Top 10 Secret Ways Animals Help Humans

Post 8388

Top 10 Secret Ways Animals Help Humans


Who doesn’t love animals? We all know the beauty of the adorable creatures that live with us, like cute puppies and fuzzy kittens, but animals can do more than just make us laugh with the clumsy mistakes they make. Animals are used in almost every scientific field from medicine to the aerospace industry, and they play a crucial role in the advancement of human life.

Scientists continuously study animals and their unique qualities and find ways to apply those qualities to problems humans face every day. This includes utilizing our most intelligent and trainable animals but also the evolved chemical traits of smaller, lesser-known animals. So, here are ten ways animals help us out that you may never have realized even existed.

10Keyhole Limpet Proteins

Keyhole limpets are sea snails with, wide, conical shells that feature a small hole at the top, and they have a secret superpower. They contain a protein known as keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), which is used in a wide array of medicines, ranging from cancer and Alzheimer’s medications to vaccinations for animals and humans. The complex structure of hemocyanin makes it a perfect candidate for fighting disease, because it contains many binding sites, which allows other particles bind to it easily.

Limpets aren’t the only sea organisms that are used in unexpected ways by humans. For example, kelp is used to create a creamy texture in a myriad of products ranging from ice cream to toothpaste. However, keyhole limpet proteins are used in medications for very serious diseases, and entire companies specialize in the production and sales of KLH. Industries such as this are constantly growing as we find more uses for KLH in medications. Since limpets are invertebrates with no true brain, using them in the medical field has the added bonus of eliminating the question of morality involved when using animals for scientific testing.

9Cancer-Sniffing Dogs

Dogs will make a few appearances on this list, as they’re so intelligent and easily trained, not to mention adorable. Dogs have about 60 times as many sensory nerves in their noses compared to humans. For years, scientists have known of their ability to sniff out cancer. If you have seen this in headlines, you may think, “Aww, how cute,” and move on. However, there is actually a lot of scientific evidence to back this up.[2] Back in the early 1990s, trained dogs were tested on their ability to smell cancer using various urine samples from patients with and without cancer. The canines could correctly identify samples from cancer patients about 95 percent of the time. Types of cancer they could identify ranged from liver to lung to breast cancer.

Although it is unlikely that dogs alone would ever be used to detect cancerin new patients (as much as having dogs around might make the doctor’s office more pleasant), scientist have found a way to implement their olfactory sense into diagnostic machines. They’ve created a device that can “smell” the chemicals being picked up by dogs that are linked to cancerous cells. While this area of study needs more funding before it is viable, the science is all there.

8Diabetes Dogs

While this topic started out as purely anecdotal and charming stories to make headlines, it has become fact. Cases of dogs predicting low blood sugar in diabetes patients have occurred regularly enough that it became clear they could smell something we could not. Scientists began to look into these cases and studied the exhaled breath of diabetes patients. They discovered that when blood sugar drops to dangerously low levels, the amount of a chemical called isoprene nearly doubles. Humans would never be able to notice such a thing, but the incredible noses of our noble pups can.

This is, of course, very impressive and could save even save lives. Dogs are trained to alert owners of this change, giving them time to eat and stabilize their glucose levels to stop themselves from passing out or even having a seizure. These diabetes alert dogs (DADs) are for sale right now. The only downfall? The dogs are hard to train and can cost up to $20,000 to purchase, and this does not even take into account the $1,000 per year it will cost to feed them, on average.

7Airport Falconry

If you’ve seen the movie Sully, about a pilot whose plane suffers duel engine loss, causing him to perform an emergency water landing on the Hudson River in New York, this entry will sound familiar. The movie was based on a real event, in which birds flew into both engines of a plane soon after takeoff, causing them to break and stopping the plane from flying. You might think there should be a simple way to stop problems like this from occurring. It turns out there is.

Trained falcons are used at airports to scare away smaller flocking birds from flying straight into planes during takeoff by using specific warning calls. This is widely practiced in the United States, where damages caused by birds flying into planes can cost more than $500 million per year. If even one engine is ruined, it can cost up to $2 million. Training falcons seems like a small price to pay for flight safety, especially in light of those numbers. Scientists calculate that there is about a one-in-four chance of a bird hitting a plane when falconry isn’t employed. So, next time you fly, be sure to be on the lookout and to thank your bird trainer!

