Forensic Stories, Medico-legal context and Life

From Arab News: Rare artifacts excavated in Kingdom’s al-Maqar area
July 29, 2012, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Forensics

JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Tuesday expressed his satisfaction over the discovery of rare antiques during recent excavations that revealed that people in the Arabian Peninsula were interested in horses 9,000 years ago.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, and members of the excavation team briefed the king on the importance of the artifacts that were found in Al-Maqar in the central region of Saudi Arabia.

via From Arab News: Rare artifacts excavated in Kingdom’s al-Maqar area.


Best Forensic Artist: Cowetan Lawson honored for work to assist lawmen – The Times-Herald
July 29, 2012, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Forensics

Coweta County resident Marla Lawson was honored this week by a statewide law enforcement association for her work as a forensic artist.

The special accolade was given at the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police 50th anniversary banquet held in Savannah. The award was presented by GACP President Stan York of Sandersville.

via Best Forensic Artist: Cowetan Lawson honored for work to assist lawmen – The Times-Herald.

Notebooks | Notebooks | dOCUMENTA(13)
July 29, 2012, 7:01 pm
Filed under: Forensics

This notebook is a philosophical and cultural-critical examination of Israel’s policy of occupation. The architect Eyal Weizman uses the term “forensic,” derived from the Latin forensis, “forum,” to reconstruct the history of attacks on and violations of buildings. Drawing from the fields of judicial medicine and psychiatry, “Forensic Architecture” serves in revisiting damaged Palestinian houses and ruins. Weizman, who is a member of the collective Decolonizing Architecture, founded in 2007, describes Forensic Architecture as “the archaeology of the very recent past” and “a form of assembling for the future.” Forensic Aesthetics mirror relationships and logics of action, objective and subjective probabilities; what is needed is an interpreter who addresses the public in the name of a destroyed home.

via Notebooks | Notebooks | dOCUMENTA(13).

Eyal Weizman – Mengele’s Skull and Forensic Architecture | Progressive Geographies
July 29, 2012, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Anthropology, Bones, Forensics

In 1985, the body of Josef Mengele, one of the last Nazi war criminals still at large, was unearthed in Brazil. The ensuing process of identifying the bones in question opened up what can now be seen as a third narrative in war crime investigations—not that of the document or the witness but rather the birth of a forensic approach to understanding war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In the period coinciding with the discovery of Mengele’s skeleton, scientists began to appear in human rights cases as expert witnesses, called to interpret and speak on behalf of things—often bones and human remains. But the aesthetic, political, and ethical complications that emerge with the introduction of the thing in war crimes trials indicate that this innovation is not simply one in which the solid object provides a stable and fixed alternative to human uncertainties, ambiguities, and anxieties.

via Eyal Weizman – Mengele’s Skull and Forensic Architecture | Progressive Geographies.

Where Sherlock Holmes’ Popular Image Came From | Design Decoded
July 29, 2012, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Forensics

Sherlock’s unmistakeable deerstalker hat, for example, was never mentioned in the printed words of the Holmes books. When Sidney Paget illustrated Doyle’s story, The Boscombe Valley Mystery, for publication in The Strand Magazine in 1891, he gave Sherlock a deerstalker hat and an Inverness cape, and the look was forevermore a must for distinguished detectives—so much so that while the deerstalker was originally meant to be worn by hunters (hence the name), the hat now connotes detective work, even without a detective’s head inside it.

Glen S. Miranker, a.k.a. A Singular Introspector, a.k.a, The Origin of Tree Worship, has one of the largest collections of Sherlock Holmes books, art, and ephemera in the United States. Fortuitously yesterday, while researching the illustrations of the Holmes canon, I discovered that part of Miranker’s collection is currently on view at the Book Club of California in San Francisco. I rushed right over.

As part of our series on Sherlock Holmes, I had been reading up on the visual depictions of Holmes and the extent to which the handful of artists who illustrated Arthur Conan Doyle’s texts over the years—namely Sidney Paget, Frederic Dorr Steele, and H.M. Brock—actually (arguably) did more to define our idea of the quintessential detective than the author himself.

via Where Sherlock Holmes’ Popular Image Came From | Design Decoded.

Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Bronze Age origin of Semitic languages
July 29, 2012, 6:32 pm
Filed under: Anthropology

The evolution of languages provides a unique opportunity to study human population history. The origin of Semitic and the nature of dispersals by Semitic-speaking populations are of great importance to our understanding of the ancient history of the Middle East and Horn of Africa. Semitic populations are associated with the oldest written languages and urban civilizations in the region, which gave rise to some of the world’s first major religious and literary traditions. In this study, we employ Bayesian computational phylogenetic techniques recently developed in evolutionary biology to analyse Semitic lexical data by modelling language evolution and explicitly testing alternative hypotheses of Semitic history. We implement a relaxed linguistic clock to date language divergences and use epigraphic evidence for the sampling dates of extinct Semitic languages to calibrate the rate of language evolution. Our statistical tests of alternative Semitic histories support an initial divergence of Akkadian from ancestral Semitic over competing hypotheses (e.g. an African origin of Semitic). We estimate an Early Bronze Age origin for Semitic approximately 5750 years ago in the Levant, and further propose that contemporary Ethiosemitic languages of Africa reflect a single introduction of early Ethiosemitic from southern Arabia approximately 2800 years ago.

Bayesian phylogenetic methods, originally developed for biology, have been increasingly -and successfully- applied to linguistic data in recent years (e.g., for Indo-Europeans, Melanesians, and Austronesian speakers from the Pacific).

via Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Bronze Age origin of Semitic languages.

Best Forensic Artist: Cowetan Lawson honored for work to assist lawmen – The Times-Herald
July 29, 2012, 7:06 am
Filed under: Forensics

Lawson started working for the Atlanta Police Department in 1976 as a typist. By 1985, she was producing composite sketches for Atlanta and other law enforcement agencies.

In 1997, she started working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

via Best Forensic Artist: Cowetan Lawson honored for work to assist lawmen – The Times-Herald.