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Michigan State University study: Discrimination harms your health and your partner’s health

10 Dec

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) list the following types of discrimination:

Discrimination by Type
Learn about the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws enforced by EEOC. We also provide links to the relevant laws, regulations and policy guidance, and also fact sheets, Q&As, best practices, and other information.
• Age
• Disability
• Equal Pay/Compensation
• Genetic Information
• Harassment
• National Origin
• Pregnancy
• Race/Color
• Religion
• Retaliation
• Sex
• Sexual Harassment
https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/

The EEOC describes the following types of laws:

Laws & Guidance
Federal Laws prohibit workplace discrimination and are enforced by EEOC. These are passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Regulations implement federal workplace discrimination laws. They are voted on by the Commission after the public has a formal opportunity to provide comments to EEOC. Find our current regulations, read and comment on proposed regulations, and see our regulatory agenda at the link above.
EEOC Subregulatory Guidance expresses official agency policy and explains how the laws and regulations apply to specific workplace situations. EEOC seeks and obtains input from the public in a variety of ways for these documents before they are voted on by the Commission.
Commission Decisions concern a specific charge of discrimination where the Commission votes to express official agency policy to be applied in similar cases by EEOC. They should not be confused with EEOC’s federal sector appellate decisions in federal employee complaints of discrimination.
Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) explain how two or more agencies will cooperate and interact when their enforcement responsibilities overlap. MOUs involving other federal agencies must be approved by a majority of the Commissioners. EEOC also enters into MOUs with foreign embassies and consulates to enhance cooperation on matters involving employment discrimination.
EEOC Resource Documents assist the public in understanding existing EEOC positions. Since they do not create new policy, they are not voted on by the Commission.
Workplace Laws Not Enforced by the EEOC
Federal laws prohibiting discrimination or regulating workplace issues that are not enforced by the EEOC. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/index.cfm
Findlaw describes discrimination.
According to Findlaw discrimination is:
Lawful vs. Unlawful Discrimination
Not all types of discrimination will violate federal and/or state laws that prohibit discrimination. Some types of unequal treatment are perfectly legal, and cannot form the basis for a civil rights case alleging discrimination. The examples below illustrate the difference between lawful and unlawful discrimination.
Example 1: Applicant 1, an owner of two dogs, fills out an application to lease an apartment from Landlord. Upon learning that Applicant 1 is a dog owner, Landlord refuses to lease the apartment to her, because he does not want dogs in his building. Here, Landlord has not committed a civil rights violation by discriminating against Applicant 1 based solely on her status as a pet owner. Landlord is free to reject apartment applicants who own pets.
Example 2: Applicant 2, an African American man, fills out an application to lease an apartment from Landlord. Upon learning that Applicant 2 is an African American, Landlord refuses to lease the apartment to him, because he prefers to have Caucasian tenants in his building. Here, Landlord has committed a civil rights violation by discriminating against Applicant 2 based solely on his race. Under federal and state fair housing and anti-discrimination laws, Landlord may not reject apartment applicants because of their race.
Where Can Discrimination Occur?
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against members of protected groups (identified above) in a number of settings, including:
• Education
• Employment
• Housing
• Government benefits and services
• Health care services
• Land use / zoning
• Lending and credit
• Public accommodations (Access to buildings and businesses)
• Transportation
• Voting
Anti-Discrimination Laws
Most laws prohibiting discrimination, and many legal definitions of “discriminatory” acts, originated at the federal level through either:
• Federal legislation, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
• Other federal acts (supplemented by court decisions) prohibit discrimination in voting rights, housing, extension of credit, public education, and access to public facilities.
OR
• Federal court decisions, like the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which was the impetus for nationwide racial desegregation of public schools. Other Supreme Court cases have shaped the definition of discriminatory acts like sexual harassment, and the legality of anti-discrimination remedies such as affirmative action programs.
Today, most states have anti-discrimination laws of their own which mirror those at the federal level. For example, in the state of Texas, Title 2 Chapter 21 of the Labor Code prohibits employment discrimination. Many of the mandates in this Texas law are based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law making employment discrimination unlawful…. http://civilrights.findlaw.com/civil-rights-overview/what-is-discrimination.html

A Michigan State University study reported that discrimination harms both the victim and the victim’s partner.

Science Daily reported in Discrimination harms your health and your partner’s health:

Discrimination not only harms the health and well-being of the victim, but the victim’s romantic partner as well, indicates new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.
The work, which analyzed a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,000 couples, is the first study to consider how the discrimination experiences of both people in a relationship are associated with their health. The findings are published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
“We found that when an individual experiences discrimination, they report worse health and depression. However, that’s not the full story — this stress spills over and affects the health of their partner as well,” said William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology who conducted the study with current and former MSU students.
The researchers studied the survey data of 1,949 couples ranging in age from 50 to 94. Survey participants reported on incidents of discrimination, as well as on their health, depression and relationship strain and closeness.
Chopik said the study found that it didn’t matter where the discrimination came from (e.g., because of race, age, gender or other factors). “What matters is that they felt that they were unfairly treated. That’s what had the biggest impact on the person’s health.”
And that discrimination had a spillover affect on the person’s spouse or partner. Because people are embedded in relationships, what happens in those relationships affects our health and well-being, Chopik said…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171207154506.htm

Citation:

Discrimination harms your health, and your partner’s, study shows
Date: December 7, 2017
Source: Michigan State University
Summary:
Discrimination not only harms the health and well-being of the victim, but the victim’s romantic partner as well, indicates new research.

Here is the press release from Michigan State University:

Published: Dec. 7, 2017
Discrimination harms your health – and your partner’s
Contact(s): William Chopik , Andy Henion
Discrimination not only harms the health and well-being of the victim, but the victim’s romantic partner as well, indicates new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.
The work, which analyzed a nationally representative sample of nearly 2,000 couples, is the first study to consider how the discrimination experiences of both people in a relationship are associated with their health. The findings are published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
“We found that when an individual experiences discrimination, they report worse health and depression. However, that’s not the full story – this stress spills over and affects the health of their partner as well,” said William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology who conducted the study with current and former MSU students.
The researchers studied the survey data of 1,949 couples ranging in age from 50 to 94. Survey participants reported on incidents of discrimination, as well as on their health, depression and relationship strain and closeness.
Chopik said the study found that it didn’t matter where the discrimination came from (e.g., because of race, age, gender or other factors). “What matters is that they felt that they were unfairly treated. That’s what had the biggest impact on the person’s health.”
And that discrimination had a spillover affect on the person’s spouse or partner. Because people are embedded in relationships, what happens in those relationships affects our health and well-being, Chopik said.
“We found that a lot of the harmful effects of discrimination on health occurs because it’s so damaging to our relationships,” he said. “When one partner experiences discrimination, they bring that stress home with them and it strains the relationship. So this stress not only negatively affects their own health, but their partner’s as well.” http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2017/discrimination-harms-your-health-and-your-partners/

Discrimination harms relationships and produces toxic environments.

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World. https://tanenbaum.org/tanenbaum-resources/the-golden-rule/ At the core of all bullying is a failure to recognize another’s humanity and a basic lack of respect for life. At the core of the demand for personal expression and failure to tolerate opinions which are not like one’s own is a self-centeredness which can destroy the very society it claims to want to protect.

