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Things You Drink Can Be Used To Track You

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the don't-hate-me-because-I'm-a-beautiful-spy dept.

Crime 202

sciencehabit writes with an intriguing story about the potential of figuring out where people have been by examining their hair: "That's because water molecules differ slightly in their isotope ratios depending on the minerals at their source. Researchers found that water samples from 33 cities across the United State could be reliably traced back to their origin based on their isotope ratios. And because the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins that make hair cells, those cells can preserve the record of a person's travels. Such information could help prosecutors place a suspect at the scene of a crime, or prove the innocence of the accused." Or frame someone by slipping them water from every country on the terrorist watchlist.

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subject goes here... (5, Funny)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761214)

Or frame someone by slipping them water from every country on the terrorist watchlist.

That's tough to swallow...

Re:subject goes here... (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761282)

That's tough to swallow...

Agreed. One would wonder just how much water one would need to drink for it to reflect in one's hair, if this is true.

Re:subject goes here... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761320)

This "water" stuff you're talking about.

I've heard it can be used at a mixer of sorts for a proper drink...but haven't tried it that often.

Hmm....

Re:subject goes here... (3, Insightful)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762516)

Bottled Water anyone?

How much water is used to make soda ? beer ? Juice ?

Will water move through beef or other imported vegetables and be tested in our urine?

There are too many disparate sources for water or "Second Hand Water" for this to ever hold up in court. I hope.

One sec... knock on the door...

- Dan.

Re:subject goes here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762584)

... beef or other imported vegetables...

wait, beef is a vegetable? and an imported one at that?

Re:subject goes here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761778)

A lot of times I buy bottled spring water to brew my beer with. I guess by I would appear to spend a lot of time in other places. In fact, I also drink a lot of craft beers from places I've never even visited, both inside and outside the US. Guess I'll have to check and see if I'm on the no fly list yet.

Re:subject goes here... (2, Insightful)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762686)

Don't forget that the foods you eat were likely grown in some other region and shipped to your supermarket. Maybe they'll think you're a Colombian druglord because of your morning coffee.

Wait, what? (1)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761240)

Such information could help prosecutors place a suspect at the scene of a crime, or prove the innocence of the accused.

How could you possibly prove someone's innocence this way? You could only be sure that the person in question had not drank any tap water from that city.

Re:Wait, what? (5, Funny)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761340)

If your accuser says you were in Philly, and your hair says you were in Detroit, then you might be innocent of the crime in Philly, but you're still stuck in Detroit.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761640)

Is there a timestamp attached to those water molecules?

Re:Wait, what? (2, Informative)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761898)

"Is there a timestamp attached to those water molecules?"

Well, there sort of is. Hair grows at the root only, so if I watch how the patterns change moving from the root of a hair to the tip, I can get a fuzzy sort of timeline of your waters' origin. Circumstances where that's precise enough to be useful, though, seem narrow.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762056)

Uh... the USG claims you went to Afghanistan to train with terrorists for a month, you just went to London like your last ticket purchased in the US says... then you use the hair.

If the hair says London, the government knows you either had a massive water truck with you or that you are telling the truth. OTHO, if the hair says Afghanistan then they have circumstantial evidence and might have caught you in a lie. In the end, it's better screening out than in or catching people in lies.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762078)

Yeah, you also have to think about how much of your water comes from drinking water and how much comes from food. Most food is local (especially things like bread), but even produce is often not from that far off (bananas excluded, obviously).

Re:Wait, what? (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762372)

Your defense strategy if caught training with terrorists would be to lie about what country yuo were in?

Good luck with that.

Re:Wait, what? (3, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762008)

A major component of most things you drink is water.

Most things you drink aren't bottled in your home town. (Including bottled water, if you're into that sort of thing.)

If somehow this technique were to be come a common defense tool, then someone planning a crime could shrewdly stockpile tap water from a city with a distinct signature that isn't where the crime will take place.

It might be marginally useful as a tool in a civil case if you want to convince the jury where someone was (but probably not if you want to convince them where he/she wasn't); I would hope it would be considered too inconclusive to be used in a criminal trial.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Eravau (12435) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762390)

...then someone planning a crime could shrewdly stockpile tap water from a city with a distinct signature that isn't where the crime will take place...

