Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 2009

This month did not go as smoothly as usual. There were numerous positive aspects, such as publications that got accepted, some nice development in research, backlogs that disappeared in casework, nice European projects and such. Also the credit crisis might influence the money to spend in forensic science, however it is not clear yet. Last week I had a worst week. Since my asthma got worse, I went to the lung doctor. There I received a new medicine with the nice name "Foster" and a fancy purple packing, which is new on the market. Since I had issues with lung medicine before, I asked if it could influence my heart, however the amount was for children oto begin with. So, I took the inhaler when I traveled from the hospital by train to Den Haag. When I was sitting in the train I felt a severe pain on the chest. At that time, I was near the University hospital of Leiden. I went out of the train, and walked to the emergency room of this hospital.

Then it appeared that the ECG was not as usual, and they told me it was wise to do a catheterisation where they could check on coronary spasms. With this procedure, they will inject a fluid and look if a coronary spasm occurs during the catheterisation. After two days at the coronary care, where I had to lay on bed with the cables, they did a catheterisation. Then I had these spasms during the procedure when they injected this fluid. Since I used some other medicines during the test (nitroglycerin and a calcium blocker), the effect was reduced, however I had the same reaction as with the medicine I used when I had the pain on the chest. So possibly I had some coronary spasms due to the medicine I used that morning. I remembered that I also had the same with similar lung medicines, so it appears I was sensitive to this (and this reaction does not often happen). Further all vessels where clean, so that is nice to hear. The angioseal they used for sealing the vessel came out, so I had to stay several hours longer, however it was nice that I could walk again at the end of that day, of course with some bruises. Also the cause was known, so that makes a difference.

Next morning I had a course, so I could even be there, and I enjoyed it even more then usual, since being in a hospital (although the care was excellent), is not the nicest thing to do. Then a week vacation in Turkey, and looking forward to start working again.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

February 2009 (2)

The meeting in Denver was excellent, and our new section Digital and Multimedia sciences has started the first year. I am happy that the members re-elected me as chairperson for another year, so we can build further on the new section. Also the workshop was visited well, and there were many good papers. During the meeting, also the NAS-report was published that the forensic science field is fragmented, and there is need to have more scientific research established in this field, as well as coordination. So, it would be excellent if good actions are made to improve these findings, since many of them are also true in the rest of the world.

It would be nice if this would result in a more research and also more statistics on methods used in forensic science. Of course, many forensic scientists are aware of the issues, however the question is if the court is aware of the limitations that can exist in a forensic report or testimony. There are several efforts made to have a more scientific way of reporting, for example with Bayesian rules and likelihood ratios. The difficult part in these is that the reporting gets more complicated, and the question is if the reader of the reports understands these conclusions. However in these cases it is important to mention that often a subjective scale is used. See for example$file/IBSTE2002_Vol8_3.pdf .

Furthermore we just published our new PRNU comparison for on for camera comparison and the enf collector for collecting variations in the electricity signal