chain of custody

I either know something or I don’t. There’s no half-understanding something. I don’t make a list and check it twice. I make the list once and establish a chain of custody that prevents any unauthorized manipulations. You say getting a tax refund is letting the government have an interest free loan. I say I have no interest in taking the government’s interest. I’m not a cash cow. I am a credit bull. It takes 8 minutes for sunlight to reach the Earth. I could do two four minute activities in that time, or a third of a twenty four minute activity. Thank you and God bless America.

anonymous asked:

Hello again! I'm the anon who asked about the no-no FBI agent protocols- thank you so much for your answer, it's been so helpful! It gave me an idea/question- you said that taking home evidence and withholding evidence/ a potential lead are no-no's, so what about if the perpetrator of the crime (a bioterrorist in this case) delivers evidence (dangerous pathogens or viral communities) to my FBI agent as a kind of taunt, and she then takes it to a virologist without bringing it to the FBI? Thanks!

Hey Nonnie,

Unfortunately we have no idea how to answer this question in specific. This pertains into the inner workings of a US agency that we have never worked with, and are not familiar enough to do extensive research on. We can’t really tell you what their reactions will be and we do not want to give you false information. Our best bet though is that if she is caught doing that, she will probably get fired, or even jailed. But this is only a guess, we don’t really know for sure.

What we know for sure though is that taking evidence\breaks the chain of custody. Its integrity is no longer for sure, and it is not admissible in court. Basically that evidence is now useless and can’t be used in court.

Perhaps take a look at Edward Snowden? Not really specifically detailed to your case, but he used to work with the CIA and the NSA before he turned whistleblower and leaked tons of classified information pertaining to global surveillance. He’s now deemed a traitor and is currently granted the rights of asylum in Russia.

Really sorry we can’t give you more. Hopefully this is enough to get your mind thinking though!!

anonymous asked:

AU, Vader sues Bail for custody (either the Empire is intact and he has standing or its gone and he absolutely doesn't, whichever is funnier)

Wilhuff Tarkin had not expected that he would end up back in front of a court in a matter concerning one of Anakin Skywalker’s children ever again – let alone less than five years to the day that he argued for the execution of Skywalker’s erstwhile Padawan for crimes against the body he now scoffingly referred to as ‘The Republic’.

Nonetheless, fate was an odd chap and Skywalker, sans Jedi pretensions, stood before him, enrobed in black, entombed in the respirator and death’s head mask that made their enemies quail so delightfully. Across from him, on the neighboring floating dais, was Senator Bail Organa. The Emperor had cited imperial prerogative and so, although he adjudicated the previous Skywalker case, he was off relaxing on Mustafar or some such hell planet.

Tarkin steepled his fingers before him, reclining in his chair and envying the Emperor. He would not have to deal with the fallout with Skywalker. Or rather, Vader, whose tantrums were somewhat more deadly than the boy’s had been.

“If you have entertained enough ceremony,” Vader boomed irritably into the silence of the judicial chamber. The child hitched over his shoulder giggled and he bounced her, provoking happy shrieks. “Shall we not commence and get this farce over with?”

Tarkin twitched a finger and Vader took that as license to burst in motion, pacing and pointing angrily at the opposing dais.

“The case before you is simple, Grand Moff Tarkin. This criminal posing as a Senator stole my child!”

The girl did seem to actually like Vader. That was a point in his favor regarding her lineage as it was difficult to imagine any other child, of any age or species, not screaming in bloody terror the entire time it was in his presence. Instead, having been done up with a fancy smock of Naboo silk and brown hair woven into little fan shaped buns atop her head – contra the round buns Alderaan favored – she seemed well cared for, happy, and entirely oblivious to the hulking abomination that currently clutched her to a panel of buttons on his chest.

“Sir.” Senator Organa sighed. He looked deeply aggrieved, but also simply frustrated that he was in the position of making his case in a court he took to be biased. Tarkin was offended at the thought. Organa was obviously rebel scum, but Tarkin would make sure justice was served. “If it pleases the court, I motion that this case be dismissed.”

Tarkin perked up.

“On what grounds?”

Organa gestured smoothly to encompass the entire proceeding.

“On the grounds that this is a civil case and yet his allegations are criminal in nature.”

“Hmm. Just so.” Tarkin thought it over and directed a piercing look Vader’s way. The black eye pieces met his gaze blandly. “Vader, keep a leash on your temper and refrain from any undue charges of criminality. This is a custody case, not a kidnapping case. It is within your purview only to prove that you are the rightful father of this child and that you are due custody or visitation rights. Is that clear?”

Vader growled something incomprehensible. The girl wiggled and said, loud enough for Tarkin to hear, “Down!”

Vader bent double to set her carefully on her feet and she toddled to the edge of the platform. Organa’s eyes went wide and he rushed to the side of his own platform, as if to reach her. Vader turned his head and made a small flicking motion, forcing Organa to stumble back.