6Growing Human Organs In Animals

As of January 2017, almost 80,000 people in the US alone were awaiting some kind of organ transplant. It is apparent that not all of these people will find viable organs before it is too late. In lieu of transplantation, scientists have been searching for a way to grow healthy human organs independently. There has been some amount of success, even though the process still has a long way to go before it is commercially available.

Scientists have successfully grown human organs inside large animals, such as pigs. Stem cells are taken from the transplant patient’s skin, and because they do not have determined growth, they can still grow into any type of organ or tissue. The main issue facing the medical community is that of morality. In order for the stem cells to grow into a needed organ, the animals must be engineered to develop without that organ so that the body can signal the undetermined cells to generate the required structure. There is currently a ban on using the procedure due to overwhelming complaints over the morality of using animals as vessels for human organ growth.

5Cancer Immunity In Sharks

For all of us who fear sharks above all else and wish we could go for a swim in the ocean without the threat of shark attacks, just know that they may have genes that could save countless human lives. Recent studies have shown that sharks have an increased immunity to cancer due to their overall highly evolved immune systems. The scariest sharks out there, hammerheads and great whites, are the species which exhibit these extraordinary genes. The genes, known as “legumain” and “Bag1,” are remarkably similar to genes that humans carry.

Bag1 plays a role in what is known as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Programmed cell death is much better than it sounds. The system evolved in order to get rid of defective cells, including cancerous ones. In the case of cancer, this system has broken down or been overwhelmed by mutated cells. Scientists believe Bag1 plays a role in the regulation of apoptosis.

Sharks have an amazingly fast healing rate for open wounds as well as a shockingly low infection rate, especially when you factor in the constant contact with various bacteria that live in the ocean. It’ll still be a while before we figure out exactly how they heal so well, but specific genes found in sharks and rays but not bony fish appear to be a factor.

4Dogs Sniffing For Science

Okay, this is the last dog fact, I promise. Sure, dogs are used to sniff out cancer or diabetes, but their noses can also help us indirectly. Scientists, ever thrifty, have found a low-cost and effective way to weed out invasive plant species: dogs trained to track them down in an effort to keep our nature beautiful and safe. Companies that specialize in this kind of conservational science are currently thriving.

Imagine this as your career: spending all day with a lovable dog, training it to find the scent of a particular plant, and then walking out into an open field and letting it roam free until it comes across the scent for you. This is a real job, and I may need to consider a career change. Teams of eight to ten dogs at a time will go out and reveal about two times as many invasive plants as humans can find, just by sniffing. The method is effective, not to mention inexpensive, since the scientists involved don’t need to buy $20,000 dogs. They can often just train their own.

3Algae Used In Biofuels

Photo credit: Fred Hsu

Yes, algae aren’t technically animals, but they still have some powerful uses that shock many people. Algae are now being developed as a source of renewable energy. From tiny single-celled organisms to giant kelp, their ability to photosynthesize can help save us from our energy crisis. There are thousands of different types of photosynthetic algae, all with unique properties. Using these organisms as fuel would be as cost-effective as the algae would be cheap to produce. This could be the next step in sustainable, affordable energy.

The process is somewhat confusing for those of us not boasting a PhD, but it includes extracting lipids from the algae and subjecting them to high-intensity heat and pressure conditions, a procedure known as hydrothermal liquefaction. This will concentrate the amount of energy created by the algal cells and could ultimately be used in products from jet fuel to gasoline to ethanol. Big oil companies such as ExxonMobil have even been taking notice of the science behind algae. The development of this technology is still underway, but however you feel about big oil, there’s no denying the power of these tiny plants.

2Oysters Removing Nitrogen

ExxonMobil started a project in 2014 which is planned to take until 2030 to complete and involves adding one billion oysters to the coastal ecosystem in New York. In the past three years since its inception, about 20 million oysters have already been placed. This is clearly a gigantic undertaking, taking up copious time, resources, and workers. However, it does ultimately serve a purpose. Mollusks, including oysters, retain nitrogen in their systems in order to maintain homeostasis. This will allow for a healthier marine ecosystem in surrounding areas, where too much nitrogen may be causing harmful algae to flourish.

