- Don't you just hate those reality TV shows about criminal investigations? Don't you hate the positive spin they put on investigative texhniques, as if science is as indestructible as the revealed word? Well, according to the Innocence Project, almost a quarter of individuals exonerated by DNA evidence were originally convicted in part by hair analysis. And, as a result of this (possible) “overstatement” of the significance of hair analysis, the FBI has committed to re-examining thousands of criminal US cases that used FBI hair analysis as evidence.
- Between 2002 and 2009 the World Bank conducted a fascinating study on the economic impact of check points on the West Bank. From the World Bank's Trade Post Blog:
“placing just one check-point a minute away from a town reduced by half of a percentage point the probability of the town’s residents being employed. It reduced the residents’ hourly wage by 5.2 percent. We estimate that the presence of check-points caused approximately 6,900 more unemployed workers in 2007 in the West Bank. This translates into a monetary loss to the economy of approximately $38 million. If we also consider the impact of the check-points on hourly wages, the loss comes to $229 million, or approximately 6 percent of the West Bank GDP in 2007.”
- A leaked internal Pakistani intelligence report claims that, in 75 US drone strikes between 2006 and 2009, 746 people were killed. Of this number, 147 are “clearly stated” civilians, 94 of whom were children.
- A new Carnegie Mellon University study suggests we should rethink the way we choose sites for wind and solar power generation. The study finds that US solar and wind capacity is being concentrated “where the wind blows the hardest, where the sun shines the strongest, or where states have renewable energy mandates or incentives”, rather than where it can “most benefit”; by replacing coal generation. For example, the study points out wind generation is significant in California, where the “combined health, environmental, and climate benefits from wind energy” is just $13 per mega watt hour, while it is lacking in Ohio, where the benefit is $100 per mega watt hour.
- The sales of plug in electric cars tripled in the US between 2011 and 2012: from 17,000 to 52,000. But new figures from the US Department of Energy shows there have already been 40,000 PEV sales in the first 6 months of 2013. Why? Well for one thing, the price of a gallon of petrol is $3.49 while an “electric gallon” is just $1.18.