful eye looking over them and keeping them in line? Is it a natural response that happens even in the animal world (that when a strange male, i.e., a stepfather or stepbrother, is around, girls grow up more quickly)?
Now, new analysis of data from the American National Longitudinal Survey of Youth offers another suggestion. Jane Mendle of the University of Oregon looked at NLSY surveys, which asked mothers a variety of questions, including whether the father of their children lived with them. The children of these women were asked questions starting at age 14, and, among other things, they were asked whether they’d engaged in sexual intercourse yet. Mendle and her colleagues compared cousins’ ages of first sexual intercourse — some of whom had their father living in their home and others who did not — to see whether early sexual activity could be genetic. Keep reading »
We know we’re supposed to head to the lady doctor once a year for a gyno and breast exam to catch any signs of cancer early. But these days, women can even go one step further—they can get genetic testing. Women who get tested for BRCA gene mutations will know if they are 60% more likely to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer over the course of their lives. It’s a great step in cancer prediction and prevention, but for women who test positive it also presents serious issues and some heavy decision-making. [CNN] Keep reading »
Bad news for human females, as well as female voles (they’re rodents similar to mice): Swedish scientists have discovered that a man’s reluctance to commit might be in his genes. We’re not exactly sure how scientists figured out rodents don’t like to marry, but hey, whatever.
It’s called the “334 version of the AVPR1A gene” and it is more prevalent in men who didn’t want to pair up. The leader of the study said further research is required to find out how possible genetic mutations may affect women and the bonding hormone, oxytocin, which “seems to influence female pair-bonding more.” We guess this means if you’re chronically single, unforch, it might just be biology. [Times of London UK] Keep reading »