On the way home from the location I dare no longer speak about, I was “suitcase raped,” as my son dubbed it. TSA officials took an uncommon interest in me and my baggage. As I looked on in horror, they paraded the entire contents of my luggage in front of everyone, including my dirty underwear, painstakingly swabbing each and every item, right down to my toothbrush handle, looking for… what? Explosives residue, I assume. Anyway, it was seriously NOT fun, surprisingly humiliating, and really did feel like a personal violation which took me days to get over. (And yes, I understand that the word “rape” is an over-statement and probably ill-advised in this instance.)
As part of this ordeal, they went through my journal, notebooks, papers, etc., sometimes snickering at what they found there. They took particular interest in a COMIC BOOK called “Adventures in Synthetic Biology,” by Drew Endy, something I picked up at said unspeakable location.
Drew is a Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT and one of the people behind The BioBricks Foundation, a not-for-profit org of engineers and scientists from MIT, Harvard, UCSF, and elsewhere, “encouraging the development and responsible use of technologies based on the BioBrick standard of DNA parts that encode basic biological functions. You can read more about Drew’s work here, and more about BioBricks here. And if you want to see the comic book that entertained my new best pals at the TSA, an online version can be found here.