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Science Books

July 14, 2005

Bodies of Evidence: Forensic Science and Crime
Kevin Lothridge, Kathleen Anne Savage, Susan Hart Johns, Michael G. Sheppo (2005)
ISBN: 1592285805

Forensic science has been around in one form or another for centuries, but it has only recently become a source of public fascination and entertainment since a wave of popular television shows like CSI began screening. In Bodies of Evidence, Kevin Lothridge, deputy executive director for the National Forensic Science Technology Center, guides us through the most up-to-date scientific methods and procedures used to probe real crime scene investigations (CSIs). Lothridge uses famous case studies, such as O. J. Simpson and Timothy McVeigh, to illustrate how correct crime scene procedure may have led to less complicated criminal trials. The methods used to collect evidence, the analysis of murder weapons, bloodstain patterns and forensic pathology are all-important factors that contribute to the final verdict of a criminal trial. Bodies of Evidence is a fascinating book about the advances and development of forensic science, and how much of an essential role CSIs play in the criminal court system. Just like Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, after some logical reasoning and deduction based on the clues at hand, the culprit, or culprits, should successfully be brought to justice.

Microbe: Are We Ready For The Next Plague?
Alan P. Zelicoff M.D., Michael Bellomo (2005)
ISBN: 0814408656

Case studies of public health system scares mixed with cold hard science are the best way to describe this book, but the blend is not a comforting one. In Microbe, Zelicoff and Bellomo, who are both from ARES Corporation, a project and risk management firm that works with the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense and NASA, show us how close we have come to full-blown biological crises such as SARS and hantavirus (a respiratory illness). Modern transportation, bioterrorism and localised biological events all have the potential for devastating effects on society. While we have so far managed to avoid a biological disaster, it is not because of the public health system's ability to detect and respond effectively to microbial mayhem. The authors offer several scenarios, including bird flu in Southern California and a bioterrorism attack in Denver, that highlight many of the inherent weaknesses plaguing our disjointed biological emergency response strategies. Fortunately, the book also includes possible solutions aimed at preventing, minimizing and containing disease outbreaks within densely populated areas.

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