Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘DNA

Weekend Links

with 2 comments

* By allying us with its protagonist, Gravity universalizes its image of exploited female labor, sells it back to its entire audience, men and women alike. Gravity shows a contemporary ideal of femininity still more sinister than the pinup. It presents woman as an intricate machine, strapped to dozens of wires, working her ass off with the goal of appearing weightless.

* We were born too late: …in the early universe, as Loeb speculates in a paper published in Astrobiology late last year, everything would have been a habitable zone.

* Terry Gilliam thinks he could have screwed up Watchmen waaaaaaay worse than Zack Snyder.

* Another day, another Title IX class action against a major university.

Students Joke About Raping Student Union President, Then Threaten to Sue Her.

Objectification, Humiliation and the Liberal Arts.

* Surprising minimum wage jobs.

Wisconsin income gap widening faster than nation as a whole.

* New Study Confirms It: Breast-Feeding Benefits Have Been Drastically Overstated.

* Man Wakes Up In Body Bag At Funeral Home. Wow.

* Chomsky on academic labor. Life off the tenure track at Boise State.

Polynesian seafarers discovered America long before Europeans, says DNA study.

* Watch Six Colorado Senate Candidates Deny Climate Change Exists In 18 Seconds.

* Inception: The Board Game.

* Man, the rich are different.

“While the entire U.S. population has increased about one-third over the last 30 years, the Federal prison population has increased at a staggering rate of 800 percent, currently totaling nearly 216,000 inmates and currently operates at a 33 percent overcapacity. One-half of those Federal prison populations are drug offenses. While some of them are truly dangerous persons, as Deputy Attorney General Cole said, many of them are first-timers, and by possession only, wound up under Federal laws, the crack cocaine laws, in the Federal system”, she said.

Researchers Find CTE In A Soccer Player For The First Time.

This Is What Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers Looks Like.

When May I Shoot a Student?

Twelve Fixed, Eternal Commandments for Academic Job Candidates.

* The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from: Wachowskis prepping new Matrix prequel trilogy.

* And I think we should all just agree this is the true ending to Harry Potter now.

Tuesday Night!

leave a comment »

* This is probably the most American thing that has ever happened: A 70-year-old woman employed by the same court for more than 34 years was fired just nine months before her scheduled retirement, for helping an inmate obtain a DNA test that led to his exoneration.

The System Isn’t Broken, It Was Designed That Way: A Critical Analysis of Historical Racial Disadvantage in the Criminal Justice System.

* A people’s history of Oregon Trail.

Harlan Ellison Isn’t Dead Yet.

* North Carolina Ends Teacher Tenure.

Emissions From North Dakota Flaring (Visible from Space) Equivalent To One Million Cars Per Year.

* If McDonald’s doubled workers’ pay, your Big Mac would cost 68 cents more.

* The Sexy Lamp Test: When the Bechdel Test Is Too Much To Ask.

* Did I do this one already? Grad Students Are Ruining Everything.

Which brings me to the second intersection: Universities are saving a ton of money in this arrangement. Good jobs with health insurance and a decent salary are being replaced by grad students who are desperate to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Our own job descriptions are so vague (if they exist on paper at all) and our employment so tenuous (its common to not know if or how much you’ll get paid from semester to semester) that you can convince us to do just about anything: we’ll work 60, 80, maybe 100 hours a week on things that amount to maybe one line on a CV and another soon-to-be outdated software fluency skill. This is time that could be spent on a second job (if you’re contract lets you even do that) that might supplement your paltry living stipend. A grad student might need the money for all of the supplies and services that she’ll need to buy upfront on her credit card while she waits a few weeks or months for her reimbursement. Or maybe a grad student just needs to buy a new computer, something that every other white-collar corporate job would have waiting for you at your desk. Or $400-worth of books because your cash-strapped library hasn’t procured a recent title in your field since 2007.

* And MetaFilter perfects mansplaining as a bunch of dudes without kids hector poor moms about how to manage their diaper needs. Stay for the breastfeeding hectoring!

