In Depth Post #5

Record a short section of conversation between you and your mentor. Transcribe the conversation. Identify the different hats in the conversation.

The last lecture I went to was on Forensic Biology. This is the study of biological substances, like hair, blood, saliva, and so on. The lecture was an hour and a half, so I will put in sections of my notes that exemplify the different hats.


White hat:

What do we know?

One of the topics Dr. Warren touched on was the study of hair. Here are the notes for this section:


  • Class characteristics
    • Shed everywhere
    • Shed all the time
    • Miscarriages of justice possible- hair misidentified, science is not exact
      • Evidence not consistent (human vs. animal hair, DNA extraction not possible)
      • Now only used as corroborating evidence

The entire study of forensic biology is identifying what we know and gathering evidence, then using proven techniques to establish and corroborate facts.

What do we need to know?

One method Dr. Warren touched on was using different indicators to identify blood. Something that I found very interesting was that these indicators (Luminol, Bluestar) glow because of the iron in blood, and false positives are possible if other iron-rich materials are present, so it is important to always corroborate this test with another, confirmatory test. So, we always need to know whether the presumptive test that was used is correct.

  • Presumptive
    • Luminol
    • Haemastix
      • Turns green with blood
        • False positives
          • Bleach rust
        • Interferes with DNA analysis
    • Bluestar
      • Okay with DNA
    • Kastle Meyer/ phenophalene
  • Confirmatory test
    • Only haemachromagen test
    • No false positives
    • Chemicals added to blood sample
    • Turns into crystals
    • Still don’t know what type of blood it is
      • Animal?
      • Human?
    • Precipitin test
    • Commercially available anti-sera
    • Old- blood type
    • DNA testing as of 1985
      • First brought into court
      • Lester, England

What is missing?

Something that was interesting that Dr. Warren talked about was the possibility of false positives with PCR because of the amplification of the DNA. I found it interesting because we don’t have a way to check whether it has been contaminated once run through the machine, and we can only take steps during the collection process to try and minimize this risk.

What questions should we ask?

  • When was the crime committed?
  • How did the crime occur?
  • What happened (classification)?
  • Why (Motive)?
  • Who (DNA evidence, suspect)?
  • Where (secondary location)?

How might we get the information we need?

We can gain the information we need through a variety of presumptive tests, which we in turn corroborate with a confirmatory test. This is true for any biological fluid, including blood. The presumptive test is run first, then the sample is sent off to another lab where a confirmatory test is run.

Red Hat:

Dr. Warren talked about a specific case where the police officers had only used a presumptive test and their intuition to convict an innocent person. She warned us of the dangers of assuming without corroborating our evidence.

  • Might be blood
    • Dingo baby case
      • Australia
        • Family camping in Australia
        • Dingo running out tent with baby in mouth
          • Mother accused of murdering baby
            • Killed baby with nail scissors(?)
              • While everyone was out looking for baby
              • Got rid of body
                • Only used a presumptive test
                • Need to use a confirmatory test
              • Baby’s jacket found in Dingo’s lair
                • Disrupted life
                • Car glowed when sprayed with luminol
                  • because of Iron filings

Black Hat

The black hat is especially important because it can be used to turn a critical eye over any evidence, which is very important to ensure that the evidence is accurate and as presise as possible. One of the tests Dr. Warren talked about was hair analysis, and the limits of it. For example, DNA can only be extracted from hair if it still has the bulb at the base of the hair, because this is the living part. You also need anywhere from 80-100 pulled scalp hairs to precisely determine the person who the hair belonged to, so there are limits to using hairs to prove/disprove a suspect’s involvement. Also, before DNA was used, foresnic scientists used to examine the cuticle and medula, and this led to a couple of wrongful convictions, so it is always important to be critical when using hair as evidence.