“A simple blood test will confirm paternity,” Vader said. His mask was turned, attention on the child.

“You understand there are complications in using such evidence,” Tarkin replied.

He was not aware of the rationale behind concealing Vader’s true identity. It seemed to be a long form practical joke on the Emperor’s part – which meant Tarkin was truly disinclined to ending it without permission. However, much as he esteemed Darth Vader, he was willing to let such consequences fall on him.

“I am,” Vader snapped.

Tarkin nodded and turned to Organa to see what kind of rebuttal the man had. Organa had thrown his shoulders back, standing straight and nearly as tall as Vader, with his hands held behind him.

“Paternity is no mere matter of blood. I think you will find, written into the statutes of the Republic and carried over into the Empire, that legal standing of persons with a certain –” here he waffled, trying to find a delicate phrase, “– a certain spiritual connection did not allow for direct custody of biological children.”

Jedi don’t have custody of their own children, Tarkin translated. As he recalled, it was true. Jedi were born to the Order, not to their parents.

“Intriguing,” he said aloud.

“As without the pre-existing custodial chain for such children, they are then legally adoptable. I have such paperwork as establishes my legal adoption and custody of Leia Organa,” the Senator concluded, pulling a small datapad from his sleeve with a flourish.

Vader made a slapping motion, batting the datapad to the dais floor. Organa glared and rearranged his longcoat as he knelt to retrieve it.

“And I think you can see, this man is no fit guardian to any children! Let alone his own,” Organa added.

A chill fell over the court.

“Children?” Vader asked.

Organa swore softly to himself and looked very much like he wanted to snatch Leia up and run.

I dont get why tyrell is always used to labelled tyrelliot as unhealthy. To be fair every character in this show is unhealthy if you haven’t notice this then…umm…like…what kind of fucking show do you think you’re watching here, asswipe? Seriously every single character in this show is toxic. And to be honest I like that kind of dynamic they are doing with this flawed characters. This show shows us that no body is perfect.That this characters are just humans and very well damaged due to their experiences etc etc. Non of them are perfect but this thing about hating on one character because he /she doesn’t ship a ship is fucking ridiculous

Heres the list of each of the main character and their flaws/ unhealthy traits for you:

Angela: She lies that she broke chain of custody with the .dat file which she was warn by gideon that by doing that will put allsafe out of business and 100s of employees will lose their job in the process but despite of the warning she still did it. She also used ollie’s card and desk to install the cd which infected allsafe. She also took the job in e corp and try to manipulate price trying to get her boss in the pr department fire so she can take her place(which price didn’t grant) but she lacked the empathy to care how ones life will be affected after losing their job considering that she has been in that position. Also helping on hacking the fbi to cover herself up with what she did with infecting allsafe.

Elliot/Mr Robot: the brains of all the chaos in the show when it comes to the 5/9 and stage 2. Had a plan to erase all of physical data base of e corp by triggering an explosion which will cause a lot of lives to be lost in the process. Also mentally unstable and cant distinguish hallucinations from reality.Has a morphine addiction. Has another personality aka mr robot tends to be violent and impulse as well as not caring about big repercussions of his plan to take down e corp.

Darlene: She created a rootkit which was used to delete all digital files of e corp (aka 5/9). She manipulate cisco, trenton, and mobley to get what she wants and lies to them about information that may cause them to leave f society. Also killing susan jacobs and burning her body in a dog oven. Plus telling Cisco about not feeling bad about killing susan.

Tyrell: beats homeless people when mad. Uses sex to get what he wants (e.g with price’s secretary). Also encouraging adultery and killing sharon noels. Has bad temper. And can easily be controlled by mr robot and joanna. Also works on stage two that will kill a lot of people. Arrogant. Have a massive amount of ego and is run by it.

Joanna: do I even have to explain joanna…well she only stabbed herself with a folk while being pregnant to get tyrell out of the situation of getting arrested. also manipulates tyrell to getting what she wants(eg asking him to have sex with the red head and to give her the girl’s earrings after wards). Getting herself beat up by provoking scott noels about his dead wife and child. She shows her self up to derrick all beaten up so that she can manipulate him to be a witness and frame scott noels for his wife’s death. She asked mr sutherland to kill kareem and to make it look like a burglary, framing an ex-con who lives in the same floor. She forced and threaten elliot into helping her trace the phone number who she assumes to be tyrell’s.

But you get the point , right? That every single character in this show have fair share of flaws and have done questionable acts.It’s not just tyrell or elliot.

In Dreams 15

Chapter 1...Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9...Chapter10… Chapter 11Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14

“I just landed,” he says as he navigates his way out of the jetway.

“Hurry,” she says, her voice echoing.

“I’m coming, I’ll be there in half an hour.”