The Door into Forever

leave a comment »

A groundbreaking genetic study led by a team of U.S. and Canadian anthropologists has traced a direct DNA link between the 5,500-year-old remains of an aboriginal woman found on a British Columbia island, a second set of ancient female bones from a nearby 2,500-year-old site and — most stunningly — a living Tsimshian woman from the Metlakatla First Nation, located close to both of the prehistoric burials along B.C.’s North Coast near the city of Prince Rupert. Aside from its scientific interest, the study could help the Metlakatla community establish its claim on the area.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 6, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Monday Links

leave a comment »

* This weeks’s denunciation of the dissertation, yours at the Chronicle.

The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden… Is Screwed. Esquire has been publishing some really interesting journalism lately.

“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job,” Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home.”

But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

* marquette.edu is your source for Danny Pudi news.

Rick Nolan, Minnesota Democrat, Unveils Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United. Sold.

* Artist claims to create 3D facial renderings based on discarded cigarette butts. I am extremely skeptical!

DuckTales invented a new animated wonderland—that quickly disappeared.

Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle is coming to Syfy.

* An Occurrence at the O.C. Bridge: “Arrested Development” is George Sr.’s death row fantasy.

Couple engrossed in their wireless devices ignore each other (1906).

* And Slate asks the unthinkable: what if not every show premise can sustain itself forever?

MLK Day Links

with 2 comments

tumblr_mgtgpfnLyP1qap9gno1_50017 Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes You Never Hear. The Martin Luther King You Don’t See on TV. Beyond Vietnam, 1967. And of course “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”

* Jacobin gets profiled in the New York Times—and because the magazine was founded by a man, it gets to be in “Books,” not “Style”!

* Graduate school from admissions to job applications, from Karen “The Professor is In” Kelsky: Graduate School Is a Means to a Job.

* Inequality in American Education Will Not Be Solved Online.

To summarize: the answer to underfunded, lower effectiveness primary and secondary education requires subsidizing a private, VC-funded bet made on a roulette wheel fashioned from the already precarious prospects of a disadvantaged population.

Bowling Green State University announced Friday that it will cut the size of its faculty by 11 percent, eliminating 100 full-time faculty jobs, The Toledo Blade reported. The reduction will be made by not filling positions of those who resign or retire, and also by not renewing many one-year teaching contracts. Officials said that more than $5 million would be saved, and that the funds would be invested in other priorities. In addition, administrators said that there would be no impact on the quality of instruction students receive. Also chocolate and puppies for everyone.

* Purdue University’s new president doesn’t really care for universities. Sounds like the perfect guy for the job!

* More new revenue streams: Carleton University has started a commercial rent-a-mathematician service, a calculated move to bring in some cash and also fix real-world problems. Will explain science fiction for food…

Surviving the Next Apocalypse: a Modest Curriculum.

* Because everything in college sports is running so smoothly, the NCAA has decided it’s time to eliminate a whole bunch of rules.

Some Ph.D.’s Choose to Work Off the Tenure Track. “Choose” is doing a lot of work in that headline.

* “What a deformed monster is a standing army in a free nation”: the U.S. and military spending.

* Kid Kills 5 in Family in New Mexico, Planned Slaughter at WalMart.

The weapons included not just the AR-15 but more.  He had gotten them out of his  father’s unlocked closet, not a gun-safe, after he had a “minor disagreement” with his mother.  He shot her in her bed, then the three little kids, in their beds.  Mulitple times.  Perhaps with the semi-auto rifle.   Waited a few hours, then shot dad when he came home.

Then:  Loaded up van with weapons and started to drive to local Walmart, where he planned to slaughter many more,  then kill himself.  Called friend, though, who suggested he stop by church and maybe think about it.  Security guard there calls cops.

