Cunning radiocarbon and dating volcanic eruptions

It is excellent to see a new AMS radiocarbon dating set-up in New Zealand (NZ scientists fire up $3.4 million mass spectrometer).  When I was working on climate reconstruction I was hugely reliant on the previous 14C (radiocarbon) device to help put Before Present (BP) ages on volcanic ash layers (tephra) that occurred in sections …

Continue reading

You steal – you're marked! Smearing DNA on your valuable items

Don’t want burglars stealing your gear?  Smear it with synthetic DNA and help reduce the burglary rate by more than 50%!  A recent product launch in New Zealand is something called SelectaDNA, which is a synthetic DNA material that can be put onto items you don’t want people to steal and then advertising the fact …

Continue reading

Categories of "drunk"

There has been much comment in the media and on Sciblogs about the effects (or not) of a lowering in drink driving “accidents” (although the Road traffic Police in England refer to them as ‘avoidable incidents’, because they are; there’s nothing accidental about them) as the result of a reduction in the NZ blood alcohol …

Continue reading

How we behave when we're drunk

Talking about lowering the blood alcohol limit in New Zealand to 50 milligrams alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood is today’s big story. I’ve been asked by lots of people over the years about how much alcohol drivers have to consume in order to be over the legal limit. Quite rightly, the ESR scientists indicated …

Continue reading

Drinking, driving and Maltese(rs)

Lowering the NZ drink drive limit to 50 milligrams alcohol/100 ml blood is big news this week. Will the government do it? Is that low enough? Should we do as the Maltese do (according to Google anyway) and have a zero blood alcohol level for driving? I’ve written reports for a couple of thousand drink …

Continue reading

Quality assurance for legal work

In the wake of the NZ review of the provision of legal aid and Dame Margaret Bazley’s comments on the standards of legal practitioners (see post UK Legal Aid report – lessons for NZ?) the English Legal Services Commission has announced it wants to bring in a system for checking the standards of advocacy: Legal …

Continue reading

Cool science

Some of us Scibloggers were called ‘cool’ this week by the Taranaki Daily News – Cool science. It is cool indeed to be called a cool scientist.

Continue reading

Don't accept the forensic science at face value

Here in NZ the Police are now stopping people who they suspect may be driving whilst impaired through the use of drugs. I’ve written before about drug driving and the impairment tests and I again reiterate the importance of not accepting the blood sample analytical results at face value, particularly in relation to cannabis. Lawyers …

Continue reading

Can NZ juries do the job with which they are charged? Law review

I don’t normally get involved with the world of comment on whether or not juries are capable of doing the job they are there to do because, at the end of the day, my job as a forensic scientist does not involve having an opinion on the Ultimate Issue, i.e. whether or not the Defendant …

Continue reading

DNA law changes in NZ

The NZ government passed a law through this morning that allows the Police to collect DNA and fingerprints from any person that they will charge Parliament passes DNA law. This is different from the current situation where only people who are convicted of a crime that carries a sentence of seven years imprisonment or more …

Continue reading
1 2 3 4