What the US Can Learn From China

With its stagnant economy, the United States should pick out the best ideas from the Chinese model of economic development and fit them to work for its own system.

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Last week, a panel of experts convened to discuss what the US might be able to learn from China despite the perception that the two countries are natural competitors. The panel, which included NYU professor Ann Lee and foreign policy writer Ian Bremmer, began by debunking the myth that Chinese economic growth is purely a result of cheap labor and currency manipulation. "If it was just cheap labor, why didn't Africa achieve the same dynamism?" asked Lee.  

What's the Big Idea?

The most important lesson the US should take from China is to have a longer view of world affairs. Drafting national five-year plans which establish clear political goals, just a China does, would help restore effectiveness to government and reduce the bitterness and anger in our political system, says Lee. Five-year plans, accompanied by competency tests for government officials, would restore faith in American politicians, which is at an all-time low, and create a set of national goals for people of both parties to rally around.

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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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