5 People Shot At 3 Different Gun Shows On Gun Appreciation Day. Ohio church sponsors private gun buyback.

“If the district attorney agrees to send me to prison for a long time, then I will confess and plead guilty,” Hubatch told Madison police Detective Tom Helgren after his arrest on Monday, according to a criminal complaint. “Otherwise, I have nothing else to say, and if released I will do it again.” The versatile law degree, University of Wisconsin edition.

CVS Manager Fatally Strangles Homeless Man for Shoplifting Toothpaste. No charges filed because America.

* Where to Be Born: 1988-2013. Do your research, kids.

Where-to-be-born-2013-Infographic-Designers-1988-to-2013-1200px

* 50 collective nouns. The best of these I’ve heard recently was totally fake, but funny, on the new Paul F. Tompkins “Analyze Fish” Jaws podcast: “a jar of jellyfish.”

* Kurt Vonnegut’s “The Shapes of Stories,” Tumblrfied.

* ‘Quadruple helix’ DNA discovered in human cells. I feel certain this is where the X-factor that creates mutants is located.

* I’m taken in by the needless honesty of a telepathic shield maker that bothers to say “only one failure since 1998.”

* Fracking on the San Andreas Fault? What could possibly go wrong?

* “Escape from Tomorrowland,” filmed without Disney’s knowledge at Disney World.

* And your text adventure of the day: Reset.

Big Thursday Links

with one comment

13 little-known punctuation marks we should be using. At right: the rhetorical question mark.

* Reddit vs. Gawker: whoever wins, we lose. Snark aside, they ought to burn reddit down if it won’t take cast out jailbait and creeper subreddits. It’s 2012.

* How to Terraform Venus.

* DNA’s 521-year half-life ruins so many awesome science fiction plots.

* Our brains work in interesting ways: What number is halfway between 1 and 9? Is it 5 — or 3?

Could the Goonies Really Keep One-Eyed Willy’s Treasure?

Walmart Workers Are Threatening To Strike On Black Friday. On a national holy day? How dare they.

You love being creative for your work. You love your job. That’s why you’ve got a Mac. Precarious labor, post-Fordism, and Apple.

Nine minutes of gameplay from the new SimCity.

* LARoB considers Homeland. It’s been next in my Netflix queue forever, so I couldn’t read too much of this.

* And you know who else flubbed their closing statement after a piss-poor debate showing? No, not him. The other one. Gasp: New Polls Suggest Democratic Freakout May Be Premature.

Gattaca Pre-K

with one comment

N.Y. Preschool Starts DNA Testing For Admission.

UPDATE: Check the comment. Yes, I know it’s an April Fool’s joke!

Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Virginia Justice

leave a comment »

Virginia knows it has DNA evidence that may prove the innocence of dozens of men convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. So why won’t the state say who they are?

Written by gerrycanavan

March 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Several for Wednesday

leave a comment »

* When I was living in University Circle the only business the neighborhood could retain was a McDonald’s. It looks like times have changed a bit.

* Movers And Deputies Refuse Bank’s Order To Evict 103-Year-Old Atlanta Woman.

* Massive strikes in the UK today.

* More often, though, the fate of an inmate with powerful new evidence of innocence still rests with local prosecutors, some of whom have spun creative theories to explain away the exculpatory findings. In Nassau County on Long Island, after DNA evidence showed that the sperm in a 16-year-old murder victim did not come from the man convicted of the crime, prosecutors argued that it must have come from a consensual lover, even though her mother and best friend insisted she was a virgin. (The unnamed-lover theory has been floated so often that defense lawyers have a derisive term for it: “the unindicted co-­ejaculator.”) In Florida, after DNA showed that the pubic hairs at the scene of a rape did not belong to the convicted rapist, prosecutors argued that the hairs found on the victim’s bed could have come from movers who brought furniture to the bedroom a week or so earlier.

* And xkcd says leave it to Nazis.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm

His Murder Conviction Was Based on a Single Piece of Forensic Evidence Recovered from the Crime Scene—A Strand of Hair—That Prosecutors Claimed Belonged to Jones

leave a comment »

Written by gerrycanavan

November 13, 2010 at 8:17 am

Postbirtherism

leave a comment »

Why won’t Barack Obama submit to a DNA test to prove he is his parents’ child? Via Cynical-C.

