How Facebook Threatens the Legitimacy of the Stock Market

Facebook banked $16 billion on its initial public offering, so why are market analysts disappointed? Perhaps because the company threatens the dominance of the stock market itself. 

What's the Latest Development?


With Facebook's shares trading well below their initial value one day after the company went public, just who is to "blame" for what has gone "wrong"? Some say the company's banker, Morgan Stanley, diluted the potency of the stock by allowing a whopping 421.2 million shares to be sold. Others, like James Surowiecki, say Facebook's creative accounting may have dampened investor interest. In the past, becoming a publicly traded company has meant giving more decision making power to investors. But Facebook's two-tiered share system left CEO Mark Zuckerberg with control over 57% of the voting shares while owning just 18% of the company. In other words, Facebook is still entirely his show. 

What's the Big Idea?

Ever since it was clear that Facebook would become a publicly traded company, Zuckerberg has been candid about not ceding his vision to investors (wearing a hoody to his Nasdaq meeting helped emphasize that). In today's market, says Surowiecki, investors are more short-sited than ever, verging on manic-depressive, measuring the value of a company by its monthly profits rather than yearly performance. As a result, the number of public companies in the US has dropped by 40% since 1997. This means power is returning to companies' managers and CEOs, and that the stock market is losing its status as the center of American capitalism. 

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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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