Resources:

Examples of discrimination in society today https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/mcat/individuals-and-society/discrimination/a/examples-of-discrimination-in-society-today

The impact of prejudice on society http://www.collegian.psu.edu/news/crime_courts/article_a86ea0dc-270a-11e3-ad90-0019bb30f31a.html

The Effects of Racial, Sexual or Religious Discrimination https://lawlex.org/lex-bulletin/the-effects-of-racial-sexual-or-religious-discrimination/8682

Is discrimination wrong? http://www.debate.org/opinions/is-discrimination-wrong

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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University of Exeter study: Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods

19 Nov

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe how to tell if you have asthma:

How Can You Tell if You Have Asthma?
It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.
During a checkup, the doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night, and whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will also ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. They will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems, and they will ask questions about your home. The doctor will also ask if you have missed school or work and about any trouble you may have doing certain things.
The doctor will also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working. The doctor will use a computer with a mouthpiece to test how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath. The spirometer can measure airflow before and after you use asthma medicine.
What Is an Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. The attack happens in your body’s airways, which are the paths that carry air to your lungs. As the air moves through your lungs, the airways become smaller, like the branches of a tree are smaller than the tree trunk. During an asthma attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucous that your body makes clogs up the airways even more.
You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from things that cause an attack, and following your doctor’s advice. When you control your asthma:
• you won’t have symptoms such as wheezing or coughing,
• you’ll sleep better,
• you won’t miss work or school,
• you can take part in all physical activities, and
• you won’t have to go to the hospital.
What Causes an Asthma Attack?
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to “asthma triggers”. Your triggers can be very different from those of someone else with asthma. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you can’t avoid the triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, and smoke from burning wood or grass…. http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm

Urban trees can affect the quality of life and health.

The Nature Conservancy published How Urban Trees Can Save Lives:

The Planting Healthy Air report documents which cities stand to benefit most from tree plantings, in terms of both heat and PM reduction, and how much investment would be required to achieve meaningful benefits.
The analysis found that investing just US$4 per resident in each of these cities in tree planting efforts could improve the health of millions of people, and that trees are as cost-effective as many other common solutions.
Most of the cooling and filtering effects created by trees are fairly localized, so densely populated cities—as well as those with higher overall pollution levels—tend to see the highest overall return on investment (ROI) from tree plantings…. https://global.nature.org/content/healthyair

Exeter University reported that asthma attacks were reduced in tree-lined urban areas.

Science Daily reported in Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods:

People living in polluted urban areas are far less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma when there are lots of trees in their neighbourhood, a study by the University of Exeter’s medical school has found.
The study into the impact of urban greenery on asthma suggests that respiratory health can be improved by the expansion of tree cover in very polluted urban neighbourhoods.
The study, published in the journal Environment International, looked at more than 650,000 serious asthma attacks over a 15 year period. Emergency hospitalisations were compared across 26,000 urban neighbourhoods in England.
In the most polluted urban areas, trees had a particularly strong association with fewer emergency asthma cases. In relatively unpolluted urban neighbourhoods trees did not have the same impact.
In a typical urban area with a high level of background air pollution — for example, around 15 micrograms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic metre, or a nitrogen dioxide concentration around 33 micrograms per cubic metre — an extra 300 trees per square kilometre was associated with around 50 fewer emergency asthma cases per 100,000 residents over the 15 year study period.
The findings could have important implications for planning and public health policy, and suggest that tree planting could play a role in reducing the effects of air pollution from cars.
Over 5.4 million people receive treatment for asthma in the UK with an annual cost to the NHS of around £1 billion. 18 per cent of adults report asthma in the previous 12 months, and a quarter of 13-14 year olds report symptoms. Asthma causes over a thousand deaths a year.
The study led by Dr Ian Alcock, research fellow at the University of Exeter’s Medical School, found that trees and green space were both related to a decrease in people admitted to hospital with asthma…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171117103814.htm

Citation:

Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighborhoods
Date: November 17, 2017
Source: University of Exeter
Summary:
People living in polluted urban areas are far less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma when there are lots of trees in their neighborhood, a new study has found.
Journal Reference:
1. Ian Alcock, Mathew White, Mark Cherrie, Benedict Wheeler, Jonathon Taylor, Rachel McInnes, Eveline Otte im Kampe, Sotiris Vardoulakis, Christophe Sarran, Ireneous Soyiri, Lora Fleming. Land cover and air pollution are associated with asthma hospitalisations: A cross-sectional study. Environment International, 2017; 109: 29 DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.08.009

Here is the press release from the University of Exeter:

Asthma attacks reduced in tree-lined urban neighbourhoods
People living in polluted urban areas are far less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma when there are lots of trees in their neighbourhood, a study by the University of Exeter’s medical school has found.
The study into the impact of urban greenery on asthma suggests that respiratory health can be improved by the expansion of tree cover in very polluted urban neighbourhoods.
The study, published in the journal Environment International, looked at more than 650,000 serious asthma attacks over a 15 year period. Emergency hospitalisations were compared across 26,000 urban neighbourhoods in England.
In the most polluted urban areas, trees had a particularly strong association with fewer emergency asthma cases. In relatively unpolluted urban neighbourhoods trees did not have the same impact.
In a typical urban area with a high level of background air pollution – for example, around 15 micrograms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic metre, or a nitrogen dioxide concentration around 33 micrograms per cubic metre – an extra 300 trees per square kilometre was associated with around 50 fewer emergency asthma cases per 100,000 residents over the 15 year study period.
The findings could have important implications for planning and public health policy, and suggest that tree planting could play a role in reducing the effects of air pollution from cars.
Over 5.4 million people receive treatment for asthma in the UK with an annual cost to the NHS of around £1 billion. 18 per cent of adults report asthma in the previous 12 months, and a quarter of 13-14 year olds report symptoms. Asthma causes over a thousand deaths a year.
The study led by Dr Ian Alcock, research fellow at the University of Exeter’s Medical School, found that trees and green space were both related to a decrease in people admitted to hospital with asthma.
Dr Alcock said:
“We wanted to clarify how urban vegetation may be related to respiratory health. We know that trees remove the air pollutants which can bring on asthma attacks, but in some situations they can also cause localised build-ups of particulates by preventing their dispersion by wind. And vegetation can also produce allergenic pollen which exacerbates asthma.
We found that on balance, urban vegetation appears to do significantly more good than harm. However, effects were not equal everywhere. Greenspace and gardens were associated with reductions in asthma hospitalisation at lower pollutant levels, but not in the most polluted urban areas. With trees it was the other way round. It may be that grass pollens become more allergenic when combined with air pollutants so that the benefits of greenspace diminish as pollution increases. In contrast, trees can effectively remove pollutants from the air, and this may explain why they appear to be most beneficial where concentrations are high.”
Co-author Dr Rachel McInnes, Senior Climate Impacts Scientist at the Met Office, added: “This finding that the effects of different types of vegetation – green space and gardens, and tree cover – differ at both very high and very low air pollution levels is particularly relevant for public health and urban planning policies. We also know that the interaction between pollen and air pollution, and the effect on health and asthma is highly complex and this study confirms that more research is required in this area. Large collaborative research projects, like this from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Environmental Change and Health are a very effective way to carry out this type of cross-disciplinary work.”
Date: 17 November 2017 http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/university/title_622600_en.html

Pascal Mittermaier wrote in Why Plant Trees in Cities? Because They Protect Our Most Vulnerable Residents:

So how do we make cities cooler and healthier? Urban planners and public health officials are grappling with the best way to approach this issue. But there’s one solution we can implement now: plant more trees. Trees and other vegetation naturally cool the air around them by shading surfaces and releasing water vapor. While the effects are local—most of the improvement is within 100 meters—they can still be meaningful, reducing temperatures by up to 2°C.
Trees also provide another significant public health benefit: they reduce fine particulate matter air pollution, a problem that contributes to 5 percent of all deaths worldwide each year. Our organization, The Nature Conservancy, has carried out a study of 245 cities around the world that stand to benefit from tree-planting initiatives, assessing their efficiency and return on investment. Compared to other ways to cool outdoor air temperatures and reduce fine particle matter, trees deliver similar benefits per dollar spent—and, planting trees is the only intervention that addresses both air pollution and heat…. https://newcities.org/perspectives-why-plant-trees-in-cities-because-they-protect-our-most-vulnerable-residents/

One program which all residents of urban areas can participate is the planting of urban trees and encouraging public officials to expand and protect tree canopy.

