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Hair Analysis in Forensic Toxicology

September 3, 2013 3:59 am | by Dr. Lata Gautam and Prof Michael D Cole | Comments

Forensic testing for drugs of abuse in hair has become a useful diagnostic tool in determining recent past drug use as well as examining long-term drug history through segmental analysis. The usefulness of hair analysis depends on the ability to identify and quantify drugs and metabolites in hair that arise from ingestion but not from passive exposure or exogenous application of drugs.

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Using Positive Reinforcement in Employee Motivation

September 2, 2013 9:01 pm | Comments

Positive reinforcement is the practice of rewarding desirable employee behavior in order to strengthen that behavior. For example, when you praise an employee for doing a good job, you increase the likelihood of him/her doing that job very well again.

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Limit Amounts of Flammable Liquids in Each Lab

September 2, 2013 7:19 pm | Comments

There seems to be a special law of nature that leads to the accumulation of chemicals in laboratories. When these chemicals are flammable, the safety of the lab's residents can be seriously compromised. Maintaining only those minimum amounts needed for the day's work is the best way to address this common problem.

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Common Manager Mistakes: Being Fearful of Being Disliked

August 29, 2013 6:47 am | Comments

We all, to some degree, want to be liked and accepted. When managers have too strong a dose of this need, they may hesitate to give undesirable assignments to staff members for fear that they will not like them or will become angry. This often results in managers assigning themselves the least desirable tasks in an attempt to avoid garnering negative feelings from employees.

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Crime Scene 301: Forensic Entomology

August 28, 2013 8:00 pm | Comments

By studying the types of bugs present at the scene and their stage of development, forensic entomologists can estimate the time of death, and in many cases, determine if the body was moved or disturbed and whether the deceased person had ingested drugs.

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Emerging DNA Technologies

August 28, 2013 6:25 am | by Rebecca Waters | Comments

DNA evidence has been the gold standard in crime solving since Sir Alec Jeffreys first reported his DNA profiling technique in 1984. Since then the use of DNA in forensic investigations has been steadily expanding and evolving. New technologies will allow more DNA evidence to be processed more efficiently, reduce backlogs, and help process more complex samples.

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Tools of the Trade: Dealing with Unusual Surfaces

August 28, 2013 6:20 am | by Dick Warrington | Comments

For the past several years, I’ve taught a class on developing and lifting prints off unusual surfaces. This class is very popular because it shows Crime Scene Officers that the only “surfaces” where you can’t get prints are air and water.

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The Lighting Balancing Act for Laboratories

August 28, 2013 6:06 am | by John Kosniewski, Jr. and Brian Fiander | Comments

Light—it’s the difference between a bright and airy space and a shadowy, dull, and uninviting work environment. In designing modern criminal laboratories, one issue to be solved is providing adequate lighting so that scientists can perform the very intricate tasks at hand while adhering to the energy usage codes. 

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Solid State Drives: Part 2

August 28, 2013 5:49 am | by John J. Barbara | Comments

One commonality between a typical hard drive and an SSD is that they both store data. However, the way in which they do so is totally different. To fully comprehend how SSDs function, it is necessary to understand SSD terminology. Doing so will also provide insight into the “pitfalls” of their forensic examination.

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DNA and Human Trafficking

August 28, 2013 4:01 am | by Chris Asplen | Comments

Given its history, the time has come for an aggressive commitment to leverage DNA technology in the context of human trafficking. A scourge unrivaled in the world in its scope, heinousness, and complexity, human trafficking is getting worse, not better.

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DNA Fingerprinting Comes Of Age

August 28, 2013 3:49 am | by Bobby Chavli, Annette Summers, and Mary Napier | Comments

DNA fingerprinting has quickly advanced from an isolated, manual laboratory technique to a core element within a cluster of technologies, including sampling chemistry, biobanking, automated handling processes, and DNA databases. This technology has tremendous potential to further revolutionize crime fighting.

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The Most Common Questions asked about Expert Witness Testimony

August 28, 2013 3:41 am | by Elaine M. Pagliaro | Comments

A relatively small but critical part of the forensic expert’s responsibilities involves testifying about the scientific basis of analyses, findings, and conclusions in court or during deposition. Credible experts must prepare thoroughly, demonstrating a command of the scientific knowledge associated with their areas of expertise.

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Development of an Innovative DNA Quantification and Assessment System: Streamlining Workflow Using Intelligent Tools

August 28, 2013 2:27 am | by Wiljo De Leeuw, Sheri Olson, Robert Green, Allison Holt, and Lisa Lane Schade | Comments

In the last several years, highly sensitive, more robust NG STR PCR amplification kits have shown improved performance especially in compromised DNA samples, recovered from minimal and complex evidentiary samples with low amounts of DNA (low template DNA), PCR inhibitors, and degraded DNA.

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New Fingerprint Analysis Models Are At Hand

August 28, 2013 2:03 am | by Douglas Page | Comments

Fingerprint examiners have historically been required to claim absolute certainty that a specific print belongs to a specific suspect. Less-than-certain fingerprint evidence is, therefore, not reported at all, no matter its potential importance to the case. Statistical models offer a way to use less-than-certain print evidence in court.  

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Proper Ventilation is Essential to Safe Formaldehyde Use

August 26, 2013 8:00 pm | Comments

Formaldehyde is ubiquitous, yet essential to successful forensic pathology. It is potentially hazardous and if used carelessly can produce serious harm. But, with properly designed and adequately maintained ventilation systems safe use is possible.

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