March 31, 2014

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival XXXIX

News from the Roman and Roman-adjacent world for March... Strangely, no good pictures of bones this month.

Roman-Area Finds and Articles

Mausoleum of Augustus, Rome
  • 29 March - Augustus Rules Again as Rome Acts to Restore Lost Mausoleum (Past Horizons). I am super jealous of all the people who got to see inside the mausoleum last weekend.  Super jealous.  (Augustus is my favorite emperor... I mean, the emperors weren't great people, but the amount of art, literature, and culture produced under Augustus is amazing.)
  • February - "Tuberculosis and leprosy in Italy. New skeletal evidence." M. Rubini, P. Zaio, and C. Roberts.  HOMO - Journal of Comparative Human Biology 65(1):13-32.  I haven't read this yet, admittedly, but I want to.  I've been critical of Rubini's and Zaio's work before, but I have the utmost respect for Charlotte Roberts, so I have high hopes for this article. 
A Bit Further Afield in Time/Place...
  • 10 February - Human Sacrifices 3,000 Years Ago in Crete (ANSA). Both humans and animals were sacrificed to the gods, according to new evidence from the site of Cydonia dating to about 1280 BC. A broken female skull was found amid animal skills. It seems the woman died from blunt trauma to the head. I'll wait for the publication of this to make up my mind, though. Fragmentary human bones found amid other deposits does not necessarily mean sacrifice. (See: Baby Bones Were Trash to Romans.)
  • 13 March - Ancient Greek Tombstones Served as Therapy (Discovery News). Drawing on the old idea that tombstones represent interaction between the living and the dead, a Swedish graduate student analyzed mourning iconography and showed that Greek tombstones were more personalized than previously assumed.









Blogging (Bio)Archaeology - Where do we go from here?

Doug's question this month for the Blogging Archaeology carnival is, "Where are you going with blogging or where would you like it to go?  My answer is pretty simple: I'd like to write more.

The latest incarnation of this blog coincided with my jump into a sort of public-facing science blogging (the whole "Gay Caveman" thing).  Since then, I've written a whole bunch of essays that I'm pretty proud of, like:
These posts all came out of a simple desire to learn more.  I did some research, summarized the most interesting points in each topic, and raised questions yet to be answered.  They're really simple essays, and they took a few days each to research, plan, and write.  But you'll notice that the last one I wrote was nearly two years ago.  This is because in the fall of 2012, I started a tenure-track position.  I have kept up with blogging as much as I can, particularly with regular features like my Bones reviews, the Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival, and Who needs an osteologist?, but I haven't posted new essays.

So what I want to do going forward is to find more time to write essays.  I actually have incipient post titles hanging out, unpublished, some with half-formed outlines, some with a simple research question, some with bibliography.  Here's what's currently in my "Drafts" folder:
  • Anthropologists Note that Women Are Like Cats.  This idea came from something I saw in either Cosmo or Glamour citing the ever-controversial Helen Fisher on how women arch their backs like cats to be attractive to mates or some such nonsense. I wanted to dismantle this kind of pseudo-bioanth nonsense, but I haven't gotten around to it.
  • Amputations in Antiquity.  I just thought it would be fun to check into the evidence for this, particularly in the Roman world, and write a summary post on it.
  • Roman Time and Space. This idea came to me when I started thinking about how we (in America, anyway) tend to talk about distance in terms of time.  For example, how far is it from your home to your work?  20 minutes?  How about from your city to the next major one?  2 hours?  I'm not sure if it's our car-based culture or something else that accounts for this conflation of time and space.  So I got to thinking about whether the Romans, the original car-based culture, did this as well.  But, again, I haven't had time (or the space?) to research this properly.
I wish I could say that I'll get around to these essays soon, but I'm two years into this job (and a semester behind because of maternity leave), so I have no idea when my schedule will free up to that extent.  Maybe next summer?  I can dream...

March 26, 2014

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 11)

It should really come as no surprise that a TV show called Nazi War Diggers needs an osteologist. That's not a right femur.



