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First let me share a letter that I got from Tobie Kerridge from BioJewelry (thanks to Badur for the tip). I wasn't sure if it was “real” or not. It seems to be real and he's looking for a couple in the UK to take part, and has permitted me to share this letter here. Click the picture first though and read the promo website so you understand what the project is — in short, they extract some of your bone tissue, grow it in a matrix, and make human bone wedding rings with your own cells and DNA — if that strikes you as romantic, read on:

This is a UK based project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

We are actively looking for donors, preferably a couple. Here in the UK we can only get viable cells by scraping the cavity made after a wisdom tooth extraction. This is because the biopsy (the usual route in a clinical context, a section of bone is taken from the femur) requires a general anaesthetic. This type of operation is not ethical within the scope of our project, we will not get medical approval.

There are probably other possibilities in other countries, but we would prefer a UK couple; the rings come out of a co-design process (it's important that the couple are happy with their rings) and a series of consultations. Also we are trying to richly document the project with video and photography of the couples, the operation, the cell growth the design process etc. All this needs to take place in the UK really, we have a limited travel budget!

There is also an obligation to our funder to present this project in a responsible way. This is considered a "risky" project, for reasons you can imagine, so I was a little concerned to see the site in many blogs and news sites over the last couple of days. Having said that, we need to find a couple, or be forced to use some anonymous banked cells - and this changes the project hugely.

Our task then, is getting the right message across (not having the aims of the project reduced to sensationalist "weird art wastes public money" type thing) and attracting people who are genuinely interested in the process; we want to hear about motives, and understand why someone would want to do this.

best wishes,
Tobie

It's a very cool project that I imagine would be rewarding to take part in if you like the basic concept.

A lot of the TV here, especially movies is in English with Spanish subtitles. I can barely understand spoken Spanish, but I can stumble through the written version surprsingly well, probably in part due to speaking French and German (and reading Latin) as well. It's fascinating to see just how much the context is changed, and how much is left out… I wonder if the original script writers are aware of the subtle changes that happen; for example, this one struck me last night:

Original (spoken): "Stop being such a pussy!"

Spanish subtitles: "Do not behave like a queer."

Rachel and I kind of looked at each other when we saw that with kind of a “did you see what I saw” look, but I guess it's not really that strange — and really, I'm not sure that it's “less offensive” to insult women than homosexuals. Ah, political correctness, gotta love it.

I assume most of you have seen this nutty story, but a woman in Spokane has been trying to divorce her convicted abusive husband for the last two years for beating her (which he does not contest; more). The woman is trying to move on with her life, and is pregnant with the child of another man. Spokane County Superior Court Judge Paul Bastine has stepped in and blocked the divorce, saying that it would be in the child's best interest if they stayed married — can't have him being born a bastard and all, plus a “child needs his father”. Yeah, because forcing a kid (and wife) to stay with an abuser — that isn't even their parent and doesn't want them — is just brilliant family planning.

Of course, some Catholic groups in the US have also said that they'd like to start expelling kids from school whose parents are gay (more). I'm beginning to think that religion should have an IQ requirement. I much prefer stupid atheists to stupid <insert religion here> followers. That said, smart but religious people tend to be absolutely fascinating folks.

Anyway, I'm not sure what my online status is right now (I'm still logging in through the hotel), but we're being told that it's going to be max 24 hours before our DSL line is functional. However, I've created all the memberships, coupons and so on and sent them out from the hotel connection so if you're one of the 1,033 people with pictures in this update, a reward should be in your inbox now (and wow was it tedious creating that many members — it's not a process I have good automation on yet).

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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