For Ester Honig's Before & After, she used freelance platforms like Fiverr to contract 40 people from 25 countries to make her "beautiful" with Photoshop. (Above right, the work of someone in the Philippines.) Honig's hope was that the resulting images would provide insight into the contractor's "personal and cultural constructs of beauty."
"They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator.
Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive."
Before & After (Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
The Korea Herald reports that a young man of European heritage from Brazil has had plastic surgery so that he might look Korean. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
He goes by the obliquely Asian internet-name of Xiahn.
Cosmetic procedures, such as silicone implants, lip surgery or other augmentations, are nothing unusual in Brazil. But the 25-year-old man went a step further to transform himself into Asian-looking man by making alterations to his eyes. Xiahn, who asked not to be named to protect his family from Internet scrutiny, underwent 10 surgical procedures on his eyes, along with other less-invasive procedures, which cost him around $3,100. He also began wearing contact lenses to change his eye color.
Originally blue-eyed with blonde hair, he became interested in having plastic surgery after spending some time as an exchange student in Korea. He was inspired by how common plastic surgery is here.
“Koreans have many surgeries to modify the shape of their eyes and become more like Westerners. It was easy to tell when one of them had done it, walking on the street wearing sunglasses and a surgical mask,” he said. “I have no regrets, and I don’t intend to have any more procedures.”
[Korea Herald via Michelle Borok at Giant Robot]
Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva asked twenty people to kiss for the first time. The awkwardness, anticipation, and culmination... Just lovely.
A Gangnam, Seoul plastic surgeon who did a roaring trade in excising womens' jawbones to give them V-shaped chins was forced to remove the towering jars of thousands of jawbone fragments with which he decorated his office. Photos of the jars spread online, resulting in a visit from a local official, who fined the surgeon about $3000 and ordered the display removed.
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Computer scientist Katia Vega has developed conductive eye shadow and false eyelashes that can be used to control wearable computers. For example, an extended blink could trigger your phone's camera. "We use voluntary movements to amplify intentions – using our body as a new input device," Vega, a researcher at Rio de Janeiro's Pontifical Catholic University, told New Scientist.
Lakelady sez, "In an ad for cold cream facial cleanser they use 'slightly' radioactive dirt on a young woman's face to test which cleanser works the best. Complete with geiger counter clicks. Gotta love the innocence of the 50s."
Before anyone protests that the level of radioactivity is very low -- like, lower than a brick wall -- the astounding thing isn't that they're spreading "radioactive" stuff on a model's face, but rather that "radioactivity" is being presented as a health benefit and beautifying agent.
Pseudopterosins are a family of naturally occurring chemicals with the power to reduce inflammation, skin irritation, and pain. In other words, they make a great additive in skin cream. If you want skin that less red, pseudopterosins can help. Want a lotion that soothes your face after a particularly vigorous round of exfoliation? Call on pseudopterosins.
Pseudopterosins come from a coral called Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. That's it in the photo above. For years, researchers and pharmaceutical companies thought they were sustainably harvesting P. elisabethae because, instead of simply gathering any of the coral they could find, they merely pruned it — leaving plenty of the creature to grow back.
But, it turns out that this is a really good example of a frustrating problem — what seems sustainable is not always actually sustainable. Doing the right thing, environmentally speaking, isn't as intuitive as we'd like it to be. (Also, pruning an animal isn't like pruning a plant.) At Deep Sea News, Dr. M explains:
After prunings in 2002 and 2005 and before the annual spawning, Christopher Page and Howard Lasker examined 24 pruned corals and 20 unpruned corals. What the researchers found is that although colonies appeared healthy pruned corals produced less eggs. ... Why would pruned corals produce less eggs and sperm? When organisms are injured more energy is diverted away from reproduction and toward repair. Interestingly, this pruning may actually also creating artificial selection. If workers are targeting larger and fuller corals to prune, then smaller less thick corals will be reproducing more and eventually become more dominant.
This is why science is important. Because, frequently, "common sense" isn't really all that sensical.
Sara's Henna, a henna shop in Hong Kong where ladies go to doll themselves up with temporary designs based on Indian tradition, did something really cool: inspired by Henna Heals, they traveled to Children's Cancer Hospital Pakistan, and spent some time with Maryam, "the most patient & radiating young girl undergoing chemo, yet wearing a beautiful smile." She wore her sparkly Henna Crown for the Muslim holy day of Eid last Sunday.
This seems like a seriously awesome thing to do in pediatric cancer care centers. As soon as I get through radiation, I'm gonna talk to the peeps at my hospital about doing something like this with kids and adults in chemo. Never underestimate the healing power of a little beauty-fussing.
