ModBlog News of the Week: September 2nd, 2011

It’s time again for the weekly news, but before I start I just wanted to thank those of you who sent in stories this week.  It’s because of your submissions that the weekly news isn’t filled with celebrity fluff.  As always, if you’ve got a story you think should be included, just send me an e-mail.

To get things started this week is a story from the Daily Mail about the US FDA starting up an investigation into tattoo inks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an investigation after new research turned up troubling findings about toxic chemicals in tattoo ink.  Recently published studies have found that the inks can contain a host of dodgy substances, including some phthalates, metals, and hydrocarbons that are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors.  One chemical commonly used to make black tattoo ink called benzo(a)pyrene is known to be a potent carcinogen that causes skin cancer in animal tests.  Coloured inks often contain lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, titanium and other heavy metals that could trigger allergies or diseases, scientists say.  Some pigments are industrial grade dyes ‘suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint,’ according to an FDA fact sheet.

Now the FDA has launched an investigation into the long-term safety of the inks, including what happens when they break down in the body or fade from light exposure.  Joseph Braun, an environmental epidemiologist at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, told Environmental Health News: ‘The short answer is we don’t know if the chemicals in tattoo inks represent a health hazard.’  An estimated 45million people in the U.S., including at least 36 per cent of adults in their late 30s, have at least one tattoo.

Take a quick look at the comments section for some comedy gold.  “Many people will scoff at this article but I actually know a young woman who died from one of these tattoos and it was cancer.”

While it is a good thing that inks are being scrutinized, the media is going to turn this into a fear mongering story with headlines like “Tattoos cause cancer!”.

Still on the subject of tattoos, a man in England decided to get a tattoo tribute to one of his favorite literary characters.  Let me know if you can find him.

John Mosley, 22, had a giant tattoo of his stripy-shirted hero – like the one in the popular books, in which readers must find the character in crowd scenes.  Music producer John’s design – which took 24 hours – features 150 characters among the landmarks of his home city Norwich, plus a pair of UFOs and a space rocket.  John said: “It will be a talking point for years to come. People will look at my back and have fun searching around for Wally.”

There’s more news to come, so keep on reading.

Breaking news from Huntsville, TX this week.  It seems that a brand new trend in piercings is catching on with the youngsters, and the Houstonian is on the front line, reporting this incredible find before anyone else.

Melissa Moncada had been craving a change for a while, something more permanent than an updated hairstyle or Facebook identity. She drove up to a local tattoo parlor with a friend and decided to get something new. While she didn’t get a tattoo or a typical piercing, she did get something very new and very different: a microdermal piercing.  Microdermal piercings, also commonly referred to as microdermal implants or dermal anchorings, are semi-permanent piercings. They are considered semi-permanent because if the body jewelry is removed, the body will heal completely, leaving no hole.

The piercing involves a titanium anchor with a post and a jewelry end that screws on to the post. The flat anchor, which has multiple holes it its base, is inserted below the skin into a pocket made by either a dermal punch or a gauged needle. This allows for tissue to grow through the holes, securing the piercing as it heals.  The piercer cleans the area and marks the spot with ink. Once the position of the microdermal is confirmed with the customer, the piercer uses a dermal punch or a large needle to create a pocket or slit. Lastly, the anchor, set with the jewelry typically already screwed onto it, is inserted into the pocket using a curved motion until the piercing is parallel to the skin’s surface.  As with any piercing, it is important to keep microdermals clean to allow for proper healing. Due to their small size and level of simplicity for piercers, they can be done just about anywhere there is enough skin for a pocket. Like most piercings, they are convenient and quick.

From what I understand, next week they’re going deep undercover to do an expose on gauged ears.

Speaking of piercings, a short article was published this week in reaction to the new local television weatherman.

During the TV and Entertainment report with Jane Holmes, Neil and Jane question whether Channel 7′s weatherman Jonathan Pollock’s piercings distract from the actual weather report.  Maybe it’s just a younger generation thing?

