Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Mystery Of Genetics And A Bar Of Coal Tar Soap

For my Sepia Saturday post last week I was trying to decide whether a young soldier in an old family photograph was my grandfather, Enoch Burnett. I do not have any pictures of Enoch as a young man, so I was left with guesswork and the helpful suggestions of other Sepians ("Sepian" = Sepia Saturday contributor). It was only after I had published the post that I thought of running the photographs through the facial recognition software which forms part of the Google photo-management suite, Picasa 3. If you have never tried the facial recognition on Picasa 3, it is well worth the experiment : the software is free to download, and once you identify one face it will work its way through all your photographs looking for a match. It is frighteningly accurate and mis-matches tend to have genetic roots (mistaking parent for child, or sibling for sibling). It is a powerful reminder of the power of genetics.

I received another powerful reminder of genetics the other morning when I went for my bath. For years I have been addicted to Wright's Coal Tar Soap with its powerful aroma of thick tar and its enticing colour of congealed custard. Another great advantage is that I have never met anyone else who likes the stuff, and thus I am normally guaranteed my bar of soap, unpilfered by other hands, undiminished by other latherings. On reaching for the familiar bar of soap I discovered that it was gone : taken to the shower by a foreign hand. The Lad is back at home at the moment in the run-up to his Finals, and it didn't take me long to discover that he was the culprit. It appears that, unknown to me and almost independent of me, he has also developed an addiction for coal tar soap. Now that is the power of genetics.

7 comments:

  1. It seems that there's no end of handy programs to do what ever we need.
    So what do they say, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"

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  2. Well, either genetics or childhood imprinting ... depends which side you are on, nature or nurture?

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  3. We always had Wright's in the soap dish. Hmm, I'll pick some up with the next shop. I wonder if my face will still be recognisable after using it, though?

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  4. So what did the software say? Was it him?

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  5. From my work as a sulptor I've learnt that ears are as individualistic as finger prints. The ears certainly seem to match Enoch's.

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  6. Look like the same ears to me..what did your fancy software say? You left us hanging..
    Buy the lad his own supply of soap:)

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  7. I can smell that soap now... My grandpa always used it. I didn't get the addiction though. I think it's a man-thing!

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