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How Hair Can be Used To Track Where You've Been

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the hair-papers-please dept.

Crime 133

First time accepted submitter kandelar writes "PBS recently ran a story about how some scientists are using human hair to trace where a person has been. The combinations of different isotopes in water make for somewhat unique signatures from place to place. These isotopes get placed in growing hair strands which can then be traced back to identify where a person has been."

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This has been done for years. (5, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#41689063)

This has been done for year, it isn't a new concept.

Re:This has been done for years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689091)

For year!!

Since this is slashdot (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#41689277)

I can tell you where this gentleman hasn't been. The shower.

Re:Since this is slashdot (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689483)

And he was the centerpiece at a bukakke session with 12 men.

Re:This has been done for years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689171)

But doesn't it make you feel more secure knowing that we CAN do this even though we DON'T because it's utterly impractical?

Re:This has been done for years. (0)

rockout (1039072) | about 2 years ago | (#41689793)

I even heard about it in 1991 from a very reliable source: Johnny Utah

"The beaches are always being closed because of waste spills, right? And surfers are territorial, they stick to certain breaks. If we can get some hair samples, and get a match to a certain beach, we'd know which break the Ex-Presidents surf. You buyin' this?"

Re:This has been done for years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690539)

No shit i've seen this in EVERY CSI show so far. Not to mention NCIS and all that jazz.

Re:This has been done for years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690773)

and "Bones" !

Don't forget "Bones"!!!

Re:This has been done for years - Yes, indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690979)

Isotope Forensics, July 8, 2010 Tikalon Blog [tikalon.com] .

Wooo hooo (4, Funny)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41689065)

Bald people no longer need a tinfoil hat?

Re:Wooo hooo (2)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41689191)

Remember to shave your pubes!

Re:Wooo hooo (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689747)

...and, as the technique is likely to be adaptable, rip out your nails.

Re:Wooo hooo (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690339)

Except that pretty much anything that applies to testing of hear applies to all hair and nails. Pubic hair works just as well as hair from your head or arm, its just generally shorter. Ask anyone who has had a REAL drug test (not the easily fakable piss in a cup type) If you don't have any hair on your body, they can just clip your nails and get a longer history.

--BitZtream

Re:Wooo hooo (1)

HnT (306652) | about 2 years ago | (#41690535)

Instead tinfoil bodysuits for everyone!

Re:Wooo hooo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690987)

My baldness let's you know exactly where I've been.

I've been in HELL! For YEARS!

Re:Wooo hooo (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 2 years ago | (#41691077)

If you are bald you just might be a terrorist.

Perrier (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689107)

My hair would say I've been in southern France for a long time.

Re:Perrier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690247)

Ãd like to see your face when they tell youÂve been drinking bottled tap water al along.

Re:Perrier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691123)

Dasani, yes. Perrier, no.

food sources distort results (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689117)

We eat food and drink water.
Food comes from multiple sources, some transported large distances.
This will distort results significently and reduce the accuracy of the claimed results.

Re:food sources distort results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689209)

The article covers this. Most products are made with local water. But even if it isn't local (coke bottled 3 states away) as long as your neighbors are drinking the same thing it will still place you in that area.

Re:food sources distort results (2)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41689315)

> Most products are made with local water.

You haven't been in a supermarket in 30 years, have you?

--
BMO

Re:food sources distort results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690367)

Yes, have you? Most foot is processed locally even if its from some multi-national company.

Shipping food a long way is almost universally too expensive to work. Some veggies make long trips due to seasons but anything with a large amount of liquid in it gets made fairly close to you. Your drinks and things such as milk, juices and all that that come from concentrate are made with water very close to you. Pepsi may be 'born in Carolina' but in San Francisco its made with water from California.

Juices are reduced to concentrates where possible, shipped, then have water added locally.

Pick up pretty much anything and take a look at where its 'bottled'. It won't be that far away as a general rule unless its something high dollar and/or rare.

All of your meat and dairy products are local for the most part, even when you get ripped off and by 'Kobe beef'.

--BitZtream

Re:food sources distort results (-1, Troll)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41690769)

>Shipping food a long way is almost universally too expensive to work.

So when I get tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, etc, in the dead of winter, that's all grown locally?

Why am I not subsisting on turnips and potatoes in December?

--
BMO

Re:food sources distort results (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41691139)

The AC specifically said, "Some veggies make long trips due to seasons". Just sayin'.

Re:food sources distort results (2)

lostfayth (1184371) | about 2 years ago | (#41690997)

Most of the Pepsi bottles I've ever seen were bottled in Mississauga, Ontario... That's not exactly local to where I lived, in Boston, MA. That's the wrong country, entirely. I assume it's the same all over New England, at least.

