Edmonton Cops: We Used A Rapist's DNA To Produce An Illustration Of A Generic Black Guy
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Color me unimpressed.

My guess is that we don’t yet have much of a clue of how genetics ties into the gestalt of facial features.

It’s a tricky subject.

For example, here’s businessman Doug Pitt and his older brother Brad.

Doug is a handsome guy, but he’s no Brad Pitt.

Old-time novelists devoted an immense number of words to depicting in print the facial features of characters.

For example, in The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett spent two pages explaining that Sam Spade looked exactly like the extraordinary-looking 6′-3″ Dashiell Hammett.

But in the movie, he was played (really well) by Humphrey Bogart, who had similar ancestry but didn’t look like Hammett much at all.

In contrast, sci-fi author Robert Heinlein, who no doubt read Hammett, demurred from describing his main character closely, presumably not intending to cramp Hollywood’s style, although the movie business didn’t much treat Heinlein well.

Thus Heinlein was enabled to reveal [Spoiler Warning] at the very end of the Tunnel in the Sky (1955) that the narrator was black and on the next to last page of Starship Troopers that the narrator Johnny Rico was a Tagalog-speaking Filipino.

On the other hand, we do now know a lot about the genetics of skin, eye, and hair color.

Edmonton PD used Parabon Nanolabs to do the DNA facial reconstruction, so we can be pretty certain that the perp is really black.

Their showpiece is the Shanaqua Caldwell murder.

Not bad, but can DNA really predict that the poor girl konked her hair?

We can know that the rapist is around 98% sub-Saharan with about the coloration you’d expect.

Edmonton is 3.8% black, which seems ridiculous because of how far north it is (53.5 degrees latitude) and it’s at 2,100 feet of elevation, so it’s really cold and dark in winter. National Post journalist Colby Cosh is an Edmonton loyalist, but even he finds this time of year depressing.

It would be useful to know how likely it is the rapist is 100% black, because (according to this article I just pulled up), Edmonton’s blacks tend to come from four different sources: Somalia, Nigeria, the Caribbean, and America. The latter two would tend to be not 100% black, while the former two might be. It’s good to rule out people for suspicion so you don’t pester innocent men.

It’s possible that the rapist is half East African, half something else from somewhere else in Africa, which would, at minimum, rule out a whole lot of people and at maximum might rule in a rather small number of guys.

In general, cops tend to be pretty good at statistics on the street, while being pretty bad at statistics in writing. If they were good at the latter, they would have majored in economics rather than criminology and would be making more money.

[Comment at Unz.com]

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