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September 19, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: 'Tattoo-Induced Skin Burn During MR Imaging'


Say what?

Not an Onion story but a real medical report, published in the American Journal of Radiology in 2000.

Don't believe me?

Read it for yourself.

    Tattoo-Induced Skin Burn During MR Imaging

    MR-induced skin burns caused by permanent coloring techniques (tattooing) are extremely rare. Eyeliner materials containing metallic substances are known to cause artifacts on cranial MR studies, but rarely is the patient affected.

    A 23-year-old man sustained a second-degree skin burn in two skin tattoos while undergoing cervical spine MR imaging at 1.5-T using a phased array coil. The study consisted of a sagittal spoiled gradient-refocused acquisition in the steady state localizer (23 sec), sagittal T1-weighted spin-echo imaging (3 min 44 sec), sagittal T2-weighted fast spin-echo imaging with multiple (16) 180° radiofrequency (RF) pulses (3 min 16 sec), and axial multiplanar gradient-re-called sequences using gradient acquisition with a 20° flip angle (4 min 23 sec). At the end of the examination the patient complained of a burning sensation in his right deltoid area, which was raised and swollen. The patient was treated in the emergency department for a second-degree skin burn and returned 24 hr later, when multiple color photographs were obtained.

    The burns occurred only in the two jet-black thunderbolt tattoos, but not in the Chinese symbol. Although his shoulder may have touched the wall of the magnet, the Chinese symbol tattoo did not cause him to be burned at all. The two adjacent thunderbolt tattoos could have approximated an RF pick-up loop and therefore would have been more prone to preferentially absorb the RF energy.

    The tattoo studio was contacted, and the artist stated that all the ink used in their studio was obtained from a single national supplier. He also stated that he had never had a client complain of a skin burn caused by MR imaging. The major supplier of tattoo ink in the United States is Spaulding & Rogers Manufacturing, located outside Albany, NY. A spokesperson for that company stated that the Food and Drug Administration does not give its approval to the use of tattoo ink. Extremely dark tattoo ink contains a high concentration of iron oxide, and this ferrous pigment can become quite concentrated if sedimented ink is used during the tattoo process. He also stated that there is little quality control over foreign-manufactured tattoo ink, especially from China, which is a major international supplier of tattoo ink.

    Artistic tattoos have now become mainstream and are no longer found exclusively on sailors and bikers. The tattoos are often very fine and intricate and do not typically use high concentrations of jet-black ink. Iron oxide is both potentially magnetic and an electrical conductor; therefore, the heating could come either from the oscillations of the gradients or, more likely, from the RF-induced electrical currents. Heating raises intracellular water temperature in the skin, resulting in a burn.

    In 14 years of experience with thousands of MR studies, we have never had a single skin burn caused by tattoo ink. This report provides graphic proof that a tattoo can potentially cause a second-degree skin burn, particularly if the ink is concentrated (dark) or if the tattoo is in the form of an RF pick-up loop.


The caption for the picture up top that accompanied the report reads: "Color photograph of right deltoid muscle of 23-year-old man with second-degree burns. Black thunderbolts have multiple white areas, which were raised and swollen 24 hr earlier. Red areas outlining thunderbolts are normal, and skin with Chinese symbol is normal."

It's amazing, the medical knowledge you can gain by a close reading of the Wall Street Journal, where yesterday I learned for the very first time that such a thing can happen.

September 19, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Stealth Keyboard — Episode 2: Return of the Das


Over two years have passed since the wicked cool Das keyboard emerged from the skunk works.

Now comes Version 2.0.

Here's what ChipChick had to say about the new one:

    Das Keyboard II with Unmarked Keys

    No, a magician didn’t make the letters, numbers and punctuation marks disappear from this keyboard. The Das Keyboard has been purposely designed with blank keys because the designers behind the keyboard claim that the lack of markings will improve your typing accuracy. We’re not so sold on that idea, yet we believe that it could be a good training tool for someone trying to learn how to touch type. Aside from the lack of markings, the Das Keyboard II claims to produce superior tactile feedback with its gold-plated and clicky high-end mechanical key switches. The folks over at Computer Shopper mag gave the keyboard a good review score of 7.9 and were very satisfied with its tactile feedback.


Note to file: Forward this to Katie Das who, for all I know, invented it in her spare time.

The keyboard costs $89.95.

Katie's caramelini offer exquisite pleasure for much less: $5.99 gets you a quarter-pound box of any of six flavors, of which Candied Ginger & Pistachio (below)


reigns as my favorite.

September 19, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack



You heard it here first: this website is ticketed for success.

Long story short: Two years ago Charlottesville native Gordon Sutton, then a college junior, launched it, seeking to match football and basketball ticket holders with local homeowners willing to rent out their houses for game day and night.

Property owners register and pay Sutton a fee in return for their listing.

Seems the site is doing a booming business, so much so that Sutton, who's currently getting his M.B.A. at the University of Colorado in Boulder, plans to expand there next.

Here's Jon Schroeder's story from the September 18, 2007 issue of C-Ville Weekly.

    Traveling fans look for comfort of home

    Pay $300 to $500 a night to rent local homes for games, special events

    Lisa Womak leads a double life. During the week, her neighbors spot her picking up the mail, working in the garden or walking the dog; come Friday night, she’s nowhere to be found. In her place, gaggles of good-natured Cavalier fans pop up on her property. There are old ones, young ones, even furry ones, “but they never leave a mess,” boasts Womak, “only leftovers.”