Of course, the real problem is that none of the three men who are the on-air "talent" for this show is trained as an archaeologist or forensic anthropologist. After all the brouhaha from archaeologists about other problematic shows, like Spike TV's American Digger (see this NYTimes article, for example) and the NatGeo Channel's Diggers featuring amateur archaeologists -- which the Society for American Archaeology protested in letters to Spike and NatGeo -- it feels like the National Geographic Channel has now just resorted to trolling anthropologists.

*le sigh*  The National Geographic Channel needs an osteologist for many, many more reasons than the correct laying out of a skeleton. This excavation is ethically suspect, and possibly a legal issue as well (although I don't know the EU laws at all).

UPDATE (3/27/14) - NatGeo Channel seems to have taken down both the video and the hundreds of outraged comments following it.  Someone has put a video of the video here on YouTube, though.  And word is that the heads of SAA, EAA, AIA, and SHA are working together to write a position paper against this show. It's not likely to do anything, but at least the archaeological organizations will have taken a stand.



Previous installments of Who needs an osteologist?

March 25, 2014

Bones - Season 9, Episode 18 (Review)

The Carrot in the Kudzu
Episode Summary
A body encased in kudzu is brought into the Jeffersonian. Hodgins works to free the bone from the fast-growing invasive plant before its root system disarticulates the bones. Based on the size of the second cervical vertebra, Brennan guesses the person was male. Dr. Edison notes the angular eye orbit and guesses Caucasian. Although there was a lot of animal predation, several large fragments of organs remain for Saroyan, including the prostate, confirming Brennan's sex assessment. Based on decomposition, Saroyan estimates the man has been dead for six days, but Hodgins estimates nine based on the kudzu growth.  Booth and Sweets discuss the details of the discovery: a car drove up to an embankment along a state road, and the person dumped the body, horrified. Edison catalogues all the injuries to the skeleton. The man suffered sharp force trauma to the parietal, struck from the left with a heart-shaped object.  Booth gets a DNA match for Joe Starkle.

Booth and Brennan head to a TV studio to interview Joe's brother, Ken. Both brothers were involved in the kids' show VegetaBills, a program with dancing vegetables all named Bill. Ken confirms that Joe worked there until fairly recently, when he left to start a new show called Mirthquake Village. That program did not turn out well, though, so Jake the producer pulled the plug on it. But Jake admitted to causing some of the injuries that Edison found: remodelled fractures to the radius and ulna bilaterally, as well as 5th and 8th ribs, mandible, and zygomatic.  Jake insists he was simply standing his ground after Joe attacked him.  Booth finds that Jake has a solid alibi, though.

Meanwhile, Hodgins finds motor oil, cement, and traces of asphalt on Joe's body, and Angela finds information on the Twitter feed of Carrot Bill, the vegetable that Joe had portrayed on the show. A woman named Debra Ann Volker seems to have been cyber-stalking Joe and sending him at times threatening and at times sexually suggestive emails. She insists that she watched the show with her 6-year-old son and that they both got healthier from their shared interest in the program. When Joe left the show, Debra was afraid she might gain the weight back. Sweets notes that Debra has an obsessive addictive disorder but likely did not kill Joe.

Brennan and Edison delve further into the fractures on Joe's skeleton and find remodelled injuries to the body of the sternum, the xiphoid process, and surrounding ribs, suggesting he underwent CPR chest compressions at least a month prior to the injuries he sustained in the fight with Jake the producer. Since there were no Colles' fractures to the distal radii or fractures to the humeral heads, Edison concludes that Joe did not break his perimortem fall. Saroyan's toxicology screen, however, was clear, so they suspect Joe had a heart condition. Brennan finds that Joe had been diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, which put him at increased risk of torsades de pointes; these episodes can lead to sudden death and are provoked by external stimuli, like surprises and loud noises. Although Joe had controlled the condition using beta-blockers, the tox screen showed he went off them, presumably because impotence is a common side-effect.

