Creative Destruction: From Genesis to Picasso to Apple Computers


Jeff DeGraff:  How does innovation create and destroy value?  It's really interesting.  In almost all the wisdom traditions, all the religions, there is always a figure who not only creates all the world, but destroys the entire world.  Picasso used to say, "I am the great destroyer," and of course he invented most of the art movements or at least a lion's share of them in the 20th century.  The challenge is, until you make room for something new, there will be no opportunity to do something.

So think about your own life for a minute.  Think about what is going on in your life.  You might have a novel in you.  You might have a symphony in you.  You might have a new company in you, but until you create capacity to innovate you'll never get to it.  So what I advise people to do is look for what you can kill or stop now because you'll never have capacity, and a lot of what stops innovation is the standard operating procedures that you've got now.  Sometimes it's a lot better to stop something than it is to start it.

My favorite example of a company scenario of this is Apple Computer.  I mean, Apple was in the business of making clones, basically, and trying to compete with our friends who ran on the Microsoft operating system.  So what was interesting was before Apple could get to those really interesting iMacs with all the candy colors, they had to stop production on their existing beige machines, which cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in a time when they were slipping into bankruptcy.  Now almost no company would ever do that.  That is very dangerous move. 

Similarly, back in the day, Microsoft owned the operating system DOS.  It had over 80% of all DOS, all operating systems in the world, but in order to introduce Windows it had to get rid of DOS, which it did to make room for Windows.  So half of the challenge is having the courage, the temerity, the will to actually stop doing something, which is infinitely harder than starting something new.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd


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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.