Genetic Triangulation

Binary Sequences

Anne has been researching her ancestry. Using the website Ancestry she has been searching through public records, working her way backwards, looking for her origins. My Aunt Betsy devoted years to this type of research and I have inherited the several volumes of family history that she had compiled. I have a copy of my family genealogy that extends backwards hundreds of years. Most of Betsy’s work was performed before more modern methods were available, like the Internet or DNA testing. Anne is utilizing the Internet, but has not tried any genetic testing. Ancestry is one of this industry’s leaders in this application of DNA testing and has amassed a genetic database of millions of Americans. This is a database of sufficient size to almost guarantee a match, at least on the second or third cousin level, of every person in America.

This fact has not gone unnoticed by another big consumer of genetic testing, law enforcement. Last month, after an investigation that spanned over forty years, a suspect identified as the Golden State killer was arrested. DNA samples taken at crime scenes were entered into a genetic database and using a technique called genetic triangulation, matches were made with relatives of the murder suspect. Detectives used public ancestry records to fill in their family tree and identify the suspect. This approach is being used in other cases, like the Zodiac killer.

DNA testing is still a relatively new technology, but in its brief history, it has made tremendous advances. Even further progress should be expected. We are at a moment similar to the advent of fingerprints in crime fighting. People shed DNA everywhere they go. Unlike fingerprinting, which can be circumvented by simply wearing gloves, it would take a very conspicuous bunny suit to ensure that no DNA is left at a crime scene. Imagine a progression that allows the police to sweep a crime scene for DNA, like they now dust for fingerprints. Capital crimes are the likely first candidate for the expansion of this technology, but as it becomes cheaper to use, its use will become more pervasive. I wonder how all of this will affect American society in the years to come?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mom, Chris and Me

The original lyrics were written in 1915 by Theodore Morse and the song is entitled, “M-O-T-H-E-R: A word that means the world to me.” 

M Is for the Many things she gave me,
O Means only that she’s growing Old.
T Is for the Tears she shed to save me,
H Is for her Heart of purest gold.
E Is for her Eyes with love light shining,
R Means Right and Right she’ll always be

Put them all together, They spell Mother.
A word that means the world to me.

Remembering my wonderful mother, Jackie, on Mother’s Day. Celebrating this beautiful day with Anne, the lovely mother of my children. And wishing to all the other mothers in the world, a very happy Mother’s Day!

My Artists

Anne, Dan and Central Park’s 59th St. Skyline

Yesterday, I featured Anne’s new maple leaf shawl. Today, I would like to share pictures of Dan’s latest Glow Forge creation. Below are a pair of photos of a screen that Dan made. This screen will be used as an air conditioner cover for a photo shoot at West Elm, a high-end NYC furniture store chain. The above photo of the two of them is from a year ago last February. It was a warm day, well warm for New York in February. We had spent the day at the Cloisters, viewing medieval art and then had worked our way back south again, via the subway. We stopped off at Central Park, to walk around and just in time to catch the last few rays of light that this beautiful day had to offer. 

Grimmest Dark

US Coast Guard Helicopter

We did some helicopter parenting today and called Dan and Dave for an update. This week, Dan returned from Maine and his film shoot there and is now back in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, when we reached Dave he was in Portland for a wedding, a changing of the guard in Maine.

Dave is still researching up a storm at Harvard, where things are going much better than before. This is partly due to a shift in his research’s thrust. He is still working with bunnies and cochlear implants, but instead of examining the lack of spatial acuity with double implants, he is now looking at installing the implants in rabbits as hearing augmentation, instead of hearing replacement. 

Dan told us all about his movie making experiences, much of which I cannot relate here. He complained about the weather there. Maine is cold in winter. Who knew? It will be at least a year before the movie is released. He is about to restart work as one of Santa’s little helpers, making the new Macy’s windows for this Christmas. He is also planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign to recoup his Glow Forge investment. Grimmest Dark is his Instagram page that features Warhammer 40K terrain that he plans to sell.