Forensic Historical Findings

English: The Tudor period carrack Mary Rose in...
English: The Tudor period carrack Mary Rose in its specially designed building at the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth, United Kingdom. Svenska: Karracken Mary Rose i sin specialkonstruerade byggnad vid Historic Dockyard i Portsmouth i Storbritannien. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forensic Historical Findings


This post is, in particular, for my criminal justice students.


Forensic science is now being used to interpret the past. The BBC has several programs devoted to the subject, but here is a documentary about a single subject, the Mary Rose.


This ship was the largest ship in King Henry the VIII’s fleet. It capsized while he watched from shore.


In the program, they study the crew’s remains to gain insight into the causes of the sinking.


James Pilant


Ghosts of the Mary Rose : Documentary³ – YouTube



From around the web.


From the web site, Peace and Freedom.


This is how it is done. The half of the ship that survives sits on a

frame in a dry dock. Around this, a modern museum has been built.

Inside, the visitor stands on a central suspended walkway. To the right,

behind windows, is the wreck, as if cut down the middle. To the left,

architects have constructed a mirror image, on the decks of which

objects can be examined in situ. There are central walkways at three



I did not expect to like the new building, but the oval structure

embracing the fish-shaped ship looks good from outside, a sort of great

black stealth flying-saucer. From near to, it’s like Peggotty’s house,

the upturned boat on Yarmouth beach in David Copperfield.


I have not been so elated by a museum since I first looked into the

Pitt-Rivers collection’s wild eccentricities in Oxford. Here at

Portsmouth, the beauty of ordinary items impresses: the whole wooden

world of a Tudor warship. Here, three feet away, is the 90-gallon

cauldron for boiling 500 men’s beef, and the brick casing that held it

over the fire, and the very half-burnt logs, caught just as they were

extinguished by that inrush of water 468 years ago.


The Teachings of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) Get Play in British Air Crash Investigation – Heathrow Crash Landing BA Flight 38

Illustration of the Sherlock Holmes adventure ...

Illustration of the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Hound of the Baskervilles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brand NEW! 2011 – Air Crash Investigation – Heathrow Crash Landing – BA Flight 38 (FULL) – YouTube

I was tickled to see a quote from I believe The Hound of the Baskervilles: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. Sherlock Holmes, were he alive or in fact an actual human would have been very pleased.

James Pilant

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Camp Millionaire

The Serpent and the Wolf

Claire Prentice writing for BBC news tells the story of Camp Millionaire where children learn the elements of financial management and wealth accumulation. I am sure to many this sounds bizarre but I have no problem with this practice. In fact, I teach my class that having money and, in particular, keeping money are arts that have to be learned. Students from upper middle class backgrounds have an enormous advantage over their lower class counterparts in the pursuit of economic success because of their head start in financial knowledge. I have discussed this with people from the upper crust (as much as we get in Northwest Arkansas) and they assume that lower class people are stupid because they don’t know these simple things. These things are not simple and if your parents did them daily, weekly and monthly, it’s easy to pick up this knowledge, much easier to understand these things than a student who comes from a family that has trouble putting three meals a day on the table.

Sometimes, I think we fail our college students in business schools across the country because we fail to teach them the habits of the upper classes. These may well be more important to business success than any actual talent, witness the disastrous behavior of Wall Street firms if you don’t believe in the success of style over substance. We probably ought to combine the serious elements of subjects like accounting with less technical but often more critical skills like upper-class mannerisms and expectations.

I want you to understand clearly that I hold the practice of judging people by whether or not they have the “look” of the right social class to be utterly contemptible. As a matter of ethics and intelligence at its most mundane level we should hire based on competence. This has mutated into something now called emotional intelligence. I kid you not. In this country, there is a philosophy that says getting along is more important than competence, than knowing how to do your job. Imagine American history without difficult people, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, Harry Truman (27% approval rating), and Lyndon Johnson. Every one of them was difficult to get along with as a person, but they had contributions to make just as employees do.

Well, these current philosophies have results and in my judgment we’re due for another set. Business philosophies come and go like the fabled length of skirts and with less reason and intelligence. These fashions would be less important if more thinking were done.

But as I was saying, business fashions, trends and much other nonsense has a lot to do with success or failure, hired or unemployed. It is a nasty world full of stupid and incompetent people. I don’t want to have to teach students that talent, intelligence, courage and hard work are often irrelevant to business success but I cannot deny objective reality.

We should teach students to dress, eat, socialize and converse in the manner of the “successful” people. We should teach them what elements of the truth are acceptable in business practice. We should teach that to do good and act honorably and justly according to the tenets of your religion are often elements of ridicule in the world of business. Now, immediately someone will throw the example of some bible toting business manager who proclaims that all of his business is conducted according to God’s law. Right. His reading of it. What’s more, one of these types is just that: a type, not the kind of businessman we expect.

If you tell someone in business of your respect for honor, justice and truth; you will be immediately considered naive and there will be chuckles as you walk by. This is because sold out despicable lamebrains without morality or soul have to sleep at night. Their belief that they deal with the “real” world gives them a juicy rationalization for their lack of moral judgment and comfort with wrong doing.

Matthew reports that Christ said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

I think this is a good saying for the honorable both Christian and non-Christian.

I (of much less status) send forth my students the same way. I want them to uphold high moral values and to try to do the right thing but I also want them to survive and succeed in the business world. The two goals are not incompatible but they are difficult.  

James Pilant

Ethics Problems Around the World

Ivory Coast – Toxic Waste Dumping.

Nigeria – In that country illegal gold mining puts lead into the water systems resulting in the deaths of children.

South Africa – Rigged bidding on a soccer stadium results in cover up, assassination and devastation to the local community.

Egypt – African migrants work their way to Egypt in order to cross the border into Israel.

Australia – Australia is putting out advertising to tell people of its new, tough laws on sexual tourism. Australian citizens who commit crimes against children in other nations can still be prosecuted in Australia.

Australia – Australian government investigates Google for privacy breach.

China – The county of Qingshuihe in far Northern China decided to relocate a town. So they built a new one. At least they started. After spending about 880 million dollars (translating the expenditure into American money), they have a few empty buildings in the middle of nowhere.

Burma – There is some evidence Burma has embarked on the construction of a nuclear weapon.

Russia – There are claims being made that Russians looted the bodies of the Polish citizens of the ill fated flight that crashed in April.

Germany – Banned genetically modified corn has been planted on acreage in several southern German states.

France – Jerome Kerviel is going on trial soon for breach of trust, forgery and unauthorized computer use. He is blamed for the loss of 4.9 billion Euros in losses by a French bank. (That’s about 6 billion American dollars.)

Scandinavia and the Baltic – Nordic bank Nordea has sold all its shares in British Petroleum. (That’s right. The oil spill will never reach them and they have the sense to punish wrong doing.)

India – Courts in India have found 8 people guilty in the Bhopal disaster and sentenced them to 2 years in prison. The Bhopal disaster resulted in the deaths of up to 18,000 people (those injured number up to 600,000) and occurred in 1984. So, the wheels of justice have been grinding for 26 years. These are the first convictions they have and one of those sentenced is dead and presumably is not concerned about his conviction. While there is definitely a business ethic element to the story, even the most casual reader will find it fascinating from purely an entertainment perspective and a cautionary tale of a nation that does things “differently.” (India is a glorious nation with an incredible history but 26 years to get your first convictions and a two year sentence for destroying a small city’s worth of people is not a recommendation for your justice system.)

Bangladesh – In the city of Dhaka, poorly constructed building housing hundreds are little more than death traps should they catch on fire.