Human

New fly may bug crime scene investigators

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 4, 2013   View Article

When detectives find a corpse lying in a ditch or anywhere else, determining how long it has been there is one of the first tasks. A good estimate comes from the age of the flies found swarming the dead body, but this technique may be complicated in the Midwest by a fly found newly buzzing there, according to a forensic entomologist.

“The composition of what (flies are) around is changing as the climate changes,” Christine Picard, a biologist with the Forensic and Investigative Sciences program at Indiana University — Purdue University Indianapolis, explained to NBC News.

Your feet may soon be your password

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 23, 2012   View Article

Shoes outfitted with high-tech soles that can confirm a person’s identity in just a few steps may soon serve as our keycards and computer passwords, and could even let doctors know when we show signs of dementia.

They work by combing physical and behavioral biometrics — measurements of a foot’s shape and person’s gait, for example.

Software taps human brains

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: August 29, 2011   View Article

Computers may eventually outsmart human intelligence, but for now they’re just finally getting smart enough to ask humans for help.

That’s the basic idea behind MobileWorks, a startup that is weaving crowdsourcing capability into computer software. Crowdsourcing is the concept of putting out a question to your social network to help solve a problem.

Skewed sex ration curbs courtship

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: May 25, 2011   View Article

When a woman walks into a male-crowded bar she’s unlikely to be showered with courtly attention — that is if findings about mating in the animal kingdom translate to the human realm.

“She might just be watching them fight it out and then have one particularly possessive one making sure others aren’t getting access to her,” Laura Weir, a postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, told me today.

In other words, as the dudes duke it out with each other, one little weasel will sneak over and trap her in a corner and try to keep her all to himself?

“Exactly,” she said, although she stressed her reluctance to take the analogy too far. The data, she noted, is compiled from the mating behaviors of the birds and bees … and alligators, fish, frogs, lizards and lobsters, too.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach