Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One more forensic share - all about the Crime Lab Project

After my Tuesday post about fabricating DNA, I figured I'd share one more forensic item.

Jan Burke is "a critically acclaimed and national bestselling author of novels and short stories, and winner of the Edgar® Award for Best Novel. Her mystery series, featuring Southern California newspaper reporter Irene Kelly, includes Goodnight, Irene; Sweet Dreams, Irene; Dear Irene,; Remember Me, Irene; Hocus; Liar; Bones; Bloodlines; and Kidnapped. She is also the author of Flight, featuring Irene's husband, homicide detective Frank Harriman; Nine, a standalone thriller; and a collection of her short stories, entitled Eighteen."

As a writer, Jan has to do a bit of research here and there. There are times when I've said that I'll blog about something to understand it better. Well, Jan exceeds me by far, because she helps to keep informed about research issues via The Crime Lab Project. What is it?

The Crime Lab Project is a group of crime writers and their friends and readers who are concerned about the gap between the public's beliefs about the current state of forensic science and the reality faced by the many underfunded, understaffed labs and coroners' offices throughout the country. We see the lack of support given to labs as a matter that has a growing negative impact on law enforcement, justice, and national security.

They maintain the CLPNews Yahoo Group, which allows you to receive a weekly newsletter via email with the latest forensic news. Also check out their Twitter account, @crimelabproject.

Now here's the part where you come in. Even if you don't want to subscribe to the newsletter or the tweets, I strongly encourage you to take this test. It's called "The Death Quiz," and this is what it's about:

We begin our first Forensic Friday with the end — a look at places where any of us might end up: Medical Examiners and Coroners Offices (ME/C).

Death investigation in the United States definitely needs a closer look. Here are 25 questions that will test your knowledge.

So take our quiz and find out if your ideas about death investigation are based on fiction or fact.

(Fiction or fact? Geddit?)

Here's a sample question from the quiz:

14. How many ME/C offices meet the standards required to be accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners?
a) fewer than 55
b) fewer than 550
c) fewer than 1500
d) fewer than 2500

To see the answer, as well as the other questions and answers, go here.
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