When a bullet is recovered at a crime scene, ballistic identification can help track the gun that fired it, but identifying the person who fired the gun is a lot harder. Now scientists have found an unlikely method to ID gunmen on the lam, using flower pollen.
Paul Sermon, a nanomaterials engineer at Brunel University in London, along with a team of researchers, starts the process by dipping the cartridge in a solution of aluminum oxide and urea. Ridges form, and these nab skin cells from the person who loaded the gun. When tested on a 9mm Browning pistol, researchers turned up 53 percent more viable DNA than traditional bullets.
The pollen comes in the second step, when pollen grains from the Easter lily, Lilium longiflorum, are coated in titanium dioxide and dropped in liquid plastic. The bottom of the bullet casing is coated with the stuff, and the combination forms a unique tag, marking the hands that loaded the gun.
If put into practice, it could give a forensics team a leg up on criminals, although the big retort might be: "I may have loaded it, but I didn't fire."
""If put into practice, it could give a forensics team a leg up on criminals, although the big retort might be: "I may have loaded it, but I didn't fire."""
Plausible deniability. Just because your story of the past fist the observed evidence doesn't mean someone else's very different story doesn't also fit the evidence....hint hint all you naturalists out there who think science has proven anything about origins.
Naturalists don't have a history of killing people over their beliefs. You're right though, nothing can be absolutely proven either way. Enjoy your book.
@ Bagpipes100 - Science doesn't claim to provide the absolute answer to the question of human origins, or anything else for the matter. It is simply the best tool we have to conduct experiments and put together as much falsifiable evidence in order to formulate a working theory and at least use it to indicate what the truth may be and get us closer to it.
Please let me know if you have a better method of figuring out the truth. It certainly won't be found in mysticism, which makes assertions about the world with no real observable or testable evidence to substantiate it.
A scientific idea may be wrong, but at least we were justified in believing it since it was based on reasoning and evidence.
Wow....and this turned into a religion verse science argument how????
Well, when observing a discussion on the internet as time elapses the discussion will revert to its most basic state after a period of time, that basic state can either be politics or religion, but is both until the box is opened.
My problem with scientists is that even when they tell you science doesn't know everything, they still manage to act like stuck up know-it-alls. Try to tell your biology teacher they are wrong and you'll see what I mean.
OT: Have they tested this coating for any ill effect on bullet/firearm performance? Kind'a puts a new spin on flower power.
except anyone with a brain is going to wear gloves before loading a gun they plan on killing someone with, and then selling the gun, and or having put another possible killers finger prints on it
As a gun owner and operator, how long does this stuff last on your hands and can you see it? If it doesn't come off for let's say a week, I'll have multiple days of pollen crud coating me. Then I wonder, is this stuff now coating me even good for me? It's a such a small level, could it be absorbed by my body? This idea is valiant but reverts back to the ol' Gun Laws only effect law abiding citizens since criminals don't bide by them and get around them easily. In this case, good ol' rubber gloves.
michaelgorby, almost right. "Science doesn't claim..." is correct. The scientific method is a useful tool for discovery as you pointed out. The problem is that "scientists" DO make claims about the certainty of their conclusions even in the face of conflicting or contradictory evidence. They are, after all, human beings subject to the same failings as everyone else: hubris, superstition, bias, etc.
btw, I don't see where Bagpipes100 criticized "science" and championed "mysticism"; I'm guessing that's your own issue.
And dwatts1, your statement, "naturalists don't have a history of killing people over their beliefs", implies that religious people have and thus religion is bad. Naturalists are, by definition, atheistic, and yes they have killed far more people over their beliefs than religious people ever have. In the 20th century the perpetrators of communism (anti-theistic) killed tens of millions of people in their conquest to "convert" others to their way. Stalin, Lenin, Marx, Mao, Pol Pot were all atheists, or in other words "naturalists".
It might be safer to say that "scientists don't have a history of killing people over their beliefs."
Lauren, actually a very good point I didn't consider. I probably should have worded things more carefully. It's just irritating that the very first comment on an article should be so needlessly inflammatory.
Don't feed the trolls …
@ Laura - You make a good point. Scientists are human and are fallible, but that does not take away from the merits of the scientific method.
I assumed Bagpipes leans more toward mysticism, simply because he said "you naturalists," and therefore put himself on the other side of the fence.
As far as the 20th century being full of Atheists who killed people... Please do not delude yourself in thinking that people like Stalin killed "bec" he did nit believe in god. He killed out of misguided hatred and to spread an economic doctrine. He simply happened to be an Atheist. Religious war is a direct result of the belief system. They kill in the name of god. How can Stalin kill in the name of "no god."
"With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
Its about scientific model vs scientific model. I have just noticed that naturalists are the most likely to stick their head in the sand and refuse to look at other models in the face of the contradicting evidence to their own model.
I don't lean toward mysticism. I enjoy the scientific method. But I also keep science in its place. I've only met a few honest naturalists who know what the scientific method can and can't do, and will admit it. The scientific method can be used in many different scientific models, naturalist onces, theistic ones, etc. But with each of those models comes a set of assumptions which may or may not be true. But all the conclusions of the model can only be as true as those assumptions.
Back to my original statement. A scientific model can tell a story, say person A shot the gun. Another model can say it was person B. Both are using the same evidence given, both have used the scientific model to come to that conclusion. At that point it comes down to their assumptions to begin with. What other statements can be made from their assumptions? Do any of those statements contradict the evidence? The same with origins. We can't actually repeat history. But we can look at how things are now to check our scientific models. This goes for creationists, IDers, and naturalists.
If you refuse to allow for other scientific models (at least until the evidence speaks against a particular one)...then you're no better than the folks Galileo was up against. Basically naturalists are holding up scientific progress with their refusal to allow real scientific inquiry to happen.
You do realize that one of the goals of the USSR was to remove religion so that people would not "sit around waiting for the beautiful afterlife" and they would be more productive in life supporting the communist system, right?
I believe that really would be killing in the name of "no god."
@ Toomey - I'm sure you're right in some sense about murders/genocide being committed as a statement 'against' religion, but that still comes down to that individual's misguided or perverted values. That highlights the imperfection and evil of human beings. Religious doctrine has preached and justified genocide as a guide for the masses to live by. That to me seems completely different.
@ Bagpipes - perhaps I misunderstood what you meant by "naturalist"... Would you mind clarifying that?
Also, what alternate method (aside from the scientific method)are you proposing?
Fair enough. I see your point.
"They kill in the name of god. How can Stalin kill in the name of 'no god."
Good question, he can't. The question then is, who is his god?
In the case of atheists, its themselves.
In the future Robotic wars, they fear no pollen dust. Ba ha ha haaa, ringing of the hands, circling over and over again, bra ha ha haaa.
Every day is a new day!
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