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David Kramer’s high-entropy blog

So Much For DNA Evidence

From Slashdot: Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence.  This article covers two techniques that can now be used to falsify a crime scene with planted DNA.

On the one hand, this was probably inevitable.  There’s very little man can understand but not control.  On the other hand, this is truly a shame, as DNA evidence has been used frequently in the past few years to free wrongly-accued long-term inmates who were convicted before DNA tests were common.

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New Research On Itching

This is a subject very important to me right now.  I recently spend some time in a rainy part of Maine, and came back with at least two dozen mosquito bites.  They’re finally starting to ease up a little, but I’ve lost a lot of sleep from waking up scratching myself.

I found this article on Slashdot: Neuron Path Discovery May Change Our Conception of Itching.  It turns out that itching isn’t really just another form of mild pain.  There are separate circuits of nerve cells to convey itchiness and pain, and their studies suggest that itch and pain signals are transmitted along different pathways in the spinal cord.

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Sticky Tape Found To Emit Terahertz Radiation

From Slashdot: Sticky Tape Found To Emit Terahertz Radiation.  Reading through the comments, this is more of an interesting curiosity than a practical discovery, but I find the explanation fascinating.  Terahertz-range radiation can be used for imaging, like C-rays.  Denser objects absorb more of the energy, so looking at the “shadow” from the other side of the object can show hidden weapons, etc.  Unlike C-rays, though, terahertz-range radiation does not harm the body.

Read on…

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Dogs Are Not Bilaterally Emotionally Symmetrical

According to this New York Times article, dogs wag more to one side than another depending on their emotions. If they see something or some one they’re happy about, they wag more to the right. If it’s something they’re less positively disposed towards, they wag more to the left.

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Science Tatoos

From Discover Magazine: The Science Tatoo Emporium.  Cool stuff.

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Categories: Fun, Science | Tags: , ,

Colbert Gets Runner Up Prize

Steven Colbert got a huge number of his audience to vote for his name in the NASA contest to come up with a name for the space station module. While his name was by far the winning vote, NASA has chosen to not only go with the highest-voted name, but to go with the eighth most popular name, Tranquility.  The new name was announced on Colbert’s show last night.

But Colbert didn’t go home empty-handed.  As a consolation prize, they named a new treadmill after him.  It’s the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT).  I don’t think that’s good enough.  Whether you’re a Colbert fan or not, popular vote is the American way.  I’m kinda disappointed.  I guess there’s a fine line between “Popular Vote” and “Mob Rule”, but to select the eighth most popular vote seems like a sham to me.

This article has all the details.

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