Or he could shave his head.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

Net_fiend (811742) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762464)

I'd hope it wouldn't be useful at all. This is plain cockamamie crap. I don't care if my food tells you I was in Bangladesh. It isn't foolproof enough to use in any court of law. This is paramount to saying "We should have Thought Police like in Minority Report." Total BS. Technology should only be used in court battles to a point otherwise we're going to start putting more innocent people in jail than there already are and I'm sure that number is too high as it is even if we can't properly calculate; everyone in jail is innocent. / sarcasm I love IT/science, but using it unabashedly without 2nd guessing its uses or even the outcome is foolish. This issue is just like with the science freaks that think some day some special break through is going to happen that explains the entire universe. Not only is that foolish thinking its ridiculous thinking. Everyone knows the answer already. 42.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762318)

Or you just brought bottled water from wherever it is you want them to believe you were while you were away. Obviously, this water stuff can't be used conclusively on its own.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

d0nster (989432) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761382)

How could you prove their guilt? If I bottle tap water from Las Vegas and sell it to someone in New York, you can't prove whether the New Yorker was in Vegas or just drank my crappy bottled water.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761562)

As with any other types of evidence, a single piece of evidence is seldom enough to convict. You have to have other pieces of evidence that you would use together to corroborate the story.

The crime was committed in Vegas, the criminal claims to have been in New York, but the hair/water evidence shows he was either in Vegas or drank your crappy bottled water and there were also plant fibers on his clothing from plants common to the desert southwest. Neither piece of evidence by itself proves that the New Yorker was in Vegas, but taken together it seems much more likely.

When I travel, I bring back bottled water. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761272)

I've got a big collection of bottled water from a lot of different countries because I like the labels on them. I see a potential use for them now.

Re:When I travel, I bring back bottled water. (2, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761726)

I've got a big collection of bottled water from a lot of different countries because I like the labels on them. I see a potential use for them now.

Dude, don't drink them! They're valuable! Do you know how hard it is to get illicit liquids like water into the US these days?

I had bottled water in my checked luggage seized last time I flew back from South America... maybe they thought I might have dissolved drugs in them or something. I figured it was better to let them keep them than ask for the water back, since all I wanted to do was catch my connecting flight (ATL airport, btw).

Re:When I travel, I bring back bottled water. (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761820)

That is exactly why they take it, because they know you're in a hurry and can't put up a fight.

Re:When I travel, I bring back bottled water. (-1, Troll)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761972)

That is exactly why they take it, because they know you're in a hurry and can't put up a fight.

Ah yes, that must be why they take it. It all makes sense to me now -- it is part of the FAA plan's to accumulate the world's largest stockpile of diverse bottled water!

This, not a crash at Roswell, explains Area 51... this is where they store the bottled water in underground bunkers, awaiting the day when they can unleash the terror of 10,000,000 bottles of H2O upon the world!

Mwu-ha-ha-ha.

I think it's more of "if he really, really wants the water back, then we have reason to suspect the water *is* tampered with, and so we have reason to detain him and send the water to a lab for analysis".

Never mind the tracking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761286)

the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins that make hair cells

You're saying that walking out in the rain makes my hair grow??? WOW

Oh boy I can hear it now... (3, Funny)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761314)

My toilet telling asking me... "How was your trip to Tokyo?"

or the next version that checks the stool... "Rosanna the cow hopes that she was a tasty treat!"

Seems silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761326)

So what's to stop you from carrying around water from New York to thwart anyone from trying to identify you via this method. Or drinking bottled water for that matter.

Re:Seems silly. (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762118)

Most people get most of their water from food and food is often approximately local, especially things like the water in soup and bread.

nice to know we've solved all the world's problems (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761334)

so we now have the time to concentrate on tracking people by the water they drink.

This is so super awesome, I'm going to move to a 3rd word slave state to ensure I get the most oppressive experience possible.

Re:nice to know we've solved all the world's probl (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761758)

This is so super awesome, I'm going to move to a 3rd word slave state to ensure I get the most oppressive experience possible.

