International News Desk – At Home: Friend of a Friend – Around the World: The Bagel Test

International News Desk – At Home: Friend of a Friend – Around the World: The Bagel Test

At Home: Friend of a Friend

Facebook: the ubiquitous social phenomenon has gone from a small online gathering space to a vast network to a hit movie. Users old and young are drawn to the ability to stay in touch, retrieve old connections, and keep up with their friends? antics. Now, there’s a new use in town: crime investigation.

Facebook for detectives? Sort of. As the National Post reports, staff at an Ottawa-area sports apparel store used the social network to identify who had stolen a cap and collectible jersey from the shop.

The store owner suggested researching the profiles of those who ?liked? the store’s Facebook page. And although eyebrows were raised at the idea, the staff found their man in ?just 15 minutes.?

The staff discovered that ?the perpetrator was a Facebook friend? of one of the store’s Facebook fans; by matching his photo with the images on the store’s security video, the police were able to recover the stolen merchandise and identify the thieves.

Ottawa police Chief Vern White was intrigued by the recovery, telling reporters it was ?impressive.? Currently, the police are working on a ?social media program . . . [that uses] Twitter to get details of robberies and other crimes out quickly.? But the use of Facebook to accomplish similar goals is a new idea.

Good news for store owners, police, and the law-abiding public. But here, the thieves learned a lesson: ?be careful who your friends are ? at least on Facebook.?

Around the World: The Bagel Test

It’s the stuff of TV legends, urban myths, and the like: a person unwittingly tests positive for drugs after eating poppy seed cakes or muffins. But apparently it can happen in real life, with devastating results.

As Time magazine reports, a new mom ?recently lost custody of her newborn after the poppy seeds dotting her bagel yielded a positive drug test.?

The mom had eaten the bagel the day she went into labour. Allegedly, the poppy seeds contained in her snack gave rise to a positive result for opiates during a routine blood test, and several days after the birth, ?child welfare workers came to her house, seized her infant and placed the baby in foster care.?

Although eventually the false positive was discovered and the child returned to the mother, the event raises questions about the legitimacy of drug tests that ?do not employ specialized labs that can determine the source of the drugs ? poppy seeds versus heroin, for example.?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. Ten years ago, British researchers published a study suggesting that eating poppy seed cake would result in discernable opiate levels for 24 hours. At the time, the study’s authors wrote that ?Great care should therefore be taken when interpreting the data produced when screening for opiates.?

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