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You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means. - Jim Huggins
May 11th, 2009
08:02 am
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You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
(Seriously, I need some good Princess Bride icons.)

The "Phantom" of Heilbronn and Negative Controls (Or The Lack Thereof) (scienceblogs.com, via Bruce Schneier's CryptoGram)

Summary: for four years, German authorities have been pursuing a mystery woman, suspected in six murders and numerous thefts extending over fifteen years.  The only common piece of evidence they had about the woman is DNA evidence recovered at the scene.

Except that ... recently, German authorities admitted that the DNA is probably that of a factory worker at the plant that prepares the cotton swabs used for collecting DNA samples at crime scenes.

This is why science is hard to do.  There are protocols that allow one to control for such activities, but you have to know that you need to do them.

Current Mood: flirtyfascinated

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From:jkhuggins
Date:May 11th, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
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Oh, they probably checked against the lab. The problems was that the contamination came at the factory that made the swabs ... and should've taken the proper precautions to make sure that those items weren't precontaminated to begin with.
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