That is quite unnecessary; the officials in all Western states are working hard to bring the 3rd world here. All we have to do is lose a few more jobs and repeal minimum wage laws and I think we're all set.

Wouldn't it be ironic (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761336)

If this method could tell us if it rained on your wedding day?

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic (2, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762032)

If this method could tell us if it rained on your wedding day?

Nope...that would be a coincidence. Still. Fifteen years later.

Liquid Tin Foil (5, Funny)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761352)

That's why I only drink liquid tin foil.

Who's laughing now?

Re:Liquid Tin Foil (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761510)

That's why I only drink liquid tin foil.

Who's laughing now?

Magneto.

Re:Liquid Tin Foil (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761780)

That's preposterous, he said tin foil. Magneto can't do squat with tin.

Aluminum foil, on the other hand...

Re:Liquid Tin Foil (1)

electron sponge (1758814) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761904)

Aluminum isn't magnetic.

Similar use recently (4, Informative)

Deag (250823) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761358)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/england/bristol/10332975.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Basically some bones from a German cathedral could be places as having lived in England due to isotopes in the teeth.

This helped confirm the bones were of a 10th century English princess.

Re:Similar use recently (2, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761656)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/england/bristol/10332975.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Basically some bones from a German cathedral could be places as having lived in England due to isotopes in the teeth.

This helped confirm the bones were of a 10th century English princess.

It was that, and the label on the box which read "10th Century English Princess".

Re:Similar use recently (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762402)

It was that, and the label on the box which read "10th Century English Princess".

That was the expiration date.

Re:Similar use recently (1)

Deag (250823) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762578)

Funnily enough they were actually labeled (with her name though). It was to confirm. Can't be trusting labels.

Not enough degrees of freedom (3, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761366)

This may be forensically useful, but don't think of it like a fingerprint or a DNA match. There's only one degree of freedom here -- whether the water is isotopically "heavy" or "light". All of a person's water co9nsumption history is mixed up into one number.

So you won't be able to tell the difference between, say, a person who lived all year in Illinois (with a moderate isotope ratio) and a person who flies back and forth between Montana and Florida (who'd have a mix of "heavy" and "light" water in their system.)

Hair grows (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761772)

you won't be able to tell the difference between, say, a person who lived all year in Illinois (with a moderate isotope ratio) and a person who flies back and forth between Montana and Florida

Hair grows at a rate of about a couple millimeters per week. Your frequent flier would have striped hair.

I don't know what's the minimum amount of hair needed for this test, but it's certainly possible to cut hair samples smaller than what it grows during an airplane trip from Montana to Florida.

Re:Hair grows (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762210)

I'm not sure how consistently that works. The minerals in your body may not be absorbed at a rate that gives you high enough amounts of precision, and you may be acquiring said minerals from another source, which might also be imported. Also, drug testing results are only good for 90 days (with 30 days being what's admissible in court), and I would think those tests are much simpler, since it's present or not present, not fingerprinting an exact isotope ratio. There are so many potential problems with this that i can't see it being a viable method.

Re:Not enough degrees of freedom (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761782)

So you won't be able to tell the difference between, say, a person who lived all year in Illinois (with a moderate isotope ratio) and a person who flies back and forth between Montana and Florida (who'd have a mix of "heavy" and "light" water in their system.)

Unless the technicians are clever enough to check multiple sections of the person's hair.

Re:Not enough degrees of freedom (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761834)

So you won't be able to tell the difference between, say, a person who lived all year in Illinois (with a moderate isotope ratio) and a person who flies back and forth between Montana and Florida (who'd have a mix of "heavy" and "light" water in their system.)

Not true. The fact that the oxygen isotopes are bound into hair means that we have some kind of a time reference.

Re:Not enough degrees of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762092)

I don't think that's true. As far as I can tell, the idea is that the hair is generated using the water isotope mix that has been recently ingested. You could roughly trace back the locations visited by an individual as far as his hair length allows, by analyzing different sections of it. Of course, it can't distinguish if you rapidly flip between water supplies (e.g. in the course of a day), but it's not one big average number either.

