Science Thursday: Arson, Gaits and Reality TV


Arson cases in Texas may get another look, Japanese scientists develop a way to identify people based on their “gait patters” and a DNA analyst describes his experience after 9/11.  Here’s a roundup of this week’s forensics news:


As a result of the Texas Forensic Science Commission’s investigation into the outdated arson investigation methods used by the State Fire Marshall’s Office in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, the State Fire Marshall has agreed to

a review of past arson investigations


A fire investigator

explains the changes in fire investigation methods

since the time of the Willingham fire.

Nevada’s Clark County Coroner’s Office will be the subject of a

new reality TV show.

In a small study of volunteers walking barefoot, Japanese scientists have developed a software program that  can

identify people using their “gait patterns”

with up to 90-percent accuracy.  Scientists caution that the study has not been conducted on people wearing shoes and that it would only work in situations where people wanted to be identified – such as at security checkpoints – since anyone can modify their gait.

A forensic DNA analyst

discusses his experience

in the mass recovery effort at the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner after 9/11.

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