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Monday, November 17, 2003

BREAKING NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Fingerprint Expert Accused of Meddling with Crime Scene - NEWSDAY, TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - Nov. 15, 2003 ...expert attached to the fingerprints office was told by attorney that as a police officer her “first duty is to preserve life, not to pick up rum bottles”...

Sheriff Buys Fingerprint System - THE LEDGER, FL - Nov. 10, 2003 ...in response to an inmate escape, the agency bought a new system that prevents inmates from assuming someone else's identity...

Revolution At Our Fingertips - SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, AU - Nov. 10, 2003 ...the fact that no two people have the same fingerprints is set to revolutionize the retail world with the use of pay-by-touch technology...

Technology Developed for Police - ANANOVA, UK - Nov. 5, 2003 ...scientists say nano-technology could in the future help police catch criminals by providing clearer and more detailed prints...

Good morning via the "Detail," a weekly e-mail newsletter that greets latent print examiners around the globe every Monday morning. The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.


It has come to our attention that the published dates [in the JFI] for the 2004 Conference are incorrect. The correct dates are:

August 22-27, 2004

The Conference will begin, as usual with the President's Reception on Sunday evening, August 22nd and conclude with the Annual Banquet on Friday evening, August 27th.

Hope this clears the confusion.

Joe Polski
Chief Operations Officer


Last week, John Nielson brought us The State of Ship asking if you are confident to address the Daubert issues related to fingerprints.  This week William Morris, a friend and colleague from the UK, brings us a book review.

Chris McManus
Right Hand, Left Hand, The origins of asymmetry in Brains, Bodies, Atoms and Cultures.
Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2002

Cover Blurb:
In this sweeping and penetrating investigation into he lop-sided universe, Chris McManus takes familiar, deceptively simple, questions about handedness and asymmetry and attempts to answer them: Why are most people right-handed? Do left-handers behave differently to right-handers? Why don't identical twins always have the same dominant hand? Why is the heart on the left-hand side of the body? Why is each side of the human brain so different? Why does one third of the world drive on the left and the other two thirds on the right? Why does European writing go from left to right, while Arabic scripts go from right to left? Why do clocks go clockwise? What is the relationship between handedness and speech disorders such as stuttering? Why are male testicles unbalanced? Why do mirrors reflect left-right but not top-bottom? Why are Muppets left-handed?

As you can see from the description above, this is not a book that has issues of fingerprinting at it's core and it is not a book that is essential reading for a Fingerprint Expert. Indeed, the only group for whom it would be essential reading for is probably left-handed people who may learn a great deal about their physiology, place in history and the truth behind many myths concerning handedness.

However, given that Fingerprint examiners will spend their time looking at marks and considering the ergonomics of how they were placed, as well as possibly being asked questions regarding handedness and how the hands are formed it can enlighten many closely linked areas. Not only is it illuminating regarding many areas from genetics to physiology and culture it is also very well written, very thorough in it's scope and apparently meticulously researched. The sources for the book range from medical papers to photographs of the wild west, all of which are digested and translated superbly for a lay-reader who is willing to put in a little bit of effort. Most importantly, the sources of the book are usually first generation research or original documents, allowing the author to deconstruct the urban myths that surround common knowledge of handedness.

The answers to all of the questions in the blurb above and many more besides are within this book. Enough to infuriate everyone you know with mind-boggling trivia and entertaining stories. If you wish to find out more about the use of the hands, the development of the human body, brain and culture as well as deepening your understanding of how fingerprinting is borne from these areas then this is a well written, award winning and entertaining book.


To discuss this Weekly Detail, log on to the CLPEX.com
message board: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2)

More formal latent print discussions are available at onin.com: (http://www.onin.com)



I found this quote in the same article as one of the other "Funny Fingerprint Finds" articles:

"The prints are scanned into a computer that looks for unique characteristics or ''points,'' such as arches, loops and rolls."


Jill Padilla
Pasadena PD


UPDATES on CLPEX.com this week...

Updated the Newzroom

Updated the Detail Archives

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!