The terminal is bustling with people, like a churning sea of humanity. He finds he has a little bit of hate for each and every one of them who are slowing his ability to get out of the damned airport and closer to her.

There is a broad thunderhead moving in over the city, cleaving the blue sky in half like a long black curtain drawing. The air smells like impending rain and the heat seems to be dissipating by the minute. He slings his bag over his shoulder and makes his way to the nondescript four door rental car. He steps gingerly as an ache settles into his left leg. He wonders briefly if the healing bones will forever be an amateur forecasting tool.

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LEO D'AMATO - Another Veronica Mars "Nice Guy"

Reposting without need for decryption key, as promised…


I’m sure someone will want to take my head off for this, but here I go anyway…

Am I the only person who looks at Leo and sees a guy who stole key evidence from a murder trial - video footage of an underage girl’s statutory rape by her murderer - with every intent to distribute said evidence to the mass media in order to make a buck?

Yes, this transgression was over a decade ago, but on a base level, I have always felt that was such an inherently despicable thing to do.

I still consider Dick’s forwarding of Veronica’s sex tape to his entire mailing list to be one of the grossest things he ever did. In that case, although it’s of little consolation, Veronica was at least of age and the act was consensual, even if the video was not. I would be remiss if I did not hold Leo to a similar standard. In fact, I would be remiss to not consider Leo’s act significantly worse considering he was an officer of the law and it was completely premeditated, carefully executed felony, and in no way could be attributed to a momentary act of stupidity.

Secondarily, what Leo did was such a huge slight against Veronica personally. He was completely aware of how deeply important both Lilly and justice for murder were to Veronica and still went through with it. Veronica and Keith spent 2 years of their lives doggedly pursuing this case, obliterating their reputations in the process. They both nearly died obtaining that evidence and Leo’s actions broke the chain of custody, making the footage completely inadmissible (even if it had been recovered), and significantly weakening the case against Aaron.

Leo claimed that Veronica and Duncan could still testify to what they saw on the tape. Right out of the gate this is a weak argument, but even so, if they had been able to testify/hadn’t been discredited/were believed/gotten Aaron convicted, it doesn’t address the fact that Leo was willing to distribute unconsented video of a teenage girl’s sexual assault by her killer for public consumption - of Veronica’s best friend no less - all of which makes my stomach churn.

I understand that Leo’s sister was having a hard time at school and he was trying to get funds to put her in a different environment, but one teenage girl’s suffering does not warrant the sexual exploitation of another. Nor does it warrant aiding a rapist and a murderer to go free.

I was always sorta baffled by how easily Keith and Veronica let Leo off the hook for this. It stuck in my craw and I don’t think I’ve ever fully articulated it before. When the movie came out, it definitely rubbed me the wrong way that Veronica was so happy to be buddy-buddy with him. Now that Leo’s back in the picture in Mr. Kiss and Tell as another, and I quote, “nice guy,” I felt like I had to get this off my chest.

My idea of a “nice guy” and Rob’s idea are obviously very different. To be clear, venturing into extreme moral gray areas does not a bad person make in my book (duh - especially in fiction), but the nature of those actions - the reasoning and purpose behind them, does. Sure, both Veronica and Leo step over a very big moral line in Mr. Kiss and Tell with Sweet Pea, but in that case, they do so in the name of justice and they don’t exploit the victim in the process. When Leo stole the Lilly/Aaron tapes, there were numerous potential and actual victims from his actions, but there was no retribution, no balancing of scales, no justice to be found for the party’s at play as his motivation. It was essentially mass sabotage of potential justice for a get-rich-quick scheme to help a third party removed from the fallout.

Overall, all the characters of Veronica Mars have done morally questionable and sometimes outright wrong things, but I desperately wish Rob et al. would stop making the distinction between “nice guys” so poorly and therefore painfully drawn. For the life of me, I can’t see Veronica or Keith being so dismissive of Leo’s past transgression if they had been considering it in the same context as I have been. Basically, ensuring the key evidence was inadmissible in a deeply personal case that Keith and Veronica sacrificed 2 years, their personal reputations, and almost their lives to see come to fruition = serious betrayal. Sexually exploiting a dead minor being violated by her murder to make money = disgusting.

I’m sure someone will accuse me of ragging on Leo because I’m a Logan loyalist (while completely holding him responsible for his own shitty actions mind you) and there is a “love triangle”-type musing in MKAT, but this really goes beyond the concept of someone vying for Veronica’s affection…

I genuinely do like Leo as a character. I think he has potential within the universe - especially as someone who’s willing to cross certain lines - but it’s just that once again I’m frustrated by who gets held accountable for what within the Veronica Mars universe and why, regardless of romantic entanglements.

The supposed “nice guys” of VM have by and large done more things that I personally would never forgive than the supposed “bad boys”. Especially if I was Veronica Mars.