Moving back to the US, a Salt Lake City deputy is being investigated after a teen girl came forward following a traffic stop.

T.R. says Womack pulled over the car in which she was a passenger on Nov. 20, 2010, allegedly for speeding. After forcing all three girls in the car to “stand barefoot on the snowy roadside and lift up their shirts and pull their bras away from their bodies,” he took their ID to his cruiser, allegedly to check for warrants, the complaint states.  T.R. says Womack returned and told her she was wanted on “an outstanding warrant for a heroin violation in Arizona.” T.R., knowing she had never been to Arizona and never touched heroin, protested. Womack told her “he was not able to show [her] the warrant because he had ‘logged off.’ He told [her] that if he tried to access the warrant again, it would alert officials in Arizona, requiring him to arrest her,” the complaint states.

“Womack told [T.R.] that she had two options: either to be arrested and go to jail for booking and processing, or to get in his car and be searched for certain tattoos and piercings. Not wanting to be arrested and taken to jail, and believing Womack’s statements regarding the necessity of a search because he was a uniformed officer of the law, [T.R.] reluctantly chose the latter option. “Womack placed [her] in the passenger seat of his patrol car and instructed her to remove her clothing. In obedience to the uniformed officer’s commands, [T.R.] did indeed remove her slippers, shorts, underwear, and shirt.  “Womack then informed [T.R.] he needed to check for a vaginal piercing. [T.R.] refused to spread her legs for him. Womack then told her to get dressed and return to the car.”  Womack gave the car’s male driver a “warning citation” for speeding and let the group go, but never filed an official copy of the citation with the sheriff’s office, the complaint states.

T.R. says she visited a police station in June “to check on the alleged ‘Arizona warrant’ Womack had mentioned,” and found there was no such warrant, for her or for anyone else with her name.  She says she then contacted county authorities to report Womack’s actions, and “had a discussion with a victim’s advocate from the county, who told [her], in substance, ‘Don’t bother reporting this, because these things happen all the time, and nothing ever becomes of them.’”  She says she submitted a complaint to the sheriff anyway.

I’m not sure what disgusts me more, the officer’s actions, or that the victim’s advocate told her not to report it.

This month’s issue of Vogue Italia has drawn the attention of news media outlets following the reveal of the cover photo.  In them model Stella Tennant is seen with a nostril piercing and a corset that bound her waist down to almost 13 inches.  Well it turns out the cover was actually a tribute to Ethel Granger, the world record holder for the world’s smallest waist, and fan of body piercings.

When we posted the startling image of Stella Tennant on Vogue Italia’s September cover, we focused on the model’s crazy jewelry, most notably her oversize nose ring.  But all of you, it seems, were focused on something else: her teeny, tiny corseted waist.  “Her waist has been photoshopp­ed into another dimension,” commented nermz345. “did you all check out her waist???” asked candyazzbb. “I have bracelets larger than that corset girdle thing,” noted mamysmom1.

So we chatted with Vogue Italia to set the record straight. While the cover looks extreme, it is because Tennant is channeling a very specific woman with a very unique look. The cover’s inspiration, Ethel Granger, had the smallest waist in (recorded) history, measuring a mere 13 inches. And she didn’t come by it naturally.

As Vogue Italia writes, Ethel’s waist was due to her husband, William Granger, who was obsessed with the idea of a wasp-waisted woman. Vogue Italia explains:

Before their marriage Ethel was a plain, unsophisticated twenty-three year old girl who wore the shapeless 1920s dresses that William despised. […] One epochal day, when William put his arm around Ethel’s waist she asked “darling, can you feel any difference?”. He could: a pair of corsets that tied Ethel into 24 inches, more or less her natural waist line. The process of Ethel’s waist modification began. Initially Ethel was satisfied with wearing a corset only during the day, but William convinced her to keep it on while sleeping.

After years of corsets, Ethel finally achieved a Guinness Book of World Records-worthy 13-inch waist, as well as a signature look involving a variety of facial piercings.

