Votes and voting machines

CBC correspondent and political blogger Henry Champ has a nice summary article on U.S. voter registration and voting machines.

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Mathematical evolution from Darwin at Home

evolution-critters-07, originally uploaded by monado.

These critters are the result of a computer program that created a simple structure and allowed it to mutate. Selection preferred motion. The critters learned to move in an amazing variety of ways. Some of them look familiar; others are just plain weird. All of them are the result of selection pressure on random variation. This kind of mathematical evolution can be used to solve design problems.

You, too, can have Darwin at Home.

Buddha’s meditation on black and white

Flickr contact The BuddhaBuilder has a set of raku-ware and other ceramic Buddhas, gods, goddesses, and meditators. They are for sale through Etsy.

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Sarah Palin fails the project management test

Unfortunately for Alaska, Sarah Palin has already failed as a Project Manager. AFTER the U.S. election she finally held her first press conference. When asked about what went wrong, she said she wasn’t going to waste one minute in finger-pointing but was only going to look ahead. She thus deftly cut off any discussion of her competence.

I guess she doesn’t know that every project plan includes a “lessons learned” analysis, where you look at what went wrong and try to make some rules to prevent the same problems next time.

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DNA testing and kin samples solve old rape-murders

Police have recovered DNA from semen stains in a 1946 murder and are hoping that testing will enable them to find the murderer, who will be at least 80 years old. The DNA is from a Y chromosome, so it’s passed with little change from father to son. They will be testing male descendants of the 40 or 50 suspects in the case, hoping to find a match and follow it back to the criminal. This is probably the oldest DNA from a crime scene so far.

This method, called familial searching, was used several years ago to solve a murder that occurred 1988.

Familial searching was crucial to police solving the 1988 murder of 20-year-old Lynette White in Cardiff.

A search of the national DNA database for a rare gene variant found in a specimen recovered from the crime scene identified a 14-year-old boy with a similar genetic profile.

This led police to his paternal uncle, Jeffrey Gafoor, the murderer. Gafoor received a life sentence in 2003 for the killing.

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