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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-20-24 PDF
February 20, 2024
2-12-24 PDF
February 12, 2024

The Scopolamine Addiction

Science fiction talks of books in which you can smell, hear and taste the information. Where, as the page turns, a new image pops up. How great would it be to travel and have a library of books in your backpack, all on one 8×11 inch screen? No, it’s not the internet. Due to the glare, there are many vision problems associated with reading on computers. What genius decided that most internet backgrounds should be on a white screen, with black print? It’s like staring into a light bulb. Companies today are diving into the world of electronic paper.

E-Ink is a Massachusetts company that’s trying to end the age old dilemma of finishing a book, especially when you’re traveling or on the beach, and having to find a new one. They are creating books, that look and feel like paper, but are actually screens that can store tons more information… without the death of millions of trees. After all, one edition of the Sunday newspaper takes up 500,000 trees. At the current rate most of the world’s rainforests are due to be cut down in 40 years. No environmentalist suggests the reduction of academia in favor of trees, but something must be done, when the latest edition of Harry Potter brought about the death of an irreplaceable ancient forest. Although much of the information we seek today is available online, sales information from newspaper and magazine companies show that for the most part, there is no substitution for portable, bendable, glare-less information in print which do not require a huge power supply.

E-Ink is creating electronic paper that will hold an immense amount of information, even video. The electronic ink would be made of millions of microcapsules. These hold hundreds of tiny black and white particles that have an electric charge. Scratch and sniff stickers and time-released drugs are composed of microcapsules that burst when you scratch/process them. When something scratches the microcapsules, the black particles attract, and rise to the surface, much like an Etch-a-Sketch, but with better resolution. Computer programs would organize the electric fields to produce words, pictures, and even video. Since electronic ink won’t depend on light like computers, reading will be much easier on the eyes. It also reflects the light around the paper, making for a crisper text. Also, since the paper does not need to be constantly lit-up, the book won’t use very much energy.

Gyricon is a different company that is trying out the same idea, but with rotating oil filled capsules that are half black and half white. Other companies are using air filled capsules. Lucent Technologies is joining forces with E-Ink, because their plastic transistors can change color. Memory devices and batteries will be stored in the spine of the book. The best part is electronic Ink can be printed anywhere including walls and T-shirts. Imagine changing your wallpaper with the click of a button. The first tests of this product will be in Japan next year, where commutes are public and time-consuming, perfect for their gadget addicted culture. Though this technology may revolutionize the publishing industry, and lower our backpack loads, there is one dire need the companies seem to have overlooked- HIGHLIGHTING! How can one survive reading anything without streams of neon color-coded bliss?

Not that any of this really matters; getting students to read is a matter for the pharmaceutical companies, not the publishing industry.

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