How Genealogy Websites Make It Easier to Catch Killers


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But just how likely is it that any given criminal will have relatives in a DNA-based ancestry database? How powerful is the long-range familial search technique? For their report today in Science, researchers at another genealogy service called MyHeritage in Or Yehuda, Israel, along with collaborators at Columbia University in New York, set out to answer these questions.

Their conclusion: If just 2 percent of a population gives DNA to an ancestry service, nearly 99 percent of that population will find a relative, third cousin or closer, in that service’s database. So in the near future, a person who commits a violent crime is likely to have a relative in one of these consumer databases, says Yaniv Erlich, chief technology officer at MyHeritage and an author of today’s report.

The complete article

Emily Waltz — IEEE Spectrum

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India as No. 1


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This is an old discussion – India and China. Still, could not help but share.

But there are fundamental differences. Rapid economic growth since 1980 has made China by far the richer of the two, with a nominal GDP nearly five times that of India (US $11.2 trillion versus $2.3 trillion). China’s per capita average, measured in terms of purchasing power parity, was more than twice as high ($15,400 versus $6,600).

On the other hand, China is a tightly controlled one-party state run by a politburo of seven aged men, while India continues as a highly imperfect but undeniably democratic polity. Freedom House assigns India 77 points on its freedom index compared with a measly 15 points for China. The United States gets 89, Canada 99.

The complete article

IEEE Spectrum — Vaclav Smil

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