Gaston Caperton on Improving Education in America

Question: How would you advise Secretary of Education Arne Duncan?

Caperton:  I don't know Arne Duncan, but I’m a great admirer of his from a distance because I’ve seen the work that he’s done in Chicago, and he’s done an outstanding job.  The most important work we had to do is to get more and more students interested in going to college and really maximizing their own human potential, and he’s done a good job at doing that.  It’s the low income minority student that is being left out of this process, and if there’s anything we learned in this presidential election and why I think millions of people stood in cold weather to watch it is that that the belief that all men are created equal is inborn in us, and we knew we weren’t really letting that happen.  So, I think that we’ve really got to get those students who are not engaged, who are not doing well, who are not going to college after high school and are not really, too many are not really getting the education they need starting in preschool.  We’ve got to do much better at early ages, engaging young people.  So, I think this is a man who has shown by his life work that he knows what needs to be done.  I think he’s a good leader, and I think he’ll do a superb job.

Question: What will education in America look like in four years?

Caperton:    My dream and my hope is that more and more students and families take education as an opportunity, that they recognize that… that they recognize the example of this president who has been successful because he was a student, who is a person who didn’t let anything get in his way to climbing to be the president of the United States, the most important job in our society.  And it was education that inspired him to be and do and be able to do what he does.  So, I believe that there will be a…  And I know he’s going to say that, and I think he delivers that message in a powerful way.  So, I think that the motivation and the commitment that this administration will have will empower and inspire students to, and their parents to be more interested in what they’re doing, and that’s critical to the future.

Gaston Caperton advises the feds.

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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.