Friday, July 28, 2017

Lo Fi Biometric Data

July 2017, BBC

Yes it’s true – you can swab your armpits, put that swab in a jar for the next twenty years, and eventually use it to find yourself amidst your own sliver alert (a public alert system for missing persons in the US).

If you haven’t read the 1985 olfactory crime thriller Perfume, you might not think the same thing when you read headlines like this. In the story, the main character with the nose of steel wraps bodies in a cocoon of fat-laced paper, absorbing the victim’s unique scent, and concentrating it into a kind of olfactive mind control substance that allows him to shapeshift his own persona while committing more crimes or just turning an entire town into an orgy.

Anyway, in the same era where employers are chipping their workers, and face rec algorithms are so good they can be used with as much accuracy as a fingerprint, it’s cool to see such simple methods for finding missing persons.

Post Script
 The conversation on my last date led to her revealing to me the secret techniques of pet detectives (yes they exist). Her cat escaped from her apartment, and never having been outside the apartment, could not figure out how to get back in. Turns out that what a pet detective does is have you piss in a bottle, then spill that bottle outside the front door to your apartment. It’s not enough that your neighbors will complain, but certainly enough that your cat will recognize it as a sign of home, and begin hanging out around where you spilled your piss, and eventually you will be reunited. (And probably because this is what I end up talking about on dates, I’m still single, no pet detective necessary to solve that one.)

image source: shutterstock

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