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The Continuing Crisis | The Job of Researcher

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published June 30, 2015

The Continuing Crisis | The Job of Researcher

The three gentle grammar pedants (one an environmental lawyer calling himself "Agente Punto Final," i.e., "Agent Period") devoted to ridding Quito, Ecuador, of poorly written street graffiti, have been patrolling the capital since November 2014, identifying misplaced commas and other atrocities and making sneaky corrective raids with spray paint. Punto Final told The Washington Post in March that he acts out of "moral obligation" -- that "punctuation matters, commas matter, accents matter." As police take vandalism seriously in Quito, the three must act stealthily, in hoodies and ski masks, with one always standing lookout. [Washington Post, 3-6-2015]

Biologist Regine Gries of Canada's Simon Fraser University devotes every Saturday to letting about 5,000 bedbugs suck blood from her arm -- part of research by Gries and her biologist-husband Gerhard to develop a pheromone-based "trap" that can lure the bugs from infested habitats like bedding. (She estimates having been bitten 200,000 times since the research began, according to a May Wired magazine report.) Regine holds each mesh-topped jar of bugs against her arm for about 10 minutes each (which Gerhard cannot do because he is allergic) -- leading, of course, to hours of itchiness and swelling in the name of progress. [Wired, May 2015] ________________________________________

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