Around the time of his death, Joe decided he wanted his old job back. He talked to Henry Munsen, the producer of the VegetaBills show, but he had already given the job to his son, Tommy.  Booth questions Tommy, but he wasn't invested in the carrot character; he was simply after all the women who flocked to the show with their kids. Joe, Tommy insisted, was always taking up with new women. Angela ran Joe's credit cards and saw similar activity patterns as Marilyn Starkle's cards; she assumes Joe was having an affair with his brother's wife.  Booth confronts Ken Starkle, who admits his marriage was open and he knew about the affair. He did not know that Joe was off his medication.

Hodgins finally finds a bunch of particulates from animals, and he and Angela think that Joe died in a parking lot at the television studio, since a kids' show called Charlie's Barnyard also filmed there. Brennan and Saroyan find blood on the parking curb, suggesting Joe fell and hit his head. There are skid marks leading away from the lot, and Booth endeavors to track the tires to get a car make. But Hodgins finds in the particulates ingredients specific to Susie James Cosmetics, the company that Debra Ann Volker works for. The FBI turns up Joe's blood and DNA in her car, and she confesses the story.  Joe wasn't interested in sleeping with her, so she drove into the parking lot in her electric car and ended up startling him by honking. He simply dropped dead then and there.  Debra panicked and dumped the body. Brennan points out that Joe's death is Debra's fault; be that as it may, it was still clearly an accident.  Debra couldn't have known that Joe had a heart condition or that he wasn't taking the medication that could save his life.

Comments
  • Forensic
    • Sure, on average, males are larger than females.  But if you look at the bell curves of sexual dimorphism in humans, any aspect of the human body will have major overlaps between the sexes.  So while the size of the axis (second cervical vertebra) is probably sexually dimorphic, it's not the most accurately dimorphic part of the skeleton (something like the diameter of the femur head is better), and determining the sex of a skeleton based solely on the size of one bone is poor practice. And I don't even know what "angular eye orbit" means, since that could describe pretty much everyone except those with Asian ancestry (those skulls tend to have very round orbits).
    • Brennan complains that the kudzu has grown through the endosteum.  Without a microscope, it would be difficult to even see the endosteum, much less tell that tiny kudzu tendrils were growing only through this very thin layer of bone.  Pretty sure the writers meant that the kudzu was growing through the medullary cavity (which is lined by a thin layer of endosteum).
    • Interns don't get extra credit for things; they're all either PhD candidates or post-docs, so they're not taking classes. Even if they did get extra credit, it's egregious to offer it only if a student shells out a giant chunk of money to go to a professional conference. And since they are PhD candidates or post-docs, they should all be going to at least one professional conference per year anyway. I mean, presumably they want paying jobs at some point. They need to network and learn about the latest research. Finally, why isn't Brennan at said professional conference?  Too cool for school?  (I hate it when writers don't understand anything about academia.) 
    • Edison notes fractures to the body of the sternum and calls the direction "lateral" when it's actually "transverse."  He also talks about the injury to the parietal as "sharp trauma" when it turns out it was blunt trauma from Joe's hitting his head on the parking bump. Sharp and blunt trauma look very different.
  • Plot
    • My kids don't watch Veggie Tales, since it's an overtly religious program, but they're clearly what the VegetaBills are based on. The writers of the show definitely have a Christian theme going on this season, which is a curious choice. I guess they think the audience will find the clash between Brennan's and Booth's beliefs, particularly regarding their daughter, interesting, but I find it tedious. At least some of the lyrics to the fake show ("... finally, they all got scurvy and died!") were funny.
    • Edison prints out his manuscript.  This is 2014, right?  Or have I fallen into a time warp in which people still murder trees rather than shooting a PDF to their friends?
    • Brennan has no frame of reference for her kid's birthday party?  Sure, she didn't have one, but has she never been to any party before? Or seen other kids having one?  This plot point made me angry at the writers rather than empathetic to Brennan, but I'm not a fan of Max, so maybe I'm biased.
    • This week in "Bones Writers Don't Know D.C. Geography," Brennan mentions the body was found on State Route 32. Presumably, she means Maryland, since it's outside Baltimore and SR32 in Virginia is down near Newport News. Still, neither SR32 is anywhere near D.C.
    • No mention made of Sweets' bad call on Debra?
    • Where did Joe's clothes go anyway? He was only dead a week, so not enough time for them to decompose.  Did Debra strip him?
  • Dialogue
    • Edison's manuscript had good lines, like “Death had never looked as dead as the death now in front of them. All life drained, only death covering the dead.” and “McDonald’s Farm was nestled in a glen perfect for the final days of an old man.” Sadly, this is what any novel I wrote would look like. I'm rubbish at fiction.