Marine animals must find ways of dealing with nitrogen if they are to survive. Fish, mollusks, and other marine animals excrete ammonia through urine, which is highly toxic. Oysters, however, will store nitrogen and excrete waste in other forms. Ammonia carries only one nitrogen molecule, whereas releasing uric acid or urea will expel higher levels of nitrogen. In the case of New York Harbor, oysters will essentially pull in water with high nitrogen levels, filter it, and convert the nitrogen into less toxic forms, making the water safer and healthier.

1Plastic-Devouring Worms

One of the world’s largest pollution problems is plastic. It accumulates all over the planet and is constantly ending up in the ocean. If you walk along a polluted beach, you can find plastic from all over the world, some of which may have traveled thousands of miles from another continent. This problem claims the lives of thousands of sea creatures each year, and humans are always trying to come up with creative and cost-effective ways of reducing plastic use and pollution. Luckily, there is an animal that has already figured out a way to break down our plastic bag problem.

The larvae of wax moths, which are often used as bait by fisherman, have the ability to eat plastic without being harmed. Since learning this, scientists have been studying these little worms to determine if they can really have a strong impact on lessening human waste. We know they have the ability to digest plastic, but it is unknown whether or not they can survive and thrive on plastic alone. The worms are also only a few centimeters long, so there would need to be a copious amount of them to make a dent. However, if they do indeed love plastic, they may in the near future be bred to be set loose on human trash.

Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Eagles

Post 8387

Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Eagles


Eagles are known worldwide as majestic aerial predators. Their hunting expertise and legendary awe have earned them both respect and fear from humanity. Behold the astonishing aspects of their intense lives and intricate relationship with us.

10Haast’s Eagle

Photo credit: John Megahan

At present, golden eagles are capable of dragging adult mountain goats off cliffs with a bone-crushing grip strength of 750 psi, more than a lion’s bite force. However, a golden eagle would have no chance against the prehistoric man-eating eagle of New Zealand.

Before human colonization by the Maori people, the island only had three species of bat to greet them as fellow mammals. Uncontested, birds became the dominant class, growing into giants. The 3.6-meter (12 ft) flightless moas filled the niche of grazing herbivores and were the main food source of the largest, most powerful eagle ever.

Haast’s eagle, flying on a 3-meter (10 ft) wingspan, easily claimed the title of New Zealand’s apex predator. Diving with 1,000-psi, 9-centimeter (4 in) talons at 50 miles per hour (80 kph), it was wholly capable of killing a human, as described in Maori oral tradition.

Nevertheless, man prevailed. Five or six centuries ago, the Maori had finally hunted the moa to extinction, which correspondingly caused the extinction of Haast’s eagle. Having discovered the eagle in 1871, Julius von Haast was laughed at for the fearsome tall tale he brought back to his companions . . . until he brought back the bones as well.

9Hunting With Eagles

Photo credit:

Though Haast’s eagle feasted on the Maori in ancient times, the golden eagle has been trained throughout history to hunt for our food rather than our flesh. Using seven different techniques depending on the nature of prey, the golden eagle was reserved for the falconry of kings in medieval Europe. The ancestral eagle hunting traditions of Turkic people, most notably the Mongolians, continue today.

Taken from the nest as eaglets, they are raised by only one master to form a powerful personal bond. After being treated as family for a decade, they are released into the wild for natural reproduction. Eagle hunters ride on horseback to follow the attacks on various prey items such as the wolves, foxes, and hares of the Eurasian steppe.

8Police Eagles vs. Criminal Drones

Photo credit:

In First World civilizations, the lifestyle of an eagle hunter is unwelcome. Amazingly, though, the eagle is the perfect solution for an advanced technological threat: drones.

With the ubiquity and accessibility of drones in the modern world, not all tech enthusiasts are using them for recreational purposes. These drones can be used to covertly spy on buildings and people for later theft as well as to deliver and drop illegal substances or explosives.