Re:food sources distort results (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | about 2 years ago | (#41691171)

There are other bottling facilities in New England. Pepsi has one in Cranston, RI. Coke has one in Londonderry, NH.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689121)

I drink exclusively Perrier, so the cops think I was in Vergèze in the Gard département of France the whole time.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41689271)

Or some local reservoir near the Perrier bottling factory in China

Re:Really? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41690119)

Most soft drinks are bottled locally or, for certain parts of the world, in a nearby country.
Perrier has three bottling plants in the US of A, though you can buy French bottles if you go looking for them.

AFAIK, Perrier doesn't have a bottling plant in China, since the vast majority of the fresh water is polluted.

Re:Really? (1)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#41690313)

Re:Really? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690493)

Since when did a bit of pollution matter to Perrier?

According to your link, pollution seems to matter quite a lot to Perrier, quotes from your link, emphasis mine:

Perrier is "voluntarily recalling its entire inventory of Perrier from store shelves throughout the United States after tests showed the presence of the chemical benzene in a small sample of bottles."

The danger? " if you consumed about 16 fluid ounces a day, your lifetime risk of cancer might increase by one in a million"

How Pollution free is Perrier? "The impurity was discovered in North Carolina by county officials who so prized the purity of Perrier that they used it as a standard in tests of other water supplies."

Discalimer, I live in a country with a good clean water supply, so I don't really have a pony in this race.

Re:Really? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 2 years ago | (#41691279)

I drink exclusively Perrier, so the cops think I was in Vergèze in the Gard département of France the whole time.

Perrier has a plant in ZephryHills Florida. You could be drinking Tampa tapwater, since they're both using the Hillsborough River.

Lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689125)

So if you eat imported food and (imported) bottled - where have you 'been'

And we snobs have the last laugh... (1)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#41689135)

They laughed at me when I would drink nothing but Evian or, in a pinch, Perrier. Now my hair proves nothing about where I've been.

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (3, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41689249)

Hmm, we take a small snip of your hair, we find sea salt and silica dust, a spandex fiber, traces of sunblock and tanning lotion and a tiny crumb from a hotdog bun. Looking at all these elements and their isotopes we can say without a doubt, you spent Sunday at Venice Beach. Oh, and the smaller traces of Avian and Perrier tell us you think you're a snob and have no imagination. Haven't you ever heard of Badoit or Volvic? OH! and a flea! You have a dog.

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41689275)

I still laugh at you, bottle snob

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (4, Funny)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#41689557)

You know what Evian spells backwards? ;)

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689869)

No, I dont

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (3, Funny)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about 2 years ago | (#41690355)

Is it Nivea?

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about 2 years ago | (#41690415)

I think it's Avian. Everyone knows that birds make the best water.

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690419)

Naive :-)

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690533)

You know what Evian spells backwards? ;)

From snopes: "The company that brought Evian water to market began as a small glassworks operation and grew to become the world's biggest maker of dairy products and bottled water, taking its name from the town the spring was situated in, Evian-les-Bains. So, while "evian" is certainly "naive" spelled backwards, the choice of appellation was not dictated by a desire to take a meanspirited swipe at foolheaded consumers."

Link: http://www.snopes.com/business/names/evian.asp [snopes.com]

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (1)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about 2 years ago | (#41690855)

Well I'll be damned!

Re:And we snobs have the last laugh... (2)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#41691001)

That Evian is crap frogwater. Ssabmud from Sweden is what real men drink!

There needs to be a science fiction story (3, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#41689163)

where the protagonists are would-be thieves or revolutionaries who seem to have all the superstitiousness of medieval peasants, but it turns out that it's merely behaviour to defend against such high-tech genetic snooping.

Re:There needs to be a science fiction story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689283)

Okay:

Thomas Baker wasn't really anxious, he had been through so many checkpoints so many times he just mechanically held out his arm while the guard passed a device over it. It had been a pretty uneventful day in his largely boring life, largely so because Thomas was a model citizen. That night however he never saw it coming. The guard elbowed him straight into the face and a sharp blow to this head from behind dropped him onto the ground. There they kicked him senseless and tasered him. Days later at the detention center Thomas slowly began to see again through his right eye that had swollen shut from the brutal beating he received at the checkpoint. No charges, no indictment, no jury, no trial and no verdict. Thomas never found out just why he was arrested and beaten to a living pulp that night, but the doctor giving him the lethal injection that night told him, "You know, you really deserve to die, you scum!".

