DNA can provide your mugshot — Huh? Wha?

Leaving a hair at a crime scene could one day be as damning as leaving a photograph of your face. Researchers have developed a computer program that can create a crude three-dimensional model of a face from a DNA sample.

Using genes to predict eye and hair colour is relatively easy. But the complex structure of the face makes it more valuable as a forensic tool — and more difficult to connect to genetic variation, says anthropologist Mark Shriver of Pennsylvania State University…who led the work…

Shriver and his colleagues took high-resolution images of the faces of 592 people of mixed European and West African ancestry living in the United States, Brazil and Cape Verde. They used these images to create 3D models, laying a grid of more than 7,000 data points on the surface of the digital face and determining by how much particular points on a given face varied from the average: whether the nose was flatter, for instance, or the cheekbones wider. They had volunteers rate the faces on a scale of masculinity and femininity, as well as on perceived ethnicity.

Next, the authors compared the volunteers’ genomes to identify points at which the DNA differed by a single base, called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). To narrow down the search, they focused on genes thought to be involved in facial development, such as those that shape the head in early embryonic development, and those that are mutated in disorders associated with features such as cleft palate. Then, taking into account the person’s sex and ancestry, they calculated the statistical likelihood that a given SNP was involved in determining a particular facial feature.

This pinpointed 24 SNPs across 20 genes that were significantly associated with facial shape. A computer program the team developed using the data can turn a DNA sequence from an unknown individual into a predictive 3D facial model…Shriver says that the group is now trying to integrate more people and genes, and look at additional traits, such as hair texture and sex-specific differences…

At the moment, such genetic analyses are limited, imprecise. If you think scientists will leave it alone you don’t understand curiosity. If you think someone like the FBI or any other Alphabetoid snoop will leave it alone you don’t understand paranoia.

Facial blood vessel-scanning could be the next biometric ID

We’ve certainly been hearing a lot about facial recognition as a means of identification, although the technology could – conceivably – be thwarted by someone wearing a mask. Now, however, scientists at India’s Jadavpur University are taking a different approach to facial ID. They’ve developed a system that can identify a person based not on the composition of their face, but on the blood vessels within it.

The system starts with an infrared scan being performed on the person’s face, using a thermal imaging camera. The image that is obtained is then processed by a computer, using a specially-designed algorithm. As a result, virtually all of the veins and arteries beneath the skin (including the tiniest capillaries) can be seen in that image.

The accuracy of the system is said to be over 97 percent. Given the complexity that would be involved in first imaging the layout of the blood vessels within a person’s face, and then constructing a mask that convincingly replicated that layout, the scientists believe that their system would be very difficult to foil.

Um, OK. How many different ways does the government need to know who I am?

Strange violent crime in Florida

An unidentified man savagely attacked by another on the pedestrian walkway of the MacArthur Causeway remained in intensive care on Sunday at Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

The man, whose name has not been released, was said to have suffered severe facial injuries from an attacker who witnesses said chewed at the victim’s face and eyes in the walkway on the west end of the causeway. Both men were naked.

When police arrived, the attacker refused to stop biting the other man and was shot dead by a Miami police officer…

The horrific scene began about 2 p.m. Saturday when a series of gunshots were heard on the ramp, which is along Northeast 13th Street, just south of The Miami Herald building.

According to police sources, a road ranger had seen a naked man chewing on another man’s face and shouted on his loud speaker for him to back away. Meanwhile, a woman also saw the incident and flagged down a police officer who was in the area.

Video captured by the Herald security cameras show snippets of the man on the ground, then an officer arriving on the scene and the aftermath of the attack. The video does not show any of the violence.

In the video, the officer, who has not been identified, approached and, seeing what was happening, also ordered the naked man to back away. When he continued the assault, the officer shot him, police sources said.

The attacker failed to stop after being shot, forcing the officer to continue firing. Witnesses said they heard at least a half dozen shots…

Investigators believe the victim may have been homeless and laying down when the crazed man pounced.

Police theorize the attacker might have been suffering from “cocaine psychosis,” a drug-induced craze that bakes the body internally and often leads the affected to strip naked to try and cool off.

Cool off hardly seems adequate. This obviously was a world-class maniac.

Facebook “like” argument results in assault charges

An argument over a Facebook status update resulted in battery charges for a Pecos, Texas, man on Monday.
According to documents filed in Carlsbad, NM, magistrate court…Benito Apolinar, 36, pleaded not guilty to one charge of battery on a household member.

At 12:08 p.m. on Monday, Carlsbad police officers were dispatched to the 2300 block of West Church in reference to a fight in progress…

Police arrived to find several people outside of the residence, and a woman yelling inside of the home. The woman, later identified as Dolores Apolinar, was taken aside by police to get her statement. She was observed to have a red mark on her left cheek, said police.

The woman told officers that she and Apolinar had been married for 15 years, and have children together, but were recently separated. He was in Carlsbad to drop off his children with their mother, where he allegedly arrived drunk.

