A Gun That Tags Its Target With Artificial DNA
Used by police in riot situations, it could help identify perpetrators long after the event is over: The DNA "sticks to clothing through several washings and to skin for about two weeks."
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
UK-based SelectDNA has developed what it's calling a "High Velocity DNA Tagging System." Designed for law enforcement, it consists of a type of paintball gun that shoots pellets containing artificial DNA. Each set of pellets contains a unique signature, which helps to link it to the officer with the gun and/or the event at which the gun was used: a riot, for example. The DNA appears under ultraviolet light, and although it's nontoxic, it lasts a very long time, enabling police to identify people who were at the event long after it took place.
What's the Big Idea?
DNA tagging is already used in other applications for parts tracking and property identification. The use of a gun to tag people comes with some troubling implications, notes writer Jesse Emspak: "The DNA marker could tie a person to an event, but it doesn’t say anything about what they were doing at the time...Then there is the question of arresting people after the fact when they take part in protests. Certainly many [governments] that take a dimmer view of political dissent might see this as a great way to tag people for future identification."
How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.
While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.
A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.
We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.
Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.
Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).
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