Am I the only one who is still massively squigged by Leo’s actions back in the day? As a fandom, we talk a lot about the merits of the term “nice guy” as it has been attributed to Duncan and Piz, but as far as I know, not so much when it comes to Leo.

(P.S. Don’t even get me started on the fact that during the search for the missing evidence Lamb and Keith both clearly state that there were two sets of the Lilly/Aaron tapes stolen from two separate safes at the sheriff’s department and the implications of that… I’ve never glossed over that in my viewing, but it appears the PTB always have. That is a rant for another day…)


The above argument speaks to whitewashing past misdeeds and ignoring established character behavior in order to keep a character Rob is fond of around and considered a “nice guy”. Today I’m also going to mention how subsequently, it also feels like there was blatant invention of present relationships in order to justify Leo’s purpose in the book…

In MKAT, the idea that Keith supposedly “adores” Leo despite all that I mentioned above (and even though they have never had any scenes together besides Keith determining Leo’s guilt and I guess that they worked together for all of 2 seconds when Keith was Acting Sheriff), the implied friendship between he and Mac and Wallace due to one wave (even though they have never had any scenes together prior to this, ever) and that Veronica (the queen of secrecy) would take him to the hotel room to be a party to her Sweet Pea misdeeds (when there was no actual reason he needed to be there until the next day and him being there just gave confirmation of her illegal actions to a detective) all seem like plot contrivances to make Leo seem "more convenient", which is infuriating.

If you want Leo to be credible threat to Veronica’s happiness with Logan (which for the love of God, I really don’t, FOR SO MANY REASONS, but that’s besides the point), why not at least do it validly and in character? If you love Max Greenfield and and you want him and his New Girl popularity around for the next movie, great. If you just love Leo as a character and you want to keep him integral, great. But why must his presence, plot purpose, and emotional impact be contrived to do it? 

Sorry to add fuel to the fire.

That’s it for today folks. Rant over. Thoughts?

Blue Bloods #3

Summary: Sam tries to get Judge Turner to sign the search warrant.
Characters: John Winchester, Female Reader, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Cole Trenton, Kevin Tran, Charlie Bradbury, & Gabriel.
Word Count: 1,413
Warnings: Language, suspense
Author’s Note: The feedback is amazing. Thank you so much!
Miss the beginning?


Adjusting the holster on his hip, Dean walked down the street and ducked under the yellow police tape, his partner not far behind him. The flames were hot, crackling as they reached toward the night sky, chasing the dark smoke it produced.

He stopped next to the Chief Singer with a hand on his hips, “We lookin’ at the same guy?”

“Dunno, son. We just got here.”

Dean scraped a hand over his face, “Son of a bitch.”

Turning to look at the detective, Bobby placed a hand on his shoulder, “We’ll git him. Let’s hope he slipped up and left somethin’ for us this time.”

Shaking his head, Dean knew that even if something had been left behind in the house, the flames had destroyed it. They were no closer to nailing this guy tonight than they were a month ago, or even two weeks ago. His blood boiled at the thought of the fire that claimed the life of a close family friend. It was hard enough, Jo losing her father at a young age to cancer, but now her mother? It was more than anyone should have to go through.

A sound that didn’t belong cut through the chaos and pricked Dean’s ears. He looked over his shoulder and saw… nothing. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary and yet, there was this sense of unease between his shoulder blades that crept up his neck. Squinting his eyes, he tried to narrow in on where the sound came from and was just about to check out the property when his partner approached.

Benny dropped his head in greeting, “You got anything, brother?”

Dean shrugged and ran a hand through his already disheveled hair, “I’m not sure.”

“Your gut tellin’ you somethin’?”

“I just thought I heard something.”

“Well then, let’s check it out.”

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Villainous Attributes

Thresh - The Chain Warden

aggressive | callous | cannibal | careless | compulsive | cowardly | domineering | envious | greedy | hypocritical | impatient | impolite | kidnapper | lazy | liar | lustful | materialistic | murderer | obsessive | over-critical | over-emotional | patronizing | sarcastic | self-indulgent | serial killer | torturer | touchy | traitorous | unclean | unpredictable | untidy | vain | vengeful
Tagged by (taken from): @ask-kalista
Tagging: @hook-and-chains @catena-custodi @thelanternwretch @uncle-touchy-lich @goldenmovement

Emeralds and oxygen: Back to the source.

Finding out where emeralds come from is a tricky business. Laboratory gemmologists asked to write a coloured stone origin report and archaeologists wishing to trace stones in ancient jewellery need this knowledge, and a variety of techniques are used in combination in order to arrive at a robust conclusion.