I knew a... (4, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41689165)

Red headed girl who was able to accurately identify where her boyfriend has been when she discovered a blond pubic hair in his briefs... he wasn't blond. I believe this technology has been around for a while now.

Re:I knew a... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41689285)

That just proves someone else may have been wearing his undies.

Re:I knew a... (3, Funny)

Genda (560240) | about 2 years ago | (#41689487)

That's right Sweety, I was just being a gentleman... I was driving home and bam there she was running down the street with her pants on fire, so I stopped the car, ran out, and patted her out then gallantly offered her my briefs. She looked cold! I asked her if she needed to go to the hospital, and she said no, just home, so I took her home, and got my briefs back, and that's how the pubic hair got there. I guess I'm just a Boy Scout at heart!

Unless there's a kinky thief going around borrowing people's panties, you gotta tap dance real hard to keep from catching a frying pan with your face

Re:I knew a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690017)

Technically the tech in question is the reverse of what you suggested.

More along the lines of if you came home and found a.. uhm... "sticky substance" in your significant others' hair.

Where I've been? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 2 years ago | (#41689173)

Work,
Home,
Work,
Home, Supermarket, Wine bar,
Work,
Home,
Work,
Home,
Home,
Work,
etc.

Re:Where I've been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689265)

This is more like a city level of resolution.

Your record would look more like
>Hometown
>Napa?

Re:Where I've been? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 2 years ago | (#41689389)

Nah, Willamette Valley. It's like Napa, but you can afford to live there.

Re:Where I've been? (2)

SuperQ (431) | about 2 years ago | (#41690047)

The fact that the guess was within 500 miles is kinda amazing.

Travels betrayed, locals inconclusive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689219)

This could have an interesting impact on cold cases. Fortunately, I expect this will quickly find disgrace like previous forms of hair and fiber analysis.

Globalization has made the world much smaller, with most goods mass produced in such volume with such great consistency that matches are increasingly probable.

I am skeptical (5, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#41689231)

I say that because this kind of technology has been around for many years. But hair or otherwise, location by isotope has so far turned out to be a boondoggle.

For example, for years TV shows (and the FBI themselves) claimed that they could trace ammunition to the manufacturer by the particular isotopic composition of the lead in bullet fragments.

False. It just isn't reliable. They did it for years, and it just doesn't work. The better the technology got, the more unreliable it was shown to be. Lead formulations change; suppliers change; the very ore from which the lead is refined, varies even from the same mine. Convictions were overturned.

In some ways, it parallels the evolution of DNA as evidence: it is far, far less reliable than it was first made out to be. Not only is it ridiculously easily contaminated, it can be deliberately planted, even more easily.

Re:I am skeptical (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#41690073)

Lead formulations change; suppliers change; the very ore from which the lead is refined, varies even from the same mine. Convictions were overturned.

Obviously there are major problems with trying to link hair to a very specific location, but all water treatment plants are required to take samples at regular intervals.
This doesn't account for any trace accumulated from the pipes between the water treatment plant and [where ever], but it does provide a reliable baseline that bullet manufacturers don't have.

Re:I am skeptical (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41690901)

Obviously there are major problems with trying to link hair to a very specific location, but all water treatment plants are required to take samples at regular intervals.
This doesn't account for any trace accumulated from the pipes between the water treatment plant and [where ever], but it does provide a reliable baseline that bullet manufacturers don't have.

It doesn't do any such thing, because water samples are disposed of after analysis.

Re:I am skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690175)

In some ways, it parallels the evolution of DNA as evidence: it is far, far less reliable than it was first made out to be.

Well, kind of. With fingerprints it's a similar problem. The issue is that both can be very, very reliably used to exclude someone as a match, but neither is really all that reliable in terms of inclusively matching. You can say 100% that subject A's hair does not match a sample, for example.

The prior luxury retailers at the building have st (-1, Offtopic)

lenss (2754913) | about 2 years ago | (#41689237)

