Month: March 2021

EP16: Derailed: The Crisis of Forensic Expertise

EP16: Derailed: The Crisis of Forensic Expertise

When it comes to complex social problems, us sensible well-educated book-learnin’ types turn to the experts; we ‘believe science’ — unlike those snorting, hooting, semi-literate dunces. But over the next two weeks, we have two stories that will make you think twice about putting blind faith in experts. What if they don’t actually know what they’re talking about? That happens to be the case with many forensic experts. You know, the folks who work on blood spatter, ballistics, hand-writing analysis, fingerprints, etc. They aren’t Gods, they aren’t magicians, they ain’t anything like what you see on CSI. In fact, they get things terribly wrong; and when they do, the consequences can be catastrophic. We’ll reveal the crisis in forensic expertise, and look for ways to fix it.

  • First, Brandon Mayfield is an American lawyer who was accused of the Madrid train bombings in 2004. He was later released from prison, given an apology by the United States, and paid restitution. He takes us through his ordeal and the failures of forensic science in his case and beyond.
  • Next, Judge Nancy Gertner was a United States District Judge in Massachusetts and is now Senior Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. She talks about forensic science and its limitations, the structural problems of expertise, and the biases that shape court proceedings. 
  • Then, Gary Edmond is a law professor in the School of Law at the University of New South Wales, where he directs the Program in Expertise, Evidence, and Law. He talks about forensic evidence and the tests such evidence is put through — or not. He says forensic science is essential for detecting and resolving crime, but that doesn’t mean experts and their methodologies shouldn’t be challenged, and improved.
  • Finally, Kevin Flynn is the author of five true crime books and the co-host of the podcast Crime Writers On… He takes us into the changing world of true crime writing and podcasting, including the cultural expressions of — and fascination with — crime. 

——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, our assistant producer is Polly Leger, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. Our lead research assistant was Roland Nadler and we had academic advising from Professor Emma Cunliffe, each from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. We had further research support from David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which is funding our mini-series on the state of forensic science. The scholarly lead on that project is Professor Emma Cunliffe.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

 

EP15: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children

EP15: Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children

In recent years, the left seems to have ceded the issue of free speech — or, rather, flipped on it. For years, it defended against censorship, stood up to global imperialism, decried efforts to silence resisters and renegades, and mocked the right for culture war stodginess and pearl-clutching that whined ‘won’t somebody please think of the children?!’ But much of the left has retreated on speech. That turn may have implications for those who work to hold power to account in a world full of fallible human beings who often get stuff wrong, and powerful actors and institutions who use censorship as a cudgel.

  • First, (@11:52), Aaron Maté writes for The Grey Zone and The Nation. He also hosts Pushback — a show name that he lives, too. Maté pushes back against U.S. hegemony and the dominant foreign policy narratives of the day. He decodes the orthodoxies of hegemony, analyzes journalistic censorship and self-censorship, and argues for the need to keep information flowing.
  • Next (@32:37), Gabriella Coleman is the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University. She’s also the author of Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous. Remember Anonymous and all the hope we had for hacktivism? Where did that go? We ask Gabriella Coleman, who takes us into the world of hacking, hacktivism, leaking, and the social movements that shape them — or don’t. 
  • Finally, (@53:48), Ben Burgis is a philosophy instructor at Georgia State University, a columnist with Jacobin, and the host of Give Them an Argument on YouTube. He reminds us that the left needs to persuade people, not just mobilize people who already agree. We do a dive dive into the philosophical arguments for and against free speech, from J.S. Mill and Immanuel Kant to Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg.

——————-FURTHER READING & LISTENING——————-

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers — such as Janice, Hart, and Sean — usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. We had research and support from Addye Susnick and David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. 

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

EP14: How to Save the News

EP14: How to Save the News

Journalism is in crisis. Of course, there’s no shortage of rescue ideas. Sometimes it’s billionaires buying newspapers as vanity projects. Other times it’s techno-utopianism. Or plucky startups pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Maybe blockchain will save us? 

Victor Pickard says the problems are deeper than we think, and they require a more radical solution. He offers a structural critique of the commercial news industry and offers us a utopian vision for a publicly-funded, democratically-controlled news media. 

——————-FURTHER READING ——————-

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers — such as Sankara, Joey, and Claire — usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. We had research and support from Addye Susnick and David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. 

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

EP13.1: Gamers of the World, Unite! (w/ Paolo Pedercini)

EP13.1: Gamers of the World, Unite! (w/ Paolo Pedercini)

In this bonus episode, Gordon Katic speaks with Paolo Pedercini, a professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University and a game developer who runs Molleindustria. Pedericini’s games offer systemic critiques of capitalism, and invite players to wonder whether video games can be a source of organizing and consciousness-raising. 

——————-FURTHER READING & PLAYING——————-

—————————-CONTACT US————————-

To stay up to date, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. If you’d like to write to us, email darts@citedmedia.ca or tweet Gordon directly.

——————-SUPPORT THE SHOW——————-

We need your support. If you like what you hear, chip in. You can find us on patreon.com/dartsandletters. Patreon subscribers — such as Camille, Robert, and Adam — usually get the episode a day early, and sometimes will also receive bonus content.

Don’t have the money to chip in this week? Not to fear, you can help in other ways. For one: subscribe, rate, and review our podcast. It helps other people find our work.

—————————-CREDITS—————————-

Darts and Letters’ is hosted and edited by Gordon Katic. Our lead producer is Jay Cockburn, and our chase producer is Marc Apollonio. We had research and support from Addye Susnick and David Moscrop. Our theme song was created by Mike Barber. Our graphic design was created by Dakota Koop.

This episode received support by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research, which provided us a research grant to look at the concept of “public intellectualism.” Professor Allen Sens at the University of British Columbia is the lead academic advisor. It was also part of a wider project looking at the politics of video games, housed at UBC and also advised by Lennart E. Nacke at the University of Waterloo.

Darts and Letters is produced in Toronto, which is on the traditional land of Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat Peoples. It is also produced in Vancouver, BC, which is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.