Hilarious GOP Debates Revive Obama Reelection Chances

The Republican presidential debates have accomplished the impossible. President Obama, despite the terrible economy, now looks like a strong contender for re-election. This year’s Republican debates have all the essential elements—talent, torment and sex—to become this season’s hottest reality show. I had already steeled myself for a likely inauguration of President Romney in January 2013, and for the final farewell of President Obama and his family before being whisked away by Marine Force One. But if I were Michelle Obama, I wouldn’t start ordering those change of address cards just yet.

The instinct to always go for the jugular, the incessant drumbeat of anti-Obama messaging on FOX News and talk radio, and the “my way or the highway” attitude of the Republican governors in states like Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio and Virginia have finally begun to take their toll on the Republican Party’s chances to regain the White House. The party who worships free market capitalism is ignoring the significance of the Occupy Movement, one of the largest protests modern America has ever seen, even as it has successfully mobilized its supporters and sympathizers to speak with their dollars and transferred over 4 billion dollars in cash deposits from for-profit mega banks to non-profit credit unions in the last couple of weeks. Add to this renewed fervor of opposition amongst independents and liberals the turmoil within the ranks of the GOP as it struggles to marshal a majority of its voters around any of its candidates, and you could have a recipe for an upset victory by an Obama Administration many had written off in August.

In the last 60 days, the overexposure created by the GOP’s chock-a-block broadcast schedule, along with the fact that there are simply too many people on stage to elicit anything more than soundbites, campaign slogans, and one liners, has put more of a spotlight on the ineptitude and the cartoon character-like behavior of most of the candidates than any negative ad campaign the Democrats would be capable of dreaming up on their own. My home phone and my cell phone rang so much during the last debate with calls from friends who were incredulous about they were seeing, I had to quit answering them just to keep up with what was happening on the screen.

Are we really going to tune into CBS tonight to listen to foreign policy positions? Or are we just watching to see if Rick Perry can remember who’s on first? Or are we waiting for a moderator to ask Herman Cain a sexual harassment question so he can give his patented evil eye glare? Or are we playing the new game where you count how many seconds will elapse before Michelle Bachmann crows Obamacare?

The icing on the cake for the president, who faces an uphill battle for re-election next year, is the spectacle the Republican presidential primary process has become this year. Every day the Republicans spend worrying about Herman Cain is one less day they can spend marshalling their forces against President Obama. I have not read one of the 59 points in Mitt Romney’s economic plan, but I am intimately familiar with the lives of Sharon Bialek and Karen Kraushaar. Even worse, in trying to continue along this vein of pairing up a salient platform position of one of the other candidates with a factoid from the never ending Cain controversy, nothing else besides “repeal Obamacare” and “9-9-9” comes to mind.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Is this why time speeds up as we age?

We take fewer mental pictures per second.

Photo by Djim Loic on Unsplash
Mind & Brain
  • Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
  • In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
  • The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)

In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.

Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Climate change melts Mount Everest's ice, exposing dead bodies of past climbers

Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Surprising Science
  • Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
  • Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
  • While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.

The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.

For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.

A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."

Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.

Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.

As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.

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