Quickies

Quickies: Lowest difficulty setting in action, 45th anniversary of Apollo 11, and prioritizing rape kits

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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6 Comments

  1. If we lived in the parallel universe where rape culture didn’t exist, I could see prioritizing getting the DNA evidence from stranger rapes over non-stranger rapes, because it might be needed to confirm a suspect; if the victim knew the suspect, they could easily point the police to them, while the police might need the extra clues and time to track down a stranger and possibly link the suspect to multiple offenses.

    Given we don’t live in that universe, I can’t say that’s entirely the reason, though.

  2. I worked at a company that developed, among other products, forensic DNA test kits. There was this huge market for untested rape kits if we could solve a slew of technical difficulties. Most technical difficulties came down to gross mishandling of the kits by the nurses or law enforcement, and simply not following instructions. However, that team developed kits and they worked on a few of the oldest, worst preserved samples the state and the Feds could provide our company.

    So, off to the races, right? Well, no. Like many customers those states that said “we need this so bad, we would buy tens of thousands of units if you could produce them” failed to buy them when they were offered. Alternatively, they wanted 100 units instead of 5000 or more. This drove up costs.

    Let me say as someone who saw the development process and knows what goes into high throughput kit processing that if those labs are spending $500-$1500/kit, they are doing it terribly wrong. Any state that has a backlog of 10,000 samples should be able to get them processed for under $200 a pop marginal costs and WITH EXTRA CONFIRMATION TESTS. I am also not sure what takes our local crime lab 3 weeks to process a rape kit for what amounts to a fall-down easy multiplex genotyping assay. I can and have done 20 genotyping assays in an afternoon. I can get a mouse’s entire genome surveyed to find every parent strain that went into breeding it for $187 in under 2 weeks, and that is a FAR more complicated process than those forensic kits.

    The more I read about this, the more I am convinced that these states just don’t care enough. For the price of prosecuting and keeping a single prisoner for a year (based on state of Virginia costs), I once figured out you could test something like almost 100 samples at full cost (no economy of scale). I refuse to believe states that pass laws that will result in more incarcerations cannot afford to do this. If testing a group of kits clears a suspect in just 1% of their cases, this saves money (not even considering the moral question of making sure you do not wrongfully prosecute or compensation for wrongful prosecution).

  3. They should offer the pro-life nurse a job. I am thinking specifically of the hiring process once used by Patrician Havelock Vetinari, in which he instructed the successful applicant to please exit his office through the door to the right (which lead directly to a 100 ft plunge to a stone courtyard, if I remember correctly.)

    1. It’s really bad when you consider that, thanks to Hobby Lobby, anything could be a religious belief. Even believing something your job requires you understand is false.

      Personally I couldn’t see doing reproductive health without being in favor of abortion. There are times when abortion is necessary, to say nothing of hormonal treatments (which, on their side of the rabbit hole, are the same thing as abortion). Oh, and a number of potentially life-saving drugs can cause birth defects or abortions on their own. But hey, since when has pro-life been about saving lives?

  4. Being told I’ve failed on the lowest difficulty is really great. Like, thanks for that. Maybe you could filter the analogy’s able-blindness rather than aggravating my depression? The whole framing of the conversation about privilege is careless, ignoring what it means for the people who have failed in spite of being less shat upon, especially those of us who aren’t visibly impaired.

    But don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here trying to keep it together enough to buy groceries.

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