Resources:

Asthma.com
http://www.asthma.com/additional-resources.html

Asthma Health Center
http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-support-resources

Asthma Resources
http://www.webmd.com/asthma/asthma-resources

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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University of Melbourne and Aalborg University study: How convincing is a Y-chromosome profile match between suspect and crime scene? Study aims to improve the validity and intelligibility of Y-chromosome evidence presented in court

4 Nov

Sarah C. P. Williams wrote in the Science article, Y Chromosome Is More Than a Sex Switch:

The small, stumpy Y chromosome—possessed by male mammals but not females, and often shrugged off as doing little more than determining the sex of a developing fetus—may impact human biology in a big way. Two independent studies have concluded that the sex chromosome, which shrank millions of years ago, retains the handful of genes that it does not by chance, but because they are key to our survival. The findings may also explain differences in disease susceptibility between men and women.
“The old textbook description says that once maleness is determined by a few Y chromosome genes and you have gonads, all other sex differences stem from there,” says geneticist Andrew Clark of Cornell University, who was not involved in either study. “These papers open up the door to a much richer and more complex way to think about the Y chromosome….” http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/04/y-chromosome-more-sex-switch

See, National Institute of Standards and Technology study: Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach https://wordpress.com/posts/drwilda.com and More Innocent People on Death Row Than Estimated: Study http://time.com/79572/more-innocent-people-on-death-row-than-estimated-study/

Science Daily reported in How convincing is a Y-chromosome profile match between suspect and crime scene?

David Balding of the University of Melbourne, Australia and Mikkel Andersen of Aalborg University in Denmark have developed new, open-source software that can help understand how many people in a population will match a single Y-chromosome profile detected at a crime scene, which they describe in a new study in PLOS Genetics.
Forensic analysis of Y-chromosome DNA is especially useful when a small amount of male DNA is mixed in with a large amount of female DNA, such as occurs in sexual assault cases. Explaining this evidence in court, however, is difficult because the Y chromosome passes down mostly unchanged from fathers to sons, so a single Y-chromosome profile can be shared by dozens of men in a population.
Instead of a match probability or database count, Balding and Andersen propose that courts be told about the likely number of matching males in the population, and the possible consequences of their relatedness, which is often more distant than uncle or cousin but much closer than for a random man. They also show how the distribution of matching males can be affected by database information, and suggest ways to present this information in court to make clear that Y-chromosome evidence cannot definitively identify the culprit, but can dramatically reduce the number of possible sources of the DNA. The court must then decide if it has enough other evidence to identify the suspect as the source of the Y-chromosome profile, rather than one of his matching (distant) relatives.
After the introduction of DNA profiling using non-sex chromosomes, the procedure had problems that, once addressed, made profiling a powerful tool that has revolutionized forensic science. Now, Y chromosome profiling must undergo the same process to quantify the results in a way that is valid and directly interpretable to courts. The new software presented in this study could be used to improve the accuracy of Y chromosome evidence and to increase its understanding by judges and jurors…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171103142725.htm

Citation:

How convincing is a Y-chromosome profile match between suspect and crime scene?
Study aims to improve the validity and intelligibility of Y-chromosome evidence presented in court
Date: November 3, 2017
Source: PLOS
Summary:
Scientists have developed new, open-source software that can help understand how many people in a population will match a single Y-chromosome profile detected at a crime scene.
Journal Reference:
1. Mikkel M. Andersen, David J. Balding. How convincing is a matching Y-chromosome profile? PLOS Genetics, 2017; 13 (11): e1007028 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007028

Here is the press release:

Public Release: 3-Nov-2017
How convincing is a Y-chromosome profile match between suspect and crime scene?
Study aims to improve the validity and intelligibility of Y-chromosome evidence presented in court
PLOS
David Balding of the University of Melbourne, Australia and Mikkel Andersen of Aalborg University in Denmark have developed new, open-source software that can help understand how many people in a population will match a single Y-chromosome profile detected at a crime scene, which they describe in a new study in PLOS Genetics.
Forensic analysis of Y-chromosome DNA is especially useful when a small amount of male DNA is mixed in with a large amount of female DNA, such as occurs in sexual assault cases. Explaining this evidence in court, however, is difficult because the Y chromosome passes down mostly unchanged from fathers to sons, so a single Y-chromosome profile can be shared by dozens of men in a population.
Instead of a match probability or database count, Balding and Andersen propose that courts be told about the likely number of matching males in the population, and the possible consequences of their relatedness, which is often more distant than uncle or cousin but much closer than for a random man. They also show how the distribution of matching males can be affected by database information, and suggest ways to present this information in court to make clear that Y-chromosome evidence cannot definitively identify the culprit, but can dramatically reduce the number of possible sources of the DNA. The court must then decide if it has enough other evidence to identify the suspect as the source of the Y-chromosome profile, rather than one of his matching (distant) relatives.
After the introduction of DNA profiling using non-sex chromosomes, the procedure had problems that, once addressed, made profiling a powerful tool that has revolutionized forensic science. Now, Y chromosome profiling must undergo the same process to quantify the results in a way that is valid and directly interpretable to courts. The new software presented in this study could be used to improve the accuracy of Y chromosome evidence and to increase its understanding by judges and jurors.
David Balding adds: “We think this work is going to make a big improvement to how Y profile evidence is presented in courts. We will soon extend this work to mixtures of Y-chromosome profiles from multiple males, and also address the corresponding problem for the maternally-inherited mtDNA profiles. Our approach also allows us to include information from any relatives of the suspect whose profile is already available, and we will be working to develop that aspect.”
###
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Genetics:
http://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1007028
Citation: Andersen MM, Balding DJ (2017) How convincing is a matching Y-chromosome profile? PLoS Genet 13(11): e1007028. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007028
Image Credit: Mikkel Andersen
Image Caption: A simplified illustration of a simulated population of males, with lines indicating father-son links. The suspected source of the DNA, whose profile matches that from the crime scene, is shown in red and other males with matching Y profiles, who are often close relatives, are yellow. The dashed line separates the last three generations, those further back in time will typically be already dead or otherwise unlikely to be of interest (depending on the circumstances of the crime).
Funding: The authors wish to thank the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge UK, for support and hospitality during the programme Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science, where this paper was conceived. The programme was supported by EPSRC grant no EP/K032208/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-11/p-hci103117.php

Mathew Shaer wrote in the The False Promise of DNA Testing: The forensic technique is becoming ever more common—and ever less reliable.:

Modern forensic science is in the midst of a great reckoning. Since a series of high-profile legal challenges in the 1990s increased scrutiny of forensic evidence, a range of long-standing crime-lab methods have been deflated or outright debunked. Bite-mark analysis—a kind of dental fingerprinting that dates back to the Salem witch trials—is now widely considered unreliable; the “uniqueness and reproducibility” of ballistics testing has been called into question by the National Research Council. In 2004, the FBI was forced to issue an apology after it incorrectly connected an Oregon attorney named Brandon Mayfield to that spring’s train bombings in Madrid, on the basis of a “100 percent” match to partial fingerprints found on plastic bags containing detonator devices. Last year, the bureau admitted that it had reviewed testimony by its microscopic-hair-comparison analysts and found errors in at least 90 percent of the cases. A thorough investigation is now under way…. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/a-reasonable-doubt/480747/

The reliability of the evidence and the ability of a particular accused to defend against evidence presented in a court hearing is crucial to preventing the innocent from being convicted.

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University of Washington study: For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use

19 Oct

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy may not have been specifically talking about domestic violence, but each situation is unique. There is a specific story and specific journey for each victim, each couple, and each abuser. There is no predicted endpoint for domestic violence; each situation will have its own outcome.

Headlines regularly detail incidents of domestic violence involving sports figures and other prominent people. Domestic Violence is a societal problem. According to Safe Horizon:

The Victims
1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner….. http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html

Abusers come in all races, classes, genders, religions and creeds.