A certificate that a child was born to Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu on 4 August 1961 might be true; but, assuming it’s true, it does not necessarily follow that Mr. Obama is that child. Whether he is or not requires genetic analysis. 

Double bonus points for trotting out the classic Malcolm-X-is-Obama’s-father theory.

Written by gerrycanavan

October 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

It Was The Week That Wouldn’t End and It Was Only Half Over

leave a comment »

* The time has come for all good people to follow Conan O’Brien on Twitter.

* Pay attention, North Carolina: “It is impossible for any candidate to get to the right of me.” I honestly don’t care who is running against him, I’ll pull the lever.

* Rush Limbaugh is this and every day’s worst person in the world.

* Glenn Beck: Judas!

* Ezra Klein hates America so much he’s trying to pretend that reconciliation isn’t just another world for communofascism.

* Matt Yglesias and Climate Progress explain to the editors of the Washington Post where all this climate misinformation mysteriously originates: their own completely useless editorial page and the liars they happily print there.

* Related: Reid wants a climate bill.

* Also related: Vermont has voted to close its problem-plagued Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. How long can a nuclear reactor last? Via MeFi.

* The secret origins of TV Tropes. Historical footnote: the first TV Trope ever was the Gilligan Cut.

* Behold the terror of the Zeigarnik Effect: “the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete.”

* “DNA’s Dirty Little Secret: A forensic tool renowned for exonerating the innocent may actually be putting them in prison.” Via Steve Benen.

Barlow’s main point of contention was statistics. Typically, law enforcement and prosecutors rely on FBI estimates for the rarity of a given DNA profile—a figure can be as remote as one in many trillions when investigators have all thirteen markers to work with. In Puckett’s case, where there were only five and a half markers available, the San Francisco crime lab put the figure at one in 1.1 million—still remote enough to erase any reasonable doubt of his guilt. The problem is that, according to most scientists, this statistic is only relevant when DNA material is used to link a crime directly to a suspect identified through eyewitness testimony or other evidence. In cases where a suspect is found by searching through large databases, the chances of accidentally hitting on the wrong person are orders of magnitude higher. 

The reasons for this aren’t difficult to grasp: consider what happens when you take a DNA profile that has a rarity of one in a million and run it through a database that contains a million people; chances are you’ll get a coincidental match. Given this fact, the two leading scientific bodies that have studied the issue—the National Research Council and the FBI’s DNA advisory board—have recommended that law enforcement and prosecutors calculate the probability of a coincidental match differently in cold-hit cases. In particular, they recommend multiplying the FBI’s rarity statistic by the number of profiles in the database, to arrive at a figure known as the Database Match Probability. When this formula is applied to Puckett’s case (where a profile with a rarity of one in 1.1 million was run through a database of 338,000 offenders) the chances of a coincidental match climb to one in three.

* Why autism is different for girls.

* Chat Roulette: a documentary.

* Do MFA programs hurt poetry?

* Teach the controversy: “There is no unified flat Earth model,” Shenton suggests, “but the most commonly accepted one is that it’s more or less a disc, with a ring of something to hold in the water. The height and substance of that, no one is absolutely sure, but most people think it’s mountains with snow and ice.”

* In response to a new federal mandate to fix under-performing schools, every teacher will be fired at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. Via MetaFilter, where the conversation is by turns fascinating and soul-crushing. I’m expecting another round of (justified) anti-Duncan, anti-Obama diatribes from my friends in public education in five… four… three…

* And an awesome post I missed from Tim a few weeks back: the top-ten most desirable rare video games.

More!

with 7 comments

* Ireland wants a rematch against France, but FIFA says it won’t happen. More here.

* Kurt Vonnegut’s letter home as a POW, 1944.

* The headline reads, “IBM makes supercomputer significantly smarter than cat.”

