Like most states with active trade associations of barbers and beauticians, Iowa strictly regulates those professions, requiring 2,100 hours of training plus continuing education–but also like many other states, Iowa does not regulate body piercers at all (though it forbids minors from getting tattoos). Thus, the puncturing of body parts and insertion of jewelry or other objects under the skin can be done by anyone, with or without formal training, under no one’s watchful eye except the customer’s. (A few cities’ ordinances require a minimum age to get pierced.) Said one professional piercer to the Des Moines Register for a March report, “The lack of education in this industry is scary.”
CONTROLLING THE WATERS
A February bill in the Wyoming legislature to prepare the state for possible secession authorized a task force to consider establishing a state army, navy, marine corps and air force, and one amendment added the consideration of purchasing an aircraft carrier. Wyoming is, of course, landlocked, but it does have the 136-square-mile Yellowstone Lake, though that body of water is high up in the Teton mountains. (The aircraft carrier amendment was defeated even though 27 representatives voted for it.)
With a National Institute of Justice grant, the Houston Police Department was able to learn precisely how embarrassingly bad it had been in investigating rape cases. In February it conceded that, as of December, it had on hand 6,663 untested rape kits (some from the 1980s) taken from rape victims at the time of the crime but then apparently ignored. (Not all are significant: In some rapes, a perpetrator has already confessed or been convicted, and still other victims recanted, and in still others, the statute of limitations has run out.)
ART THAT SHOULD STINK
In March came word from Taiwan that the prominent Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts had awarded a prize worth the equivalent of $13,500 to student Wong Tin Cheung for creating the face of a man by using the artist’s own urine. His piece, “Blood Urine Man,” presented to judges in a toilet bowl, used urine of different colors, supposedly to match the pigments of the Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man.