June 15th 1995: O.J. Simpson tries on a new pair of gloves similar to those found at the crime scene of his wife’s murder. Despite compelling evidence, the actor was never convicted for Nicole’s murder. The iconic photograph above shows the dramatic demonstration that devastated the prosecution when the gloves appeared too tight for Simpson’s hands. His defense attorney simply said: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” - And this seemed to remarkably sway the jury into finding him innocent.

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3D scanning helps scientists unwrap the secrets of ancient mummies

When dealing with ancient mummified remains, archaeologists are understandably wary. Mummies are an incredible resource for learning more about long-dead civilizations, but too much handling could cause serious damage.

At London’s Wellcome Collection, this problem is solved using a hospital CT scanner. After a quick trip to the scanning room, researchers can examine the mummies in detail without performing any physically invasive procedures.

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Bloodstain pattern analysis (BPA) is one of several forensic science specialities that can help determine what exactly came to pass on a scene of a violent crime. Technologies for it are evolving constantly, which leads to a higher degree of accuracy than in the past.

Eduard Piotrowski published a paper entitled “on the formation, form, direction, and spreading of blood stains resulting in blunt trauma at the head” in 1895. The various publications that followed did not lead to a systematic analysis the way we know today. Herbert Leon MacDonell advanced the research that eventually culminated in the 1971 publishing of “Flight Characterisics and Stain Patterns of Human Blood”. He went on to present the first formal training course for bloodstain pattern analysis.

Crime scene investigator Sherry Gutierrez put forth some general principles for the analysis of gunshot wounds in particular that roughly indicate what can be deduced from those. These are as follows:

  1. The amount of forward spatter (away from the shooter) is greater than the back spatter (towards the shooter).
  2. The velocity of the forward spatter is greater than the velocity of the back spatter.
  3. Both forward and back spatter have a lower velocity than the bullet. (The relationship of the velocities from high to low can therefore be visualised as bullet –> forward spatter –> back spatter.)
  4. Both forward and back spatter form a “cone” of mist. 
  5. The density of the fluid droplets from an impact to a fluid-containing structure decreases as the distance from the bullet impact increases.
  6. High velocity wounds to bone may cause bone to go both forward and backward alongside the spatter.
  7. The bullet exits in the direction opposite of the shooter.

Forward spatter usually travels farther than the back spatter in the same incident. It also holds a larger volume of blood that expresses as individual stains than the back spatter does. Targets may move with the direction of the projectile upon the moment of impact, so (for example) someone who was shot in the back may move forward. Similarly, if the target is located in a moving vehicle the wind and other circumstances may affect the forward and back spatter to a degree.

Bloodstain pattern analysis can also be made visual by documenting bloodstains at the scene of the crime and measuring the angles of impact that can lead every trajctory back to an ‘origin point’. Nowadays, computer programs are used to visualise these calculations further and create a 3D-model of the circumstances of the crime. An older method is called “stringing” and consists of attaching a coloured string to the point of impact and running it to the termination point (like the wall or floor). The convergences and crossing points of these strings can then be used for crime scene reconstructions.

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Scientists Have Mapped All of Ötzi the Iceman’s 61 Tattoos

By Carl Engelking

Proving that tattoos can age well, all 61 tattoos on the mummified Ötzi the Iceman have been mapped — and they still look pretty darn good, all things considered.

Anthropologists mapped the ink on the 5,300-year-remains using a new imaging technique, revealing previously-unknown tattoos. With this new census in hand, researchers hope to finally answer the question of what the tattoos mean.

Ancient Ink

In September 1991, two tourists discovered the Iceman’s remains nestled into a glacier in the Italian Alps. Since then, researchers have rigorously analyzed the Iceman to paint a picture of what life was like during the start of the Bronze Age some 5,300 years ago. We now know that he suffered from a variety of degenerative ailments and ultimately died from an arrow wound to the shoulder. However, his peculiar horizontal line tattoos are still a formidable riddle to solve.

Early studies initially detected some 49 to 57 tattoos, eventually rising to 59. The tallies varied over time because his tattoos are difficult to spot. For one, the guy is 5,300 years old so his skin is understandably weathered and browned. On top of that, his tattoos were likely applied by puncturing the top layer of skin and rubbing in charcoal. Dark, ancient skin and black ink don’t offer a lot of contrast.

In order to up the contrast, researchers in the most recent study used a multispectral imaging technique that detected color differences on the skin — even in the non-visible range. This upped the contrast on the Iceman’s body, and revealed a set of chest tattoos not seen before, bringing the final tally to 61 tattoos. They published their findings this week in the Journal of Cultural Heritage.

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A short, informative video on what nails can say about your health. Also, Hank Green.