* Eric Barker calls this New York Times article on DNA testing and parental rights “thought-provoking”, and I suppose it is—but mostly I was completely aghast at the idea that a father would desert his child after a decade just because the child turned out to be “not really his,” “someone else’s kid.” Speaking off the cuff, it seems to me the best solution here would probably just be to change the law to allow children to have more than two legal parents—but regardless of the legal question there’s a clear ethical imperative to remain a parent the child you have raised and claim to love, whatever the mother might have done or said in the past. In some sense this actually seems to me to be beyond ethics, or rather before; it seems to me you’d want to stay the child’s father, that you’d be desperate to, in whatever way you could.

* Autocomplete Me is a blog devoted to revealing the weirdest gems in Google’s autocomplete feature. (Hat tip: Neil.)

* The Board of Regents for the University of California system has voted to raise tuition 32% over 2008. How the University Works declares California is burning.

* Troubled times in Casino City. Via Atrios.

* Stopping ACTA. Via Boing Boing.

* Dump Geithner: A growing consensus?

* Good and bad polling news: Even Fox News viewers overwhelmingly think the bow was appropriate (good news), but 52% of Republicans think ACORN stole 9.5 million votes in the 2008 election to put Obama in the White House (bad news). Naturally, ACORN stole NY-23 as well.

* Meanwhile, 52% of Americans are shockingly misinformed about whether an army of gorillas could beat an army of bears.

* And the news story that launched a thousand 2010 puns: there could be fishlike life on Europa. All these puns are yours, except Europa. Attempt no punning there.

Late Night Friday

leave a comment »

Late night Friday.

* As expected, Waxman-Markey passed the House earlier tonight, despite the usual deranged opposition. (Voting breakdown from FiveThirtyEight.) Ezra and Matt pour over a chart that demonstrates just how little this will cost, despite what Republicans are claiming, while Grist considers whether cap and trade has ever actually achieved its stated goals. I’m disappointed with the bill and terrified about what the Senate will pass.

* MoveOn will target Kay Hagan for her opposition to the public option. Good.

* Froomkin’s last column at the Washington Post takes the media to task for completely failing us over the last few decade.

And while this wasn’t as readily apparent until President Obama took office, it’s now very clear that the Bush years were all about kicking the can down the road – either ignoring problems or, even worse, creating them and not solving them. This was true of a huge range of issues including the economy, energy, health care, global warming – and of course Iraq and Afghanistan.

How did the media cover it all? Not well. Reading pretty much everything that was written about Bush on a daily basis, as I did, one could certainly see the major themes emerging. But by and large, mainstream-media journalism missed the real Bush story for way too long. The handful of people who did exceptional investigative reporting during this era really deserve our gratitude: People such as Ron Suskind, Seymour Hersh, Jane Mayer, Murray Waas, Michael Massing, Mark Danner, Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau (better late than never), Dana Priest, Walter Pincus, Charlie Savage and Philippe Sands; there was also some fine investigative blogging over at Talking Points Memo and by Marcy Wheeler. Notably not on this list: The likes of Bob Woodward and Tim Russert. Hopefully, the next time the nation faces a grave national security crisis, we will listen to the people who were right, not the people who were wrong, and heed those who reported the truth, not those who served as stenographers to liars.

* But I think Ezra Klein makes the point more strongly:

I think that analytically honest political commentators right now should be struggling with a pretty hard choice: Do you try to maximize the possibility of good, if still insufficient, outcomes? Or do you admit what many people already know and say that our political process has gone into total system failure and the overriding priority is building the long-term case for structural reform of America’s lawmaking process? Put another way, can you really solve any of our policy problems until you solve our fundamental political problem? And don’t think about it in terms of when your team is in power. Think of it in terms of the next 30 years, and the challenges we face.

* Posthumously cleared after twenty-five years. Via MeFi.

* We had to lie about Sotomayor because we’re still mad about Robert Bork. Right. Of course.

* More on how Obama forced Mark Sanford to shirk his responsibilities and flee the country. This is politics at its worst.

