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There exists, in Nature, a serendipitous link between pigment and time, not unlike a Liquid Crystal Display. But first, let me take you on a patronising scientific journey...
Consider, the small matter of pigment. Let us ignore, blood flow and Carotene for the moment, and say that the colour of
our skin is determined purely by the pigment Melanin. This wonderful substance has allowed many essentially-identical human beings to oppress and kill each other for centuries by focusing on a superficial difference :- but, I digress... Melanin is produced in sub-cellular organelles called Melanosomes located within specialised skin cells known as Melanocytes. The amount of melanin increases in response to sunlight (i.e. tanning) and genetic heritage. Voila - a Liquid Pigment Display.
Now all we need is a clock - enter the Pineal gland... The Pineal gland or "Third Eye" is located just behind the regular eyes and responds to seasonal factors, such as the amount of daylight and the availability of LSD (see link). It produces two chemicals; Seratonin, and by happy coincidence, Melatonin. These are produced in a regular oscillating beat known as the "Circadian Rhythm". Melatonin directly effects melanocytes, inhibiting the production of melanin...
To take advantage of this, I propose a tattoo that helps you remember important dates, such as anniversaries and tax returns. The tattoo in question would display a date and message in a prominent place thus removing any need to write notes on the palm of your hand with a pen.
Taking some basic scientific notions, and ignoring many others, one could 'morph' from one digit to another just like a cheap wrist-watch. Given the almost unlimited supply of skin that some Americans possess, it would also be possible to create much longer messages than Cell phone SMS technology currently allows.
To summarise, we need a "Fourth Eye", a Digital Pigment Assistant (DPA) [patent pending] located at or near the palm of your hand.
note: This won't work in cold climates (lack of sunlight, gloves, etc)...
LCD and Third Eye
Don't try this at home [riposte, Mar 26 2001]
Without all the melanin babble. [egnor, Mar 26 2001]
Pedometer fake tattoo
Much more specific application. [egnor, Mar 26 2001]
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||Indeed, one could 'tattoo' the name of a loved ones, whilst retaining the ability to 'cycle' their names faster than the destination signs on a Bus.
||Unfortunately, Melatonin is also a powerful inhibitor of sexual activity. This palm device would need to be placed a respectful distance from the wrist, lest vigorous motion cause premature release of the hormone...
||Then again, this might provide a helpful negative feedback loop?
||So you really *could* cheat on an exam by writing the answers on the inside of your eyelids!
||So, if we ignore all the rambling, you're suggesting that we implant some kind of (magic) device which (magically) stimulates local melanin production, (magically) accelerating the pigmentation process so that your skin color can change in real time?
||In other words, "blah blah blah melanin melatonin LSD blah stream of consciousness blah ... active tattoos!". So, see links.
||Oooh... magic tricks would be good!
"Pick a card, any card... look, see... the symbol is now on my hand!..."