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Cellphones as forensics tools

Cellphones and other mobile devices are as much reliable as fingerprints for criminal investigations, according to a study.

Clues to crimes today are as likely to be found by examining the data stored in a cellphone or other mobile device as they are by dusting a crime scene for fingerprints.
However, the issues involved in getting that data out properly are complex, and the tools available are limited. Detectives don’t carry forensic tool kits that let them search mobile devices. Instead, they photograph the scene and then remove the phone.

But this procedure is riddled with pitfalls. While there are quite a few forensic tool kits available that can suck out the binary contents of cellphones, no one package that can disgorge the data inside each and every mobile phone is on the market.

The good news is that new, on-the-scene forensic tools are slowly making their way into the hands of law enforcement officials.

Beware of internet-based medicine information

A new study has found that the quality of online information about the most common sports medicine diagnoses varies widely.

Therefore, patients who use the internet to help make medical decisions need to know that the web may not be giving the whole picture, suggests the study.

“The reason that we decided to undertake this study is that patients are presenting to their physicians office with increasing frequency armed with printouts of information obtained from the internet,” said Madhav A Karunakar, an orthopaedic surgeon at Carolinas Medical Centre in Charlotte, and one of the study’s authors.

“Physicians and patients should be aware that the quality of information available online varies greatly,” Karunakar added.

Soon, supersonic plane that can muffle sonic booms

A new design concept for a revolutionary faster-than-sound plane could shatter the legal barriers followed by supersonic flights over land — by hushing the sonic booms created by such aircraft.

According to a NASA statement, the concept aircraft, a brainchild of aerospace major Lockheed Martin, would revolutionise supersonic cruising by relying upon a so-called ‘inverted-V’ engine-under wing configuration, where the engines sit atop the wings rather than beneath.

A Lockheed illustration of the supersonic concept released by NASA is just one of several designs presented in April to the space agency’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate following a call for studies on advanced aircraft that could take to the skies sometime around 2030 or 2035.

The US and many other countries previously banned overland supersonic flights because of their classic sonic boom and rattle effect.

Divorce may be better for kids

A new study has suggested that parents shouldn’t stay in a bad marriage for the sake of their children.

In marriages with a lot of conflict, ‘staying together for the kids’ does more harm than good, say researchers.

Their study showed that children of parents who fight a lot yet stay married experience more conflict in their own adult relationships than children of parents who fight and do get a divorce.

“The basic implication is, ‘Don’t stay together for the sake of the children if you’re in a high conflict marriage’,” said Constance Gager, Montclair State University, New Jersey.
For the study, Gager and her colleagues analysed the results of a national survey involving nearly 7,000 married couples and their children in the United States.

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