The President's Appearance on The Daily Show: The Impact of Jon Stewart's Hostile Humor and Obama's Self-Effacing Manner

Last night President Obama appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, receiving mixed reviews from commentators as the President sought to speak directly to an important Democratic base of young viewers. Stewart probed Obama with hard questions while Obama attempted to appear humble and self-effacing, acknowledging Stewart's questions as reasonable and legitimate.  

At one point, Obama blundered by saying Larry Summers had done a "heckuva job," drawing immediate memories of George Bush's initial praise of FEMA head Michael Brown. Stewart immediately quipped: "You don't want to use that phrase, dude." 

Later Stewart chuckled when Obama defended his campaign slogan by arguing  "Yes we can, but," it will take some time to achieve change.  You can watch a clip from Obama's performance below.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c Barack Obama Pt. 3
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Rally to Restore Sanity

In a seminar presentation at American University last week, Towson University professor Amy Becker discussed her research on the effects of candidate appearances--and the hostile humor directed their way--at programs such as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

In experimental studies with students at the University of Wisconsin and Louisiana State University, Becker finds that self-effacing humor on the part of a candidate when appearing at a program such as the Daily Show can engender positive feelings among viewers, but hostile humor directed at the candidate by hosts such as Stewart or Stephen Colbert has an even greater potential for negative impact.  In fact, Becker finds that hostile directed humor tends to be more damaging than if young voters were to view negative attack ads aimed at the candidate.

See also:

Is America a Joke? Researcher Examines The Daily Show's Impact on Political Culture

Distraction or Engagement? Researcher On What Viewers Learn from The Daily Show

The Daily Show: The Best Place for Engaging Wider Audiences on Science?

Lessons for Science? AU Colleague Studies Impact of Late Night Comedy on Viewers' Engagement with Politics

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

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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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