America's Place in the World

Jim Lehrer: Well I think that the biggest issue for us – as a country, as a nation, as a people, as an American people – is that we are the most powerful nation in the world any way you want to look at it. Even with all those problems, we’re still the military power of the world, the economic power of the world. Yes, China and others are growing, but we’re still the economic power of the world. We’re the cultural power of the world. People wear our clothes. They listen to our music. They see our movies.

For me, the biggest issue of all is how we, the American people, exercise this power.

There are all kinds of ways to exercise power. One, you can use the fist. You can use the quiet talking way.

What troubles me is that we have not given enough thought, there’s not been enough open debate about how we exercise the power. What is it that we want to do with this military power? What is it we want to do with our economic power? For instance, the power to clean up things in the environment. Global warming; everybody is very concerned about global warming. And there are always going to be things like this.

Topic: Sometimes the best power is the power that’s not exercised.

Jim Lehrer: We have the power to fix these things. We have the power to influence others to do things. We, the United States of America, in my opinion, should be the power to get others to do the good things, and to stop the bad people from doing the bad things because. We have that power.

And it doesn’t mean that we have to exercise military power. Sometimes the best power is the power that’s not exercised. You just have it, you know? And if it’s exercised in restraint, sometimes it’s the most powerful thing there is. I just want to say to me, that is an issue. That’s why I want Presidents of the United States. I don’t give a damn what party they are or what their political persuasion is. I want the President of the United States to come to grips with the power that they have as the leader of this great power. And to quit acting. I’m not talking about pushing people around. Quite the contrary. Or making everybody look like us, and talk like us, and whatever. But to me our power is the number one issue. Everything else flows from that in my opinion.

 

Recorded: July 4, 2007.

 

 

As an American, Jim Lehrer is worried about what is done in his name.

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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."

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.