So a bunch of guys go fishing, and they take a long an underwater camera, encased in a mobile, waterproof housing. Basically, their camera can move around underwater, like a little RC car.
Then this happens ...
I have a sneaky suspicion that this video might be an advertisement for camera equipment. But whatever. It's beautiful. You win this time, viral marketers.
At a beauty salon in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, an employee performs a "medical-cosmetic" massage on a client using African snails. The salon is the only one in the region using the "snails method", which owner Alyona Zlotnikova claims can speed skin regeneration and eliminate wrinkles. Photo: REUTERS/Ilya Naymushinclaimed.
There's a story making the rounds right now suggesting that the use of hair relaxers—products that are used more often by African American women than women of other ethnicities—might cause uterine fibroids—a painful condition experienced more often by African American women than women of other ethnicities.
Nobody really knows why African American women seem to be more prone to uterine fibroids, and, on the surface at least, this connection seems like it might make sense. Relaxers and other products contain hormones and chemicals that act like hormones. So, maybe, those things are getting absorbed into the body and leading to the growth of fibroids.
Trouble is: That's just speculation. And the evidence used to back it up is pretty flimsy. The study this story is based on looks at nothing but broad correlations: African American women have more fibroids and African American women use more of these hair care products. That's a problem, because broad correlations can be really, really misleading.
At The Urban Scientist blog, Danielle Lee (a scientist who has experience with both fibroids and hair relaxers) talks about why the "evidence" being presented in this case isn't even close to the same thing as "proof".
Parabens and phthalates can do some funky things. (I don’t trust these chemicals.) They are problematic and should be evaluated for safety, especially by the US Food and Drug Administration. Parabens can be an estrogen mimic – but only slightly it seems. But it’s everywhere – not just in Black hair care products like shampoos and perms. Parabens are preservatives in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, so it’s in lotions, shaving gel, KY Jelly, makeup, even in food. Phthlates are what make plastics flexible, transparent, durable and strong. Exposure to these chemicals is coming from who-knows-how-many-sources: those dissolving plastic pill caplets, adhesives in bandages, toys, food packaging, even textiles, and paint.
My problem with this study is that it doesn’t eliminate all of these confounding and possibly conflicting variables. Again, what was the reason for hypothesizing hair care products for the disparity? It’s a leap – a huge leap and the data just doesn’t convince me. In my opinion, finding strong correlations of relaxer use among African-American women who happen to have fibroids is an artifact. Culturally, getting relaxers is a very typical hair-care regime among adult black women today. It’s a cultural phenomenon. So is being ashy and using lotion — which potentially has the same possible EDC risks as hair care products. These studies fall far short in making a connection between high occurrence of uterine fibroids and hair care rituals of Black women.
I see Lee pointing out a couple of problems here. One: A correlational study like this doesn't account for many, many other ways women might come into contact with the hypothetical causal agent. So it doesn't make much sense to tie causality to one, single source. Two: In a correlational study with this many variables, the connection you see might not mean what you think it means. The authors of this paper wonder whether hair care products might be causing fibroids. Okay. But it could be just that women who are more likely to have fibroids also, coincidentally, are part of a culture that uses a lot of these hair care products.
Correlational studies are important. They're a good first step in noticing patterns that can tell us something important about human health. But correlational studies can't be thought of as "proof" of anything. They're a way to notice a problem exists. But they aren't a good way of solving problems.
Unfortunately, correlational studies, like this one, make the news a lot. And, when they do, they're treated as though they represent scientific proof. That's a problem. Even if you don't have fibroids or use hair relaxers, you should read Danielle Lee's full post on this study. It'll give you a better idea about the sorts of questions you should be asking every time you see a scary science headline in the newspaper.
Last week, while I was on a train, researchers at CERN announced that neutrinos are probably not traveling faster than the speed of light. Last year, as you'll recall, the OPERA experiment clocked the neutrinos breaking that speed limit. Unfortunately, it looks like those measurements were probably caused by one or more problems with the GPS system used to synchronize clocks between the neutrinos' point of origin and where they were speeding off to.
That's disappointing news. To make up for it, I offer you this art chaser—a gallery of beautiful quilts inspired by CERN's Large Hadron Collider.
The quilts are the work of artist Kate Findlay, and they're completely amazing. The one pictured here is called "Inner Eye." It's based on ATLAS, one of the major detectors built to encircle the Large Hadron Collider and collect information on what's going on inside it. Comparing the photo with the quilt makes both images doubly awesome.
Via Alexandra Witze