Reports have found drugs attached to criminal drones in prison grounds, confirming our worst suspicions. Praised as “a low-tech solution for a high-tech problem,” specialized drone-catching eagles were first trained by Dutch police as a safer alternative to bullets and nets in the presence of crowds.

Eagles view the drones as other birds of prey invading their airspace. (As an aside, the wedge-tailed eagles of Australia also view hang gliders and paragliders as rival threats. Attacking the gliders, the wedge-tailed eagle seems to live up to his old New Zealand brother’s disdain for humanity.)

Much like avoiding the beak and talons of a competitor, the trained eagles are naturally able to strike the drone in the center while avoiding the rotors. The police and military in modern nations across the world, such asScotland Yard and the French Air Force, are highly interested in replicating Dutch success.

7The DDT Danger Myth

Eagles have also been used as a major political force before—in the politics of the DDT ban. The popular conception is that DDT is a dangerous poison in addition to a powerful pesticide that ruins wildlife.

The bald eagle is a special focus due to its bioaccumulation after consuming many fish. Adults are killed and eggshells are thinned to the point of being crushed during incubation. But did you ever ask if this was scientific truth?

The truth is that DDT isn’t even marginally dangerous to humans. For bald eagles, the cause of decline was almost entirely due to shooting and habitat loss. After the Bald Eagle Protection Act, eagle numbers soared even during the peak of DDT spraying.

US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists even “fed large doses of DDT to captive bald eagles for 112 days” to no adverse effect, and none of the hundreds of dead eagles found between 1961 and 1977 were killed by DDT or its residue. Despite the unpopular facts, environmentalists repetitively pushed to outlaw DDT for decades. Eventually, the government relented.

The suppression of a genuinely harmless and incredibly useful chemical proved to be only a demonstration of rising environmentalist political power. Though this is beneficial for the well-being of the world, the question remains: Does the end justify the means?

6Bald Eagles Are Scavenging Cowards

You may have learned about Benjamin Franklin’s laughable proposal for the humble turkey to be America’s national bird instead of the fierce bald eagle. But the beautiful, grand American symbol is not the glorious predator you think it is.

Respected naturalists often noted that the bald eagle was not a hunter but instead a scavenger and thief. It used its size to bully food from the highly successful fish-hunting osprey.

Sarcastically quoted by Meriwether Lewis in his adventures during the Lewis and Clark Expedition, “We continue to see a great number of bald eagles. I presume they must feed on the carcasses of dead animals, for I see no fishing hawks to supply them with their favorite food.”

This occurs because the bald eagle is not a true eagle. It is a sea eagle related to the African vulture lineage, with no will to kill for itself. Its only “hunting” is in catching the salmon that have nearly tired themselves to death during migration, if it isn’t picking up the ones that are already dead.

Franklin described the bald eagle as a “rank coward,” fleeing from an aggressive kingbird, a bird as large as a sparrow. Even its classic screech is a lie. The noise is from a red-tailed hawk. Bald eagles, unimpressively, chirp.

There is no courage, no honor, in the bald eagle. The more powerful, truly noble golden eagle would have been chosen if not for the fact that it is distributed across the world. As a native of America that was much more physically attractive than the turkey, the unjust bald eagle was selected byThomas Jefferson to become the country’s national symbol.

5Love And Home

Photo credit: National Geographic

The beauty of the bald eagle is undeniable and never so magnificently expressed as in the daring display of the death spiral. Two eagles clasp theirtalons together and fall, swinging through the skies until they break off at the last moment.

For bald and white-tailed eagles, the behavior is the ultimate courtship, a vital expression of the health (and romantically, the trust and love) of a mate. Eagles are purely monogamous and, unlike other birds in “monogamy,” do not roost with other eagles while away from the aerie.

Sharing a loyal monogamy, bald and white-tailed eagles have another household trait in common: massive multigenerational aeries. Built in the trees as usual, these nests accumulate through reuse over generations of descendants. One white-tailed eagle home in Iceland has existed for 150 years, and the weight of a 1,814-kilogram (2 ton) bald eagle nest is enough to crunch a tree (and, unfortunately, fall off).

