dna-fingerprinting fingerprinting

DNA extractable from fingerprints

Even if the only evidence forensic analysts can pull from a crime scene is a fingerprint smudged beyond recognition, a new technique developed by Canadian scientists soon could harvest enough DNA from the print to produce a genetic identity. The novel system can extract DNA in only 15 minutes, even if a print has been stored for a year. [...]

"If you wanted to use blood as a source of DNA, you have fear of contamination, people who don't want to give it, storage issues, and you have to sign a lot of paperwork to get it," research scientist Maria Viaznikova of the Ottawa University Heart Institute in Canada told United Press International. "We can now have DNA reliably and simply with our method."

Viaznikova said her team's method consistently yields 10 billionths of a gram of DNA, on average, from a single fingerprint. [...] Although 10 "nanograms" might not sound like much, for DNA analysis, even 0.1 nanogram is enough, Viaznikova said. "Scientists try not to use less than 5 to 10 nanograms, so this is fine."

You know, as I'm walking down the street looking at the thousands and thousands of tar-like little black splotches that were once spat-out wads of chewing gum, I often think that maybe someday after we've obliterated ourselves, the Alien Masters will be able to clone a whole second batch of humanity just from the dessicated spit preserved in the gum on the sidewalks of the world.

I guess, for the sake of future generations, we can only hope that being the kind of slob who spits their gum on the ground is not genetically predetermined.

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pixie sticks are part of a balanced diet

Sugar industry threatens to scupper WHO

The sugar industry in the US is threatening to bring the World Health Organisation to its knees by demanding that Congress end its funding unless the WHO scraps guidelines on healthy eating, due to be published on Wednesday. The threat is being described by WHO insiders as tantamount to blackmail and worse than any pressure exerted by the tobacco lobby. [...]

The industry is furious at the guidelines, which say that sugar should account for no more than 10% of a healthy diet. It claims that the review by international experts which decided on the 10% limit is scientifically flawed, insisting that other evidence indicates that a quarter of our food and drink intake can safely consist of sugar. [...]

The Sugar Association objects to the new report having been published in draft on the WHO's website for consultation purposes, without what it considers "a broad external peer-review process". It wants a full economic analysis of the impact of the recommendations on all 192 member countries. [...]

The report, Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, has already been heavily criticised by the soft drinks industry, whose members sell virtually everywhere in the world, including developing countries where malnutrition is beginning to coexist with the obesity common in affluent countries.

The industry does not accept the WHO report's conclusion that sweetened soft drinks contribute to the obesity pandemic. The Washington-based National Soft Drink Association said the report's "recommendation on added sugars is too restrictive".

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tapping the vein

Power from blood could lead to 'human batteries'

Researchers in Japan are developing a method of drawing power from blood glucose, mimicking the way the body generates energy from food. Theoretically, it could allow a person to pump out 100 watts - enough to illuminate a light bulb. But that would entail converting all the food eaten by the individual into electricity. In practice, less power would be generated since food is needed by the body. However the scientists say the "bio-nano" generator could be used to run devices embedded in the body, or sugar-fed robots.

The team at electronics giant Panasonic's Nanotechnology Research Laboratory near Kyoto has so far only managed to produce very low power levels. But the scientists ultimately expect to gain much greater performance from the device. The battery is based on an enzyme capable of stripping glucose of its electrons, The Engineer magazine reported.

Dr Kazuo Eda, heading the research, said: "It is like the metabolism of food. Human bodies can process glucose and obtain energy. When glucose is oxidised, electrons can be obtained." He believed bio-nano fuel cells were the next step for researchers after generators powered by hydrogen, natural gas and methanol now being developed for the car and energy industries.

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DNA Lounge:

Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate MCs? Why yes! I think I have.

Well, tonight's Photek show was as horrid as I expected. It was terrible because I happen to like Photek, but as is par for course with drum-and-bass events lately, there was an MC blathering over the music for the whole show, totally obliterating the music I came to hear.

I have two Photek discs, and as far as I can recall, neither of them feature a suburban Gap-wearing white fratboy rapping in a bad Jamaican accent for four hours.

I just don't get it. I can't even put myself in the DJ's shoes: I mean, DJs like this guy are unlike most DJs in that they aren't just standing there playing other peoples' records: they're playing their own records. And you'd think that if they thought their music needed a fake-Jamaican rapper, well, they would have included one in the recording, wouldn't they?

And it's not even like the DJ chose to go on tour with this chump: as far as I can tell, the MC is always a local, booked by the promoters, so there's a different fake-Jamaican each night of the tour. Presumably the DJs could put a stop to this if they objected, so they're clearly complicit... but why??

It's almost harder to tolerate events like this than it is to tolerate the "deep house" crap we usually do, because at least the house nights are just 100% hateful through-and-through: whereas, this is an event that could have been music I liked, if they didn't go and totally fuck it up.

The first DJ was really good, though: the MC didn't start until later.

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parody would be redundant

Barron's Guide to Homeland Security Careers

In the wake of 9/11, Homeland Security has become the forefront of national issues and the center of a growing source of new employment. New careers are already opening, not only in military and law enforcement fields, but also in scientific research, cyber technology, bio-medical technology, disaster assistance and relief, air marshal operations, intelligence operations, and many other areas. This brand-new directory describes career opportunities in these and related security fields. The authors describe job designations in detail, and provide addresses, phone numbers, web sites, and a helpful glossary of Homeland Security terms. They also offer detailed advice on résumé preparation and making a good impression at a job interview. Additional information includes details on background checks and sources of specialized training that relate to homeland security. This brand new directory will be valued by a wide audience, including high school and college students, as well as law enforcement, military, and medical personnel who are looking to advance their careers.
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