DNA Dry Snitch

Look, I’m as happy as anyone that it looks like The Golden State Killer is off the streets. Well, probably not as happy as anyone. I’m sure some people are really happy and relieved about it. I’m more in the ‘well, that’s good’ camp. I’d say it’s a fairly normal level of happiness about it for a person who wasn’t directly impacted and had no real interest in following the case. So, sure, maybe not as happy as anyone but pretty happy with it nonetheless. Less serial killers wandering around, the better, as Nan used to say.

But . . .

I am a little concerned about how he was caught. In short, the cops looked at those DNA ancestry databases and found relatives and narrowed it down from there.

DNA is just another way we can’t opt out of data sharing.

Yet, the way the Golden State Killer was found — through other people’s DNA — raises a new kind of specter. One of a data dystopia where we’ve lost control in new ways.

The combination of DNA and family tree databases, blooming in the commercial sector, is a new weapon for law enforcement in cold cases. The Golden State Killer case is a jumping off point; police are now using the same techniques to look for the Zodiac Killer.

I, personally, wouldn’t go straight to dystopia on this but it is a little unnerving. I mean it’s all fine and dandy when it’s serial killers being caught but these techs get easier and cheaper to use and pretty soon, it’s going to be a lot of people, many of whom didn’t do much of anything. And it’s just a bit much. Like, you donate your DNA to one of these sites and you’ve basically dry-snitched on all your ancestors and descendants.

That just seems like a lot of info to give away. Like, a lot.

Moon Dust

Just in case you were planning on spending any time on the moon this summer, putting your feet up on the shores of The Sea of Tranquility or hiking the challenging slopes of Mons Bradley, you should remember to exercise some caution. Turns out that lunar dust can fuck you up. It can fuck you up real good.

DustInhalationFlowChart3

Previous research has shown breathing toxic dust from volcanic eruptions, dust storms and coal mines can cause bronchitis, wheezing, eye irritation and scarring of lung tissue. Dust particles can accumulate in a person’s airways and the smallest particles can infiltrate alveoli, the tiny sacs where carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen in the lungs. Dust can also damage cells’ DNA, which can cause mutations and lead to cancer, according to previous research.

But every vacation spot has its problems. Some places have bears, others might give you the shits. What’s a little DNA damage in the grand scale of things?