Hail The Caravan

As an immigrant I know what it’s like to leave all you know for the unknown. We had visas, we weren’t penniless, we flew to the US and regardless I felt fear.  When you emigrate everything familiar is gone and you don’t know how it will be replaced, nor do you know what will happen next. I heard and read about the caravan from Central America and I  can’t help thinking about those courageous people who are willing to walk  a couple of thousand  miles or more in search of some safety, in search for some opportunities out of assured poverty and violence, in search of  better lives for their families. They banded together to avoid the criminals who prey on migrants, Continue reading “Hail The Caravan”

DNA Testing and Errors

A recent NYT op-ed strongly alerted readers to a study that found errors in DNA testing. The National Institute of Standards and Technology gave the same sample of DNA mixtures to 105 US crime labs and 3 Canadian ones and asked them to compare it to the DNA of 3 suspects from a mock robbery. A DNA mixture is a biological sample of 2 or more individuals from which a DNA profile could be drawn. Today’s DNA testing is advanced enough that an analysis can be done even if someone has lightly touched an object. The labs correctly identified 2 of the suspects, but 74 got Continue reading “DNA Testing and Errors”

Guns, Ammo and 3D

Beginning next year in California, gun shops will be required to keep logs of ammunition sales. Gun rights groups have long fought laws on ammunition saying it is a way around the second amendment. But as Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan reminded some 25 years ago, “guns don’t kill people, bullets do.” California already has more anti-gun laws than most states and now it is going after ammunition. For people like me who do believe guns need to be restricted in order to save lives and life altering injuries, such laws are welcomed. But what is even more welcome is the Continue reading “Guns, Ammo and 3D”

The Women of Artsakh

Since 1988 and to the present day there has been a war in Nagorno-Karabah, a disputed territory in the southern Caucasus Mountains. Although internationally Nagorno-Karabah is recognized to belong to Azerbaijan, Armenia also claims it because of ethnic ties and because it is an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan territory. The resulting war has deprived the little country which now calls itself Artsakh, of men. While it is a very patriarchal society women have had to step in government, courts, universities all the while being mothers and whatever roles they have had to take on. The result shows what women can do and it is sufficiently impressive Der Spiegel ran an article about them. The women did not ask for this, they are not feminists and do not talk about gender parity. They stepped in because there was a Continue reading “The Women of Artsakh”