    • Not consistent with donor
    • Contained too few hairs?
  • Negative
    • Consistent with donor
  • Positive
    • Comparison sample needed
      • Suspect and victim
        • Need some from victim
          • What if they are from the victim
    • Adequate sample required
      • 80-100 PULLED scalp hairs
      • 30-50 PULLED pubic hairs
      • From all over region
        • Temples vs. Back of head
        • Comparison sample
      • Collect from
        • Partners, victims
  • Hair Collection
  • Hair is considered class evidence
    • Except with tag
      • Loose, extraneous hairs are class evidence

Yellow Hat:

This hat was used to explain the value in using confirmatory tests in addition to presumptive tests. This goes along with the red hat, as value is found in having a correct conviction and ensuring innocent people don’t go to jail. Standardized protocol is used to ensure preservation of this hat.

Green Hat:

This hat was used when Dr. Warren talked about the career path to become a specialist, specifically a forensic biologist.

  • Civilian Scientists
    • B.Sc. (Hon.)
  • Technicians
    • Evidence Recovery Unit (a lab)
      • Evidence Recovery Unit

        • Search technologists
        • Locate and recover important evidence
        • Everyone starts here
        • Presumptive tests
          • Blood? Or other iron rich substance?
      • In lab
        • T-shirt (with blood on it)
          • Blood (possibly) sample cut out
            • Sent to specialist
  • PCR Analyst (3-5 years past evidence recovery unit)
    • Extract DNA
  • Specialist
    • Testify in court
    • Biology reporting office
      • Stats, probability
      • Likelihood of someone matching this sample
  • If no honors –  remain at the level of technician

Blue Hat: This hat was in use when Dr. Warren outlined Forensic Biology at the beginning of the lesson.

  • Biological fluids
    • Hair
    • Tissues
    • Blood, saliva, etc.
  • Human?
    • Can it be individualized?
      • Who?
  • In past- class evidence
    • Hair
    • Use DNA now
  • Present- now use DNA as prefered method of corroboration

What is Canada?

There seems to be a lot of debate over whether or not Canada is a nation. A nation is a group of people who are bound together by their beliefs, values, and collective identity. Does Canada, a country of difference and diversity, fit into this definition? Or are we a post-national state, disembodied from our identity and floating adrift in a world where borders and collective identity are less important and less relevant? I believe that Canada is a nation. We are bound together by our own form of nationalism, quieter than that of the United States, where it is common to flaunt a flag and pledge allegiance to the country, even in schools. Canada lacks this institutional nationalism, instead, we have created something uniquely Canadian: soft nationalism. Nationalism may have a bad name, with many governments using it to justify violent aggressions. However, “Healthy nationalism encourages people to cooperate”, writes Douglas Todd. It encourages us to work to build the best possible Canada, and take pride in the place where we live. When we compare our country to others, we are constantly ranked as one of the best places to live, one of the best places to get an education, one of the best places to be a part of the middle class. We see these rankings and feel a warm, self-assured pride. We really are one of the best places to live. Canada is a nation because of our collective sense of togetherness and pride in our home country. And this is reflected in our national identity. One of the arguments frequently used to dismiss Canada as a nation is that we lack a national identity. Our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, even went so far as saying that there was “no core identity, no mainstream in Canada”. Marshall McLahan says that Canada is the only country “that knows how to live without a national identity”. Is this really true? Or are we confusing our lack of an American-esk nation with not having one at all. Now, national identity is the ” sense of a nation as a cohesive whole, as represented by distinctive traditions, culture, and language” as defined by the Google dictionary. Canada has two languages, English and French; we have traditions: remnants of our monarchy, like our Governor General; Canada Day, where we are reminded of Confederation and the rich and vibrant history of our nation; Remembrance Day, where we thank the fallen soldiers that sacrificed everything to preserve our country. Our culture, our institutions, our achievements, less aggressive and in-your-face than our southern neighbor, but still thriving. Our diversity, our multiculturalism, our different beliefs and views and thoughts and feelings all bind us together. Our differences, and pride in our differences, create our community. They create the nation of Canada.

