Lunch in Mifuentes

We took the bus to Villa Nova Mifuentes (“Meel-fonch” to the English speakers) today because it is beach season and there’s more transport to the beach colonies then to São Luis. The weather was perfect: breezy, blue, and warm. We ate for about two and half hours at the Porto das Barcas. This is the expensive restaurant in town with a cliff view from the terrace of the ocean, where Maja Smrekar’s two dogs (Byron & Ada) were welcome to join us. The olives and tomatoes were local. My meal was like a frittata, with eggs and potatoes and rosemary all mixed together, but not as crispy and cooked in plenty of olive oil. We drank a local(ish) Vino Verde Soalheiro Alvarinho. For dessert Marta chose a “pajama” which she explained was a plate with one of everything: mousse, chocolate cake, stewed plum, lemon mousse, banana nut cheesecake, and the ubiquitous Portuguese flan.

Marta de Menezes has injured her knee, dancing at her birthday party, so she sent the more able of us over the cliff and down the marble laced granite to the waterside to look at anemones and shrimp and barnacles.

Maja explained that one of her art projects involved making a sort of chimera with her own mitochondria and her dog’s stem cells (retrieved at the time of spaying). But the law forbids such a thing from being grown into a puppy clone, in this case, with a few of her own cell parts. So the zygote is frozen somewhere in nitrogen until we can invent both a reviving process for frozen zygotes and some science that can actually do productive things with stem cells. And maybe an ethical science policy that actually understands the cloning process.

I was speaking with Emma Frow and Jamey Wetmore at ASU about stem cells: the stem cell therapies that are promised in American clinics that specialize in this are not scientifically validated in any way. People report feeling better, no client understands the actual science, and the providers are stealing money selling patent medicine to hopeful, suffering people who are without many options: 21st century style quackery. There are over 750 of these clinics operating in the U.S.

Marta has tubes of fruit flies in the living room. They can poop whatever color we feed them in their food. The plan is to hack a printer with color fly poop ink. And in another area, there’s a plan to make a hydrophilic silkscreen medium to print a seeded bed of colored ink in which plants will grow on the print.