According to the complaint, Dolores Apolinar would not let him into her home because she is on house arrest and feared she would get in trouble.

An argument ensued when Benito Apolinar refused to leave the home. The two reportedly yelled at each other before Apolinar came into the residence and allegedly pulled Dolores Apolinar’s hair before punching her in the cheek…

He told police that…the whole incident began with a Facebook status update.

According to the complaint, Benito Apolinar posted a comment on his Facebook page about the anniversary of his mother’s passing, but Dolores Apolinar did not click on the “like” button beneath the update…

“That’s amazing everyone ‘likes’ my status but you, you’re my wife. You should be the first one to ‘like’ my status,” he allegedly told his wife…

The bond was set at $3,000.

Add a laugh track to the courtroom appearance and sell it as “Like” Gone Wild.

Botched suicide bomber busted in Copenhagen hotel – UPDATED

Bomb squad techs let their robot in to deal with suspect’s bag

Police in Copenhagen have arrested a man in connection with what appears to be a botched bombing.

The man was apprehended shortly after a minor explosion at about 1:30pm in the bathroom of Hotel Jørgensen, located near Nørreport Station, the capital’s busiest commuter railway hub.

Police arrested the man, reportedly carrying identification from two foreign countries, in nearby H.C. Ørsted Park with a bag attached to his waist. The area was quickly cordoned off, and despite injuries to his face and arm the man was left immobilised on the ground for about five hours until a bomb squad robot could remove the bag and detonate it.

The detonation could be heard throughout the immediate area, but a police spokesman declined to comment on the bag’s possible contents, saying only that it was ‘no longer a concern’.

At about 8:00pm the man was taken by ambulance to hospital under police escort where he was treated by a medical team wearing bomb squad suits as a precaution.

A police spokesman said a terrorism emergency had not been declared. And officials from Copenhagen Airport and national rail operator DSB said they had not increased security measures.

However, the terror level has been raised to new heights throughout the United States. Especially New York and Floriduh. [/sarcasm]

UPDATE: The Danish police raised the terror level a fraction of a notch, this morning, to “information awareness”, e.g. everyone stay in touch.

UPDATE: Looks like the dude was preparing a letter bomb to mail to the Danish newspaper “guilty” of publishing Mohammed cartoons.

Facebook is trying to trademark “face”

Chief Farcical Officer
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Facebook, which has gone after sites with the word “book” in their names, is also trying to trademark the word “face,” according to court documents.

But the social networking site has met with a familiar foe. As TechCrunch first reported, Aaron Greenspan has asked for an extension of time to file an opposition to Facebook’s attempt. Greenspan is the president and CEO of Think Computer, the developer of a mobile payments app called FaceCash.

I’d bet against ‘face’ being awarded to Facebook,” said Henry Sneath, a patent and trademark lawyer based in Pittsburgh. “You cannot overtake the use of a generic word people use in everyday speech…”

Facebook’s separate fight over “book,” on the other hand, has been more of a David vs. Goliath saga.

As CNNMoney reported Thursday, Facebook is suing start-up site Teachbook.com — which claims it is merely a teacher’s community. The social networking giant also forced the travel site PlaceBook to change its name to TripTrace earlier this month.

In the case of Teachbook, Facebook would have to prove the site caused “a likelihood of confusion,” said Sneath, the trademark lawyer. That’s a steep burden, he said, but Facebook could succeed.

I thoroughly understand the need for existing copyright-holders to press to defend their mark against every interloper no matter how small. No matter how laughable.

In this case, I think “egregious,” greedy and grasping might be a better fit.

Berlusconi attacked in Milan

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi still in shock after an attack by a man described as deranged. He’s sitting in back of his limo just about to be transported to hospital. The attacker hurled a statuette striking the Prime Minister in the face at the end of a rally in Milan, Italy.

There isn’t much to say or do about someone truly mad. Stay out of their way. They must first be recognized to do that.

There apparently isn’t anything especially political about this act – though political opportunists will likely make much of it.

Tattooed Face girl admits she lied – blaming tattoo artist

A teenage girl who claimed 56 stars were tattooed on her face while she slept has admitted she lied and was awake the whole time.

London’s Daily Telegraph reported Kimberley Vlaminck, who said she fell asleep after asking for only three stars, lied because her father was “furious”.

She initially insisted she dozed had off after asking the tattooist for just three small stars – then woke in horror to find her face was covered.

The Belgian teen blamed the Flemish-speaking tattooist for not being able to understand her French and English instructions and threatened to sue.

Har! I thought the original report was so unlikely I ignored the article and didn’t post about it. This makes sense – and counters her crappy excuses, willingness to blame others for her foolishness.

FWIW, I think it looks pretty cool, though

Thanks, Justin

Isn’t there anything else to do in Utah?

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

This photo provided by Suzanne Davis…shows Fin Keheler, 11, of Sandy, Utah, attempting to break the world record for the number of snails placed on the face for 10 seconds, during an attempt in Sandy Utah. Keheler is hoping to have the attempt verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.

After that, lightly braised, serve with garlic butter.