William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 31, July, 2010

Someone Got Paid For This???

Filed under: Japery — williamthecoroner @ 06:44

OK. There are beauty pageants. I don’t fully understand them–but the seem to involve ogling comely women in skimpy bathing suits. I can understand that, but never mind. The organizers tend to want to showcase other things the contestants do, besides, looking good in a bathing suit. I’m not sure why, perhaps it is camouflage, or something. Be that as it may, in the Miss Universe competition, the contestants have to show off a costume inspired by their nation. Miss Australia certainly inspired the nation, the only question is to what. Story is HERE.

A Class III beverage alert is in effect. Someone got PAID for this?

Friday, 30, July, 2010

Proof Is In The Pudding

Filed under: Japery,Links to Greatness — williamthecoroner @ 15:04

Hat tip, LaBelle

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging,Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 07:17

Sappy Forensic Cat Blogging, HERE!

Wednesday, 28, July, 2010

Dog in the Fight.

Filed under: Forensics,Politics — williamthecoroner @ 20:49

In 1956, Alan Mortiz wrote a paper mentioning several classical mistakes made by forensic pathologists. The text is here. But THIS paper reminded me of the Moritz article. The authors reviewed articles over the past 50 years, and counted the number of authoritan statments in them, such as “Science reveals we must…” Key graf.

If science wants to redeem itself and regain its place with the public’s affection, scientists need to come out every time some politician says, “The science says we must…” and reply, “Science only tells us what is. It does not, and can never tell us what we should or must do.” If they say that often enough, and loudly enough, they might be able to reclaim the mantle of objectivity that they’ve given up over the last 40 years by letting themselves become the regulatory state’s ultimate appeal to authority

Now, the grammar nazi in me wants the authors to use the word scientists instead of science. Science does nothing by itself.

This is very similar to Mortiz’ mistaking the objective with the subjective portions of the autopsy protocol. One thing that was drilled into me in training as a forensic pathologist was that the pathologist “does not have a dog in the fight.” I don’t care what the result of a trial is. My job is to testify and present my information as clearly as possible. It is my job to explain my interpretation of that information. What the jury does with the information is up to them. I AM NOT AN ADVOCATE.

The jury may interpret my findings differently. That’s their job. If an objective scientist becomes an advocate, he is not objective–he is a partisan. By definition a partisan is not an objective witness, and his audience must judge his statements in light of his bias. Once experts start arguing for one side or another because of bias, they lose credibility and authority.

Give it a read.

Monday, 26, July, 2010

That’s Unpossible.

Filed under: Medicine — williamthecoroner @ 14:41

The National Health Service plans far-reaching cuts in response to the economic crisis.

Wow. Just, wow. Drastic cuts in services, terminally ill patients sent home to die and manage their conditions on their own, rationing care. Though this is public money, at least there people who are paying for it all had input into what is going to happen. Oh. This was all decided in secret. Man. That is terrible. It really makes me appreciate what the United States has…




Sunday, 25, July, 2010

Don’t Panic!

Filed under: Japery,Life, the universe, & everything. — williamthecoroner @ 14:54

It’s my Douglas Adams Birthday. Yep. I’m 42, the same age as the ultimate answer. The answer to life, the universe, and everything. Actually, though I don’t feel forty-two, being a forensic pathologist has taught me the meaning of life.

The meaning of life is that it stops. Sometimes abruptly, and you don’t know when. So you should always know where your towel is.

It has taken me many years to learn that, but I really don’t feel forty-two. I feel like I’m around twenty-five. I’m quite glad that I am not twenty-five anymore. I wouldn’t mind twenty years of my life back, nor would I mind the metabolism of a twenty-five year old, and all that goes with it, but I’m quite content with where I am now, thank you very much. I perceive that I’ve learned a few things over the decades-improbably enough-and I’m really quite thankful for that.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go mix myself a pan-galactic gargle blaster. With any luck, I can find a good friend to Vroomfondel my Majikthise. (Good idea, Lili!)

Don’t wait up.

Saturday, 24, July, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Filed under: Japery — williamthecoroner @ 15:02

Jay G and Calvin’s mom posted their guilty pleasures. I really don’t feel guilty about a lot of the things I take pleasure in. I’ve had at least one job since I was 16, I’ve learned to delay a lot of gratification. I drink in moderation, don’t smoke, save my money, maintain my house, I’m on a diet, I rescue stray animals and pick up litter.

Good grief, how goody-goody and bourgeois can you get? I even annoy MYSELF.

I earn my pleasures, baby.

But there is one. If I see a ketchup packet on the ground, I’ll step on it. Little ketchup bombs. Love them. THEN I’ll pick up the package. The ketchup is biodegradable.

Friday, 23, July, 2010

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 15:35

It’s Friday, so it’s time for sappy cat blogging.  Kitties are on special at the APL all weekend. All cats will be available for adoption for only $10. Kittens 5 months and under will be available for only $20. Regular adoption fees are $95 for kittens, $45 for adults, and $30 for senior cats.

Go thou and get a fuzzy friend!

Thursday, 22, July, 2010

I’m Suprised It Took Them So Long

Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 12:05

Remember Mr. Wizard? Don Herbert did science on T.V. from the 1950s ’til the 1990s. He really tried hard to popularize science and interest children. There were spin offs, books and chemistry sets and what not–so you could be Mr. Wizard at home–and some of these were pre-liability law, so you could actually DO things.

Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.
Now, forensic science is big, thanks to, (or in spite of CSI) and now there is a Student Autopsy Kit. Using a fetal pig.

It makes sense, our common ancestor gives us the standard vertebrate body type, and pigs have traditionally stood in for human bodies in other situations, like the body farm. I’m just surprised that no one has thought to piggyback on the popular interest in forensic science before this. I’m also very surprised that no smart marketing type from the networks has thought to licence the CSI brand for education.  That would be a very, very large cash cow.

Monday, 19, July, 2010


Filed under: Links to Greatness — williamthecoroner @ 05:27

Found this on Mark Bennett’s Blog. Borderline people are really quite frustrating and seductive. The idealization is very pleasant when it happens, and it just makes the demonization that much more unpleasant when it happens. But these are well worth remembering:

1. If you don’t have to deal with a crazy person, don’t.*
2. You can’t outsmart crazy. (You could outcrazy it, but that makes you crazy too.)
3. When you get in a contest of wills with a crazy person, you’ve already lost.
4. The crazy person doesn’t have as much to lose as you.
5. Your desired outcome is to get away from the crazy person.
6. You have no idea what the crazy person’s desired outcome is.
7. The crazy person sees anything you have done as justification for what she’s about to do.
8. Anything nice you do for the crazy person, she will use as ammunition later.
9. The crazy person sees any outcome as vindication.
10. When you start caring what the crazy person thinks, you’re joining her in her craziness.

*the verb can be replaced with a lot of other verbs, and this is still accurate. Date, marry, work, be related to…etc, etc. and so forth..

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