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Kalista Inkalia - The Lady of Vengeance

aggressive | callous | cannibal | careless | compulsive | cowardly | domineering | envious | greedy | hypocritical | impatient | impolite | kidnapper | lazy | liar | lustful | materialistic | murderer | obsessive | over-critical | over-emotional | patronizing | sarcastic | self-indulgent | serial killer | torturer | touchy | traitorous | unclean | unpredictable | untidy | vain | vengeful

Tagged by (taken from): @hate-spiked

Tagging: @hook-and-chains @catena-custodi @of-damnation

Jack the Ripper: CASE SOLVED?

In the last day, a news story has been going around that an author claims to have solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper. My entire timeline is filled with this fact. The reason people keep sending me links about the news is because I wrote a book called The Name of the Star, which involves the murders of Jack the Ripper recreated in modern day London. (I won’t derail this by talking about my book. If you want to read it, it’s available, and you can read the first 1/3 of it for free here if you want. But you don’t have to. I’m just letting you know.)

Because of this, two years of my life were devoted to reading about Jack the Ripper. I read primary sources and secondary sources. I walked East London over and over, sometimes on Ripper tours, and then by myself. I was proficient enough to go to all the crime scenes without aid of a map, to know where the bodies had been located, to know where the now-demolished buildings and streets were. I’m an ARMCHAIR EXPERT, if you will, and maybe even if you won’t. I don’t have the expertise of a dedicated Ripperologist, but I do all right.

For this reason, I have a lot of interest in this piece of “news” (see how I put it in quotes)—and I want to answer the two hundred people who are writing to me saying, “DID YOU SEE THIS?”

 I saw it. Here is the super long-winded answer of what I think about it. Get ready. You did ask. HERE I GO.

There are a few things about this case in general that need to be said before you can address the question of solving it. Jack the Ripper is a popular folk character, almost of mythical proportions. There’s a cartoonish image of the murderer—spooky, tall hat, maybe a cape, taunting the police. He’s an industry—the subject of dozens of books (including mine), movies, tours, haunted houses, television shows, etc. For all of this publicity, the actual, verifiable information about the case is thinner than you might imagine.

 If you Google Jack the Ripper, you’ll get a lot of images like this. It’s a bit cartoonish.

The reality is this: there were murders in Whitechapel, a very poor area of London, in the fall of 1888. Some of these murders fell into a very particular and disturbing pattern: the victims were all prostitutes, all female, all at the end of the social scale. The murders were notable for their significant dismemberment, arrangement of body parts, and (in some of the cases) speed. The actual number of murders attributed to “Jack the Ripper” is disputed, ranging from four to eleven, with a general consensus falling with a canonical five: Mary Anne Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. These five murders took place on the 31st of August 1888 (Nichols), the 8th of September (Chapman), the night of September 29th-30th (Stride and Eddowes), and the 9th of November (Kelly).

The name Jack the Ripper comes from a signature on a letter that was reportedly sent by the killer to the Central News Agency of London (dubbed the “Dear Boss” letter). Opinions are divided, but the letter was widely considered to be a fake and written by a journalist. Hundreds of such letters were received.

The involvement of the news media is a huge part of the Jack the Ripper story. At the time, newspapers had just become affordable. There was a sudden push to get lurid stories. And so the Whitechapel murders became a hugely popular topic, boosted by the various (and likely fake) communications from the killer himself.

So there are a number of issues already with the case in terms of who the victims were and how they were related—as well as the known characteristics of the killer, since there was a mix of fact and fiction in the reported accounts. Add to that the fact that the case was investigated by two separate police organizations (the City of London and the rest of London were legally differentiated and the two police departments did not share a lot of information). Add to that the fact that murder investigations in 1888 were extremely primitive. People walked in and out of murder scenes. People took souvenirs. Bodies were taken, in whatever way possible, to whatever place was handy. Only Mary Kelly’s murder scene was photographed, and again, not in a way that even remotely approaches anything we are used to. The police files on the case—the ones that currently exist—are just a small pile of folders. Most of the case material is missing. Police files were not archived carefully. Officers took evidence files on the case as curiosities (some of these have turned up over time). Some of the materials are simply gone—lost to time and circumstance.

In sum, there’s not a lot of established facts to work with. But people do work with these facts all the time. Ripperologists—people from all walks of life who devote their time and talents to investigating this case—have poured over the available materials for over a hundred years. There are no shortage of theories.

Someone “solves” the Jack the Ripper murders on a regular basis. Probably the biggest last public solving of the case was in 2003, when Patricia Cornwell solved the case and identified the painter Walter Sickert as Jack the Ripper, also using DNA evidence and her own private investigation. Among people who study the case, Cornwall’s conclusions are considered inconclusive at best, at worst, ridiculous. (You can read all about her theories, if you wish. She wrote an entire book on the subject.)

