Patterico's Pontifications


DNA Tests of the Future

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 10:44 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Thanks to NK, I ran across this article that describes how DNA may one day be used to “construct a physical portrait of a DNA donor, including melanin content, skin color or eye color” as well as height and race.


A Suggested Disclosure for That Constantly Shifting L.A. Times Blog Post

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:51 am

The current disclosure at the bottom of the Amazing Changing L.A. Times Blog Post is wholly inadequate. It currently reads as follows:

(This item was originally posted Thursday evening, Oct. 11. It was removed by an editor Friday but was reposted Saturday in a shortened form.)

Here’s an alternate note that would be more accurate:

This item was originally posted Thursday evening, Oct. 11. Then someone removed a paragraph about Rielle Hunter’s disappearing website. We’re not saying who did that. Then someone removed three more paragraphs, about a Huffington Post entry about Hunter. We’re not saying who did that either. Then an editor killed the post entirely, without mentioning that it had ever been there. It remained down for a day and a half. The post was finally restored nine minutes after Patterico e-mailed Malcolm. It now had three more paragraphs removed, quoting an unnamed source from the National Enquirer. Given the fact that we killed the post and were only shamed into restoring it by Patterico and Mickey Kaus, we were embarrassed by Andrew Malcolm’s parenthetical remarks about “censoring” Edwards’s denial. So we removed those too, without saying anything. Oh, and then Malcolm added a parenthetical note about how the post didn’t mention Rielle Hunter, but then Patterico proved that it had, before the numerous deletions mentioned above. So we deleted that parenthetical remark as well — again without explanation.

We promise that we’ll get our act together one of these days.

No need to thank me, L.A. Times editors. I’m here to help.

(Previous posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

UPDATE: Actually, I just checked the post again, and they have a fuller disclosure:

(UPDATE: Since some have asked for more details on this post, here they are. Better late than never: Thursday evening John Edwards spoke to a group of reporters, denying an alleged affair, initially reported in the National Enquirer, which had become the subject of intense speculation on the web. The Associated Press moved a story on the denial, and our blogger posted an item on the Edwards denial, including some details of the Enquirer story. It also mentioned a Huffington Post item that identified a woman who worked for Edwards and a feature on that woman from Newsweek last winter.

Shortly after, editors trimmed the post to delete the Huffington and Newsweek material, believing it also had not been verified. About 10 hours later a Times editor, concerned about an item now entirely focusing on the Enquirer allegations, removed the entire post and comments, some of which expressed similar concerns.

After web editors discovered the deletion, they launched an internal discussion about the importance of not deleting items from the site without explanation. That resulted in the item being reposted Saturday evening, minus three more paragraphs of Enquirer allegations but retaining the link to the Enquirer story. A brief explanation for the one-day deletion was also posted. Since the reposted item no longer carried the blogger’s name, he felt it inappropriate to be responding online to past reader comments, so he removed his responses.

Other than that, things went very smoothly with this item.)

That’s actually not bad, guys. What’s more, it may have been up already when I posted this; I last checked the entry yesterday and assumed it was the same this morning. (UPDATE: Actually, on reflection, I think I did check it this morning. In any event, whenever this went up, they’re right. It’s late, but better late than never.)

UPDATE x2: Nope, sure enough, their update was up last night. I guess I didn’t check it this morning after all.

Man. It sure is annoying to have to update my post with embarrassing corrections.

But it’s more honest. And — take note, L.A. Times editors! — that’s the way of the blogosphere.

Edwards Post Was Substantially Edited Twice Before Being Removed

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 5:46 am

That L.A. Times blog post about John Edwards’s denial of an extramarital affair received two major undisclosed edits before it was finally taken down Thursday night.

That’s right: I found more material that was scrubbed out. A Google News search for “Rielle Hunter website deleted” shows that the post once included this sentence:

That material was quietly removed before Pat Dollard extensively quoted the post.

(Then three more paragraphs were silently removed before I screencapped it. Then the post was taken down for a day and a half, and put back up only after I e-mailed Malcolm to ask where the post had gone. The new version had three more paragraphs removed. Also, numerous parenthetical remarks by Malcolm disappeared after that, without a hint that they had ever been there.)

Andrew Malcolm and his editors need to learn about Google News’s hidden cache. Mr. Malcolm, there will be a test later, so write this down:

Google News remembers what you published, even if you later delete it from your post. You can’t scrub away published material forever — because an excerpt of your deleted language still might show up in the Google News search.

For example, three paragraphs from the L.A. Times blog post were quoted by Pat Dollard, and were then scrubbed from the post before I ever saw it Thursday night. The first sentence of those three paragraphs reads: “Also today, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post posted an article and photograph about a woman named Rielle Hunter, also known as Lisa Druck.” If you plug those three names into Google News, you will pull up the entire sentence:

Got that, Mr. Malcolm? You can delete it — but we’ll still find it!

Previous posts here, here, here, here, and here.

By the way, Mr. Malcolm, the current disclosure at the bottom of your post is wholly inadequate. My next post suggests a better one.

UPDATE: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. As it turns out, my nagging produced results: the L.A. Times has finally come clean (well, mostly) about what happened. Details here.

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