Full Coverage: Links From All Over (March 20, 2009)

[Telegraph.co.uk] So here’s some good old fashioned Finnish ingenuity! Jerry Jalava, a software programmer from Helsinki, lost half a finger in a motorcycle accident almost a year ago, and the doctor, when told what Jalava did for a living, was a bit of a wise-ass and told Jalava he should get a USB drive installed in place of his missing digit. Jalava briefly snapped out of his blissful morphine sleep to slap this chuckling goon in the face, but then it occurred to him that maybe this wasn’t the worst idea!

Using a traditional prosthetic finger Jerry has been able embed a ‘USB key’ – like the ones used in traditional flash drives – giving him the world’s only two gigabyte finger.

The finger is not permanently attached to his hand meaning it can be removed when plugged into a computer.

“It is not attached permanently in to my body, it is a removable prosthetic which has USB memorystick inside it,” said Jerry.

“When I’m using the USB, I just leave my finger inside the slot and pick it up after I’m ready.”

Jerry said he is already thinking about upgrading his faux finger to include more storage and wireless technology.

“I’m planning to use anther prosthetic as a shell for the next version, which will have removable fingertip and an RFID tag,” he added.

Not that losing a segment of a finger is the worst thing in the world, but it’s still nice nonetheless to see people finding creative ways to deal with inconveniences (if not disabilities) beyond their control. The real hero in this story, however, is me, for making it the entire way without making a single “thumb-drive” joke. Oh, damn it.


[Toronto Star] This story has been bubbling up for a little while now, and we’ve been meaning to get an “in the know” guest on the podcast to discuss it (hopefully that’ll happen in the next couple of days), but Moonshin Tattoo in Mississauge, Ontario, has come under fire for poor record-keeping of its sterilization practices over a four-year period. A mandatory alert was sent out to all clients of the shop who visited during the period in question, saying that they may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Now, a $20 million class-action lawsuit has been filed against both the owners of Moonshin and Peel Region itself, with the suit claiming the latter failed to inspect the shop over that period, thereby allowing Moonshin to go on with its irresponsible practices. As the article states, “(p)ublic health authorities are required to inspect at least once a year personal services shops, such as tattoo and piercing studios, barbershops and others where there is a risk of exposure to blood.”

Truth be told, the chances of anyone having contracted anything are slim, but this is a clusterfuck any way you look at it. There’s no excuse for not keeping sterilization paperwork in order at this point, and even though the government is supposed to be monitoring that activity, when it comes to public opinion, situations like these do nothing but reinforce shitty stereotypes about tattoo and piercing shops. Well done, Moonshin.

[First Amendment Center] Oh, great, here’s a situation with literally nary a sympathetic party! Martin Robles and his shit-demon accomplice were indicted for breaking into a home in 2002 and killing two men, crimes for which Robles was sentenced to death in Texas. He lost an appeal, then made a last-ditch effort to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming, among other things, that his First Amendment rights were violated during the trial. How so?

[He argued] that his religious-liberty rights were violated when the state placed into evidence his tattoo of a religious figure. As described in trial proceedings, the tattoo depicted “Jesus with a demon devouring his brains.”

Oh. That probably didn’t go over very well in Texas.

During the trial, the judge forced him to remove his jacket and show the tattoo, located on his shoulder, to jurors.


During the penalty phase of Robles’ trial, the prosecutor said:

“You have a demon eating the brains of Christ. … Now, I don’t know what that means, but to me it’s a bad thing. That to me is a philosophy. I don’t know if it’s satanic. I don’t know what in the Sam Hill it is, but if it tells you something about him as a person, that ought to tell you where his belief system is. His conduct shows you where his belief system is.”

Robles contended that the references to the religious nature of the tattoo and the “satanic” and “belief systems” comments by the prosecutor infringed on his First Amendment free-exercise-of-religion right.

Thank you, Texas judge, for forcing me to side with a double-murderer on something. I’m no lawyer (though I’m happy to dispense legal advice for a small fee), but offensive tattoos that don’t actually make direct political statements should probably be immaterial when deciding the fate of a man’s life, right? Unless the guy was killing priests—or worse, Jesus—I’m just not sure what role it should have played in the decision. There’s even a precedent set to that effect, which was consciously set in contrast in this case:

[U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack] distinguished Robles’ case from the 1992 case Dawson v. Delaware, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a defendant’s First Amendment associational rights were violated when prosecutors introduced into evidence his membership in a white supremacist group when such association had nothing to do with the underlying crime. [...] However, the Court in Dawson pointed out that “elements of racial hatred were … not involved in the killing.”

But in Texas, a demon eating Jesus’s brain is, I guess, worse than being a white supremacist.

Applying Dawson, Jack determined that the question was whether Robles’ tattoo was relevant evidence to his underlying crime and violent nature. She concluded that the “tattoo constitutes evidence relevant to a material issue, i.e., Robles’s violent nature and the likelihood that he would commit future acts of criminal violence.”

What we should be taking away from this, in the end, is that Mike Beer will never get out of jail when he’s arrested.

16 thoughts on “Full Coverage: Links From All Over (March 20, 2009)

  1. That tattoo of jesus’ brains getting eaten sounds fucking cool. Love to see it

  2. And i hate how they would even relate satanism to sacrilege. Just because i’m totally anti-christian, doesnt make me a satanist. People are so extremist these days

    I would totally hack off my finger to put a jump drive there.
    Best way of making a bad situation better than it was before.

  4. While I agree that his tattoo should not have been used against him in any way, I also don’t think that the fact the trial was in Texas should be used as an explanation for why it happened. You can’t say a whole state has one opinion.

  5. the flash drive is neat, but having an rfid implanted in me is one of my biggest fears. i’m one of those nuts with the metal passport case and all that. can’t be too paranoid, er, careful.

  6. What I find odd is the guy is supposed to be a white supremist…but his last name, Robles, is Hispanic.

  7. The white supremacist guy was the defendant in Dawson vs. Delaware, not the case involving Robles and his delicious Jesus brain tattoo.

  8. Two gigabytes? That’s weak. Also, I don’t like the trend towards getting the public to accept chipping. This generation has no sense of privacy rights or how they’re being systematically eroded.

    Also, I’ve worried about tattoos being used against me or clients in court. One example would be “gang related” work cited in legal cases.

    I personally have an ultra-violent gore piece on my calf, and it occurred to me that if I was wrongly accused of a violent crime, that it could be used to represent me in a negative light.

  9. I guess that’s what we get for living in the “Bible belt.” Go Texas, ha.

    and no, I will not put down my shotgun, haha. :)

  10. Pingback: BME: Tattoo, Piercing and Body Modification News » ModBlog » Moonshin Tattoo Client Tests Positive for Hepatitis B

  11. Okay, so double homicide is bad. Really bad. But them trying to use the Jesus having his brains eaten tattoo against him is bad as well, not AS bad. but still. bad. Unless the people that were killed were involved with a church somehow then that would be a different story, or if it was Jesus, The Virgin Mary, and so on. but there’s nothing in this article about that.
    I wanna see this tattoo though. it sounds like I just might like it. :D

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