Eleven years later, we again have an author and more DNA evidence. Again, the “solving” is presented in terms of someone having just written a book on the subject. The person named as the killer in this case is Aaron Kominski. Kominski is a popular suspect, almost always named in the pool of best known possibilities. (You can see a listing of popular suspects here.) It is thought that Kominski was the person the police in 1888 thought was behind the crimes, but there is some debate on this subject.

The proof being offered now (as I understand it, from my reading of the news articles in the last 24 hours) comes from Catherine Eddowes’s shawl. The man who claims to have solved the case, Russell Edwards, says he obtained her shawl from relatives of one of the policemen who was on duty the night Eddowes was murdered. This policeman allegedly took the shawl as a gift to his wife. (I just want to stop here and say that I know a lot of you will pause right there and say, “WHO TAKES A SHAWL FROM A MURDER SCENE AND GIVES IT AS S GIFT?” That is a fair question, and one that does require an answer. However, it’s not as crazy as it might sound to us. At the time, clothing was simply more valuable. You didn’t just throw it away. So as super-gross as a crime scene shawl is, yes, there is a possibility that a policeman making little money in 1888 might pick it up as a gift. Yes, it’s still gross, and according the news articles, his wife DID think it was gross and put it in a box.)

So we have one piece of evidence here, and it’s going to be very hard to determine the provenance of that item. It might be her shawl. It might not be. Let’s say it is. How many people handled it? There is a concept in law enforcement called the chain of custody—and it’s all about limiting and identifying who or what has touched a piece of evidence from the moment a crime has happened up until the time that item is examined. This shawl, even if it did belong to Catherine Eddowes, has been floating around for 126 years. And the DNA itself: what’s the quality of the sample? Samples degrade. This is a fun fact I learned when serving as the forewoman of a murder trial. The murder in that case took place in 1989 and I was treated to two days of testimony from experts from the NYPD about what happens to DNA samples that are maybe twenty years old and in modern storage conditions.

There are a lot of questions here, and it will be interesting to hear independent reviews of the case. It could be true—maybe there is something to this. But I think there are a lot of reasons to hang back before applying the solved label to this case. I think this is an great example of how we need to question things presented as facts—when in fact, all we have so far are the claims on someone’s press release. People like to sell books, after all.

Having said that, maybe buy The Name of the Star. At least read the free sample.

Oh, come on. This was a long post. Throw me a bone.

If you want to read more on this subject:

Here is an article from The Smithsonian talking about the quality of the evidence.

If you want to know more about the case, I strongly recommend—probably the most complete and carefully curated site on the subject of Jack the Ripper.

In terms of books, there are many to choose from. I’d recommend The Complete Jack the Ripper by Donald Rumbelow. It’s widely considered to be one of the very best on the subject. 

If you’re in London want a tour, I highly recommend London Walks–and Donald Rumbelow’s tour in particular.



Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

Before I talk about the book, I want to direct your attention to how this book was sent to me (image above).  The book was sent in an ‘evidence bag’ with a label relevant to the story, and a small pack of Skittles (also relevant), although technically speaking there should have been a chain of custody tape along the opening (sorry, I have a BSc. in Forensic Science). I really got a kick out of this presentation.

Ok, on to the book itself.  There seems to have been a lot of hype surrounding the release of The Widow, including comparisons to The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl (neither of which I have read).  I’m always a little apprehensive when there’s a lot of hype, and generally dislike when books are compared to others.  Fortunately I hadn’t read those books so this wasn’t influencing my expectations in any way.

The Widow is centered around Jean Taylor.  Jean’s husband Glen had been the primary suspect in the disappearance of 2 year-old girl.  Throughout the trial and investigation Jean stood by Glen as more and more damning evidence surfaced and she began to question who was this man that she had married.  The book begins a week after Glen’s death.  The media has swooped in on Jean hoping that with her husband gone she will begin the divulge all the secrets she had been keeping.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  As mentioned, I do have a background in Forensic Science and love the whole process of investigation, especially when presented in a realistic timeline unlike certain TV shows.  Some topics (child pornography, sexual abuse of children) may make others uncomfortable, but I found they were well discussed without going into any gory or explicit details. 

I devoured the book in a few days and never wanted to put it down.  The pacing was excellent and there was never dull moment.  The story presents different perspectives; Jean’s, a reporter’s, and a detective’s going from the moment of the kidnapping until the weeks after Glen’s death.  I found that characters were well-developed and seemed incredibly realistic.

My one complaint is that the ending seemed a little rushed.  I would have liked to see the final reveal drawn out a tiny bit more, and perhaps more detailed.  I wanted more of what was going on in Jean’s head at the end of the book.

I received a copy of The Widow from Penguin Random House Canada via the Goodreads First Reads program.


Interesting thing I noticed from 11.12

So this bag of asbestos that they were using as evidence, it has a chain of custody (basically the people who have handled the evidence, so they know what evidence was given to who). 