Ratings
Forensic Mystery - B-. I guess it was a reasonable mystery. I was kind of busy rolling my eyes at all the whiny birthday stuff to pay close attention, though.

Forensic Solution - D. After a whole bunch of crappy forensics, Booth simply got an ID through DNA. Much of the stuff Edison saw and did was convenient for the plot but not good science.

Drama - D. The writers are trying really hard to make me care about the Booth-Brennan home dynamic, but I simply don't. I do want to throw poor Sweets a birthday party, though.

March 17, 2014

Bones - Season 9, Episode 17 (Review)

The Repo Man in the Septic Tank
Episode Summary
While Booth and Brennan argue about whether Christine should be allowed to go to church, they get a call about a body found in a septic tank.  Brennan asks for it to be shipped to the Jeffersonian, and it's there to greet them when they show up to work.  Also there is a new intern, Dr. Rodolfo Fuentes, who ostensibly needs additional training to bring the skills he developed in Cuba up to par with American forensic standards. Fuentes immediately discerns from the rounded supraorbital margin and the partial closure of the sphenofrontal suture that the victim was an adult male. Brennan sends him down into the tank to fish out the remaining missing bones: the right fifth distal phalanx, the left medial and intermediate cuneiforms, and the right patella. Fuentes finds cause of death: a fingernail stuck in the top of the tank suggests the victim was alive and tried to claw his way out. Saroyan finds aspirated fluid in his lungs, confirming this. 
"Wait, this isn't Benihana..."

Brennan and Fuentes look over the bones and find numerous perimortem fractures and a newly remodeled sharp trauma to the medial aspect of the 7th rib from about 6 months ago. There is a shard of plexiglass in it, meaning it could have been a prison injury, from a shiv. Saroyan excises a tattoo from the remaining flesh and cross-references it with the records that the prison keeps. They identify the victim as Benny Jergeson, 24, who recently served out a two-year sentence for grand theft auto. Benny had recently been working repo. His boss, Georgia Grace, liked him.  She doesn't know where the recorder is, though, that her repo guys took on every job. She suggests that a food truck vendor named Graham was upset with Benny after he repo'ed the food truck; Graham, however, has an alibi, as he was in Mexico getting more drugs.

The fractures and fracture patterning are still confusing Brennan and Fuentes. They find compound fractures to left ribs 6-8, the sternum, and the left frontal, plus a comminuted fracture of the left clavicle.  Fuentes suggests that Benny was beaten by a right-handed assailant. But Brennan notices multiple Monteggia fractures on the left ulna and radius, and she suggests that the victim might have sustained the injuries when his body collided with his outstretched arm, as in a car accident. Hodgins finds evidence on Benny's clothes of various local plants, suggesting he ran through the woods. Fuentes insists he was being chased, since he sees evidence in the skeleton of a compound fracture to the right fibula with shearing to the tibia from rubbing against it.  Benny ran on it for nearly one-quarter mile. From the green paint flakes on Benny's shirt, the shard of dual-paned glass, and curved fragment of a steering wheel, the Jeffersonian team reasons they are looking for an early '90s Korean-made car. It turns out to be Benny's car, but it was reduced to scrap metal in the time between when he died and when he was found. From the photos the towing company took, Angela can see that there were two passengers in the car, and they both hit their heads on the windshield. The abrasions to the ribs and sternum were likely caused by the steering wheel, and the victim and murderer were facing one another, not wearing seatbelts. 

