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THE SOUL IS BONE

Educationally bizarre: Current events, medicine, animals, forensics, oddities, teeth, eyes, deformities, funerals, cemeteries, blood, albinism and such ........ It's The Soul is Bone. Not necessarily disturbing, but not necessarily not disturbing. Not necessarily NSFW, but not necessarily not NSFW.
posted by Think_Long on May 20, 2014 - 25 comments

CSI: The MOOC

Welcome to Introduction to Forensic Science, the murder mystery that doubles as a university course. Enrol here.
posted by storybored on Jan 8, 2014 - 9 comments

Putting a New C in CSI

For the first time in the United Kingdom, cat hair DNA has led to the conviction of a killer. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Aug 14, 2013 - 39 comments

Paleopathology

CSI: Italian Renaissance. "Inside a lab in Pisa, forensics pathologist Gino Fornaciari and his team investigate 500-year-old cold cases." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jul 21, 2013 - 10 comments

Forensic Topology

Forensic Topology. "In his 2003 memoir Where The Money Is: True Tales from the Bank Robbery Capital of the World, co-authored with Gordon Dillow, retired Special Agent William J. Rehder briefly suggests that the design of a city itself leads to and even instigates certain crimes—in Los Angeles’s case, bank robberies. Rehder points out that this sprawling metropolis of freeways and its innumerable nondescript banks is, in a sense, a bank robber’s paradise. Crime, we could say, is just another way to use the city."
posted by homunculus on Jul 13, 2013 - 14 comments

Electrical fluctuations as a watermark for audio and video recordings

Audio recordings usually include a low-level background noise caused by electrical equipment. The hum contains small frequency fluctuations which are propagated consistently over entire power grids. By storing the pattern of grid-wide fluctuations in a database forensics experts are able to use the hum as a watermark. This can determine when the recording was made, where it was made and whether it was recorded in a single edit. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Dec 12, 2012 - 43 comments

This paper says I'm an expert.

"No forensic background, no problem." A journalism student pays her fee and gets credentialed by the AFCEI (American College of Forensic Examiners International). "Wecht [the official spokesperson for the AFCEI] also dismissed the notion that the group’s use of “college” in its name could be misleading. “That’s a play on words,” he said. “Nobody believes for one moment that it is a real college.” ... Under state and federal rules of evidence, judges decide whether prospective expert witnesses can testify, but they sometimes rely heavily on the titles and letters around someone’s name. “Credentials are often appealing shortcuts,” Michigan circuit court judge Donald Shelton said. Fancy titles can have a disproportionate effect on juries, he added. “Jurors have no way of knowing that this certifying body, whether it’s this one or any other one, exacts scientific standards or is just a diploma mill.”"
posted by sio42 on Apr 17, 2012 - 47 comments

The Science of Bones

The TV show Bones is loosely based on the life of forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs. But how much science does the show get right? Can you really use the mandibular angle to figure out the sex of the victim? What about diagnosing Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva from a tiny bone fragment? Biological anthropologist Kristina Killgrove dissects the science of each episode on her blog, Powered by Osteons.
posted by melissam on Dec 14, 2011 - 67 comments

"Interestingly, she advanced in a male dominated field by co-opting the feminine tradition of miniatures."

"The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death": an exploration of a collection of eighteen miniature crime scene models that were built in the 1940's and 50's by a progressive criminologist Frances Glessner Lee (1878 – 1962). The models, which were based on actual homicides, suicides, and accidental deaths, were created to train detectives to assess visual evidence. This seven-year project culminated in an exhibition and a book The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death (The Monacelli Press, 2004). [Image Gallery]
posted by Fizz on Nov 27, 2011 - 29 comments

Does digital writing leave fingerprints?

"When legal teams need to prove or disprove the authorship of key texts, they call in the forensic linguists. Scholars in the field have tackled the disputed origins of some prestigious works, from Shakespearean sonnets to the Federalist Papers."
Decoding Your E-Mail Personality Ben Zimmer, of Language Log discusses the Facebook case and forensic linguistics in the NY Times. [more inside]
posted by iamkimiam on Aug 2, 2011 - 13 comments

Frank Bender and the "team of experts whose consultative skills and talents are always free"

When forensic sculptor Frank Bender, Esquire's Man of the Month in April 2004, died this week the world mourned one of the foremost skull-to-face recreationists. What fewer people knew was that his passing created an opening in The Vidocq Society a members-only crime-solving organization he co-founded in 1990, dedicated to working on long-unsolved murders. Membership is limited to 82 members, one for each year of Inspector Vidocq's life. The organization does have a newsletter available online and guests and associates sometimes tag along to their monthly luncheons, Cuisine & Crime Solving.
posted by jessamyn on Jul 31, 2011 - 18 comments

Question? RTFAQ (Read the F*cking Al Qaeda)!