On the top right, the evidence bag is dated, what looks to me like 11/21/17. So it looks like the SPN universe may be  two years ahead of us (remember this episode was shot November 12 - November 30 of last year, so they likely just added two years to the current shooting date).
Chain of Custody, Chapter 18: "30,000 Feet"

“Chain of Custody”
Marvel fanfiction set in the Motion Practice universe
Chapter 18: “30,000 Feet”
Bruce Banner/Tony Stark, Amy Jimenez, Miles Morales, Teddy Altman
Rated M for language and adult content; 1,803 words

The concept of causation is an easy one: you track events back until you find the one pebble that started the ripple, the event that set off the chain reaction. Bruce can track his life back and back, from Detective Munroe’s appearance in their home, to Jessica Jones’s meddling, to a fire a few miles away, to his settled family life with Tony and Miles.

He’s not sure how the links fit together, or whether the chain might unravel.

But that’s never stopped him and Tony before, now has it?

In this chapter, Bruce, Tony, and all three children embark on an adventure, but it’s Bruce’s heart that soars.

And with that, “Chain of Custody” comes to a close, and my stomach twists because oh man, this story. I cannot believe it is done.

This mushroom fountain’s journey:

* manufactured in China I assume

* purchased for use as a decoration at a friend of thegeekgene’s bachelorette party

* that person gave it to thegeekgene afterwards

* thegeekgene forgot it in the trunk of her car for a while

* I noticed the pink box labelled “FANTASY HUMIDIFIER” in the trunk of thegeekgene’s car

* me: how can a humidifier be fantasy

her: hey do you want a fantasy humidifier

me: almost certainly

me: “fantasy” and “humidity” being among my abiding areas of interest, as they are

* this mushroom fountain is next to my “clean enough to wear again” clothes pile now

* my cat is going to knock this mushroom fountain over

* I can see it in his eyes

World's First Ban on Illegal Logging: US

Updated Lacey Act becomes worlds first ban on illegal logging

Washington DC, USA ’ Importers of wood products may want to keep an eye on newly passed regulations in last months farm bill. New amendments added to the Lacey Act aim to cut down on illegal logging.

Depending on how strongly the new provisions are enforced, the law could have implications for the furniture industrys supply chain.

The legislation creates a requirement for importers to declare the species and country of origin of any plant or plant product, including wood.

Penalties range from $250 to in excess of $500,000 with a possibility of jail sentence for knowingly sourcing, or failing to exercise due care when sourcing, products that contain illegal timber or plants.

Illegally logged wood is often defined as wood that is sold below market price or wood cut in violation of treaties, laws and regulations.

The amendments added by this years farm bill to the Lacey Act are intended to protect forests worldwide from deforestation and illegal wood products from entering the United States.

The Lacey Act, originally signed into law in 1900, is a conservation law that focuses on illegal commercial transportation of wildlife and non-native species.

The new farm bill extended provisions to amendments added to the act in 1981 to address global illegal logging and trade.

The key to the Lacey Act amendment is to provide a level playing field for U.S. forest products manufacturers, said Tom Inman, president of the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Assn.

There have been companies in recent years trading in illegal forest products, and estimates are that $460 million was lost last year in U.S. export sales because of illegally harvested wood.

Just what percentage of logging is done illegally remains unknown, but estimates peg the level at 10% or higher.

Typically, illegal logs and lumber are purchased by factories for one-half the cost of legally harvested and documented wood products.

Officials with the Environmental Investigation Agency, a non-profit Washington- and United Kingdom-based environmental watchdog group, said that failure to adhere to the provisions would increase risk of seizure and forfeiture of products made with illegally sourced wood.

Import requirements havent been issued yet but are likely to come out in the next six months, said David Groves, a spokesperson for EIA.

The bill will be jointly enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service.

The process of creating an interagency task force to help facilitate information flow and appropriations is still being worked on, Groves said.

Once the law is finalized, the U.S. Department of Justice is likely to look at importers and choose to try the cases they are most likely to win.

Groves said the law doesnt state requirements for how importers should show that wood is legally harvested, so no third-party certification is required.

That will leave importers with the responsibility of deciding if their products come from reputable wood sources.

For retailers and importers, the law has a flexible due care concept, which could cause larger importers to be held to a higher standard than smaller independent purchasers. Countries with a higher record of illegal logging could also be more closely targeted by the enforcement community than countries with stricter logging laws, Groves said.

For example, big-box retailers could be expected to send groups to talk to long-term suppliers in source counties to make sure their wood is sourced responsibly, rather than relying strictly on paperwork.

A mom-and-pop shop isnt going to be expected to go overseas, Groves said. The main purpose of the declarations is to provide the most basic information to the enforcement community. If teak is coming from China, there was good chance it was cut in Burma and is illegally funding the junta.

With the passing of the law, the U.S. became the first country in the world to prohibit the import, sale or trade of illegally harvested wood and wood products.

