Doing drugs? Beware this fingerprinting device

A U.K. company is now unveiling what it calls the world's first prototype handheld device that doubles as a fingerprint scanner and drug testing device.

In a matter of minutes, the portable device can detect the presence of a wide range of drugs using dyed antibodies that, as we reported back in July, stick to metabolites in the sweat of the fingerprints and change color depending on the presence of drugs.

"The launch of this prototype is a significant milestone," Paul Yaltes of development firm Intelligent Fingerprinting said in a statement. "There has already been … Read more

The 404 701: Where Justin cancels his flight back to San Francisco (podcast)

It was a close call, but California voters yesterday defeated Proposition 19, also known as the "Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010," so we're canceling our S.F. holiday plans and staying in New York. Oh well, at least we still have front-row seats to the World Series riots thanks to the newly appointed Riot Badges on FourSquare.

Speaking of things that are harmful to your health, a new report co-authored by former government chief drugs adviser David Nutt suggests that alcohol is more harmful than heroin.

Professor Nutt judged 20 drugs on 16 degrees of harm that include lasting effects on physical and mental health, social harms including crime, and environmental damage, and alcohol is the most prevalent on this chart, topping other substances like ecstasy, LSD, mushrooms, crack, and methylamphetamines.

The results likely have more to do with alcohol being the only legal drug on the list, and cannabis surprisingly ranks fairly high on the list as well, just two under nicotine.

We all know cigarettes are lethal carcinogens, but a new company called Blu Cigs is manufacturing electronic cigarettes aimed at users who want to "smoke" tobacco without the addictive nicotine element.

We're obviously not condoning use of this product, but the tech angle on the device itself is interesting because they use battery-operated atomizers to warm up capsules of flavored liquid that then produce vapor you can inhale, making them technically "legal" to use in non-smoking areas, like on an airplane. Be sure to watch this segment's video to see an actual e-cigarette in action!

After we hit the break (and a small audio hiccup afterward), we have two jaw-dropping video voicemails queued up: the first is from our own Jeff Bakalar, who recorded a video of him and his new wife Stacie at some dreadful resort in who knows where, and the second is a relatively straightforward voicemail from "BMGreatness" that also features a disturbing prop. Check it out, and keep sending your video voicemails to the404(at)!

Even in paradise, Jeff is still Jeff. BMGreatness: Please call back and verify the owner of that thingie.

Episode 701 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more

Hydroponic plant farming in your house? Hmm...

I have a funny story about this Electrolux Vege that I read about on GadgetCandy. It's a prototype for a fridge-sized hydroponic plant-growing cupboard that will allow you to grow your own plants and herbs in the comfort of your own home. If you want to be mega-eco-friendly but don't have the time or space for a full-fledged garden or greenhouse, here's a solution. Cool, right? So I decided to Crave it.

Then it occurred to me that the Vege might gain more popularity as an incubator for plants that are a little bit more on the … Read more

The 'BMW of bongs'

Being the responsible lot that we are, Crave occasionally posts public service announcements for the benefit of our readers. So here's one for those of you who use cannabis for medicinal purposes only, of course.

The appropriately named "Volcano Vaporizer" is a device that can make your prescription up to four times more potent than the average dosage. The German-made "BMW of bongs," as Uncrate calls it, also helps purify the substance and minimize the accompanying odor. But the Volcano's $540 price tag could be prohibitive--unless you have the most liberal of health insurance.… Read more