Caitlin Owens 2019-03-11 15:57:49

• Last Thursday a guest speaker from the Justice Institute of British Columbia
• Spoke about his job, as well as police and court procedures during cases
• This Thursdays class was cancelled as SFU was closed

• #4 What new information are you getting and what questions did you ask to probe further into the topic?
• I learned a lot about Police procedural and the steps required to become a forensic investigator with the RCMP (located in Ontario)
○ There is a singular college that all the police officers go to when they get certified
○ The training is standardized between all the officers
○ So if there is a larger investigation than Police officers from other parts of Canada can fly in an assist.
• #5 Discuss any new points of view you developed while in conversation with your mentor.
• I was thinking about the current finger print registry
○ Currently it only contains the finger prints of registered (convicted) criminal offenders
○ Crimes go unsolved because fingerprints go unmatched
○ Maybe prints should be collected regardless of indictment (?)
§ Less individual rights
§ More collective rights
• #6 What were some of the alternative perceptions that are new to you.
• Something I found interesting is that there has been an increase of burning of cars after crimes are committed
○ Thinking about getting rid of forensic evidence
§ Not very common 10 years ago
§ Much more common now
□ People are committing crimes and being more conscious of getting rid of forensic evidence
® I hadn’t though about this before, so I found this very interesting
• Also, expert witnesses need to be re-certified (prove their expertness)   for every court case
• Also, you can forge/ plant fingerprints
• #9 How do your mentor values differ from yours?
• Our values didn’t differ that much, as we both agree on the fact that collecting information needs to be as non-biased as possible, and he didn’t share any of his own opinions and values, just facts
• #12 What questions did you ask to check on facts and details? Elaborate.
• The speaker mentioned two cases where fingerprints had been wrongly identified
○ The Madrid Bomber Case
§ Partial fingerprint matched with a lawyer in America
□ Harassed by police because of religion
□ Eventually exonerated
○ Case about a female police officer in Scotland
§ Fingerprint was present on door handle
§ Misidentified as culprit
• I didn’t recognize them so I decided to investigate more
○ After researching them, I found out what they were and the dangers of misidentifying or relying to much on fingerprints

Caitlin Owens 2019-02-20 20:09:14

Romeo and Juliet’s relationship is not “true love”, rather, it is a mimicry known as “puppy love” or infatuation, where teenagers see a stereotype playing out, and then they repeat it. This happens because of Juliet’s young age, and Romeo’s unfaithfulness. Juliet is a child. Even though society considering teenagers adults used to be a social norm, as Paris says “younger than [Juliet] are happy mothers made” (1.2. 13), Juliet is young, as “she hath not seen the change of fourteen years” (1.2. 9). Juliet is still thirteen, still a child. While others consider Juliet of an eligible age for marrying, her brain will only finish developing when she is in her mid-twenties; this is not influenced by any cultural norm. True love requires dedication, thoughtfulness, and commitment, which all require a mature brain. Juliet falling in love and marrying before her brain fully develops will “mar” her, as others expect her to commit her life to someone when she’s barely lived it. In addition, Romeo’s affection for Juliet is infatuation, not love, as Juliet is not the first woman Romeo has “loved”. In a single day, Romeo has gone from passionately attracted, apparently in “love” to Rosalind to being in this so-called love with Juliet. True love means that you only have eyes for one person, and that is far from Romeo’s views on these women. The only difference between Juliet and Rosaline? Juliet is prettier, and will return his affection. Romeo is incapable of knowing whether or not he is truly in love with Juliet, as attraction and infatuation greatly confuse and twist his previous forays into the field of romance. Friar Laurence remarks at this discrepancy, saying “Young men’s love then lies / Not truly in their hearts but in their eyes” (2.3. 66-67). Friar Laurence is saying that Romeo’s love is not true, he is not loving with his heart, but rather with his eyes, showing Romeo’s willingness to declare attraction to a woman “love”. Romeo will stop loving Juliet as soon as he finds a more beautiful woman, just as he stops loving Rosaline when he first meets Juliet.