Groves added that the new law is more stringent that the European Unions voluntary Action Plan for Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade, which targets countries that contain nearly 60% of the worlds forests, namely Central Africa, Russia, Tropical South America and Southeast Asia.

The U.S. has leapfrogged and taken the most significant steps toward addressing illegal logging, Groves said.

The EIA is most concerned about wood sourced from the following regions:

The Russian Far East, primarily the Primorky Region, which hangs over Far Eastern China and extends through Suifenhe City in the Heilongjiang province.

Russian timber moving through Manzhouli in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China.

Exotic species from Indonesia, specifically grown in areas such as Papua, New Guinea.
Chain of Custody, Chapter 17: "A Step You Can't Take Back"

“Chain of Custody”
Marvel fanfiction set in the Motion Practice universe
Chapter 17: “A Step You Can’t Take Back”
Bruce Banner/Tony Stark, Dot Barnes, Steve Rogers, Amy Jimenez, Sif Rowan, Teddy Altman, Pepper Potts, Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton, Miles Morales
Rated M for language and adult content; 11,651 words

The concept of causation is an easy one: you track events back until you find the one pebble that started the ripple, the event that set off the chain reaction. Bruce can track his life back and back, from Detective Munroe’s appearance in their home, to Jessica Jones’s meddling, to a fire a few miles away, to his settled family life with Tony and Miles.

He’s not sure how the links fit together, or whether the chain might unravel.

But that’s never stopped him and Tony before, now has it?

In this chapter, Bruce and Tony face not only the official end to the mystery of the Pierpont fire, but also an important decision about the future of their family.

This chapter is the last substantive chapter of the story, as Chapter 18 really serves only to link Chain of Custody with the upcoming A Marriage of True Minds. As it is the last substantive chapter, I would like to take a very brief moment and thank you all for being part of this surprising roller coaster of a story. You are all wonderful, and I could not write these words without you. Thank you so very much.

MPU Playlist: “Chain of Custody”

The full playlist actually consists of twenty-five songs, but really, these twelve represent the very best of the bunch. Most are very much love letters to the Banner-Stark family as a whole (and from the boys to the kids), but there are a few exceptions:

  • “Someone to Fall Back On”:  I feel like this song summarizes how Bruce and Tony each feel about themselves (and each other). Basically, required listening for anyone who loves those two.
  • “I Want to Save You”:  More about Teddy’s relationship with Kate Bishop than anything else, but given how part of the story revolves around Teddy caring for Kate (and making bad decisions as part of that), I think it’s fair to include it.
  • “War on Drugs”:  Really, this song could be about any of our orphaned Banner-Stark family members. Just depends on the verse.

Yes, my taste is eclectic, but I think this one ranks among my top three of the nine MPU playlists so far. Yeah, that’s right: nine. I’m nothing if not dedicated. 

Hem, “Half Acre”
So we carry every sadness with us
Every hour our heart were broken
Every night the fear and darkness
Lay down with us

Owl City, “Tidal Wave”
I forget the last time I felt brave 
I just recall insecurity
‘Cause it came down like a tidal wave
And sorrow swept over me

Jason Robert Brown, “Someone to Fall Back On”
Some comedy: you’re bruised and beaten down
And I’m the one who’s looking for a favor
Still, honestly, you don’t believe me
But the things I have are the things you need

Something Corporate, “I Want to Save You”
Home by three
Deafening quiet
The porch light’s off
Yes, they forgot it
She’d cry herself to sleep
But she don’t dare

Warren Zevon, “Keep Me in Your Heart”
Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes, keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you

Barenaked Ladies, “War on Drugs”
Won’t it be dull when we rid ourselves
Of all these demons haunting us
To keep us company?
Won’t it be odd to be happy like we
Always thought we’re supposed to feel
But never seem to be?

Wilson Phillips, “Hold On”
Don’t you know things can change?
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day?

Owl City, “If My Heart Was a House”
Circle me, and the needle moves gracefully
Back and forth
If my heart was a compass you’d be North
Risk it all, ‘cause I’ll catch you if you fall
Wherever you go
If my heart was a house you’d be home

Bastille, “Pompeii”
We were caught up and lost in all of our vices
In your pose as the dust settled around us
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Great clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

Angels & Airwaves, “Secret Crowds”
If I had my own world
I’d show you the life that’s inside it
The way that it glows when you find it
The way it survives with its families
Friends or its enemies

Patty Griffin, “You Are Not Alone”
But sometimes that can slip away as fast
As any fingers through your hands
So you let time forgive the past
And go and make some other plans 

Of Monsters and Men, “King and Lionheart”
Howling ghosts, they reappear
In mountains that are stacked with fear
But you’re a king, and I’m a lionheart
And in the sea that’s painted black
Creatures lurk below the deck
But you’re a king, and I’m a lionheart