Tarry for the Nonce

July 20, 2005

Encoded Data

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:44 am

Money at your fingertips:

Researchers in Japan have managed to carve tiny numbers and pictures into a fingernail, in the form of microscopic dots burnt into the nail by laser.

The team has only managed the feat on nail clippings so far, but they hope the process could one day be used to securely carry information on live fingertips. It might even replace credit cards, they suggest, although you’d have to get your information carved in every six months or so as the nail grows out.

Yoshio Hayasaki of the University of Tokushima and colleagues say a single fingernail could accommodate something like 800 kilobytes of data. That won’t provide room for a high-resolution photo, but would be enough to store basic identification information.

I am thinking: what misery to have to reimage your fingernails every six months! And how easy it would be to “lose” your credit card if you smash your finger in a door. And how tempting it would be to simply cut off the fingers of mugging victims to get at their financial accounts.

Does anyone think this is a good idea?



  1. If a fingernail could hold 800 Kilobytes, imagine what the whole body could hold! I, for one, can’t wait for the day when I can just swipe my hand over something to pay for groceries or have someone scan my forehead while walking into a store….

    Of course, the whole Christian anti-Christ thing will prevent that, or become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s say the government said ‘hey, you have to do this to trade goods and services’… the Christians would refuse, and they would be hunted down like dogs…(probably not our government, but you never know, what with all the Constitutional abuse we’ve seen in the last few administrations, including this one).

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 20, 2005 @ 12:34 pm

  2. This is starting a tangent but what’s the deal with the mark of the beast? Is the story that the government will require that everyone have to use some kind of universal insignia in order to conduct business?

    Does that include credit cards and cash which is issued by the government? Does it include biometrics like fingerprints or is it just stuff added on like a tatoo?

    I should probably go to chick.com. I’m sure he has a helpful cartoon explaining camly how exactly this will all go down.

    Comment by Mark — July 20, 2005 @ 2:29 pm

  3. but back to the topic at hand, I don’t think this is much more than a novelty. between just scuffing your nails and getting them dirty, I can’t see much use. The only neat application I can think of is for it to be used as a keycard. It’s got built in security since it will need to be changed every few weeks no matter how lazy you are.

    Comment by Mark — July 20, 2005 @ 2:31 pm

  4. Hahaha…. hey, it worked!

    The Mark
    The ‘Mark of the Beast’ comes from The Revelation to John (ie. Book of Revelations), Chapter 13, verse 18:

    Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.

    Other translations say ‘…number of a man…’

    A footnote accompanies the New American Bible text:
    8 [18] Each of the letters of the alphabet in Hebrew as well as in Greek has a numerical value. Many possible combinations of letters will add up to 666, and many candidates have been nominated for this infamous number. The most likely is the emperor Caesar Nero (see the note on Rev 13:3), the Greek form of whose name in Hebrew letters gives the required sum. (The Latin form of this name equals 616, which is the reading of a few manuscripts.) Nero personifies the emperors who viciously persecuted the church. It has also been observed that “6” represents imperfection, falling short of the perfect number “7,” and is represented here in a triple or superlative form.

    What the footnote fails to mention is that this is likewise the number of talents of gold attributed to Solomon in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 9, verse 13 (and 1 Kings Chapter 10 verse 14):
    The gold that Solomon received each year weighed six hundred and sixty-six gold talents,

    Other Things to Consider
    If we look at the number 6 in the bible, it typically represents man. And the number 3 represents God (or divinity); hence, 666 could also be interpreted to mean man trying to become, or placing himself at an equal place with, God (and, if we tie that back to what Lucifer did to fall from grace, we can see that this would probably be undesireable within this God-world view context).

    Anyway…the ‘mark’ of the beast is just that, a mark. On mere speculation, I’ve always interpreted that to mean something that is permanent, and visible or tangeable(ie. a microchip under the skin, for instance). There have always been people who try to interpret this or that (bar codes, microchips, social security #s, www (W in hebrew is also the Hebrew number for 6), Bill Gate’s name (William Gates III in Ascii equates to 666, & he’s about as rich as they come, and has lots of influence over people via Windows), etc) as the mark of the beast.