Mining the Mother of all Data Dumps We now have a relatively massive haul of digital data from the OBL strike.  There are several forensic toolkits in use by the private (commercially available) and public sector as well as open-sourceBest practices include inventorying all the sources, cloning the sources so as to not damage pristine data, recovering any partial or damaged content, making the cloned sources read-only, adhering to legally-admissible tools standards, and documenting everything.   There is an excellent source titled Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content from the Council on Library and Information Resources [pdf, Resource Shelf].   But what to do next*? [more inside]
posted by rzklkng on May 4, 2011 - 40 comments

Livingstone's lost letters revealed

For 140 years rare manuscripts that record the private thoughts and opinions of David Livingstone, the Victorian explorer and missionary, were hidden from the public eye due to their fragile condition and frequently indecipherable text. Today a trans-Atlantic academic and scientific team, launches a major project with the publication of Livingstone's Letter from Bambarre – a spectrally-imaged 'lost' letter from Livingstone's final African expedition, written to his friend and future biographer Horace Waller.
posted by notsnot on Feb 4, 2011 - 4 comments

Don't shake the baby.

Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court. Earlier this month, the UK Crown Prosecution Service issued a guidance on "shaken baby" allegations. Emily Bazelon looks at the medical and legal gray areas in US prosecutions in this week's New York Times Magazine. An editorial last fall by law professor Deborah Turkheimer here touched on her own research into the issue [PDF], which she calls "the next Innocence Project;" it was met with some controversy by medical professionals.
posted by availablelight on Feb 3, 2011 - 24 comments

You just never know what you're stepping into when you hit up a random car on a random street

When a thief stole a backpack and a GPS unit from Amanda Enayati's car, he picked the wrong target to mess with. [more inside]
posted by acb on Sep 21, 2010 - 222 comments

"...I never saw anything like this. The animal that came from never had any fur on it.”

I didn’t put much stock in the possibility that a Dominican spiritualist working out of a basement in Union City, New Jersey, would have much to say about a lampshade that might have been made from human skin in a Nazi concentration camp. But there I was.... (via)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 7, 2010 - 74 comments

For security reasons, several images in this post are watermarked in a way that is not apparent to the observer.

The Mark of a Masterpiece. The company combined the forensic triumphalism of “C.S.I.” with the lottery ethos of “Antiques Roadshow.”

An in-depth profile of Peter Paul Biro, acclaimed forensic art authenticator featured in the 2006 documentary Who the *$&% Is Jackson Pollock? (previously), professional art restorer, swindler, con man, and art forger.
posted by shakespeherian on Jul 6, 2010 - 20 comments

"Enhance 15 to 23. Give me a hard copy right there."

Image Error Level Analyser [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 5, 2010 - 30 comments

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret

DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.
posted by homunculus on Mar 6, 2010 - 40 comments

UK Asylum Seekers: Let The Right Ones In

The Home Office, the UK government department responsible for immigration control, has initiated a program to test the DNA from of potential asylum seekers in an attempt to confirm their true nationalities. The initial program is a six-month pilot limited to claimants arriving from the Horn of Africa. The program, currently using forensic samples provided on a voluntary basis, could potentially expand to other nationalities if successful. The Home Office spokeswoman said ancestral DNA testing would not be used alone but would be combined with language analysis, investigative interviewing techniques and other recognized forensic disciplines, but many are decrying the "deeply flawed" program, from refugee support groups to scientists in the genetic forensics fields (via). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 30, 2009 - 55 comments

Skull thought to be Hitler's is female

Lending credence to conspiracy theorists everywhere, the skull fragment previously believed to have belonged to Adolf Hilter has been identified as female by DNA tests.
posted by Plutor on Sep 28, 2009 - 60 comments

I gotta go, road dog. I love you Gabby.

Expert tells Texas state-sanctioned review that they killed an innocent man. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed. Cameron Todd Willingham was accused of killing his three children in a house fire. There have been doubts about the case for years, thoroughly outlined in this 2004 Chicago Tribune article and this 2005 NPR interview (summarized in this Daily Kos diary). [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Aug 25, 2009 - 92 comments

CSI: The truth isn't nearly as entertaining.

