Cloning a Millionaire

5 Intriguing Things is a daily curated collection of links that help us think about the future. 
Donald Lokuta

1. In 1978, a well-respected science journalist published a book claiming a millionaire had cloned himself. The writer remains convinced

"In His Image: The Cloning of a Man is science writer David Rorvik's account of his involvement in the search for a doctor willing to traverse the uncharted territory of human cloning, and a whirlwind tale of the unusual cloning procedure itself.... despite its best-selling status, the book was released into a storm of controversy and often panned, or ignored, by a scientific community whose members doubted the validity of Rorvik's story.  Now, however, with news that Scottish scientists have cloned a mammal, the very community that shunned Rorvik's claims is embracing the new technology and delighting in its simplicity. So might Rorvik's story not have been a hoax? Does the birth of Dolly, a cloned sheep, lend validity to the claims of a cloned human set forth between the covers of  In His Image?"

Rorvik is still alive. I want to find him.


2. The taxi lobby is going hard after ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft on insurance issues.

 "The only certain route to insurance safety is full-time commercial auto liability insurance coverage and transparency. Until then, these companies will continue to seek record profits by shifting the substantial financial cost of commercial insurance onto passengers, drivers, innocent bystanders and local governments in the form of public safety risks to all."


3. How women got left out of the ultrasound picture.

"In the earliest years, images of ultrasound featured both the patient and the “patient within.” They depicted the symbiosis of pregnancy, giving visual weight to both... Typically, the photograph depicts the pregnant woman, the entire machine, the doctor operating the machine, and a glimpse of the “semi-mystical” fetal image in the corner... The frame was cropped and the focus zoomed in on the fetus itself. This cropping creates a powerful illusion of fetal non-contingency and autonomy.  The reproductive technology that Life  presaged in 1965 mimics the arc of reproductive politics. Or, perhaps, the sonogram technology itself helped cause that arc to take shape, because the technology tends to crop out of view the reality that pregnancy is a symbiosis between a woman’s body and a fetus. And out of view, out of mind."


4. The selfie photobooth mystery of the (20th) century.

"The 445 images – silver gelatin prints owned by photography historian Donald Lokuta – were taken over the three decades from the Great Depression through the swinging ’60s, when the booths were most popular. 'There’s quite an age difference in the photos: You see him as younger man and then with a white, receding hairline and wrinkles,' says Lokuta, who came across a few of these images at a New York City antiques show in 2012. Upon learning that the antiques dealer had hundreds of these portraits of the same man, Lokuta knew he had to keep them together and purchased them all. 'As a historian, I knew this was very rare, but on a deeper level, I wondered, 'Why would somebody want to take almost 500 photos of himself in a photobooth?'"


5. Nearly half (46%) of Internet-using senior citizens are on social networks.

"As is the case for the online population as a whole, older women are more likely than older men to use social networking sites. Half (52 percent) of female internet users ages 65+ are social networking site adopters, compared with 39 percent of older men. Social networking site usage is also more common among the younger cohort of seniors, and adoption drops off dramatically after age 80. Some 54 percent of internet users ages 65-69 use social networking sites, compared with just 27 percent of internet users ages 80 and older."


Today's 1957 American English Usage Tip:

baloney. If the (US) slang word is used, the spelling is baloney. The sausage is Bologna.

+ That's a bunch of bologna. 


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A Cloned Human Set Forth Between the Covers

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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