Leaving your face behind?
A provocative art project creates "'facial reconstruction' sculptures based on the analysis of DNA on cigarette butts, chewing gum and other detritus collected from the streets of New York City," says the New Scientist. The project, by artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, "casts a spotlight on our expectations of genetic privacy – particularly given the uncertain legal status, in many jurisdictions, of the DNA we all shed into the environment. Dewey-Hagborg tested the samples she collected for genetic variants influencing traits like eye colour, hair colour and racial ancestry. … The artist also included genetic markers linked to variations in facial structure, [though they] do not provide predictions good enough to be used in forensic investigations."
Prison preferable to gaming
A New Zealand man who was "sick of playing Xbox" while on home detention has been granted his wish to serve the rest of his sentence in jail, reports The New Zealand Herald. Senior Constable Paul Nicholas of Whangarei police said the 19-year-old had already served 10 months of an 11-month home detention term and, with one month to go, "had run out of Xbox games to play." The man told police he was about to breach home detention if he wasn't picked up and taken to jail. He got his wish and is now in Ngawha Prison.
A taste of jail food
In early June, the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia sponsored a tasting of prison food through the years, says U.S. National Public Radio. Now a museum, the penitentiary closed in 1970, but reopened to give visitors a sensory experience of prison life. Lately, that experience has been expanded to include taste.
How to misspell words
The music business now has its own grammar guide, writes Hannah Karp in The Wall Street Journal. "The song titles In da House, Kill 'Em 'n Grill 'Em and It's fo' Realz, for instance, all get thumbs up in the music industry's newly issued style guide as examples of proper capitalization. 'Intentionally misspelled words must respect the same title casing rules' as those spelled normally, says the guide. Released last month at the National Association of Recording Merchandisers' annual convention, rock 'n' roll's new rule book aims to establish basic rules for data entry in the fragmenting world of music, where some folks have become a little too creative for their own good – at least when it comes to spelling, grammar and description."
How movie stars spend
"There are many reasons to believe that film stars earn too much," says Intelligent Life magazine. "Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie once hired an entire train to travel from London to Glasgow. Tom Cruise's daughter Suri is reputed to have a wardrobe worth $400,000 [U.S.]. Nicolas Cage once paid $276,000 for a dinosaur head. He would have got it for less, but he was bidding against Leonardo DiCaprio."
Today's lingua franca
"Everyone in the world – except Dutch and Scandinavian footballers – learns American English because it is today's lingua franca," writes Patrick West of spiked-online.com. "It's the principal means for disseminating ideas and getting work, as Latin used to be. … People stopped using French when that country went into decline and lost influence in the 19th century, and it was the same story for British English in the 20th. But neither language has disappeared, and neither is 'threatened' by American English. It's also worth remembering that as America declines, so will its influence and the importance of its language. No empire lasts forever."
Thought du jour
Good judgment comes from experience, and experience – well, that comes from poor judgment.