The next time fish-pedicure enthusiasts dunk their feet in a vat of squirming, skin-nibbling, toothless carp, they may get more than they bargained for—especially if those fish just feasted on diseased skin. Health officials, fearing the spread of infections, have now launched a major investigation into this allegedly fishy beauty technique.
In the UK, fish pedicures are booming, which is great for beauty clinics because the procedure costs upwards of £50 ($81 U.S.). Visitors place their feet in a tank full of Garra rufa fish—a variety of Turkish toothless carp—and sit back while the fish eat away their dead skin. These foot-fetishistic fish have been nicknamed “doctor fish,” and though more and more UK citizens are dunking their feet, the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA) has a hunch that this procedure may be doing more harm than good.
Over the past six months, several environmental health officers have contacted the HPA about the dangers of fish pedicures, leading to the present investigation, which hopes to discover whether fish spa pedicures spread infections. Quoting an HPA agency member, BBC News reports:
“Alongside colleagues in environmental health, Health Protection Scotland and the Health and Safety Laboratory, the HPA will examine the most up to date evidence of any possible risks associated with Garra rufa fish pedicures and will publish guidelines that will be available UK-wide.”
Today, West Vancouver officials will roll out a new way to keep drivers alert and slow them down: a little girl speed bump. A trompe-l’œil, the apparently 3D girl located near the École Pauline Johnson Elementary School is actually a 2D pavement painting, similar to the one shown here.
In what sounds like a terrifying experience, the girl’s elongated form appears to rise from the ground as cars approach, reaching 3D realism at around 100 feet, and then returning to 2D distortion once cars pass that ideal viewing distance. Its designers created the image to give drivers who travel at the street’s recommended 18 miles per hour (30 km per hour) enough time to stop before hitting Pavement Patty–acknowledging the spectacle before they continue to safely roll over her.
The illusion is part of a $15,000 safety program that will run this week, led by the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation and the public awareness group Preventable.ca. As drivers approach, the police will monitor the fake girl’s effects. Despite fears that drivers may stop suddenly or swerve into actual 3D children, David Duane of the BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation told CTV news that the bump was meant to bring attention to driver-caused pedestrian injuries, and that the fake girl should not cause accidents:
“It’s a static image. If a driver can’t respond to this appropriately, that person shouldn’t be driving….”
In 2008, Philadelphia used similar, virtual speed bumps–more common in Europe–in its “Drive CarePhilly” campaign. Philadelphia, however, chose a less anthropomorphic route–opting for three spikes.
UPDATE: Preventable.ca answers some questions about the experiment in a new blog post.
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Image: Handout/Preventable.ca via PhysOrg.com
When OSHA comes knocking on your lab’s door, you’d better be prepared to explain just how careful you are with your acids, Bunsen burners, and the like. With that in mind, check out The Safety Song from The Sounds of Science, a small group of Berkeley grad students and alums that express their love of science and music with… puppets.
For more from The Sounds of Science, click here.
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Video: YouTube / nanomonster1
This year, Disco thought we’d get into the spirit of Halloween and dress up in a space suit. So we went to a costume store and bought a silver unitard for the occasion. But when we took the suit out of the bag, it smelled like a new shower curtain. Earlier this year, a national environmental organization found that shower curtains contained high concentrations of phthalates and released volatile organic compounds it to the air (which are all chemicals that the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized as hazardous).
Which would explain why the smell made us feel nauseous. We checked the tag to see what the unitard was made out of: 100 percent polyester, made in China.
So is this costume safe to wear today?