Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton

Matt Bai: I mean there are certainly some trends at work that contribute to this. It’s not a coincidence. Money in politics contributes to this, because only a certain number of people . . . You either have to be famous or wealthy. It’s very, very hard to be anything else and succeed in American politics right now at the highest level. The celebritization of the culture and politics plays a big role in this. If you ever . . . Everything now is kind of a soap opera or People magazine segment subject, you know. So you know we like families. And we like spouses. And we like kids. And you know we’re willing to . . . This goes back really to the Kennedy’s right? This has been happening over a period of time in American history. And people’s personal lives are much more an issue in politics than they were. And so you would expect to come from that, I think, some . . . some . . . some dynastic impulse. Because once somebody has celebrity, it rubs off on all the people around them right? So tabloids now write about this guy – what’s his name – Kevin Federer, right? (referring to Kevin Federline) I mean who is this guy? He married a pop singer, right? So of course, you know, why shouldn’t the wife of a president be instantly considered a potential senator and president? You know because that’s the culture. But you know it’s not a first. I mean we had the son of a president before. We had two cousins within a relatively . . . within a couple decades of each other. So you know it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re headed toward that period. I think what it . . . The larger meaning of it to me is – because this is the larger meaning of everything to me – is . . . is . . . is really about this economic upheaval in America, because what we . . . What it really says is we’re living in this moment now quite differently from the last 100 years or so where this notion that anybody can be born in any circumstances and get the education and the opportunities they need to go out, to be self-sufficient, to run for public office, to ultimately be president. The Bill Clinton story of Hope, Arkansas is very much in jeopardy. It’s still doable. It’s still possible if you have Clinton’s talent, and drive, and ambition, and neuroses; but . . . but ultimately, you know, like everything else in this society where opportunity is . . . is gravitating toward a more limited number of people. And that’s obviously gonna be reflected in politics because it’s reflected everywhere else. And it’s, you know, the central challenge we face.

Recorded on: 12/13/07


It's not a coincidence.

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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)

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?

  • 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.