How does political journalism affect voters?

Matt Bai: Well I’m not sure it’s ever been any different – or at least not in modern history. I mean Theodore White started writing “The Making of the President” series in 1960. And Theodore White’s book were all …. There was no substance in them at all. And . . . and you know generations have improved upon that model. And it’s been a long time since we’ve spent a long time in substance. And look, let’s not . . . And I think it’s fair not to blame the media for this entirely. I mean the business of politics has become what we call the permanent campaign, right? I mean it’s . . . There’s a lot less governing going on. There’s a lot less . . . This is happening for a lot of reasons. The TV age has a lot to do with it – the proliferation of different kinds of media. But also the moment we’re living in. Look it’s hard to find answers to some of these problems. It’s hard to tell difficult truths. It’s much easier to resort to gamesmanship. It’s much easier to fix your language than it is to fix Bridgeport. You know it’s much easier not to think about the transition going on when the answers you have might be unpopular or wrong, or might do more harm than good. And so you know we have a lack of visionary leadership. And into that void comes a tremendous amount of tactical sort of gamesmanship, atmospheric, you know developments that have very little to do with the substance of governing. And the media does what the media does, which is covers what it sees. So I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. And I think it does change . . . You know I don’t wanna take the responsibility off the media, because there’s certainly a lot of us who are doing, I think, very substantive journalism. And that really amounts to asking . . . constantly asking a set of questions that people don’t really wanna answer, which is what I do much of my time and in much of writing. I always say it’s not our job to have answers. It’s our job to ask the right questions. And we ask them again, and again, and again. But I think we’re also . . . You know we’re also waiting for real leadership. I think we’re waiting for someone in the political process to step up and show us the way so we can have a more . . . more relevant, more profitable debate, and a more productive debate about where the country is going than the one we’ve been having for the last, you know, 25, 30 years. And you know I frankly think that takes a generational change.

Recorded on: 12/13/07


Political journalism cannot be blamed for political outcome.

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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.