Human Skin and Permanent Tattoos

Our skin is huge. It is so big that it is larger than any of our organs. Yes, skin is the largest organ in our body. Still, we have never heard some of the most striking things about the human skin. Let us take a few minutes to skim through them before we talk about permanent tattoos.

Weight and Area: If our skin was cut and laid on the floor, it would cover an area of about 1.5 to 2 m2. If weighed on a scale, it would independently weigh about 3.5 kg (about 5% of your body weight).
To give you a perspective about its area, the same area in some posh localities of Mumbai would cost around $35000. Anyway, it sounds senseless to compare our skin’s area with real estate. So, given that no one has been able to artificially create an exact replica of it, I can’t really put a cost on it now. Let us talk about a nice estimation of its cost in the future. In terms of many functions it performs for our body, – a personal air conditioner, heater, shield, sensor, moisturizer etc – our skin, no doubt, is an invaluable asset.

In short, it is always good to think carefully about it, when you are planning a construction on this precious piece of real estate. Because bringing it down is going to be difficult.

Permanent Tattoos

To understand how permanent tattoos work, you need to understand the basic structure of skin.

Layers: Broadly, there are 3 main layers of skin – The Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis. The thickness varies at different parts. For instance, it is the thinnest at our eye-lids. Thinner skin is lighter. This enables you to complete the wink, in the wink of an eye.

Why Permanent?
Permanent tattoos on skin are permanent because of the 3 different layers. To put a tattoo on your skin a mechanized needle punctures your epidermis and sends colored particles to the epidermis. The body thinks of it as a damage that has been done to the body, and sends white blood cells to capture the color particles. But these particles are too big to be eaten by the white blood cells. As a result, they stay there permanently.

Why Avoid?

  1. It is not really Permanent: Later in your life, as the pigment moves and the folds of skin change, the “permanent tattoos” lose their sharpness. They start fading or get distorted. But a hazy and pointless mark remains there permanently.  At this point, people start regretting about their early life decisions. They start looking for methods to get rid of these hazy marks. Now, an expensive laser treatment seems like the best idea.
  2. Tattoos can kill you: While itching, swelling, rashes, bumps, and other skin reactions due to tattoos are very common; it should be known that tattoos can also kill you. Poorly made tattoo ink can contain hazardous chemicals which range from potentially carcinogenic substances to the presence of lead. Moreover, a wrong needle pierced at the wrong places, like your spine, could prove to be deadly. You don’t want these pigments in your blood stream.
    HIV or hepatitis from an infected needle can be another concern. But dying from a tattoo is extremely rare.
  3. Professional career: Also visible permanent tattoos aren’t good for your professional career. Most employees think it’s unacceptable for tattoos by be visible while at work. Also it is believed that tattoos should be covered up for a job interview.
  4. Tattoo removal can be expensive. Plus most of the time these methods don’t do their job perfectly. Often, permanent coloration is left after removal.
  5. This is not an exhaustive list. So, Etc…

It is a good idea to find some other way to prove your love.

If you are wondering why I wrote this – It was a side-effect of an effort to find a few common things in the randomness that I came across today while researching for a completely different article. Although the article might seem absurd, you can’t refute that it does teach you at least one new thing, for the day.

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Myths on Facebook – Negative Calorie Foods

By Anupum Pant

I have never felt the necessity to pay attention to diet related news/facts till date (now I do).
So, never in my life had I read the phrase “negative calorie foods”, until yesterday, when a friend posted the following “WTF fact” on Facebook:

Celery has negative calories! It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it.

BS! I cried, and like with everything I read on the internet, I was skeptical about this too. Hence, I decided to investigate. Here is what I found out.

Negative Calories in theory

Theoretically, it is indeed possible for edible items to be negative calorie foods. It works this way.

The body takes more calories to process a negative calorie food item than it (the food item) provides to the body. That basically means that you can sit all day, eat celery, fill your tummy and still keep losing weight. Sounds too good to be true. Exactly!

A Myth

It has been proved once and again that the number of calories your body burns while processing food is tiny when compared with the calories in that food item. So, scientists haven’t yet found a truly “negative calorie” food item.
For instance, a stalk of celery provides 6 calories to the body, but the body expends only half of a single calorie digesting it. That is +five and half calories. As expected, It isn’t negative. In fact, none of the foods advertised have been conclusively proved as actually negative calorie foods. Except one, which again, isn’t really food.

Ice cold water is the only known negative calorie thing you can ingest. It needs more amount of calories to get processed in the body than it give the body.  Most of this energy expended by the body goes into warming up the ice-cold water.

Celery is still good

However, that doesn’t mean celery is not a healthy food item. When compared to other greasy things you could ingest, celery of course is a good alternative (if you are looking to eat healthy). In terms of calorie intake, you’ll be doing great by eating a lot of celery to fill your stomach. But, positive calories mean that you’ll not lose weight unless you get moving. No wonder, virtually every dietitian has a load of celery mentioned in his/her diet plan.

Also, note that, while it is a good food, it isn’t something you could survive on. If you are thinking of trying an only-celery diet, you should know that you’ll be depriving your body of several necessary nutrients by trying that. Consult an informed nutritionist before trying a diet plan.

Finding an informed Nutritionist

To confirm if it is a good nutritionist you are talking to, you could probably test them by innocently inquiring if celery is a negative calorie food item or not. If he/she LOLs and tells you that it is a myth, it would be a good idea to go to them for diet plans.

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Ancient Brain Surgery 1000 Years Ago

By Anupum Pant

With specialized equipment and several other complications, we think we’ve come far with brain surgery. Today, brain surgery is supposed to be a modern advancement that enables us to treat obscure anomalies associated with the human brain. Of course we’ve advanced a lot, but there is no way we can reject the advancements in brain surgery attained during ancient times – Ancient brain surgery.

Trepanation: About 1000 years ago, ancient surgeons were already drilling through the human skulls; exposing the brain. Early Peru doctors were practicing a process called trepanation to treat a variety of brain related ailments.

The Story

Just a few days back, a research team led by UC Santa Barbara’s bioarchaeologist Danielle Kurin, excavated 32 skulls which illustrated that some sort of brain surgery was done on these Peruvian individuals back then. According to them, the skulls unearthed, had been drilled to treat swollen brains, or  of a neurological, spiritual or psychosomatic illnesses.

Around 1000 years ago, when a Peruvian empire was collapsing, on various skull, drilling and cutting methods were being employed to deal with challenges like violence, disease and depravation. This trend is seen as somewhat similar to how IED’s are driving exploration of prosthetic technology in the military now.  Exactly as guessed, not all of these ancient brain surgery procedures were successful, some of them did fail. But that is not the point.

According to Daniel Kurin talking about one of these 32 unearthed skull samples:

In one example, each hole is drilled a little deeper than the last. So you can imagine a guy in his prehistoric Peruvian medical school practicing with his hand drill to know how many times he needs to turn it to nimbly and accurately penetrate the thickness of a skull.

As noted by the lead researcher, a great amount of skill and practice was involved in these procedures. It is incredible to note that surgeons back then were using modern medical educational practices – using dead bodies to study physical sicknesses.

It wasn’t torture

Finally, if you’d argue that it could be a way to torture prisoners, scientists have something to disprove that theory too. What they were doing was not a way to torture people. They’ve found solid proofs that the skulls of individuals that were being drilled, were actually sick and were being operated upon by using proper operating procedures – like shaving hair before operating.