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G o o d   M o r n i n g !
Monday, August 8, 2005

The purpose of the Detail is to help keep you informed of the current state of affairs in the latent print community, to provide an avenue to circulate original fingerprint-related articles, and to announce important events as they happen in our field.
Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac

Single Fingerprint Leads to Arrest HOLBROOK SUN, MA
 - Aug 5, 2005
...a single fingerprint, left on the inside of a window frame, led to the arrest...

Fingerprint Leads To Break In 1997 Kidnapping, Murder NBC 11.COM, CA - Aug 4, 2005 analysis has determined that a fingerprint at the crime scene matched one of Joseph Duncan's fingers...

Pointing the Finger   METROWEST DAILY NEWS, MA  - Aug 3, 2005 ...within days of installing technology, the Police Department had proof the new system works...

Recent Message Board Posts Message Board

[ Poll ] VOTE HERE for your favorite 2005 Design!!
Kasey Wertheim Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:08 am

Mike French Sat Aug 06, 2005 2:09 pm

Simon Cole/Pat Wertheim - Fingerprint Debate
M. Prints Fri Aug 05, 2005 8:20 pm

Shirley McKie update
Iain McKie Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:40 am


by Steve Everist

"Minutiae points are unique data points on the finger, such as the places on a finger where a swirl or ridge comes to an end."

(Send in your FFF's... the folder is empty!)



What awesome t-shirt contest entries!!  This year will be an especially difficult year to decide... there were literally dozens of great entries.  It was extremely tough to narrow it down to the "top ten", but not only did I do this, I also went ahead and designed all 10 t-shirts for you to vote on!  Due to the increased functionality of our new Message Board, it is possible to view images within the posts and to vote in the form of a "POLL" within the post.  I have posted the survey, so log on and vote THIS WEEK!  You have to sign up for the message board to vote, and you can only vote once.  After that, check back throughout the week to see how the percentages are shaping up!  Voting will be disabled Sunday night.  Thanks to all who turned in excellent entries!


Last week

we looked at "Conclusions That Can Be Drawn from the Detail Present", by Dusty Clark.

This week

Rich Raneau responds to Dusty's article.
RE: Conclusions That Can Be Drawn from the Detail Present
by Rich Raneau


Thanks for writing the article.

There are two points, which need to be discussed further.

(1)   Using statistical information in a scientific venue.

(2)    Datum vs. Data vs. Information and its relation to Recording vs. Reporting

Using Statistical information in a scientific venue:

I understand the use of statistics or relaying probabilities as an analogy, but is should not be used in a scientific discussion with out using the preferred definitions.

The example used in the article indicates that there are two possible outcomes: Individualization or Exclusion. These two possibilities as stated is not supported by a  “never be greater that 50%” or “Equal conclusion” assumption.

Let’s take an example for clarity:

A penny is given for testing with the instruction (hypothesis, if you please) of finding the probability of flipping heads or tails. Since there are only two possible outcomes (excluding landing on the edge), can we say that there is a 50% change of getting either one? NO! The experiment still must be performed. Each flip represents a piece of DATUM and is RECORDED as such. It is only when the coin has been flipped let’s say 10,000 times (the law of large numbers enters here) that the DATUM (singular) becomes enough DATA (plural) that the data can be examined for possible INFORMATION, which can be extracted. If the data show that 5,000 times the head was visible and 5,000 times the tail was visible, then the conclusion can be inferred (and REPORTED) that the chance of getting a head or tail on any flip is an “equally likely event” or 50% -- for that coin only. If however, the data show the head visible 7,500 times and tail visible 2,500 times, the possibility of two outcomes is not changed, it is still only two (2)  -- head or tail. But the conclusion of the two possibilities being “two possible equal conclusions” or “equally likely” is not supported. What has happened is that the “fairness” of the coin (weight distribution) has been tested and the bias of the flip, etc.

The statement “there are two possible outcomes” is supported by reference to Resolution V, the “never greater than 50%” and “two possible equal conclusions” is not supported in the articles argument, without further and considerable explanation. We should not confuse the issues of two outcomes and there must be a 50% chance.

Datum vs. Data vs. Information and its relation to Recording vs. Reporting

The second point is more esoteric. Should a report include the “unable to exclude” option. The argument would have to center around whether or not the perceived information is actually a conclusion or just a collection of data. In any comparison it takes less information to exclude, than it does to finally individualize. If you only have a limited amount of information and cannot find a reason to exclude, based on actually performing the experiment, then inclusion is certainly a second “possible outcome.” A possible outcome as seen above cannot be stated as a chance of either outcome, without proof. It would be, as in the example above, like flipping the coin and running down the hall and reporting that you have achieved a head on the first flip; then running back to perform the next flip. At the completion of the next flip, the run and tell process is duplicated. The question is properly asked, should the report include a piece of intermediate DATUM or DATA. The argument would be that the information presented in the article should be or could be (this is a management issue) RECORDED in the notes, but does not reach the level of REPORTING.

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Until next Monday morning, don't work too hard or too little.

Have a GREAT week!