Kulich’s editorial arguing that Romeo and Juliet are not children is ineffective as they neglect to address the real issue: whether or not Romeo and Juliet are children engaging in puppy love. Kulich dances around the issue, stating that yes, cultural norms were different then, and even up to World War II, fourteen-year-olds were considered adults. The issue with this argument is that cultural norms cannot and will not change science. Juliet may have been considered a woman in her prime of life in Renaissance era Verona. That doesn’t change the fact that she is thirteen. A mere child. Her brain will not develop until her mid twenties, leaving her unprepared to make decisions. Marrying off a child will not change this fact, and mothers are five times more likely to die during childbirth if they are under 15, compared to women in their twenties, and children of child brides are 60% more likely to die than children with mothers over the age of 19. It’s no wonder Juliet is the only child that her father had that survived into adulthood. There is a time and place for moral relativism, and it’s not in science. Kulich implies that if we force children to mature earlier, instead of keeping them “sequestered for longer and longer and keeping them away from real life”. This notion is false, as biologically, Juliet is not prepared to be a bride. She is not prepared to grow up and have children. It may be a “historical fact” that woman that were fourteen years old, or even younger, were treated as woman and married off at an early age, but it is a biological fact that she is not ready, physically or mentally, to truly love someone, get married, and have children.

Blog Post #1

How I was mostly able to incorporate the first three aspects of Edward De Bono’s How to Have a Beautiful Mind is through agreeing. Both lectures I went to had very succinct, logical explanations for natural phenomena. In this phase of In-Depth, I am not really focusing on building my own style and opinions, rather, I am focusing on gathering as much information as possible to apply to my later skill-building. I also had a chance to talk with the graduate student we are working with about the traps she is building for her research, and she explained to me why she was using traps made from pop bottles as opposed to the cardboard ones she had in a bag (it has to do with the fact that the box traps need to have a plastic bag on top, and that bag would be compressed by the rain and snow). In terms of disagreeing, I felt the need to investigate saponification further, as it was something I did not believe to be possible. However, I was surprised to learn that even though it was rare, the transformation of the outer layers of the body into a soapy, chalky substance is still possible. In terms of differing, both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Warren talked about the past and present, so there was no hypothetical future to differ on.

ZIP Final Project

1. How might I go about learning Old English? How has the language changed/ stayed the same over time?
2. I have expanded on my language and comprehension skills, as well as my memory skills. My language skills are important for my success in English and German, as I find that learning the sentence structure and vocabulary helps me with other languages. I have improved my comprehension by using context to figure out the harder words that I don’t know, and I can use these skills when learning English and German. My memory will help me in all my subjects because it helps me remember material vital to the course.
3. How has language changed/ stayed the same over time?
– I found that some vocabulary/word stems have remained the same or similar. These include man (Modern English) to mann (Old English) and have to habban. Also, verbs have simplified over time, from many conjugations to just one or two. In addition to that
○ English is now an analytical language
§ Now uses Subject-Verb-Object
4. How might I go about learning Old English?
– I found that writing everything down improves memory and increases comprehension. Using a course provides an outline to follow and provides helpful information on conjugation that is not available online. Also, I found keeping all notes together, prevents me from losing them. My learning project also demonstrates my learning because I am able to demonstrate the changes and similarities between the two languages, as well as the differences. I am also able to demonstrate my learning through the texts and translations, because I am applying all the vocabulary and the sentence structure I have learned to create the artefacts. An important thing to note is that I am not doing a word-by-word translation of the texts, rather, I am doing a sentance-by sentance, so I am trying to preserve all the original meaning, but altering the structure so it fits better into the language. It also connects to my chosen curricular competencies because I used my ability to assess and refine texts to translate the different documents and still keep their meaning while upholding different language conventions and structures. I applied appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, visual, and multimodal texts by using my knowledge of reading comprehension stratagies, like reading the word aloud and using the context to understand it, while reading in Old English. I accessed information from a variety of sources and texts, including a course, website, and Old English text to inform my writing and translations through structure and clarity.
i. This site is the course I took. It is run by the University of Texas Linguistics Center, and it was very helpful for me to learn to vocabulary, as well as the sentence structure and grammar rules
i. This website was very helpful for me when writing my introductory blog post. It provided me with a lot of the information about Old English. This included the background, the different dialects, and some of the verbs and sound changes. I found this website a good jumping-off point for my Zip journey.
i. This is one of the translators I used for harder nouns. Some of the vocabulary wasn’t available on the language course, and this was helpful when I was unsure of the word and it’s meaning.
i. I used this site for harder verbs and their conjugations in Old English. I used this site because I did not know many of the different irregular verbs and there conjugations, so this site was invaluable for my learning in that respect.
i. This site was invaluable as it was very useful to tracking down the remaining Old English works. It is a collection of works in Old English, including the poem I am translation.
Some new questions that I have are:
a. Why do some verbs have irregular conjugations?
b. How do historical context and norms influence language?
i. How does the sexist views of the time relate to the different uses of female pronouns and nouns. Eg. Man for man, but different descriptors for females.
c. How has Proto-Germanic influenced all Germanic languages?
These questions excite me because they go into more depth in a subject I am interesting in and excited by. I look forward to pursuing them in my own time.

