Companies that Hold the Most Private Data Are Invisible to the Public
Forget Google. Larger data-gathering corporations combine decades of pre-Internet consumer research with online tracking tools to create a frighteningly powerful database.
What's the Latest Development?
By combining decades of individualized consumer research with the power of online tracking, little-publicized data collection companies are amassing unprecedented amounts of information on individuals and families across the US. Acxiom Corporation, for example, is the "quiet giant" of the multibillion-dollar database marketing industry. "Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the US." Federal authorities are concerned about the low public profile of such powerful companies.
What's the Big Idea?
As a result of the breadth of information held by Acxiom, certain individuals are targeted in an extremely specific manner by advertisers, individuals who are judged to be sensitive to suggestions made by sellers' campaigns. But concerns arise over the industry's habit of labeling some individuals as 'waste', i.e. people who do not respond to ads. "...if marketing algorithms judge certain people as not worthy of receiving promotions for higher education or health services, they could have a serious impact." Concerns also abound over how these massive companies protect consumer data. As one New York Times reporter found out, not very well...
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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.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
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."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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