* I’m with Joe Strummer: If you don’t like Springsteen you’re a pretentious Martian from Venus. Via Shankar D.

* And of course we’re still coming to terms with Michael Jackson:
Web grinds to a halt after Michael Jackson dies. Secret library of 100 songs could be released. Google mistakes the explosion of searches for an attack. Spike in SMS traffic outpaces 9/11. Will Bruno face a last-minute edit? (Some of these via @negaratduke.)

Friday Links 3

leave a comment »

Friday links 3. [UPDATE: Comments closed on this post due to harassment from a banned commenter. Looking into solutions. Reopened.]

* How long will the MSM cover up the heroics of time-traveling Ronald Reagan?

* Another take on Mark McGurl’s The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing, this time from the Valve, about transnationalism and the American university.

* More on yesterday’s unjust Supreme Court decision on the right to DNA evidence from Matt Yglesias, including a link to this striking observation from Jeffrey Toobin on John Roberts’s governing judicial philosophy:

The kind of humility that Roberts favors reflects a view that the Court should almost always defer to the existing power relationships in society. In every major case since he became the nation’s seventeenth Chief Justice, Roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch over the legislative, and the corporate defendant over the individual plaintiff. Even more than Scalia, who has embodied judicial conservatism during a generation of service on the Supreme Court, Roberts has served the interests, and reflected the values, of the contemporary Republican Party.

* Peak Oil, risk, and the financial collapse: some speculative economics from Dmitry Orlov. Via MeFi.

* Mark Penn’s superscience proves pessimism is the new microtrend. Via Gawker.

* Freakonomics considers vegetarianism-sharing.

* Possible outcomes in Iran from Gerry Seib in The Wall Street Journal. Via the Plank.

* People power prevails. After some period of extended protest, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is shown to be a fraud, his re-election rigged, and Mir Hossein Mousavi and his forces of moderation win a runoff. A long process of changing Iran’s system in which real power lies in the hands of clerics operating behind the scenes begins, and the voices demanding an end to Iran’s international isolation move to the fore. Such a simple and straightforward outcome seems unlikely, but that’s what happened in Ukraine.

* Mr. Ahmadinejad survives, but only by moderating his position in order to steal the thunder of the reformers and beat them at their own game. U.S. officials think it’s at least possible the erratic leader decides to survive by showing his critics that he actually is capable of what they claim he isn’t, which is reducing Iran’s isolation. He stays in power and regains his standing with internal critics by, among other things, showing new openness to discuss Iran’s nuclear program with the rest of the world.

* The forces of repression win within Iran, but international disdain compounds, deepening world resolve to stop Iran’s nuclear program and its sponsorship of extremists. In other words, Iran doesn’t change, but the rest of the world does.

* The protests are simply crushed by security forces operating under the control of spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, the election results stand untouched, and Iran’s veneer of democracy ultimately is shown to be totally fraudulent. That makes it clear that the only power that matters at all is the one the U.S. can’t reach or reason with, the clerical establishment. There is no recount, no runoff, and the idea that “moderates” and “reformers” can change Iran from within dies forever.

* There is some legitimate recount or runoff, but Iran emerges with Mr. Ahmadinejad nominally in charge anyway. He emerges beleaguered, tense and defensive, knowing he sits atop a society with deep internal divides and knowing the whole world knows as well. His control is in constant doubt. What’s the classic resort of such embattled leaders? Distract attention from internal problems with foreign mischief, and use a military buildup (in this case, a nuclear one) to create a kind of legitimacy that’s been shown to be missing on the domestic front.

* Mr. Mousavi somehow prevails, perhaps through a runoff, and becomes president, but he operates as a ruler deeply at odds with the clerical establishment that controls the military and security forces, and deeply mistrusted by it. As a result, he’s only partly in charge, and in no position to take chances with a real opening to the West. He has always supported Iran’s nuclear program anyway and now has to do so with a vengeance to show that, while a reformer, he isn’t a front for the West.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,928 other followers