4Females And Fratricide

Once the lifetime partner is chosen and the home is built (or perhaps, refurbished), eagles lay between one and five eggs. One parent is present nearly all the time and is extremely protective.

However, the greatest threat is within the nest itself and it is one that the parents let naturally play out. The fluffy eaglets hold a vicious, dark secret. It is common for an older eaglet, generally female due to its larger size, to kill its sibling. Nothing is done to stop the fittest from demonstrating their fitness.

But why are females larger than males across all eagle species, demonstrating the rare reversed sexual size dimorphism in birds? Nothing is conclusive, but the standing explanations are that the larger size is more useful in assisting the maternal instinct for nest building, incubation, protection, and (albeit unnecessary) defense from the male.

Meanwhile, the male partner is faster and more agile in his hunting due to his lighter weight and size.

3Mythical Foundation

Eagles have made themselves into the mythology of mankind as well as its history. The legend of the thunderbird, a giant magical bird controlling the thunder and lightning of a storm, is thought to have originated from the sighting of an eagle riding storm winds.

In the famed Middle Eastern story of Sinbad the Sailor, the massive roc is plausibly based on the existence of two animals: the now-extinct Malagasy crowned eagle and the elephant bird, cousin of the moa. The presence of the 2-meter (7 ft) eagle and the giant eggs of the elephant bird were likely exaggerated to the epic proportions of the roc.

Founder of an empire, the eagle is also respected in the origin of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The myth is that an eagle perched upon a cactus and preyed on a snake, signifying to travelers the place of their settlement. It would later become the most powerful empire in Mesoamerica.

Representing various sky gods, most notably the Greek god Zeus, the eagle captured the imagination of past peoples as both a noble king and a thunderous force to be reckoned with.

2The Legal Eagle

Nations across the world looked to the eagle for symbolic representation, with eagles of all species honored as 18 national birds and in 25 nationalcoats of arms. However, their previous mythical prestige fell to the materialism wrought by the Industrial Revolution.

With guns available and livestock to protect, people shot down eagles as a nuisance predator. As an example, from 1917 to 1953, more than 100,000 bald eagles were killed because they were falsely perceived as a threat by Alaskan salmon fishermen.

Fortunately, since then, laws have been made worldwide in defense of eagles, with fines up to $250,000 for American bald and golden eagles. Violations of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act are literally down to the feather, with possession warranting arrest.

Injuring or killing a Philippine eagle, a critically endangered, monkey-eating apex predator endemic to its namesake, could involve punishment of up to 12 years in jail and a 1-million-peso fine. “Unfortunately, one person with a gun thinks he can shoot anything,” the Philippine Eagle Foundation states after an eagle previously rehabilitated from a shot was found shot dead later on.

We hope that people shall continue to become more informed and respect eagles as well as the rest of nature.

1Eagle’s-Eye View

No description of the eagle is complete without mentioning its outstandingvision, a requisite for excellent talon-eye coordination. Seeing four times farther than our view, as the most accomplished birds of prey, eagles boast 20/4 vision and 100x better night vision.

They are even able to see ultraviolet light for detection of UV-reflecting urine from prey. Living thousands of feet in the air and swooping down at hundreds of miles per hour for a swift, accurate kill, eagles are animals of perfect precision. When they see what they want, they fearlessly look to strike.

As noted in the Encyclopedia of Life, “They have at least one singular characteristic. It has been observed that most birds of prey look back over their shoulders before striking prey (or shortly thereafter); predation is, after all, a two-edged sword. All hawks seem to have this habit, from the smallest kestrel to the largest ferruginous—but not the eagles.”

Damian Black is an American nationalist interested in perfection and happiness. Visit his nascent personal site: The Black Decree.

Top 10 Artworks Made Of Humans

Post 8386

Top 10 Artworks Made Of Humans


Many cultures throughout history have used the remains of both humans and animals for various things: clothes, weapons, rituals, medicine, and so on. While we wouldn’t expect many of these things to translate into the modern day, the reality is that many people still seem to have plenty of uses for dead (and sometimes living) people and are determined not to let any uproar keep them from doing what they want.