Booth and Brennan track down Horatio Mencini, who was like a brother to Benny.  They were both in prison at the same time for car theft, but Benny ratted out Horatio in exchange for a shorter sentence. Horatio and Booth have a knife-and-frying-pan fight in the kitchen of the restaurant where Horatio was a valet. Horatio didn't kill Benny, but he did run because he was still stealing cars.  He admitted that he was helping Benny steal the occasional car too.

Angela and Fuentes work on the piece of the silicon chip embedded in the right fifth rib. The chip is from a recorder.  Angela manages to reconstruct the chip -- that has been soaking in liquid poop for who knows how long -- and get an 11-second audio clip off of it. Benny is telling someone that he doesn't want to steal cars anymore. Brennan and Angela then look at the injuries that the second passenger in the car must have sustained, including fractures to the right frontal, ribs, and radius.  Booth and Sweets ask Georgia Grace and Horatio Mencini to undergo xray to rule them out as suspects in Benny's death.  But Booth really suspects Fowler, Benny's parole officer, after Sweets discovers that the three missing cars that fit Benny's m.o. were all stolen on days when Benny met with Fowler. Booth tricks Fowler into coming down to the FBI, then lets Brennan, armed with a backscatter xray machine and Angela's mystery software, to scan Fowler multiple times until she sees evidence of recently remodelled injuries to Fowler's frontal bone.  Booth arrests him.

Comments
  • Forensic
    • Did Brennan call it the intermedial cuneiform rather than the intermediate?
    • Other than that, the ID of the victim was too generic to complain about: partially closed suture = adult. Round supraorbital margin = male.  No age-at-death.  Positive ID from prison-catalogued tattoo just after the opening credits.
    • At one point, Angela talks about the "silicone chip" she found rather than "silicon."
  • Plot
    • The subplot about religion is back.  Whee.  I continue to wonder why Brennan named her kid after someone she insists is a myth comparable to Superman.
    • OK, so I don't know that much about credentialling of forensic anthropologists in other countries, but if Fuentes has a PhD and was running his own lab in Cuba, there's virtually no way he would have to re-take classes and an internship in the U.S.  He might need to study up for the forensic boards, but so do American forensic anthropologists with PhDs.
    • Did I miss the estimated time of death?  They got cause of death and identification handily.  There were oblique references to time since death but no definitive date, right?  It was odd that they kept talking about people's alibis when they had never established time since death.
    • Why exactly did Brennan put up with Fuentes' insistence they were going to sleep together?  Shut that harassment down, Brennan.
    • Brennan can hack into a backscatter xray machine to turn it into a real xray machine?  And is it even legal to trick Fowler into incriminating himself?
    • Angela throws around terms like CMOS and JTAG as if they're magical technology.
  • Dialogue
    • "It's so wasteful, unnecessary, and expensive. It's so American." - Fuentes
    • "This looks a lot like the prison my uncle was sent to for selling Die Hard videos." - Fuentes
    • "I imagine all my male interns want to have sex with me." - Brennan


Ratings
Forensic Mystery - C. The real mystery in this episode was why no one figured out how long the victim had been dead.

Forensic Solution - C-. The fracture patterning made enough sense.  But there was virtually no forensic work involved in ID.

Drama - C-. Eh. The case-of-the-week was boring.  The new intern was smarmy. When are we going to get the Ghost Face Killah?

March 12, 2014

You know you've been teaching Human Osteology too intensively when...

... your preschooler brings this play-doh sculpture home and you think, "That's a remarkably good left clavicle!"


Seriously, though.  It's got a bulbous medial end, a tube-shaped shaft, and a flattened, anteriorly-projecting lateral end.  It's creepy how much it looks like a clavicle.  Is this the osteological version of pareidolia?

(She told me, by the way, that this is the Very Hungry Caterpillar.)

