Today, people are talking about the white male gunman in Colorado who killed three people on Friday, including a police officer. Some are suggesting that if he were black, the police officers would have killed him, but since he is white he was captured. Others are suggesting that the shooting illustrates why we need to be afraid of homegrown white male terrorists and not afraid of refugees. Some are noting the irony of a prolife gunman while others are saying that a shooting is no worse than all of the fetuses being aborted.
In one Facebook discussion a person commented that they were “with simplistic use of a tragedy to validate other viewpoints”. To a certain extent, I agree with that. Yet the person goes on to say “They are mutally [sic] exclusive”. Here is my response to that comment:
I think it is simplistic to believe they are mutually exclusive. Hate and fear drives extremism; hatred for people who live by different moral codes. Fear of those who live by different moral codes.
To the extent that people can focus on refugees, racism, and domestic terrorists at the same time, the commonality may be less significant. However too many people, especially in communications, focus on one topic to the exclusion of others, leading to distractions that allow other type of hatred and violence to flourish.
I’ve never been a big one for makeup, tattoos, are various forms of body decorations, but recently, Kim shared a post about glitter beards and I was curious about how they get the glitter to stay in their beards.
One of the first sites I came to talked about latex body paint. That’s not something I want to use in my beard. I can’t imagine what it would be like to get the paint out. However, rereading the article, it appears as if they were using latex body paint for people that don’t have beards to make a faux-glitter beard. A later article suggested that beard oil, hair oil, or even hairspray would do the trick.
I’m not sure when I would glitter my beard. It just isn’t a decoration I would normally wear. Perhaps if I were doing something special with my three daughters, I would consider it, but one is in Japan, one is in Boston, and one is at home, so I don’t foresee any opportunity to glitter my beard for them, and I really don’t think glittering my beard for work parties, political gatherings, etc., really fits. Maybe an Ingress gathering, but I’d have to have green glitter.
Putting aside beard glittering, I stumbled across an interesting article: “Tech Tats” Turn Wearable Devices into Cyberpunk Body Art. It pointed to work Chaotic Moon is doing in this area. It looks very interesting, but appears to be still more of a concept than a product.
The stories about Tech Tats often lead to discussions about the quantified self. This is an area I’m really interested in, merging my health care work and my technology interests. I probably won’t make it to the Quantified Self Meetup in NYC in December, but I’m following what they are doing.
For two years, I wore Google Glass, and while I found it interesting and somewhat useful, the biggest thing I found lacking was any sort of useful sensors. I would like wearable device that could track activity level, heart rate, blood pressure, O2 level, blood sugar levels, cortisol levels, etc. I would like to know how these change during a normal day. I’d like to have a baseline so that if my averages start shifting, I could be notified to investigate what might be going on.
I played with the Samsung Gears for a little bit and didn’t find it all that compelling. I’ve looked at the Withings Pulse O2, but it needs to be manually engaged to do a reading. It doesn’t seem quite ready for prime time.
All of this takes me back to the Tech Tats. Is it possible to build a continuous O2 monitor as a Tech Tat? What about continuous monitors for blood sugar or cortisol?
So, I looked a little more closely at the idea behind Tech Tats. It seems as if part of what they are using, at least for the prototypes is BarePaint - Conductive Paint. This paint comes with a warning,
Note: Bare Paint is not meant for use on skin!
Note: Bare Paint is not waterproof, but depending on what your application is you can paint over it with a waterproof paint or varnish. On the bright side this does make for easy cleanup.
Perhaps, you could paint a layer of latex body paint, then paint the circuits using conductive paint, and then paint over the circuits to make them water proof.
A simple idea would be to paint circuits that could be connected or not based on touching fingers together. These could be very simple circuits that light up LEDs when circuits are connected. They could even, potentially, be multi-person circuits; one person with the battery, others with LEDs.
Then, there is the idea of adding logic to the circuits. It seems like the ATtiny85 and related devices could easily be part of tech tats and provide the logic.
Of course, some of the real fun could come if you start adding Bluetooth to connect to a mobile device, RFID paint, or NFC connectivity. All of this, probably moves more in the direction of programmable highly interactive makeup for fancy parties, and not so much for quantified self experimentation, but it could be a stepping stone.
This morning I’ve been thinking about what is in my Facebook News Feed. How much would people be thankful? How much would they be making political statements about Thanksgiving? How much would other politics be part of the mix?
So, I coded the top fifty status updates. Here’s what I came up with: Twenty were about Thanksgiving. Thirteen of those had some sort of added message, often about feeding the poor or welcoming refugees. Included in the Thanksgiving posts were the requisite posts about Black Friday and Alice’s Restaurant.
Eleven were political statements of one sort or another. Comments related to the unrest in Chicago was most common, followed by comments about Trump (all negative), and Obama (mixed). Six were advertisements.
Five were about the world of entertainment, and eight were about other stuff, including a post about cats, a post about religion, and random other things.
It’s interesting to think about this as we spend a day being thankful, and perhaps bring a little more gratitude and a little less negatively to Facebook.
So, what’s in your feed?
“The days are surely coming” says the prophet
as I glance at my news feed
at the worries of this life,
When people will faint from fear
of refugees and neighbors.
The arguments abound online
about if we should show
and to whom.
Which politician, priest,
should lead us?
Will this leader
be the one,
the savior, redeemer
There are wars
and rumors of war.
Will this battle be decisive?
Will this war end all wars?
And what part will we play
in the Christmas pageant
at the barricades
in this casual comedy?