Forensic investigators can pinpoint the location a bullet enters or leaves a human body in three-dimensional space by analyzing the shapes of the resulting blood spatters on the surrounding walls, floors, and other articles. A droplet striking a surface perpendicularly results in a round droplet. At increasing angles from perpendicular, the droplet becomes an increasingly elongate ellipse. The angle of impact can be calculated from the ratio between the ellipse’s major and minor axes. A single droplet defines a line on which the bullet impact occurred. Multiple droplets define multiple lines that largely intersect at the impact location.

Using similar forensic techniques, I could have determined the exact location(s) where my son mixed corn starch with water this afternoon. The kitchen cupboards, counters, fridge, and floor were plastered with little, white droplets from his science experiments.

Fortunately, no harm resulted and the kitchen received an unscheduled wipe-down. I think I’ll go make my own cornstarch suspension.

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