Check out the linked article to see the Vogue Italia cover that paid tribute to Ethel.

Finally, you may recall an article by Jordan a few years back about Rob Spence, the human eyeborg.  At the time Rob had developed an artificial eye that had an LED implanted into it, giving him an eyeball that lit up like Arnie’s did in The Terminator.  In the interview, Rob discusses his plan to eventually develop a miniature camera that he can fit into his eye socket.  Well, that day has come, and Rob has even filmed a movie using his eyecam, a documentary for the game Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Rob Spence lost his right eye following a shotgun accident when he was a child but for the last several years he’s been known as Eyeborg.  And this month the Toronto filmmaker took his cybernetic eye project to the next level, releasing his – and the world’s – first documentary filmed on eye-cam.  “It’s such a prevalent pop culture idea to have a camera eye that if you’ve ever met anyone who’s had an eye removed they’ve at least made a joke about it,” said Spence, 39, in a phone interview.

With the help of a crack team of young engineers, Spence was the first person in the world to turn this fantasy into a reality.  They built him a camera that slots into his eye socket and, with the help of a wireless transmitter/receiver, can record everything in his field of view. The camera is a tiny 3.2mm squared and has a resolution of 320×240.

Spence, who also does work for advertising agencies, was hired by the team behind the blockbuster video game Deus Ex: Human Revolution to create a documentary, using the eye camera, featuring himself and other real-life “cyborgs” with prosthetic limbs. The 12-minute documentary was released on YouTube about five days ago and has already garnered over 280,000 views.  The goal was to compare real-world cyborgs to those featured in the game, which is set in 2027 and depicts a world where people cut off their human limbs to replace them with far more advanced bionic body parts. One character has an electronic eye that can not only record video like Spence but is also connected to the brain and optic nerve and can overlay the game character’s view with augmented reality-style situational data.

There’s a lot more in the article, including what Rob’s been up to since he last spoke with BME back in 2009.

So that’s it for this week’s news.  Have a great long weekend everyone, and we’ll see you back here next week.

10 thoughts on “ModBlog News of the Week: September 2nd, 2011

  1. I find that police story absolutely disgusting. And the fact that it happened in my backyard is even worse. This is why no one respects police anymore, because they abuse their power and abuse, hurt, torture, and humiliate the general public, especially vulnerable women. We’re taught to respect and listen to police, so we don’t know how to react and protect ourselves when this sort of thing happens, and these corrupt cops know this. So they’ll take advantage of that almost fear of authority and hurt people. If I were me, I’d have been “arrested” and kept demanding to see this supposed “warrant” and then sued him for everything I could once he was proven to have been full of shit.

  2. My mouth was hanging open, shocked at the article about the girl being abused by the officer. That is just horrible, absolutely horrible. I hope her submitting the complaint does do something to that officer.

  3. Wtf at the “victim’s advocate.”. Maybe she was friends with the cop?

    Hope that women gets a shit ton of money from them, but the cop should also be arrested for sexual assault.

  4. As far as the story with the girl and the police officer, she must have been pretty dumb to let herself be harassed like that. If a cop told me I had some bullshit warrant from somewhere I’d never been and then asked me to strip naked, I’d tell him I didn’t believe he was a real police officer and call 911, not go ahead and get naked.

  5. First, i wish that somebody did a test in which it would be proven once and for all that tattoos are not cancerous. Maybe even less then my computer on which I’m writing this or my nickel earrings I wear.
    And second… In this great concern of us, poor, death convicted tattooed people, they REALLY didn’t have to test the ink on animals. Body modification is painful and potentially dangerous, but people choose it, and then comes some so called “doctor” and forces all of this on unknowing animal.

    My English is just not good enough to express my rage for that…

  6. Whoa, I had no idea you could make a waist that small! I mean I want to be tiny, but I can’t imagine sleeping in a corset, or being 13 inches tiny. What happened to her ribs?

  7. @riley: It looks like the corset sits in the squishy space below your ribs and above your pelvis…

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