    During UVA home games, Womak cheers on her alma mater from a hotel room, while total strangers pack her fridge, let their dogs run in her back yard and apply face paint in her powder room. More and more Charlottesville residents close to Scott Stadium are handing their keys over to tailgaters who need room for more than a cooler. Why settle for a seat cushion when you could have a leather couch and four bedrooms? Depending on proximity to the field, and amenities offered, residential dwellings turned party rentals go for between $300 and $500 a night.

    While the football team hasn’t offered too much to get excited about so far this year, those diehard fans who want more than a night at the motel are coughing up $300 to $500 a night to stay in local homes on game weekends.
    The trading spaces phenomenon in Charlottesville seems to have taken off two years ago when Gordon Sutton, then a college junior, launched www.collegeweekends.com. Designed to match ticket holders with local homeowners, the site had humble beginnings; a small sign at a gas station is what caught Womak’s eye. Today, dozens of property owners harness the website—and pay Sutton a small fee—in order to cater to ‘Hoos on holiday. Sutton, a native of Charlottesville, is planning to expand the breadth of his website to accommodate other college towns. First on the list is the mountainside city of Boulder, where Sutton is earning his master’s degree in business administration at the University of Colorado.

    The Collegeweekends.com formula can work in any college town, says Womack, because regardless of the how diehard the sports fans are, other standard university happenings will reel in families and alums. Abbey Yates, who rents her Rugby Hills home to parties as big as eight, sites graduation, parents’ weekend, film fests and concerts as some other draws outside of the football season. Even those who come for Foxfield, which Yates dubs “a big drunk fest,” always leave their weekend digs squeaky clean for their short-term landlord.


Who says my Podunk town doesn't have it goin' on?

September 19, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My other car is a red stiletto


Off-price retailer Marshall's has entered the motorized shoe derby with the entry pictured above and below.


The vehicle cruised the streets of Washington, D.C. last week and now heads for Philadelphia, to be followed by Dallas and Houston.


The nearly eight-foot-tall high heel has a five-speed gearbox and a top speed of 60 mph.

Me, I'm sticking with the


Marakina Monolobile.

September 19, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy 25th Anniversary to Smiley Face Emoticon


"Things you won't find on bookofjoe: emoticons."

So what gives?

Have you ever heard of the exception that proves the rule?

That's what you're reading.

Long story short: Precisely 25 years ago today — at 11:44 a.m. Eastern Time on September 19, 1982 — Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman posted the following message on an electronic bulletin board: "I propose the following character sequence for joke markers: :-). Read it sideways."

And so it began.

You could look it up.

September 19, 2007 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Screen Brush


From the website:

    Screen Cleaning Brush

    This brush does one thing extremely well: it cleans your screens.

    The bristles are small enough to penetrate the mesh, firm enough to poke out dirt, yet gentle enough to avoid damage.

    It rotates to clean fast: just grip, roll and your screen is clean.

    Brush head is 5 1/2" long x 2" deep.

    For all screens.*


*Not recommended for laptops

September 19, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dreams of a bookofjoe-friendly iPod touch


I watched the new Apple iPod touch demo earlier today and have the following comments:

1) I have zero interest in iTunes and music on the iPod touch, so the first 60% or so of the video was wasted on me.

2) I have zero interest in photos and videos on the iPod-touch, so the next 20% was equally useless.

3) I have zero interest in watching YouTube videos on the iPod-touch, so another 10% bites the dust.

4) The nitty gritty from my perspective — using the device to post stuff to bookofjoe — doesn't seem to be very promising, what with a) text entry/virtual keyboard only working in the vertical orientation, and b) no Bluetooth (apparently) to enable me to use my Stowaway keyboard with it.


What I would really like to see is a mashup of a Bluetooth-enabled WiFi-capable iPod touch (no iTunes, no video playing capability) with this




Project that keyboard right down from the iPod.

Now you're talking.

September 19, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Solio Hybrid 1000: Solar power anywhere — even when the sun don't shine


Long story short: This second-generation Solio device, out today, stores power for up to a year and can be charged either from the sun or by plugging it in (that's why they call it a hybrid).

David A. Kelly, writing in Monday's New York Times, described it as follows.

    Power Anywhere

    Solio’s new Hybrid 1000 is a sleek but rugged charger with a built-in solar panel to recharge its internal battery (and your devices) from the sun. The Solio itself can hold a charge for up to a year, so before leaving on a trip, charge it and keep it handy for when your batteries run out.


Jose Fermoso, writing in yesterday's Wired Gadget Lab Blog, had more.

    New Solio Hybrid 1000 Solar Power Charger Coming Out Tomorrow

    For those who love to go outdoors but can't stand to leave their favorite gadgets behind, you're in luck as the second generation of the Solio solar gadget charger will be released tomorrow. According to the manufacturer, the new Hybrid 1000 will store power for up to one year and provide an even better charging solution than the older Universal Hybrid Charger. Both of the chargers are 'hybrid' because they cull power from a regular socket or from the sun.

    The solar panel/battery for the Hybrid 1000 is in a smaller case than the old one, and includes a built-in-carabiner and cable. The Hybrid works with your PDA, any MP3 players, digital cams and handhelds, though the actual hour-to-hour charging time has not been released. The previous hybrid charger had to be exposed to direct sunlight for about an hour in order to add about 20 minutes to your cell-phone talk time.

    If the Palm Folio had been unleashed on the world rather than it being quietly euthanized, you could have created an uncomfortably geeked-out moment wherein you could eat a heavily spiced stew olio, while charging your gray Folio with your Solio. Instead, you just eat dinner by yourself. Anyway, the new Solio should be able to replace all of the mobile device charges for the frequent traveler, though it’d be good to you keep the old pluggers just in case.


Price upon application.

September 19, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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