Just So You Know: The First Amendment Protects Your Right To Like
Last week a US appellate court sided with a group of public sector employees who claimed they were fired because they "liked" the Facebook page of their boss' election opponent.
What's the Latest Development?
Last week, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Facebook likes were protected under the First Amendment by siding with a group of workers who claimed they were fired for liking the Facebook page of their boss' election opponent. The firing, which involved Daniel R. Carter and five other employees, took place after B.J. Roberts won the Hampton, VA sheriff's race in 2009. All six filed suit against the department, but Carter was the only plaintiff who attempted to bring social media into the mix.
What's the Big Idea?
While Facebook posts have First Amendment protection as ruled by previous courts, the suit was dismissed in district court in 2012 because the judge deemed Facebook likes "insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection" and, as such, they couldn't be considered "actual statements." The unanimous reversal by the appellate court says there's no distinction between the two: "On the most basic level, clicking on the 'Like' button literally causes to be published the statement that the user 'likes' something, which is itself a substantive statement."
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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."
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