March 11, 2014

Bones - Season 9, Episode 16 (Review)

The Source in the Sludge

Episode Summary
Two guys out to salt a lake with bass fish the night before a tournament find a body bag with a skeleton in it.  The Jeffersonian team responds to the scene.  Based on the waterlogged corpse, Saroyan puts time of death at 4 days prior. The sharp supraorbital margins and lack of a prominent glabella suggest to Brennan that the victim was female. As they're hauling the body bag out, it springs a leak and a lamprey comes out.  Booth wrangles it.

Hi! I'm a fakey fake skull. I look nothing like
a female or someone of Middle Eastern ancestry.
Back at the Jeffersonian, Brennan and Daisy examine the body, which is still partially fleshed.  Based on the almost complete ossification of the cranial sutures, Brennan thinks the victim was in her late 20s. Daisy immediately concludes she was Caucasian because of the sharp nasal sill and angle of the anterior nasal spine, but Brennan points out the more Asian-like features of projecting zygomatics and wide intraorbital spacing. They reach the conclusion that the victim was from a 'stan country, where people would show a mixture of Caucasian and Asian traits.  Daisy notes remodelling of a fracture in the left humerus, and upon xray, Brennan finds a pin. Using the serial number, Angela tracks it to a shipment of medical devices to Afghanistan several years prior. The victim is identified as Sari Nazim, a 28-year-old Afghani woman who immigrated with her brother a year prior.

Sari was helping American forces on the ground in Afghanistan locate terrorist targets.  When Booth and Brennan get to Sari's house, they find her brother Aziz but also Danny Beck, the CIA agent we met in episode 1 (and played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.). He explains that Sari had identified a particular terrorist named Ibrahim; she led the CIA to his house, and the drone-bombed it.  She was injured in the blast. Danny assumes that Ibrahim is dead, but putting the lampreys in the body bag fits with his M.O. Booth tracks down Derek Johannessen, a military guard who was on duty when Ibrahim's house was bombed.  He said in his statement that Ibrahim was likely still alive and would be out to seek revenge on people like Sari who helped rat him out.

Back at the Jeffersonian, Daisy and Brennan find recent bruising on the ribs, zygomatics, maxilla, and mandible. Sari was violently dragged, as the medial collateral ligament was ruptured and the femur was dislocated from the tibia. Brennan also finds two sets of striations on the left 5th metatarsal styloid process, talus, and medial malleolus of the tibia that suggest Sari was bound and tried to escape.  Hodgins finds some fiber in the excrement of the lampreys, and this jute twine still has blood and tissue in the weave, and they are a match for Sari. Pollen from morning glories points to Sari's brother Aziz, who is a landscaper.

Booth, Danny, and Brennan head over to question Aziz after they find out from Angela that he bought a disposable cell phone and was calling a number in Helsinki that Danny suspects routed to Afghanistan.  Aziz admits that he was calling Ibrahim's number two guy, Jamal Ahmad, because he wants to return home and bring his sister with him.  The only way he could do that would be to get the permission of Ibrahim's network. He denies killing his sister, though, and points to the fact that Sari was disappearing at night and not coming home until morning.  This leads Booth to question Danny, since he seemed unperturbed that his informant had suddenly changed her behavior.

"I failed my comps because I clearly do not
understand standard anatomical position..."
Daisy and Brennan then find a contusion on the anterior third sternal rib with a V-shaped nick in it. Hodgins finds particulates of a carbon used only for high-end tactical knives, and Angela matches it to a Higginson knife made for the Special Forces.  Booth confronts Danny, who admits he was sleeping with Sari and gave her his knife for protection. He didn't want news of their affair to get out because he would lose his job at the CIA.  Meanwhile, Saroyan dissects Sari's eye to examine the vitreous humour and discovers that she died of dehydration. Sweets and Booth conclude that this is the work of Ibrahim, getting retribution for the deaths of his family, who were buried in the collapse of the house.  But Brennan and Daisy notice an avulsion fracture on the mandibular condyle, suggesting Sari bit her attacker hard.  Saroyan doesn't find any skin in Sari's teeth but does find it in her bronchi. Tests on that tissue reveal they are looking for a man with Nordic ancestry (presumably from the haplogroup); running the info through the military database gets a hit: Derek Johannessen.

