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Origins of Forensic Medicine

Date: 02-27-10
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Deborah Blum

Science investigator and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum discussed the untold story of how poison rocked New York City in the 1920's, and how forensic science and toxicology became indispensable in solving crimes.

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George Noory on Nightline

George Noory and Coast To Coast AM were featured Friday night on ABC's Nightline. View the segment at ABCNews.com.

Ian Punnett's Blog Post 2/27/10

Ian Punnett's Blog Post 2/27/10

Boy, my Facebook page is crazybusy. Coastie Chris sent me a link to PDF file called “Playing Chicken--Avoiding Arsenic in Your Meat.” Google that. She was right, it is relevant to tonight’s conversation about “The Poisoner’s Handbook.”

She hasn’t friended me yet on Facebook but she might after the crowd clears. I’m almost at 3,000 friends and I only get 5,000, I’m told. Don’t wait too long, Chris.

Chris also asked: You've probably seen the Ian Punnett=DB Cooper out here by now?

I haven’t but I’ve heard there’s a “Ian Punnett is D.B. Cooper” page out there. Very funny--and I’m super good with that. As long as people are calling me “D.B.” in relation to “Cooper,” I’m laughing.

Marty in S.D. sent me a story from Canada about a guest we had a few weeks back, Charles Pellegrino, author of “The Last Train from Hiroshima.” Very powerful, fascinating, fresh book, but he’s had to issue a retraction on something:

The publisher of a disputed book about the atomic bombing of Japan has confirmed that a key source misrepresented himself and promised that any errors would be fixed soon.

Charles Pellegrino, author of The Last Train From Hiroshima, told the New York Times last week that he was likely duped by Joseph Fuoco. Fuoco claimed to have flown on one of the planes accompanying the Enola Gay, the B-29 bomber that dropped the world's first nuclear bomb in combat on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August 1945.

But surviving members of the crew of the plane known as Necessary Evil, whose role was to photograph the nuclear explosion, said Fuoco was not on the mission, and scientists and historians also doubted him.

Fuoco, who died in 2008, had said he was a last-minute replacement for flight engineer James R. Corliss. The family of Corliss, who died in 1999, had produced evidence that he was on the plane.

Film rights for the book, published to strong reviews in January, have been acquired by Avatar director James Cameron. An assistant to Cameron said Monday that the director was en route from London to Los Angeles and not immediately available for comment.

Concern is 'to get the history right'

Pellegrino, in a statement issued Monday by publisher Henry Holt and Company, said that since learning of his error, his "only concern has been to get the history right, in other words, to make sure that flight engineer James R. Corliss takes his rightful seat on that plane."

Read more: http://tinyurl.com/yh44r6z

Last night a caller during open lines remarked that he thought at all this snow was God’s way of pointing out how ridiculous the claims of global warming are but he seemed to balk at the article I saw that said that actually, January was one of the warmest on record. A couple people wrote e-mails telling me how cold and snowy things were in their particular part of the world and while that’s fair anecdotally, the scientific averages tell a different story, according to NOAA:

The nation’s climate monitoring agency says January’s global land and sea-surface temperatures combined were the fourth warmest on record for that month — much of it the result of the Pacific ocean-warming phenomenon known as El Niño.

“It’s due to some combination of long-term warming, the El Niño phenomenon and other factors,” said Deke Arndt, climate-monitoring branch chief at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

And Januaries have been getting warmer, too, he said.

“We’re working on 30-plus consecutive Januaries that it’s been warmer than the 20th century average,” Arndt said. This January “fits right in atop of that,” he said.

“The last January that was cooler than the 20th century average was in the mid-70s,” he said.

For the one gentleman who wrote to me from Florida talking about how cold it’s been there, I suggest you consider the potential tornado activity that tends to recur in Florida during active El Nino years--and prepare. Meanwhile on the West Coast, Dane sent me a link to this story:

By Susan Gilmore
Seattle Times staff reporter

It wasn't sunbathing weather, but January was the warmest on record for the Seattle area, according to the National Weather Service.

The average temperature was 47 degrees, above the average of 45.8 degrees and the highest temperature since they began being recorded at the Seattle Federal Building in 1891. The normal average temperature for the month is 40.9 degrees.

The second-warmest January on record was 2006, when temperatures averaged 46.6 degrees.

I don’t know what this proves one way or another but anybody in the snow belt will tell you, cold weather alone doesn’t bury you in snow, a mix of cold air and warm, moist air brings it on.

To what degree global warming is or isn’t happening, huge amounts of snow is not evidence of its errancy. I will look forward to hearing what the February temp averages have been. Anecdotally, in the Upper Midwest, it was a very balmy February.

Meanwhile in Connecticut, all the activity in the skies is not linking to the snowy forecasts:

From my Facebook page, Pat writes:

On August 27th 2009 my house began to shake, windows rattled and there was a terrible loud noise outside. I ran out to see what was going on and I saw a jet fighter which was so low I could not believe my eyes. It was maybe 100 to 200 feet above the trees and then at a great speed curved up disappearing through the clouds . I counted 3 of these planes. It made a few alarms start going off in the neighborhood One local paper reported it was 1 jet another said "jets" which to me means more than one. I seemed like they were chasing something. ( I'm going to include a link to my local news and you can actually see a clip on the report of that story. Just copy the link & paste it in the address bar of your browser.)

The link is: http://tinyurl.com/lfpqaa

Now here's where I think it gets interesting.

On Friday Sept 11th 2009 I was driving on 91 south in Wallingford Connecticut and I had someone with me in the car and there was a huge tractor trailer truck in front of us with an open back. It had a makeshift wooden frame and this huge circular metal object tilted almost on it's side I think it was chained down which absolutely fit the description of a classic U.F.O.. I couldn't get close enough to the truck to read where it was from or the name of the company. The object was around 25-30 feet in diameter and maybe 5 or 6 feet high . It had a small porthole on top I could not see any seams. Could this be a U.F.O.? I contacted UFO casebook.com. They found it very interesting http://tinyurl.com/yjlw97k

And who knows? Maybe in just a couple of years, that unidentified flying object overhead will be me!

Finally, it looks like my jet pack is ready--just in time for my 50th birthday on Wednesday:

Martin Aircraft Company, in Christchurch, New Zealand, aims to make 500 packs a year which will sell for around £50,000.

The 200 horsepower dual-propeller packs are the brainchild of inventor Glenn Martin who unveiled his machine for the first time in July last year.

Because it weighs less than 254 pounds (115kg) the jet pack does not require a pilot's licence. It is capable of travelling 30 miles in 30 minutes on a full tank of fuel.

And recent tests have seen the newest model reach heights of up to 2,400 metres and top speeds of 60mph.

But only now has sufficient investment been found for the company to begin production of the craft, which will also begin at an undisclosed site outside New Zealand.

Martin Aircraft Company chief executive Richard Lauder said the pack could be perfect for the emergency services, private users and even the military.

He said: "This could be life-saving stuff.

"For us this is an excellent commercial step."

Yes, life-saving because by the time I get mine, I’ll be finished working out and ready to launch my second career as a super-hero. Details coming...

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Saturday February 27, 2010

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