Wednesday, April 20, 2016


1. As if the previous Suggested Reading List entry from increasingly mandatory website The Intercept, featuring former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince's efforts to put together his own private offensive-capable air force, wasn't enough to get your brain's conspiracy sensors waggling, why not try this story about how the CIA's venture capital company In-Q-Tel is backing a cosmetics firm with technology to collect DNA from its users skin? Our story begins...
SKINCENTIAL SCIENCES, a company with an innovative line of cosmetic products marketed as a way to erase blemishes and soften skin, has caught the attention of beauty bloggers on YouTube, Oprah’s lifestyle magazine, and celebrity skin care professionals. Documents obtained by The Interceptreveal that the firm has also attracted interest and funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the Central Intelligence Agency. 
The previously undisclosed relationship with the CIA might come as some surprise to a visitor to the website of Clearista, the main product line of Skincential Sciences, which boasts of a “formula so you can feel confident and beautiful in your skin’s most natural state.” 
Though the public-facing side of the company touts a range of skin care products, Skincential Sciences developed a patented technology that removes a thin outer layer of the skin, revealing unique biomarkers that can be used for a variety of diagnostic tests, including DNA collection. 
Skincential Science’s noninvasive procedure, described on the Clearista website as “painless,” is said to require only water, a special detergent, and a few brushes against the skin, making it a convenient option for restoring the glow of a youthful complexion — and a novel technique for gathering information about a person’s biochemistry.

2. Our old pal David Cole usually has his musings published at Taki's (not a particular favorite of yours truly's, but whatevs), but this time, it's personal. Which means he decided to unveil the latest twist in his ongoing life's saga on his personal website, which has a permanent link on this very page. And it's all got to do with the "lovely" lady pictured above, who goes by the name of Wendy Rae Leaumont. Here's a tiny taste of what David is dealing with these days:
Totally out of the blue, celebrated Burbank art gallery owner Bill Shafer posted a very kind comment about my book on Instagram. Bill’s Hyaena Gallery is quite the local institution, and his comment was a happy surprise, made quickly unhappy by Leaumont, who was one of Bill’s Instagram followers. She began plastering the thread with hostile comments. She menacingly pledged that I’m going to “get killed soon enough,” but she didn’t stop with a simple death threat. She ridiculed my late mother, who passed away after a lengthy illness in April 2015. 
One year ago exactly. So my blood is up as I write this. 
I’ve never written publicly about my mom’s passing. This is the first time I’ve mentioned it, and it’ll be the last. Suffice it to say that I have no words to describe how depraved and vile someone has to be to publicly post a taunt regarding someone,anyone’s, dead parent. That kind of evil is beyond me. Especially coming from a woman who never misses a chance to brag about what a good “Christian” she is.
There's more. Read on.

3. And finally today, I bring you a three-part podcast about "loops" (don't worry... the parts are short) from the increasingly popular audio documentary production and dissemination node known as Radiolab. This particular set of programs is described thusly:
In this episode of Radiolab, Jad and Robert try to explain an inexplicable comedy act, listen to a loop that literally dies in your ear, and they learn about a loop that sent a shudder up the collective spine of mathematicians everywhere. Finally, they talk to a woman who got to watch herself think the thought that she was watching herself think the thought that she was watching herself think the thought that ... you get the point.
Trust me... it ends up being a lot more interesting than the above sounds... even though I have to admit, the above does sound pretty fucking interesting. ENJOY! I sure did!

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