It turns out Johannessen was pretending that Ibrahim was still alive and was funneling money from Ibrahim's terror network through foreign bank accounts. In order to pretend that Ibrahim was still alive, he killed Sari.  The Department of Justice convinces Johannessen to give up Ibrahim's entire network for amnesty and $10 million, but Booth and Danny find out that the military was still paying for Johannessen's physical rehab.  This makes him subject to a court-martial. He is charged with treason and murder.

Comments

  • Forensic
    • Is it just me, or are the fake skeletons getting even more ridiculously fake?  I mean, this is a decently rated show.  I'm guessing it makes a bunch of money.  Good fake skulls are, like, a few hundred dollars.  Full skeletons are maybe $2,000. Just buy a dozen, for Pete's sake. These prop skulls are horrible.  I screencapped it this week to demonstrate.
    • Cranial sutures can tell you age-at-death, but only after they're fused because the technique is based on obliteration of the suture lines as you get older.  So cranial suture obliteration would not tell you someone was in her late 20s.  However, Brennan could have meant that the sphenooccipital synchondrosis (aka the basilar suture) was not closed or had just recently closed, which would put someone's age-at-death in the mid to late 20s.
    • Estimation of ancestry was dumb.  If I found someone with both Caucasian and Asian features in metro D.C., I'd think: 1) I guess this person could be of mixed ancestry, like a huge number of Americans; and then 2) well, this ancestry stuff is bullshit.
    • If the medial collateral ligament was violently ripped, causing damage to the bone, that would be an avulsion fracture (like on the mandible).  But Brennan insisted there were no fractures to the skeleton.
    • Brennan comments that she found striations from ligatures on the left styloid, but doesn't say of what (she meant, I assume, the 5th metatarsal, since she was talking about the ankle).
    • I also screencapped the main scene where the skeleton was laid out at the Jeffersonian.  Not bad, but they never put the radius and ulna in the right place.  Maybe if I complain for enough seasons, they'll fix it?  Eventually?
  • Plot
    • Daisy failed her oral exams.  Bwahahahaha. Daisy is the worst.  But wait, why isn't Brennan on Daisy's committee? Also, Brennan's other interns are supposed to be, like, the most brilliant people in the world.  Why does she put up with Daisy?
    • New Feature! I'm calling it: "Bones Writers Can't Check a Map." Angela's screen showed that the Nazims were living in Greene, Virginia, with a fake zip code.  Greene is a county (the county north of where I grew up) but not a city.  (It is, incidentally, the seat of Stanardsville.  Which does not have an extra D. Oh, Virginia city names.)
  • Dialogue
    • "Orals are an antiquated, useless tradition meant to make professors feel superior." - Brennan.


Ratings
Forensic Mystery - C. This was resolved within a few minutes.  Not terribly exciting a mystery.

Forensic Solution - D. I know the writers string out the discoveries, but this week was pretty absurd. Brennan and Daisy find no fractures.  Then a few striations.  Then two different avulsion fractures.  And sharp trauma.  Also, the ancestry estimation was ridiculous. As was the age-at-death from the cranial sutures. And the sex from the terrible fake skull features. Yeah, this episode just irritated me.

Drama - C-. Did we think that Freddie Prinze really did it?  No.  But I may be biased about the amount of drama in this show since I've been binge-watching Scandal while getting the baby to sleep.



March 7, 2014

3D Printing Video for Florida Archaeology Month

My attempts at 3D printing have been profiled by the Florida Public Archaeology Network's newest video series, Archaeology in 3 Minutes.  Mike Thomin did an awesome job of putting together this video and made me sound like I am not completely sleep-deprived.  I honestly don't know what I'm doing blinky-blinking my eyes weirdly. Gotta figure out how to get rid of that.  Anyway, enjoy!

(And if you want to see my colleague Ramie Gougeon talk about 3D scanning, check out the video on our main department webpage.)


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