CSI Myths: The Shaky Science Behind Forensics Forensic science was not developed by scientists. It was mostly created by cops, who were guided by little more than common sense. And as hundreds of criminal cases begin to unravel, many established forensic practices are coming under fire.
posted by Pragmatica on Jul 27, 2009 - 125 comments

It's not gross, it's science!

No reaction allowed is the rule in Mr. Rubin's forensic science class at New Rochelle High School. Many high schools around the country are offering forensics science, including Eagle High, which will be starting next year. John F. Kennedy High School's forensic science class has their own blog.
posted by grapefruitmoon on May 14, 2009 - 7 comments

"High-tech forensic perfection is a television fantasy, not a courtroom reality"

The American National Academy of Sciences recently released a report that punched a few holes in the credibility of the forensic sciences: often seen (and portrayed) as infallible, in practice they're non-standardized, subjective (warning: pdf with gory image), accepted without rigorous testing (pdf), and lousy with dilettantes. A Canadian inquiry into the work of a pathologist whose testimony wrongly convicted a man of anally raping his four-year-niece to death says that forensic science is useful, but that we're doing it wrong. It's beginning to dawn that what we used to think of as a few bad apples may actually be symptoms of a deep rot in the field itself. [more inside]
posted by hayvac on Mar 25, 2009 - 29 comments

I sense you want to plead the 5th

For the first time in the Indian state of Maharashtra, life sentences were meted out based on the findings of Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature(BEOS) profiling. [more inside]
posted by Gyan on Jul 21, 2008 - 53 comments

Sketchy Evidence

One day while crossing an empty field, fifteen-year-old Tim Masters happened to see a dead body. Twenty years later, he remains in prison, serving time for a crime that he almost certainly did not commit. A haunting, bizarre tale of a murder investigation gone wrong.
posted by william_boot on Jul 14, 2007 - 37 comments

Death in Miniature

Frances Glessner Lee (previously discussed here) was a pioneer in forensic studies who built reproductions of crime scenes in dollhouses. Photographs of the dioramas, courtesy of Corinne May Botz.[More Inside] [viaATNY]
posted by grapefruitmoon on Apr 19, 2007 - 8 comments

No rest for the dead...

My post-mortem to-do checklist, so far: 1. Study marine biology. 2. Accessorize my hot, wealthy widow. 3. Relay a few spooky telegrams to my spooky new friends. 4. Try to look as suspicious as possible. And that's even before rigor mortis sets in!
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 8, 2006 - 37 comments

"My name is Mona Lisa"

Mona Lisa's voice finally heard. Even if you can't read Japanese, you can still click the buttons underneath each portrait to get playback. Works with Internet Explorer. Suzuki — a co-winner of the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for promoting harmony between species by inventing the Bow-Lingual, a dog-to-human interpretation device — undertook the project as part of activities promoting the Japan release of the movie "The Da Vinci Code."
posted by nickyskye on Jun 3, 2006 - 16 comments

A Look into the Dead

Interactive Autopsy [Flash]
posted by Gyan on Oct 21, 2005 - 13 comments

Skeletons in the closet

Police find skeleton in Oddfellows lodge. Turns out, they'd already found it, 6 years before (your guess is as good as mine why no one did anything then). Even more interesting, it's not the only one that's been found and subsequently investigated by the police around the country. Makes you wonder about those Oddfellows.
posted by tommasz on Oct 31, 2003 - 26 comments

The real CSI.

If Adam is to be identified, and his killers found, a whole, if short, life must be reconstructed from a tiny, bloodless torso.
Two years ago a small boy's torso was pulled out of the Thames. This fascinating article details how forensic science is driving the investigation in to his murder.
posted by davehat on Aug 7, 2003 - 8 comments

Tiny digital drives

Child Pornographers Using Small Storage Drives. Small drives like this are giving the police quite a bit of trouble. One of the more interesting quotes from the story, "Even if the photos are encrypted, computer forensics specialists can break through most encryption schemes these days anyway."
posted by banished on May 29, 2003 - 33 comments

question your science professional

question your science professional MD, PhD, specialist. I've always thought you should seriously question their input on all their advise but most ppl don't.
posted by greyscale on May 1, 2001 - 6 comments

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