Back in the late Pleistocene epoch 100,000 years ago, the 2000 book contended, men who carried rape genes had a reproductive and evolutionary edge over men who did not: they sired children not only with willing mates, but also with unwilling ones, allowing them to leave more offspring (also carrying rape genes) who were similarly more likely to survive and reproduce, unto the nth generation. That would be us. And that is why we carry rape genes today. The family trees of prehistoric men lacking rape genes petered out.
Newsweek's Sharon Begley examines evolutionary psychology and some of its most controversial theories (and how they are being rethought) in Don't Blame The Caveman.
posted by hippybear
on Jun 25, 2009 -
In a case
reminiscent of Bernard Goetz
, pharmacist Jerome Ersland was held up by two gun-wielding men, shot one of them in the head, and then, when the other had left, shot the prone man several more times, killing him (store security video
). Now he's being charged with first-degree murder, and is the center of intense controversy about whether he engaged in legitimate self-defense by making absolutely sure his attacker was incapacitated or in an unjustifiable vigilante-style execution. Complicating matters is the fact that Jerome is white and the robbers black.
posted by shivohum
on May 30, 2009 -
The bumping off of a famous person is the
sort of oyster that any detective delights to open, so you can just bet the
family jewels that I was pretty much elated when my Chief, the late Thomas
Lee Woolwine, District Attorney of Los Angeles County, called me into his
private office on the morning of February 3rd, 1922, and assigned me to
represent his office in the investigation of this greatest of all murder
-- Excerpted from an article archived at Taylorology
, a site exploring the life and death of William Desmond Taylor, a silent movie actor and director whose unsolved murder was among the earliest Hollywood true crime scandals. Researcher Bruce Long
first published his accumulated information about the case as a small fanzine which evolved into a monthly electronic newsletter and is now a vast archive of articles and interviews, official documents, photos, and more. Although the Taylor case is the main focus, there's also a wealth of supplemental information about the silent film industry and its stars. [more inside]
posted by amyms
on Feb 22, 2009 -
"Then I started stripping and cleaning. I told myself it would help sell the flat. How could anyone think of buying it? But I also imagined that if I cleaned long enough and hard enough, the dull patina of dried blood that seemed to cling to every surface would finally go. I hoped that if I emptied the flat of its objects, and pared back its contents to nothing, I would uncover the place that I grew up in, before Ivor was the old man, before he was a legend. I couldn’t find that place, and I didn’t think I would find it in the boxes and among the papers either." David Goldblatt traces his murdered father's life through unpaid bills and unopened letters.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland
on Jan 19, 2009 -
Astronomer Tycho Brahe was one of the more colorful characters of the scientific Renaissance. He lost his nose in a duel
; flouted the rules of Danish nobility and married a commoner; built, on the island of Hven, Uraniborg
, the best astronomical observatory of his day; kept a beer-drinking pet moose
; and amassed the data that would ultimately allow Johannes Kepler to derive the three laws of planetary motion
His chief sponsor had been Danish king Frederick II, but Frederick's heir, Christian IV, quarreled with Tycho and kicked him out of Hven. Insulted, Brahe left Denmark for Prague and the sponsorship of Rudolph II. New evidence has emerged suggesting that the offended king may have had Tycho assassinated
. [more inside]
posted by CheeseDigestsAll
on Jan 18, 2009 -
"Well behaved women rarely make history," said Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Scandalous Women
brings you the lives, loves, and sexual adventures of some of the most fascinating women who rocked the world. Like Olimpia Maidalchini
who managed to achieve something that no woman ever has, for the 11 years of her brother-in-law Innocent X's reign as pope, Olimpia was the real power at the Vatican; or Elizabeth Armistead
, wife of a cabinet minister, courtesan to many. Read the bios and follow the tales of nearly a hundred women of scandalous pursuit from Mata Hari
to Typhoid Mary
posted by netbros
on Jan 16, 2009 -
For many people who lived in Houston in the early 1970s, trick or treat brings up memories of "The Candy Man," serial killer Dean Corll
. He, along with accomplices David Brooks and Wayne Henley (YouTube)
, kidnapped, raped, and tortured to death 27 boys between the ages of thirteen and eighteen between 1970 and 1973. Thirty-seven years after the bodies of their victims were discovered in mass graves in southwest Houston and the Bolivar Peninsula, three still were unidentified until recently when the efforts of forensic anthropologist Sharon Derrick
identified victim ML73-3349, now known to be Randall Lee Harvey
posted by WolfDaddy
on Oct 31, 2008 -
Hans Reiser leads police to the body of his wife.