Re:Not enough degrees of freedom (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762398)

Good point re the use of hair to provide a timeline, but if you figure the average human consumes about 1.5 kg of water a day, and contains about 60 kg of water, that means the water has a residence time of about a month and a half. It'll take that long to "flush out" your system.

And the "one degree of freedom" problem still limits the location accuracy of this. Check the map in the original article [acs.org] . The isotopic ratio of water is the same in Florida as in Texas; the same in Boston as in San Francisco. This data can narrow down a person's location, but it'll never provide a unique unambiguous location.

Re:Not enough degrees of freedom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762600)

There are two degrees of freedom, actually -- one for hydrogen and one for oxygen.

Polonium 210 (4, Interesting)

rilister (316428) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761384)

This has been done before: in the investigation of the poisoning of Alexander Livinenko, the traces of Polonium 210 left wherever the poisoner(s) went gave the UK authorities a very detailed trail to work with - one that not only showed the exact teapot used for the poisoning, but also provides a fingerprint of where the Po-210 was produced and at what date.

It's quite a fascinating story:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Litvinenko_poisoning#Polonium_trails [wikipedia.org]

Simply substitute Po-210 for something not deadly and you have a wonderful tracking mechanism.

Re:Polonium 210 (3, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762342)

Simply substitute Po-210 for something not deadly and you have a wonderful tracking mechanism.
Ummm, No see Po-210 is rare as opposed to say water which covers most of the earth's surface.

and so with a single (1)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761406)

bottle of spiked evian, 4chan's /b anons go from sending justin bieber to North Korea, to sending justin bieber to Cuba.

Forensics (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761408)

I can see this science being abused. Whether your body contains a certain chemical signature or not is still circumstantial evidence, but increasingly our justice system (like many countries) are using it to give carte blanche access to a person's private information and life. Worse, if the request is later determined to have been falsified or exaggerated, the evidence gathered as a result of that request is still considered valid for the persecution of not just the original crime, but anything else uncovered as a result.

Thanks to shows like CSI and confidence in science, we want DNA samples, hair, urine, and a billion other things -- and believe that their presence somehow proves or disproves guilt. This is despite the fact that such evidence can be manufactured with ease -- the prime example being Photoshop for photographs, but virtually every technology you have around you can be used against you in some fashion or manipulated to imply or explicitly state something that is not true. Yet the courts rarely ask that samples be tested for contamination, or refuse to re-hear cases where the lab clearly and undeniably compromised the results.

It used to be that testimony was the primary vehicle in obtaining a conviction. Now we're increasingly using evidence that neither the judge, jury, defense, or even prosecution fully understands to take away other people's freedoms, sometimes under false pretext. While this particular technology is neither good nor bad, the system that will incorporate its use may be fundamentally flawed.

Re:Forensics (1)

apoc.famine (621563) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762026)

Yeah, it doesn't seem that useful.

I drink a lot of water at work. But I have a gallon of water that rode with me on the 1000 mile trip to where I live now. It sits in my closet, on the off chance that my water goes off. I drink that, and I have a beautiful stripe of isotopes which indicate I spent a few days 1000 miles away.

Combine that with all the bottled water people drink, and all the pre-packaged drinks, and it's useless for much of anything. If I'm a mixture of water isotopes from Atlanta and Upstate NY, what does that tell you? I live in NY and travel to Georgia? I live in NY and drink a lot of Coke? I live in Idaho and subside on Coke and Saratoga Spring Water?

This seems like it would be pretty much as good as a polygraph.

Re:Forensics (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762238)

Actually, I have heard that prosecutors hate CSI type shows because jurors want some technician to come in and say, "the pesticide oh his wheels indicate that he was at the farm at the time of the crime." Luck breaks like that only happen on... well, CSI.

Re:Forensics (2, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762668)

I wish people would watch Law & Order more. Yeah, I'll sometimes sit through an episode of CSI but at the end of it, they always catch the murder and the murder always confesses at the end, saying they just had to kill or some other bullshit.