In-Depth Introductory Post

For my in-depth project, I am studying forensic etymology, crime scene investigation, and a variety of other subjects related to the forensic sciences. The ultimate goal, my learning center for In Depth, is to be able to build a mock crime scene that demonstrates my learning as well as informs others about the field of forensic sciences I chose this project because I am interested in this field, and I have definitely been captivated by the media surrounding forensic sciences, further interesting me.

       I hopefully will have several mentors for this project. I am in contact with two forensic science teachers up at SFU, as well as a graduate student who is conducting research and an undergraduate student, who are both involved in the field. I will be taking classes up at SFU starting next week, on Fridays from 10:30-12:30. I will also be doing a forensic sciences course online through EBUS academy (an accredited, four credit online course). I am doing my project in tandem with Grace Kim.

Blog Post #3

Related to your learning evidence, what have you done to make retrieving information or more effective in class?
To make my work more accessible, I have bookmarked my Old English – Modern English dictionary on my phone and on my computer. I have also bookmarked the course I am taking on both my phone and my computer, to cut down the amount of time I need to set myself up. In addition, I always keep my “Old English Bible” with me at all times, so I can record everything I learn. To make myself more effective, I listen to music that allows me to block out outside distractions better. In terms of retrieving words and grammatical information from my memory, I have gotten into the habit of writing everything down. I have also gotten into the habit of review my notes so it can stick better.

Blog Post #2: Research Notes

This is an embedded Microsoft Office document, powered by Office Online.


What concepts in your learning do you now feel you have a solid grasp on?

I feel that I have a solid grasp on class I weak verbs, as well as class I strong verbs. I also feel that I have a good grasp of the flow of Old-English, which is different from Modern English in that it has less structure. I also feel that my grasp of (Old English) pronouns and different grammatical cases has greatly improved. I am struggling a bit with class II weak verbs as they follow less rules than class one, but I am allowing myself extra time for practice.

Which ones might be helpful for other students in their learning?

Something that is not necessary helpful, but definitely interesting is the connection between Old English and Modern English. For example, our conjugation of past-tense verbs stems directly from the Old English conjugation of the preterite tense. In weak verbs you conjugate the ending with a -de or -te; which is quite similar to our -ed conjugation. Certain exceptions can be explained through Old English as well. In run/ran, that also mirrors the Old English practice of changing internal vowels to conjugate it for preterite tense in strong verbs.

Blog Post #1

Take a moment to reflect on your inquiry plan/calendar. Do you need to make any revisions to your original plan? Why?

I do feel that I have to make a few minor adjustments to my inquiry plan. The course that I am taking covers verbs in chunks, going a class at a time. While I have already learned the basic conjugations for class I strong and weak verbs, I would like to amend my plan to learn verbs for longer. Also, nouns are also an ongoing portion of the course, so I would like to amend my timeline to allow for that. In addition to those two changes, I have decided on the texts that I will translate. I would like to do the first chapter of The Philosopher’s Stone, the first Harry Potter book, as it is pretty well known, so a lot of people in my audience will be able to connect with the text. I would also like to translate the first part of the Beowulf epic, as it is widely recognized, but not very well read in my class, so my classmates would be able to get a taste of Old English literature.