Feb 19, 2009 | 3
Fingerprinting and analysis of hair fibers and marks made by weapons are familiar forensic tools to those of us who love crime shows, never mind to criminal defendants on trial and those who say they were wrongly convicted by evidence based on those techniques.
So you may be surprised to learn that none of those methods—which comprise the majority of what most real-life labs do—have been scientifically validated, and of the techniques commonly used in the nation's forensic labs, only DNA analysis has been rigorously proved to match a suspect to a crime.
Those are the conclusions of a new report released yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). "In terms of the reliability and accuracy in making individualization conclusions, it is fair to say that, with the exception of nuclear DNA analysis, there is a lot we do not know about other forensic disciplines," said the NAS panel's co-chair, Constantine Gatsonis, director of the Center for Statistical Sciences at Brown University, in a statement.
Nov 20, 2008 | 6
Attention, shoppers: If the cart you selected has a handle greased with Vaseline, you may be an unwitting participant in an undercover experiment.
Ditto if you find an envelope stuffed with cash hanging out of a mailbox.
More than 600 people unknowingly took part in a series of "field experiments" in Groningen in the Netherlands designed to test the "broken window" theory, which posits that bad behavior begets bad behavior. That is: if someone sees, say, graffiti scrawled on a building, he or she will be tempted to do the same or commit some other illegal or mischievous act.
Aug 4, 2008 | 4
U.K. researchers are developing a coating for bullet casings that sticks to the hands (or gloves) of anyone handling it and is very difficult to remove. The idea is to give each bullet a "fingerprint" that can be traced to a given crime.
Today, cops rely on generic gunpowder, primer and lubricants getting on the shooter's hands and clothing when a bullet is fired. Such techniques can tell when someone has fired a gun, but can't tie a shooter to a specific bullet casing.
The new coating is made from chemicals infused with nano-sized particles 30 microns in diameter (one micron is one millionth of a meter).
Each coating can have a slightly different chemical composition to give it a unique signature that can help establish a link between a fired cartridge and a shooter, according to University of Surrey chemistry professor Paul Sermon, who led a team of colleagues from other universities with more than $743,000 in funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the U.K.'s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
Deadline: Jan 11 2014
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Conventional washing machines cause excessive damage and wrinkling to clothes primarily during the water removal step. With the introduc
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