Jeff Jarvis on the Risk of Putting Our Lives Online

Question: Is there a risk to putting so much personal information online?

Jeff Jarvis: No, it’s a rather scaredy cat way to look at things. So what if it’s online, so what if it’s on the phone, so what if it’s on the street? It’s life and what we forget about the internet is that it actually, I think, makes life in some ways more intense and more social.

You know as I was testing search engines through the years, I would use, like other guys, the friends of my old girlfriend’s name and I would go through and search my girlfriends. Most of them didn’t have any Google shadow. I have a long Google shadow because I have a blog and a big ego; but one of my old girlfriends found me. Now that could not have happened before Google and we had conversations and I apologized for being a bad guy in the old days, and that was kind of a gift.

But as I thought about this, I realized that living online with these constant connections could even change the nature of friendship. If I were 17 years old today, and I was bad to my high school girlfriend, that’s going to leave me because she’s going to know where I am, I’m going to know where she is, I can’t get away from her; and I almost wonder whether that changes the way I behave.

The President of Google has said that perhaps we need to have a law that allows us to all change our names at age 21 so we can forget the past. But we won’t be able to. So our past will stay with us and I think that will make us better behaved. And when we’re badly behaved, well you know what, we have mutually assured humiliation because I had my drunk picture and you have your drunk picture and that’s life. So what’s the big deal?

Inhaling or not inhaling won’t be so important in the Presidential campaigns as we go forward.

So living online means we’re living with people. It’s a mistake to think that the internet is a medium, that’s media people projecting their view of the world on the internet. The internet is not, it’s a connection machine.

Doc Searls the blogger says it’s a place where we talk. So when you realize that the internet is really about connecting people with information and people with each other. It intensifies life, it’s better to have it. I get to meet people around the world I never could have met, I get to stay in touch with old friends I couldn’t have done, I get to do more business, I get to hear more ideas. The internet is a distilled life, it’s a wonderful life, it’s more efficient. I’m not worrying about what the programmer put on TV today, I’m choosing my own stuff. So living on the internet, I think, is living much better.

Recorded on: April 30, 2008

That, Jarvis says, is a scardy-cat way of looking at it.

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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.