    Revelations Chapter 13, verse 16 – 17:
    It [the second beast] forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.

    However, other interpretations indicate…to have a character in their right hand or on their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, but he that hath the character, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    So, its unclear what this might mean. I would wager it merely means it is something that doesn’t naturally occur and is forced upon people in order to trade goods.

    Going back to the history (search for Darby) of the paranoia behind the book of revelations…and the rapture

    I personally think the beasts are more allegorical, as in Daniel’s descriptive prophecies, and represent a nation or nations.

    In fact, at one point I took Nixon’s quote likening the U.S. Government to an uncontrollable beast to an extreme, but quickly discarded that theory, as the symbols used to describe the beast would have been more descriptive of the US. Of course, with the EU, perhaps the US is the beast from the sea and the beast from the land is the EU… after all, the US is EU in a number of languages (Estados Unidos, et al.). But then, the allusions to the dragon and communism in modern private revelation resurface, and make me think this is not the case.

    The whole idea of a ‘rapture’ is erroneous (IMHO) because of one particular reason:
    1. This would indicate that Christ would come back twice, and not just once (well, that theory which is propagated throughout Christendom which indicates Christ will rapture believers before or in the middle of the tribulations).
    2. The Revelation to John clearly indicates that Christians, or those who had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life, would either suffer in captivity, or would be killed. If God is just, He would not allow one group of people to be given a ‘get out of tribulation free’ card, and let another group suffer. As Christ said, “the weed will be allowed to grow along side the wheat until the harvest.” (Doh, I think I just found a way to prove me wrong…but I’ll post it anyway).

    Chapter 13 verses 8 – 10:
    All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.
    Whoever has ears ought to hear these words.
    Anyone destined for captivity goes into captivity. Anyone destined to be slain by the sword shall be slain by the sword. Such is the faithful endurance of the holy ones.

    Of course, the Catholic view is that this has already occurred during Caesar Nero’s reign.

    So, my general view is that God will protect His people, and we shouldn’t worry about/fear such things. However, I will probably write a novel all about it someday because its big bucks….of course, it will be much better than the Left Behind series (can’t really get much worse than that!).
    Some related articles:Rapturehttp://www.catholic.com/library/rapture.asp

    Oh, one more thing… I think the fingernail data thing would be a good way to pass phone numbers when clubbing. You just press your fingernail up to someone elses, maybe some sort of interface that can read the data into a cellphone … and cell phones that don’t need to be recharged (like those fancy kinetic watches)… that would be kewl (feel free to take the idea and run w/ it laura).

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 20, 2005 @ 5:06 pm

  5. Wow. That’s some of the most crackheaded bunch of voodoo I’ve ever heard (the explanation, not you explaining it).

    Comment by Mark — July 21, 2005 @ 9:11 am

  6. It is quite entertaining, but nothing one should get too worked up over. Of course, it helps that when I was a kid I read revelations. Scared the crap out of me then. The Book of Daniel is even more interesting. But of course, over time, you kind of get this … everything’s gonna be alright sort of notion… because you really have no control over any of this anyway (unless you’re the anti-christ, then you might have an effect).

    The funniest thing is that some people are actually trying to figure out who the so-called anti-christ (the term is never mentioned in the bible) is.

    In fact, a related story… Fox is re-making Omen…which should get people abuzz with this sort of thing again; because there’s just not enough paranoia in the world with terrorist bombings and crazy religious/political/fill-in-the-blank extrimists these days…

    When the heck did we all get so serious/extreme about everything?! Is it me, or have people gone off the deep end when a company tries to sell a tooth brush as ‘taking it to the extreme?’ Its a toothbrush…

    Wrigley’s got the right idea with that great double-mint twins commercial..yeah, I’d like to ride h…err… umm… *ahem* a bike and chew gum and not let life be so out of control extreme!!!.

    Comment by Andrew P. — July 21, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

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