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Off-Kilter

April 16, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Jurassic Shroud: Can God be cloned? We might get an answer soon, if researchers are allowed to proceed with a bizarre series of experiments on the Shroud of Turin, which is said to be the burial cloth of Jesus. According to the Washington Post, some scientists and shroud aficionados (also known as Shroudies) are pushing for in-depth DNA testing of blood from the cloth.

They believe such an experiment could determine whether the man who was wrapped inside the shroud was Jewish and whether his DNA came only from his mother, which would prove the virgin birth.

One lab has reportedly mixed human DNA found on the linen cloth with frog DNA, the method used in Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" to create dinosaur embryos. That so angered Catholic officials that they demanded the return of all "unauthorized" shroud samples and halted further experiments until after an exhibit of the cloth in 2000.

The Mood Ring House: Guests at the $100-million home of Microsoft boss Bill Gates are tagged with small electronic pins that let an elaborate computer system track their whereabouts in the estate (which has 24 bathrooms, six kitchens, seven bedrooms, a theater, a ballroom, a gym, a heated driveway, swimming pool with underwater sound system, assorted offices--and total square footage of 1 1/2 acres).

If the computer knows the guest, it also displays his or her favorite artwork on high-definition TV screens as the person moves from room to room, according to U.S. News & World Report. In other words, the house is like a giant, high-tech mood ring. For example, we're pretty sure Mike Tyson would see Van Gogh paintings while strolling through the Seattle-area house, and Bill Clinton would probably be treated to scenery from the Playboy Mansion.

If Al Gore dropped by, the computer would flash art from a Buddhist temple, and singer George Michael would see photos of a public restroom stall.

Palette Police: We can hardly wait to buy our first squid-ink refrigerator. Liquid squid is one of the new colors that manufacturers and designers will be using in 2000.

Or so says the Color Marketing Group, which helps decide product color schemes and is sometimes referred to as "the Color Mafia." According to CMG, squid ink is a "dark, gray-influenced blue that is calm and serene like a starless sky at midnight."

Other shades of the future include:

* Chakra purple, a "veiled, mystical lavender."

* Silkworm, a creamy, light tan.

* Fiesta, a "blue-influenced orange that is more refined and sophisticated."

* Hermatite, a dark, grayed purple intended to replace black.

We are relieved to see there is no "Barney purple" in the next millennium, but we're still not sure we trust CMG's taste. After all, aren't these the same people who foisted paprika, avocado and barfy harvest gold on us in the 1960s? You bet they are.

Bumper Sticker of the Day: Spotted in Washington, D.C.: "Thurmond-Helms 2000. Why Waste 200 Years of Experience?"

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Gold-Eating Termites Attack Fort Knox! Bizarre Bugs Have Eaten Over $2 Trillion Worth!" (Weekly World News)

* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Contributors: Ann Harrison, Wireless Flash, Chicago Sun-Times

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