Election Notes: Santorum Sweeps the South

Rick Santorum had a great day on Tuesday, winning the Republican primaries in both Alabama and Mississippi—a state in which no poll had shown Santorum in the lead. Newt Gingrich, whose campaign said had to win both states to in order to remain a credible candidate, came in second in both. Mitt Romney came in an embarrassing third in each, underscoring his inability to connect with Southern conservatives.


 Santorum’s victory ensures that the race will go on. But don’t be fooled. Romney has won almost twice as many delegates as Santorum. Although Romney looked like a loser on Tuesday, he still managed to win the most delegates. That’s because he won handily both in Hawaii—after most political reporters had gone to bed—and in American Samoa, where the just 70 Republican caucus-goers allotted Romney 9 delegates. Those victories show why Romney is winning. His superior organization and greater resources allow him to pick up votes in places where his opponents can't even compete. As Kris Broughton says, that makes the delegate math nearly impossible for Romney’s opponents.

Nevertheless, the long, grinding campaign is taking its toll on Romney. Every victory for his opponents feeds doubts about his electability and allows conservative opposition to him to fester. And the race against Santorum seems to be winning Romney few friends: the percent of voters who have an unfavorable impression of him has climbed almost to 50%.

Political Futures Markets

Chance President Obama will win reelection: 60.4% (Intrade)

Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 89.0% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 58.5% (Intrade)

Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 69.9% (Intrade)

Polls

President Obama’s approval rating: 47.5% (Pollster)

Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 33.6% (Pollster)

Republican advantage on a generic congressional ballot: 0.4% (Real Clear Politics)

Comment

“If you’re the front-runner and you keep coming in third, you’re not much of a front-runner.”—Newt Gingrich

UP NEXT: the Missouri caucus on Saturday, March 17, the Puerto Rico primary on Sunday, March 18, and the Illinois primary on Tuesday, March 20

Rick and Ann Santorum image from Gage Skidmore

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

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

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Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

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  • 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)
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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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Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

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