Andy Greenberg reported in the Wired article, It Takes Just $1,000 to Track Someone’s Location With Mobile Ads:

When you consider the nagging privacy risks of online advertising, you may find comfort in the thought of a vast, abstract company like Pepsi or Nike viewing you as just one data point among millions. What, after all, do you have to hide from Pepsi? And why should that corporate megalith care about your secrets out of countless potential Pepsi drinkers? But an upcoming study has dissipated that delusion. It shows that ad-targeting can not only track you at the personal, individual level but also that it doesn’t take a corporation’s resources to seize upon that surveillance tool—just time, determination, and about a thousand dollars.
A team of security-focused researchers from the University of Washington has demonstrated just how deeply even someone with modest resources can exploit mobile advertising networks. An advertising-savvy spy, they’ve shown, can spend just a grand to track a target’s location with disturbing precision, learn details about them like their demographics and what apps they have installed on their phone, or correlate that information to make even more sensitive discoveries—say, that a certain twentysomething man has a gay dating app installed on his phone and lives at a certain address, that someone sitting next to the spy at a Starbucks took a certain route after leaving the coffee shop, or that a spy’s spouse has visited a particular friend’s home or business… https://www.wired.com/story/track-location-with-mobile-ads-1000-dollars-study/

Tracking a partner’s movements is one element of control in an abusive relationship.

Rachael Williams wrote in the Guardian article, Spyware and smartphones: how abusive men track their partners:

New technology is being developed so quickly, and social media pervades so many aspects of our lives, that it is hard to stay ahead, says Jennifer Perry, the chief executive of the Digital Trust, which supports victims of digital abuse. In fact, spyware, she reckons, is “yesterday’s technology” for tracking victims: “The easiest thing is to access the woman in the cloud. A man might buy a phone and set it up for his partner to be ‘helpful’. He knows the username and password. You have women who don’t even realise they have a cloud account in their smartphone.
“There is also an app you can buy that mirrors the phone on to a PC. The man can just sit at his computer and watch everything that happens on the phone.”
The technology is cheap and accessible, she says. And evading it is often not as simple as just turning the phone off. Perry usually advises women to take their sim card out, leave the phone with a friend until it can be cleaned, and use a cheap pay-as-you-go device in the meantime. But if her ex-partner owns the phone, it will never be safe.
Cloud storage is particularly problematic because it is linked to laptops and PCs, which, unlike phones, can have spyware installed on them remotely via email. “You often find that a woman had spyware put on to her computer remotely, so even if she changes the username and password for the cloud on her phone, the abuser can see that on the computer and get back in,” Perry says.
Perpetrators don’t just use this technology to find out where an escaping partner has gone; it is another tool for abuse when they’re together, too. “They will use the information to belittle or threaten the woman,” says Clare Laxton, public policy manager at Women’s Aid. “They’ll say: ‘Why were you at this restaurant? You’re cheating on me, I’m going to kill myself.’ It closes down that woman’s space, so she won’t want to go out and socialise, because she knows the abuse she’ll get when she gets home isn’t worth it. It’s all part of controlling her as much as possible….” https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/25/spyware-smartphone-abusive-men-track-partners-domestic-violence

Science Daily reported about privacy concerns:

Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.
But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?
The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, which will be presented Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using….

Citation:

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use
Date: October 18, 2017
Source: University of Washington
Summary:
New research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team hopes to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171018124131.htm

Here is the press release from the University of Washington:

October 18, 2017

For $1000, anyone can purchase online ads to track your location and app use
Jennifer Langston

UW News

New University of Washington research finds that for a budget of roughly $1000, it is possible for someone to track your location and app use by purchasing and targeting mobile ads. The team aims to raise industry awareness about the potential privacy threat.

Privacy concerns have long swirled around how much information online advertising networks collect about people’s browsing, buying and social media habits — typically to sell you something.

But could someone use mobile advertising to learn where you go for coffee? Could a burglar establish a sham company and send ads to your phone to learn when you leave the house? Could a suspicious employer see if you’re using shopping apps on work time?

The answer is yes, at least in theory. New University of Washington research, to be presented in a paper Oct. 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, suggests that for roughly $1,000, someone with devious intent can purchase and target online advertising in ways that allow them to track the location of other individuals and learn what apps they are using.
“Anyone from a foreign intelligence agent to a jealous spouse can pretty easily sign up with a large internet advertising company and on a fairly modest budget use these ecosystems to track another individual’s behavior,” said lead author Paul Vines, a recent doctoral graduate in the UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering.

The research team set out to test whether an adversary could exploit the existing online advertising infrastructure for personal surveillance and, if so, raise industry awareness about the threat.

“Because it was so easy to do what we did, we believe this is an issue that the online advertising industry needs to be thinking about,” said co-author Franzi Roesner, co-director of the UW Security and Privacy Research Lab and an assistant professor in the Allen School. “We are sharing our discoveries so that advertising networks can try to detect and mitigate these types of attacks, and so that there can be a broad public discussion about how we as a society might try to prevent them.”

This map represents an individual’s morning commute. Red dots reflect the places where the UW computer security researchers were able to track that person’s movements by serving location-based ads: at home (real location not shown), a coffee shop, bus stop and office. The team found that a target needed to stay in one location for roughly four minutes before an ad was served, which is why no red dots appear along the individual’s bus commute (dashed line) or walking route (solid line.)University of Washington

The researchers discovered that an individual ad purchaser can, under certain circumstances, see when a person visits a predetermined sensitive location — a suspected rendezvous spot for an affair, the office of a company that a venture capitalist might be interested in or a hospital where someone might be receiving treatment — within 10 minutes of that person’s arrival. They were also able to track a person’s movements across the city during a morning commute by serving location-based ads to the target’s phone.

The team also discovered that individuals who purchase the ads could see what types of apps their target was using. That could potentially divulge information about the person’s interests, dating habits, religious affiliations, health conditions, political leanings and other potentially sensitive or private information.
Someone who wants to surveil a person’s movements first needs to learn the mobile advertising ID (MAID) for the target’s mobile phone. These unique identifiers that help marketers serve ads tailored to a person’s interests are sent to the advertiser and a number of other parties whenever a person clicks on a mobile ad. A person’s MAID also could be obtained by eavesdropping on an unsecured wireless network the person is using or by gaining temporary access to his or her WiFi router.
The UW team demonstrated that customers of advertising services can purchase a number of hyperlocal ads through that service, which will only be served to that particular phone when its owner opens an app in a particular spot. By setting up a grid of these location-based ads, the adversary can track the target’s movements if he or she has opened an app and remains in a location long enough for an ad to be served — typically about four minutes, the team found.
Importantly, the target does not have to click on or engage with the ad — the purchaser can see where ads are being served and use that information to track the target through space. In the team’s experiments, they were able to pinpoint a person’s location within about 8 meters.

“To be very honest, I was shocked at how effective this was,” said co-author Tadayoshi Kohno, an Allen School professor who has studied security vulnerabilities in products ranging from automobiles to medical devices. “We did this research to better understand the privacy risks with online advertising. There’s a fundamental tension that as advertisers become more capable of targeting and tracking people to deliver better ads, there’s also the opportunity for adversaries to begin exploiting that additional precision. It is important to understand both the benefits and risks with technologies.”

An individual could potentially disrupt the simple types of location-based attacks that the UW team demonstrated by frequently resetting the mobile advertising IDs in their phones — a feature that many smartphones now offer. Disabling location tracking within individual app settings could help, the researchers said, but advertisers still may be capable of harvesting location data in other ways.
On the industry side, mobile and online advertisers could help thwart these types of attacks by rejecting ad buys that target only a small number of devices or individuals, the researchers said. They also could develop and deploy machine learning tools to distinguish between normal advertising patterns and suspicious advertising behavior that looks more like personal surveillance.
The UW Security and Privacy Research Lab is a leader in evaluating potential security threats in emerging technologies, including telematics in automobiles, web browsers, DNA sequencing software and augmented reality, before they can be exploited by bad actors.

Next steps for the team include working with experts at the UW’s Tech Policy Lab to explore the legal and policy questions raised by this new form of potential intelligence gathering.

The research was funded by The National Science Foundation, The Tech Policy Lab and the Short-Dooley Professorship.

