At the Washington Times, Two Scientists Apply Framing to Get Their Message Across

How do you influence conservative media outlets to take climate change seriously, re-casting the issue in a light that connects to their conservative audiences?

You got it: Framing.

It's a strategy that two scientists apply today in an op-ed published at the Washington Times. Bryan K. Mignone, a Science & Technology Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, and Mark D. Drapeau, a AAAS Fellow at the National Defense University, strategically piggyback on last week's military report on climate change to gain an audience at the notoriously conservative WTimes opinion page.

They frame their lede in national security terms before moving on to reaffirm the scientific evidence in support of climate change as a problem.

Here's an email Drapeu sent me, noting the lessons he's picked up from our commentaries at Science and the WPost, and the many other posts on the topic at this blog:

Hi Dr. Nisbet - Your blog is incredibly valuable to the scientific community. Applying the tools of framing to controversial discussions in science and other technical areas is important now more than ever. One of these current topics is that of global climate change, which has implications for science, technology, health, politics, and security.

In that vein, I wanted to forward you a link to my new op-ed about climate change and international security that was published in the 22 April (Sunday) Washington Times: It's called "Climate of Subtle Conflict."

As a 06-08 AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the Department of Defense, I am trying to translate technical issues into language for the senior [defense] policymaker. Working with a future AAAS Fellow, Bryan Mignone from the Brookings Institution, I think we've been successful!

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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)
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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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