An Update on the American Economic Recovery
Financial expert Mohamed El-Erian says the American economic recovery is underway but still too fragile to sustain rapid growth. Educating workers will be a key source of growth.
What's the Latest Development?
Several signs indicate the American economic recovery is underway: monthly employment gains, an uptick in manufacturing supported by an export surge, a housing sector that seems to have reached bottom, easier access to consumer credit, and businesses are beginning to spend their massive cash buildups taken as a precautionary measure against further decline. Yet substantial structural limitations remain, says finance expert Mohamed A. El-Erian. Investment in infrastructure and education will prove crucial in the coming years to lock in the emerging recovery.
What's the Big Idea?
A solution to America's budget crisis must also be found. An economic recovery is the best way to generate the tax revenue needed to pay down the bills, incurred through profligate spending and a massive economic rescue package. And while external concerns persist, such as Europe's sovereign debt crisis and the political standoff with Iran (which controls the sea route through which 20% of the world's oil flows), America remains by far the world's largest economy and the anchor of the international monetary system. Depending on how the recovery goes, that could be good news or bad.
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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.
It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.
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."
Do you have a magnetic compass in your head?
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