CLOSE

The 11 Geekiest Tattoos Ever Inked

1. Shoulder to Shoulder Math Equations

Anyone who claims tattoos are for idiots should take up their issues with Joe, a molecular biophysicist/biochemist. While there are plenty of math tattoos out there, this one is special thanks to the sheer quantity of space given up in prime tattoo real estate. In case you were wondering, the first line is the Born Oppenheimer Approximation, the second is the same equation in the form of a 3-Dimensional Schrödinger Equation, and the final line is the solution in the form of a Schrödinger Equation.

2. Blue Screen of Death

Yes, this particular blue screen text, from a Windows 98 OS, may already be outdated, but Paul, the tattooee, wanted to reflect how fleeting technology can be in our modern lives. And with that in mind, the tattoo is perfect.

3. Pandora’s Viruses

It’s not just that this tattoo incorporates Greek mythology or pathogens, it’s that it has managed to seamlessly blend the two in such an utterly perfect manner. In case you were wondering who would get a tattoo covered in viruses, the bearer is an immunologist.

4. Cthulhu Monopoly

It’s one thing to get a tattoo of your favorite board game or even your favorite Lovecraftian monster, but when you combine the two into an utterly adorable mash up, that’s when you deserve a place on a geeky tattoos list.

5. Hitchhiker’s Guide: Don’t Panic

There are plenty of Hitchhiker’s Guide tattoos, but I have yet to see one as perfectly humorous and complexly obscure to those who haven’t read the series.

6. Horseshoe Crab Biology Diagram

While any biology diagram tattoo would be pretty dorky, Lauren, a biology grad student, managed to secure her place on this list with an equally geeky explanation for choosing the subject: “Perhaps the most magnificent living fossil of all, the horseshoe crab is the survivor of a lineage that extends back some 445 million years into the Ordovician.”

7. Cyborg Lincoln

What could be geekier than showing your love for one of America’s greatest historical figures with a tattoo? Mixing that image with a touch of science fiction by making him a cyborg to create your own Abeborgham creation.

8. 8" Ruler

Not many tattoos are as functional as this 8” ruler on Flickr user Mikeysklar. Of course, if he added a metric measurement to the ruler, it would not only double his measuring efficiency, but it would also provide him with a rather useful metric to English conversion table in the process.

9. QR Code

Barcodes are so 2001. These days, it’s all about QR codes, and unsurprisingly, tattoos are following in the same direction. This particular code, as seen on Jully Nascimento of Brazil, reads “hold on” when scanned, a reference to a Good Charlotte song that was particularly meaningful to the wearer’s youth.

10. Hello Kitty Meets Boba Fett

It was actually hard to find a Star Wars tattoo that deserved to make this list—there are so many out there, they've neutralized the geek level of each individual piece. Fortunately, when you combine a classic Star Wars icon with the queen of cartoon kitties, you certainly cross the line into ultimate geekdom.

11. Ctrl Alt Delete

This computer scientist believes it’s always important to remember that when things are screwed up beyond repair, you should always try rebooting. I think that’s a lesson many of us can identify with.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Harvard University, YouTube
arrow
Health
'Smart' Tattoos Could Monitor Your Blood Sugar
Harvard University, YouTube
Harvard University, YouTube

Wearable health-monitoring devices are nothing new, but consumer-grade models are usually limited in function and have a cool factor usually associated with mall walkers.

Now, there's some new hope on the horizon: a tattoo ink that's able to provide its owner with real-time health assessments.

According to Nerdist and first reported by the Harvard Gazette, researchers at Harvard and MIT have broken ground—or technically, skin—on a procedure that uses a special kind of ink to evaluate certain health markers. This "smart" tattoo ink can assess an individual’s blood sugar level, a benefit to diabetics; another biosensor tattoo can measure dehydration levels. If the ink detects a shift, it changes colors. (Nerdist calls it a "mood ring" for your health.)

The project, dubbed "DermalAbyss," was mounted when postdoctoral fellows at both universities wanted to address drawbacks in current wearable health tech. Battery life is one factor; wireless connectivity is another. But "smart" ink doesn't need either. The ink responds to changes in the wearer's interstitial fluid, which can provide information on glucose levels and sodium concentration.

The researchers note that they'll need to continue to experiment with the ink (currently being tested on pig skin) to make sure it doesn't diffuse or fade. For people who might want the benefits of such monitoring without having a portrait on their arm, the team also suggests an "invisible" ink that can be seen only when observed under the light of a smartphone. 

[h/t Nerdist]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Big Questions
How Does Tattoo Removal Work?
iStock
iStock

You may have felt the regret that sometimes accompanies a mixture of alcohol, impulsive behavior, and a conveniently-located tattoo parlor. Or maybe your artist fudged one of 2015’s trendy watercolor tattoos. If the time has come to erase a dermatological mistake, laser tattoo removal is the answer. But how does it work?

It helps to understand how tattoos become permanent fixtures under your epidermis in the first place. As a stabbing tattoo needle plunges under the top layer of skin, it injects tiny ink particles; those particles are considered a foreign invader by your body, which attempts to marshal forces of white blood cells to address the perceived threat. But the ink particles are too big, and so they remain—mostly. Over time, the particles can break down, allowing the body to carry them off bit by bit. It’s why tattoos can begin to fade after a few years. Unfortunately, that's not fast enough for some poorly-rendered markings.

Lasers speed up this process. The light breaks up the pigment, allowing the body to do what it wanted to do in the first place, which was to get rid of your pocket watch tattoo as quickly as possible. Because the laser is adjusted for different color pigments, it won’t etch away your natural skin color.

Once the pigment particles have been carried off, your lymphatic system takes care of the rest. The remnants of your mistake are routed to the liver, where it can be processed as waste. Technically, that means your tattoo will eventually be pooped out and your questionable judgment flushed away.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios