Raising Children Better with Big Data
A host of new apps allows parents to digitally track every event in their newborn's life. But will the data deluge make people better parents or just more obsessed with data points?
What's the Latest Development?
A series of new apps allows parents to chart the development of their newborn baby by recording every diaper change, burp and sniffle. Taken together, this data may give parents a better view of how their child is progressing and what patterns emerge along the way. "Forthcoming versions of baby-data apps are poised to bring even more dramatic change, allowing parents to compare their child with other children in great detail. In place of sidelong glances on the playground and calls to the pediatrician, mothers and fathers will have a new and more definitive way of answering an old question: Is my child normal?"
What's the Big Idea?
But will the data deluge help relieve the nerves which accompany parenting's early stages or make parents obsess over minute data points? The answer will likely depend on how skilled parents are at using the software to separate important variables, such as how nutrition affects sleep time. Monica Rogati, who is a new mother and professional data cruncher, says the new apps will help parents determine if their child is out of the ordinary. "He’s in the 50th percentile, he is perfectly normal." Or "This is in the 99.9th percentile. Maybe this is not normal." It will be a way, she says matter-of-factly, "to debug your baby for problems."
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
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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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