The asking rent for the three-level retail space at 3 West 57th Street, is between $400,000 and $450,000 per month, according to retail sources, for 4,000 square feet on the ground floor, 3,700 square feet for the lower level and 3,400 square feet for the second floor. That would equate to about $1,200 per foot to $1,350 per foot on the ground floor. Patrick Breslin, an executive vice president for global retail at commercial firm Studley, said although that price is higher than most retail rents in Manhattan, Louis Vuitton Outlet [louisvuitt...letsus.com] it’s a good value for space just feet from Upper Fifth Avenue, where Cushman & Wakefield shows asking rents reaching $2,388 per foot at the end of 2011. “It’s proven a really good deal for [luxury] retailers,” he said, who want to remain near their under-construction high-rent stores. If they don’t open a close-by store, retailers can “lose an enormous amount of cash flow. For the short term, the solution of the pop-up has become a friend to retailers and landlords.” In 2010, Louis Vuitton, which owns its flagship store at 1 East 57th Street, bought the neighboring building at 743 Fifth Avenue, where retailer Gilan Jewelry had been located. Louis Vuitton, owned by Paris-based LVMH, is currently quietly demolishing 743 Fifth Avenue, and plans to expand the larger building into that space, according to insiders and city Department of Buildings records. For some portion of that time, the flagship store will need to relocate at least some of its retail to 3 West 57th Street, sources said.

Mod parent SPAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689397)

Oh yes, cause Louis Vuitton sells through outlet shops, online, and the /. crowd are SUCH huge fashionistas they're just dying to visit your crappy chinese knock-off shop and buy bags for girlfriends whoa re too stupid to recognize that no one can buy genuine LV for 29.99 with free shipping...

fucking spammer *spits*

captcha: staffed

Oh captcha what are you trying to tell me?

Can't be right... (2)

srjh (1316705) | about 2 years ago | (#41689245)

What? These results can't be right.

I've never even been to Kilmarnock.

The 15-year logos! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689291)

By gum, we need a meta-story that summarizes the fantastic 15-year anniversary logos that we've been enjoying this month when the celebrations come to an end.

They've been great. Middle-earth? Braille? Mysterious crypto-patterns? Imagination! Experience! Effort!

We true Slashdotters must all appreciate the effort put in; we should therefore demand a forum to discuss and congratulate the various artists.

Who's with me? Vote this post up! I'm AC, so there's no karma-whoring here! Vote this post up to show: we want a story about the logos!

Re:The 15-year logos! (-1, Flamebait)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41689935)

Given that today's logo is a Pong game, I'd like a post explaining how a game from the 1970s relates to a website that's only been around 15 years.

Re:The 15-year logos! (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#41690459)

No. Who cares? A logo is just fluff, any nerd ignores them. The content is what matters.

Re:The 15-year logos! (2)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#41690559)

Yes, because we all read the content of the articles posted and the full discussion before we make insightful comments...

Oh crap! (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41689317)

I've just ate a bag of skittles that was made in the USA. But I've never been to the USA before.... That's nearly half way around the world.

Re:Oh crap! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689431)

Be careful. You are an Arizona fruit drink and a hoodie away from real troub... oh, wait, you don't live in Florida?
Nevermind.

Re:Oh crap! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690257)

I've just ate a bag of skittles that was made in the USA. But I've never been to the USA before.... That's nearly half way around the world.

Just some friendly advice, but generally speaking here in the US we eat the candy, not the bag.

Umm.. (1, Redundant)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#41689321)

So bring me some water from asia and when I drink it Ive been there? I believe the test, if accurate, proves where the water is from.. not necessarily here you have been... just sayin...

Re:Umm.. (1)

SuperCharlie (1068072) | about 2 years ago | (#41689331)

sigh.. *where*..

Another awesome fact (1)

physlord (1790264) | about 2 years ago | (#41689341)

Ehleringer realized that what an animal eats and drinks does get recorded—in its tissues.

Another astonishing cutting edge information—Earth is round!

Trace Amounts of Chemicals (3)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | about 2 years ago | (#41689349)

Holy crap, the holistic people have been on to something... Except they're not healing you with "trace elements", they're simply disguising where you've been so the bad germs can't find you!

Pooop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689355)

Can they do this with poop too? ^_^

Pseudoscience at best, if applied properly. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689411)

If used improperly, i.e. to determine where any individual has been, such a thing cannot be used to ascertain where you've been at any time prior to the eruption of any individual strand from its follicle. It MIGHT, if what has been written is true, determine where the food and/or water a person has consumed came from, or if anthropologists were using the technique to identify the migration patterns of ancient humans before the rise of international, then intercontinental trade.

A quick census of my kitchen and fridge would imply that I have been to Ecuador, (where my bananas came from,) Mexico, (where my avocados and tomatoes came from,) Florida, (where my oranges and the oranges that were squeezed to form my orange juice came from,) Iowa (where the corn that goes into 50 different products in my diet came from,) Italy, (where the wheat that goes into my pasta was grown,) Japan, (where the rice that goes into many of the soups and snacks I enjoy was grown,) Columbia, (where the beans in my coffee were grown,) Greece, (where the olives that were squeezed to make my olive oil were grown,) France, (where most of the water I drink was bottled,) Spain, (where the grapes in my Sangria were grown,) to say nothing of China, where the lead in my toys comes from.

