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Joy

Street artist creates delightful 3D scenes in walls and walkways for everyone to enjoy

David Zinn's characters bring joy to the lucky folks that happen to come upon them before they wash away.

3d street art

David Zinn creates art from what he sees everywhere he goes.

Street artists are a special breed. While "the art world" can sometimes be a snooty, elite place for those with means, street art is made for everyone. Sometimes that means large public murals, but street art can be small, too. In fact, some of the best street art is so small you might miss it if you're not paying attention. But those who are can discover some delightful surprises.



Just imagine walking down a sidewalk and seeing this little fella at your feet:

Or this young lady:

Or this creature:

That would make your day, wouldn't it? Or at least bring a smile to your face for a while?

Public art is an act of love to strangers, a way of connecting to people without saying a word. It says, "Hey there, fellow human. Here's a little something to make you smile, just because."

That's the beauty of David Zinn's street art. It's meant for the public—just average passers-by—to enjoy, individually and collectively.

Zinn has created an entire world of characters who pop up in unexpected places. For instance, meet Gerald the otter, who is waiting for a blind date in this tree stump.

Zinn uses chalk and charcoal to make his cast of characters come to life in cracks and crevasses, sidewalks and tree trunks. His creations aren't meant to last forever; in fact, as Zinn points out, the temporary nature of them adds value to them.

"Famous works of art hanging in museums get seen by thousands of people every day. But this? You could be among the dozens of people who get to see this while it exists," he told CBS Mornings. "That's pretty special."

Watch how he takes something he finds in the sidewalk and transforms it into a sweet little duo.

Sometimes he uses natural things he finds as inspiration for a piece.

Other times, he uses something human-made, like this upside down terra cotta pot:

Or this manhole cover:

Sometimes the shape of a rock lends itself to a character, like Keith and his emotional support chick here:

Or the space itself serves as inspiration.

Nadine the mouse features in many of Zinn's pieces, probably due to her small size making it easy for her to fit into small spaces.

Usually his pieces use what's already there—like a crack in the sidewalk—to tell a story.

The 3D nature of his drawings make it feel as if his characters are truly there.

"Looks like another long day of things stubbornly refusing to be impossible," he writes in a caption of one of his "pigasuses."

(Speaking of having wings, Nadine found a pair for herself.)

Watch Zinn turn a simple pot into a character with personality in a matter of minutes:

His entire Instagram page, Facebook page and TikTok channel are filled with endless delight. It was nearly impossible to decide what to include in this article because I wanted to include everything.

This is all well and good, you might say to yourself, but how does Zinn make a living if he's not selling this art?

He sells books and prints of photos of his artwork on his online store. He also gets invited to schools and events. He has created a career for himself by rejecting blank canvases, putting his imagination out on the street for everyone to see for a while, then selling versions that will actually last. Pretty brilliant, really.

Zinn gave a fascinating TEDx Talk explaining how he found his own artistic niche. You'll never look at a parking meter or sidewalk the same way again.

This article originally appeared on 02.12.22

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

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Watching David's face during the scene change is sheer delight, as her confused look proves that she has no clue what is about to happen.

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Surgeons prepared to separate 3-year-old conjoined twins in Brazil using virtual reality.

The things human beings have figured out how to do boggles the mind sometimes, especially in the realm of medicine.

It wasn't terribly long ago that people with a severe injury had to liquor up, bite a stick, have a body part sewn up or sawed off and hope for the best. (Sorry for the visual, but it's true.) The discoveries of antibiotics and anesthesia alone have completely revolutionized human existence, but we've gone well beyond that with what our best surgeons can accomplish.

Surgeries can range from fairly simple to incredibly complex, but few surgeries are more complicated than separating conjoined twins with combined major organs. That's why the recent surgical separation of conjoined twin boys with fused brains in Brazil is so incredible.

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