Friday, July 23, 2010

"CSI Dublin" revealed in Sandyford Industrial Estate

[Picture credit: Kobukson via Gizmodo]

I've just read a really interesting report about Microsoft's CSI-style forensics lab - and it's right here in Dublin. 

Why would a software company need a forensics lab I hear you ask? Well, to beat dodgy counterfeiters of course. They're using advanced microscopy techniques to analyse fake software CDs and trace them back to the counterfeiters. Pretty cool, eh? Here's more detail on it:

At a crime lab in Dublin, Microsoft's Donal Keating uses a custom-built microscope to take 72 high-resolution images of a counterfeit software disc. Just as police use ballistics to match bullets to a suspect's gun, Keating, the company's senior forensics manager, will use the abrasions and grooves on the stacking ring, a raised ridge around the disc's center, to match it to other fakes. He'll then try to trace the counterfeit disc to the factory and the crime syndicate that produced it.

It's always great when Irish scientific and technology stories show up in surprising places - this story was first published in US Magazine Bloomberg Businessweek and then picked up by tech news site Gizmodo.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Astronauts thrown from helicopter (Spoiler: they knew it was going to happen)

I always thought that being an astronaut was meant to be fun... but it turns out that's not always the case. Unless you like being thrown out of a helicopter, that is.

The latest European Space Agency (ESA) recruits got a bit more than they bargained for when they were forced off a helicopter into the sea as part of their survival training. But it's not the kind of survival they'll be expected to do if they crash land on Mars - foraging for food there is not expected to be a very successful activity apparently. And there's no sea there either. Nope, it's more about what to do if they crash land coming back to earth and there's no McDonald's (or Supermacs for that matter) in sight.

See the ESA site for more insight into how these poor astronauts survived their summer holiday from hell...