A Guest Blogger This Month on Sexual Violence

Hello, I'm Katherine Broendel, and I will be guest blogging this month about sexual violence. As Matt mentioned in a previous post, I am a Master's degree candidate in Public Communication at American University, and I wrote my capstone (thesis) on the framing of sexual violence in the media. The goal of my research was to reevaluate the current frames being used by the news media in order to provide women's groups and issue advocates recommendations on how to get accurate, sensitive coverage of sex crimes. My experience in graduate school has allowed me to focus on women's issues in communication, and I am currently the Communications Fellow at the American Association of University Women (AAUW) in Washington, DC.

Before going back to school, I earned my BA in Geography from the University of Mary Washington, where I focused my attention and classwork on Sub-Saharan Africa. I then worked for National Geographic's Education & Children's Programs on geographic literacy initiatives including the My Wonderful World campaign, and education outreach for films such as God Grew Tired of Us and Sea Monsters. I then went on to work for Amnesty International USA and Defenders of Wildlife. My professional experience in both geography and social issues has provided me with a unique perspective on communication theory and practice.

I'm really looking forward to blogging this month, and I'm grateful to Matt for the opportunity. I hope I will be able to provide some interesting insights and thoughts to the discussion. Thank you to the ScienceBlogs community for focusing on sexual violence this month. It's a pervasive social problem in need of greater public awareness and engagement in order to be diminished.

--"Guest blogger" Katherine Broendel

​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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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

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."

Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
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