Photo credit: Sunspot Designs

We’ve spoken before about companies that will make diamonds out of your dearly beloved when they have passed, but that’s not your only option if you want to wear the deceased. Sunspot Designs makes jewelry by working with bones and teeth. Owner Columbine Phoenix likens working with these to using “homegrown ivory” and says that it is intended to celebrate life rather than death. She gets the bones used in her work from educational suppliers, who acquire them from schools or museums that are updating their collections.[1] Unsurprisingly, the main target audience is goths. The pieces can cost up to $200.

If you are unfortunate enough to still have all your loved ones in your life, fear not, ladies, because women can now have their breast milk turned into jewelry. In fact, there are no less than 70 businesses devoted to turning a woman’s milk into something personal yet fashionable. Companies such as Breast Milk Keepsakes and Mommy Milk Creations will take a small amount of your milk and turn it into a bead that can be placed in things like pendants, earrings, and bracelets for about $80.

Finally, if anyone remembers Kesha, you’ll know that she has always had a bit of a quirky sense of style, but you’d probably still be quite surprised to learn that she fashioned some of her attire out of human teeth—her fans’ teeth, to be exact. Back in 2012, she asked her fans to send her in a tooth each and ended up getting about 1,000 of them, which she used to make earrings, a headdress, several necklaces, and . . . a bra. Talk about a supportive fan base.


Auctions are a great place to pick up some unusual pieces at low prices and are a popular attraction for artistically minded people. When Francois Robert attended a school auction in Michigan, he was really just looking to pick up a few old lockers for practical, rather than artistic, purposes. But the golden rule in auctioneering is if you buy something, you get to keep whatever’s inside. So when one of the three lockers he purchased for the bargain price of $50 turned out to contain an actual human skeleton, Robert knew he had found his next project.

To be clear, the skeleton had been used for science classes and was not the sad remnants of a long-forgotten poindexter. Actually, this particular skeleton had been wired to hold its shape, so Robert had to trade it in for another before he could get to work. He decided that the best way to put his new friend to use was to create a series of photographs in which he arranged the bones into various shapes reminiscent of war. Creating the likes of guns, grenades, tanks, planes, and knives, Robert used his second skeleton to create a haunting collection of photographs for a series entitled Stop the Violence. While it’s hardly the subtlest collection you’ll ever see, Robert certainly got his $50 worth.


Photo credit: Tim Hawkinson

Looking at Tim Hawkinson’s two 1997 sculptures, Egg and Bird, you could be forgiven for thinking you were looking at exactly that: an egg and a bird. Of course, this is not the case, as the sculptures are actually made out of everybody’s favorite disembodied body parts: hair and fingernails.

Much more subtle than many of the other entries on this list, these sculptures are meant to represent our intrinsic link to nature and how our sense of reality can never escape our bodies, which provide the materials to create the illusion we’re observing.


Photo credit: BBC News

Anthony-Noel Kelly is a British artist who made his name in the 1990s with his realistic sculptures of human bodies, mainly in the form of busts. The police became suspicious of his work after a 1997 exhibition and launched a search which found human remains in both his house and his girlfriend’s apartment. With the help of Niel Lindsay from the Royal College of Surgeons, Kelly had stolen the body parts over a three-year period. He used these to make casts, which were then gilded in silver and gold.

About 40 body parts were recovered, including heads, torsos, and limbs. Lindsay was paid the generous sum of £400 for his involvement but also received six months in jail, while Kelly was sentenced to nine months. The pair were the first people in the history of the United Kingdom to actually be convicted with the theft of human remains, after a ruling that human bodies can be owned—and therefore stolen. Such a crime had already been considered as “outraging public decency.”


Photo credit: Nat Geo TV

There has been much speculation over the years as to the veracity of the claims that the Nazis made lampshades out of human skin. Many people believe it’s just a ridiculous urban legend, created to make the Nazis seem even more evil than they really were. Well, in 2005, a lampshade was bought in a car boot sale for $35 from a man who told the buyer it was made from the skin of a Jewish person. The buyer, Skip, eventually became too uncomfortable with the lamp and gave it to his journalist friend Mark Jacobson, who investigated things further.

