Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

From New Scientist:
Thirty years ago Joe Davis, a peg-legged artist and motorcycle mechanic from Mississippi, walked into MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies demanding to speak with the director. Forty-five minutes later - after trashing a receptionist’s desk and fending off the police - Davis left with a six-month academic appointment. It ultimately lasted more than a decade.

Davis reasons that bacteria engage in activity that produce audible frequencies but we don’t know what they sound like because no one has bothered to listen. He then invents a laser-powered optical microscope. Pointing his microscope at brine shrimp and paramecium he realizes you can easily tell them apart by the sounds they make, in the same way you could differentiate sheep from cows by listening to their vocalizations.

So far so good, but who cares? In the next scene we find Davis demonstrating his optical microscope at an exhibition in Lisbon, Portugal. Only this time he has convinced a striking young woman to let him cover her in nothing but honey and gold dust - presumably for her own protection. Then he uses his optical microscope to project the sound of her heartbeat and respiration to a rapt audience...

In another sexually charged example of performance art Davis sets out to correct what he feels is a case of censorship in scientists’ efforts to communicate with extraterrestrials. He explains that researchers have sent images of an anatomically correct man into outer space but the image they sent of a woman lacked genitalia. To right this wrong, Davis transmitted the sound of vaginal contractions of ballet dancers to several nearby stars. The audio recording was beamed from MIT’s Millstone Hill radar for several minutes before the United States Air Force shut him down.

Apart from art bordering on the perverse, Davis has invented a bacterially-grown radio and a frog-leg powered airplane. He developed supercode, a silent or bio-chemically inert genetic code to embed Greek poetry into the DNA of white-eyed flies and the image of the Milky Way into the ear of a mouse.

New Scientist


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2012 10:40 am (UTC)
WTF. Are you having me on, because I'll believe anything right now.
Apr. 24th, 2012 10:52 am (UTC)
No! The brilliant thing about this guy is that he sounds like an outlandish comic invention instead of an outlandish comic real person.
Apr. 24th, 2012 12:09 pm (UTC)
Jack Parsons must have been such an inspiration to him as a kid
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

December 2015

Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Lilia Ahner