Hey there ModBloggers! It’s the last post of the week, so that means it’s time for the news. This week was pretty light in terms of articles. I did get some great submissions, however they were all older links. But that’s OK! I love hearing from you guys and gals, especially when you’ve got links to news stories. So keep sending those e-mails my way.
Now as I said before, this week is going to be pretty short in terms of actual news. So let’s get right to it.
We’re starting off with a birthday announcement. As of yesterday, the electric tattoo machine is 120 years old! Now, that’s just going by the day the first patent was issued, but it’s still a pretty big milestone, especially with how much of an impact that little machine has had on the vast majority of ModBlog readers.
No longer confined to the bodies of sailors or sideshow freaks, tattoos have entered America’s cultural mainstream, offering consenting adults the chance to adorn themselves with a permanent mark of rebellion, remembrance, or just plain bad taste. And the electric tattoo machine, originally patented on this day in 1891 by the legendary New York City tattooist and inventor Samuel F. O’Reilly, made it all possible.
Based on the design for Thomas Edison’s autographic printer, which was essentially a motorized engraving tool, O’Reilly’s invention sped up the process of tattooing while vastly improving the quality of the final product. Prior to his innovation, tattoos were done by hand, usually with a set of needles affixed to a wooden handle. It was slow-going work for even the most skilled practitioner. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, by contrast, O’Reilly reportedly inked upwards of 130 naval reservists in a single day from his small shop at 11 Chatham Square, located at the southern end of New York’s famous Bowery.
What’s really amazing is how little things have changed since the first machine. Granted that’s a rotary design with what looks like a permanent needle, but you can see how we got the machines of today from this one here.
Now this story makes me really happy. Although when I first read the headline I thought it was a joke. The Tri-City chapter of the Red Cross has lifted it’s 1 year waiting period for donating blood after getting tattooed. So to celebrate, they’re having a tattoo fundraising drive.
The Tri-City chapter of the American Red Cross is raising a few eyebrows by offering a selected tattoo or body piercing from Monarch Tattoos as part of its “12 Days of Giving” blood donation campaign. Lisa Gallegos, territory representative in Richland, said she thought the gift was a creative way to let people know about a change to state law this year that eliminates the one-year waiting period before people who get tattoos are allowed to give blood, as long as they get inked at a state-licensed shop. “I know it sounds strange that we’re doing it, but with the law changing, we thought it would be a good way to get the message out to the public that they can donate,” she said. The “12 Days of Giving” campaign is designed to entice Tri-Citians to donate blood during the holidays by offering incentives worth at least $25. The goal is to collect 750 units of blood. Last year’s campaign resulted in more than 500 units being donated, Gallegos said. And convincing people to donate is critical. Blood and platelet supplies have been low all year, possibly because the uncertain economy has led to fewer businesses having blood drives, she said.
Eligible donors must be over 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and be healthy. For people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, that means being treated for the disease and having blood glucose levels under control. Everyone who makes an appointment and shows up to donate will get the gift, but an appointment is required and space is limited, Gallegos said. For example, everyone who makes an appointment for Friday and comes to donate will get a Z Place Salon and Spa package, sponsored by Kadlec Regional Medical Center. The tattoo or piercing is being offered to people who make appointments to donate Saturday.
As someone who has been turned down to donate blood because of similar rules, it’s great to finally see archaic rules being updated to reflect today’s society.
And finally, for your weekend reading, a book review of Carl Zimmer’s book, “Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science-Obsessed”.
Zimmer groups the images by discipline: physics, chemistry, natural history, neuroscience, and so on. The tattoos range from dainty anklets to dramatic full backpieces and sleeves. Zimmer is at his best when he walks us through a large, complicated tattoo with many elements. He describes an “ecological allegory” adorning the hip, side, and back of Maureen Drinkard, who wrote her PhD thesis on the bogs of Ohio. He tells us about the bog ecosystem, then describes the cardinal flower on her ribcage, the skunk cabbage that blooms beneath on her hip, the dragonfly she chose as a reminder to be strong and ferocious, and rat-tailed maggot she considers her future. The “ick” reaction some might have to the unromantic rat-tailed maggot is tempered by the “rainbow sheen” it gives off when plucked from the slimy bog and held in the sunlight. Science tattoos are almost always ultimately about beauty.
The review goes nicely with the article from last week that had a number of photos of science-related tattoos.
And that’s it for the week. I told you it was going to be a short week. Have a great weekend and make sure you all stay safe when plowing through the malls to finish up (or start) your christmas shopping.