Stuff from the Science Lab Roundup: Blood Spatter and Gene Banks


Noah: "I want this bird taken in for questioning!

A murder has taken place on Noah's Ark and it's up to one curmudgeonly old antediluvian patriarch to solve the crime. There's blood on the poop deck* and a fatally stabbed Pegasus hung from the rigging. All the horned animals are being held for questioning and the unicorns are getting restless. As the world drowns beneath the waves of the Great Flood, can Noah stop the murderer before he or she kills again?

Yes, this week on Stuff from the Science Lab, Allison and myself tackle the mostly unrelated topics of blood spatter analysis and gene banks. That means we get to discuss what blood at a crime scene can tell us -- and what all the string is about on "CSI" and "Dexter." We also discuss how and why we can safeguard an organism's genetic code for the future. You back up important files, right? Well, have you ever thought to back up zebras and aardvarks?

So what are you waiting for? Come for the forensic and genetic science, stay for the discussion of the "Clue" board game and ruminations on the purpose of shooting our genes to the moon.

If you haven't given Stuff from the Science Lab a listen, head over to iTunes and give it a listen -- or download the MP3s from the RSS feed. And don't forget to tell us what you think and what you'd like to cover in future episodes. We're all ears.

* There's also poop on the poop deck. YOU try and teach an elephant to use a chemical toilet.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.