For more information, contact the research team at adint@cs.washington.edu.
Grant number: NSF: CNS-1463968

Resources:

Cell Phone Location Tracking Laws By State https://www.aclu.org/issues/privacy-technology/location-tracking/cell-phone-location-tracking-laws-state

Mobile Phone Safety for a Domestic Abuse Victim http://www.getdomesticviolencehelp.com/domestic-abuse-victim.html

Smartphones Are Used To Stalk, Control Domestic Abuse Victims http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2014/09/15/346149979/smartphones-are-used-to-stalk-control-domestic-abuse-victims

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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National Institute of Standards and Technology study: Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach

15 Oct

Virginia Hughes wrote in How Many People Are Wrongly Convicted? Researchers Do the Math.:

So then the next terrifying question is, geeze, how many innocent people have actually been executed?
Fortunately it’s probably not many. Innocent defendants are far more likley to have their sentenced changed to life in prison than to be executed. Still, with an error rate of 4 percent, the researchers write, “it is all but certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent.”
It’s impossible to say whether this 4.1 percent false conviction rate applies to defendants who never went to death row. But I’ll leave you with one last depressing thought. Of all of the people found guilty of capital murder, less than half actually get a death-penalty sentence. And when juries are determining whether to send a defendant to death row or to life in prison, surveys show that they tend to choose life sentences when they have “residual doubt” about the defendant’s guilt.
That means, then, that the rate of innocent defendants serving life in prison is higher than those on death row. “They are sentenced,” the authors write, “and then forgotten….” http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2014/04/28/how-many-people-are-wrongly-convicted-researchers-do-the-math/

See, More Innocent People on Death Row Than Estimated: Study http://time.com/79572/more-innocent-people-on-death-row-than-estimated-study/

Anders Nordgaard and Birgitta Rasmusson wrote in Law, Probability and Risk, Volume 11, Issue 4, 1 December 2012:

Abstract
The ability of the experienced forensic scientist to evaluate his or her results given the circumstances and propositions in a particular case and present this to the court in a clear and concise way is very important for the legal process. Court officials can neither be expected to be able to interpret scientific data, nor is it their task to do so (in our opinion). The duty of the court is rather to perform the ultimate evidence evaluation of all the information in the case combined, including police reports, statements from suspects and victims, witness reports forensic expert statements, etc. Without the aid of the forensic expert, valuable forensic results may be overlooked or misinterpreted in this process. The scientific framework for forensic interpretation stems from Bayesian theory. The resulting likelihood ratio, which may be expressed using a verbal or a numerical scale, compares how frequent are the obtained results given that one of the propositions holds with how frequent they are given that the other proposition holds. A common misunderstanding is that this approach must be restricted to forensic areas such as DNA evidence where extensive background information is present in the form of comprehensive databases. In this article we argue that the approach with likelihood ratios is equally applicable in areas where the results rely on scientific background data combined with the knowledge and experience of the forensic scientist. In such forensic areas the scale of the likelihood ratio may be rougher compared to a DNA case, but the information that is conveyed by the likelihood ratio may nevertheless be highly valuable for the court. https://academic.oup.com/lpr/article-abstract/11/4/303/931682/The-likelihood-ratio-as-value-of-evidence-more

See, On the interpretation of likelihood ratios in forensic science evidence: Presentation formats and the weak evidence effect. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24814330

Science Daily reported in Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach:

Two experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are calling into question a method of presenting evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury.
The method involves the use of Likelihood Ratio (LR), a statistical tool that gives experts a shorthand way to communicate their assessment of how strongly forensic evidence, such as a fingerprint or DNA sample, can be tied to a suspect. In essence, LR allows a forensics expert to boil down a potentially complicated set of circumstances into a number — providing a pathway for experts to concisely express their conclusions based on a logical and coherent framework. LR’s proponents say it is appropriate for courtroom use; some even argue that it is the only appropriate method by which an expert should explain evidence to jurors or attorneys.
However, in a new paper published in the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, statisticians Steve Lund and Hari Iyer caution that the justification for using LR in courtrooms is flawed. The justification is founded on a reasoning approach called Bayesian decision theory, which has long been used by the scientific community to create logic-based statements of probability. But Lund and Iyer argue that while Bayesian reasoning works well in personal decision making, it breaks down in situations where information must be conveyed from one person to another such as in courtroom testimony.
These findings could contribute to the discussion among forensic scientists regarding LR, which is increasingly used in criminal courts in the U.S. and Europe.
While the NIST authors stop short of stating that LR ought not to be employed whatsoever, they caution that using it as a one-size-fits-all method for describing the weight of evidence risks conclusions being driven more by unsubstantiated assumptions than by actual data. They recommend using LR only in cases where a probability-based model is warranted. Last year’s report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) mentions some of these situations, such as the evaluation
Bayesian reasoning is a structured way of evaluating and re-evaluating a situation as new evidence comes up. If a child who rarely eats sweets says he did not eat the last piece of blueberry pie, his older sister might initially think it unlikely that he did, but if she spies a bit of blue stain on his shirt, she might adjust that likelihood upward. Applying a rigorous version of this approach to complex forensic evidence allows an expert to come up with a logic-based numerical LR that makes sense to the expert as an individual.
The trouble arises when other people — such as jurors — are instructed to incorporate the expert’s LR into their own decision-making. An expert’s judgment often involves complicated statistical techniques that can give different LRs depending on which expert is making the judgment. As a result, one expert’s specific LR number can differ substantially from another’s.
“Two people can employ Bayesian reasoning correctly and come up with two substantially different answers,” Lund said. “Which answer should you believe, if you’re a juror?”
Viewpoints differ on the appropriateness of using LR in court. Some of these differences stem from the view that jurors primarily need a tool to help them to determine reasonable doubt, not particular degrees of certainty. To Christophe Champod, a professor of forensic science at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, an argument over LR’s statistical purity overlooks what is most important to a jury….
The NIST authors, however, maintain that for a technique to be broadly applicable, it needs to be based on measurements that can be replicated. In this regard, LR often falls short, according to the authors.
“Our success in forensic science depends on our ability to measure well. The anticipated use of LR in the courtroom treats it like it’s a universally observable quantity, no matter who measures it,” Lund said. “But it’s not a standardized measurement. By its own definition, there is no true LR that can be shared, and the differences between any two individual LRs may be substantial.”
The NIST authors do not state that LR is always problematic; it may be suitable in situations where LR assessments from any two people would differ inconsequentially. Their paper offers a framework for making such assessments, including examples for applying them.
Ultimately, the authors contend it is important for experts to be open to other, more suitable science-based approaches rather than using LR indiscriminately. Because these other methods are still under development, the danger is that the criminal justice system could treat the matter as settled…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/news/health_medicine/

Citation:

Caution in use of courtroom evidence presentation methods urged
Courtroom use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach
Date:
October 12, 2017
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Two experts are calling into question a shorthand method of presenting forensic evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury.
Journal Reference:
1. Steven P. Lund, Hari Iyer. Likelihood Ratio as Weight of Forensic Evidence: A Closer Look. Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 2017; 122 DOI: 10.6028/jres.122.027

Here is the press release from NIST:

