10 Historical Titans With Surprising Tattoos

Regretting that Taz-too on your ankle? Don’t! You’re walking in the footsteps of greatness.

1. THOMAS EDISON

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Tattoos would never have taken off if Edison’s patented “electric pen” hadn’t paved the way for the first tattoo gun. So it’s only fitting that he had a quincunx, a geometric pattern of five dots, inked on his forearm.

2. GEORGE ORWELL

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The 1984 author also saw spots. His were bright blue and tattooed on his knuckles. The dots were supposedly a bit of youthful rebellion from Orwell’s days as a policeman in colonial Burma.

3. JAMES K. POLK

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America’s 11th president annexed Texas, but he had another legacy that was just as lasting: starting the trend of Chinese-character tattoos. Polk’s ink translated as “eager,” or so he was told.

4. TEDDY ROOSEVELT

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Polk wasn’t the only tattooed commander in chief. Teddy Roosevelt had his family crest emblazoned across his chest.

5. ANDREW JACKSON

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The notoriously cranky Jackson was never one to bury the hatchet, but he did have a tomahawk inked on his inner thigh.

6. DOROTHY PARKER

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The sharp-tongued writer sported a small blue star near her elbow as a memento of a drunken night in the 1930s.

7. WINSTON CHURCHILL

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As of 2012, the U.K. holds the title of the world’s most tattooed nation, and the trend goes back ages. Even Churchill sported some body art: an anchor on his forearm.

8. BARRY GOLDWATER

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Longtime senator Barry “Mr. Conservative” Goldwater adorned his hand with a crescent moon and four dots, the trademark of the Smoki People, an Arizona organization dedicated to preserving Native American culture.

9. CZAR NICHOLAS II

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In 1891, Nicholas II of Russia visited Japan to improve Russo-Japanese relations. He survived an assassination attempt on his trip, but he also came home with a souvenir: a colorful dragon on his right arm.

10. KING HAROLD II

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Royal tattoos have been around longer than you’d think. After England’s Harold II emerged as the big loser at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, his allies identified his body using his ink, including his wife’s name, Edith, scrawled across his heart.

This article originally appeared in mental_floss magazine. You can get a free issue here.

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Afternoon Map
The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

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Design
A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”

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