Researchers Map All of Oetzi the Iceman's Tattoos

Image courtesy of © Marco Samadelli via ScienceDaily. Click to enlarge.

When Oetzi the Iceman was found jutting out of a melting glacier in the Ötztal Alps on September 19, 1991, his discoverers, Erika and Helmut Simon, immediately noticed his tattoos—which, at more than 5000 years old, are some of the oldest documented tattoos in the world. Previous studies had analyzed and itemized the tats, but now, using a new, non-invasive technique he invented, Marco Samadelli, a scientist at the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, has mapped all of the mummy's tattoos for the first time—and discovered a previously unknown tattoo. The method and results of his study were published in Journal of Cultural Heritage.

Samadelli photographed Oetzi from various angles in the mummy's refrigerated cell at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology using a multi-spectral camera. "Each shot was taken seven times, using a different wavelength each time," Samadelli said in a press release. "This enabled us to cover the different depths at which the carbon powder used for the tattoos had been deposited. The ultraviolet waves were adequate for the upper skin layers, whilst we resorted to infrared light for the lower layers."

The different wavelengths revealed tattoos deep in the skin and invisible to the human eye. Oetzi has 61 markings, which consist mostly of parallel lines in groups of two, three, or four between 0.7 and 4 centimeters long. (There are also two crosses.) The newly discovered ink, located on Oetzi's rib cage, wasn't noticed earlier because the mummy's skin had darkened so much.

Because most of the mummy's tattoos are located on the lower back and along the leg between the knee and the foot, researchers had speculated that perhaps the markings were used as part of some kind of treatment—maybe an early form of acupuncture—while others believe that the markings might have symbolic or religious significance. Oetzi's rib tattoo will undoubtedly give the researchers more to consider.

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.

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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