William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 24, June, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 11:23


Wednesday, 22, June, 2011

Crazy Einar

Filed under: Boomstick — williamthecoroner @ 11:37

A.K.A. Michael Z. Williamson is chewing the scenery again…

Heroin Mixed With Strychnine

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 11:17

Has been seen in upstate New York.  Wonderful.


Filed under: Social Commentary,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 11:11

From the Uni’s Faculty Development folks, comes this seminar:

After observing how adult wolves teach pups within the pack to recognize and respect their authority, some dog trainers suggest that one way to establish authority over new dogs is to gently, but firmly, flip them onto their side on the ground, hold them steadily until the dogs are completely calm, and then let them go. Following this exercise (so the theory goes), the dog will remain devotedly obedient to the person who did the flipping.

This suggests the interesting question as to whether adults (unintentionally or deliberately) do the verbal equivalent of flipping to establish dominance in conversations. It has been observed that within many a discussion on campuses, some voices are drowned out, while stronger ones command. This can happen in many ways such as interrupting, louder volume, physical gestures, invoking seniority, etc. Some people are just more adept in controlling a conversation, it would seem.

I am not sure how generalizable wolf behaviour is to humans, particularly because most of what we think we know about wolf pack hierarchy is baloney.  But this question seems to be biased against the STEM disciplines.  If content matters, an important part of pedagogy, indeed the most important part of it, is imparting that knowledge.  If I don’t know how to get an aircraft out of a spin, say, what I as a tyro THINK the answer should be is a whole lot less important than actually knowing the procedure.   Free flowing academic discussion is great when we’re talking about Julius Caesar, or the categorical imperative, or analyzing Monarch of the Glen.  When it comes to keeping a bridge from falling down, or when you should do a spinal tap, or the difference between 400 milligrams of magnesium and 400 millequivalents of magnesium, less so.

Tuesday, 21, June, 2011

Booty Call Ninjas

Filed under: Links to Greatness,Oddness,WTF? — williamthecoroner @ 10:37

I am not sure if this is a rule of crime or a rule of life; but one should be careful in dealing with ex-lovers.  Particularly ex-lovers who are…peeved.  It seems a man in the peri-Chicago area called his ex-girlfriend and asked her to come over for sex (1).  She agreed, (2) but when he went to go to her car, he was assaulted by a masked figure with nunchuks and throwing stars (3).  He was found in a bloody heap, but identified his ex-girlfriend as one of his assailants (4).  The story is here, H/T Gormogons.

1.  He actually thought this would work?

2. She’s a much better actor than me.

3. Nunchucks and shuriken?  Really?  They went out of their way to get martial-arts weapons?  You can get dimensional lumber and lead pipe at the hardware store, fer crying out loud.  You’ve just given the DA premeditiation.  OK, you get style points for the nunchuks, but those are outweighed by the doofus points.

4. If you’re gonna attack the guy, cover your face TOO.  A smarter idea would be to give it a pass yourself, and have the assailant snatch your purse or something, making you look like a victim, not a perpetrator.

Monday, 20, June, 2011

And You Said I Was Sappy

Filed under: Books — williamthecoroner @ 13:24

I just came across The Exultant Ark, by Johnathan Balcome in my Uni Library.  The pictures are stunning.  The text however, leaves a lot to be desired.  I have been a biologist for over twenty years.  I have worked with animals from protists to primates.  I rescued three cats, who are at the present moment asleep on my bed.

Can animals feel pleasure?  Certainly the mammals can.  I know my cats do, and they get jealous, and communicate their moods and desires quite well, thank you.  I’m not sure who is training whom, but no matter.  The old-school view of animals as unthinking machines acting on hard-wired instinct has long since been discredited.

Balcome, however, goes overboard.  There was a picture of a marmot sniffing a flower before it ate it, with a caption suggesting the animal was savoring the aroma of it’s meal, not just testing to see if it was ripe and good to eat.  I’m thinking Balcome was giving the marmot (an animal with a brain smaller than a walnut) too much credit.  Another caption implied amazement that a sow, isolated by flood on a levee, would make a nest “out of whatever was available” (to protect her piglets).  Well, if she didn’t she wouldn’t have piglets for very long.  I don’t think that was deep maternal love as opposed to what an organism needs to do to survive.

Animals, particularly predators, do have to be smart, if they hope to be successful predators.  Frankly, I hope scavengers like Turkey Buzzards don’t savour their meals, I’m glad they consume them but I’ve been around roadkill too much to enjoy it.  I really don’t discern any deep mental processes in a lot of prey mammals (sheep and alpacas are cute, but they are no mental giants.) Not to mention the reptiles, whom are successful but there’s not a lot of deep thought going on in them.

Genus, species

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 02:50

When assaulting someone with roadkill, it’s important to know what kind of dead animal you’re using.  Story HERE.

Made me think of this:

Friday, 17, June, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 01:53

It’s Friday, so once again it’s time for SAPPY CAT BLOGGING!

Thursday, 16, June, 2011

If Breda Can Swoon Over A Historical Figure

Filed under: History — williamthecoroner @ 21:45

As she does HERE, well then, so can I. I’ve always thought this lady was really rather attractive. She had a lot of style. Indeed, she was well known in her day as a beauty. I also like this photo of her with her two children: . This one was from 1889. If the fellow on the right looks familiar, he should. You probably know him, but you’re more familiar with him when he was older.  I put that picture of him below the fold. (more…)

Exhumation To Retrieve Possible DNA Evidence

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 09:56

An unidentified, decomposed woman was found strangled in cistern on 21 April, 1981. She was later buried, but will be unearthed for a forensic odontologic, anthropologic, and DNA exam. Story HERE.

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