Software engineer Hans Reiser, who was convicted in the murder of his wife, Nina, long denied he killed her. His defense was based on the theory that she was hiding out in her native Russia and her body could not be found. Today, in a possible exchange for a shorter sentence he led police to the shallow grave of Nina Reiser, just a moment's drive from the house he lived in with his mother and two children. Previously
posted by parmanparman
on Jul 7, 2008 -
"Nobody in the antipoverty community and nobody in city leadership was going to welcome the news that the noble experiment that they’d been engaged in for the past decade had been bringing the city down, in ways they’d never expected. But the connection was too obvious to ignore, and Betts and Janikowski figured that the same thing must be happening all around the country."
American Murder Mystery
. Page 2
. Page 3
. Page 4
posted by wittgenstein
on Jul 7, 2008 -
NURSE CHILD WANTED, OR TO ADOPT -- The Advertiser, a Widow with a little family of her own, and moderate allowance from her late husband's friends, would be glad to accept the charge of a young child. Age no object. If sickly would receive a parent's care. Terms, Fifteen Shillings a month; or would adopt entirely if under two months for the small sum of Twelve pounds.
This kindly nineteenth-century advertisement had a hidden meaning. If a woman paid her adoption fee to a baby farmer
and handed over her infant, no one ever had to worry about that baby, ever again. [more inside]
posted by Countess Elena
on Jun 7, 2008 -
Performance Artist Killed on Peace Trip. Pippa Bacca
, performance artist, and friend wearing white wedding dresses, planned to hitchhike from Italy to the Balkans to the Middle East to send a message of peace and “marriage between different peoples and nations.” After three weeks on the road, Pippa Bacca was killed by a driver who offered her a ride. Her naked body was found and local authorities said Ms. Bacca had been raped and strangled.
posted by semmi
on Apr 21, 2008 -
What happens when a US President declares war on a concept? In 1964, Canadian photojournalist Hugh O'Connor traveled to eastern Kentucky to document the battlefields of Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty
and was shot for trespassing.
The incident is the subject of a wonderful documentary, Stranger with a Camera
by filmmaker Elizabeth Barrett
, produced by Appalshop
, a non-profit organization in Whitesburg, Kentucky, that works with local artists to promote self-representation in media and the expediency of culture to counteract a stagnating local economy.
Makes you think twice about nostalgic representations
of poor Appalachian coal miners plucking their banjo strings in the hollers, doesn't it?
posted by billtron
on Apr 15, 2008 -
Kevin Ray Underwood found guilty
of first degree murder in the April 2006 killing of 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin. The jury only needed 20 minutes to decide on his guilt. Previously on Metafilter
, because he linked here. How could a seemingly normal
, albeit "single, bored and lonely", young man become a cannabalistic child rapist and murderer? Exhibits: The blog
he kept for almost four years up until the day after
the murder. A collection
of misc information about Underwood, including (near the bottom) the text of an online chat he had with a friend after killing Bolin. An extremely disturbing transcript
of his confession to the FBI. Video footage
of the trial. Deliberations will begin Monday as to whether or not he will be sentenced to death.
posted by banishedimmortal
on Feb 29, 2008 -
Dying Speeches & Bloody Murders
digitizes over five hundred broadsides owned by the Harvard Law Library, all of them devoted to "last dying speeches"--that is, sensational accounts of crime, punishment, and (fictional) confession, intended to be sold
at public executions. The New York State Historical Association has an online exhibition
devoted to nineteenth-century American murder pamphlets. You can find a couple of seventeenth-century examples at the Early Modern Web
and the Folger Library
. Old Bailey Online
briefly puts this literature into context. (Main link via C18-L.)
posted by thomas j wise
on Jan 4, 2008 -
Dutch nurse Lucia De Berk has had her case reopened
5 years after her conviction for multiple counts of murdering her patients. [more inside]
posted by Jakey
on Jan 4, 2008 -