October 20th, 2010

A spray of DNA keeps the thieves away

The New York Times reports that in Europe, a "new system involved an employee-activated device that sprays a fine, barely visible mist laced with synthetic DNA to cover anyone in its path, including criminals, and simultaneously alerts the police to a crime in progress. The mist — visible only under ultraviolet light — carries DNA markers particular to the location, enabling the"": police to match the burglar with the place burgled. Now, a sign on the front door of the McDonald’s prominently warns potential thieves of the spray’s presence: “You Steal, You’re Marked.”"

Read the whole article here.

Something similar is offered to banks in Europe and possibly the US. They can purchase special red dye packs to sneak into bank robber's take. Not only do they explode and dye the robber and his money (rendering it useless), but each has a unique DNA tag linking it to the crime.

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Raquel Welch is 20 years younger than me

Raquel Welch is 70 years old. On paper. Well, not even on paper, because in a magazine this morning, I ran across this photo of Raquel Welch selling a line of wigs:

Exactly how much Photoshop had gone into that, I wondered? She looks late 20s, tops. Then I saw this recent photo of her on the red carpet. Nigel Lythgoe doesn't look too retouched. He's 9 years younger and looks 10 years older than her. Would you even want the amount of plastic surgery that must be necessary to achieve this youthful appearance?

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Writing menace

It's a long story to explain why I chose to pick up a 1984 book by Andrew Coburn called Widow's Walk (Five Star Mystery Series), but boy is it good.

He has a perfect scene of menace. Perfect because it's so underplayed. Our imagination is much better at filling the blank than words would be (it is set at a beach, where a nameless women's two young boys are building a sand castle when she decides to go for a quick dip).
She swam against the grain of the ocean, using a short and sharp stroke and a smooth kick.

She did not see the murky shape drifting toward her. It was more than half-submerged, and it had eyes. When she barged into it, the silent mass reared up.

Her scream was muted, most of it locked in her throat.

On the beach, her sons threw sand at each other and the man with the device unearthed a nickel. The lifeguard rearranged his legs in a way that the girls below could see the filled harness under his neon swim trunks. A stray cloud blotted some of the sun.

One of the boys pointed with his shovel. "Look at Mommy."
And that's about it, except for the lifeguard finally noticing. I love the dramatic irony of the beachgoers being completely unaware of what's happening mere feet from them, the child not understanding what he is seeing. Giving us a close up of what the shark is doing would have taken the edge off. My imagination fills in the blanks much better than the writer could.

It's why the monster is always so much scarier when he is still under the bed.

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For this, Hilary Duff needed a ghostwriter?

A blog on Kirkus has fun reprinting some of the best worst lines from Hilary Duff's (co-written) YA, Elixir.

Here are a couple:
“I looked deeper and deeper into those dark, magnetic pools.”

“It had been that way from the day we met—like he could see every place my heart was cracked and would pull open the wounds, inspect them, dig out every bit of infection, then fill them with his love until they healed.”

Read the whole blog entry here.

And you can read the actual Kirkus review here. It begins with the word "ludicrous."

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