NIST Experts Urge Caution in Use of Courtroom Evidence Presentation Method
Use of ‘Likelihood Ratio’ not consistently supported by scientific reasoning approach, authors state.
October 12, 2017
Two experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are calling into question a method of presenting evidence in courtrooms, arguing that it risks allowing personal preference to creep into expert testimony and potentially distorts evidence for a jury.
The method involves the use of Likelihood Ratio (LR), a statistical tool that gives experts a shorthand way to communicate their assessment of how strongly forensic evidence, such as a fingerprint or DNA sample, can be tied to a suspect. In essence, LR allows a forensics expert to boil down a potentially complicated set of circumstances into a number—providing a pathway for experts to concisely express their conclusions based on a logical and coherent framework. LR’s proponents say it is appropriate for courtroom use; some even argue that it is the only appropriate method by which an expert should explain evidence to jurors or attorneys.
However, in a new paper published in the Journal of Research of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (link is external), statisticians Steve Lund and Hari Iyer caution that the justification for using LR in courtrooms is flawed. The justification is founded on a reasoning approach called Bayesian decision theory (link is external), which has long been used by the scientific community to create logic-based statements of probability. But Lund and Iyer argue that while Bayesian reasoning works well in personal decision making, it breaks down in situations where information must be conveyed from one person to another such as in courtroom testimony.
These findings could contribute to the discussion among forensic scientists regarding LR, which is increasingly used in criminal courts in the U.S. and Europe.
While the NIST authors stop short of stating that LR ought not to be employed whatsoever, they caution that using it as a one-size-fits-all method for describing the weight of evidence risks conclusions being driven more by unsubstantiated assumptions than by actual data. They recommend using LR only in cases where a probability-based model is warranted. Last year’s report (link is external) from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) mentions some of these situations, such as the evaluation of high-quality samples of DNA from a single source.
“We are not suggesting that LR should never be used in court, but its envisioned role as the default or exclusive way to transfer information is unjustified,” Lund said. “Bayesian theory does not support using an expert’s opinion, even when expressed numerically, as a universal weight of evidence. Among different ways of presenting information, it has not been shown that LR is most appropriate.”
Bayesian reasoning is a structured way of evaluating and re-evaluating a situation as new evidence comes up. If a child who rarely eats sweets says he did not eat the last piece of blueberry pie, his older sister might initially think it unlikely that he did, but if she spies a bit of blue stain on his shirt, she might adjust that likelihood upward. Applying a rigorous version of this approach to complex forensic evidence allows an expert to come up with a logic-based numerical LR that makes sense to the expert as an individual.
The trouble arises when other people—such as jurors—are instructed to incorporate the expert’s LR into their own decision-making. An expert’s judgment often involves complicated statistical techniques that can give different LRs depending on which expert is making the judgment. As a result, one expert’s specific LR number can differ substantially from another’s.
“Two people can employ Bayesian reasoning correctly and come up with two substantially different answers,” Lund said. “Which answer should you believe, if you’re a juror?”
In the blueberry pie example, imagine a jury had to rely on expert testimony to determine the probability that the stain came from a specific pie. Two different experts could be completely consistent with Bayesian theory, but one could testify to, say, an LR of 50 and another to an LR of 500—the difference stemming from their own statistical approaches and knowledge bases. But if jurors were to hear 50 rather than 500, it could lead them to make a different ultimate decision.
Viewpoints differ on the appropriateness of using LR in court. Some of these differences stem from the view that jurors primarily need a tool to help them to determine reasonable doubt, not particular degrees of certainty. To Christophe Champod, a professor of forensic science at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, an argument over LR’s statistical purity overlooks what is most important to a jury.
“We’re a bit presumptuous as expert witnesses that our testimony matters that much,” Champod said. “LR could perhaps be more statistically pure in the grand scheme, but it’s not the most significant factor. Transparency is. What matters is telling the jury what the basis of our testimony is, where our data comes from, and why we judge it the way we do.”
The NIST authors, however, maintain that for a technique to be broadly applicable, it needs to be based on measurements that can be replicated. In this regard, LR often falls short, according to the authors.
“Our success in forensic science depends on our ability to measure well. The anticipated use of LR in the courtroom treats it like it’s a universally observable quantity, no matter who measures it,” Lund said. “But it’s not a standardized measurement. By its own definition, there is no true LR that can be shared, and the differences between any two individual LRs may be substantial.”
The NIST authors do not state that LR is always problematic; it may be suitable in situations where LR assessments from any two people would differ inconsequentially. Their paper offers a framework for making such assessments, including examples for applying them.
Ultimately, the authors contend it is important for experts to be open to other, more suitable science-based approaches rather than using LR indiscriminately. Because these other methods are still under development, the danger is that the criminal justice system could treat the matter as settled.
“Just because we have a tool, we should not assume it’s good enough,” Lund said. “We should continue looking for the most effective way to communicate the weight of evidence to a nonexpert audience.”
Paper: S.P. Lund and H. Iyer, Likelihood Ratio as Weight of Forensic Evidence: A Closer Look. Journal of Research of National Institute of Standards and Technology, Published online 12 October 2017. DOI: 10.6028/jres.122.027 (link is external)
Forensic Science, Mathematics & Statistics, Public safety and Standards
Media Contact
Chad Boutin
boutin@nist.gov (link sends e-mail)
(301) 975-4261
Related News
• How to Quantify the Weight of Forensic Evidence: A Lively Debate
The ability to afford to challenge evidence often determines the outcome of very serious charges.

Mathew Shaer wrote in the The False Promise of DNA Testing: The forensic technique is becoming ever more common—and ever less reliable.:

Modern forensic science is in the midst of a great reckoning. Since a series of high-profile legal challenges in the 1990s increased scrutiny of forensic evidence, a range of long-standing crime-lab methods have been deflated or outright debunked. Bite-mark analysis—a kind of dental fingerprinting that dates back to the Salem witch trials—is now widely considered unreliable; the “uniqueness and reproducibility” of ballistics testing has been called into question by the National Research Council. In 2004, the FBI was forced to issue an apology after it incorrectly connected an Oregon attorney named Brandon Mayfield to that spring’s train bombings in Madrid, on the basis of a “100 percent” match to partial fingerprints found on plastic bags containing detonator devices. Last year, the bureau admitted that it had reviewed testimony by its microscopic-hair-comparison analysts and found errors in at least 90 percent of the cases. A thorough investigation is now under way…. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/a-reasonable-doubt/480747/

The reliability of the evidence and the ability of a particular accused to defend against evidence presented in a court hearing is crucial to preventing the innocent from being convicted.

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University of California Irvine study: Neighborhood affluence linked to positive birth outcomes

8 Oct

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.
The best way to eliminate poverty is job creation, job growth, and job retention. The Asian Development Bank has the best concise synopsis of the link between education and poverty in Assessing Development Impact: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Through Education http://www.adb.org/documents/assessing-development-impact-breaking-cycle-poverty-through-education There will not be a good quality of life for most citizens without a strong education system. One of the major contributors to poverty in third world nations is limited access to education opportunities. Without continued sustained investment in education, we are the next third world country. See, http://education.stateuniversity.com/pages/2330/Poverty-Education.html

Science Daily reported in Neighborhood affluence linked to positive birth outcomes:

It’s not uncommon for new parents to relocate in search of neighborhoods with better schools, safer streets and healthier, more kid-friendly activities. But a new study led by University of California, Irvine sociologist Jennifer Kane has found that living in such neighborhoods before a baby is born protects against the risks of poor birth outcomes.
Published online this month in SSM — Population Health, the research shows that having highly educated, wealthy neighbors reduces an expectant mother’s risk of delivering a low-weight or preterm baby — health markers that can be associated with neurodevelopmental problems, language disorders, learning disabilities and poor health later in life.
The study is the first to look at how both affluent and disadvantaged neighborhoods affect newborn health; past studies have only explored the impact of disadvantaged neighborhoods….
The findings are based on the electronic birth certificates of more than 1.2 million babies born in New Jersey between 1996 and 2006. The researchers were able to batch the records by neighborhood and analyze birth outcomes against census data and indices reflecting affluence and disadvantage for different tracts.
They found that for white, black, Asian and Hispanic mothers, neighborhood affluence was linked to fewer preterm or low-birth-weight babies across the board, more so for white mothers. Disadvantaged neighborhoods — generally thought to be racially segregated areas with higher crime and lower education levels — were not significantly associated with poor birth outcomes among white and Asian mothers but were among black and Hispanic mothers.
One behavior detrimental to newborns’ health was discovered to cross all ZIP codes: Prenatal smoking — even among white women in more affluent neighborhoods — correlated directly to an increase in low-birth-weight babies.
“Our findings draw attention to the effects of social environments, not just individual-level risk factors, on birth outcomes,” Kane said. “Now that we know affluence is a key part of the story, more resources should be invested in unpacking the mechanisms through which neighborhood affluence influences birth outcomes — an endeavor that will likely uncover concrete strategies to improve infant health…..” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171003144832.htm

Citation:

Neighborhood affluence linked to positive birth outcomes
Date: October 3, 2017
Source: University of California, Irvine
Summary:
It’s not uncommon for new parents to relocate in search of neighborhoods with better schools, safer streets and healthier, more kid-friendly activities. But a new study has found that living in such neighborhoods before a baby is born protects against the risks of poor birth outcomes.