OTOH, L&O follows detectives around as they talk to one person who leads them to another and then they go back and, you know, acts like a detective. That and not every episode ends with "Yeah! we got that son of a bitch!" Some have been real downers which does more to stir emotions rather than feeding viewers the same tripe every time.

Grr.. don't even get me started about those science montages.

"Hey, writer dudes say they ran out of dialogue. Can we squeeze in 10 minutes of quick cuts of people looking at vials and microscopes set to music in an incredibly dark room with stylized colored lighting that makes no fucking sense at all?"

"Yeah, no problem."

Re:Forensics (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762304)

Worse yet, since CSI came out forensic investigators have noticed a marked rise in the number of cases where Gloves and or Bleach were used at the scene of the crime. The Bleach is supposed to damage the DNA evidence they might leave behind.

Anyways if you want to game this system, do you drink water only where you live, and bring bottles filled at home with you, or just always buy bottled water and never drink tap?

As others have mentioned they'd probably get a lot of false positives from the local bottling company.

I also wonder what if any significance this would have for Historians with ancient jugs of wine, and other spirits? No there aren't human hairs involved, but the isotope chemistry should still hold up.

Since when are oxygen and hydrogen ... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761450)

considered minerals?

That's because water molecules differ slightly in their isotope ratios depending on the minerals at their source.

the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins

Re:Since when are oxygen and hydrogen ... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761594)

The two statements are not directly related to each other except that they relate to the water.

Re:Since when are oxygen and hydrogen ... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761724)

Source, when it comes to natural water, refers to the headwaters [wikipedia.org] . Thus, this sentence says that the isotope ratios of water vary depending on the minerals present in the ground where the water fell out of the air originally. The second sentence is poorly worded and should have said that the human body breaks down water into its constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins. As a result, you can tell from the isotope ratio in the water where it fell originally.

HTH.

Re:Since when are oxygen and hydrogen ... (1, Informative)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762218)

1) Water at spring A has more calcium (a mineral) than water at spring B

2) Because of this, and some chemical processes, the water at spring A has a higher percentage of heavy water (deuterium oxide) than the water at spring B (this has a 50%+ chance of being incorrect, but let's stick with it for the example's sake)

3) Person X consumes water from spring A and person Y consumes water from spring B.

4) The metabolisms of the two persons break down the water and put it into the proteins in their respective cells.

5) Person X has more deuterium in his cells than person Y.

Hope that helps clear things up.

Ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water? (3, Funny)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761478)

General Jack D. Ripper: Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Well, no, I can't say I have.

old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761480)

Abby already used it to locate Agent Lee's 'daughter' - old news..

You've got to be kidding me. (1)

VorpalRodent (964940) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761498)

And what if the minerals at the source of the water are appreciably the same? Reliably being tracked back to a handful of collection sites across the US doesn't exactly equate to "placing someone at the scene of a crime".

If you look at the heat map included with the article, the entirety of Florida is indicated as having the same expected water composition. Similarly for most of Texas, and wide swaths of the Midwest / Central US.

So if someone commits a crime in Tallahassee, and I buy bottled water at Disney World, I must have done it. The same goes for proving of innocence. If I drink only bottled water that comes from a neighboring state, because it tastes better, is that sufficient evidence that I didn't murder the guy, because I was obviously in Minnesota at the time?

I'd be interested in knowing the rate at which the water is added to the hair, and how finely it can be read. Can we tell if someone drinks water with different compositions each day for a month? Can we tell what water he drank last week?

I'm just going to put on my tinfoil hat and start shaving my head...then no one will be able to tell what kind of water I drink.

Re:You've got to be kidding me. (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761668)

The whole "This could solve crimes" thing is really overblown here. I mean technically it could conceivably be used as evidence, but I could imagine it being a little more useful for forensic identification. If you have no idea who someone is, knowing that they probably lived in Denver until 3 weeks ago before moving to New York is going to narrow down your possibilities considerably. NO good on its own still, but it's another tool to use.

Re:You've got to be kidding me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761954)

Ahh crap. And I thought she was shaving her pubes for ME....

Prove you were in Atlanta (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761502)

"There a murder in Atlanta, and I can prove from your hair sample and this expensive test that you were in Atlanta at some point!"