A person analyzing my hair might well assume I've been to all of these places, as they might so many people, who like me, rarely leave their home-towns for any reason, but they'd be WRONG. This is phrenology all over again.

But then, this has given me an opportunity to realize just how many different locales on this planet contribute to my diet. Globalism, hey?

Imagine if the human race still exists a thousand years from now, and assuming the pace of forward technological progress and human knowledge and proliferation continues to follow the pattern it has. Our distant descendants could look around their kitchens and marvel at how they've hardly ever been off whatever interstellar habitat they live in, or how given what moon or planet they live on, how very many different worlds their consumables come to them from. Well, Blue Sun, hey?

Ridiculous future for movie assassins (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | about 2 years ago | (#41689421)

Gloves then shower cap?

You're bald?!? (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 2 years ago | (#41689455)

Well, we'll just see about that! Watson, the laser tweezers!

Yet another reason (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41689457)

...to not drink the local tap.

New product! (1)

TheSync (5291) | about 2 years ago | (#41689463)

Wel water from Fukushima on Ebay helps area recover!

Patrick Stewart (1)

Weaselmancer (533834) | about 2 years ago | (#41689501)

Most successful criminal mastermind EVER.

Doesn't this pre-suppose... (1)

destinyland (578448) | about 2 years ago | (#41689571)

...that you're showering?

Or does the water get into your hair only after you drink actual water? (Because if so, you could really confuse the investigators by drinking nothing by bottled beverages.) Then they'd end up guessing that you came from wherever the bottling plant was located!

I'm a world travel..12 oz at a time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689603)

I like to drink a variety of beers from around the world. All of them are bottled with their local water or treated water. Oh, snap!

Point Break (1)

Random Data (538955) | about 2 years ago | (#41689699)

The ex-Presidents are surfers!

Huh? (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41689813)

50 posts, and still no oblig.xkcd [xkcd.com] ?

Point Break (1)

Switchback (6988) | about 2 years ago | (#41689823)

This is new? Back in 1991, they used this technique to figure out what breaks the Ex-Presidents surf.

I can tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689901)

I can tell, with upwards of 50% confidence, what some "scientists" may have been smoking by reading every other line from every other para (Fibonacci sequence sampling is faster but less accurate) of their articles.

Cheaper methods (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 2 years ago | (#41689925)

Considering the rate I'm losing my hair, all they have to do is follow the trail to figure out where I've been

Re:Cheaper methods (1)

Spectrumanalyzer (2733849) | about 2 years ago | (#41690021)

^^ Someone mod this guy up, thats FUNNY!

That bald guy that "fisted" his head into a vag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41689933)

Remember that bald guy that kind of looked like mr clean? He was the one that put his whole head in this girl's vagoo. Do you think he let his hair grow afterwards? If so, would these scientists be able to know where he's been?

No problem! (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 2 years ago | (#41690049)

I'm completely bald, you insensitive hairy clod!

Don't let the TSA see this (1)

wherrera (235520) | about 2 years ago | (#41690093)

Next up in the news: TSA taking a lock of hair from random airline passengers...

I wonder how much the water in the air factors in (3, Interesting)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | about 2 years ago | (#41690171)

Having lived in very dry places. (It frequently gets below 5% humidity in the summer outdoors) I know that with low humidity you can dry out fairly quickly. In Phoenix you are allowed to carry water into most sporting events because you need to replace the water that evaporates and everyone does it in the summer.

When you are in someplace that is humid, you do not dry out as quickly because the water is being replaced by water in the air (yet I know there are other factors),

It would be interesting to strictly control the isotope content in diet/drink for a month but in two different regions and then do a comparison.

Is this why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690177)

Supervillians are often bald?

What about bottled water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690359)

Cool...

I mainly drink Italian bottled water... According to their technique I spent all my time in Italy ?!?

simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41690483)

develop a brand of water which contains water from various states in several different locations within each state. the same could be done with food and sold likewise as "Confusion".

My hair tells me (1)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about 2 years ago | (#41690575)

I've been down the drain a lot.

Sherlock Holmes (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41690809)

This is essentially what Sherlock Holmes did, right? Massive knowledge of soil, mud, water, tobacco, etc -- allowing him to determine where a person has been merely from a hint of dirt on the cuff of their trousers? Or pallywags or whatever it is they call pants across the pond.

Groan (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 2 years ago | (#41691109)

In the mane, the article is quite good, but it does rather brush over some of the finer details.

I'm here all week ;-)

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