The lamp was brought to Bode Technology in Washington, DC, where it underwent a DNA test. Bode Technology is one of the leading DNA labs in the world, having done much work for the US government, including identifying remains from 9/11. When the results came back, it was confirmed that the material used on the shade was in fact human skin from two different people. The first mention of Nazi skin lampshades comes from 1945, by a reporter named Ann Stringer, who says that other items made in the Buchenwald concentration camp included shrunken heads and an ashtray made from a human pelvis.

An artist named Andrew Krasnow has also made a number of pieces out of human skin, including lampshades, a direct reference to Buchenwald. Other things he has created include boots, maps, flags, and a $10 bill. You probably don’t need to be told that this is a statement about morality, or lack thereof, in the United States.

53-D Printed Sculptures

If someone asked you ten years ago whether a machine could be switched on and left alone for 24 hours to make a house entirely by itself, you probably would have said that it’s quite unlikely, at the very least. And yet, that’s where we are today. So if I were to ask you today whether you could turn your grandfather into a rocking chair, you might want to think about your answer.

Wieki Somers is a Dutch artist who wanted to come up with a more creative way to use cremated ashes. Thus, her In Progress exhibition was born. Somers loaded 3-D printers with donated ashes, which were then turned into various sculptures and pieces of furniture. The results are hauntingly familiar household objects that make us reconsider our attachment to worldly possessions. we’d like to think this won’t catch on, you may need to get used to the idea of living in a world where you need to distinguish between “Rock on, Grandpa!” and Rock on Grandpa.


The Dublin Science Gallery in Trinity College is a place for exhibitions where science meets art. Selfmade is one such exhibition, where cheese was made from celebrities who donated not their milk but rather their phlegm, tears, skin bacteria samples, and whatever was found lurking in the depths of their belly buttons.

The bacteria taken from their bodies was used to grow cheese, which then smelled and tasted like that body part. A cheese and wine night was hosted, although the guests were not allowed to eat the art, just smell it.


Photo credit: Harrison/HO

Jessica Harrison is a British artist who specializes in what she calls “body furniture.” This is a bit of a misleading name, as her creations don’t actually involve using pieces of the human body, but they’re generally inspired by it, such as her hairy chair or her drawers that look like human flesh. But she caught a lot of attention in 2010, when she posted a video of her latest fashionable design: fake eyelashes made out of real fly legs.

Although they are not available to buy (not yet, anyway), she still made and wore them herself, which is pretty disgusting. The eyelashes have drawn criticism from PETA, who compared them to hacking off the ears of beagles to make clothes.

2Wall Art

Photo credit: Hans Ladislaus

Forgotten Inheritance is a piece of wall art made of stone and hardened sand that first went on display in the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu in 1996. Despite being approved by a committee that included native Hawaiian members, many other natives took great offense to the sculpture. The reason for this is that it contains the real bones of Hawaiian natives.

Such a sculpture would likely gain a certain amount of criticism anywhere in the world, but the natives of Hawaii have a strong belief in malama iwi, which is taking care of and respecting their ancestors’ bones. After receiving a large number of complaints for years, officials at the convention center finally covered the sculpture in September 2013 and began investigating how to remove it without destroying both it and the bones it contains. Ultimately, an agreement was reached to allow Forgotten Inheritance to continue to be displayed.


Hananuma Masakichi was an artist who lived in the 19th century. Late in his life, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and decided that he wanted to immortalize himself by creating a life-size self-sculpture. He made the sculpture using an elaborate layout of mirrors that allowed him to carve the bits of himself he couldn’t see. He constructed each body part individually. The roughly 5,000 individual pieces of the sculpture are reportedly joined together so well that not even a magnifying glass can detect the seams.

Masakichi polished the model, used needles to poke tiny pores in the skin, and plucked hairs and inserted them into these pores. For each body part on the model, he used hair from the corresponding area on himself in order to create exact realism, right down to the eyelashes. He also pulled out all his own teeth, fingernails, and toenails and made eyes out of glass.

Masakichi finished in 1885 and would stand next to the sculpture so that people could try to guess which was human and which was art. Apparently, it was extremely difficult to tell. The sculpture is currently owned by Ripley’s Odditorium and has been restored and maintained by extremely talented professionals.