"Or you proved that I drank a bunch of Coke bottled in Atlanta, and that you like to waste tax payer dollars on silly tests which prove nothing."

Re:Prove you were in Atlanta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762696)

"There a murder in Atlanta, and I can prove from your hair sample and this expensive test that you were in Atlanta at some point!"

"Or you proved that I drank a bunch of Coke bottled in Atlanta, and that you like to waste tax payer dollars on silly tests which prove nothing."

The only way you'd get Coke bottled in Atlanta is if you were in Atlanta. They mix and bottle soda all over the world, with plants in every city.

... can preserve the record of a person's travels. (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761512)

And because the human body breaks down water's constituent atoms of hydrogen and oxygen to construct the proteins that make hair cells, those cells can preserve the record of a person's the travels of things people drink.

Fixed that for you. This would work if we didn't ship products throughout the country. Get pulled over for a DUI, "Couldn't have been me, check my hair! I've been in Fort Collins!"

it only shows where the water is from (1)

onionlee (836083) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761514)

considering that many people dont drink tap water, one can easily have been "in florida" by drinking a bottle of zephyrhills water...
i wonder how drinking soda would affect this

an opportunity for profit... (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761558)

... a water bottling plant that bottles water from every major municipalty and mixes them together.

Some BIG assumptions there.... like bottled water. (3, Insightful)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 3 years ago | (#32761576)

I mean, sure, the bottled water will have the same signatures, but what is to say you didn't drink your own bottled water wherever you went? Or things like bottle sodas, and drinks. The best you might be able to do is say that they had drink which used water from XYZ location. It is a far stretch to say that they were in XYZ when they drank it. Heck, there are stores around me which sell bottled water from around the world, and I know I have even tried a few, but I never left my home town, yet it according to this "evidence" I have been to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ukraine, Ireland, and Poland...

Re:Some BIG assumptions there.... like bottled wat (4, Funny)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762370)

I've never left the US, Canada and Mexico, but my hair would say I spend a little time each year in Speyside, Scotland drinking water that is anywhere from 12-18 years old, usually Macallan.

Re:Some BIG assumptions there.... like bottled wat (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762470)

To be fair, they do attempt to address that, though they do so only in the average case. Actually a big part of the paper [acs.org] is exactly that: an attempt "to assess the links between purchase location and the isotopic composition of beverages" and given that purchase location may not be the same as bottling location, whether or not "these beverages could have a confounding impact on the overall isotopic composition of a consumer’s fluid intake".

Bottled water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761588)

Some bottled water is tap water, I wonder if that could confuse the method.

Crap Science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32761798)

What a bunch of crap science, how many people in the real world drink enough "water" (pop, juice, etc) from a specific source to leave a protein imprint large enough to be reliable. Throw in bottled water, bottled/canned pop, canned soups/foods (mostly water), varying metabolisms, etc and this "technology" quickly loses all credibility in my opinion. Looks like just another faulty "anti criminal/terrorist" technology meant to make its creators a hefty crate of cash at taxpayer expense.

So now I'm from Ireland (1)

Chaymus (697182) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762128)

Thank you precious years of whiskey & Guiness. I can write this trip off my bucket list and they'll have a hard time disproving it.

Fiji water... (1)

oldfogie (547102) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762232)

So, if I drink Fiji Water [wikipedia.org] consistently, they will never be able to prove that I was anywhere near the crime scene?

COOL!

Re:Fiji water... (1)

Grantbridge (1377621) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762330)

So, if I drink Fiji Water [wikipedia.org] consistently, they will never be able to prove that I was anywhere near the crime scene?

Until the local police in Fiji decide to pin all their unsolved murders on you!

Terrorist water! (1)

md65536 (670240) | more than 3 years ago | (#32762248)

Yet one more thing to fear.

At least now it makes sense why we're not allowed to bring liquids on planes.

Report your neighbor to the local homeland security office if you suspect he may be drinking unpatriotic isotopes.

You FAIL 1t (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32762590)

right now. I 7ried, Is dying.Things by fundaMental Represents the Variations on the From the OpenBSD from one folder on sling, return it to
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