How Wearable Computers Will Improve the Culture

Google's new glasses, which work like a hands-free smartphone, will continue to erase technological barriers to entering modern culture. Our storytelling ability stands to benefit greatly. 

What's the Latest Development?


Technology developers can now purchase Google's glasses, which work like a hands-free smartphone to display information, such as websites and emails, in your natural field of vision. Google's Project Glass, which developed the glasses, is significant because it represents a new generation of wearable electronics, effectively getting technology out of our way so we can enjoy its benefits, rather than being beholden to them. Instead of constantly looking at our mobile devices, as we do now, the next generation of devices will look at us and anticipate what we want. 

What's the Big Idea?

Bits blog writer Nick Bolton says Google's Project Glass will revolutionize our culture just as the motion picture did. The genius of the motion picture was its ability to erase barriers to entering the culture which were first erected by the book, barriers such as age, education, literacy and intelligence. "All these things share one distinct trait," said Bolton. "A theme that has helped usher in new technologies since people drew on cave walls: storytelling. Storytelling for information and communication." By making technological interfaces more seamless, our storytelling abilities will improve, and along with it, our culture.

Photo credit: Project Glass

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

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  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
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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)
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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."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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