Journal Reference:
1. Jennifer B. Kane, Gandarvaka Miles, Jennifer Yourkavitch, Katherine King. Neighborhood context and birth outcomes: Going beyond neighborhood disadvantage, incorporating affluence. SSM – Population Health, 2017; 3: 699 DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2017.08.003

Here is the press release from UC Irvine:

UCI-led study links neighborhood affluence, positive birth outcomes
Mother’s social environment as well as individual risk factors influence infant health
on October 3, 2017
Irvine, Calif., Oct. 3, 2017 — It’s not uncommon for new parents to relocate in search of neighborhoods with better schools, safer streets and healthier, more kid-friendly activities. But a new study led by University of California, Irvine sociologist Jennifer Kane has found that living in such neighborhoods before a baby is born protects against the risks of poor birth outcomes.
Published online this month in SSM – Population Health, the research shows that having highly educated, wealthy neighbors reduces an expectant mother’s risk of delivering a low-weight or preterm baby – health markers that can be associated with neurodevelopmental problems, language disorders, learning disabilities and poor health later in life.
The study is the first to look at how both affluent and disadvantaged neighborhoods affect newborn health; past studies have only explored the impact of disadvantaged neighborhoods.
“We suspected that affluence was a key social determinant of birth outcomes because, according to sociological theory, neighborhood affluence is not simply the absence of disadvantage, but rather a unique and independent attribute that plays an important role in contributing to an individual’s well-being,” Kane said. “This is because neighborhood affluence is thought to signal the presence of locally based community organizations that can meet the needs of all residents – health-related and otherwise – regardless of one’s own socioeconomic resources.”
The findings are based on the electronic birth certificates of more than 1.2 million babies born in New Jersey between 1996 and 2006. The researchers were able to batch the records by neighborhood and analyze birth outcomes against census data and indices reflecting affluence and disadvantage for different tracts.
They found that for white, black, Asian and Hispanic mothers, neighborhood affluence was linked to fewer preterm or low-birth-weight babies across the board, more so for white mothers. Disadvantaged neighborhoods – generally thought to be racially segregated areas with higher crime and lower education levels – were not significantly associated with poor birth outcomes among white and Asian mothers but were among black and Hispanic mothers.
One behavior detrimental to newborns’ health was discovered to cross all ZIP codes: Prenatal smoking – even among white women in more affluent neighborhoods – correlated directly to an increase in low-birth-weight babies.
“Our findings draw attention to the effects of social environments, not just individual-level risk factors, on birth outcomes,” Kane said. “Now that we know affluence is a key part of the story, more resources should be invested in unpacking the mechanisms through which neighborhood affluence influences birth outcomes – an endeavor that will likely uncover concrete strategies to improve infant health.”
Co-authors are Gandarvaka Miles and Jennifer Yourkavitch of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Katherine King of Duke University. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development supported the research (grant K99/R00 HD075860).
The study will appear in the December print edition of SSM – Population Health.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit http://www.uci.edu.

This government, both parties, has failed to promote the kind of economic development AND policy which creates livable wage jobs. That is why Mc Donalds is popular for more than its dollar menu. They are hiring people. This economy must start producing livable wage jobs and educating kids with skills to fill those jobs. Too bad the government kept the cash sluts and credit crunch weasels like big banks and financial houses fully employed and destroyed the rest of the country.

Related:

Hard times are disrupting families
https://drwilda.com/2011/12/11/hard-times-are-disrupting-families/

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education
https://drwilda.com/2011/11/20/3rd-world-america-the-link-between-poverty-and-education/

3rd world America: Money changes everything
https://drwilda.com/2012/02/11/3rd-world-america-money-changes-everything/

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University of Sheffield study: Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry

1 Oct

WebMD described the concern that bed bugs pose in Bedbugs:

Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.
Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.
Although they are a nuisance, they do not transmit diseases.
Where Bed Bugs Hide
Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night…. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/bedbugs-infestation#1
Once there is an infestation, it is difficult to get rid of bed bugs.
Science Daily reported in Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry:
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry according to new research published by University of Sheffield scientists this week (Thursday 28 September 2017).
The study, led by Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, suggests that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.
Bed bugs have recently undergone a global resurgence, which has been partly attributed to an increase in low cost international travel in the tourism industry. One possible mechanism facilitating the global spread of bed bugs is that the insects find their way into clothing and luggage.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the University of Sheffield research conducted experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags of clothes were placed — two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes — in the presence of bed bugs.
In each run of the experiment, one room received an increase in concentration of CO² to simulate human breathing.
The Sheffield scientists found that in the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes.
The study also found that in the room with increased concentrations of C0², bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour.
Results from the research suggest that residual human odour on soiled clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs. Consequently, dirty laundry left in an open suitcase, or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.
“Our study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them, which may reduce the spread of infestations….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170928142058.htm

Citation:

Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry
Date: September 28, 2017
Source: University of Sheffield
Summary:
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, according to new research.

Journal Reference:
1. William T. Hentley, Ben Webster, Sophie E. F. Evison, Michael T. Siva-Jothy. Bed bug aggregation on dirty laundry: a mechanism for passive dispersal. Scientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/S41598-017-11850-5

Here is the press release from the University of Sheffield:

28 September 2017
Bed bugs attracted to dirty laundry, study finds
• Bed bugs are huge problem for hotel and homeowners in some of the world’s busiest cities
• Insects finding their way into clothing and luggage is one possible cause of global spread of bed bugs
Bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry according to new research published by University of Sheffield scientists this week (Thursday 28 September 2017).
The study, led by Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, suggests that leaving worn clothes exposed in sleeping areas when travelling may facilitate the dispersal of bed bugs.
Bed bugs have recently undergone a global resurgence, which has been partly attributed to an increase in low cost international travel in the tourism industry. One possible mechanism facilitating the global spread of bed bugs is that the insects find their way into clothing and luggage.
Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the University of Sheffield research conducted experiments in two identical, temperature-controlled rooms in which four tote bags of clothes were placed – two containing soiled clothes, two with clean clothes – in the presence of bed bugs.
In each run of the experiment, one room received an increase in concentration of CO² to simulate human breathing.
The Sheffield scientists found that in the absence of a human host, bed bugs were twice as likely to aggregate on bags containing soiled clothes compared to bags containing clean clothes.
The study also found that in the room with increased concentrations of C0², bed bugs were more likely to leave their refuge and initiate host-seeking behaviour.
Results from the research suggest that residual human odour on soiled clothes acts as an elicitor of host-seeking behaviour in bed bugs. Consequently, dirty laundry left in an open suitcase, or left on the floor of an infested room may attract bed bugs.
Dr William Hentley from the University of Sheffield said: “Bed bugs are a huge problem for hotel and homeowners, particularly in some of the world’s biggest and busiest cities. Once a room is infested with bed bugs, they can be very difficult to get rid of, which can result in people having to dispose of clothes and furniture that can be really costly.
“Our study suggests that keeping dirty laundry in a sealed bag, particularly when staying in a hotel, could reduce the chances of people taking bed bugs home with them, which may reduce the spread of infestations.”
The research paper, Bed bug aggregation on dirty laundry: a mechanism for passive dispersal, is published in Scientific Reports on Thursday 28 September 2017. To access the paper, visit: http://nature.com/articles/doi:10.1038/s41598-017-11850-5
Additional information
The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
Contact
For further information please contact:
Sean Barton
Junior Public Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852
s.barton@sheffield.ac.uk

The best method of riding bed bugs is professional treatment.

