Tom Freston: Catching Flak

Question: Did you ever catch any flack for your work at MTV?

Tom Freston: Well you’re gonna get flack for whatever . . . You know if you’re in the media, you’re gonna get flack for almost anything you do from all sides. So you know in the early days of MTV, if you started talking about some of these issues, people go, “Come on man. Play the music.” You know, “We’re not that interested.” Or people would say, you know, “On one hand your promulgating certain stereotypes. And then on another hand you’re trying to level them and break through them, but you’re part of the problem. You’re as much a part of the problem as you . . . You’re more a part of the problem then you might think.” Some people would say, “Why are you getting young people . . .” We actually had this happen. “Why are you looking to get young people involved . . . more involved in the political process? They’re really not . . . If they don’t wanna vote and participate, it’s because they’re not interested. And they’re not interested because they don’t really know and they don’t really care. So why do we want a lot of uninformed, ill-informed people participating and skewing the results of any election?” You could actually get thoughts along those lines as well.

Question: How would you respond?

Tom Freston: You know you wouldn’t be necessarily responding to every particular complaint someone might have about you. But I think one of the . . . You know your most basic response to any of those things was, “Look, this is an issue in our society. We . . . We’re trying to educate people as to what’s going on and raise their awareness, and hopefully their participation. And we think that that’s a good thing. We don’t know necessarily if these people are gonna be liberal or conservative, or what kind of party they’re going to belong to. But just being a functioning member of a democracy is a good thing. So if you’ve got a problem with that, so be it.”

Recorded On: 7/6/07

MTV was about engaging and informing the youth.

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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.