nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Catching Criminals Through Hand Bacteria

This news report from the LA Times (Mar 16) was too cool to pass up.   There's only an abstract available from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, but...wait...there's a YouTube video of the author discussing the research.  Even more cool.  Just a Nature Note for now, and may never be practical, but still kinda neat.

Researchers have found that the species of bacteria that live on our skin, specifically those that survive on our hands, are characteristic for each person.  Apparently there are about 100 bacteria per person, but only 13% of them are present in any two people.

Imagine the consequences.  Even if the criminal wore gloves and left no fingerprints, you could swab the gloves and compare to his/her own hands.  Voila!  Successful prosecution.

Yeah, it sounds far-fetched, and for right now, it is.  The accuracy rate is only 70-90%, and that aint enough for "beyond a reasonable doubt."

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