The EPA offered the following advice in Do-it-yourself Bed Bug Control:

Can you treat and eliminate the bed bugs on your own? Bed bugs are challenging pests to get rid of, since they hide so well and reproduce so quickly. In addition, the egg stage is resistant to many forms of treatment, so a single attempt may not be sufficient to complete the job.
Treating bed bugs is complex. Your likelihood of success depends on many factors, including:
• Extent of the infestation.
• Site-specific challenges.
o Clutter.
o Neighbors with infestations.
o Ability of all of the residents to participate.
Achieving complete control can take weeks to months, depending on the nature and extent of the infestation, and everyone will need to cooperate and do their part.
Before starting, you should lay out all of the steps on a calendar. The following steps will help you begin:
1. Identify the problem
2. Develop a strategy
3. Keep the infestation from expanding
4. Prepare for treatment
5. Kill the bed bugs
6. Evaluate and prevent
Identify the Problem
• Inspect infested areas, plus surrounding living spaces, to determine extent of infestation.
• Correctly identify the pest.
o Collect a sample to show an extension agent Exit or other reliable expert in entomology.
o Extension agents are trained in pest control issues and know your local area.
• If you have bed bugs and live in an apartment, notify your landlord, because the units surrounding yours should be inspected.
o Landlords may have a responsibility to participate in treatment. Check the housing codes and laws in your area.
Develop a Strategy
• Using a calendar, map out each stage based on the recommendations in the following sections.
• Plan to keep records through the whole process – including dates and locations when pests are found.
• Leave time for long-term monitoring to make sure all of the bed bugs are gone.
Keep the Infestation from Spreading
• Anything removed from the room should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and treated.
o Items that cannot be treated should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and left for an extended period of time to ensure any active bugs are dead (research shows variation in the length of time needed, but it can be as long as a year).
• Empty the vacuum after each use.
o Seal the bag and throw it out in an outdoor trash container.
• Don’t discard furniture if you can eliminate the bed bugs from it.
• If furniture cannot be salvaged, discard it responsibly. Destroy it so someone else won’t be tempted to bring it into their home. For example:
o Rip covers and remove stuffing from furniture items.
o Use spray paint to mark furniture with “Bed Bugs.”
• Take steps to have infested items picked up as soon as possible by the trash collection agency.
Prepare for Treatment
Jumping straight into control is tempting, but won’t work. Preparing for treatment is essential to getting successful control. It will also help by making it easier for you to monitor for bed bugs that haven’t been completely eliminated. This preparation should be conducted whether you are doing the treatment yourself or hiring a professional.
Learn more about preparing for treatment
Learn about treatment options (PDF).(4 pp, 480 K, About PDF) Exit
Top of Page
Kill the Bed Bugs
• Make sure the methods you select are safe, effective and legal. See What’s Legal, What’s Not for more information.
• Consider non-chemical methods of killing bed bugs. Some will be more useful than others.
o Heat treatment using a clothes dryer on high heat, black plastic bags in the sun or a hot, closed car (pest management professionals have other methods that are not suitable for non-trained individuals to use).
o Cold treatment can be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0o F. You must leave the items in the freezer at that temperature for four days. (Always use a thermometer to check the temperature, since home freezers are not always set to 0o.)
o Reducing the numbers of bugs with these and other non-chemical methods is helpful, but is unlikely to entirely eliminate the infestation.
• If needed, use pesticides carefully according to the label directions or hire a pest management professional.
o Look for EPA-registered pesticides.
o Bed bugs must be listed on the label.
o Use foggers (bug bombs) only with extreme care. Improper use can harm your health or cause a fire/explosion.
 Because foggers work with a broadcast spraying action, they should not be used as the sole source of bed bug control. The spray will not reach the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide.
 See Should I Use a Fogger?
• Every few days after you complete your initial cleanup and control processes, carefully look for any evidence of bed bugs.
o If you see bed bugs, that means that either the initial cleanup missed some individuals or that eggs have hatched (finding and removing or killing all eggs can be very difficult) and retreatment may be needed.
• If repeated treatments are needed, consider using pesticides with different modes of action.
o Desiccants (drying agents) can be particularly effective in some situations since they work by drying out the bug (which means the bed bugs can’t develop resistance to it).
 If using desiccants, be sure to use only products registered as a pesticide.
 Do not use pool or food-grade diatomaceous earth – this type of diatomaceous earth can harm you when you breathe it in. The pesticide version uses a different size of diatoms, which reduces the hazard.
 Desiccants can be very effective; however, they can take up to several months to work.
Bed bug interceptor (place under furniture legs to catch bed bugs)
Evaluate and Prevent
• Continue to inspect for presence of bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remained.
o Interceptors (placed under the legs of furniture to catch bed bugs and keep them from climbing the legs; commercial and do-it-yourself versions available), traps or other methods of monitoring can be used.
• Continue to implement preventive measures.
https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/do-it-yourself-bed-bug-control

There are several reasons according to the Bed Bug Treatment site you should seek the services of a professional:

There are four reasons where I would just recommend skipping right over the do it yourself treatment options, and jumping straight to calling a professional:
1 – You don’t like to read or follow instructions
If you are one to just “figure things out” because you don’t have time or the attention span to read the instructions, just go ahead and call a professional.
To be effective and safe, do it yourself treatment options require that you completely follow the instructions. Not following the instructions can result in you wasting money, wasting time and potentially putting yourself and your family in danger. You must understand that bed bug sprays and pesticides, if not used properly, will not only fail to work, but can pose a significant health risk to you or your family.
If you aren’t willing to read and understand the instructions, just go ahead and use a bed bug professional.
2 – You lack common sense
I was reading an article yesterday where “a Woodbury, NJ homeowner managed to set his house on fire in the course of a do-it-yourself pest control effort to rid it of bed bugs. He was reportedly using a space heater, a hair dryer, and a heat gun in order to kill bed bugs in a room on the second floor.”
A neighbor said “He went online, [and] got some instructions.”
There are just no words…
Heat treatments, unless you are using a steamer or placing the items in a bag to be heated by the sun, are not recommended for the do it yourself. This person was trying to mimic a professional heat treatment using a space heater, hair dryer and heat gun. Something tells me that the professionals don’t use space heaters and hair dryers…
In fact, if you do even a little research, you’ll see that professionals use very specific equipment for heat treatments, often involving large trucks that contain the the heat generating equipment. They also use very large heat and fire resistant containers to place all of your stuff in prior to treatment.
Common sense should tell you that using a space heater, hair dryer and heat gun is probably not the wisest thing to do. Don’t do anything that has the potential risk of destroying your home in the process of treating bed bugs.
If you lack common sense or have a high threshold of danger, just use a bed bug professional. Professionals are far less expensive than having to rebuild your home.
3 – You believe everything you read
Bed bug infestations worldwide are on the rise, and particularly here in the US. As a result, numerous products and websites have appeared popped up all over the internet offering to “help you” resolve your bed bug problems. Some of these products work, some don’t. I might even go out on a limb and say most of them don’t. Many websites are offering tips and suggestions on how to deal with bed bugs as well, and many of these sites contain inaccurate information or just plain bad advice.
Don’t believe everything you read. Do your research, read reviews, and compare site information. If 10 bed bug sites are saying one thing, and another site is saying something different, chances are the one site is wrong…. https://bedbugtreatmentsite.com/use-a-bed-bug-professional/

Ask for referrals and customer ratings should a professional be hired for bed bug eradication.

Resources:

Bed Bugs FAQs https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/bedbugs/faqs.html

16 Secrets Bed Bugs Absolutely Don’t Want You To Know https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/get-rid-of-bedbugs/

Angies List https://www.angieslist.com/?CID=SEM.E001.P002.M002.G002.V000.C000.X000.Y000.Z000&s_kwcid=c-e-kwd-300751910952-http%20www%20angieslist%20com-27316a2d-31d3-405e-87a3-c952347c6024

Home Advisor http://www.homeadvisor.com

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/