Archive for the ‘Tips and Tricks’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Crime Scene Investigation With Amateur Sleuth Ima Figuritout


Crime scene investigators have a huge assortment of tools at their disposal. And we’ve all seen the TV shows where detectives use fancy lights and magic wands to lead them to the mysterious killer of the week.

But what about the stampers, quilters, dog walkers, and realtors who stumble onto murders during their everyday routine? What about the part time PI’s? How do those civilian investigators go about solving crime? Are there any tips and handy tools of the trade that can be utilized by amateur detectives?

Sure there are, and they’re practical, really cool, and extremely cheap! And our top expert, Ima Figuritout, knows all the tricks. Such as…

Remember the last time the cops dusted your light switches for fingerprints?

What a mess, right? Black powder everywhere! Ima suggests having your sleuth show the boys in blue how to make a wall protector using a piece of cardboard.

Better still, advise the homeowner to make one for each switch in their house and keep them in a nearby drawer for future break-ins. It’s always best to be prepared, right?

Then, the next time your sleuth or the CSI team shows up to investigate, they’re all set. No walls to scrub down.

Next up…keeping floors clear of pesky footprints. But what if your sleuth is too tired to bend over to cover her pumps with shoe covers?

No problem. Have her sidekick place this handy device—the step-n-go—on the floor, and with two quick “steps” she’s all set.

Perfect for the investigator who simply doesn’t have the time to stand still even for a second.

Is the “Ima” in your book flustered because she can’t get to the fingerprint that’s trapped inside a piece of wadded tape? The one piece of evidence she knows will put the dastardly killer away for life?

Well, a quick trip to an electronics store can solve the problem. Simply send Ima’s assistant to the nearest mall to pick up a can of Component Spray.

A quick squirt and…

And there you go—the tape easily comes apart.

The spray freezes the tape to approximately -65 degrees.

Do NOT touch the tape with your bare hands.

Another trick is to place the tape inside a freezer for several hours.

What to do with those old unwanted CD’s? Hmm…

As always, Ima¬†Figuritout is prepared for the rainy day homicide. Yes, Ima knows what a real pain it can be to keep her camera tripod steady on muddy surfaces, and that’s why she keeps a handful of old CD’s in her camera bag. You know, for the times when the weather just doesn’t want to cooperate with murder investigations.

By placing a CD under each of the tripod’s three legs, Ima quickly solves the problem. No more sinking into the goo. Works like a charm.

And that, my friends, is how Ima does it.

PostHeaderIcon Unlocking DNA In Your Own Home: The Onion Did It!

When thinking of solving a convoluted murder case we often picture highly-trained, highly-skilled scientists releasing DNA from a bloody glove or sock. On TV we see experts hovering over steaming vials, boiling test tubes, and genetic analyzers. We read about the protagonist who magically locates key pieces of DNA in the most improbable locations. Sure, the science of DNA is pretty interesting. But did you know you can actually extract DNA in your own home using everyday household items?

Every living thing has its own unique DNA, including plants. In fact, the last time I was in a DNA lab we extracted DNA from a strawberry. For the purpose of this home experiment we’ll use an onion, because the smelly vegetable produces a really nice strand of DNA that’s easily seen with the naked eye.

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First of all, you’ll need to collect the ingredients needed to unlock the DNA from the onion—approximately 100ml of finely chopped onion, a pinch of salt, meat tenderizer, rubbing alcohol, dish detergent, and 200ml of ice cold water.

Now place the chopped onion, salt, and ice water into a blender. Blend for approximately fifteen seconds (this separates the onion cells). Repeat the blending for another 20 seconds, or until the mixture becomes foamy, like the beginnings of a meringue.

Pour the foamy mixture into a glass container and add 1/6th of dish washing liquid as there is mixture (yields two tablespoons).

Swirl soap through mixture and then pour into test tubes until each tube is about 1/3 full.

Sprinkle a pinch of meat tenderizer into each tube. The tenderizer acts as an enzyme that cleans proteins away from the DNA.

Tilt the test tubes to one side and slowly pour in rubbing alcohol until the tubes are 2/3 full. The alcohol forms a separate layer at the top of the tubes.

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Onion DNA – Image by

Insert small stick or glass rod into the alcohol layer (the DNA will rise to the alcohol layer) and slowly twist in one direction (either clockwise or counter-clockwise). You know, like twirling spaghetti onto a fork.

DO NOT shake the test tubes.

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Onion DNA – Image by

The onion DNA wraps itself around the stick, or rod (the DNA slightly resembles a sperm cell).

Remove the DNA from the tubes.

There you have it, your own DNA lab in the comfort of your own home. No back logs and no cross contamination from other scientists and samples. The question is, “Did the onion do it?”

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