Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Audio Forensics: New LinkedIn Forensic Audio Group

Phil Manchester (Force Forensic Audio Specialist, West Midlands Police, UK) has just started a Forensic Audio Group on LinkedIn, the popular professional networking web-service. He plans to use it not only as a way to connect people working or interested in this field, but also as a forum for discussions related to it. I have just joined up myself and I encourage you to do the same if you are keen on audio forensics. The basic membership in LinkedIn is free of charge, as is membership in the group.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Testimony: Memory is fallible, study confirms

Cosmos (Australian, popular-science magazine) has an article on research by James Ost, University of Portsmouth (UK) into the accuracy of recall, in this case, of video news reports seen some three months prior. There were a couple of interesting statements that popped out at me:
"Ost said that people who were more likely to come up with false memories scored higher on a scale of "fantasy proneness" than those that did not." (My comment - "fantasy proneness" appears to mean "creative" in this context.)

"Ost said that when DNA testing became available in the U.S. in the early 90s, 80 per cent of death row cases that were exonerated, were found to have been wrongly convicted on the strength of mistaken identity."
Although the article doesn't address it directly, previous studies have shown that accuracy of recall also depends greatly on the amount of time that has past since the event, which gives all the more reason to get witness statements soonest.

Image Forensics: Adobe launches CS4

Adobe has launched the latest version of its Creative Suite, which includes, most importantly for image/video forensic types, Photoshop. Headline features of Photoshop CS4 include:
  • GPU-based drawing of documents onscreen (for speed improvements)
  • 64-bit for Windows (but not for Mac OS-X, at least yet)
  • Expanded 3-D paint, lighting and rendering tools
Hat tip: Ars Technica

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Linguistics: Forensic Linguistics used on text message evidence

Dr Tim Grant, Deputy Director of the Centre for Forensic Linguistics at Aston University (UK), is well known in forensic linguistic circles. ScienceDaily has excerpts from an interview with Dr. Grant following the successful conviction of a murderer that relied partly on Dr. Grant's testimony about text messages allegedly sent by the suspect (since convicted) to throw investigators off the trail. I call your attention to the careful and correct use of the phrases "unlikely" and "more likely" to describe the results of the analysis, instead of a phrase such as "proved conclusively".

In addition, here is a link to a BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation, UK) news story about the case and the analysis of the text message evidence. Very interesting stuff!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Acoustics: Listenging to nature

Using microphones to capture the sounds made by animals in their habitat, minus humans and their man-made sounds. These sounds are known as the "biophony" and are used to sense the quality and character of the animals' habitat. Wired has the story.

Author's comment: It's a good thing that animals don't have privacy rights in the USA (yet!), or these scientists would be in jail for unlawful surveillance activities!

(Via Cross-Spectrum Acoustics)