Richard Armitage on The Road to Iraq

Question: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?

Armitage:    Well I think had we all known that there was not WMD, I think that there had been certainly less – at least on my part – a rush to war.  I do not wanna mislead you, however.  I do think, and did think that the proposition of removing Saddam Hussein was an imminently sensible one.  I had some questions about the timing.  I would have preferred to wait until Afghanistan was more consolidated; but the notion of removing something . . . someone who had invaded his neighbors twice in the past, and had used WMD on his own people, who was shooting at our aircraft and British aircraft every single day was an imminently sensible one.  So that proposition was not one that found disfavor with me.

Question: How did public opinion affect the decision to go to war?

Armitage:    Well I think initially public opinion was very favorable towards the war.  And I think it was because of the fear that remained after 9/11.  I think for a long time after 9/11, even in some parts of the country now, we were exporting our anger and our fear rather than the more normal exports that the United States has of hope, and optimism, and enthusiasm, and opportunity.  And I think that led to sort of almost an ebullience as we moved to war with Iraq.  Certainly the fact that the U.S. Congress and the U.S. press had been, in my view, cowed by the events of 9/11 and were not proceeding in an oversight way, it made it a lot easier for the administration to go to war.

Would Armitage have done anything differently?

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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.